When we last toured the house, we examined the front entrance, the living room, and the dining room. Today, because it is all sorts of special, we will do the kitchen. Mind you, this was taken with my ipad because I dropped my iphone and shattered the screen (first time since I started using cell phones since I broke one- I know, I am as surprised as you), so they are not as good. Here is a refresher pic of the dining room:
The kitchen is the door to the left. Here is a view from standing in the doorway:
The kitchen has a drop ceiling, which we ripped out without looking at it because there was no vent in the kitchen, and there was no place for a ceiling fan, and by now I know these idiots and if they have a drop ceiling, it’s because they were too lazy or stupid to fix obviously broken shit. I was not wrong.
That second picture is directly below the commode upstairs, which is great, because I need to move that anyway since the idiots have the toilet in a place where you have to put your knees under the sink to do your business, and the plumber is going to need access anyway. We can use this as an opportunity to fix that without ripping things out, and idf any wiring needs to be done, can deal with that. Panning left from the sink:
The doorway in the last picture leads to the basement. Backing up a bit, here is a picture that is to the right of the cabinets in the second picture, with the doorway to the back porch (AKA THE DECK OF INSTANT DEATH) and the pantry:
As soon as you walk into a pantry, there is another commode, which is going to have to be moved, because who wants to shit right off the kitchen? That makes no sense and is disgusting.
And on the back wall of the pantry, some old shelves:
Finally, here is the wall with my back to the sink:
That is the wall that connects to the dining room, and we are knocking part of that out so the kitchen is bigger and flows into the dining room into a coherent plan. I don’t need or want a big dining room, so we are going to make that space make sense.
I’ve also gone through and made a long list of needs, wants, and desires, and I am prioritizing them and trying to figure out how to budget them and then how to do them in the right order so we do not need to redo things to fix something else on the list. Here it is as of now:
1.) Inspect roof, gutters, insulation, make repairs where necessary
2.) Furnace situation (which vents can we remove, etc.)
3.) structural integrity of first floor- support beams to level droop
4a. drainage and moisture (French drains outside? Seal walls)
4b. new windows
5.) Flooring for first and second floor
6.) Fix or replace both front and back door.
7.) Structural integrity of back deck
8.) Fix wall cracks, paint interior
9.) Kitchen- knock out wall, make kitchen and dining room coherent, appliance, fix pantry, door that closes to basement.
10.) Scrape and paint floor and deal with stairs on front porch
11.) Build garage?
12.) Vent in bathroom, new vanity and floorplan for toilet
13.) Have KA deal with their god damned trees
1.) new railings on deck
2.) new outer doors to basement
3.) lighting out front
5.) new tub
6.) drapes in all rooms
7.) fill in under fence in backyard so animals can not escape
1.) celing fans in every room
2.) good lighting- my eyes are getting shitty and I would like lighting that is not harsh but still does not create glare
3.) hand crafted desk that built into wall that fills entire office so I can roll from computer to computer and have two workstations
4.) raised bed gardens in back yard.
5.) several trees (not ornamental- maple or something solid that can grow and last) for front and back yard
6.) nice rugs and runners
7.) Something for once you enter the house for coats, mail, keys, shoes, umbrellas, etc.
It’s a lot of work. Right now I am in the mental planning phase, where I think about what I want to do while dealing with obvious things (cleaning, extermination, structural integrity issues). So much work.
*** Update ***
Went to the fridge to get some of the ice cream (TURKEY HILL DARK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL ESPRESSO), excited because I am going to sit down and nom nom nom while watching some HGTV I dvr’d and this is what I find:
WHO LEAVES A TABLESPOON OF ICE CREAM? WTF AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT? I need to have a stern talk with the kids.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
Can’t you get HGTV House Hunter Renovations to follow you around and pretend you looked at 2 other houses before you bought this one? That’s how it works according to someone I know who was on the show, and they throw in some sponsor’s products to make it worth your time. I think West Virginia would be new to them.
@the Conster, la Citoyenne: “Hey guys- great show idea. Let’s go to bumfuck West Virginia and follow around a clumsy fat guy with a face for radio.”
Just think how beautiful this house is going to look after all that work is done and don’t despair.
@the Conster, la Citoyenne: The HGTV idea is great. Would make for fun tv.
Exciting Saturday night for me. Just home from racing. Our mastman (the guy responsible for helping get the spinnaker up & down and assisting with jibing the pole) hadn’t been on a sailboat before he took our learn to sail course six weeks ago. We took 4th in a fleet that included four full on racing boats against our cruiser/racer (and several other cruiser/racers or cruisers.) Meaning we beat (on handicap) at least one of the racers and everybody who wasn’t a racer.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
But you have a following (US) and a great story (WALTER- HELLO!!!!), plus the house is going to be beautiful!!!!
Well. About the toilet in the pantry. We lived in a two-story house which had a room off the kitchen. You could close the door and lock it. It had a washer and dryer centered on the back wall. To the left was a walk in pantry with a door. To the right was a toilet. And a sink.
The other option was to go up and down the stairs every time you needed to pee. We quickly made peace with the pantry/laundry/half bath off the kitchen.
You know what, John, I just fucking love you. This is great.
Not meant to imply any criticism, but did you buy this place without going inside? I presume the answer is yes due to the Walter thing. That takes balls. Good luck.
@John Cole: well considering some of the folks that they have had on the show, I wouldn’t rule yourself out. There have been a few couples on there (and perhaps its scripted) who appeared to be somewhat lacking in humanity that I was surprised that the realtor didn’t lock them in and set the house afire.
I have to say, I dig the Snoopy tschotke. Did that come with the place, or did you bring it in?
Why not have us all over for a house-fixer-upper party, Cole? Ya got all these blogserfs, might as well get some use out of them.
