Houses, Houses, Everywhere! (Part I)


The cute little house that I adore

My husband and I have a problem. Between us, we own three houses in two cities. All of them are older homes in need of repair. I hope to share some of our home rehabilitation fun and this post serves as an introduction. We very soon hope to be the proud owners of only one house, so we’ve been working our bums off trying to get two of them ready to sell.

My house in Indianapolis is a 1924 bungalow that I bought it 10 years ago when my dad convinced me I needed to stop throwing away my money in rent.Unfortunately, real estate was near its peak at that time. The good news in my neighborhood is that values have remained stable; the bad news is that despite all the work and dollars I’ve put into it during the last 10 years, I’m likely to sell it for about the same price I paid back then. Whoever buys my house is one lucky duck!

I love this house. It is small but it is charming and I was only its third owner. The original owner lived in the house from the time of its construction in 1924 until 1996. I bought the house in 2003 from the second owner. A couple of years ago I learned that the original owner had passed away at the age of 103!

It is evident from the condition of the house that the original owner loved and cared for this place. It is one of the few homes in the neighborhood that retains its original wood siding and windows. And in my book that is a very good thing. One of my greatest fears is that the next owner will not appreciate these things. Note to self: try not to drive by once it’s sold.

photo-4 (2)

Newly replaced ropes on our beautiful, old windows

Because I’m so concerned about the house I want to do all I can to encourage the next owner to appreciate these original features. So Brian has been restoring each window sash, one-by-one. He removes them from the opening, uses a steamer to loosen the old glazing, repairs the glass if necessary, reglazes, and paints the exterior of each sash. When we reinstall them we will repair the weight cords and add weather stripping. With their storm windows, these 90-year-old sashes will be nearly as efficient as modern replacements and I guarantee they’ll last a lot longer. Sounds like a better Return on Investment (ROI) to me!

We’re also scraping and repainting the exterior of the house to make sure that there is no loose or chipping paint. Because of lead paint concerns in older homes, FHA will not fund a mortgage for a property with signs of chipping paint. I learned that the hard way when I refinanced a couple of years ago. I never loved the paint scheme on this house (the second owner had painted it white with black trim). Because we’re wanting to just repair the paint, we’re leaving the body color white, but we’re changing the trim to a dark brown that I find more appropriate to the Craftsman style. The color is Valspar’s “Betsy Ross Brown,” how funny is that? We will leave the window sashes painted black on the exterior, which is actually a good color for window sashes and looks appropriate.

We’re also “updating” the bathroom and kitchen by doing away with their ugly wallpaper and borders, painting, and installing new floors.  While Brian has been tackling scraping the exterior of the house, I’ve been working on the wallpaper/ mud/ sand/ prime/ paint situation in the kitchen.

While I would love to do a cute, historically appropriate hexagonal tile in the bathroom, we’re going to use peel-and-stick tiles from Lowe’s. (I know! But…) Brian found some that actually look pretty nice once installed (he’s used them in several rooms of one of the homes he owns). If we weren’t fixing it up to sell and had more time, we’d go the more expensive and time-consuming tile route.

Other things we need to do…some landscaping, masonry repair, cleaning out the crawl space… we have our work cut out for us!

UPDATE! The projects are complete and the home is sold. See before and after shots here!


5 responses to “Houses, Houses, Everywhere! (Part I)

  1. Pingback: 1st Anniversary | my ahas·

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