October 29, 2009

Wee House- Bedrooms

The bedrooms. Oh bedrooms. How I can't wait to get up the stairs and start on you.

Bedroom # 1, we will begin with you. The room is at the front NW corner of the house and gets the most natural light of all the bedrooms because of its three windows. Speaking of windows, I don't know if you can tell this from the picture, but the upstairs windows are HUGE! I love how tall they are, such a big selling point of the house for me.

You'll see my little hand poking out between the two doors, I was trying to hide from the picture but instead made it look like a creepy dismembered hand is floating around our house. I can assure you that is most certainly not the case.

That second door I'm hiding behind has the landing for our attics walk up stairs! Because of the access to the attic in this room it was our original contender for the master bedroom. Under the carpet are gorgeous random with hardwood floors. I'm just hoping that all the planks are in good enough condition to refinish. Fingers crossed.

Right next door is bedroom #2, which is the smallest of them all in that it is a skinny but long rectangle. This room is right behind the bump out that the front of the house has. The bump out doesn't look wide enough to have a room behind it from the street, but it is!

The third bedroom is the last in line of the front of house bedrooms. It is almost identical in layout to the first bedroom and originally had three windows... but instead we have a little pass through to the upstairs kitchen.

And finally, we have lonely bedroom # 4 or as I like to call it, the brown room. The only bedroom currently at the back of the house with only one of those awesome windows in it. What a wonderfully bad carpet choice. Carpet parquet. I kinda love it. But its still going.

October 28, 2009

...rainy day wee house thoughts

I'm almost finished with the Wee house tour, but feel the need to say something and explain a few things before I go on.

When I think about someone living in the house, I get really really sad. Especially since the woman living in the house was elderly. It makes me cry to think about the walk through and about how bad the house smelled, yet she was there housebound in a room where the windows wouldn't open. With a little wizzing dog as her only house companion.

All the details of her life and family aren't available to me. I know her husband was a great gardener, but suffered from dementia before his death in the 80's. That automatically strikes a cord with me because I lost my grandfather this year to Alzheimer's complications. The duplex was added some time in the 90's for her grandson to live there with his family. Maybe the addition of the duplex and helping out her grandson delayed her in letting go of her house? I can't help but to think she may have left earlier if it wasn't for them moving in.

The house was clearly well taken care of up to a point, and then you can imagine that it started its slow decline as all the upkeep became too much. I know you can't force a person out of their home but I would hope to think that her family tried for years to get her to leave. The thought of a family not caring about their mother/grandmother living in the house in that condition is too much for me.

To clarify all my talking about the house as being gross, we planned to live in the house as-is at first. We would have cleaned the upstairs as best as possible and then make the duplex our home while doing a complete renovation downstairs. I've lived in a transitional house before and know that we can do it again. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Yucky bathrooms and carpets too. Those plans didn't work out, like so many others we had for the house, but I wouldn't have minded much. Nothing makes you work harder or appreciate the after rooms more than living through the before.

Wee House- Bathrooms

There are some rooms where bleach just isn't enough and no amount of scrubbing or elbow grease will be ever be able to make the room feel clean. Everything will always feel a little yucky. Our original lilac bathroom was one of those rooms. I'd pour straight bleach on the floor while cleaning, it just had that grody aura. In a full disclosure of honesty, I would sometimes use the bleach vapors as an excuse to stop cleaning for the day and would instead read a book. "I don't feel well". This girl hates cleaning (but does it lest you think my house is a hovel).

The bathrooms at the Wee house are those uncleanable rooms. Downstairs is a small, windowless room where dirt grime and kitchen grease laid claim to all surfaces. The plan is reconfigure the room but to keep the current-ish location since it will work so well to keeping all the plumbing on one side of the house. There is no need for a tub downstairs, so we're definitely getting rid of it and putting in a standing shower stall. Hiding behind the wall by the tub is the toilet. Elevated by about a six inch platform. For those that want to feel very tall while on the john.

Upstairs bathroom is marginally nicer than the downstairs. It only squeaks through as the nicer bathroom because of the window. While that window is certainly nice to have, it is also right in the shower. Which, surprisingly, isn't where I'd prefer my bathroom window location to be.

The room is tiny and lacking anything of value or interest. No hidden subway or hex floor tiles. Nothing but a blue tub, bad vinyl flooring and ugly paneling. Everything is getting ripped out and I can't wait! After pictures in about a year. Maybe two for the upstairs master bath.

October 27, 2009

Wee House- Disgusting Downstairs

The living rooms. Or should I say old living rooms because we tore the dividing wall down and are not putting it back up!

You'll notice the exterior/interior window that currently makes a great storage shelf for my water bottles. The drop ceiling is hiding about an extra FOOT of ceiling height. and it was being held up by the trim they ripped off the walls while installing the paneling. Which was not cool at all to discover.