The house my daughter and her friends are living in at UVa this year has a toilet in the laundry room, together with some other rather unusual design features.
@Mike J: I am so damned envious hearing your sailing stories. I will have to come out to Seattle sometime soon.
@Omnes Omnibus: I just bought a house.
Biennial selfie and house update.
Moving git repositories again. Getting old sucks. This shit used to be easy. Now I have so many things to keep track of I can no longer remember how to do this intermittent crap.
I have seen quite a few houses here in San Diego that have doors leading to the outside from a bathroom. I had never seen that until I moved here.
John, you know that you are beloved here (for the most part – a few silly trolls excepted), and you have a certain “je ne sais quoi” that would be pretty beguiling for such a show. And the animals. And the blog. We’d pitch in mightily, I think, to show you in the best possible light. Fraternity members too. Possibly worth considering.
On the ice cream front, that made me laugh. When my Dad was courting our beloved stepmom, we were three teenage yard-apes in search of a nurturing mother. We’d go over to her townhouse, and she had a tray of blueberries in the freezer that she was freezing individually so they’d hold their shape when she put them in a container. We kids would each sneak a few every time we were there, until eventually there were about six blueberries left on the tray. She found that hilarious, and we loved her even more for her sense of humor and perspective and nurturing nature.
Pretty sure you are all gruff about the ice cream, and that the boys are as appreciative as we kids were of your generous nature, and the ability to feel safe and loved while you express your pique.
How about planting fruit trees, if you’re going to have trees? Then you could have fresh fruit and maybe do some canning. Applesauce, peach chutney, cherry jam…num, num, num.
I would put ceiling fans in the “needs” category. You’re going to “need” to do electrical work anyway, and going ahead with the ceiling fans, which are surprisingly inexpensive, is as good an excuse as any to check all the wiring. Given the house, it wouldn’t surprise me if you needed a full re-wire. It’s beautiful though. You did good.
Short of trying to get an HGTV crew to come out, have you considered getting bids from contractors rather than piecing it? I did a reno by piecing it, and after it was all over I figured out it would have been cheaper to have gotten bids for the whole shebang.
@Miss Bianca: When you make it here we’ll go sailing.
Major Major Major Major
@? Martin: I saw a tweet a few months back that said “the hardest part of socialism is learning git” and I’m basically still laughing.
Tell us more of this Snoopy Snow Cone Maker.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
If there’s one thing an long time political journalist like Maureen Dowd knows, it’s that Hillary Clinton has no interest in policies. Nope, she’s just like Cersei Lannister, because that’s MoDo’s current favorite show. Had she run in 2012, she would’ve been Betty Draper. In 2010, Skylar White (with Bill as Walter because MoDo writes her column in front of the TV with a big box of wine). And those comparisons would’ve been dead on and insightful and shit.
I wonder if Weigel is representative of the under forties (fifties?) in the Beltway find her schtick pretty worn out.
I envy you the pantry.
I’d also leave the toilet next to the kitchen; I’m not sure there is anywhere else on the first floor to put it and it’s good to have one you don’t have to use steps to get to. YMMV.
I’d move the ceiling fans up to needs if you can afford it, at least in the downstairs rooms and your bedroom. They don’t cost that much and add a ton of comfort for not too much electricity.
Who or what is KA and where are the trees they need to deal with?
That is far more than a tablespoon of ice cream Cole unfair, must retract!
Major Major Major Major
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: ugh, I can imagine the Skylar White ones now.
smedley the uncertain
@Mike J: Sad time of the year here in W NY. Decommissioning the boat for the winter. Just talking tonight about dropping the mast which is always the moment of truth. Hopefully can keep her in ’til Columbus day or so as the last sails up the lake (Erie) are to watch the leaves turn in all their glory. Timing is critical as the Marina travel lift shuts down Oct 31. Then comes the dreaming and planning for the spring; and all the things to do to bring her back to life. Like her owner, shes old and high maintenance so planning the fixes and “upgrades” consumes much of the winter dreaming. Fair winds…
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I hope so. Although shed be replaced by Megan McCardle or Sippy Cup. There’s just this set of opinion writers that have been around too long at the top of the roost. My entire adult life. And I would like them out. Modo, Mitchell, brooks, Dionne, Krystal, will, kraut hammer, Friedman, tweety, mark Barnes, David Gergen, Gail Collins. Can we just throw them from top of the Times building?
I wonder if it’s something from a specific time period, because I’ve seen other early 20th century houses with a powder room right off the kitchen.
The house I grew up in had a powder room in the hallway between the kitchen and the living room, but I’m assuming that’s a location that would not squick John out.
You really should be a TV show. You would have more charm than most of the hosts now on HGTV
As a veteran of living in a great old house with super potential all I can say is look at playing long ball. A sound roof and all new plumbing and electrical should be 1st priority. Pick one or two rooms to survive in before doing the kitchen and bathrooms. Either stop drinking all together or start drinking heavily. You’ll get more done with option 1 but care less with option 2. You can do like I do and alternate. Seriously, it looks like a great starter with a lot of nice woodwork. Regardless of progress, the furry ones will always love you. God I love the smell of drywall dust in the morning!
Oh yeah, make sure gutters are good … no, great, and water drains away from the building.
I love seeing the house pictures, John. A suggestion: if you’re worried about light, consider putting in some skylights. If the roof is sound and needs no repairs, well, you may not want to poke holes in it, but if it needs work, I’m here to tell you, fixed skylights are great. (“Fixed” means they don’t open. You probably know that.) I have one in my living room and one in my kitchen and I love ’em. In my county no permits are necessary for fixed skylights as long as they’re not too big. I think mine are 24″ x 36″ by whatever the hell depth, I’m not sure.
