Friday, May 22, 2015

Fixer Upper

At the end of 2013 we began our home search, it was time to buy a new house. As many home buyers encounter, we had to make a choice of buying a renovated property or a fixper-upper. Do we pay top dollar for a house that wasn't quite our taste or find a house that had the basics we could work with? After 6 months of a long exhausting process, looking at dozens of homes we found one that met our basic needs: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths with a large kitchen, and on a large lot (at least 7,500 sq ft). 

The former owner, a smoker and elderly, had not maintained the large 10,000 sq ft property for decades and it contained most of the original features. The only "updates" were circa 1970's with stick on mirrors tiles, wood paneling, and acoustic ceiling. The 1950's home was essentially a gut job. Trust me, my husband and I questioned ourselves if we were making the right choice. But I saw past the tar and nicotine stained ceiling and walls, old cracked tile, filthy linoleum caked with years of grease, and the large overgrown jungle in the yard. What really sold me was the yard. What I saw was potential... A beautiful garden.

Before Pictures

Once we were given the keys after a thirty day escrow, it finally sunk in, we had a lot of work to do before we could even think about moving in. Luckily Mr. S was able to take a break from work do a lot of the demo, clean up, and coordinate the contractors with the renovations. 

The long list of renovations Phase 1: 

Upgraded the electrical panel and replaced the mast, the original panel only had 4 breakers which had to be updated in order to accommodate the new air and heating unit. 

New air conditioning and heating system - you can't survive the summers in So Cal 

Sand and refinish the hard wood floors - we were so lucky in that the floors were in excellent shape, no pet or water stains! 

Stripped and repaired the walls before painting, yes that included stripping the stick on mirrors, and paneling. Luckily, the acoustic ceiling didn't contain asbestos so Mr. S could scrape it off himself. 

Crown molding in the living room and dining room.

Window covering - Blinds for all the rooms except for the living room and kitchen which we had custom plantation shutters installed.

Replaced all the lighting fixtures. 

New garage door. 

While waiting for contractors doing work on the inside of the house, Mr. S chopped down one tree and two overgrown bushes, two of which were Lantana bushes that were each the size of Volkswagen Bug! 

Work in progress...

Patched wall and floor where the old furnace was removed
 wood floor being sanded 

Master bedroom sanded down and ready for stain
The floors turned out better than I expected and the base molding is being installed
 New chandelier in the dining room

Accent wall in our bedroom with my chandelier we brought from our old house
The new front door was the finishing touch.

We decided the bathrooms and kitchen would be renovated in Phase 2 because they were in usable condition. After eight long weeks we finally moved in!

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