May 5, 2012

Our House: The Beginning

So you've heard the story of how we came to find ourselves living in this little abode here.  Here's the mini-tour of the house as it looked when we bought it.

The house is about 10 years old.  It's one of four on this block that have a nearly identical floor plan.  The house was a foreclosure.  We felt bad taking advantage of someone else's misfortune, but since we had just been through that wringer ourselves....  Obviously we didn't feel too bad about it.

The house must have been in pretty rough shape when the last owners vacated.  It had sat on the market for 9 months by the time we saw it.  The outside was pretty much fine, it had just obviously been relatively untouched for a few years aside from mowing.  The fencing along the front and down the property line we share with a preschool looked like it had another 5 years of functionality left at best.  And there was a broken hot tub hanging out on cinder blocks in the middle of the backyard.  'Cause, you know, why not.

Carpeting that doesn't smell like pee-pee?  We'll take it.

Here's the living room.  The windowsill you can barely see here is the giant picture window on the front porch, so this is the view that you see immediately to the right upon entering the house from the front door.  One thing that's nice about moving into a foreclosure that was too thrashed to sell quickly- the bank steps in and tries to make it look less like the failed "after" of a home you'd see featured on an episode of Hoarders.  The carpeting throughout the house was brand new, the paint throughout the house was brand new, and all of the millwork was painted white (although sloppily- lots of drips remain on door frames and windowsills).

Highly obvious window and door stops?  We'll take it.

To the left of the front entry is the dining room.  There's so much to love poke fun at in this picture.  We did like the sliding door, the big window, the roomy dining area with a breakfast bar, and the fact that the fence right outside of the slider is extra-tall so that we wouldn't stare directly into our neighbors' dining room (or vice versa).  We were less impressed with the broken screen door (and confused about why anyone would use a black-frame screen door with a white-vinyl-frame slider..???), the tiny landing outside the slider that's about 12' off the ground (dubbed The Porch To Nowhere), and the piece de resistance- the thoroughly 90s cut glass/plastic/brass chandelier.  I wish I had a better picture of it.  Tacky could be it's middle name.  And is smaller cousin that adorned the entry could be Tacky, Jr.

Let's move on, shall we?

Lazy Susan in the bottom corner cabinet spattered with barbeque sauce or maybe congealed blood?  We'll take it.

Here is the kitchen.  Again, this is a perk of having the bank try to make a foreclosed home more attractive to potential buyers- brand new appliances (minus a fridge), and brand new vinyl flooring.  The layout of the kitchen is pretty run-of-the-mill, but we did like that it opened to the dining room via the breakfast bar, and that the opening to the living room was nice and wide.  Being able to talk to people in the living room or watch TV while still standing in the kitchen is a pretty big perk, in my opinion.  I was also digging the storage and display space above the cabinets, with those nice high ceilings.  The ceiling in our last kitchen was set lower than the ceiling in the rest of the house, so the cabinets went right up to the top, making it feel cave-ish.

It's not all good here, though- there are three well-disguised menaces in this kitchen.  One of the window panes was completely broken.  Like, not just, the seal is broken so it's cloudy.  Not just like one of the double-panes has been broken but at least we still have a barrier.  No, the outside pane on the right was completely broken out, and the inside pane was so loose that you could push the bottom with your fingertip and the glass would bow out.  That showy window stop in the dining room was so much false advertising.  Any would-be vandals or thieves would have just had to swing that glass out and hop right in.  And the neighbors wouldn't even be able to see it beyond that extra-high fence (ha!).

The other issue has to do with that lovely vinyl flooring.  Nothing was wrong with the flooring itself, but you'd imagine that to conceal the edge where vinyl meets toe kick, there'd be a little bit of quarter round or maybe even some nice millwork.  Well, the edges here were covered up with industrial grade vinyl edging.  Like the stuff you see along the base of walls in indoor basketball courts and fast food restaurants and college dorm bathrooms.  Boy, would that become a major pain to deal with- but that's a whole different blog post.

Lastly, the sink leaked.  A lot.  You'd turn on the faucet and the sprayer would hit you in the face.  And after you'd get over the shock of getting hit in the face with water, then you'd notice that it was leaking under the sink too, onto the cabinetry.  It was like an April Fool's prank gone too far.  Seriously, that sink was so rude, doing all that leaking.

We can tell how much TP is left on the roll before entering the bathroom?  We'll take it.

Going down the hallway directly in front of the entry, you come to the guest bath.  I loved that this house was built to be handicap-accessible, so all of the hallways and doorways are extra-wide.  It makes the floor plan feel very open- no space feels crowded or cloistered.  However, when extra-wide doors swing into rooms that contain a toilet, difficulties are to be found.  The good news here is that the wide vanity means the bathroom is long enough that nobody has to sit in the sink to get to the toilet.  And there was already a rubber stopper on the door in exactly the spot it would clang into the toilet (if throwing a door open to clang into a toilet's your kind of thing).

These bedrooms have windows?  We'll take it.

Further down the hallway to the right was two smaller bedrooms.  The rooms were virtually mirror images of one other and were thankfully unremarkable except for a persistent squeak in the floor right in front of this window.

And then there's the two rooms that sealed the deal for me.  Master bedroom and master bathroom.  Oh yeah.

Another broken sliding screen door?  We'll take it.

The master bedroom was HUGE compared to what we were used to.  And it had a sliding glass door to the back patio.  I was a little disappointed when I discovered that the view was dominated by the aforementioned hot tub on blocks and a McChevron (read more on that here).  Oh well, that's what window treatments are for- we aren't really the exhibitionist type anyway.  The other bummer was that the sliding door barely worked.  You had to yank and yank to pry the thing open enough to walk through it.  I crossed my fingers it'd just need its track cleaned and some WD-40 to be back in working order.

You mean I can add to my shoe collection without my husband noticing?  We'll take it.

And then I turned around and saw this.  His and hers closets.  After sharing a tiny walk-in for years, I practically did a dance.  And then....

Double vanity heaven.  Sold!

The skies opened up and angels chorused in singing "Hallelujah!" because Colleen and Steve would never have to crowd over one sink while getting ready for work ever again.  Never mind another door-clanging-into-toilet situation, never mind the missing fixture in the shower, never mind the brass and exposed bulbs light bar above the giant mirror, never mind more terrible industrial vinyl edging.  I would never accidentally spit toothpaste on Steve's hand and he would never accidentally elbow me while I was doing my eyeliner EVER AGAIN.  We could deal with everything else.  I think it's worth mentioning that this is the ONLY house we looked at over the course of over two months that was in our price range, still had its copper pipes intact, and had a double vanity in the master bath.

So that's how she looked at the start.  Can't wait to post some of the progress we've made since then!

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