I recommend fruit trees. I have a plum tree and a persimmon tree, and it is awesome getting fruit every year; I hand bags of plums and persimmons to the neighbors, and get zucchini and tomatoes and fresh eggs back.
Speaking as a recent renovator of a kitchen and master bath, go with under-cabinet LED lighting in the kitchen, especially if you are feeling the aging eyes effect. Don’t get put of of LED’s because someone said they are too harsh; the newest generation has a very natural spectrum. Having those installed made a huge difference for my cooking activities, and I’m a lot faster with a knife now that I can see well. I wish I could pack up the wonderful father and son contractors we had and send them to you, they were amazing, incredible work ethic, and reasonably priced.
Also speaking as a growing-oldster, you’re going to want a toilet somewhere on the first floor; trust me on this, because your knees will let you know sooner or later that stairs suck. We’re contemplating a move to an entirely different state to (1) escape how crowded Denver is now, and (2) because the place we are looking at has a large stock of single story housing. Maybe you could come up with a different entry into the pantry.
Last bit of advice: make a scale drawing of each floor, make tons of copies, and get busy with some markers to see what you can come up with. I spent 6 months planning every bit of our recent remodel, and by taking my time I solved some huge problems easily that I wouldn’t have seen without doing this. Trust me, it helps. It’s cheaper to make the mistakes in your head or on paper.
@Major Major Major Major: I view the evolution of source code control to be a long downhill slog. The transition from cvs to svn introduced a much higher rate for false positives for conflicts. Git did away with (or at least greatly weakened) the notion of a central repo. God only knows what happens next.
While I’m ranting, does anyone know of a good way to have a team work on a MS Word document ? Passing around a copy of the document with track changes on doesn’t scale to more than two people (if that).
My first house needed a lot of updating. We were young and didn’t have a lot of money and did most of the work ourselves. It was very satisfying but I’m glad to not have to do it anymore.
@StringOnAStick: We did a major remodel 15 years ago, and I was at that point armed with decades of experience with kitchens that didn’t work for me. One thing we did at that time was put lights so that they illuminated all workspaces. One area that often gets overlooked is the sink, and then you end up standing facing the sink and your body casting a shadow so that you can’t see what you are doing. I put three recessed fixtures over (i.e. directly above) the sink area, and am truly glad that I did.
ETA: re: lighting – this is particularly true since I have gone from 50 y/o to 65 y/o during that period, and need more work lighting.
@Lizzy L: Solatubes are a great alternate to skylights. Basically all that is on the roof is a small round dome, then a mirrorized pipe that runs down to your ceiling, with what looks like a recessed light cover. Advantages: smaller hole cut into the roof, fully sealed so no heat loss in the winter, and if you live someplace where the sun is as intense as here (Colorado), none of the huge summer heat gain either. Skylights here tend to make for places where you can’t put furniture because of sun fade or just too darned hot to sit there while the sun is shining on that spot; not a problem with Solatubes (there are probably other brands now, Solatubes was the first).
I think how solar anything got a bad rap was in the 1970’s it was one size fits all, anyplace, so solutions that were great in say New England were totally inappropriate in Colorado. Solar an many aspects of remodeling need to consider the local climate, with all that entails. I see so many 1970’s solar envelop houses here that are basically unlivable in the summer, but probably would have been OK someplace else.
Major Major Major Major
@divF: you want collaboration on a document that’s anything like version control, you gotta use markdown and git lol. A google doc is better at it than word though, if that’s an option.
ETA: how do you mean git got rid of the idea of a central repo? There’s almost always a canonical one.
@Major Major Major Major: This was technical not substantive, right?
@StringOnAStick: Agree about the lighting. My kitchen lighting is overhead LED lighting from IKEA, and it’s wonderful, I can see everything, it’s bright but not harsh.
And yes about the first floor toilet. I’m on one floor so I don’t have that issue, but the thought of having to go up stairs (and down again) every time I need to get to the john makes my knees twinge.
Major Major Major Major
@Omnes Omnibus: not quite sure what that question means.
ETA: like the Bundy lawyer, I understood the words…
I’ve done a reasonably through renovation on a not as old house to make it more livable and I agree with you 100% on the planning. It also helps if you have done a lot of the type of work you will be getting into, or know good contractors/craft people who you can use if necessary.
Build garage? Fireplace?
Beacoups bucks, those.
@Major Major Major Major: The sentence was grammatical, but it made no sense to me. Tech talk?
Second this. Fruit trees make believing in heaven reasonable. If you don’t feel like picking them some years, you can offer them to a friend or let the birds have them. If you get self-polinating types you don’t need two of each kind. And some grapes? Funny thing, is you can give them a nice start and then neglect fruit trees and grapes and still get fruit. Oh, maybe !! pecan !!!!
Also, add inspect foundation to your list.
Major Major Major Major
@Omnes Omnibus: ah. Yes. ‘Git’ is a program that tracks plaintext documents, and lets you make ‘branches’ of the whole project, track the changes, merge them, who did what, down to the character. It’s hard but once you get used to it it’s powerful. There’s nothing similar for the written word. ‘Markdown’ is a formatting system where *this* is bold, and so forth, so you could track it with git if you wanted, as it’s plain text.
@Major Major Major Major: I’ve used Google docs, it is much better than Word. As an editing system, I don’t know how it scales to large documents. If there is enough math in the document, I can generally browbeat my coauthors into using latex and a ASCI-text-based source-code control system.
Re: git. My recollection from the one time I used it (teaching a software engineering class), was that there were more hoops to jump through to get it to work with a strong central repo model, as opposed to the every user is a repo model. I’d be happy to be enlightened there as well (a pointer to a document / web site).
@Peale: Maybe from Trump Towers? If the Donald could get the broadcast rights, he would go for it. It would be yuge! And classy! And he could kill someone on the street and still get elected!
