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The Fixer-Upper

Old family room floor Part of the reason I love secondhand shopping and thrift stores is that the items within tell a story. The inscription in the book jacket, the nick in the chair leg, they all tell a story. Did a family once sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and eat from these china dishes? Did a mother rock her children to sleep in this chair?

A month ago, we became the proud owners of a fixer-upper, and while the choice was driven more by economics than aesthetics, the home is quickly becoming my “dream” home. It started out rough. As anyone that has ever owned a fixer-upper knows, if there are problems on the surface, there are more than likely problems that you can’t see. For example, if the vent covers are filthy, what do the vents themselves look like inside? (In our case, the HVAC guys said the vents were some of the dirtiest they’d ever seen) If the house is older, though, it also tells a story. Our home isn’t incredibly old (1950s), but it’s been interesting uncovering it’s history as we’ve gone about with the cleaning and fixing. The floors of the formal living room, now a wood laminate, were once green shag. The foyer was once the front stoop, which is why the walls are the same brick as the exterior. And if your house has been mistreated, it tells that story too. We have enjoyed clearing away the debris, dusting off the dirt, and painting over coral walls and teal trim to allow our home to reach its potential. We knew it had it, but I don’t think I quite appreciated how much I would love this house, and after just a month.

It hasn’t exactly been easy, but I lucked out with tons of help. My sister brought her family for a couple weeks and my parents came for 3 weeks and they not only helped make the new house habitable, they moved all our belongings from the old house to the new. Our timeline was challenging. We closed on a Tuesday and had to be out of the old house in six days. It was a frenzied week. We rented two dumpsters and ripped out all the old carpet and installed new. The photo accompanying this post is what we found under the 1980s navy blue carpet in the family room. Despite many, many people urging us to keep it, it is under our new carpet now (sorry, but it was in rough shape in several places!) We’ve painted every room and hallway in the house except one of the bathrooms. All the trim around doors and windows, as well as all the baseboard, had to be painted too. The garage had a moldy photography dark room built into it that had to be ripped out–drywall, studs and all. The kitchen floor was the original parquet in places and concrete subfloor in others. I can’t wait to share how that turned out. Now that the big stuff is mostly done, we are replacing stuff like ceiling fans and lights, continuing to put our stamp on the home. I can practically feel it breathing a sigh of relief.

It’s been a journey, but we love our fixer-upper, even when a toilet that bubbles when it flushes turns into a huge bill to Roto Rooter for roots in the pipes.

Stay tuned for more specifics on what we’ve done in several key rooms of the house, including before and after photos!

4 Responses to “The Fixer-Upper”

  1. I just love thrift stores and consignments … so many treasures and just so much fun to browse. We’re getting ready to do the same thing in Virginia. I’m sure our home will be pretty old too considering the market. Those houses tell the greatest stories. Nice post Liz!

  2. cindy says:

    Looking forward to the photo updates. :)

  3. Amber says:

    That floor is amazing! I need to come and see your dream home sometime! Sounds like a lot of fun and a lot of work!

  4. Jill says:

    It’s a great house! It has a lot of character. :)

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