Tag Archives: real estate

Buy this house: Ahoy, Matey

In my ongoing quest to save all the houses, I recently took a peek inside this amazing – but dated – home in our neighborhood. Someone needs to buy it and hire me to re-design it. And by “hire” I mean “just let me do it, please PLEASE PLEASE.”

I mean, LOOK AT IT. It’s like the Boy Scouts went into residential architecture.

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If you are brave enough to embrace the quirky/unique front facade, you’re in for a treat. This 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house is over 2500 square feet and sits on more than half an acre of land. It’s listed for $269,000, but it’s been on the market for a while.

The previous owner was clearly in the Navy or Coast Guard. There are anchors everywhere, and the kitchen door has a sign reading “Private Mess.” Although, I guess that could also be a commentary on someone’s cooking. I don’t know their life.

Let’s step inside, shall we?

One of my biggest problems with this house is that there are about seven different types of flooring throughout the space. There are tiles in the foyer, different tiles in the living room, parquet in the dining room, yet another tile in the kitchen, etc. Each of the bedrooms has different flooring. It’s baffling. So, to start, I would put down a single type of flooring throughout the house.

The foyer/entry is a good size, but daaaaark. It sports dark wood paneling on the lower half, and a dark woven wallpaper on the upper half. It’s….. a lot.

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Here’s a closeup of the wallpaper:

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In this space, I’d replace the sassy brass light fixture, replace the dark paneling with bright white wainscoting or board-and-batten, and freshen up the paint color. If there was a bit more money, I’d replace the front doors.

Like this:

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Moving on to the formal spaces. The living room runs off the foyer along the front of the house, then the dining room is at the corner, and the kitchen is along the side of the house. I would reconfigure this space so that the old kitchen and dining room became one large kitchen, and the living room became a good-sized dining room.

Here’s a picture taken from the corner of the dining room, which is also the corner of the house.

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I’d expand the opening into the now-living room (on the left), and take out the wall between the now-dining room and now-kitchen (on the right). Because this kitchen is 1) small and 2) not very awesome.

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The new kitchen would be roughly twice as long, and you could make it a double-sided galley kitchen, like this:

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Or an L-shaped kitchen:

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Continuing down the side of the house, we come to a washer/dryer closet and then the first of two master suites.

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Please note: yet another type of flooring, and the terrrrrrible, soul-crushing light fixture.  The same flat, square, recessed light is in every bedroom.

I think ideally I would borrow some space from the kitchen to make a proper laundry room and walk-in closet. But barring that, new flooring, new lighting, and paint would go a long way to improving this room.

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The bathroom has plenty of space. I’d replace the vanity cabinet , re-tile the shower, and maybe move the toilet to the sink wall (but moving plumbing fixtures adds a lot of dollars). I’d also rip out that wallpaper and burn it in the yard. Dayum.

The house is basically U-shaped, and we’ve now covered the right arm of the U. Now let’s go back to the center of the U, which is this quite-frankly-amazing room at the heart of the house.

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Again, there is a LOT going on in the room, texture-and-color-wise, but it would be pretty easy to simplify. I’d remove the paneling, replace the floor, and (if the homeowner could not embrace the rock climbing wall/fireplace surround) cover that fireplace wall with brick, stucco, or more millwork to echo the foyer.

Like so:

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The back of the room makes almost no sense:

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The bi-fold doors and smoked-glass windows look out on… a hallway. I’d remove the entire back wall and side wall to open up the interior corridors, which are dark and cramped. If safety was a concern, I’d add a waist-high metal railing or a half-wall around the corner. And, despite its awesomeness, that bar would probably have to go.

The left side of the house’s U-shape consists of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The middle bedroom is very small, and has no closet. I would cannibalize that space to upgrade the master suite, adding a walk-in closet and expanding the bathroom.

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Also: burning the very, very plush floral carpet. Shudder.

The bathroom features reflective patterned wallpaper. Everywhere.

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Both master suites, as well as the living room, open onto a large multi-level deck.

