I took a bunch of "before" pictures last Friday after we closed on the house, and I'm really glad I did. Monday morning our contractors (two brothers from a Loooooooong line of carpenters who still have dad in on the design and budget side of the business) got to work gutting the house and by the end of the day the house was unrecognizable. It was amazing. The guys are work animals. I know it is only the first week, but I think we struck gold finding these guys.
Before I begin this tour I must warn you not to get scared. I think it is saying something that everyone I have taken through the house so far has asked me if I've seen the movie "The Money Pit". Yes, I have. And I don't want to talk about it. ;)
The house has great structure, but everything else needs to go. Remember, this was a foreclosure property. So just bare that in mind, please.
Let's start outside.
(Click to enlarge all photos)What you can't see in this picture is the wood rot around the windows, the crazy bumpy, cracked driveway, the ugly front porch, and the hideous front door. It doesn't look that bad from this distance but up close it is a hot mess. But, BUT! It is right on top of Lake Michigan. If I just panned to the left of the house you would see it. I forgot to take a shot of that, but we are up on a cliff basically one house away from the lake. We step out of the front door and can see my beautiful lake. And you can hear the waves too. Love that!!!! You all know how much I love my lake. :) If not, see my label on my sidebar for Lake Michigan.
Okay, back to the house. We are staining the white brick to a nice, warm tan color and residing the rest with a warm brown. Gables, new windows, and a new front door will be added and the front porch will get a nice renovation too. The garage is going to be extended into the backyard to make it more like a 4 car garage. It will still look like a two car but will have a ton of space for Todd to have his little workshop, or do whatever it is he wants to do in there.
Let's move inside, shall we?
This is what you see (minus the weird old briefcase someone left there) the minute you walk in the door. It really caught our eye. I love it. Obviously not the dirty carpeting, the nasty wallpaper, or the rusty chandelier, but the structure of it all. We are putting tile (I think slate) in the entrance way, new carpeting on the stairs, a new wood railing, and a fabulous wrought iron chandelier in the center. We are unsure of the wall color as yet, but probably something like a warm tan color.
Now let's go upstairs.
The first room you see at the top of the stairs is the master bedroom. It is really large so I needed to take two views of it.
The patio doors will be taken out and the catwalk outside the doors is being ripped out because it is rotten. We are installing a window to match the rest of the windows on the backside of the house.
The little alcove you see right next to the patio doors will be enclosed and made into a massive walk in closet. There is another walk in closet on the other side of the master but it won't be as big because we are using some of that space to make the master bath bigger.
Here is the crazy master bath as it is now (well, before it was gutted, that is).
And this is the very scary shower that was in the master bath. There was a laundry room behind this wall, so that was knocked down making it one big bathroom that we can easily fit a double sink, toilet, bath, and walk in shower. Very exciting!
Okay. We are moving out of the master bedroom and walking around the open staircase to the other side of the house where the kids' bedrooms and bath is.
The first bedroom you see will be the baby's room. It is bigger than it looks but I only took one picture of it. All of the kids' bedrooms are nice size and have wonderful closet space.
In between the baby's room and Ben's room is the bathroom. It is a nice size bathroom but you can't tell because the vanity (the longest vanity I think I've ever seen) takes up the whole room. We will still have double sinks, but the vanity will be normal size.
Like I said, the other side of the bathroom is where Ben's room will be.
Next to Ben's room is Tommy and Joe's room. It has double closets and the BEST view of Lake Michigan. Lucky little turds.
Now let's go back downstairs. Around the open staircase we go! The railing is really weak and VERY low. Everytime the boys go in the house I pull them to me and don't let them anywhere near it. We are replacing it with a rounded wall which will be much more safe and sturdy, but will still keep that open feel.
At the bottom of the staircase on the lefthand side is an office. I am turning it into a library. Shelves EVERYWHERE.
I think this is one of the rooms I am most excited about. I have always wanted a library/study since Todd took me to London and we stayed at his friend's gorgeous home. He had a library room that I fell in love with and now am going to try and copy.
A built-in desk will be put in where the wetbar currently is.
Walk across the entrance to the right side of the stairs and you will see the formal living room. Todd and I have never been a fan of formal living rooms. They seem to be a waste of space. So, we are making this room our formal dining room.
Walk through the now planned dining room and turn right (it is an L shaped room) and that is where the original dining room was. We are putting up a wall to make the L shape room into two rooms and turning the former dining room into part of our kitchen. Basically where we will put our kitchen table.
This is the view of the kitchen. On the other side of the furthest wall is where we plan to put the kitchen table so we are knocking that wall down to make it all one room. The window on the right will be taken out and we are extended the countertop further and adding a breakfast bar at the end of it.
This is the opposite view of the kitchen, looking at the family room. The patio door will be closed up and moved closer to the kitchen to give us more furniture options. We are also knocking out the right wall of the family room to make the room bigger. The fireplace will get a big overhaul. Those weird flat stones will be knocked out and shelves (I am a huge fan of shelves, by the way) will be built on either side.
And, last but not least, the backyard. It is actually much bigger than it looks in the picture. I just didn't want to back up anymore and wind up in the pool. The pool (on the bottom left of the picture) will be taken out and filled in to have more grass and room for the boys to play. There is a tiki hut and changing room to the right of this picture that is rotten (and has a bees nest in it) will be torn down and we will probably put a playset there for the boys. The shed is also rotten and will be torn down. A few of the trees are rotten and have to be cut down, but the yard will still be encased with trees. I love the privacy. We are also putting up a new fence since, yep you guessed it, the current fence is rotten. The patio will be torn up and a new one put in. Whew! I think that about covers it.
On top of all that I have mentioned, we are also putting in a new furnace and all new duct work (since it had an old boiler system that needed to be replaced anyway), new pipes, adding walls, and taking others out. All new interior and exterior doors and windows too. There is another half bath on the first floor next to the garage entrance (kind of inbetween the library and the family room), along with three nice sized closets. I forgot to take pictures of that area but that is gutted as well. And I didn't take any pictures of the basement because it was just too dark and scary, but we are finishing that off too. There will be a movie room (like a man cave I suppose) and a playroom for the boys. My laundry room will be down there too. Basically everything in the house will be new. It will be like a brand new construction.
Saturday we are going to pick out all of our kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, and countertops. Very exciting, people! Also very consuming. I have been dreaming paint colors, furniture, and light fixtures the last few days. I think my brain is at it's capacity now.
Tomorrow I will post the first week's gutting progress if you are interested. The house looks so different. Kind of scary that it looks better without the carpeting and everything in it but it really does.
Okay. Go ahead now. Tell me how crazy we are. We know. But we also know it will be amazing when it is done. We are so lucky to have found this property at a third of it's value. There is no way we could have afforded this neighborhood (or house) otherwise. Once all the work is done the house will be worth twice the amount of money we put into it. It is very exciting. We are just keeping our fingers crossed that the process continues to go as smoothly and as quickly as it has so far.
(If you got through that extremely long post, I. Am. Impressed! Sorry about the stars at the end here. I think I have too many pictures and my spacing got all messed up)