Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Ugly Duckling: Before

New Year - New Project!  Does it get any better than that?  And this one is a challenge, that's for sure.

I bought this house after someone else had already done all the demo work.  So I don't have any typical 'before' photos to share.  (I also don't have any original woodwork or design details, so we'll be starting fresh here - but more about that in a future post)  It's essentially just a shell of a house with a big hole in the ground, that they had dug for an addition.

This was a private sale.  But how would this have read in a real estate listing???  I'm sometimes amazed at the remarks that accompany houses that need work!  I keep wondering if it had come on the market, what would they have said??  'Needs a little TLC?'  'Ready for your decorating touches?'  LOL!!!

And I love it!  It has such wonderful cottage style!  Perfect for a beach house, which is great, because Willard Beach is right around the corner.

Don't you love the T-shaped gambrel roofline?  That's something we really want to keep!

There is one original window left - so at least we know the original design had 2 over 1 windows.  We'll replicate that moving forward.

The house is 1200 square feet and according to the City website, it was built in 1920.    The first floor has a pretty typical floor plan:  hallway/foyer, living room, dining room and kitchen.
Living Room looking towards Dining Room and kitchen
Original, not to code, staircase.  Steep steps!!!!

Here is the floor plan:  

We do have the original staircase, but it is woefully not to building code, so we will need to change it.  And given how steep and narrow the stairs are (not to mention lack of shoulder room at the top! You need to twist to your left as you make the climb), the future owners will be happy about that!

The second floor has three small bedrooms and a bathroom.  Thanks to the gambrel roofline, hanging pictures would be a challenge, since most walls slope a lot!

Bathroom (left) and Front Bedroom (behind stud wall)
And here is the second floor plan:

What do you think?  Does it have potential?
Old photo - Before any work was done!

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  1. Exciting, Laurel! I'll be curious to see how you're going about to make this a nice little beach house again. I trust you'll have a few challenges but will overcome. 🏡

  2. This house is very old and need renovation.

  3. Wow, what a challenge. The first thing that hit me is the narrowness of the little hall/passage next to the staircase. I'd open that area up for sure but it sounds like you are already headed in that direction!

  4. I can't wait to see what you do with this house (and I'm sure the neighbors are jumping for joy that you bought it!). The proportions of the windows on the front and back seem very large-the shutters are practically hitting the roof on that last photo. Wonder if that was original or a remuddling somewhere along the line? Hoping to visit Portland this Spring and maybe see some of your former creations!

    1. The windows with the shutters make me kind of crazy....but stay tuned. We have plans to change that!

  5. I think it is crying out for a new porch or at least a bigger front stoop. and some cottage-style windows.

    1. I would love to have added something on the front, but sadly, we are too close to the street and don't meet the city setback requirements!

  6. Is it in a historic district? Even if it isn't, you might be able to get a variance for a slight increase, especially if other houses on the street are built as close or closer to the street. I used to be a zoning administrator, and some provisions, like front setbacks, are more flexible than others. That stoop looks barely big enough for the cat, and you probably have to back onto the steps to open the door. You can sell it as a safety issue.

    1. We are so close to the street, I can't imagine the city would allow us to make any changes. In fact, I have to rebuild the stoop at its current size - although I'd love to make it larger!! But in reality, no one will ever use this door - they'll all come in through the mudroom!


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