Friday, July 03, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

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I've been on vacation these past two weeks, and have spent a fair amount of that time meeting with contractors and pondering our preparedness for home-ownership. We had the official inspections. The inspectors have to disclose every single issue, and as you can imagine, an eighty-four year old house has quite a few issues. When all the flaws are written on one document, it's sobering.

Today, Robb and I plan to tackle our garage. We've accumulated a huge mass of goodness-knows-what (crap) in the past six years, and today is the day of reckoning. Two nights ago, I "slept wrong" and since that time I've had a very unhappy left shoulder. I have limited range of motion, which is a bother.

Here's the before-and-after image that Robb worked up in Photoshop. I think that this paint scheme gives the house so much more charm.

I want to get started on all of this, before I get terribly busy again at work. Of course, we don't actually own this house, so we've been spending our free time researching shower fittings for historic bathtubs, grey-water systems, and downspout diverters -- among other things. We really live an exciting life, don't we?

13 comments:

Jennifer C. said...

Hey Lisa - do you read Homegrown Evolution? They write a great blog on permaculture, urban homesteading etc. They also have a FABULOUS book called The Urban Homestead on how to do (or at least give you references for) all that stuff to. Check 'em out at http://www.homegrownevolution.com

Super inspirational!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, I love your chosen colors! They are similar to but a bit darker than a home our son Dave (the Berkeley Firefighter) used to own in Alameda - very similar to your home in waiting.

Once you are established, if you decide to take advantage of Oakland's allowance of urban chickens (sans roosters), Dave and Molly raise them for the eggs. I am sure they would love to share their experiences. The hens are great eaters of green table scraps and producers of guano for the garden. Molly also has bees in their Oakland backyard.

Grinch/Susan

minnie said...

Oh I hope you get the house! I'm rooting for you. And the color scheme you picked out is super cute!

Anonymous said...

Buy or make a rain barrel. Plant drought tolerant plants. Use weed blocker, as it saves a LOT of yard time. Cardboard boxes are organic- hose em down-presto- compost!

Consider painting a strip of color other than green at the house base- when everything dries up due to drought, you wont have a washed out-looking yard. Install a post that both you and Robb can access to accomodate a bird feeder/birdhouse, as well as a place for a birdbath.

Plan out a place outside when you want to escape the paint fumes- take a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood, get to know your neighbors- they will be invaluable one day.

People think they have to spend a lot of money to fix a place. Luckily, that is not an option anymore! We learned to get many things for free/cheap. Our local Craigslist is a godsend- free materials/plant exchanges. We also check out local papers to see who is selling/trading.

We made a list of what we need immediately, what is long term, and what we WANT. There is a difference. It's been 3 years now and we still have that "new house" feeling, so dont think you need to get everything done all at once, cause it cant happen anyway. Even if you were both able bodied, with no jobs to go to and tons of money, it will still take a good long while to get done.

Installing ceiling fans is a must, and there are plenty of old-style ones. I believe you have to bolt them thru the upstairs ceiling/floor for California, in case they fall during earthquakes. They affect heating/cooling bills CONSIDERABLY. Spray foam is great, since older houses have cracks that leak air year round. Old house do breathe, but it doesnt mean you have to go broke to heat it. Our basement has old windows- when we got our radon emmissions test, it said we had "fresh air quality" down there. No kidding- the glass barely stayed in the window frames! Make sure your windows are good- ours are new (and cheap), we still put plastic over them, since the windows are not the top of the line, yet. For cracks you may find, put in as much exterior expandable spray foam as you can, since critters WILL move in and make BIGGER holes, chew wiring, etc. Shoving steel wool deep into holes first also helps prevent rodents.

I know you love birds- but get those drain guards that fit into/over your gutter/downspouts- or birdies will build nests and you will have serious drainage problems- This was a part of the problem at my sisters Wyoming place and cost her over $30,000 to fix. My affection of local birds goes only so far.

Become friends with your local Habitat for Humanity. There's a group here called "Restoration York" that partners with HFH. They get antique stuff to be re-used, as well as new. I'm sure there is a web based community of people who love the type of house you want, and that support group will help you with the authentic character of whatever house you get.

You could volunteer at HFH or a local antique salvage warehouse, and qualify to get discounts, etc. It's a great way to get what you need, make connections and meet like-minded people. You may remove something from your house that is impractical, and it will be the exact thing someone else has been looking for. When we replaced the beautiful/impractical bubble glass windows, we sold them for $7,000. I got tired of snowdrifts INSIDE the house every winter.

You will not be living in a museum- the place should be comfortable and safe. Don't keep a certain feature of the house if it is impractical. Trust me on this. This house has sagged and shifted over 130 years, angles of doors do not always match up, nor did the hand forged latches and their closing ability. Even repositioning them didnt do the trick, so we replaced those latches with newer ones that still look like they are from the same period. That kept us from paying to inadvertantly heat the attic in the winter- for 6 months.

I can always sell the origonals latches, or keep them in a "history box" of origonal house stuff.

Annalisa

Kaaren said...

I kile the photoshopping, nice job Robb!

I feel your pain. I have had a pinched something on my left side, neck and shoulder, for over a week. It will fade away and then come back with a vengeance. Today is a bad day, and it is hindering my workouts, which stinks!

Kaaren said...

kile - like. How'd I do that?

gollygee said...

Love the color scheme! I so wish I could paint the outside of the house I'm moving into but alas, it will be white! :(

Gothknits said...

The colors are so you guys. Intense Photoshoping.

I've had fun using the Ben Moore program that allows you to upload your own photos and used their color pallet.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I couldn't find that on the Ben More website. Do you have a link, Paula?

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I couldn't find that on the Ben More website. Do you have a link, Paula?

Gothknits said...

I actually think it was a disk I got at the Ben Moore store for free. If yours doesn't have it, I'll see if mine is still hanging around.

mamakin said...

It just has to be said again, I LOVE ANNALISA. I'm going to look into some of her tips for our home now! I love what Robb did with the photoshoping-amazing how great the house looks after what he did.

slowe said...

Found on cool tools today, a greywater systems reference book.

http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/003800.php

If you search their archives, I think they have lots of material of that type--maybe you're already there, I seem to remember talking with Robb about something on Cool Tools at the derby party...

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