Sunday, September 30, 2012

this old house, part 2

This is the second part of one long post. If you haven't read the first part, you can see it here. Go on, as Pearl would say, we'll wait.

Back now?

the house about 10 years into our ownership, you can see the 'skirt' around the bottom of the house

Some of my long time readers might remember my lament (it's worth the read if you have the time I think) about abandoning my 125 +/- year old, very cool house in the city. It needed more care than we could afford and once we moved permanently to the country house, with little reason, aka work, to come in, it really started to deteriorate rapidly.

the house about 5 years before we moved, the skirt had been removed to level the house and never replaced

Houses do that, fall apart much quicker when there is no life in them.

Anyway, it had gotten to the point that I didn't want prospective clients to come to the shop, and not just because the outside looked like an abandoned house, which it was heavily resembling, but the yard also. I preferred to meet them at their homes or offices which entailed lugging several very heavy bags of samples, portfolios, and design books along.

I kept telling The Boy and LL what bad shape the house was in but I think they were a little surprised when faced with the reality. Because we got a little busy the week or two before their arrival, we did not get everything done we thought we would do. Because our little studio apartment was in the same terrible shape, that's where our efforts went. They didn't have a toilet because we moved it to our bathroom. Their kitchen sink was still stopped up because we were fixing the leaking sink in our kitchenette.

So they rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

The house looks happier. It still has all the same major problems...termites, ancient plumbing, ancient wiring...but they are fixing up the inside and outside. They are repairing the damage caused by having the house leveled 10 years ago, taking care of all the little things we ignored over the years. There was a time when we engaged in minor repairs but somewhere along the way we quit doing it.

the house and yard now

They installed a toilet and unstopped the sink (no mean feat). They have filled in the cracks in the sheetrock, scraped the peeling paint, repaired the screen doors, replaced rotten boards, given the wood floors a good cleaning (well, given the whole house a good cleaning). They've started giving it a new coat of paint which is making a huge difference and they're working on replacing the skirt on the exterior with something more within their budget.

And the yard is being maintained although they did get rid of my ground cover and planted grass, returned the old turtle enclosure to yard. But they keep the sidewalk and driveway swept, something I rarely did and stuff is getting watered when needed now and they're keeping the ditch out front clear. They are slowly getting to the things that have grown unrestrained for three or four years.

The place is looking tended.

And that makes me happy.

ps. and yes, they are very appreciative of our letting them live in the house as we are appreciative of their taking the responsibility for it off our shoulders.


  1. OK, OK, I think that maybe you're getting the better end of this deal - especially because that all sounds like a LOT of work & I'm (at best) lazy. Good for them! And it's great that the house is getting some love :)

  2. Good for all of you. A lot of good vibration spreading around there.

  3. then it is definitely a win-win. so glad for the little house. :)

  4. Old houses are sooo much work & it's a lucky thing that you've got such great help. Houses have to be lived-in and constantly tended. The 1st house we lived in was a Sears catalog house from the turn of the century & boy howdy were we in for ton of work. Never again!

  5. It sounds like it's working well for everyone. That doesn't always happen - so glad it is.

  6. I hadn't realized that the house had become so downtrodden. Poor thing. I'm so happy they are giving it new life and taking care of it. It really looks 100% better and even just a swept walk improves things. Good for them and you. :)

    I knew they were appreciative, they're your kids. :D And so happy they are living there and you have a little niche' too. Neat. Enjoy!

  7. It looks just like a home I got for 6K with the porch still across the front and an eyebrow window in the attic in 83.I put another 30K in the next 10 years.

  8. It definitely sounds like a major bonus to have someone living there and taking care of things! What a GREAT house, by the way...

  9. I never stop looking for things that need to be done, because I had rather take a hundred stitches today than ten tomorrow, if the hundred will allow me to sleep better. However, it's usually the other way around--ten today OR a hundred tomorrow.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.