Posts tagged ‘dynamic husband and wife duo’

November 11, 2015

The Charm of Franklin

We’ve officially been in the new house 1 year. Well, at least had started painting it and had our first meal, sitting on the floor in the living room a year ago today. It was (and still is) a fixer-upper-in-progress. When turned over to us, it was a bit run down and A LOT dirty. We’ve put so much of ourselves in to it, to make it our own. Franklin (who I think of as a girl house, LOL.) still has a way to go, but that is usually the case with a 95 year old house. (It may be older, but the records show it was first sold in 1920. Before I go off on my litany of complaints about how the previous owners did things, let me tell you all about the awesomeness that is, The Craftsman.

I couldn’t find my ‘before’ pic that was worse, but here is the Google Earth pic.

Franklin before copy   Franklin house nov

Before we had officially closed (after the owners had moved out) I had started putting in my free-off-Craigslist stone and planting my end-of-the-season discounted plant stash and it paid off! The front flower beds look fantastic for being around such a short time. We have a garage, but I love parking out front. Walking up these 9 giant steps makes me feel fancy, like I’m about to enter a grand palace. Though I’m usually lugging a baby, with a bunch of stuff in tow, it makes it exciting to be home.

The original 9 foot wooden door was a bit marred up, but nothing several cans of metallic bronze spray paint couldn’t fix! Using this, made even the bits of wood putty and old brass kick plate look cohesive while keeping the natural wood grain.The lovely and spacious porch has only been partially painted so far, but has made a tremendous impact. The historic grey covered up the sloppy and mismatched toned tuck-pointing. The cool mint green makes the house’s accent pieces pop. The aqua blue porch ceiling is happy and relaxing when we sit out and enjoy hearing a neighbor’s band play on a porch swing that a friend was so cool to give us. My plans were that all the painting would have already been completed, but I step back and see all we accomplished thus far and try to be patient. Some day we’ll dig out the orange spray foam that the former owners used to fill in window sill cracks, (instead of replacing the wood ) and put on a slate roof to replace the current red nasty one, but the curb appeal has already been improved considerably.

Now onto the side yard.

Franklin house before side view copy  Franklin house Nov 2015 side view copy

Not as drastic a change as the front, but a much needed one. When Joel’s family came to visit his brothers and dad helped ripped out the chain link fence along the street and put up part of the wooden one. By the next week, Joel had built the back gate and we had the rest of the fence completed, then finished staining it in the Spring. It’s given us piece of mind to be able to let Arden out to play in the back yard (without wandering off!) and to have privacy when entertaining guests.

Lastly, there is the backyard, which was completely void of landscaping aside from a couple trees and some overgrown bushes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good completed backyard pic, but here’s some snippets. We brought in a trailer load of flagstone we removed from the Dresden flower beds before the sale. (Good thing, as the new owners got rid of the rest of it!) It went to define the outer portion of the firepit, as well as to line all the bushes. More loads of mulch, dirt and bags of stone were brought in to complete the fire pit, build new flower beds and a raised garden.

Franklin backyard before copy Side view of franklin backyard in the summer 2015 copy  Backyard photo from firepit copy While there is still so much we want to work on, like tearing down the raggedy, half-assed built raised deck to put in a pergola and eventually a roof top garden on the garage (some day!) We are extremely happy with our choice to purchase this home and live in this neighborhood. We have met so many pleasant people and become the best of friends with awesome neighbors Christine and Tim down the street, who share our passion for rehabbing houses. We also have a wonderful next-door neighbor, Karen, whose frequently visiting granddaughter, is a fun little girl for Arden to play with. It’s nice to be a couple blocks from 3 parks (The Franklin Park Conservatory, Wolfe Park and Jeffery Park & Nature Trails), and to live around so many beautifully built homes. This is the first time either of us have lived somewhere that we feel like we belong.

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July 14, 2014

The TROUBLE with Hallie.

