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Renovating my childhood home - 1973 brick ranch


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I keep mentioning this stuff everywhere so I'm sticking it in one place. My sister(s) (one is kind of a silent partner because her hubby is an ass) are buying back and renovating our childhood home. It's on family land passed down to my father, and every brick was laid by my grandfather on my mother's side. The electrical was done by a cousin - they had a contracting company. It was built before I was born, and we lived there until the year I started high school when we moved next door to care for my father's parents. We rented the house to an older couple, who eventually bought it. Now they have passed and their children have put it up for sale and after some false starts we are likely closing on the house within the week! 

I will be living in the home and paying my sister who is the majority owner each month toward the mortgage. We know that there are some necessary renovations that need to be done (a floor joist needs help, we haven't seen the bathrooms, the flooring all needs replacing or repair) but it seems that hopefully most of the work is cosmetic and we will do as much as we can ourselves. I am super excited to be doing this - the house is twice the size of my current little house and it will be wonderful to have adequate storage space!

Edited by Alisamer
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And here is the house!IMG_9422.thumb.jpg.7b6e817fa6a2877544f0d9d9b85893c4.jpg

 

There's a small piece of siding missing above the garage, there, and the ivy needs to be tamed a bit. I also don't love the long straight brick walkway to the front porch, I'd rather it come out from the house a bit and have some curve to it. JUST to the right of the picture is a big magnolia and a fig tree that are right in front of the porch. It's a strange location for them, so we're not sure what we'll do about those. Definitely we'll have some landscaping to do. You can see there are window AC units in two of the rooms - the HVAC needs some sort of repair so we'll have to get that looked at. But for now, it's late September already so I should be fine for that to wait until the spring if we have to. 

 

IMG_9543.thumb.jpg.226f3a52b4615e21b868d9e4928d60e2.jpg

That's part of the back of the house. The previous owners added the little deck, and it needs some TLC but seems mostly OK. (The signs and stuff are from the estate sale.) My plan is to eventually put a roof on it and screen it in to be a catio so Buddy can have the feeling of being outdoors. I'll hang up a hummingbird feeder or something for him to watch, probably, and have a little seating area for me. 

I am hoping to eventually have flowers and paths and such around the house, and make it have a lovely garden plus some raised vegetable beds, but those are long term goals. The chimney has a small crack that we need to seal and it needs a clean and inspection, but once that's done the fireplace insert will be usable and that's more than enough to heat the house. It does have electric heat, but it's nice to have the option of a wood fire as backup. As a child my parents never used the electric heat, they'd have a fire going and turn on the fan for the HVAC and it distributed the heat throughout the house just fine. 

The house comes with a couple storage buildings outdoors, and has an outdoor utility/laundry room as well. I'm coming from a house that has literally ONE drawer and two small closets with no attic or other storage, and this one has a larger kitchen, an attic with flooring for storage, AND a garage! 

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I’m definitely still in camp green for the doors. And the shutters if you decide to keep them. I love brick houses. I’m glad you aren’t pulling a Bates and painting all the brick white. 

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Yeah definitely no painting this brick. In person most of it looks brand new! My grandpa was picky about his work. The only disappointment is that the fireplace is brick to match the rest of the house - he was apparently known for his amazing stone fireplaces. I'm just so excited to get to live in this house again. Even though it's next door to my parents. It's isolated from all other neighbors and outside the city limits so I can do what I want and not have to worry about what anyone thinks, and it's got some privacy and seclusion despite being a very short drive from two cute small towns and Charlotte. 

I do think I'm keeping the shutters, and they likely will get painted to either match or coordinate with the door. 

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Your childhood home made me think of the home my paternal grandparents had. They built a new home on their farm towards the end of the 60s as their old farmhouse was basically falling apart.  The new house had some modern conveniences like a shower which dad lobbied for after he came back home from the army.  I guess it had been easy to install central air 20 years later, that the house seemed to have built to accept central air if they decided to add it in  

It’s still a good, solid house.  When I was growing up I asked if the floor plans were still around because I thought it was a good design and if my life had turned out as I wanted I would’ve used it as the basis to build my own home. 

I had thought a few times of what I would’ve done if the grandparents house had passed down to me.  I think I would’ve wanted to have expanded the house out a bit and redid the master bedroom/bath.  There’s some space limits due to way the farm was laid out but I think I could’ve expanded out in front.  Then move the master up front and expand the living room out back and put in a deck as well. I also would’ve looked at finishing the basement. 