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There’s a detached garage with workshop, and a paved courtyard at ground level.

Despite the dated appearance, the house was clean and looked well-maintained. It just needs someone to love it. With the interior opened up some, it would be a great house for a family, or for entertaining – or both.

If you’d like to see this house, call a realtor. If you don’t have one, use mine – her name is Patty Wilson, and she’s great.

 

 

 

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

A house up the street from me just went on the market a couple of weeks ago, and I am desperate for someone to buy it and make it amazing on the cheap.

This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with 1,542 square feet of living space, plus a big garage. It’s on a big corner lot.

Got it? Got it. Now, I have notes.

(All photos from Realtor.com)

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I love brick houses. But this brick? Is not my favorite. I’d paint it cream or light gray, or maybe lime wash it to make the color more even.

Step a little closer.

e40361c627649cb18d4a8c95861e5c0el-m3xd-w1020_h770_q80The window on the left has one shutter, and the window by the door has zero. The remaining shutters look good, so I’d probably just get three new brown shutters.

If the new shutter runs into that exterior light next to the front door, I’d move it to hang from the porch ceiling. If it doesn’t, I’d replace that light with something more awesome, and put a second one on the other side of the door.

I am not offended by the scrolly iron column (“scrolly” is a highly technical term), but if you didn’t like it you could encase it in wood stained to match the shutters. I’d also paint¬† the front door and re-think the landscaping in front of the porch.

Exterior

Let’s step inside.

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This room is fine, but suffers from too much large furniture and too little imagination. Smaller-scale furniture, a rug, bigger art, and new curtains would make a world of difference. On the plus side, the floor looks fine and some enterprising soul already installed crown molding.

Plus, look at these neat columns that break up the space between the living room and dining area:

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I wish someone had carried the wood flooring through to the back of the house, but if that’s not in your budget, you can live with relatively inoffensive tile and start saving your dollars to replace it later.

On to the dining area!

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Why is there a ceiling fan in this space? I’d replace it with a pendant or chandelier. I’d also replace the sliding doors with French doors (although that’s pricey). I feel that the table is too big for the space and blocks the flow of traffic to the back door. This is only a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, and I can’t imagine the buyer needing seating for six on a regular basis.

A round table with optional leaf would be more appropriate:

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Pivot to the kitchen:

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It’s not a terrible starting point. Honest.

Next to the fridge, under the window, I’d try to find a way to add more storage in the form of a built-in buffet:

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Now, to the kitchen proper.

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Right off the bat, I notice that the upper and lower cabinet doors don’t match, the range is in a weird place (not emotionally, just physically), and the light fixture kind of blows. It’s hard to tell the condition of the countertops, but let’s assume they’re fine.

I’d replace that light fixture and add more lower cabinets on the right-hand wall, moving the range over so its door doesn’t fight with the dishwasher’s. I’d pull the upper cabinets off the range wall and hang chunky shelves on either side of the range, kind of like this:

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Finally, I’d paint the lower cabinets a dark color and the upper cabinets white. If the hardware on the upper cabinets is bad, I’d replace it.

If your kitchen budget is bigger, you can replace the counter tops and backsplash while you’re at it.

Then there’s this awkward space (the baker’s rack is next to the stove, for reference):

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This might be a good place to install a pegboard wall for shallow storage.

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The bedrooms all appear to be good-sized, and they all have hardwood floors. The two bathrooms are dated but appear clean and functional.

Off the master bedroom, there’s this office space, which could be a great retreat or work space.

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Paint, carpet, and better lighting would transform this room.

I have questions about the back patio.

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Such as, who put an air conditioning compressor right there? SURELY that can be moved. Otherwise, the patio is fine. Some seating, maybe a fan, and you’re golden.

And that’s it. Barring any major structural defects, it’s a perfect home for a couple or small family to make their own. Plus, the neighbors are tremendous, the schools are good, and the location is convenient.

(Note: I am not affiliated with, nor have I been compensated by, any realtor. This is what I do for fun. Sad, but true.)

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