Posts tagged ‘house rehabs’

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.

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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. 🙂

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!

December 31, 2013

Things that are *HAPPY* about : 2013

This adult life is not what I anticipated. I’m pretty sure there was supposed to be way more going to the beach, fun and frolic. I imagined my life as a well-framed music video, where all my friends came over for parties and we danced around with glitter, loud music and fun. (Sort of similar to “Tonight’s Going to be a Good Night” by the Black-Eyed Peas.) But oddly enough, it is not that way at all. First off, glitter is messy as shit and terrible to clean up. Secondly, I really dislike loud, crowded parties. (Joel, Arden and I do turn up the music pretty often and have dance parties and THAT is pretty awesome.) Third, real life is rather mundane and dull. And hard. IT’S REALLY HARD. It’s been challenging for not only us, but for seemingly everyone I know. The only thing that keeps me for losing my shit is making an effort to focus on what good things have happened. Because seriously, it sounds like we could all use a break. So have a drink and throw some glitter. (Possibly outside.)

Here’s my happy list of 2013:

1.) Christmas came early to Hallie.
We have these friends, Jeff & Averel. They were technically Joel’s friends, but once we we became a couple, we combined all our stuff, so they are my friends now too. They were cleaning out their basement and offered us a (brand new /still in the box) pedestal sink and toilet. They are awesome and we are extremely grateful for their charitable donation. It was quite timely, since we were just starting the upstairs bathroom and the existing toilet had cracked when Joel was removing it. Once they are up and in place I will post pictures. (Hi guys! & THANK YOU!)

2.) My Aunt Sue and Uncle Mark gave me a really awesome gift this year.
They were cleaning out my grandma’s house and found some of my toys from my childhood.
I will probably write a separate post about this, but for now, I am VERY appreciative to them.

erins little kid toys copy

3.) My kid.
‘Cause she’s ridiculous and amazing and makes me laugh all.the.time. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around being a mom. In my mind, moms are old and I don’t see myself that way, so it’s just weird. This year she started kindergarten, talks too much (and gets in trouble for it at school.) She has also learned to read, add & subtract. I know most kindergarteners do now-a-days, but I’m still impressed. I love hearing her sound out words and read books aloud. So big thumbs up to you kid and your awesome teacher, Mrs. Cousino for dealing with a entire room of crazy kids all.day.long.

Arden school photo brightened cropped to 5 x 7 copy

4.) My husband, Joel.
He is ridiculous and amazing and also incredibly skilled. Without him, the rehabilitation of Hallie would not be possible. Or most of the things that have been repaired at our house or my car or the many other people who he fixes things for OR the people he teaches how to fix things. We work really well together as a team (and I have never liked being on teams previously.) You are the best person I know and I still am baffled how I snagged you for my own.

Joel up on ladder copy

5.) Me, writing this blog.
I only have about 70 readers, which is not much by blog standardards. Most of you are my friends and family, but for all of you, I am thankful that you choose to follow along and read about our projects and our lives. In previous times when I wrote, I usually managed a post a month, if lucky. I took a little break around Christmas, because there is always so much going on. Since giving it another try at the end of August, when Arden started school, I have written 32 post (including today’s.) Again, not a lot by blog standards, but I don’t do it for a living and the important part is that I have proudly stuck with it. It’s been a goal of mine to keep up with writing. I’m excited that, even though it’s time consuming and I don’t always feel like it, this year I have made that happen.

6.) The time I get to spend with Arden.
It’s not quite as much anymore. But I am thankful for the time we sit in the school parking lot and talk about her day. And I’m thankful for unexpected snow days, we she is home with me and we do fun little projects like make this snow flake bunting.

snowflake bunting in livingroom copy

7.) Hallie-the-Duplex
The seemingly, never-ending project. You have come a long way, with still SO FAR to go. It is inspiring to see what just mainly 2 people can accomplish together, but a lot of times, I’m pretty sure we are just plain crazy. I can’t wait till you are completed so we can go on vacation. 🙂

8.) My best friend, Amy, gave me this awesome ornament.
Thanks for stopping along the way on your travels to visit. It is sweet and thoughtful and I love it.

snowmen ornament from Amy copy

9.) And in case you didn’t catch it on the photo above, our family is expanding by 1.
We are expecting a child this Summer. Joel is beyond thrilled. Arden can’t wait to be a big sister. Me, I’m like ‘Oh shit!’
So now you know why my butt has been dragging the past couple weeks and why Hallie projects aren’t moving along as fast.
Baby Stead is sucking my energy level and REALLY likes meat. Last night, for example, I made dinner. Fish, baked potato and salad. A half hour later, I was starving. Needed more protein. If I eat a bowl of cereal I need a side of bacon. It’s sad, yet also delicious.

joel erin arden and baby copy

So that concludes my list. I’m sure I am missing things, but I need to wrap this up and run to the grocery store.
I wish you all a safe and happy NEW YEAR’s EVE! I am hoping that we all get a bright and glittery 2014!