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I love that your front patio has an inset/overhang.  It can be made to be so welcoming or a place to sit outside and watch the world go by.  We have a weird house with a double overhang on one side.  We built a tiny deck in one corner, and I have a chair to enjoy a spot of sunshine or just get fresh air on a rainy day.  I’m so excited for you.  It looks like a great place.  

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2 hours ago, CTRLZero said:

I love that your front patio has an inset/overhang.  It can be made to be so welcoming or a place to sit outside and watch the world go by.  We have a weird house with a double overhang on one side.  We built a tiny deck in one corner, and I have a chair to enjoy a spot of sunshine or just get fresh air on a rainy day.  I’m so excited for you.  It looks like a great place.  

Yeah the small master bedroom and lack of a deck/patio were the two big weaknesses of my grandparents house so it’s nice you have that patio with overhang.

Another interesting story was that my grandparents looked at what would eventually become my brother’s first house and based the design of their home off that house.  That house was about the same age. Couple things the original owners were able to do was to add a sunroom on to the back and build an external two car garage. 

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I got a photo of the original blueprints today! I traced over them and modified what was different from what I remember ( the bathrooms were arranged differently for example) and marked it up. 
 

9BFCE80A-198A-46C0-B888-7FAD2E956D9A.thumb.jpeg.58170974ab81c34f516af8f4875bed88.jpeg
It’s really rough but that’s basically the floor plan. The room marked “multi purpose” is going to have my treadmill and exercise stuff, and probably a futon or small sofa bed in case I have a visitor. Possibly sewing stuff in there instead of the art studio, depending on space. 

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I’m excited for you! I’m looking forward to how it all turns out. Thanks for sharing!!

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Update! The purchase agreement is officially signed, but it's looking like it'll be another week or so at least before we close and get the keys to the house. 

This weekend's project is to work on the outside of the current house to get it presentable for my aunt who is planning to buy it for my cousin. It's been a bit neglected so I need to do a massive trim on the giant rosemary bush, clear out the flower bed it's in a bit, re-mulch under the tree in the front yard, and clean out the gutters. 

If there's time, we will also pressure-wash the house and I'll get some exterior trim paint to give the porch railings and trim around the doors and windows another coat of paint. That might have to wait a week or so though.

On the plus side, the weather should be beautiful this weekend, cooler and and sunny tomorrow. 

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On 9/23/2022 at 7:46 PM, Alisamer said:

...re-mulch under the tree in the front yard...

This calls for a Maxwell-style mulching party with no Pepsi and limited amount of animal crackers afterwards!

I hope you continue to share pictures of your new house/yard renovations - that looks like a lovely place! As a non-American, the word "ranch house" always makes me think of a cattle ranch out in the plains/US West, but it is often referring to this type of home. Where does the name come from? Do the cattle ranch homes usually look like this?

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7 hours ago, LurkerOverThePond said:

As a non-American, the word "ranch house" always makes me think of a cattle ranch out in the plains/US West, but it is often referring to this type of home. Where does the name come from? Do the cattle ranch homes usually look like this?

Here’s the Wikipedia definition

Most of the ranch houses I saw either were single story affairs or had all main components on the main floor like my paternal grandparents ranch home.  With my paternal grandparents just about everything was on the main floor.  Attached Garage, kitchen, living room, shitters, and bedrooms.  The laundry easily enough could've been on the main floor if they wanted.  They had laundry in the basement along with a second garage and a large unfinished area.  As I said, if I had inherited the house I would have finished the area.  I might have put a second staircase in downstairs so people could access the basement right from the living room.

Ranch homes were really common throughout the US about 50 years ago.  My late uncle who lived in Louisiana and aunt had one that had an open floor plan.  She still lived there.  He and my aunt had their suite (bed/bath) at one end.  In between was the kitchen, dining room, and living room.  At the other end was two bedrooms for his kids and later for family when they came to visit.  He had an out-building in the yard that had a recreation room and his own workshop.  (Last time we were there the adults all got to talking so me and my sister went out to the recreation room to shoot some pool.  It's still a fond memory).

Most cattle ranch homes aside probably are not like what most people think of when they think of ranch homes.  Such homes - being owned by Ken Starr and Dick Cheney type douchebags - were a lot fancier even if they were single story affairs. 

Edited by 47of74
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8 hours ago, LurkerOverThePond said:

This calls for a Maxwell-style mulching party with no Pepsi and limited amount of animal crackers afterwards!

