I’d like to think that I’m in the home stretch with my parents’ house. Lots and lots of work has been done so far. The house is probably 98% empty right now. The dining room table is still in the dining room, though the chairs are now in the garage. I discovered that the flatware is still in the drawer under the wall oven. Cleaning supplies and 2 cases of Snapple iced tea are on the back stairs to the second floor. The Amstel steins are still on the kitchen wall along with a few of the copper jello molds. On the second floor the single and queen mattress and box spring sets are still waiting to be carried down to the garage and I think that there are two old suitcases (empty) up there, too. In the basement I’ve still got tools to deal with and also some art and craft stuff. The two exercise bikes are also in the basement under the stairs. And there is a 4 drawer file cabinet down there that I need to sort through. Much of the contents will go to recycling, but it also contains some of my father’s artwork samples that we may put into his portfolio for sentimental reasons.
I hired a carpenter to take care of repairs to the greenhouse window and a variety of other little repairs around the house. Last Saturday the painters started prepping the walls. They will be doing the whole house over the next few weeks. I’m thrilled with the repaired floor of the greenhouse window. It is solid and air-tight. The old structure and floor had rotted badly over the years without me realizing the extent of the damage. Basically, it was supported by a single lally column instead of the 3 it was supposed to be resting on. This caused some leaking at the top. We had heavy rain on Sunday and not a drop came in. I can’t say the same for the back basement entrance, though. It still leaks and I’m not sure how to deal with that yet. The entrance is under the outside stairs and I believe that it is leaking where the concrete landing at the top meets the house and also at the bottom of the door to the outside. We’ll figure that out eventually.
As I emptied the house over the last few months I realized that not only did the house need some repairs, cleaning, and painting, but that it needed a great deal of un-renovating. The first major effort was removing the built-in cabinets and dressers in the front part of the master and the paneling headboard and shelves in the back part of the bedroom. This bedroom, on the main floor, was once two rooms. The front room was the master and the back was my room as a baby and later also my sister’s room before the dormer was added and bedrooms created on the 2nd floor. When the dormer was added, a new staircase was added, stealing space from both the bedroom and living room. I have no recollection of where the original closet for the front bedroom was, but the back bedroom closet was expanded and a half bath was added. My father had built a wall of closets in the front part of the bedroom opposite the built-in dressers and shelves. The doors were a dark green paneling that extended to the back bedroom on the bathroom side only. The exterior wall was still painted, though you couldn’t see too much of it due to all the shelving and built-ins! The built-ins were finished off with a different paneling and the headboard was yet a different paneling! One part of the closet was actually accessible from inside the bedroom and from the hallway as this was the original entry door. I pondered for a while about the closets as the baseboard heating, added in the early 1970s, ran at the base of this wall of closets.
My next de-construction was to remove the shallow storage closet by the front door in the living room and the excess shelving in the dining room. I don’t recall the dining room ever not having shelves flanking the window on the west wall, but I remember the updates. Cabinets were added underneath the original shelf units and then shelves were added to the ceiling all the way around the tiny space. It should be noted that there was a wall unit, floor to ceiling, dividing the dining space from the living room for as long as I can remember, too. However, it used to be light and airy open shelves with vertical round dowels as supports. Over the years this divider went through many transformations. The last updates covered it with dark paneling that matched nothing else and took it all the way to the ceiling. Well, after removing the upper shelves and the lower cabinets, I decided to remove the entire wall unit to open up the room. Once that was done, I knew that even the original shelves had to go. That’s now done and the walls have been patched and scraped.
I moved on to the bedroom closets and took them all down. I had the carpenter re-build the wall between the two original bedrooms. On Friday a plumber will remove the baseboard and route the pipes to a new length of baseboard on the exterior wall. Although neither room has a closet now, I figure that the space is much more usable. A new owner can update it further to add closets as desired or even change it into a master suite, expanding the half bath into a full bath and adding a large walk-in closet.
This past weekend, when the painters started on their work, I removed the living room paneling. I had intended to leave the hallway paneling in place, but that’s also coming down to fully brighten up the space. The carpenter will then trim out all the doors with new casing.
Since the “porch” is really the first thing you see upon entry, through the living room, we’re going to enhance that by removing all the white paneling and putting up drywall. The hanging tube “shop lights” will be removed and a few fixtures put up in the ceiling. The original greenhouse windows – the kind designed to put in the opening formerly occupied by a regular double-hung window – will be removed and replaced with new framing and two side by side windows. Upstairs, the desk and shelves in what was once my bedroom will be dismantled to make it less busy looking. We’re leaving the closet and built-in dressers in both upstairs bedrooms, though. I figure that anyone buying the house will eventually take off the roof and build a proper 2nd floor to really expand the space.
I’m hoping to remove the paneling and upstairs desk/shelves this weekend. I’ve been trying to keep my time at the house down to a single full day on the weekend so that I can relax a little the other day or at least spend it on stuff at home.
After the painters are done, the slate floor tiles in the living room (leading from the front door to the kitchen and also from the front door to the porch) and the carpets will come out. I’ll have someone sand all of the wood floors on the first floor and refinish them.
The last step will be to have the house cleaned top to bottom and then get it on the market by the end of January. The stuff in the garage is slated to be donated, but that can happen after the house is on the market.
It has been a whole lot of work and there’s still quite a bit to be done, but we are in the home stretch now. I look forward to seeing the house listed and eventually sold for a good price. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the investment of time and money pays off and that it happens quickly!