It started back at the end of March when we were finishing up Dresden. We stopped in to check on Hallie and drop off supplies. While we had been away 2 things happened. The first one was that the house that sat directly behind Hallie, covered in graffiti, peeling paint and a sagging porch had finally been demolished. The 2nd was that Hallie’s basement was now flooded.

Coincidence?

We had been notified by our contact at the Columbus Landbank, that if we didn’t purchase the other property, that this was the fate that would befall it. Earlier on though, we had decided that we’d stick with sturdier structures like brick, plus we weren’t in the financial position to take on another rehab. We even entertained the idea of purchasing the land that would connect right to Hallie’s backyard after the demolition. Then we came to our senses and realized we’d just pay more on taxes, have more grass to mow each week and in reality it would only benefit our potential renters. Which after considering putting up a fence in the backyard to prevent miscreants from walking through and dumping trash, it wasn’t an additional expense that we relished.

Hallie flooded basement copy (Shown here the water covering the bottom step.)

Obviously, this was NOT something that we wanted. We knew the drains on our end were all cleaned out. Joel had just snaked everything while working on the plumbing prior to the misadventures of Dresden. The correlation of the situation being tied to the other properties demolition seemed pretty clear. But Easter was upon us and as was our trip, so we took this time to clear our heads, hoping the situation would magically resolve itself.

It didn’t.

It took a months worth of calls to finally get a response back. The Head of Demo seemed concerned, took the info from Joel and said he’d call back. Instead, though, the Head of the Columbus Landback (the organization we purchased Hallie from) contacted us, denying any wrong-doing. He told Joel that our property/pipes were old, that we should contact our insurance company and that IF we could prove that it WAS INDEED THEIR FAULT, that maybe they could just give us the land as payment. Sounds a little shady doesn’t it? Why would that last bit even be offered up?

It was on us to prove that it was the City’s wrongdoing. Over the course of the last 4 1/2 months, we’ve pumped the basement of 1 1/2 feet of water 5 TIMES. It’s a large basement. It takes half a day EACH TIME. We were hoping the first time, that we could just pump it and be done. By the 3rd round, leaks were springing up all over the basement from the intense pressure. (I have a video, it’s disheartening and won’t load.) Even with the water gone, it was still being forced to find it’s way in. After the water has emptied, Joel has attempted to snake the drains an additional 2 more times hoping that there was just debris in the pipes. He reworked the the downspouts and drainage around the duplex in hopes it would help. When nothing worked, we finally had a company come out to verify the problem and provide a quote. $8,000 to rip it all up and repair the damage. When Joel presented the findings to the Landbank, at first the guy seemed forthright. He stated this incident had happened one other time. It was a process, it would have to go through City Council to get approved, but it would be taken care of.

Then he totally back-pedaled.

The Head of the Landbank called back. Now one quote wasn’t good enough, they wanted at least 2. In addition, he said we’d have to cover the expense upfront AND THEN get reimbursed by the City. Then there was also something about an easement and how the demolished property would be useless to them if they repaired our pipes and they couldn’t have that. (Which is really random since those pipes were connected to ours all along and worked fine previously.) It became astoundingly clear why more people didn’t purchase these properties. Instead of being our allies, the very folks that we thought we were all working together with to make Columbus better, in reality were more than willing to shut us down and not take any sort of responsibility for their ignorance.

Aside from dealing with the basement and mowing/weeding, we stopped working on improving the property. There’s no point unless this situation can be remedied. A considerable amount of new hardwood flooring was purchased previously and just sits, waiting to be laid. If nothing changes, we are faced with the decision of possibly handing back the property that we already sunk thousands into. All the nights after work, weeks, months we poured ourselves into, would be a complete waste.

So thoughts? Suggestions? At this point, I’m very disenchanted. I’m tired, we both are. The last thing I want to be doing is dragging a newborn to a rehab site because people cannot be responsible to do their jobs correctly. By now, it was suppose to be completed, rented and providing us with an additional source of income and the neighborhood with one more residence that didn’t look like an abandoned dump.

