House Update – Chronicles of a Bungled Real Estate Deal – Almost never seems close enough Part 3

Habitat for Humanity Restore is one of my new BFF’s. These old doors were original to the house and needed replaced for warmth alone due to the single pane glass.

We were able to pick up these great solid oak doors at the Restore from an old high school for $25 each compared to the Home Depot price of $300 each. With some minor alterations they are installed and will provide the necessary insulation for winter and more privacy from all the plain glass.

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House Update – Chronicles of a Bungled Real Estate Deal – Almost never seems close enough PART 2

To refresh your memory the closets in the master bedroom had to be ripped out way back when due to the mold problems. This was no big loss as they had been installed on either side of the chimney that runs up the center of the back wall and were only 2 foot wide with teeny tiny doors. We thought long and hard on this one. We wanted to make a walk in closet with plenty of storage. Well we succeeded. There are 5 built-in shoe racks, a dual rod for 8 feet and 3 feet of space for extra long garments like dresses.

We originally ordered French louvered doors from Home Depot that came with the casing, but their supplier was canceled and we were forced to look elsewhere. No one else had exactly what we were looking for and then we found some at the Habitat for Humanity Restore and are building our own casing and refinishing the doors which will be hung Monday. We do have the molding up though which is a real plus as the finish molding always seems to take the longest!
Many of you may remember that the kitchen counters still needed to be done and I had used peel and stick tiles in the interim. Today by complete accident we found an awesome deal on marble tiles. I had originally wanted a sheet of marble, but the price was so exorbitant that we kept looking. Well today we found these close out tiles for 25% of the original price and I’m going to get busy this next week. Ironically the grout color name is ‘biscuit’.

I also am in the middle of refinishing the bathtub. Do you see that moth that landed on my wet finish? He’s going to cost me an additional 3 days and another resurfacing – oh well.

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House Update – Chronicles of a Bungled Real Estate Deal – Almost never seems close enough

I bet many of you thought I’d dropped off the face of the earth, but no I’m here, just been extremely busy doing all those projects to tie up loose ends here on this investment house. So here is the much neglected house update. This ugly ‘room’ was the concrete ice room from the turn of the last century. The outside door is even still in place for ice insertion.

We created internal walls, ceiling and floor as well as added shelves for gardening tools, hooks for mops and brooms and have turned into a utility/broom closet/mud room as it is as you enter from the deck, but before you reach the kitchen. The basement stairway is also located here. Hubby and the electrician had to cut away much of the original siding to re-do the electrical wiring and install the dryer vent so that also need to be repaired and we are in the process of painting the entire stairway in a bight BEHR Oklahoma Wheat color.

The floors are stained and need a final sanding before we move on to the existing hardwood floors to refinish.

Along the way I’ve also been sorting for the big VFW rummage sale and packing too as I go.

I’d been doing this for most of the year. We had brought everything with us so that we could do just that through the cold winter and it’s is just about done! YAY! How is it we accumulate so much stuff? I had things from my grams, my dad and my mom that also needed gone through, but it really is hard sometimes. The thought of repacking it for a cross country move is what got me in gear. The less the better to move home.

This is the last batch. I’m working on next years batch now!

See how clean the barn is now! It would stay that way except the VFW will be storing their stuff there until next year again.

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House Update – Chronicles of a Bungled Real Estate Deal – It’s Official & an ICE Room

Most of us are WAY too young to know about ICE Rooms, but when this old house was built, an ICE room was the only means available to keep things cold short of a root cellar. A man in a wagon used to deliver ICE into this little door every day over this concrete room, hence where the original name, ICEBOX came from for early refrigerators.

This room is made of poured concrete, lathe and plaster which made it extremely difficult to work with. I just couldn’t deal with more lathe and plaster tear out, so we created a new wall structure along the old walls in which to change this ICE room into a Mud room/broom closet/recyclables/gardener’s shed.

Along one side wall will go shelves for gardening tools, winter bulb storage, pet foods, cleaning supplies and such storage. I’m adding hooks for a jacket or two and a bin for recyclable cans and bottles. On the other side are all the hooks for brooms, mops and such. I painted it Oklahoma Wheat from BEHR to brighten it up and hubby add decorative trim. I have enough of the oak flooring from the kitchen left to do the ICE room and outer landing too.

Even though it is storage room, I want to get it looking nice as it is the first thing you see when you walk in from the side door, which ironically is the door most people tend to use.

Now that the sign is planted I guess it’s official!

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House Update ~ Chronicles of a bungled real estate deal ~ Front Doors

This old house has two separate front doors, both look like this, but are different sizes by a small bit. They are the original doors with no insulation and single pane glass. They are the worst offenders for heat loss in the winter. We stopped by Habitat Restore today in hopes of finding new doors and SCORED! A local high school recently replaced their doors and a slew of solid oak and double thick doors had come into stock AND they are keyed alike AND they had the keys!