The rugs in here were the worst in the house. Everything was damp and reeked of wiz. You can clearly see the dark spots on the carpets. Worst part of the wiz stains was underneath, where the pee disintegrated the padding and mold was starting to grow. I can't believe my house had pee mold. Makes me want a shower just thinking about it... yuck.
Those pillows aren't ours. They came with the house and we threw them out asap.

Other side of the living room. Our first time in the house I got overly excited to see what could possibly be hiding behind the paneling and ripped off the piece. It was more paneling. This room is more of the same- smelly carpet, old ugly paneling and special window.

Now onto the converted front porch. I'm digging the stained plywood for walls and ceiling look...if today was opposite day. I feel the same way about the disgusting blue stained carpet and fug window treatments. All curtains in this room got a quick one way trip to the dump shortly after closing.

The front room is one of the ones I'm most excited and nervous about. It's going to make a great sun room one day and I think the space will be really multipurpose. However, with 1960's DIY conversion jobs you never quite know what could be hiding under those plywood walls. So the unknown problems could pop up fast during tear out.

Finally we have the other front room. Wood paneling. Pillows. Smelly carpet. Same as the other rooms.

October 26, 2009

Wee House- Upstairs

Welcome to my horrific drawing of the upstairs of the Wee house! Like the downstairs drawing nothing is scale and to be perfectly honest I'm not entirely sure I even got all the rooms right. Most of my time spent at the house is spent downstairs, so the second floor layout isn't completely clear in my head. There are a lot of funny angles and additions that are hard to remember. Red boxes are doors and doorways, blue boxes are windows. There is only one interior but original exterior window up here. (Hint-in the kitchen.)

You'll notice that there is a lot of hallway space up here. We will be cutting down all that wasted square footage when we redesign everything, which give the rooms better flow and purpose. Cause really, a tiny bathroom, second kitchen and only one closet on the floor is not going to cut it for us. Major plans are in the works for upstairs.

October 21, 2009

Wee House- Downstairs

Welcome to hump day of Wee House Week!

I thought a picture might be helpful for understanding the layout of the house, giving everyone a reference point for each of the rooms. This is my *fantastic* rendering of the downstairs, done with the sophisticated design program called Paint.

Not a single room is to scale, but the dimensions are close enough to reality. All the red boxes are doors, both interior and exterior. Blue boxes are windows, again both interior and exterior because the front window openings are still in the walls after the original front porch was converted into rooms. You can also clearly see the one tiny no light window in the kitchen.

October 20, 2009

Wee House Week- Kitchens

Kitchens. Plural.

The Wee house currently has two kitchens. Not because the previous owner was insistent on keeping strict kosher rules, but because our house used to a be an unsanctioned duplex. Since we are converting the house back to a single family home, there is no need for the upstairs kitchen and we're going to be ripping it completely out. Which is also what we're going to do with the downstairs kitchen because nothing in the whole room is salvageable.

Introducing- our upstairs kitchen!

There is just so much to comment on that I'm not really sure where to start. I guess I'll start with the standard plastic wrapped windows. The last time that fresh air blew into this room I'll never know. Moving on and looking up you'll notice the abnormally squat height of the room. The height of the room is quite the mystery to us, given that there is at least twelve more inches of height above the ceiling before you hit beams and roof. Also present is the always wonderful random wood paneling. Thrown up in a such a fashion that fitting flush with the wall wasn't a concern, as you can see the lovely edge curves.

Now here is where I have to confess something. I love the vintage metal cabinet and porcelain sink. It is so kitch and wonderfully retro! With a little work everything should be in good working order again before we find a new home for it. The only really odd thing was, when we bought the house, a stain stick (for your laundry) was underneath the sink propping up the pipes. Which makes me glad we had the water turned off asap. If you thought the upstairs "bonus" kitchen was bad... well... be prepared to meet its uglier downstairs sister.

The kitchen reminds me of a cave. Not just because of the rock accents either. How many different versions of faux rock can one room have?! Apparently at least two. (Floor and Backsplash) There is only one tiny window in the kitchen, naturally it was covered in plastic and happens to be under the covered wrap around porch thing that is also wrapped completely in plastic. So about zero watts of natural light gets in. Which is only great for those mornings when you are really hungover, it is possible the old owners had a lot of those mornings. Or they were vampires.

Since you can't touch things over the internet you'll just have to take my word about the sticky layer of grime that is coating all the surfaces. The kind of grime that can only accumulate when you cook with a lot of grease in a kitchen with no air flow for over twenty years. Blech.

Hidden from the picture is the lovely drop ceiling and fridge. The ceiling that is taking about a foot off the true height of the room, all done in the name of energy savings. I guess I should be happy its a drop ceiling and they didn't put up drywall. And the Fridge. Oh the Fridge. Let's just say it is so gross that I don't even think a college student would take it for free. There you have our kitchens! Afters will be up in about a year or more.

October 19, 2009

Wee House Week! Day One.