I worked at a company that put out an 80-100 page color glossy mag a month and the only way they handled the editing was to have a strict control of the direction of flow with a word document. And once that document was final, the only person allowed to handle it was the layout editor. She used Quark to layout and so did I with the five 60-80 page rule books I had to publish each year. In some ways I was lucky I was the only one to open or edit any of the files that made up the books because that was the control. Some chapters had to be the same, word for word in every book and they weren’t when I took over the job, because several people had access. I took that away to control the process but of course had to put together a process to address changes properly rather than just someone randomly changing stuff.
Who wants a bathroom off a kitchen? An older person who can’t get upstairs so easily anymore. Or a person with teenagers who can’t wait around all morning to use the only bathroom. So you put it where it will fit without building new walls and where it can be connected to existing water pipes without much new plumbing.
@Major Major Major Major:
We all have our jargon. I still haven’t figured out what collateral estoppel is.
@Aleta: If you are going to put a bathroom off the kitchen, particularly with the open plan you would like to have, let me suggest that you put in additional sound insulation for said bathroom. Both tinkles and grunts make more noise than you might credit.
ETA: Responding to Aleta, but intended for John Cole. Also, I agree with the idea of a ground floor bathroom.
@Major Major Major Major: Okay. Yep. A tech thing.
Also too, regarding plumbing – copper! And undo cutting through the floor joists – chases and dropped ceiling (if absolutely necessary – will keep things from crashing to lower floors. Always a bummer if it happens during football Saturday…Sunday.
@divF: That was all I was asking. if it was tech talk, I don’t know it. And, yes, it is the same thing if lawyers go all technical.
I think this is a really really cool house with a ton of potential. I am assuming you got a bargain because you said nobody else bid on it. Are you going to sub a lot of the work out? Hpw much time are do you have? Don’t you need to get the water damage related stuff out of the way before winter which is right around the corner. I just have couple of pieces of advice – make sure you know the value of the houses in the neighborhood and don’t overspend to where you won’t get it back if you have to sell it,for whatever reason. If you can pull it off try and make one floor rentable on its own. Again,you never know what life will bring you and if you end up in a tight spot financially you could rent it out for some income. I.know a guy who managed to hang onto his house during the crash by renting a couple of rooms out.
Major Major Major Major
@divF: well you can certainly use git WRONG. the big projects I’ve been on have a central master branch and does managed pull requests. Shrug.
@Omnes Omnibus: Every field has its own specialized terminology. One essay on the subject of jargon cited the quote, “sometimes this sire can throw undesirable traits”. Usually used by horse or dog breeders, but I could see it might have application in discussing the Trump family.
You know you live in the house from American Horror Story, right?
Another thing to consider with lighting is bulbs that produce multicolor light and can be automated. I’ve got my kitchen light set to come on 20 minutes before sunset and it turns off when I put my phone in my charger at night. I never walk into a completely dark kitchen, the girls are really happy about that(they don’t get their paws stepped on).
@divF: An ideal place in my mind is off an entry door. If the dogs are muddy, hose them off there. If you’re working in the yard, wash mud off your hands without going through the house. Friends partying on the deck, same. Kids playing in the yard, same. Easier to fill the outside water bowls for the animals too.
Major Major Major Major
@divF: that’s one of the weirder things about being in an industry town like San Francisco. Everywhere you go somebody is using domain language.
@Major Major Major Major:
Central control – why that’s fascism ! :-)
I lived in a house that had the garage turned into 2 bedrooms and had an exterior small building that I lived in. The landlord rented out 3 of the 5 bedrooms and my room in the exterior building and that paid their costs other than utilities. Could get a little crowded in the kitchen but it all worked out. It was good for me, I had no job and had to live on my SS income. My rent was cheap and that was what I needed.
@Ruckus: Wow. I’m just a poor math algorithms researcher, with occasional forays into software documentation. Strictly amateur night, relative to that.
Major Major Major Major
@divF: hey, I said you CAN! unix lets you do stupid things because unix lets you do clever things.
I realize we’re only seeing half of it, but that kitchen looks kinda small. Expanding out into the dining room is an excellent idea.
I live in a townhouse complex, and all the units are identical in layout. But one of my neighbors knocked out the half-wall between the kitchen and dining room, and ran a counter with cabinets beneath through the opened space, along the dining room wall. It looks splendid.
Do you intend to stay in your current home until the new one is done? If you can afford to, that would be best: you wouldn’t have to camp out in one or two rooms with the rest visqueened off. It would also be a lot easier on the animals.
Are you bringing the roommates with you? Definitely want to have that second bathroom, then! (How many are in your current house?)
Yes indeedy. Handy to basement, to back porch and yard, easy to plumb what with kitchen pipes right there, etc. Ideal location in many ways.
Nothing “disgusting” about it provided one knows how to use a toilet, and the room’s own sink is an easy installation if it doesn’t already have one..
@Major Major Major Major:
As opposed to Alan Perlis’s Turing Tar-Pit
@NotMax: All this talk of bathroom design is getting an ad for the Toto Washlet popping up at the top of the page.
Cole – have you had someone check for lead paint? If you plan on scraping old paint, you may want to know what’s in the dust. Not a bad idea for a home if your vintage.
@the Conster, la Citoyenne:
I think the HGTV idea would be great. I was wondering which show, but House Hunters Renovations would be good.
I think you’d be great for TV. Between your current pet menagerie and the Walter rescue, you have a a very good story for TV. Plus WVa is very scenic and beautiful.
I say take off, nuke it from orbit.
It’s the only way to be sure.
@gene108: Damnit you just made me picture the “instrumental nature” cut away – you know, some country twang over a field of subarus.
