Monday, May 2, 2011

The Addams Family's House

After following the market generally for three or four years, then very closely for the past three months, I feel like I have a pretty good idea about what is available and what is not in the area.  I have probably looked at every square inch of property within a thirty mile radius of Justin's residency.  When I first started looking for houses in January, there were at least fifteen houses with four bedrooms in our price range.  Now there is one.  It is not an ideal situation, but sometimes you have to be willing to live on a bit of faith.  The house is twice the size of our current home (four bed, two bath, two dining rooms, a library and a large living room), the yard is three times as large as our current yard, and it has a massive, three-story, four bay garage.  All of this for virtually the same price we paid for our current home--nearly six years ago.  Despite initial misgivings, we have made an offer on the only house (with enough space) in our price range.

Wanna see it?  K.

It is purple.  Not a soft lavender, but Frankenstein's Monster kind of purple.  The previous owners put this massive lead glass door on a converted-ish garage.  Why did they do that?  I have no idea, but it looks odd and was poorly done, so the whole thing will have to go.  We would convert it back to a garage and put on some pretty doors like these:
After the crazy, poorly finished (or unfinished) add-on's (a sauna!),

and the siding is scraped and repaired, I'm thinking something like this:

An indigo blue--not quite navy, but not royal either.  Something in the middle.  Then crisp up the edges with a  white trim to emphasize the unique gingerbreading and gables.  Put that quaint white picket fence in the front yard and cover it with climbing roses and morning glory.  Ahhh, my heart palpitates!

I had my brother-in-law, a roofer by profession, check out the roof. (Thanks, Sam!)  He says that with the exception of a few areas, the roof can be salvaged.  He told me what needed to be done, but I don't know what he said.  I try to take on a lot of projects, but climbing on a roof while pregnant is not my idea of being careful.  I know, lazy.  I will let the guys do this.

In the back is this humongous garage.

It's beautiful and has lots of potential uses.  I don't know what we'll do with it, but we have some ideas.

The yard is crazy and overgrown with haunted house trees and water features that weren't meant to be.  It will take a chain saw, a lawn mower, some raking and serious work to get it in line, but it will be wonderful.  You can prune trees in an afternoon, but you can't grow them over night.

And that's just outside.  Inside offers more delights!  The front door (with light nearly all of the way around it . . . we'll need to weather-proof that), tall ceilings, wood floors and a wood-burning stove.

Yes, the floors will need some help, but I imagine them looking like this:

Maybe not the wide plank, but I'm sure I can get that gorgeous color.

The stairs and banister are neat, but will need some serious attention.  Someone cut off half of the banister and shaved off the edges of the tread.  Why??  There is plenty of room to move in a couch or washing machine, so I'm not sure what they were going for here.  

Pretty, huh?

Next.  Under the stairs.

What is this reception area?  We think it may have been a brothel at one time; that wood is old.  It is not an office, but this is definitely an office feature.  Anybody know?

Here's a shot from the back.  What is that little cut-out on the side?  Someone please solve this mystery.

The kitchen has been painted in these awesome Christmas colors, plus an added bonus of the black walls.  Who paints walls black?  This room will see some expansion (a dishwasher) and a lot of paint.  I can't wait to lighten and brighten this room.  

I'm not exactly sure where we will go with it, but I'm loving these cabinets:

 I don't love the whole kitchen, but I do love the cabinets.  They aren't white, which is a big NO WAY at my house.  Here's another view, with the second dining room behind it.  I think this will be our library.  I don't know, yet.

I think a long desk along the windows with shelves lining the walls.  Put a couple of cushy chairs right as you come in and a pretty garden out the window and you have a perfect place for daydreaming and reading.

Something like this from Brooke at Velvet and Linen.

 Only smaller.  And less expensive.  And probably not as pretty.

There is more, so much more.  The downstairs bathroom with it's throne and double pedestal sinks.  (????)

Notice the tub faucet that was supposed to be installed vertically, but they didn't follow rules like that in this house.

The upstairs is wallpapered in . . . no, I'm not kidding . . . foil Christmas Wrap.  It's everywhere.  When we move in, I am expecting to find crystals and tarot cards.

 The . . . umm . . . shiny upstairs bathroom. 

 This is one bedroom looking into another.  I love the wood on the walls.  It will take a lot of paint to get them looking good, but they are cool!  The largest bedroom has these fabulous French doors that open onto a balcony.  My romantic daughters will love this feature!  Both the upstairs and downstairs has high ceilings and wood floors.  They just don't do that anymore.

So, there it is.  There is still a good chance that after the inspection we won't want to take on the house and all of it's challenges, but right now, I'm getting excited.  It has the best before pictures.

I mean, why prune the tree when you can just tie it up with a garden hose?


  1. ok, exciting- a lot of work! But so much charm. You will be spending a TON of money on that beauty- but it's all the work that makes it so fun-

    I think I would keep the purple- make it your last project anyway- so fun to live in a purple house for a little while. My girls would be in heaven with a house that color.

    It looks haunted by the way- a big old DEDICATION on that place-

  2. Wow - that is a house with A LOT of character! I was thinking that the good aspect about the shiny walls in the bathroom is that they will probably wipe clean really easily. I love your cheery attitude - definitely an example to me. I would be whining for sure. Maybe one of the best aspects is that you won't have much of a mortgage, other than the home improvements that you might choose to do.

  3. @JennaYup, no mortgage. That's why we chose it. We'll have a little money up front to do the immediate, necessary repairs, then just chip away at the other projects through the year as money (and our sanity) allows.

  4. I love it! And guess why?! Because somehow it feels familiar. Been there, done that. So reminds me of aspects of my parents house. My husband would be horrified, but I think its great and I love anyone who has the gumption to paint a house that color, or buy one and live it in for a while. Happy that you found something that excites you - to each his own. I'll stick with my cookie-cutter house but I'm so glad there are people like you (and the rest of my family) who want to tackle projects such as these.

  5. Everything about this house makes me smile.

    I am so amazed by your ability to make a "what were they thinking?" into a "Look what they did".
    Can't wait to see the changes.

  6. I was googling folk victorians and came across your blog. This inspiration pictures are right up my alley! We bought a an old farmhouse two years ago and are gutting it, and I'll say it was in better shape when we started than your Franken-house BUT anything is possible with vision. Friends and family who thought we were bananas to take on such a project can now (18 months later) see things coming together and it is a big "ahh!" when they realize what we've been seeing in our heads all along.