The fall is such a time for Transition – even more so than the new year or the first day of summer vacation. The kids have gone back to school, there is a touch of crispness in the air (love that!), and the pace is picking up from the less regimented days of summer. And biggest transition of all – we decided to buy an old house in our hometown and fix it up ourselves.
It’s no secret that we have been living in my parents’ basement for MUCH longer than we had planned (after our move back to Utah from North Carolina). It’s a seller’s market in our hometown, with high prices and very few houses on the market. So our goal was (and is) to build our own home on family land. But that’s a huge process and things get stalled, and well… it’s taking forever.
So my brother (a realtor) found us this amazing deal on a 1960s brick house. I took a walk through it with him and we knew we had to put an offer in on it before they put it on the market. Not because I loved it (1960s brick house – boring!), but because it was a great deal and we are in a place where we need to see some progress on this home ownership stuff. My husband teases me that while I went through the motions of taking him to see the house and getting his opinion, I had already made up my mind we were going to buy it. (And maybe that’s partially true, but mostly just because I know him so well and knew he would agree with me 😉 )
Let’s face it – we’ve all watched a few episodes of Fixer Upper and wondered what it would be like to go through the process ourselves (and man – anyone else insanely jealous of those amazing house prices they are always finding in Waco?!). In fact, I’ve watched more than my share of Fixer Upper since we decided to take on the project. It’s great for inspiration and ideas, as well as keeping me motivated knowing that everyone hits snags and problems.
When Joanna Gaines asks “do you have the courage to take on a fixer upper?” my 10 year old has taken to responding “yes, yes we do!”
So to start us off, why don’t I show you what the house looked like when we bought it.
No, wait – that was the photo I took the day we closed on the house. We had them redo the shingles on the roof before we bought the house, so when we first saw the house it looked like this. Yep, they missed that corner section there at the end of the porch. Add it to the DIY home remodel To Do List.
This is the view of the living room from the entry. That big ‘ole fireplace it about 12’ wide and made up entirely of someone’s rock collection. Really – someone took a long time collecting giant chunks of petrified wood, volcanic rock, crystals, and all kinds of interesting things I don’t know the names of. Interesting, but it sure is ugly isn’t it?
Past the living room is the kitchen/breakfast area. Not a bad size, just completely outdated. And have I mentioned the sloping floors yet? We spent a “fun” 10 minutes letting a roll of duct tape make it’s way from the sliding door to the other wall, over and over again. The sloping is the worst in the kitchen, but there are floor issues in most of the other rooms too.
Down the hallway we find the bedrooms. This one will be Kaitlyn’s. Every room of the house has different (nasty) carpet, but the winner of the Ugly Carpet Award goes to this room. Does anyone else see the resemblence to a sweater Bill Cosby used to wear?
And yes, that’s fake wood paneling on all the walls. Both this room and the master were lucky enough to retain that on their walls.
Tyler’s room. Built-in toy box in the closet and real wood paneling in here. Jackpot.
Ok that was sarcasm. The toy box takes up too much space and he’s too old for it, but we can pretend the wood paneling is just as good as shiplap, right?
The master bedroom is slightly larger than the other two. Standard closet space, faux wood paneling, beeeee-utiful red carpet. And its own tiny bathroom.
People, photos just don’t do it justice. That toilet is even more squished into the corner than it looks. We’ll see if my ideas for making the space feel more open actually work.
I’ll spare you the close up of the nastiness in all the rooms, but just so you have an idea this one is the sink in the master bath. Obviously all fixtures, appliances, cabinets, etc, etc are being replaced.
The backyard has a mess all its own. Overgrown lawn, random junk, and our very own falling-down chicken coop. The larger barn is in the pasture behind our property, along with a lot of other things that aren’t pleasant to look at. I think we’ll be putting up a privacy fence when we get the chance.
Sandbags that have probably been there since the river flooded years ago (and hasn’t happened since so I’m sure they fixed the problem), a smoker someone built out of old metal 50-gal drums, and cords from a couple of old satellite TV dishes running all over the place – those are the issues. On the plus side, that’s a good-sized covered back porch and since it’s right off the kitchen I’m sure we’ll use it a lot.
The house is sturdy, has decently sized rooms and yard, and we couldn’t have done better on the price in this area. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us as we tackle this DIY Home Remodel. Wish us luck!
And definitely stay tuned – we’ve had 3 months to work on the house since these photos were taken and I can’t wait to share some updates!
*For more in-the-minute photos, follow along on Instagram! I’ve given this project the title #CaldwellsVStheSinkingHouse
*Want to see some of the DIY remodel projects we’ve tackled in the past? Check out the Kitchen Remodel on a Budget (in my parents’ house) – Before photos and demolition, texturing the walls, installing the tile, and installing the cabinetry.