Try Otterbox cases for your next phone
I have one for my iPhone and it has survived numerous drops.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: and the press wonders why Hillary Clinton has a perception issue, gee, maybe because of people like MoDo who’ve been sharpening her own personal axe for roughly 30 years. If she’s supposed to be a representative voice among the village and this is her opinion of HRC, I wonder what she must think of her opponents.
Actually not as bad as it sounds. The first year was horrible but after I got control of it most of the problems were gone. BTW I had to fight to get Quark because my boss wanted me to continue to use blue line, which was outdated 20 some yrs ago and sucked donkey balls. You sent out a document, someone typeset it and sent back a copy which looked like an old time blueprint. That was read and corrected and sent back to be redone. This sometimes took a few tries to either get it right or to give up for another year. Also the editorial was being written by several different people, most of whom didn’t really understand what they were writing. It was amazingly horrible from a customer standpoint. Especially if they ever saw one of the other books. Quark allowed all of that to be brought in house, or more appropriate into my control. So the typesetting became more consistent, the misspellings corrected, the layout cleaned up, drawings and pictures updated……..
Once I passed the second year most was easy with the exception that no one would pay any attention to deadlines for printing which also controlled how soon the books were ready for distribution which was important because this was professional sports and a rulebook is vital to making every one play well and get along with each other.
We all have job issues. That was one of mine. Can’t recall a better day in my life than the one when I gave the CEO my 2 week notice.
Like that built-in in the first pic – hope you’re keeping it.
In my day a young man from West Virginia would be proud to say he had a house that allowed him to shit right off the kitchen. Young Mr. Cole may be getting a little too full of himself, I reckon.
Major Major Major Major
@divF: nobody said being clever is easy. Especially in bash.
@Major Major Major Major: UNIX; the operating system of the future, for the last 40 years.
@Major Major Major Major: Such a fine line, really.
@Kay Eye: .
Where is the laundry room. Anyway that you can have it on the,floor with the bedrooms?
Just redo the bathroom on the first floor. See if you can add a shower to it. Whether or not you go through with your plans to foster, expanding that bathroom to include a shower will be good for you in the future.
Major Major Major Major
@?BillinGlendaleCA: most popular in the world!
Yeah to getting rid of the formal dining room for a bigger kitchen
2nd whoever said ceiling fans in every room. Life-changing. Also good windows, for quiet and temperature control and looks.
I love that we get to see this unfold …
That is not a tablespoon and you are becoming untrollable. That might be a blog record.
One of the weirdest houses I’ve ever toured had a bathroom between the kitchen and the outside. If you opened both doors, you could see clear from the kitchen to the backyard, with the toilet right there off to the side. Of course, that house also had teal shag carpet and psychedelic orange walls…
@Calming Influence: Haulin’ the privvy int’ the pantry might be an improvement over the outhouse to some people’s mind. For our like it’s a dang foolish idea not worth a plug nickel in a coffin.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
If ceiling fans in every room are a desire, then prewiring for them in every room is a need. Add that to the electrical bid when you get it.
I wish you could import the contractor who worked on a friend’s house; he specializes in Victorians/Edwardians. They were living in the house while he jacked the foundation….
Make them all switch to LaTeX? :-)
(I see from later comments that you probably would if you could…)
Also, Git isn’t that bad, except for … well, except for a lot of stuff, much of which comes from weird terminology and poor teaching, combined with all the myriad rough edges in the early versions.
The Snoopy thing is a snow cone machine. You put ice in the top and turn the lever and after an exhausting 5 or 10 minutes, you have the equivalent of a small snow ball & it comes with flavors and small cups. My daughter is 40 now & when she was about 5 yrs. old, she begged for a Snoopy Snow Cone machine from Santa. They were advertised heavily on TV at cartoon time. It brings a few tears to my eyes seeing it. We had fun with it at the time. My granddaughter would probably love one now.
@gene108: Otterbox works well for me too, although I managed to break a clip on my previous one (so that the phone would fall out of the holster thing). Had to buy a new complete assembly, but that was just as well as I had deep gouges in the plastic cover over the phone glass.
The house I live in was built in 1898. There is a toilet off the kitchen in a bump out. I was told by my neighbor it was the outhouse attached to the house. At the time it was very high tech. I use it most of the time I’m on the first floor. Very handy when working in the yard.
Dwarf fruit trees would be good to plant. Less need to get up on a ladder in the future to pick.
Jack the Cold Warrior
Love the update, look forward to the rehab!
Off topic, this should get the Vets on the site’s blood up:
I’d make pet escape prevention a need, because even if it takes truckloads full of fill dirt, it’s gotta br cheaper than the resulting guilt for an unspeakable accident.
@Major Major Major Major: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever”
Consider nut trees for shade. I love pecans and they have bred blight resistant chestnuts now. Chestnuts used to be part of the history of your area. Also nut Teresa are stronger for carrying snow loads or resistant to wind. Apples are also good in your area. Do not plant grapes as they are somewhat poisonous to pets in a random way.
Don’t do the floors till you have all wall changes in and cuboards figured out. Probably want plastering and painting done first too as they involve small spills and spattering so which would fall down on floor.
Can the bathroom door be changed to enter from another room and make it bigger? Close the door from the kitchen.
@CaseyL: Small kitchens are good. The place I live in, the kitchen is gigantic and I spend a lot of time traipsing from one unit to the other. I make sandwiches in case I get hungry on my journey to the microwave.
If John was planning on catering ten-person formal dinners on a regular basis then a big kitchen (and paid staff) would be useful but otherwise it’s a waste of floor space and inefficient. The early Victorian family flat I live in, the kitchen would have had a cook and skivvy (helper) as well as the lady of the household moving around in it hence its size (about 250 square feet). A small kitchen is a lot easier to keep clean and hygenic too, especially with pets underfoot.
Smart planning for the layout is important though — light, storage, counters, appliances etc. Hiring a professional to do it beforehand is better than well-meaning amateurs or DIY design.
