Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Profile: Front Exterior-3 month Progress Update

I am going to profile our home a room (or space) at a time to give an idea of what it was like when we took possession, what we have accomplished in this first three months and what our future plans are.  Since we are financial types I will try to include information on what things cost.

I want to start with the front exterior and provide the story on how we chose our home. We looked at about 40 homes and back in August of this year we found the ONE. We saw it a second time with our agent the Friday before the Civic long weekend. We spent the long weekend at the Pillar and Post in Niagara Falls and after a lot of time discussing the house decided that we were going to put in an offer. The house needed a bit of work but had all the things that were on our must have list. We called up our agent and had a third visit on our way back from the long weekend trip. We told her we were ready to put in an offer, she said she didn't want to confuse us but she had one other home for us to see. As soon as we drove up to the house and opened the front door I said "we are in trouble" I knew I wanted this house.   

Our Front Door. The double doors and stained glass won us.
What did this house have going for it?

-Nice looking exterior with more character
-Taller ceilings and intricate crown molding on the main floor
-A fireplace with character
-Larger living room and dining room
-Bigger front and back yard
-More parking
-A main floor bathroom (a hard thing to find in older homes)
-Second floor laundry room
-Light filled master bedroom
-Beautiful staircase

-Proximity to the GO Train station was better
-We are steps away from the walking/biking path and the stairs that go up the mountain (free gym)
-We can walk to many bars and restaurants
-Just that feeling….

The negatives:

-Scary basement from hell that would probably leak all the time
-Even scarier basement stairs…my feet barely fit sideways
-A LOT of dirt, bad carpets, full of garbage
-Smells...many many bad smells

-Lots of traces of mouse poo in the house and raccoon poo on our upstairs deck
-Sketchy addition
-At least 300 more projects than house number ONE...which I like to think of as POTENTIAL

Our house was a Power of Sale and I can best describe the front exterior as Urban Jungle. I wish I had taken more before pictures but to be honest I was a little scared of what we had done to ourselves. Neither one of has much renovation experience and at the beginning I felt overwhelmed. RH will probably not believe this since I kept such a positive attitude but it was mostly a front. 

What our house looked like after taming the Urban Jungle but before new windows. Our poor porch is hidden just waiting to be noticed.
In the last 3 months this is what we have done to the Front Exterior:

-Removed bags and bags of weeds and cut down the shrubs (cost=free (except for the garden tools and brown bags...the garbage guys must hate us)
-Installed a new pendant light over the front door…having light is good, the previous light fixture did not work and our house was always the darkest one on the block (cost of pendant light $45 at Home Depot)
-Bought new front carpet (cost=$5, purchased on our Buffalo shopping trip)
-I wood filled several of the holes that are in our front door. The door is old but I really would like to keep it for now because it is quite beautiful. The bottom of the door needs to be trimmed slightly as it is very difficult to open and close. New paint job is also needed.
-We changed all of our windows which makes the house look much better. I really do not like the trim colour on the house (mint green) so the new windows bring a burst of white that is much needed. If this was our forever house I would have gone with a coloured window trim and capping but the extra cost ($1700) was more than we wanted to spend. With taxes and installation our windows cost $9,445. 

The new windows add a bit of brightness. On the downside you can see through them..we need window coverings on the asap.
Our future plans for the Front Exterior:

-Install a door knocker (it has been purchased for $5 from the ReStore...hint hint RH)
-Remove the cedar tree that blocks the view of our porch…I may even go crazy and chop down the other one too. RH likes the cedars but I do not. Replant with some nice shrubbery.
-Remove the rusted chain link fence from the left side of our house and replace with a wrought iron fence.
-Repave the side drive. This will involve a lot of prep work as the side drive is full of the neighbours rocks, some random bricks and lots of reno garbage.
-Shave down the front door slightly and sand and repaint the front door
-Repaint the porch floor...preferably with a non-slip product
-Purchase some outdoor seating (this will likely be second hand so some spray paint will be involved)
-New eaves trough
-Repair any rotted wood work on the house
-Paint all of the trim and woodwork on the house
-Fix the hole near our master bedroom which has attracted some wasps
-Remove the circular patio stones and bubbly curb things (during TIFF we went to see this movie "Conviction"…I was a bit embarrassed when RH said "look they have the same front patio stones as us"…this was during a scene where a murder had just occurred outside of a trailer at a trailer park…
-Possibly remove the concrete stairs and build a new set of stairs with railings
-The porch railings also need some fixing or possible replacement
-Install a new walkway and plant some boxwoods
-Add some seasonal planters

These stones will be gone!!
This colour keeps me up at night. Looking at the picture I am not sure why I have developed such a hatred towards looks worse in person.
Part of our side driveway
Just some of the bricks that surround our home (there are many more piles)
There won't be much progress on these projects until the spring. We will be changing out our lead pipe and then will need to have the city come and replace their portion. None of the outside work will get started until that is done. Budget for all this…we hope to not spend more than $8,000 but have no idea how much the eaves trough work would be (does not include the cost of the lead pipe removal. 

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