June 3, 2014

Dresden : For Sale

It took us 3 straight months to complete. During which time we had to put our duplex rehab project aka ‘Hallie’ on hold. On April 4th, we bid ado to the house we had lived and breathed our nights and weekends in. Ironically, I actually felt a little sad about the whole thing. We’d put so much work into it, pushed, pushed, pushed and was sort of left with an empty feeling once it was done. All our hard work passed inspection and the renters moved in.

THEN…
DUN DUN DUN.
After several weeks, the couple’s relationship fell apart and the woman moved out. Supposedly, taking some of the next months rent and his car with her. By the 2nd month, the guy couldn’t pay the rent in it’s entirety. After the previous renter, we weren’t interested in sob stories. That may sound mean but ultimately it comes down to us being responsible to the bank for the mortgage payment. We’ve already lost several thousand in unpaid rent, though thankfully insurance miraculously covered the repairs since they were considered vandalism. To say we are a bit tired of people trying to get a free ride off us is an understatement. So the agreement was, the next renter that was even slightly late on rent, we were going to put the house up for sale.

The renter was pissed, none-the-less. He said we were inconveniencing him (and a new girlfriend he moved in without signing a new lease, so he could get the utilities turned back on in her name.) He declared we were leaving him homeless and lots of drama ensued. We hadn’t evicted him, we let him know we’d honor the lease if he’d like to stay, as long as he paid. Obviously, that wasn’t an option, because after excessive scratching of walls/paint and floors he abruptly moved out. Receiving only a small portion of his deposit.

Now we had the arduous task of getting it sell-worthy. If you recall, the basement that was once crammed with garbage and filth was cleaned, but really needed painted.

BEFORE: Basement hallway
dresden basement trashed copy

AFTER: Walls painted, carpet ripped up, steps painted.

mms_20140603_4 basement hallway after joel painted copy
BEFORE: Basement after trash removed, cleaned up, new lights put in.

mms_20140603_5 bestment before paint copy

AFTER: Walls & floor painted. (This oil-based paint is some hard-core stuff. Poor Joel probably lost some brain cells those 2 days. I gallantly was spared.)
mms_20140603_2 basement after joel painted copy

The yard and flower beds were completely neglected. And of course, the interior needed cleaned and paint touched up in every room. So here we were again for several more weeks. The result is quite charming.

BEFORE:
This is a very unfair before photo. Taken in winter when the lighting is poor and there is zero greenery. It’s like those stupid weight loss ads when the before/after actors don’t even remotely resemble each other. Back then, I had all proudly trimmed up the bushes and did what I could without running water to clean up the front. It was a tremendous improvement at the time.

Front of Dresden after bushes were trimmed copy

AFTER: We rehabbed all the flower beds (creating a new one around the tree). The front was extensively power washed, as was the sidewalk and fence. The four black scroll metal pillars on the porch got a dose of white paint, which lightened up the entire front tremendously. We also painted the mail box, added a few cute details, like the wreath to make it more homey and there you have it.

Dresden, front view after landscaping , powerwash & paint

Finally, here’s an after of the backyard flower bed.

mms_20140603_3 back flower bed copy

Please send some good selling vibes our way!

May 2, 2014

Dresden : Week 9 It’s starting to come together!

As promised, I’m back to posting the final weeks of rehabbing the Dresden House. At the time, it didn’t seem like it was ever going to end. Things weren’t going smoothly. The upstairs bathroom was attempting to be worked on, but the toilet kept leaking. INTO THE GREEN ROOM. WHICH WAS ALREADY FINISHED. It was sort-of disastrous. We had JUST REPAIRED the ceiling, now we had to cut a hole to allow the water to escape. It was less-than-fantastic. It’s at this time Joel began to call his skill set into question. It’s easy to feel like you are going to lose your shit when things keep going wrong. I honestly didn’t doubt him for a minute. It’s much easier for me to doubt myself then him. Joel is awesome, end of story, so I figured there had to be something else wrong. FINALLY, it was discovered that the toilet had a hairline fracture. So no matter how good everything else was put together, it was going to be an issue. Fortunately, we discovered it BEFORE the renters moved in, so that’s sort of an upside, right?