@Aleta: That’s exactly what all those powder rooms off the kitchen are, former pantries sacrificed for a bathroom on the main floor. And the one in my former house in Chicago was indispensable with kids around. Bathroom fans dampen a lot of sound.
My new house has a tiny kitchen, with the former small 3×5 back porch enclosed to make a tiny room exclusively used by the refrigerator. I can’t rip out walls, because they’re exterior brick loadbearing ones, and ripping out the only sink and 3 feet of counter space to bring it into the kitchen itself (moving the sink over) leaves me with no counter surface. I can add a small kitchen island under the windows opposite, but I gave up a beautiful large kitchen to have a larger and more beautiful house. And now I’m figuring out how to reconfigure this kitchen so I can prepare food.
A small kitchen being better could only be said by someone who doesn’t have and/someone who doesn’t cook or cook with their partner. One of the reasons I want to get rid of this giant house we have is that I can’t stand the small kitchen anymore.
I hope you hire a drywaller for that ceiling. That is hard work and I don’t think you want to be doing it on ladders.
Also, did you check to see if the previous homeowners actually mounted the cabinets to studs? Because given their other work there’s a good chance that it’s just screwed into the lath. If they’re secure they’re actually in okay enough condition to be re-aligned and used.
Countertops look decent (are those block or laminate?). And your floor is nice and even. If you bust out a steam cleaner you can get that grout restored and it should be good as new.
regarding your appliances and lighting, I can’t recommend IKEA enough. They are much cheaper than the other box guys and their quality (below their absolutely bottom-line stuff) is pretty good. They will deliver everything to your house for $50 to $200 in most cases.
If you’re okay with swag lighting, floor lamps, and such, they’re the best place to get it. Target has some good stuff too but it’s a bit more expensive.
If you want to hard wire lights everywhere than you’re looking at an electrician and attendant $$$. Remember with ceiling fans to ensure that 1) the correct ceiling fan box is installed (a ceiling light box is not strong enough) and that it’s actually mounted to a joist.
I also put in undercabinet lights, which is a relatively cheap but highly valuable addition for anyone who cooks. You don’t really need an electrician for those. You can either plug them into a socket or wire them directly to the side screws on an outlet (not exactly code since the wire is not romex, but I’ve seen building inspectors approve them). If the kitchen has plenty of wall outlets (and it should) you can do it just by punching a small hole in the wall and fishing the wire through.
One last thing. Bathrooms being attached to kitchens is pretty typical. You might want to consider flipping your back door, which currently opens/bangs into your countertops. We did it for our kitchen, which also functions as a main entrance into the house (annoying but it can be worked with) and it should be less expensive than your think. Use the same door and use bondo or your epoxy of choice to fill in the old knob/lock holes.
@satby: I’d love to see some pics of your new house. Or put them on your own site? Anyway, I am interested.
@geg6: It can take me five seconds to get to the stove at the other end of our kitchen if something starts to boil over. It takes ages to clean everything, like the four metre long counter running along one wall. We don’t actually use all of it and pretend the extra two metres doesn’t exist for purposes of hygeine (at the moment it’s got the microwave and some assorted kibble holding down the far end). If we had live-in paid kitchen staff which the keelplate owners of this flat had then a kitchen this size would make sense in today’s world but nope.
Back then most folks made bread, baked everything, cooked everything from raw materials. Nowadays with convenience foods, cans, packets etc. a gigantic kitchen is a hobbyist’s fantasy workshop or only suitable for a large family or group. This doesn’t apply to John, I think.
A couple of friends of mine are foodies and their kitchens are tiny, but they can stand in one spot and reach everything important (sink, cookertop, ovens etc.). What they don’t have in their kitchens is crap they don’t need right now to do what they want to do — no Cuisinart sitting on display on a worktop, no breadmaker ready to hand and gathering dust, no decorative spiceracks etc. They plan what they intend to do, arrange their working space to do it and then clear it up afterwards.
I’d trade all that floorspace for smart storage in a heartbeat.
Step 1) Flamethrower (have someone from out-of-state come in, set yourself up with a solid alibi)
Step 2) Blame it on the KKK, collect insurance
Step 3) Build a brand-new house with a floorplan that f-cking makes sense.
Step 4) Invite everybody over for ice cream
@Elizabelle: I’m still unpacking(!!) But I will put some up to share in about a week. I can at least show off the downstairs by then. Right now, I’m still washing curtains and cleaning years of neglect up.
@satby: actually, the zillow link still has the listing pictures,so this is how it looked when it was first put on sale. Lots of pet stains in the carpets that were down for about 35 years according to the daughter, so those are gone and the main floor is sanded and refinished to match the rest of the woodwork. That picture of the kitchen is the entire kitchen, and that counter is less than 5 feet long including the double sink. That’s my main challenge right now, that and no dishwasher.
Loved the ice cream picture. Living in a house with three growing boys, I could guarantee that any ice cream container in the freezer would look just like that. It’s funny how no one would eat the last spoonful, because then they would have to go to the trouble of throwing out the container.
Also, remembering my experience with the three boys and multiple pets, you want a downstairs bathroom, preferably close to the back door.
Definitely put the ceiling fans on the “need” list. One in the bedroom at least, others where they’ll pull the most heat out of the house in the summer. An attic fan if there’s a louvered and screened window to the outside. You’ll save the money many times over in airco costs.
Nice! I like the woodwork and the size of your yard. Keeping the man cave?
@satby: The woodwork in your house is lovely, and I’ll bet it looks even better with the matching floors. Is the pool table in an extra room or in a basement?
I have to, to get that pool table out it would have to be dismantled. It’s a full sized one from a bar. But it will give my sons something to do when they visit.
@Josie: it’s in the basement.
