Our digs: The building’s exterior and first-floor living room

WARNING: These photos are rough, but if you squint and listen to “Eye of the Tiger” on your headphones, you really start to see the building’s potential. Trust me on this.

I promised you a shit-ton of pictures of our new digs, and a shit-ton of pictures is what you’re gonna get. Just remember, this is a fixer-upper. It’s got broken windows and crumbling windowsills and painted hardwood floors and a weird smell in the basement that I can’t quite place. BUT, it’s OURS. The next time you see me, I’ll be wearing a hardhat and wielding a sledgehammer, spitting dip.

But enough of my yammering. Onto the good stuff!fancykins - new house outside 1

Our building is a two-flat, meaning it’s two stories and a basement, and the main and upper level are two separate apartments. The upstairs unit, which is where we’ll live ( … someday), currently has four bedrooms and one bathroom, plus a kitchen, living room, dining room, and random pantries. The downstairs unit, which we’ll fill with tenants who love estate sales, cute decor and cats, currently has three bedrooms and one bathroom, plus a kitchen, living room, dining room, and more random pantries.

Not much of this will remain the same, but we’ll get into those nitty-gritty details on a room-by-room basis. WITH PICTURES. Starting … now!

The building’s exterior (pictured above)

The facade, which will be super important eventually, is the least of our concerns right now – we’re more interested in getting enough inside work done so we can actually move crap in and not have to camp out in a construction zone. I mean, wearing a hardhat in the shower may seem appealing to some of you, but I’m not so sure. Also, how long is too long to live without a kitchen? Can we survive entirely on Roots Pizza and Sprecher Root Beer?

Back to business. Here are a few initial fixes we have planned for the front of the house:

- New windows throughout the entire house, including replacing that basement glass block with actual windows.

- Replace that tired covered entry, perhaps creating a gable-style entry with brick posts that match the exterior brick.

- Do something about the railing, whether it’s refinishing the existing railing or replacing with something more spiffy.

- Cut tree branches up to the second window, so it will continue to provide shade and give us something green to look at, but not completely cover up our ( … someday) cute house.

- Fabricate missing sections of the existing gate and install between the current posts, then refinish the whole darn thing.

- Lots (and lots, and lots) of landscaping TLC.

- Replace front door with something sturdy and old and cool, which may also be painted some really fabulous color.

- Transform the front steps somehow, but my Pinterest boards aren’t fleshed out enough to know what we should do, exactly.

The first-floor living room

James is the greatest human in the world and got a great camera for us to play around with and use to document our lives. The problem, however, is that I’m still learning how to use it and it’s kind of hard to figure out some of the settings. Also, I have no idea how to edit photos. So, just use your imagination and pretend like the light and levels on these is better. Listening to “Eye of the Tiger” is helpful here, too.

fancykins - upstairs living room 2The view from the dining room into the living room. The door pictured is the unit’s existing front door, and just beyond that is the entry hallway and a (not pictured) hallway closet, which also has a hatch for future basement stairs. There is another doorway to this unit just inside the building’s front door, making the one pictured pretty pointless.
fancykins - upstairs living room 3View of the room from the arched entryway.
fancykins - upstairs living room 1View into the dining room from the living room. You can also see the apartment’s main hallway, which has doors on either side for the bathroom and bedrooms, and ultimately leads to the kitchen.

Anyhoodle. Since this living room is part of the rental unit, the plan is to update it while keeping things relatively simple, but also really kickass. Only the best for our future antiques- and cat-loving tenants! A few of our plans include:

- Peel off that parquet tile and expose (then refinish) the original hardwood underneath.

- Potentially knock down the load-bearing wall on the left side of the room and support with a beam. This would open the room up to the entry hallway and closet, making the whole thing bigger and brighter.

- Strip the wallpaper, which has been painted, and repair the existing plaster when necessary. Paint the room a really bomb-ass color, which is yet to be determined.

- Re-do the fireplace, which starts with tearing off that fake stonework and glazed tiles. The mantle might be salvageable, however, which would be really cool with whitewashed brick accents. I mean, that’s what I’ve been pinning the shit out of on Pinterest, anyway.

- Paint ceiling and install crown molding.

… and probably a billion other things I forgot or we haven’t yet considered.

I would show you more room pictures and give you the full tour, but my camera died during this photoshoot, then I was all “James, I am SO HUNGRY I cannot live,” and also it was rainy outside and I quickly lost enthusiasm. So, you know, MORE TO COME.

In the meantime, how’s everybody doing today? Any exciting stuff going on this week?

  • http://www.magmilerunner.com/ Maggie

    Ooooh so much potential! Love it! :)

  • http://letsjustbuildahouse.blogspot.com LetsJustBuildaHouse

    I’m so glad you are replacing those glass blocks because I once heard a friend refer to them as ~rape windows~…idk it has stuckwith me since then. Also, yes to salvaging the mantel, but replace everything else…and wait is that a built in i see back there??

  • http://www.walkingdotphotography.com/ Walking Dot Photography

    Looks so cute!! I love the feeling of having a brand new place to fix up and love over! :)

  • Ashlee

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I think this means you get to cross something off of your 30 for 30 list!! Congrats!!

  • http://thebookloversnest.blogspot.com/ Allison

    Oh my word, I LOVE IT!!!! This reminds me of my childhood home so much. Your place has a ton of character, and you two are going to have so much fun making it your own. Yayyy!!

  • http://livelikeyouretraveling.com/ Mu-Hsien

    love the built ins, floors and fireplace! really nice details that look like they are in great condition! – So excited for you and SO much space/versatility in that upstairs unit!

Posted in: Our House