House changes

We are so excited to be 1st time home owners.

It’s a grainy Snapchat photo, but we are so excited to be 1st time home owners.

I always thought I wanted to remodel a house. I love the idea of taking something and carefully realizing its full potential, that even the builders originally did not see. The idea of tearing old out and making new in its place sounded really exciting -and then came my house.

To set the stage here a little, Zach bought our current house in November 2013, after we got engaged in September 2013. I was in graduate school in Muncie, Indiana and had never even seen the house when he bought it. It pretty much went something like this. “I found a house. I know you will love it. It’s selling for auction tomorrow. Do you trust me to buy it without you having seen it?” There were about a dozen pictures on the listing website that I could look at, but otherwise I was going into this blind. Zach has a history of picking the perfect thing for me over the years without my asking; his hunch gifts have included a vintage typewriter, a set of monogrammed sheets, a 18 foot sailboat (long story there), custom designed jewelry, and more. I was pretty sure with his track record I would be fine by trusting him on this one, but it was a house after all, and thats not something you can easily take back if you don’t love it.

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Sketches of the floor plan that Zach drew while out to dinner in Muncie after he purchased the house.

 

He got the house, and then we proceeded to begin thinking about what we needed to accomplish before it would be move-in ready.

For starters, the house was built by a couple in the 1970s who lived in it almost until the end of their lives around the 2010s. The house was like a time capsule of the 1970s. The original drapes hung on all the windows, velvety green wallpaper graced the entryway walls, original lighting fixtures….you get the picture. It was beautifully taken care of during their lives, and their children had started to update it to sell, before quarreling and sending it off to auction as-is. As-is meant no appliances (no stove, refrigerator, or laundry), no flooring in all but the laundry room, bathrooms, and entryway (from some carpet shards in the basement I surmise that most of the house had a lovely olive 1970s carpet so I am very glad that they did us the favor of tearing it out), no AC, windows in need of replacement, and a furnace as old as dirt.

Some of these pictures are pretty awful.

The first picture that I took of the house, probably early spring 2014.

The first picture that I took of the house, probably early spring 2014.

The half bath behind the laundry room.

The half bath behind the laundry room.

Looking from the laundry room (we found a used washer and dryer as quickly as we could) into the kitchen and dining room. Zach standing there.

Looking from the laundry room (we found a used washer and dryer as quickly as we could) into the kitchen and dining room. Zach standing there.

Of all the existing areas of the house, the kitchen is still in great condition, albeit a bit small for my taste.

Of all the existing areas of the house, the kitchen is still in great condition, albeit a bit small for my taste.

Dining room. Notice the orange curtains, the external wiring on the light fixtures (almost the whole house is externally wired like that), and the strange door for access to bathroom plumbing.

Dining room. Notice the orange curtains, the external wiring on the light fixtures (almost the whole house is externally wired like that), and the strange door for access to bathroom plumbing.

My mother-in-law generously striped the old wallpaper before I moved in. The linoleum is still terrible, but not nearly as noticeable as the wall paper had been.

My mother-in-law generously striped the old wallpaper before I moved in. The linoleum is still terrible, but not nearly as noticeable as the wall paper had been.

The front room is by far one of my favorite rooms. It gets great natural light and is so spacious. The layout can make it tricky to decorate, but it's a tradeoff I'd take any day. The dining alcove is now my office.

The front room is by far one of my favorite rooms. It gets great natural light and is so spacious. The layout can make it tricky to decorate, but it’s a tradeoff I’d take any day. The dining alcove is now my office.

Those are all the pictures I have of the house early on. There wasn’t much to be seen in the bedrooms aside from dated window coverings and sub-flooring. The house has proved a little tricky, because of the old windows and inefficient furnace, the electric bill was so high during the first winter that Zach kept the heat as low as he possible could and didn’t want to move in and have to tackle an even higher electric bill. That also stalled any early work, as it was difficult to justify spending the money to heat the place in order to work on it.

For me down in Muncie, Zach’s family had generously said they would start tackling they painting if I knew what colors I wanted, but without having lived or spent any serious time in the house I couldn’t pick out the paint colors I wanted. I had to get to know the house first.

When we finally moved in around the wedding, it was rather like an explosion. I had been moving things as organized as I could from Muncie, but then Zach’s things just landed here, along with all the wedding presents, and it was a terrible cluttered mess that made my organization loving heart do flips.

Ground zero in the living room. This was a nightmare and I am so glad its behind us.

Ground zero in the living room. This was a nightmare and I am so glad its behind us.

Getting a little better here but not much.

Getting a little better here but not much.

We didn't even have our bed put together before the wedding, and slept for the first week on the floor.

We didn’t even have our bed put together before the wedding, and slept for the first week on the floor.

I can't leave you with the mess as your last impression. These was after purchasing an Ikea couch and getting the living room into some semblance of order.

I can’t leave you with the mess as your last impression. These was after purchasing an Ikea couch and getting the living room into some semblance of order.

Despite the work that it required from the beginning, Zach was right. I do love the house and its been fun (and a trial at times) to slowly redo it. The house really only requires a soft remodel. The changes are mostly cosmetic and external, although there is endless potential if we would want to pull a hard remodel here in the future.

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