House UPDATE ~ Chronicles of a bungled Real Estate deal ~ Welcome to our nightmare! Part 1

In the Fall of 2006 we purchased this house as an investment. It was a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian that just needed some basic TLC in the way of paint and minor updating – or so we were told. What we weren’t told about was the severe MOLD problem that was disguised as “NEWLY PAINTED” or the numerous other issues including lying about the age of appliances that all broke down within the 1st 6 months that they then topped off with leaving a large dumpster’s worth of old furniture, broken appliances and basic all around trash behind for us to discard. We had a home inspection, but he wasn’t a mind reader and couldn’t detect their deception since it was so cleverly hidden under the guise of good will.

We purchased a 2 year home warranty insurance policy that was voided by their lies. They, nor our new insurance company would cover pre-existing problems or the appliances due to their age. Because we paid for the home instead of putting a mortgage on it, NO ONE wants to help including the original selling agent, the listing agent who was aware of all the problems because she had listed it and sold it before and the owners 2 times ago have personally told us that they disclosed these issues to the owners we purchased. They all said that is what mortgage insurance is for. So because we didn’t want to go into debt and tried to do things the right way we’re basically being penalized for other people’s lies.

We’re getting to the point of some finalization (FINALLY) and I will try to chronicle it one room at a time over the next couple of weeks.

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Bathroom Update!

Remember this before picture?
It got worse before it got better!
But now it’s better.

Since this was not planned we had to do all the work ourselves and it has been a long, hard road to tow. We are truly starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Considering we had to take this bathroom down to the studs when we had to rip out the mold infested drywall, this room has come a long way.

This upcoming week hubby will be finishing the trim (he already has the baseboards and floor 1/4 round in since I took the pictures) and the grates (attic and exhaust fan) for the new ceiling and then we’ll give it a final coat of paint. Other than removing the old claw foot tub and changing it to the corner shower we tried to keep it in character for the age of the house by using the bead board, decorative ceiling tiles and old fashioned rounded sink.

We used Laura Ashley laminate flooring in “oiled teakwood” and on sale it worked out to be less expensive and better quality, made in the USA, than the other options – most of a lesser quality and made in China.

I am so in love with the triple pane window that replaced the “ORIGINAL” single pane window. This room is now a warm little haven – just needs a TV & Frig! LOL

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American Shower and Bath

So, awhile back I promised an update on the bathroom issues we were having with the remodel. For those of you tuning in late, it was a forced remodel due to an undisclosed mold problem by the previous owners that no one wants to take responsibility for. Anyway, we finally decided to do away with the old claw foot tub and put in a corner shower.

That in itself turned into a HUGE issue when our local Home Depot didn’t carry the size we wanted (we wanted the larger than standard size) and that particular store had a less than helpful plumbing department employee who actually tried to talk us out of buying the shower kit and going with his buddy for a custom job.

Since we have been forced into this remodel and have done all the work ourselves we were less than pleased with him and our his attitude. We even tried to use Menards for the shower purchase, but they just didn’t have what we wanted.

We eventually drove the 270 miles round trip to go to the Home Depot in Green Bay and pick up the one we wanted that would fit our bathroom well. We purchased a 38 inch corner unit with the antique finish and the teardrop glass walls. We brought it home, installed it and thought WHEW, glad that’s over.

Within just a few weeks the base as well as the rear wall started crazing and leaking. The shower wasn’t even 3 months old yet. We were so upset as well as disillusioned after all our hard work!

I took my receipt to my local Home Depot store (I wasn’t making that drive again if I could avoid it. I mean I already had $600 invested in the kit, 270 miles and lots of time and labor) and went in search of the plumbing manager AND I was ready for a fight! I had even by this time called the 1-800 number and made a formal complaint about the employee who was always trying to talk us out of Home Depot products and forced us into that long drive to begin with.

May I say I was soooooooooooooo pleasantly surprised!! The plumbing manager was a sweetheart. He provided me with the phone number to call the manufacturer, gave me his card and his assurance that if the manufacturer wouldn’t take care of it Home Depot would.

I walked in raring for a fight and walked out so happy I knew there had to be a catch. I figured my fight would come when I called the manufacturer. May I say again I was sooooooooooooooo pleasantly surprised. No fights, no quibbles, no hassles. I faxed them my receipt, name & address and problem with the unit and they are UPSing me a unit to my home!!

So if you need a company that stands behind their products check out American Shower and Bath. I highly recommend them for their customer service and their American made products.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend I will once again be lingering under the warm water spray of my newly installed shower!

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Bathroom floor update

This has been a long time coming. This was the 1st room we discovered the “issue” in that the previous owner didn’t disclose. The floor was coated so it was unaffected and all we had to do was strip it. We also had to use self leveler for a small area and WOW that stuff works! For the past 6 months it has been painted with a deck paint, but now we finally have flooring! Yeah!

It’s Laura Ashley laminate in oiled teakwood and it is made in the USA!! And on sale is actually less expensive than the made in China stuff.

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New Old Desk and Organization – Finally

My cousin Jenn has been not so secretly lusting after my desk set up for quite awhile. The antique foot board is her real dream for a shelf on her own desk. She also loves my 8 foot solid maple plank table. Well, I created a desk area she’ll love even more after a trip to my Habitat Restore. These ugly green, previously solid walnut cabinets are getting painted a neutral color of innocence white, this Formica topped oak table base and the maple plank table top and voile we have a new desk.