The past week marked our anniversary of purchasing the Wee house. Seems like it was just one wink of time ago. I'm always a little late with everything I've decided to make this the Week of Wee (House). To show the before and give everyone a tour of our current project and future home. I feel like the name of the Wee house deserves an explanation, cause it is clearly isn't a tiny (wee) home. My sister gave the house the name after I told her about the grossest walk through of my life. The husband and I were originally searching for a house to flip, so we were touring some of the cheapest and nastiest houses on the market in three counties. When a house is cheap, there is usually a visible reason. One such reason for the low price tag was another house we toured that had an underground oil tank, hot tub in the master bedroom ( not bath. bed.) and a collection of animal skulls on the porch roof.

It came time for our Wee house walk through. Both of us originally passed on the listing because of being labeled as a duplex, but we decided to tour it because of the large yard size and good school district. Both high selling points for a potential buyer. Getting an appointment was like pulling teeth. The seller insisted that her agent be there and he did real estate part time. The day for the showing came and it was a blistering, smothering, sweltering New Jersey in July afternoon. What perfect weather to see an old house that didn't have central air.

Walking in the back door the four of us were knocked back with the smell of urine. I could feel the stinky air particles start to soak into my pores. The owner was chair bound in the living room and we exchanged pleasantries all while holding our breath, which is hard to do btw. At this point a little terrier pup ran up to me that I started to pet and then he promptly wizzed right by my feet. That is when I realized the carpet was damp and squeaked under my feet. One potential source of smell found.

Escaping to the airless but stink free upstairs duplex was amazing. We could breath again and that left us free to focus on the house itself. Which was starting to show some real potential to our renovating eyes. We could see the solid walls and bones behind the velvet Elvis paintings.

Unfortunately we had to go downstairs to get out of the house. Which meant more holding of the breath and on the way out is where I was hit with the sight of what seemed to be jars of Wee sitting on the counter. Maybe the smell made me hallucinate, I'll never be completely sure of what might have been in those jars. Potential source of smell #2 found.

and that was our first time meeting the Wee house. The house that we would eventually buy, planned to flip but instead fell in love with and are now going to make our home.

October 12, 2009

I'm Scrappy!

Carrie over @ Brick City Love gave me my first blog award! This award excites me more than a steamy cup of coffee first thing in the morning! Thank you Carrie!

So here’s the deal.
Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award. {done!}

Share “10 Honest Things” about myself.

Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.

Tell those 7 people they’ve been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving.

My 10 Honest Things

1. I need coffee in order to make it through the day.

2. I have a problem that happens when someone compliments me on our house. Immediately after the compliment I start telling them what I would change and don’t like about that room. I should just learn to take a compliment gracefully.

3. My car is stick shift, 8 yrs old, has 185K miles and I LOVE it.

4. Our house will take years to finish, and most of the time I’m OK with it. A few times however, I've sat in the middle of the Wee house living room and could feel the overwhelming size of the entire project consume me.

5. I cry over everything. Happy things, sad times, surprises, good movies, emotional commercials, tough situations, seeing my nephew smile at me for the first time… break out the tissues cause I am a faucet.

6. My first furniture “set” ever was bought at some converted garage store named Quality Discount Furniture when I was 21. *I.Hate.It.* Never again.

7. I actually like showing the epic failures of our house renovations on the blog. Failures are an important part of the reality of home renovations and are things that I think too often get glossed over.

8. I like break out in spontaneous dances sometimes. My dances usually horrifyingly amusing.

9. I can’t look through real estate listings without seeing fixer uppers that I would love to get my hands on.

10. I bought four wedding dresses. So shameful.

And the “Honest Scrap” is thusly awarded to the following fellow bloggers.
1. five2eight
2. shore(house) chic
3. little green notebook
4. The DIY Show Off
5. House Obsession
6. Bryn Alexandra
7. The Inverted Librarian

October 8, 2009

Thanks Cat.

I think my cat hates us. We got home last night to a super fresh poop smack dab in the middle of the bed. I bet she pooped right when the showing was happening. Just cause she is a smart little kitty and apparently wants us to never move. Litter box was completely clean, by the way.

Now I need a way to get cat poop off a down comforter without ruining it. Last night Pete did a spot clean but I'd like to wash the whole comforter. You can wash down comforters in the regular washer right?

October 7, 2009

Showing # 17-18 (Back from Vacation!)

We're back from our awesome Northern Road trip! Loved every minute of it and remembered how much fun road trips can be. I don't know if another plane vacation is soon for our future. We tossed around ideas for our next few vacations and they all included a road trip.

Showing yesterday and this evening. We left the house in (almost) show condition before leaving, and decided that the car should stay packed up until after tonights showing. It would have been too hard to unpack EVERYTHING and put it away after arrival last night. Being lazy- it works.

Fingers crossed for an offer.

Just wanted to throw out a "Hi!" to anyone reading this from Canada. I had so much fun in Canada and can't wait to go back to explore more.