@PaulWartenberg2016: There was this guy I knew, and yes his name really was Vinnie, who had a ratecard. He would break someone’s kneecaps for 50 bucks in his back pocket, airfare both ways and a home-cooked meal. I don’t know what his price for a convenient house fire would be though. Sadly he is no longer with us — he had a love affair with the bottle and eventually his liver ran up the white flag.
@satby: I’m jealous – we don’t have basements here. Looks like that could be a good soap making center.
@Josie: that was my original idea, dedicated space for soap making, but it turns out that’s also the only hook-up space for a washer and dryer: behind the bar. So I turned an upstairs bedroom into my production facility. It’s not as convenient, but it’s working for now.
The door lintels are great. I have never seen a retrofitted skylight that didn’t leak. Unless you’re replacing the roof entirely and can have the skylights opart of the new construction, lighting is your friend.
Jennifer Rubin is telling us all that Trump has to show temperament. The other beltway consensus is that Clinton CANNOT appear to be overprepared. I personally would love to get my tumbrel driver’s license.
@satby: Hah, a house like that, if located here instead of there, would likely run somewhere between 750 and 900 grand. Of course out here we don’t usually have basements, so for the same size above ground, the square footage would drop and the price might be a highly affordable 600k…
@Cat48: I was excited to see it! I had one as a kid, and I’m crossing into my 50’s.
J R in WV
In rural WV talking old farmhouses, most of the bathrooms were in little additions next to the kitchens. Because this was the most inexpensive way to do an indoor bathroom while installing running water into a kitchen. Our farmhouse didn’t have running water or central heat when we bought the place.
For the first year we dipped water out of a hand-dug well. The old farmhouse is gone now, but the hand dug well is still there, used for dipping water to brew beer with. It sits beside a big soft sandstone seam at the bottom of the ridge, and so normally the water is sand-filtered.
so many or our friends living on farms have their only bathrooms just off the kitchen. And two bathrooms are essential if you suppose that anyone living in or visiting in the home may ever have a temporary or permanent digestive disorder, like Crohn’s or the more common Irritable Bowl Syndrome. Or just an intestinal virus/food poisoning.
And second what people have said about stairs/knees/bathrooms – have a bathroom on each floor you spend time on.
@satby:, @Chris T.:
satby, I love your house! It looks a bit like the saltbox houses out here in Seattle – and, like Chris T’s town, Seattle is another one where $750K-900K is about what you’d pay. Maybe a good bit more once the bidding war was over.
I really, really like the widows that are nearly floor to ceiling. My townhouse has a lot of balconies, so a lot of sliding glass doors; essentially, floor to ceiling windows in nearly every room. Makes it so incredibly light and airy that houses with “normal” windows now seem dark to me.
The fridge in its own little room just slays me. Maybe you could get a portable dishwasher, and just keep it in the dining room when not in use?
Great call on the lighting. We did an addition at a previous house and ended up with a dark corner where a fixture was needed. We built a house a few years ago and I’ll be darned if I didn’t do it again! It’s good to give a lot of thought to every electrical outlet, too. I added extras and don’t regret it. There may a couple of places in your house where outlets inside cabinets work out well.
Think through your trees, for what kind of debris they make. I love maples, but I weed a lot of seedlings from the flower beds every year.
BTW, I like the Turkey Hill Light Vanilla Bean ice cream. It tastes like Dairy Queen to me, especially if topped with hot fudge sauce or strawberries, etc. You can basically make your own Blizzard.
@Cat48: I remember the TV ad as one of those that got played so often that the tape stretched out and made the soundtrack wow and flutter. “And its name is the SnoOopy SnoO-Cone MachEEEEeeeeEEEn!”
@Peale: Yes, please!
@John Cole: Ratings gold! Especially if they can recreate the porch incident a la Highway through Hell.
House I grew up in was a 24′ X 24′ two story Georgian with an unfinished basement. Only bathroom was upstairs. Main floor was dining & living room with kitchen. Entry hall had 2 coat closets. Dad made one into a bathroom. He also put a full bath in basement leaving 1/2 unfinished as laundry room and shop.
Added convenience and jealously for Mom.
If you consider a garage go with it early. It makes a great staging area for other projects. 3 carpenters can have one up and finished in 2 weekends.
Check for lead in paint chips too.
@Scott S.: man, I have one as a birthday gift back in the young years. Seeing this warmed my heart.
@StringOnAStick: Great suggestions! We leave our under cabinet lights on at night because they give enough light to walk through the entire living area if someone has to get up. We just bought cheapies at at Lowe’s, and had them wired in during construction.
I agree, throw up a partition wall and keep the toilet. If the pantry is also the laundry room and will have a sink, you won’t need a sink in the BR. It also keeps visitors from traipsing through the upstairs. BTW my plumber recommended Gerber toilets over Toto. He said they wash the bowl better. I absolutely love them, and they stay very nice. MUCH better than the full flow we had at the previous house. I thought the price was reasonable, too.
I’m not visual, so I used scale drawings to plan furniture placement. This helps a lot when a quick decision has to be made as to electrical, lighting, etc.
I have had great luck finding decent area rugs at Tuesday Morning. You just have to keep an eye out. It’s also returnable if necessary, something furniture stores don’t like…
Turkey Hill Belgian Chocolate has me hooked for life.
I am too old for a house renno. Just dehoarding is challenging enough.
@Chris T.: even in Chicago, in this condition it would be at least $200k if not in an absolute crap neighborhood. I’m very lucky!
I know, right? It’s been like that since the 80s I was told. I’m going to sell all three of my current refrigerators: the one in the alcove, the one I dragged from my old house (same type but a years newer) and the small one in the basement too. Then I’ll get a smaller counter-depth one with the freezer on the bottom that will fit in next to the door. And I already picked out an 18 inch dishwasher. For counter space, since I’ll have about a foot, I’m going to put base cabinets and a run of counter in the room now occupied by the fridge, and maybe a desk and chair if it will fit.