I got these great stacking cabinets at a garage sale for a fraction of their worth and they work great for craft supplies. I’m still organizing so this looks a mess, but soon it will be a haven!

I also got these great retro chairs for $10. I love the metal legs – they won’t need to be glued every other week!

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Kitchen Aid & Kitchen Update

This post is for Barbara. We were chatting the other night and talking about the wonders of Kitchen Aid mixers and realized we had the same one. I purchased mine after the 1994 Northridge earthquake as a replacement for my old one that had been destroyed literally with the rest of my kitchen. That was 14 years ago. 2 years ago when we moved to this old house, the original white just stood out like a sore thumb, but it was in perfectly good shape. I couldn’t justify a new designer color. So I purchased a $5 can of Copper Hammer paint and did it myself!
The copper color goes with my new “old” country style kitchen. I had just finished a cake so it may be a bit dusty.

I had done the stark white kitchen with everything behind a closed door. With the forced remodel of this kitchen and the new open space I now have the room to leave things on the counter. We still have to finish the ceiling, trim molding and eventually a floor, but for now my fake counter, painted subfloor and so-so color scheme will do well.

With the opening of the wall into the old sun porch, the kitchen is now about 225 square feet larger than it used to be and kind of “L” shaped, giving us like 6 corners to photograph from. We spend a lot of time in this room so we decided to make it warmer in color and easy to use.

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Front Doors & Decorations

Barbara over at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers
is taking a poll about decorating and also wants to know
if you would share pictures of your front entrance?

This old house has a pretty interesting front entrance and story to go with it. We have a single set of stairs, but 2, count them, 2 front doors. The house which was originally built in 1892 with a single front door was purchased by a single woman during WWII. She proceeded to add a second front door and turned the upstairs into a separate apartment which she rented out until 1983 when she was forced to sell the home due to her failing health. In the spring I decorate with flowers baskets and wreaths.

We personally are not crazy about the colors of the house, but have had more pressing matters to deal with since purchasing it. We would like to change it to the colors in the photo above which is close enough to our house to give you a good idea of how it will look except that the hopefully by then large single front door will be all brick red and not multi colored.

Barbara also did a recent post about red front doors. I personally find a red door striking! It really shows off the house. While we are not going fire engine red we are thinking about the brick red in the above picture.

This was during our 1st snow last October. If you look close you will see my fall pumpkins on the railing. The picture below was the day we started the Christmas decorating.

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Anatomy of a Linen Closet

This is house is so old (1892) that linen closets per se sis not yet exist which was driving me nuts! I was forced to use bedroom drawers and cubby holes to store towels and sheets. We used the oak cabinets from Home Depot and stained them ourselves which brought the cost to a minimum. We had just enough space in the upstairs hallway to create a linen closet.
First we had to literally pry off the old base board, the only one in the house that was actually attached well.

We used the 36″ wide cabinets and created a different look by starting with a 12 ” tall on the bottom followed by a 30″ tall and topped with another 12″. Hubby then built me a matching finished top.

We stained them in a golden oak. We also had to build new baseboard pieces, but they will eventually get painted the same color as the walls.

The pictures are a little sideways, but the cabinet is level and flush! Here we are all finished, stained, loaded and now have lots of empty drawers in the bedrooms ~ YAY!

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Habitat for Humanity Re-Store

Have you seen any of the Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores? They are popping up all over. They take donations of used house products like doors, windows, sinks, cabinets, etc… and furniture. Some of it gets used in projects while the rest is sold to earn the money necessary for upcoming projects.

Since we’re still remodeling this old house, we stop in periodically to see what they might have. What we didn’t know was that we were going to get lucky that day. We have been watching garage sales and such for a king size head board, but they are hard to find in good shape or bad and at a decent price, so we were thrilled when we ran across a BRAND NEW, still in the box one that had been donated by a furniture store going out of business. It’s a beautiful wood in a color that I call a cross between cherry and espresso.

The color was close enough for us though. It’s mahogany and the rest of the furniture is cherry, but once again close enough, especially for the price! It even had the rounded edge like my chest and vanity. It will age well with our furniture.


Another Fine Day in the Garden ~ A long time coming, but well worth the wait!

It’s been a long time coming this year, but well worth the wait.

One of the best things about these flowers is the fact that they are antiques and original to the yard for as long as anyone can remember. The house itself is 116 years old and in speaking with descendants from the area and of those that have lived in the house, I’ve been able to take the flowers back to at least 1948. I have yet to meet anyone that remembers before that or was related to the owners before that time, so who knows maybe they go back even further. I did dig them up last year and clean and split the bulbs the way HGTV suggested and they seem just as beautiful this year. I passed on the splits to my mom, cousin, Kathy and Barbara. Barbara says hers are about to bloom too.

Spring is finally springing around here!

I was hoping for sun for these pictures, but I really need a new weatherman since this one is never right and we haven’t seen the sun per se in days. Hubby got me this great park bench for the front porch so we would have a place to relax with a glass of wine at the end of a long hard day. Ignore the dead grass from too much ice melt, because that area will hopefully be walkway before too long! He also adapted these old plate racks from the demolished sun room to a window ledge. Now I have to paint them and get more flowers, I’m thinking something that drapes, but they’ll look really great when everything is painted the same color and blooming (eventually all that gross green and pink trim will be a burgundy color)!