Anyway, crisis solved and onto the next project. Here we have the living room. Here’s some photos of this tragedy to jog your memory.

BEFORE:

Karman trashed Dresden, erehabbed livingroom 3 copy

Karman trashed Dresden, rehabbed livingroom2 copy

Karman trashed Dresden rehabbed  livingroom1 copy

Karman trashed Dresden slate entryway copy

Ever heard the term ‘elbow grease’? Yeah, a whole lot of that went into scrubbing this slate entry. I don’t have a good after pic, but you’ll be able to see it on the final walk-through video I took (that I’ll post in a couple weeks.)

AFTER:
For us, this room was one of the more stand-out transformations. The refinished hardwood really sets it off.

livingroom completed. dresden

livingroom front window dresden copy

Thanks for checking it out! I’ll have another room to view next week. 🙂

March 17, 2014

Dresden : Week 8 Bring on the green!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thought it would be great timing to post about our next room we completed, The Green Room.
Joel has been told before by people that he is very lucky. Lucky to know what he does, to be able to do what he does, to get the jobs he does. It’s a little bit irritating, because it’s not luck at all. It’s hard work. He may have a knack for learning the mechanicals inside a furnace or a car or heck, even my printer. He’s good at figuring out how things work. It takes practice and making mistakes and lots of labor. It doesn’t involve luck.

As a matter of fact, the opposite could be said. After Joel replaced the toilet in the upstairs bathroom (because the renters actually cracked the tank and broke the wax seal (that prevents sewer water from leaking when you flush) it was discovered that we need to do more to the green room than just replace 2 windows and paint. When the tenant got her water turned off from not paying her bill, the pipes froze and they busted inside the ceiling. We found this out after some tests flushes upstairs. With water leaking everywhere, we had to tear out part of the ceiling to find the problem. Word of Advice: it’s good to pay your utilities. Another fun tip, if the temps are going to hit freezing, leave your faucets on, just dripping a wee bit and it prevents the pipes from freezing up and bursting.

Celiing torn out in green room copy

If you look the pipes closely, the 2 greys ends are what is supposed to be connected together.

Pipes burst in ceiling copy

So not only what there this issue, but quite a bit of the wall had to be scraped and patched to remove all the peeling.

Green room patched up copy

Then comes the REALLY unenjoyable part. The sanding. The dust gets everywhere.

Me from sanding the green room copy

AFTER priming and painting, here’s the ceiling where the hole was. Not too shabby.

ceiling pic copy

Here’s the completed room with the floor refinished. So sharp! We super love the new, brighter green! Most definitely a color we will use again!

Green room color copy

February 19, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 19 : Interrupted – Dresden Week 5.

So I was supposed to post this last week, but the all the editing was daunting and I just didn’t get to it.
We worked on the master bedroom for several weeks. At roughly 600 sq. ft., it’s A LOT. The master bath is adjoining with another 125 sq. ft. (but we didn’t get to that yet.)

A RUNDOWN OF TASKS: (after removing the trash!)

1.) Completely replaced 4 windows.
(Ripped out old, built new framework, put in new, added drywall where needed, mudded, sanded, put trim back up.
2.) Texturized the ceiling
3.) New light fixtures
4.) Patched and painted. 3 gallons of just the blue paint.
5.) Completely redid corner beading that was shredded.
6.) Painted the ceiling
7.) Painted and reattached the banister that had been ripped down.

Now a mini story in pictures of what we accomplished.

BEFORE:
Original shot of 2 far windows copy

GETTING STARTED:
Joel ripping out old windows upstairs copy

PATCHED UP:
Windows in with drywall, patched copy

TA-DA!
Finished side windows copy

front wall first window put in copy

BEFORE:
Trash filled cubby over by bathroom wall copy

THIS ENCOMPASSES THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROOM:
Arden painted wall copy

Wall by bathroom copy

built in Dresser copy

Far window by stairs and dresser copy

Stairway copy

JUST A REFRESHER OF THE CORNER BEAD BEFORE:

Corner bead demolished before copy

AFTER:

corner I put up corner bead copy

As you can see, we need to get our mess cleaned up and sand the floors, BUT it’s made HUGE progress!

