Thursday, February 28, 2019

That Time It Was Raining Money.....

I should preface this by saying we have never found anything of real value in the houses we've renovated.  We've searched attics, basements, pried up the medallion on the newel post - and all we ever find is dirt, dust and mouse poop.

So imagine my surprise when the demo crew showed me the packages of cash they found when ripping down the dining room ceiling!!  Money, falling from the ceiling, amazing and over $700!

I promptly called the estate's executor to give them the news.  They were so relieved it was found.  They knew their parents had stashed away some money, but had tried in vain to find it before the house was sold. And they were very kind to provide a reward to the demo crew for finding it (and the demo crew was very kind to have turned it over instead of keeping it!).

What else did we find?  Well, more wallpaper!!!  There was a lot that was easily visible, but behind cabinets and trim,

we have found even more wallpaper.  I think this house is breaking some kind of record.  11 different patterns!

And as the demo crew started opening up the walls, I got a glimpse of how this place will look with the renovations.  See these walls?  They are going away!

And the new open floor plan is beginning to emerge.  Look how removing the wall to the old front entrance hall opens up the living room and brings the sunlight in!
See, I'm not the only woman on the job site this time!!!
The wall on the right will be removed after we install a new load bearing beam 
And the dining room?  Well it's starting to tie into the open floor plan.

The wall between the kitchen and dining room is gone!!
And the kitchen!!!  Well it's changing a lot!  We will need to gut the walls to install all new electrical and plumbing. 

This is the first floor bedroom and bath.  It's getting completely gutted so we can open up the space for a new cathedral ceiling and brand new bath.
What else did we find?  Well, the house has all knob and tube wiring.  Not a surprise, but still a bit shocking to see it thorough out the home. 

(and don't you love the mother of pearl button switches?  Sadly, we can't reuse them, they're not up to modern building code).

Did we get any bad news during demo?  Unfortunately yes.  As they started to pull up the vinyl flooring, we heard a telltale 'crack' as a piece snapped back.  Asbestos tends to make flooring brittle and when we had it tested, it turns out there is 4% asbestos content.  That means we have to do full abatement to have it removed.  

And in other bad news, as the weather turned colder, we realized that many of the newer replacement windows have compromised seals - so we will need to replace the windows.  My bought guess is 40% of the windows are bad and it doesn't make sense to piecemeal in new ones - so we will have to replace them all for a cohesive look.  

Sigh.... the cha ching cha ching sounds are reverberating in my brain.  We haven't even started building yet, but I figure this puts me $15,000 over budget.  Yikes, that's a tough start and there are sure to be more surprises!  I'll be sharpening my pencil to figure this one out.

What's next?  Well we need to put in new beams to support the walls we're removing and create a true open floor plan.

Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Storybook Cottage - The Before Photos

It's always exciting to start a new project and this one is no exception (BTW - we are still finishing up the Mid Century Marvel and will share photos as we get it done).  Introducing the Storybook Cottage - because seriously, doesn't it make you think of something from a childhood storybook?

The city records show the house was built in 1930.  The previous owners bought it in 1955 and didn't make a lot of changes, so it really is vintage!
It's just so charming!!!  I love the shed dormer across the front, it really exemplifies the cottage style.  And the board and batten shutters on all the windows - I bet they're original!

There is a front door, but the previous owners told me they never used it.

Instead, everyone uses the porch entrance, which is conveniently located next to the oversized 2 car garage.  I know it's not very cute right now, but we have plans!!!

And once you get inside the door, you're greeted by a refrigerator in a tight space.  We might need to change that!

To the right of the entrance is a first floor bedroom

that has its own bath.  It's one of the tiniest bathrooms I've ever seen (note the bathtub extends into its own alcove - wouldn't that be fun to clean!), but a first floor bedroom and bath is always a bonus!

To the left of the entry door is the kitchen.  I think it's original!!

Next is the dining room.  This south facing window brings in lots of light!

The living room is a nice long room, with 3 windows.

And there is a hallway that originally led to the front door.  Don't you love the original window up on the right?  We will be reusing that!

Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms.
Bedroom 1 is on the corner, with windows facing two directions.

Bedroom 2 is a bit small,

and check out the ballerina wallpaper in the closet!!

But to get to the third bedroom, you have to walk through the first one.  Hmmm..... can you imagine a kid that would like that idea?  Seems like a great way to get your kids arguing first thing in the morning!

Oh, and this room has kitten wallpaper in the closet.  I really do like that paper!!!

The bathroom is a bit dated, but has its own charm.

The basement has a sort-of finished room at the base of the stairs.  I'm trying to decide if we should update that - it could be a kids playroom or arts & crafts space.

There is also an antique 'Hercules' boiler (Sears Roebuck!!!), knob and tube wiring (with original fuses), and plumbing that creates all kinds of trip hazards.

We have a LOT of work ahead of us!  I hope you'll follow along.  And be sure and follow on Facebook or Instagram to see even more photos!

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Our Own SoPo Cottage

After 14 moves, I've learned that our house looks the best the day we put it on the market to sell!!!  So while we've been working on the new Mid Mod Marvel, we've also been getting our current house ready to list. That involves the usual touch up paint, closet purging and basement clean out.  I've watched Marie Kondo, triple folded my t-shirts and we're finally ready!!

And I couldn't resist sharing a few photos of our Willard Beach gem.

Our SoPo Cottage - Before
This house started as a pretty nondescript little home.  We had hoped to save it, but after meeting with multiple builders, no one would tackle it.  The siding was literally rotting off in some places, the stairway was not to code, the foundation was eroding and we couldn't stand upright in most of the 2nd floor.  So after some major soul searching, we took it down.  The first, and I hope only, teardown we have ever done.

We rebuilt on the same footprint in 2010, with just one addition over the previous deck.
The house looks right towards Whitehead Passage and Willard Beach
And we weren't really sure when we got started, but we thought the house might have nice views.  Did it ever!!!

There are water views from all 3 decks and most rooms in the house.

I love this view of House Island through the funky triangular window.  It's even pretty in the winter.
We're going to miss the beautiful sunrises or watching the giant cruise ships sail by.

The house has a custom kitchen, which works great for entertaining (we've had a LOT of parties in this house!).

We used the original beams across the ceiling when we rebuilt and they lend a lot of character to the dining room.

But our favorite feature in this open floor plan?  The living room built ins.  The gas fireplace and bookcases create this incredibly cozy space, that's perfect on a cold Maine winter night.
East facing windows mean bright, sunny mornings

And it might seem funny to have a full bath on the first floor, but when you live this close to the beach, you quickly learn it's great to have this antique bathtub to wash the sand off your dog or grandkids when they come in from swimming!!

The second floor has 3 bedrooms.  And doesn't everyone want to see Casco Bay and the islands as soon as they wake up in the morning?

and one and a half baths

And the third floor?  Well that's the best space in the house.

It has office space that Richard and I share (his is the tidy side, my side is not-so-tidy).  And a seating area with incredible views of Casco Bay, Peaks Island and the shipping channel.  Back in my corporate days, I'd do all my telecoms from the sofa, trying not to get too distracted by the ships sailing by!
The third floor deck is our favorite cocktail space each evening, as we enjoy the views.  But it's just as nice first thing in the morning, as the sun comes up over the horizon.
Spectacular sunrises!
We will really miss this house.  But we've moved so many times and are always excited about the next house.  That's certainly true in this case, can't wait to make the Mid Mod Marvel our new home!
The house will be listed this week at $750,000.

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