Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Guided Tour

Okay, who wants a tour of the new house? A show of hands, please? Okay. I thought so.

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)


Laura said...

WOW - what a great house...and I am certain you will make it a wonderful home. Cannot wait to see you all moved in!!!!

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

You are a brave soul.

You are right, the structure is there, but if I walked into a house with that wallpaper in the stairway, I wouldn't have been able to look past it.

I can't wait to see the progress.

Jaimie Kylene said...

I think it's going to be great!
I'm really looking forward to seeing the progress, also :-)

Maybe you already answered this, but when are you hoping to move in??

Rosaria Williams said...

You'll love every change and forget everything else. Building, rebuilding can be stressful; but, it is so worth it.


Mom24 said...

What fantastic bones. It's going to be amazing. Kuddos to you for having the vision to see what you could do with it. I can't wait to see the afters! So much fun to get to do everything over.

La Pixie said...

I see so much promise!! its gonna be perfect. I am really happy for you. prolly because I am trying to buy a house myself right now, and I know what you have gone through, and I can only imagine how happy I will be to close. CONGRATS

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I'm so jealous! Even though it will be a lot of work, how FUN that everything YOU get to pick out to what YOU love. And the house itself IS a great find! I can't wait to see the work in progress (and then the FINSIHED product!!).

Jessa said...

That is going to be (excuse the language) one HELL of a house! OMG, right on the lake like that?? Seriously girl once you finish that thing it will be your own private mansion. Having lived mere blocks off your lake just to the north of you -- JEALOUS! Beautiful, beautiful!! I can not wait to see it finished.

Unknown said...

What? I don't understand why you are changing everything! I REALLY LOVE the hall bath!! Good luck with everything....we did it to our old house and I was never so happy and content when it was all done! :)

Lindsay said...

Really - do you think it's wise to tear down all that lovely wallpaper and iron railings and BEAUTIFUL chandelier?? I would LOVE to have that as my decor.

...........okay - maybe NOT. I seriously find it amazing that people would sell a house so OUTDATED when they could obviously make more money if it was even just a tiny bit updated (ie: wallpaper!)

I love your visions - and am amazed you're taking on such a huge undertaking, while about to give birth!! Good luck my friend - but have'll (probably and hopefully) only have to do this once!! Can't wait to see those AFTER pics!

Riahli said...

Wow. That's about all I can say, just wow! :)

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

That's a great house! Hope you post several in-progress photos.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I'm so excited for you! That house has great bones. I can't wait to see what you do with it.

Kat said...

Lindsay- Hehehe. Well, it was a foreclosure, so no one was going to fix it up. Lucky for us because otherwise we wouldn't be able to afford this neighborhood (or the house for that matter). The house was basically sold for a third of its value. So, that means that when we are done with the construction it will probably be worth twice as much as we spent on it. Woohoo!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just kinda stumbled upon your delightful blog, and couldn't resist clicking follow :) And you spell your name the same way I do! Lol

Your boys are soo cute- I love the photos of them in the leaves. The house looks perfect for bringing up a growing family :) I also love the beautiful photo at the top- really artistic :)

Anonymous said...

I think it is going to be an AWESOME house. What is the time line on it?

Kelley said...

It's a good thing you got pictures of the Before because no one is going to believe it is the same house when you get through. It sounds like it's going to be awesome, and I can't wait to see the pictures. Keep us updated with pictures!

Wendy said...

I can tell you're excited! Our house looked better with just the sub-floor exposed when we had the carpet taken out, too. Good luck and take lots of deep breaths as needed.

ewe are here said...

Wow! Quite a list of things to do ... you two are incredibly brave! I suspect it's going to be fantastic when you're done!

Scrappy said...

I think it is going to be amazing! I am excited to see it all done. :)

Hilary said...

I just can't imagine the finances it will take to do all of this. But it sure does have great potential. And a lake view.. wow!!

Beck said...

What a fun post!
We're doing a huge house renovation too, so I LOVE seeing what other people are doing. Your house is going to be great!

historygirlie said...

Kat~love love LOVE the new house! I'm jealous of the Lake Michigan a NE WI girl who spent numerous summer days at the lake at Point Beach, that is almost worth more than the house is!

Congrats to you!

Emily said...