We are having to cut them down as they were quite large. One pane of glass needed replaced also, but that went pretty well. We will leave the insides oak stained, but will probably paint the outsides to match the Chianti colored trim to seal them better. Next we’ll work on new storm doors as those are also original and single paned.

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House Update – Chronicles of a Bungled Real Estate Deal – Part 10 – Studio/Parlor/Office

Before we bought the house. The previous owner used it as a master bedroom as it is on the main level and they were older people. This room was originally the “Gentleman’s parlor” when the house was built in 1892.

Right after we moved in and I tore down the sun rotted curtains and was still sorting things.

Current day as a functioning studio/office. Don’t you just love that new built in bookcase? It is one of my favorite features of this room now. It doubles as an extra spare room with the futon, but honestly it’s one of my favorite places to read on a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately right now it’s a sorting and staging area for just about everything, so please excuse the clutter.

I’ll post pictures again after the clutter is gone later in the week.
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Saint Joseph ~ patron saint of home sales – who knew?

Recently our niece emailed us and asked if we had buried our saint. We looked at each other and said, what the… well you get the idea. Anyway I have done some research and there is a patron saint for just about everything. I had NO idea! We found this all pretty interesting.

The patron saint for selling your home is Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph (San Jose in Spanish and San Giuseppe in Italian) is petitioned by many conservative Catholics as one who grants an easy death, but in the wider world of Catholic folk-magic, he is the Patron Saint of real estate matters and home sales. The reason given for this belief is that he was a carpenter who taught his step-son Jesus the carpentering trade, and he always saw to it that Jesus was well housed.

The custom of burying a statue of Saint Joseph upside down in the yard while one’s house is for sale goes back a long way in the United States — for despite an “urban legends” page online that pseudo-authoritatively claims the custom only began in the 1970s, I have ads in 1930s hoodoo spiritual supply catalogs that offer a tiny statue of Saint Joseph in a case made to carry him upside down.

Saint Joseph is particularly popular among Sicilian-Americans, and they credit him with having saved the nation of Sicily from famine by bringing about a bountiful crop of Fava Beans and a good fish catch at a time when all other sources of food had failed. It is still the custom to prepare a meal of Fava Beans on Saint Joseph’s day, and to set out a dish of the uncooked beans — called Saint Joseph Beans — for visitors to take home as lucky pieces. In New Orleans, where Sicilian fishermen settled, the custom of wishing on Saint Joseph Beans long ago transferred into the African American community and became a staple practice of hoodoo rootwork. Seven of the beans, locally known as “Mojo Beans” or “African Wishing Beans,Ó are carried in the pocket for seven days and then thrown into running water over the left shoulder while making a wish.

The following is the text of a real estate ritual and prayer to Saint Joseph that i have written, drawing upon traditional sources, and which i also offer for sale online as a complete Lucky Mojo spell kit:

REAL ESTATE SPELL KIT alleged to help in the sale of Real Estate
1 Dressed and Blessed Saint Joseph Candle
1 Statuette of Saint Joseph
1 Bottle Saint Joseph Oil
1 Saint Joseph Chromo Print
1 Saint Joseph Holy Card

PREPARATION: This spell is used to make a home or other property sell quickly once it is listed on the real estate market. It is up to you to see that the premises are clean and that the asking price is within market value. In addition to the items here, you will need a picture frame for the print (it is 8″ x 10″ and fits in a standard frame) and a trowel to dig. If the property has no yard, you will also need a house plant in a large pot.

DOING THE JOB: Remove the cling wrap from the Saint Joseph candle and light it. It is already dressed with St. Joseph Oil and with three herbs used in real estate spells — Cedar, Cinnamon, and Cloves. As the candle burns, hang the print of Saint Joseph where it will be seen by those who are viewing the house. Hide the holy card of Saint Joseph among your real estate papers (deed, termite inspection notice, mortgage, etc.). Spray or dab Saint Joseph Oil in the four corners of each room, each window frame, each door jamb, and the framed print. When you are done with this, hold the statue of Saint in the your hand as you recite the following:

O, Saint Joseph,
you who taught our Lord
the carpenter’s trade,
and saw to it
that he was always properly housed,
hear my earnest plea.

I want you to help me now
as you helped your foster-child Jesus,
and as you have helped many others
in the matter of housing.

I wish to sell this house
quickly, easily, and profitably
and I implore you to grant my wish
by bringing me a good buyer,
one who is eager, compliant, and honest,
and by letting nothing impede the rapid conclusion of the sale.

