New Beginnings

Two weeks before the end of the 2017/2018 school year, we decided that we wanted a new school for our oldest daughter.  We had lived in our previous home for three years, and had worked hard to make it exactly what we wanted.  The kitchen was practically my third baby, except that it took longer than nine months for it to be completed!  Suddenly, we had less than three months to prepare our beloved home for sale, find a buyer, and find a new house in a (hopefully) better school zone.  

When it came to selecting a new home, we knew our first priority was location, our second priority was price, and our third priority was potential.  Not on the list: current condition.  We knew that buying a fixer would be our best way to get into a better neighborhood.  Options in our price range that met our criteria were few and far between; I was honestly starting to think we'd have to up our budget.  Then this terrible listing popped up.  The first picture was of the backyard (never a good sign unless it's a major selling feature, which it certainly wasn't).  All the pictures were small, and it was clear that the house needed some TLC.  I decided, based on what I could cobble together of the floor plan based on the out of order pictures, that this wasn't a house with potential for our family, and I moved on.  A few days later, frustrated by the lack of anything else on the market, I decided to click through again with a more open mind.  This time, I started to see what it could be instead of what it was.  We asked our realtor to let us see it, and proceeded to get very excited.  It was only a couple of blocks from a great school!  It was in our target neighborhood!  After some work, the backyard could be perfect for us!  We were all exclamation points and jazz hands until our realtor opened the door and the smell of cigarette smoke punched us all in the teeth.  It smelled worse than any bowling alley I've been to.  This was a very aggressive smell.  To make matters worse, it turned out the seller was still there, so we all had to tour the house in awkward silence (which at least made holding our breath easier).  The worst of it was that I knew I still wanted the house, but I was sure that Patrick was quietly steeling his nerves to tell me that there was absolutely no way we would buy this nicotine and tar filled piece of junk.  When we got to the car and could breathe normally again, I cautiously asked him what he thought.  He was even more excited!  We put in an offer, which was accepted the next day, and we closed less than four weeks later!  

Here are some pictures from our first walk through after buying it (we gave the seller a leaseback, so we didn't actually know exactly what to expect as far as property condition until almost a week after closing).
The grass hadn't been cut for weeks, but that was truly the least of our worries.  That dumpster was about to be put to very good use!
The entry was one of the stinkiest areas of the house.  The carpet on the stairs was completely saturated with cigarette smoke.

This was the view from the entryway into the living/dining area. 

This was the view from the dining room into the kitchen, breakfast room, and den.

This is the view of the kitchen as we bought it.  Everything you see was included (except for the cute girl who decided to hide her face instead of walking out of the picture).  

This den is oddly sized at only ten feet wide, but we've got a fun idea to use it to the fullest!

The utility room came with a ridiculous amount of cheap cabinets and more junk the seller apparently didn't want.

One major perk to this house as far as our girls are concerned is the stairs!  We've only ever had single stories, so now they think we live in a mansion.

Downstairs powder room

Closet under the stairs.  Vanna White is showing us the amazing assortment of freebies.  She was super excited that he left us so many presents.  

Patrick is checking out the popcorn ceiling situation in preparation for one of our first projects.

One of my favorite things about the new house is the "secret" room over the garage.

Cedar closet inside the "secret room"

This is the third bedroom, which is also the access point for the secret room.

Our master bedroom came with old carpet, accordion blinds, vaulted popcorn ceilings, and two layers of wallpaper border.

The upstairs hallway felt cramped and depressing.
The second bedroom (the girls' room) was way too cramped to accommodate two growing girls.
From the proceeds of the sale of our previous home, we put aside (hopefully) enough money to renovate this house into exactly what we need.  Because of the outdated style and the stench that saturated literally everything inside, we're replacing, sanitizing, or covering every single surface.  There won't be a wall, ceiling, floor, or fixture untouched.  We've already removed all floors and window coverings, scraped all the ceilings, primed (almost) all of the walls and ceilings, and hired someone to clean and sanitize the HVAC system.  As eager as I am to race to the finish line, it's my goal to take our time and make this place something that works for us for a very long time.

Thanks for following along!


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