December 13, 2013

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 12

This week has been a slow one, Friends. I was sick, now Joel’s sick. (This has not been a good year for sickness in our household with Arden starting Kindergarten!) So needless to say not a whole lot has been worked on over at Hallie. Our spirits rose briefly when Joel’s family from Michigan was planning to pay us a visit AND volunteer services for this weekend. Remaining floor removal full steam ahead! (Yay!) But unfortunately are now unable to make it. (Boo!) Hopefully, we (mainly me) are able to rally some energy to get A LOT work done to show you for next week.

About 3/4 of the flooring is torn up on the first floor. I have to say it does nothing to add warmth to the place. While my awesomely-scored-for-free kerosene heater kicked butt while we were sectioned off in the bathroom & bedroom, working in the main areas is another story. Cold seeps up through the sub-floor from the basement and with four open rooms it is way too much to try to heat, which sort of makes it unpleasant to work. You can work up a good sweat if you partake in tearing up the floor, which not only gets a person really dirty, but also makes you feel pain in places you didn’t know existed previously. Not immediately. At first I just felt awesomely strong for doing this task, but later there was a definite possibility I might die and not be able to get off the couch.

close up of floor copy

I had mistakenly tricked myself into thinking that after the boards were all ripped up that the new floor could go down. (Which actually won’t happen until all the walls are repaired and painted.) Instead a million nails still have to be removed. You may feel that I am exaggerating, but one look at this photo (of just the living room) and they do seem to go on forever. So that’s fun.

large floor copy

Let’s take a gander of the upstairs bathroom. Smaller than the first one, but equally as ugly.
The original wooden flooring here is actually in rather nice condition (probably because it was covered up.) Much to my heavy heart’s dismay, we cannot keep it because as Joel pointed out, someone will inevitably overflow the toilet (probably more than once) and it will get ruined. So tiling it is.

upstirs bath copy

The one hidden gem of this bathroom is it’s clawfoot tub. It’s original to the house and is dated 1917. It’s also extremely heavy and it sounded like an elephant playing a tuba when Joel moved it into the hallway. I have ALWAYS wanted a clawfoot tube (they are ridiculously expensive!) So we will be keeping this one to refinish for our future (larger) house. (Yay!) A much cheaper tub will be going in it’s place. So I’m extremely thrilled about this part, even though it will take a bit of work to make it lovely again.

tub upstairs copy

Until next week!

November 15, 2013

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 8

Our first project since moving to the inside, is to get a functioning bathroom. It would just make us feel a little more human and make the whole experience working there just a bit easier. So here we are with the first floor apartment bath. It’s a bit dirty and disheveled to say the least. The shower pipes and faucet were previous taken. The shower especially is a wreck, since they ripped a large hole in the wall (where you can see into the kitchen).

IMAG1144 copy

There’s a lot of mold and mildew in here, so most of the drywall has to go.
All the electrical is extremely old (as in not up to code) and has to be rewired.
We use this as an opportunity to put lights where we want them (like in the ceiling) as opposed to just the little sconces that were previously by the sink.

Hallie the Duplex, Week Joel putting up board copy

Over by the doorway on one strip of wall, there’s a random bit of metal, painted covered tile that has to be removed. We will probably end up mudding over the old, dry adhesive instead of attempting to sand it down.

Hallie the Duplex, Week 8 010 removing tile copy

Here’s the new moisture-resistant dry wall that went up. We will be tiling over it.

Hallie the Duplex, Week 8 0 green wall up copy

Here’s a view of the cement board that went on the floor before it also will get tiled.
There is hardwood through out the entire duplex. After previous owners bought it, they covered it all with cheap Pergo which looked terrible.
Unfortunately, both floorings were destroyed in the downstairs when the pipes burst wracking much of the havoc that you’ll see over the next few weeks. This info was provided by the water company and we are left to assume that the previous owners called it quits after that.

Finally, here’s the new tile that will go in for the bathroom floor. I super love it and it has a great subtle texture. Sort of looks like grey tweed. Getting to pick out the materials is the fun part for me! Seeing it come together is what makes it all so great!