Totally amazing!!!! Not like the money pit at all...more like brand new construction with the foundation already laid! And at view of the lake...totally awesome. I just painted my family room a Sherwin Williams color; Paper Lantern. It's a gorgeous warm color that really brightens up a room. And good for you and all that shelf space...I'm all about shelves! Can't wait to see the finished product. How long will construction take?

Kelly said...

I'm so excited for you!! I can't wait to see it when it's all done! And to be on the lake, wow! I'd like to see some pics of the lake view.

Tonya said...

very exciting!!! Can't wait to see the finished house.

Kimberly Wright said...

The house has great bones. Our first house was like that and it was practically gutted. I was pregnant with our first when we did it. God Bless you for doing it pregnant with three other children. Looks like a lot of work, but I am betting it will be fabulous when you are finished!

Kacey said...

Wow! This looks like a major undertaking {obviously} but it will be SO worth it!

Lisa said...

looks like a great place - excited to watch the projrct unfold!!!!

dawn klinge said...

I'm so impressed! I love your ideas for fixing it up, and think you are very smart for doing the construction before you move in. I love my house, but it still has projects that need finished...much harder to accomplish when we're living in it!

Anonymous said...

So exciting! I have always dreamed of a water view. And being able to hear the waves? Heaven. Can't wait to follow along.

OHmommy said...

1 house away from the lake. YOU are not crazy. It will be all worth it. I cant wait to see what you do.

Yaya Kat. Yay for you. This is So awesome.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I'm SO EXCITED for you!!! The lakefront location says "GOD KNEW BEST" all over it!

Yes, it will be lots of work but when you are done it will be your dream house. I'm just grinning with JOY for you. Can't wait for the next round of pics.

I'm still praying every step of the way with you. God is good.

Cute Baby Belly, too. ; D Can't wait for pics of her!!! So much fun going on around here. (I'm exhausted now . . . must go relax.)


Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

I don't think you're crazy at all! I think you're smart, and will end up with the perfect home in the perfect location. I can't wait to see the progress!

Unknown said...

Oh.My.Gosh that is A LOT of work (sorry, I just got a little overwhelmed for you there!) : )

BUT! It's going to be SO fabulous when it's all done. And a house right on your lake, it's like a dream come true! Congrats Kat and Good Luck through this process!

lime said...

moore power to ya. it should be gorgeous when you are finished.

Maggie's Mind said...

That is amazing, Kat! Wow to be right on Lake Michigan and with views. I think the house looks gorgeous already with the stairs and general open feeling, so I know it will be fabulous by the time you are done with it. What work, but what fun, too, making it yours!

Cynthia said...

I am so impressed! Rehab scared the bejeezes out of me...but you sound like you got the plan down. I'm sure it will be fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Wow. that is an amazing house, and an amazing amount of work. I am so happy that you get to turn it into your dream home, though, and I hope it goes as smoothly as humanly possible. (this is Chrissy, I'm on my mom's computer and can't sign in.)

CC said...

It's huge!!!!! I'm pretty sure your new kitchen is as big as my entire house. And the bathrooms? Bigger than my "master" bedroom. :)

You are so brave to move with 4th baby's imminent arrival.

I can't wait to see what it looks like in a year.

carrhop said...

Congrats, congrats! All your ideas sound just amazing! Love that you are taking us along for the 'pictorial' ride!


painted maypole said...

wow. it's gonna be great. so jealous of your view of the lake!

Karen Deborah said...

umm and the unemotional smart thing woud be to sell it and take the profit and .....what am I talking about?

your right your going to have a totally new home.

of course we want to see the process.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I don't think you're crazy at all, I think it's got GREAT potential!! I'm like you, I don't see the "now", I see the "after".
Wow Kat, you really found a great family home for your kids to grow up in!! Congrats.

tweetey30 said...

Great looking house. thanks for sharing. If things dont change soon Jeff and I are on the verge of losing our house. I will give our car back before I let them have my house. I dont want to move back into another apt.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a GREAT house with loads of potential.

Burgh Baby said...

You are nuts, but in a good way. Good luck!

Laski said...

I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to see the outcome.

Even though all you've mentioned just gave me heart palpitations and make me long for the cozy cover of a cardboard box.

Karen MEG said...

Perfect place for you Kat. It has amazing bones, all that work will be worth it, you'll turn back and say "how the HECK did we do that, we were nuts" but you'll be glad.

Salivating over the library, BTW, amazing!

Thanks for the tour! Glad you didn't fall into the pool :)!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson