Now that we’ve piqued your interest with some pretty lamp makeovers, we’re going to hit you with some not-so-lovely pictures for the next few days: our house “before” photos. But we promise to show you not just the good but the bad and the ugly on this blog, and we hope you’ll trust us that there are more pretty things on the way.
Sam and I just bought our house in September 2014, and it’s very much a work in progress. We’ve made some big strides, but before I start sharing all the amazing and inspirational things we’ve done that I’m sure will be going viral on pinterest in no time, I thought it was only fair to show you what we’re working with.
Here’s a taste to whet your appetite:
But first, a bit about how we found ourselves writing an offer on this home. We casually looked at houses online for about a year before we were ready to really start looking, and then once we started seriously looking we found the house we wanted to buy in 1.5 weeks. It certainly needed some work, but it was mostly aesthetic (rather than structural) and we knew there was so much potential if we were willing to put the time in. Plus I loved the idea of something that needed a little TLC, given my passion for DIY and home improvement. Me in a “turnkey” home = miserable. Also, this is all in the context of the Boston real estate market, where your options are: 1) tiny, 2) far from everything, 3) condo, 4) fixer upper, or 5) be a millionaire. Since #5 wasn’t an option, #1 and #2 weren’t super appealing, and #3 would involve interacting with others, the fixer upper route seemed like our best bet. Still, we hoped we could find something that didn’t need too much work since we’re not nearly as intrepid as Naomi and Brad (you’ll learn more about their house on Friday).
Our agent is the one who first suggested we see the house we ended up buying, and we actually said we didn’t want to because the photos just weren’t flattering. Often photos make a house look better than it really is, so I figured if the photos weren’t great then the house must be worse. Thank goodness he took us there anyway! What I learned is that this house doesn’t photograph easily, and I’m still learning how to photograph it better for blog purposes.
So without further ado, here’s the house as we saw it at our open house! (This is all the seller’s furniture, not ours.) Fair warning, many of these photos are from the listing sheet, and are grainy and fuzzy. It really is a seller’s market.
It’s on a bit of a hill, so the view from the front sidewalk has you looking upward pretty significantly. This is what we saw when our agent drove us past it for the first time:
The primary entrance to the house is actually from around the back, though, since the driveway accesses from the next street over. So our agent drove us around to the back:
It’s hard to tell from these photos that the backyard has tall privacy fencing on three sides, and then the fourth side is completely open to the neighbors. It’s like living in a diorama.
In any case, entering the back door we found ourselves in the sun room. It’s a more recent addition to the house, a bit of a bonus room. In addition to the two sets of windows and the window into the house (kitchen) that you see here, there’s another set on the back wall.
On the wall behind where you’d stand to take this photo is a large set of windows, which actually lets a lot more light into the kitchen than these photos would lead you to believe. And the blue counters are a lot better in person…but they’re still bright blue counters. With the addition of the lilac walls, I can see why other buyers might have been turned off. All I saw was potential to have loads of fun painting and tiling.
Straight through from the kitchen is the living room:
Pantone claims that “marsala” is the color of the year, but I just don’t believe them. We actually painted the living room the day that we closed on the house…the seller was still slowly moving her stuff out the whole day (that’s a story for another time), and we busted out the paint rollers and got to work. By nightfall, the living room was light gray.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. In the second living room photo above, you can see the front door through the living room doorway. The front hall is pretty small and wouldn’t make a good entry point, though, so using the back door into the sunroom does make a lot of sense.
Here’s the view down the hall standing in front of the front door:
The first door from the hallway is a small bedroom/office:
Conveniently located next to the bedroom is the only bathroom:
Then up the stairs we go to the two rooms on the second floor:
Let me just reassure you that you are NOT in fact trapped inside a watermelon. Don’t panic.
But you ARE trapped inside a room that must have at one point been used by a teenage girl (I think the seller’s granddaughter). As evidenced by this on the walls:
Two levels down is the thing that really sold us on the house, though: the basement. Imagine us huddling in the corner with our realtor and telling him we had to have the house. I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s huge and partially finished and visions of a home gym, workshop, and beautiful laundry room were forming in our heads.
And here’s how it all fits together into the floor plan: