1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Masochism 101

Apparently having one old house in which we have completed not a single project is not enough for us. Lately, we've been fantasizing about - and worse than that, actually contemplating - buying and fixing up a house down the block from us.

This house, the poor dear, hasn't been lived in for oh, say 6 million years. At least humans have not lived there. In fact, the bugs and vermin have probably long since abandoned it, too.

Now it's home to some files, some junk and some vines growing in through the windows.

I admit it's hard to see what's appealing about it from this picture:

But I took that photo winter before last. Since then, the lot has been cleaned off, and you can actually get onto the front porch without hiring a native guide weilding a large machete.

Lo and behold, the house is actually cute ... and for sale. It has some Victorian elements and some Craftsman (we think it's a few years younger than our house). Cute fishscale shingles under the eaves, majolica-tiled fireplaces, a darling, miniscule side porch. It's on a corner where everyone who enters Eutaw drives by it, and we'd love to dress it up in some Victorian colors.

The most appealing thing about it is actually the fact that it has been empty of human life for so long. Virtually nothing has been updated in the house.

We saw inside it for the first time last weekend. Light bulbs on cloth cords hang from the ceilings, and the original plumbing fixtures are still in the slanty-floored, added-on bathrooms. All the plaster walls and beadboard ceilings are still there, though in severely diminished condition. The floors have all been painted but appear to be solid and attractive. It's got three bedrooms, two baths, a reasonably spacious kitchen and pantry, and a living room with a lovely bay window.

Of course, it's not all sunshine and flowers. You can see light between the bricks of the chimneys; one stray rock and they'd topple. One of the fireplaces has crumbled almost completely. The house would have to be replumbed, rewired, have the foundation repaired, and probably the precious plaster scrapped. The lot would need to be sloped. The kitchen has a sink and almost nothing else. One of the exterior walls has a hole in it. Several window panes are missing, and the windows would probably all need repair.

Basically, it's pretty overwhelming. It's all doable, nothing disastrous, and there are plenty of housebloggers out there tackling similar houses and worse. We are brave enough to tackle it. We even have enough funds to tackle it.

But what about the most elusive factor of all - time? I barely have time to sleep anymore, and we're still not getting anything done on our own house. I wish someone would invent a way to pack 36 hours into a day. Wait, make that 48.


C&C said...

That house does have "potential" written all over it! Just seeing the outside makes me want to see the inside, find out about it's history, it's previous owners... I think it's an illness.

5:29 PM  
Gary said...

Don't do it!
You aren't ready to join the "Two houses club" if you question your ability to do the project! I know!!!!

9:58 PM  
merideth said...

ooooh. it's adorable...and very tempting...where do y'all live again? could i commute to the bay area from there?

2:18 PM  
Beth said...

Do it. You know you want to.

4:27 PM  
mindy said...

Mmmmm. So cute. Teague and I have talked about buying a second (SMALLER) historic house that he could fix up during the winter when construction season is totally dead. He'd have lots of time to work on it, and it would be an investment. A flipper, though not in the "slap some paint on it and call it new" way. Unfortunately, we don't have the capital and can't find anyone crazy enough to put the money up for us!

It's probably best we don't have the money, I get batty enough with just one needy house to worry about.

11:03 AM  

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