I hope you continue to share pictures of your new house/yard renovations - that looks like a lovely place! As a non-American, the word "ranch house" always makes me think of a cattle ranch out in the plains/US West, but it is often referring to this type of home. Where does the name come from? Do the cattle ranch homes usually look like this?

Based on this article: https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/a25621600/ranch-style-houses-meaning/

my house is probably technically a modified Ranch - it’s got the long horizontal elements with the open kitchen and big picture window in the living room, but does have a small porch and is rectangular instead of L or U shaped. 
 

I think the term has been kind of expanded to basically any one-story mid century suburban home that doesn’t clearly fit any other style LOL!

 

we did get the front yard of the current home all cleaned up. We are debating on the mulch though. My cousin who is moving in Indont think cares much about gardening but her dad is big into landscaping and might want to work on the house so we may check with him. He might prefer we leave it so he can mulch after he plants whatever he plans to plant. 

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We have a closing date! Next Thursday afternoon!

I am super excited and trying to take next Friday off. We'll go in Thursday after work and take before pictures and probably film it, test the appliances and firm up some plans, and then hopefully get started Friday even if all we manage is tearing out carpets, cleaning, and painting. 

My boss has offered us a dishwasher - I need to see if the one in there works or not, and if not measure to make sure the new one fits. 

I am going to print vinyl wraps for the front of the fridge and the dishwasher then match the paint for the lower cabinets to them. My goal for this coming rainy weekend is to do a LOT of packing at my current house. We will probably end up moving things into the garage and storage building at the new house first, but it'll be progress. 

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Closing is in 2 days! So excited.

I've scheduled the electric to be on my account starting Thursday, and we picked up a glass front cabinet from Craigslist yesterday and it is on the back of my dad's truck parked in the tractor shed across the driveway from the house, so we just have to move it to the garage once we have the keys.

Since we were there, we took a walk around the house and took some more notes on stuff we need/want to do. And then, we tried the garage door. Which opened! The house was locked but we looked around the garage again, and unless they show up in the next 2 days with a truck we are in LUCK. They left a TON of stuff. Some of it we'll probably get rid of, but most of it is things we can use. Some of the stuff left in the garage:

  • Lots of storage shelves
  • A workbench
  • 2 gallons of deck stain
  • a gallon of deck sealer
  • multiple cans of diffferent types of house paint
  • a box full of wood stains and staining supplies
  • a box full of painting supplies including new paint rollers and brushes
  • a few cans of spray paint
  • a Christmas tree stand
  • A large metal desk (might go in my art studio with some cleaning, it's got a formica top)
  • A wood dresser that is in need of some repair and refinishing
  • a few different bookshelves
  • A shop vac!
  • a vacuum cleaner
  • a deep sink in the laundry area
  • new covers for the exterior vents in the crawlspace
  • a broom, shovel, rake, and a couple other tools along those lines
  • a wheelbarrow

And there's probably more. I don't even know what's in the house or the attic. It's possible they'll come get all this stuff, but I hope not. None of the family selling it live in the area, and this is all leftovers from the estate sale (after they tossed the majority of stuff in a dumpster). 

Looks like I'm going to have a bit of a workshop in the garage! 

The garage and utility room area are like half to 2/3 the size of my entire current house. I'm THRILLED to have so much space. 

I took Friday off and if I can leave early Thursday I will - Thursday we will go through the house, take measurements, test out everything, and make a plan of attack. Everything kind of depends on the condition of the house - the inspection report listed a couple things, if the inspector really caught everything then we should be in decent shape. If the bathrooms are in decent condition, we could have the carpets pulled out and be painting later this weekend! 

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Picked out the likely flooring for the house today, but will probably actually buy it this Friday. I did buy the paint for my bedroom today from the “oops” paint section at Lowes. 2 gallons of a light blue, and one gallon of a dark violet for an accent wall. I was wanting to add glitter but the additive glitter is expensive so maybe not. I can add glitter accents (or metallic gold) later on. 

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The papers are signed, the house is OURS!

But the lawyers didn't have the keys. And the owner is in Maryland. We've left him a message asking if there's a key hidden somewhere. If we don't find another way in we will try getting a window open enough to shove our friend's kid through it. We are getting in that house, somehow.

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1 minute ago, Alisamer said:

The papers are signed, the house is OURS!

But the lawyers didn't have the keys. And the owner is in Maryland. We've left him a message asking if there's a key hidden somewhere. If we don't find another way in we will try getting a window open enough to shove our friend's kid through it. We are getting in that house, somehow.

