We named the fixer-upper house! The Eleven House. I realized that each time I spoke of the house I called it Eleven (its house number). After a week of trying out new names I kept going back to it. In numerology, the number 11 represents the spiritual messenger, and is a master number. It is also considered a symbol of rebellion. Well, taking on this fixer-upper project could be considered a rebellion!
Now that spring is peeking in a little, we can spend a few hours at the fixer-upper house without getting frostbitten fingers. It’s weird how the inside of the house was colder than the outside! But today we opened the front door and a few windows to let in the fresh air, and the house started breathing again.
Bill Spaid and I spent a lot of time planning the rooms and talking to the city about permits.
A lot of permits.
And a lot of changes. We originally planned to have two studio apartments at the back of the house and a larger apartment in the front to use as a personal residence. The city zoning official told us that the minimum space required for an apartment is 550 square feet. Since each potential studio was only 350 square feet, we had to start over with our plans. This is what we ended up submitting:
We found out that not only did we have to obtain permits from the city, but we also had to submit plans and apply for permits from the state. The fixer-upper’s tiny budget took a huge hit – at the end of the day I had spent $855.00 just for permits. We can’t do anything inspectors come through, and the plans sent to the board for approval. We are limited to pulling trim and removing fixtures until everything is given the official okey-dokey!
I started to pull trim in the living room, and had another surprise. The original old baseboard and door trim was installed before the hardwood floor was put in. Here is what it looks like with the trim removed – you can see the recess where it sat next to the edge of the flooring: The trim would not wiggle and kept splitting along the grain. So I’ll have to rent a jamb saw and cut the trim even with the hardwood floor, install the drywall and then reinstall the trim on top of the floor.
We did get an outlet installed directly from the panel so we can use power tools on a circuit that is not knob and tube. According to the zoning official we may have to use a licensed electrician and plumber – since the duplex is considered commercial it has different requirements than a single family residence. That was another surprise, and if we are not able to do the plumbing and electrical work ourselves we will have to do some creative reworking of the budget.
And this is the front entry looking up the steps:
I hope to offset the cost of the permits by selling the old radiators, claw foot tubs and kitchen sinks. The sinks are awesome, but too long for the designated space.
I love the old tubs and have one here at my current home, but they do have drawbacks. They are subject to splashing (hard on the original hardwood floors and could leak into the floor below), and showering is less than comfortable because of the narrow space. I thought of using them with a full floor shower and drain set-up – nice thought. Then I remembered my budget…
All of the issues are just reasons to think in a more creative way, and it will all work out! I found this video of a family that moved a free house to their own property and rehabbed it! I’d love to hear your comments and stories about your own old house surprises. Please consider subscribing so you can keep up with our adventures!