January 9, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 14 : Mimi comes to visit!

When Arden was small, she began calling Amy, my long-time friend of 20 years, ‘Mimi’ when she could first talk.
We go way back and have been friends since we were teens, working together at McDonald’s.
This week was very exciting because Amy drove up from Alabama, stopping off to visit us before heading to parent’s house near Cleveland.
Having once lived in Columbus too, (we both moved here in ’99, within a couple weeks of each other for completely unrelated reasons!) Joel and I are always petitioning her to move back. But you know there is that pesky business of having to get a new job and sell a house among other things.
I am forever optimistic though!

As a Hallie first, Amy awesomely went to work with us, ripping up floorboards in the upstairs bedroom.

Pile of wood copy

Pulling out nails is a tedious job, especially having to work by flashlight!

Amy pulling nails copy

Here’s the other bedroom I had already ripped up the boards in and then worked on pulling out nails.

Bedroom floor I ripped up and pulled nails out of copy

Under the painted thin hardwood of the upstairs, lies beautiful, golden brown original hardwood. Yes, it is scuffed and scratched, but none of the upstairs suffered water damage from the burst pipes. So fortunately, instead of having to completely replace everything like the first floor, we can instead just sand, stain and poly. It will save so much money and I can’t wait to see how amazing it will turn out.

The wood underneath copy

Meanwhile, Joel was laying cement board in the bathroom, so the tiling can begin.

Joel laying cement board copy

On Sunday, we waved goodbye to Amy and headed off to do more work at Hallie. It wasn’t all bad, since we enjoyed gloriously warm weather. It is always so much easier to work with the sun shining and not having to be bundled up to our noses. I worked on tiling while Joel was up on the roof doing some much needed repairs.

tile in shower upstairs copy

The day before, Arden was told by Amy that she shouldn’t help (because she was dropped off by her dad from a family holiday get together. She was still all dressed up and I forgot to bring her a change of clothing.) So the next day, Arden took it as a personal challenge that she too, could pull out nails.
And by golly, that’s what she did.

Arden bent over pulling nails copy

At first I would hear her in the bedroom grunting and groaning, followed by the sound of nails straining as they were ripped from the floor. It sounds super funny when you hear it , knowing it is such a little kid. After working awhile by herself, she came in the bathroom to show off her pile of nails. Honestly, I was impressed. I would have never guessed that she would have the arm strength to pull them out. Clearly, I had forgotten that she is indeed my girl, because stubbornness wins out.

Arden holds nail copy

I told her she could have 2 pieces of candy for her efforts, thinking she would be pleased and be done. After we came back from dropping off a load of trash and getting lunch, she went right back at it though. Seeing that I found her work valuable, we negotiated that she could earn 1 piece of candy for every 33 nails she pulled. That spunky kid went on to pull out an additional 139 more nails. When she declared that her back hurt and she was going to stop and go play, I couldn’t have been prouder.

arden standing sassy copy

December 10, 2013

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 11

Here’s the long-awaited, semi-finalized bathroom. The floor is dirty and the tub still a mess, but we are all about keeping it real here. 🙂

finished bathroom photo copy

From the last time you saw it, here’s what we did.

1.) Finished tiling and grouted.
I was originally going to use a dark grey grout thinking it would look all creative and edgy. We used the cheapest (most boring) tile possible at $.12 a tile. Seeing the dark grey mortar show through though, the reality was it just really emphasized the flaws. This is only my 2nd time tiling (my first was the huge 2×3 tiles in our home bathroom shower) and while I’m getting better, it didn’t turn out as perfect as I would have liked. Fortunately, the white grout gave it a clean look that was desperately needed.