Locksmith? Probably a good idea to rekey all the locks anyway.

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17 minutes ago, FiveAcres said:

Locksmith? Probably a good idea to rekey all the locks anyway.

Definitely an option if we can get someone out today.

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And we got in the house! We drilled out the lock. We were planning on replacing them anyway so that solved the problem. Turned out the owner was actually at his house in Florida near Fort Myers so totally understandable keys weren’t his priority. He and his family are thankfully fine, but his house had some damage. 
 

we didn’t get much done at the house today, but we did discover that between my sister and our friend who both had houses built in the past few years, we have enough paint we shouldn’t need to buy any more. Part of the house will be gray, not my fave, but it’s neutral and easy and best of all free! We are starting bright and early in the morning- we’ve got floor joists to replace and carpet to remove. 

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What an exciting project! So happy you got the house in the end.

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6 hours ago, Smash! said:

What an exciting project! So happy you got the house in the end.

Thanks!

Update: We are on our way to a little lunch break with a combined run to Lowes. We went through, made some lists, made some measurements, took down all the outlet and light switch covers, took out the doors, and got the carpet pulled up in the main bedroom. We are halfway through pulling up the tack strips and the staples from the carpet pad in there. We should have more help this evening and weekend. 

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1 hour ago, Alisamer said:

Thanks!

Update: We are on our way to a little lunch break with a combined run to Lowes. We went through, made some lists, made some measurements, took down all the outlet and light switch covers, took out the doors, and got the carpet pulled up in the main bedroom. We are halfway through pulling up the tack strips and the staples from the carpet pad in there. We should have more help this evening and weekend. 

You are going to spend SOOOO much time at Lowe's. 🤣 We moved last year into a house that really didn't need much of anything done to it (well, I'd love new flooring as I don't like what's here, but it's in great shape so I can't justify spending thousands, ya know?), but we made so many trips to Lowe's in the first few weeks after we moved in that I'm surprised they didn't start calling us by our first names. Paint, area rugs, shelving for the garage, closet organising stuff, storage shelving for the bathroom that doesn't have a linen closet, new washer and dryer, new upright freezer because our old one was 40 years old and on its very last gasp...and so many other little odds and ends that we just NEEDED. And I cringed every time we whipped out the credit card. But it was a lot of fun getting everything in and settled and JUST RIGHT. I'm so excited for you!!! 🤩

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When I went in my lunchtime ride yesterday I rode through an area with a lot of mid century ranch style houses and thought of your house.

Most of the houses around where I am seem to be pre 1950s if I had to guess. The condo building is from 1978.  But there’s a section a few blocks north where it seems like the homes are from the 50s to the 70s - mainly small ranch style homes.  

If I had the scratch I might’ve looked at a small ranch but just didn’t want the yard work and snow removal that would come with having my own house. (Course I would’ve seen about putting a garden and clotheslines. Along with a disclaimer that people who stared at what I put on the clothesline did so at their own risk and I wasn’t paying for their therapy). 
 

 

 

 

 

4 hours ago, Loveday said:

You are going to spend SOOOO much time at Lowe's. 🤣 We moved last year into a house that really didn't need much of anything done to it (well, I'd love new flooring as I don't like what's here, but it's in great shape so I can't justify spending thousands, ya know?), but we made so many trips to Lowe's in the first few weeks after we moved in that I'm surprised they didn't start calling us by our first names. Paint, area rugs, shelving for the garage, closet organising stuff, storage shelving for the bathroom that doesn't have a linen closet, new washer and dryer, new upright freezer because our old one was 40 years old and on its very last gasp...and so many other little odds and ends that we just NEEDED. And I cringed every time we whipped out the credit card. But it was a lot of fun getting everything in and settled and JUST RIGHT. I'm so excited for you!!! 🤩

Yeah. I spent some cash at home improvement joints after acquiring my condo.  It didn’t need too much work but there was some things I wanted done. 

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Yes we are probably going tii in be going nuts at Lowes. Repeatedly!

First full day of renovations is done. We managed to get out all of the carpet and tack strips. The main bedroom is basically ready for paint tomorrow. Both toilets had leaks and have been removed. It turns out one will be fixable, and one needs replacement, so an addition to the Lowes shopping list there. 
D9B6F290-43C6-407F-BF4B-2395EA3D80FA.thumb.jpeg.1433ed3923f5482de1e808bc023e119d.jpeg

and we uncovered the original 70s linoleum! It’s fabulous. 

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