Monday, April 28, 2014

Time for Work on Our Own House

Once we got that mid-century rancher on the market, we had some time to work on our own house. Remember that 1913 American Four Square that lends its name to this blog? Well, we've owned it for almost 11 years now, and it's still not done. And once in a while, we have the free time to work on it. Since we had such a cold and snowy winter and our other projects are unheated, our house won. 

The master bedroom was nearly done, but had been awaiting a ceiling, reworking one of the windows, and the stripping and reinstallation of the doors and trim for some time. We moved everything out of the room and polyurethaned the floor one more time for good measure too. 

The result feels posh, cozy, and hotel-like. What you don't see is all the work that went into that one room over the years. The roof leaked at the chimney and the dormer when we first moved in so we couldn't use the room until we got that fixed. The water damaged the ceiling and walls so we gutted the room to insulate the walls and put furring on the ceiling to allow us to cover it with a layer of sheetrock (which was the view from the bed for a number of years). We replaced all of the electrical wires in the house so we were able to put outlets and ceiling lights were we needed them. In a house without air conditioning, a ceiling fan is crucial! The wood windows have been reglazed, the weight pockets insulated, and the ropes reinstalled. The floor was sanded and refinished....Phew! Done! Now it's warm outside, so on to the garage!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Quick Flip: A Mid-Century Rancher

In the embarrassingly long time since the last post (has it really been 9 months?!), a lot has happened. Progress has been made on the garage, though it's not done yet. Progress has been made on our house, though it's not done yet either. But those are stories for another day. 

We spent much of the time between the last post and mid-January making an 8 hour round trip drive on the weekends to prepare my mother-in-law's house for sale. Some of that time was spent packing up the house, but the rest was spent prettying it up and fixing anything we thought the home inspector might pick up when we tried to sell it.

The house is a brick and frame mid-century rancher (historic now!) so it needed some updating. Fortunately, much of that had been done over the years. We had already upgraded the bathrooms and she had had the maple floors refinished and the outside repainted in recent years. We wanted people to see the unusual features like the sunken living room with the diagonal wide pine paneling and 2-sided fireplace and the high bedroom windows as positive elements and not as liabilities.  

We did that by modernizing as many other features as we could while still keeping the mid-century charm. We replaced the front door with more modern model, replaced the attic stairs with a less rickety model, adjusted doors that didn't close properly, repainted all of the rooms with fresher colors, upgraded the electrical panel, and many other smaller tasks.

We did a larger makeover of the kitchen. While we didn't want to spend too much money in case someone came in and redid it completely, we wanted to make it look as modern and inviting as we could while keeping the pine cabinets. We shortened the peninsula and curved it to make more seating at the breakfast bar. We added a glass tile back splash, replaced the vinyl floor, and flipped the electrical panel to a opposite side of the wall.

Our hard work paid off, because despite putting it on the market in January during the snowiest winter that part of Virginia has had in a while, the house has sold. And we're back home working on our own projects. Stay tuned!