You’re planning on replacing the flooring. You’re going to need to do serious ceiling work. Here’s what I’d do.
1) Get someone qualified to identify any interior supporting walls. The walls that hold up the next floor. They can be moved but try not to and avoid that expense. But spend the money to move them if they are really in the wrong place.
2) Draw up a downstairs floor plan that shows only the outside walls, windows, doors and supporting walls. Assume all other walls gone. (Draw another version with no supporting walls.)
3) Make a list of things you want on the first floor. For example:
a) Good sized kitchen
b) Pantry – make it bigger than you think you need
c) “Great room” – dining and living room in a single space
d) Good sized coat closet with room to store the sort of things you need from time to time downstairs.
e) Laundry room with outside door so that it’s easy to take wet laundry outside to hang.
f) Downstairs half bath, wheelchair accessable, with a tiled floor and floor drain. If you get stuck in a chair for a while you can wheel in and hose off. First floor baths with outside doors are very handy for when you’re outside getting muddy and need to poop.
I’ve seen some nice laundry room/half bath “suites”. Put the toilet in an alcove (with assist bar backing in the walls). A folding/swinging door puts it out of sight. The middle of the laundry room floor could be the ’emergency’ shower. And a tiled floor with a drain preps you for when you have a washing machine disaster. A laundry sink can double as the toilet sink.
This is the time to get it right. Spend adequate time thinking out your desires and build them in now, not when you have to tear out perfectly good stuff that you’ve paid for.
BTW, windows and doors can be moved.
Make your ‘blank slate’ drawings nice and big on a piece of graph paper. Then make a pile of copies. Then start just drawing circles/bubbles for the features you want (pantry, kitchen, etc.) about where you want them and make the circle about the size of each feature.
Look at stuff like traffic flow. Figure out the route for groceries coming to the kitchen. Where you’re going to send guests when they need to pee (create privacy). Draw arrows from bubble to bubble to show traffic direction.
Make lots of drawings with variations. There’s no need for your kitchen to be where it is now. Remember, you’re redoing the plumbing and the floors. Want the kitchen to be close to the garden? Make it so. Want a great view when your guests sit down to dinner? Might need bigger windows looking out on the yard rather than the street.
Go wild with the drawings. Paper costs nothing, especially compared to ending up at “If only I had ….” a couple years from now.
Don’t let what is there determine the final product. Go ahead and rip out that kitchen crap now so that you have an easier time thinking about other places where you might want the kitchen to be.
Insulate. Very important. Seal the old lady up as you go. Cut your energy needs. Since you’ve got major sheetrock/plaster/paint work to do it might be a good time to fill the outside wall cavities with insulation if there’s none.
Investigate modern heat pumps. Very efficient. Big heating/AC savings possible.
Put things like pantries and closets on the north wall if possible. Or on a wall that might get blasted by wind in a winter storm. Reduce heat loss.
Save energy. Save money. Save the planet from extreme climate change.
Make your house Great!
Fruit trees. Full dwarf as much as possible.
With full dwarfs you can grow as much fruit per land area as with larger trees. You just plant more trees and put them closer together. Which means that you can have more varieties.
With full dwarfs you do not need a ladder to prune or pick. Or throw a bird net over.
And, being shorter, they don’t throw as much shade on your garden beds.
Use fruiting trees and shrubs for landscaping. Crabapple trees can be beautiful and make great jelly. Blueberries can make a nice hedge.
@Bess: I hope Cole reads your long comment at #132. There’s a lot of wisdom and experience there!
@WaterGirl: Hey lady! How are you? Did you get my last email?
I’ll join everyone in saying ceiling fans are a must. I bought a house with them in the living room and bedroom and I would never not have them. Keep a bathroom on the first floor. Add a shower if you can. As you get older it’s nice to know that you can buy a futon and have everything you need on one floor only having to go up or down once a week or so. The house looks like it will be fantastic once you have finished.
@NotMax: modern gas insert fireplace is not all that expensive. Certainly something to consider.
@satby: I’m gonna go with “no” because I have been wondering where you’ve been. I will go look and see if I missed something.
edit: just checked and the last one is from you from a week ago, and I replied to that one. maybe resend?
Late to the party, but I can add some add some input gained from having endured numerous apartment renovations over the years, and (Dog help us) building a house from scratch a few years back.
1. Second the reccs to keep the first-floor “bathroom” (ie toilet) – if you’re knocking out walls anyway, you might as well think about simply re-orienting the room (leaving the sewer pipe and water feed where they are, if possible) – a handy john (pun intended) is rarely unappreciated…
2. Also second the notion of ceiling fans. Even with A/C, they’re quite helpful
3. Unless your house is in an area with a high water table/prone to groundwater issues, don’t bother with French drains. Check out the basement – and its water-issue history if you at all can. Unless it floods regularly, you might be able to get away with a thorough sealing, and/or a dehumidifier to deal with atmospheric dampness. But any serious groundwater issues will need serious measures to deal with. Maybe
anecdote: before we built our present house, we looked at a few places for sale in our area (Gt. Barrington, MA) – one house we saw seemed perfect – a large, stylish,modern shingle-sided frame with detached garage/apt – until we opened the basement door. First, the smell of mildew nearly knocked my wife down; secondly, we noticed that the cellar had been (recently) painted up to about 3 feet off the floor, and that all the appliances had been put up on (vertical) cinderblocks. Strangely, after we fled, the owner of the house called me later to recite a catalogue, and background, of its groundwater issues – I guess he thought we would appreciate the honesty – but if water is an issue for you: be sure to check it out very thoroughly.