Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our first project - a 1900 Victorian

After months of searching, we finally found the right house!  

Our realtor, Marc Gup, gave us a quick call to say he thought he'd found the perfect house for us.  It has all the elements we want to flip a house.  We couldn't wait to see it!  What did we find?  A good solid house, desperately in need of updating.  Built in 1900, it has an interesting architectural style.  The front appears a bit Victorian with a steep gable roof and wide front porch.  Inside it has square Arts & Crafts columns between the Living and Dining Room.   The kitchen is dark with ancient cabinets and a tired ceiling fan that provides the primary source of light - that is if you can walk through the room, find the pull chain, and yank it on.  I guess no one thought about putting in light switches.  There's lots of electrical work to do.  This house has knob and tube wiring, which no insurance company wants to cover in your homeowners policy.  Hmmm.....did someone say Money Pit?

Ah, but it's an old house you say - what about charm?  Well, there are stained glass windows going up the staircase.  But they sport Purple & Orange glass panes that only a Phoenix Suns fan could love (the 3rd floor stairwell has the same color scheme!).   Not sure that qualifies as charming.  There aren't any original light fixtures.  There are 7 different flooring types, ranging from hardwood that can be refinished, to Congoleum (remember Congoleum??? I loved it in the 80's), multiple vinyl tiles patterns and some odd striped wall to wall carpeting.  And we will be the proud new owners of 5 different wallpapers, which provide a pretty good history of wallpaper styles in America since 1900.

Our initial game plan for any house is to replace the kitchen and baths.  After all, everyone knows that’s what sells houses.  But this place needs more than that and we need to carefully evaluate how much we could afford to invest to make sure we don’t lose money on the project.

The good news – it has a brand new roof and a pretty new furnace.  The not so good news – the front porch bounces like a trampoline and needs to be completely rebuilt.  The windows are original and leak like sieves, with broken sash cords drooping from the corners.  And there is an inground pool in the backyard.  An inground pool in Maine?  Must be for those few hot days of summer!   And this one hasn’t been well maintained.  Richard lifted up the black tarp that was covering it and a plague of mosquitoes swarmed all over him.  Nasty!!!

But despite all those challenges, we're making an offer.  Hooray!!!
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  1. I stubbled upon your Blog and love it. I too have a cottage in Sopo I am renovating in the Willard's Beach neighborhood.Tiny yard, big ole playground down the street. Gail

  2. Hi Gail - so glad you came across our blog. Isn't it a great area? We love living here and it's amazing how much you can do in our tiny yards!


  3. If you mean the foyer in the 'after' photos, it's crisp linen. Here's the link to the full color palette that we used for the house.


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