Monday, December 6, 2010

She's making a list and checking it twice ...

The Ugly Ducking was built in 1919 and hasn't seen much love in the past 2 years (and more...).

Abandoned by her last owner in spring 2009, this little old lady has been vacant for more than a year and sat neglected until we came along with enough vision to see the potential in her old but sturdy bones and the charm in her grey facade (we also had a little help from the Ugly Duckling's sister houses to the left who look sharp in apple-green and mandarin-orange).

There is -lots- that needs to be done, from fixing deferred maintenance issues over bringing things to code to giving both the exterior and the interior a facelift, and the Ugly Duckling is not yet move-in ready.For one, she doesn't have a kitchen :o) Not a real one, you know, where the only thing missing are the appliances. Nuh-uh, we need an entire kitchen, top to bottom, because what's in there now needs to go. Far, far away! Where nobody will be able to find it. Ever again. (Yes, it's that bad. It's "I don't take pictures for the parents" bad ... heh)

And you know what? We're so stinkin' excited to start our first foray into home ownership with mega demolition you wouldn't believe it. Yeah baby! That's the good stuff ... ahem, well, maybe we romanticize this renovation idea a bit and we'll see how we feel about it once we're knee-deep in construction but for now it has us all giddy with excitement.

So, here's a...ahem, basic list of things we want to do/will do once we've got the keys:

  • update/repair plumbing in entire house

  • update/repair electricity in entire house

  • update/replace hvac system

  • repair damaged trim/molding where necessary in entire house

  • make roof repairs as needed

  • scrub entire house to within an inch of its life

  • turn downstairs full bath into half bath

  • take space from downstairs bath and add to mudroom for laundry space

  • tile downstairs half bath

  • tile mudroom/laundry room

  • demo kitchen

  • salvage hardwood floors underneath linoleum or lay tile

  • install kitchen cabinets

  • install appliances

  • open wall to staircase (remember, the Ugly Duckling is currently chopped up into a downstairs and an upstairs apartment) to create a single-family home

  • open wall between entry hall and living room

  • refinish all downstairs wood floors

  • paint fireplace brick

  • paint downstairs, walls and ceilings and trim

  • update light fixtures
Now we're moving on to the upstairs

  • refinish stairs

  • salvage hardwood flooring underneath linoleum on landing and upstairs hallway or lay new floors

  • get proper door for closet to heat pump

  • re-caulk tub in upstairs bathroom

  • refinish wood floors upstairs

  • turn upstairs kitchen into Master bath and walk-in closet by building a wall and creating two rooms out of the existing upstairs kitchen

  • update plumbing for future Master bath

  • lay tile in Master bath

  • install bathroom fixtures

  • turn secondary hallway into 2 hall closet (this will make sense once I show you the floor plans)

  • paint downstairs, walls and ceilings and trim

  • update light fixtures
Outside we'd love to

  • install a fence for the front yard

  • replace the chain link fence in the back yard with something prettier

  • update the landscaping

  • paint the window frames white

  • paint the gable a pretty creamy-yellow color

  • install a deck or patio with a pergola
And some time down the line we'd love to

  • add batten and board or wainscoting to some rooms (like the dining room, for example)

  • rip out the linen closet in the upstairs bath

  • move the door of the upstairs bath one wall over (those two steps will make bathroom much bigger)

  • replace tub with a big walk-in shower with a glass enclosure

  • install all new windows

  • paint the entire house a new fresh color

  • get rid of the old tank on the right side of the house
Are we crazy? Maybe a bit. We realize it's a long to-do list (not to mention these are just the projects I can come up with of the top of my head...heh ) and without the beauty of a streamlined 203k Rehab loan this wouldn't be possible at all but we love the old historic houses in our neighborhood and - knowing how beautiful they are when they are revived and restored - we know it's worth it. No, the Ugly Duckling doesn't have a smidgen of Victorian Grandeur or Greek revival classiness but it's a home with a history in the best neighborhood in the world :o) What's a little construction dust compared to that?


  1. Mmmm love me some 203(k) loans. Great way to get a home for a good price and have some $$ left over for much needed repairs.

    And no pictures of the kitchen? I'm sad!

  2. Absolutely! 203(k) loans are the best. Too bad not many people know about them.

    *L* Well, there isn't much to look at right now, really. There're a few shoddy cabinets, a dirty sink and gross linoleum floor and the "After" shots won't be ready until February so I'll wait a little longer ;o) You know, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and the whole anticipation thing.

  3. Very! We can't wait to get the keys :o)

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