Come back next week to see how it looks in the bathroom. 🙂

Bathroom grey floor tile copy

November 12, 2013

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 7

Since I missed a blog post last Thursday, due to:

1.) being really busy
2.) being exhausted
3.) the time change
4.) all of the above

I’m posting about what we were able to get accomplished today (for last week) then will post new updates on Thursday.
By the time Joel gets off work, it’s dark. We still don’t have electric. This endeavor is getting a bit challenging, we are feeling the pinch and just want to hibernate. Oh and did I mention that our renter at Joel’s old house hasn’t paid rent in 2 months? (YAY!) Did you know you can’t just kick non-payers out? Instead a long, drawn-out course of action must be followed, including filing with the city that is a several hundred dollar fee. So now you are beginning to understand our stress. Paying a mortgage on not just one, but two houses and trying to rehab a third is a bit much.

Sigh. Life! Right?

Anyway! Here’s what’s new.

Joel works on the railing of the backdoor by flashlight.

IMAG1259 copy

and the final product in daylight.

Back railing in daylight copy

There are lots of railings being put in, as it’s part of the rental housing requirement.

The last side of the duplex has finally been de-vined. It was the home of many birds, who unfortunately had to relocate. Their nests, mostly made of trash and debris, along with much dirt, came raining down upon us. Mostly Joel, because he’s braver than me and gets up quite high on the ladder. It was a grimy day.
Here’s an awesome before & after.

before and after side copy

Finally, here’s a little project. We only had one mailbox, so I scored an additional one (since we have 2 units) for $5 at our local Habitat for Humanity Resale store.

IMAG0559 copy

Add a little bronze metallic spray paint and TA-DA!
Even though they aren’t exactly the same in dimensions and style, the paint pulls them together and adds a lot of interest.
I just love how it looks!

painted mail boxes copy

Tune in on Thurs. for more updates. 🙂

October 11, 2013

*~Happy Birthday to my Husband~* + Hallie : Week 3

Today is Joel’s 30th birthday and I think despite me mentioning that we have such a huge age gap, it doesn’t really hit home until people see it in print.
(I understand.) He is definitely capable way beyond his years. It’s probably unfair, but in my mind there isn’t anything he cannot do. To be generous he avoids tasks like cooking, baking, making invitations and decorating, so I can reach for some of the glory and feel good about myself too. Seriously though, when it comes to fixing things or building things or figuring out things, he is your man. I mean for example, he built me a new computer, because mine was on it’s last leg and made hungry animals grinding sounds. He actually went to Micro Center, purchased all the parts to build me a tower and sat on the floor and built it. I didn’t even know regular people could do that. Apparently, when he was 14, he built a computer that was cooled by water. This may mean nothing to you, but I’m impressed. This guy’s skills come super in handy at Hallie, because there is an abundance of mess that needs fixed.

I mentioned in a previous post that the water pipe for the Duplex was ripped off at ground level. Below are some photos of Joel replacing all the pipe so we can have a new meter put in.

1.) Break-ups cement, make a clean cut through the pipe (so it’s not bent anymore.)
2.) He adds on compression fittings to connect new and old pipe. All to the specifications of the water company.
3.) Fits on spud connectors.
4.) Ready for new water meter.

Ready for the meter copy

Unfortunately, even though this all went in without a hitch, when the water man arrived the next day, there was yet again more drama of not being able to locate our water main line to be able to turn it on and other folks would have to come out and to make a long story short, it’s still not on. On Friday, they are supposed to be coming out again and fingers crossed, because this has drug out far too long.

1.) Siding painted in the front. Joel deems the sprayer ‘magical’ as the task was completed in 10 minutes, as opposed to the half hour it took me to prime the one side of the porch.
2.) Siding and trim was replaced all along the porch sides and ceiling.
3.) Bushes were planted in front and sides of duplex.
4.) Railing put in.

At this point, I’ve become a little downtrodden because the more new we put up, the more glaringly obvious it become with all the other tasks that need done. Among those needed is a process called tuck pointing (replacing all the lost mortar in between the bricks), power washing the outside, replacing the rest of the railings, putting in crown around the pillars and painting the ledges. Most of all, I want to take down the darn boards covering the windows, but we are just so up in the air if it’s a good time to yet or not. Thankfully, we had an awesome day today we took off to celebrate. (I’m not sure who had more fun for his birthday him or me.) It’s going to be difficult getting back to the grind tomorrow.

Hallie the Duplex Week 3 railing and landscaping copy

Hallie the Duplex Week 3 front with blue siding copy

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