2.) Put in the sink/vanity unit.
A prefab unit is usually not my thing. I really enjoy finding a sturdy used piece and giving it a make-over. (Like Joel and I did in our own bathroom) As we discovered from renting out Joel’s previous house though, it doesn’t pay to invest heart and soul into a project. No one else is going to appreciate the amount of work that I put into it but me and since I’m not living there, it’s not worth it. $50 on this and done.

3.) Rebuilt the toilet.
So I thought it would be great to save some money and used the existing one. It turned out though that all the bolts that held it together were rusted out, so after Joel meticulously remounting it, it leaked in several spots. He got it up and running now.

4.) Snaking out all the drains.
Once all the pipes were in place and leak-free, it turned out all the sewage drains were clogged (of course!)
So I bit of time and some awful smells later, we are good in that department.

5.) Painted a free chrome light fixture grey.
It is the kind that has the large bulbs that stick out. It isn’t the coolest, but with the additional of spray paint, it really upped the visual appeal. Plus all it cost a can of spray paint. Much cheaper than a new light fixture.

6.) Painted the walls, ceiling and existing built-in shelf purple. I think it’s called Shadow Mauve, but it’s a pale lavender/grey. I picked it when we were painted the bathrooms at Joel’s house to rent, then we used it when we remodeled our own bathroom and now we are using it at Hallie. I find it to be a very relaxing color. Sort of neutral, but not just plain old boring white or beige.

7.) Stripped 4 coats of paint from the existing wooden trim, primed and reused it. This large trim makes quite a nice impact. It sucks to take the time to remove previous paint, but we would shell out a lot of money to replace it (as tall as it is) or using cheaper trim that isn’t quite as nice.

IMAG0716 copy

primed trim copy

Finally,
8.) The most impressive part of the project by far is the tub. We have had to cut through a tub before to remove it and weren’t interested in doing that again. Instead, we stripped it (I have never used paint stripper in the house before (just outdoors) and the fumes are something, even through a mask. We had to flee the work area for a bit. Joel later stripped it and painted it (with special tub paint.) It turned out amazing!

side view of tub copy

tub inner copy

unnamed copy

All that is remaining in this room is to caulk and clean up a bit and we are onto the next project.

November 30, 2013

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 10

In rehabbing, there is A LOT of dirty work. So many individual tasks that join forces to lead up to an actual completed project. Not really fun to do, let alone write about. They are often dull and mundane. One of these is emptying the house of debris. Vines, broken drywall, busted up flooring, a bevy of tires that resided in the basement, all of it must go in order to make room to start fresh. By doing so, we’ve loaded up and disposed of 10 trailer fulls so far. It is definitely the unglamorous side of rehabbing Hallie.

Trailer of trash copy

Another thankless task would be overhauling the sewage drain pipes in the basement. Unfortunately, a toilet doesn’t just get placed in a bathroom and Voilà = usable! There is this enormous cast-iron pipe in the basement, that was (of course) ripped out by scrappers. (Actually 2 of them were.) This one, similar to the water pipe line debacle, was broken off at floor level, making the task of replacing/fixing it a tremendous pain-in-the-ass.

Hallie the Duplex Week 9 sewer pipe copy

See that black square on the wall? It’s the crawl space. It’s dark and creepy and fairly uncomfortable, especially because Joel is not small. He has bravely climbed in there numerous times to repair leaks in that portion of the pipe. Once one was fixed, another one sprung. It’s a vicious cycle.
It’s fair to say that the bathroom we’ve been working on is almost complete, but we have had to keep you in suspense just a bit longer as all the kinks are worked out.

In the meantime, here are photos from the 1st floor living room.

Hallie week 10 living room copy

Halliie week 10 , windows and fireplace copy

You can ponder to yourselves how we will fix this monstrosity. The ceiling damage was caused by a previous burst water pipe, which caved in both this room and a bedroom on the other side of the wall. All the warped flooring (both original and a layer of laminate) has been removed from this room, as well as a small adjoining bedroom to the right and the dining room to the left. It is safe to say that it is already looking a bit better than what this pic shows since this was taken a few weeks ago. I’m really excited about the windows and fireplace in this room and plan on really making them pop. Until then, hope everyone has a great weekend!

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