Dear Saint Joseph,
I know you would do this for me
out of the goodness of your heart
and in your own good time,
but my need is very great now
and so I must make you hurry
on my behalf.

Saint Joseph, I am going to place you
in a difficult position
with your head in darkness
and you will suffer as our Lord suffered,
until this house is sold.

Then, Saint Joseph, I swear
before the cross and God Almighty,
that I will redeem you
and you will receive my gratitude
and a place of honor in my home.

Now take up the statue of Saint Joseph and dig a hole in your back yard. If there is no back yard, use the front yard. If there is no yard at all, dig a hole in a large potted plant. Bury the statue upside down, head downward, facing east, in the hole and cover it over. Let the candle burn continually inside until it goes out.

FINISHING UP: When the property sells, you MUST dig up the statue, clean it, and carry it with you to your new home, where it should be kept in a place of honour. Failure to do this will lead to trouble with the sale or trouble with the new home or property.

The following is a general-purpose prayer to Saint Joseph that can be used when there is need in money matters or for housing, or when death is near. It was transcribed by Sindy Todo:

Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong,
so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my
interest and desires.

Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful
intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all
spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, so
that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may
offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of

Oh Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus
asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while he reposes
near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head
for me and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying

Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

You can find the list of all the saints here.

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House for sale

Tomorrow is our goal for having the house listed. We are meeting with an great agent tomorrow. Now I don’t have a Realtor’s license, but I grew up around the real estate business and have worked in the field in various ways. So, I know how the business works and was actually quite taken a aback that there are Realtors out there not willing to take on listings. One told us our house wouldn’t sell because “everyone” wants fixers right now (which just isn’t so) and she even told us it would be okay for us get a second opinion. Well duh, if you’re not taking the job, then what we do is our choice, but thanks for the permission.

We really like the attitude of tomorrow’s agent. She’s a go getter, you know the hungry type, a real closer. Our bottom line is that we want to sell the house obviously, but we know what has been done to the house and its value so we are not prepared to give it away no matter how bad we want to go home. So, we will be setting the price and continue to work on the house inside and out until it sells. So, obviously the price will never go down as we continue to make it better and better. This house is almost turn key now so it can only get better.

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House Update – Chronicles of a Nightmare – Formal Dining/Parlor to Studio/Office Part 10

This is the realtor picture from before we bought the house.

This is the picture from when we first moved in.

The sheers were sun rotted so I replaced those and added blinds so that I could have a bit more privacy from the neighbors. The wall paper was really pretty, but quite old and worn. It was an embossed, almost flocked type of pattern. I didn’t feel like stripping it though so tried painting it. Painting it worked great and gave it a new life, new finish and made my life just a bit easier. In the picture below you can see the difference if you look close.

Then I painted the wall below the chair rail to match the living room for a bit of color.
When we were forced to remodel the kitchen in this old house we expanded into the sun porch, giving us LOTS of room for a big kitchen table so we turned our formal dining room and attached parlor into my studio/crafts/office and it quickly became the most used room(s) in the house! The ceiling had a bad repair seam in the drywall and we’re just finishing the patterned ceiling tiles this week. Look for the updated, finished pictures of this room soon!

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House Update – Chronicles of a Nightmare ~ Master Bedroom ~ Part 8

One of the rooms we had to tear part of the walls out of was the master bedroom where it connected to the bathroom. Unfortunately this was also our closet. So for quite some time our all of our clothes resided in the other rooms. They are finally back in our room, but it is truly the last room being done! This room was in relatively good shape except for the 2 holes from molly screws for plant hangers in the ceiling and the closet that had to be ripped out due to the mold from the bathroom.

These were the pictures from the realtor. The previous owner used the master bedroom as a guest room with 2 double beds. The rooms is huge and has an awesome bay window with a southern exposure so we couldn’t wait to make this a master bedroom again (they were older and were using what is now my studio on the main level as their bedroom.

These are the ceiling patches that won’t even be detectable when we’re done. Thanks once again to Habitat for Humanity Restore we were able to do these patches for 50 cents, the cost of 1 tile that matched.

These holes were all caused by the electrician, a necessary evil when he upgraded the electrical to current code. these patches will also be undetectable when we’re done. The texture coated walls are being replaced with bead board to match the new closet.

This is the picture shortly after we moved in and before we had to tear out 1/2 the room.

This is current day. Tune in next month for a finished room.

The fireplace chimney runs up the middle of the wall in the master bedroom. There used to be 2 skinny (and I do mean skinny) closets with tiny 2 foot doors (you literally had to climb into the closet to see what was at the back), one on either side of the chimney. We turned the south side into an alcove that hubby’s dresser and chest slide back into giving us more floor space. On the other side we’re building a walk-in closet with 2 levels and built in show racks that you can actually use!

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