Sunday, July 17, 2011

Home: Downstairs "Before"

Take a tour of our house.   Over the next few months I will show you pictures of our house AFTER the remodel.  But these pictures our BEFORE we did anything.  Thankfully, someone came through and took out the garbage, and the fleas, although they did leave a rat that I got to meet a few times before we finally killed it.  That took a really BIG trap!

I fell in love the moment I peeked through the front door, and although it still needs A LOT of work, it is much better now than it was in these pics.  We bought the house in October of 2005, worked on the house for 10 LONG months before we moved in, and lived downstairs for 4 months while we worked on the upstairs.   It ain't perfect, but it is ours.  To keep this blog as brief as possible, I will just show you the downstairs today.

The first thing I noticed about the house was those stairs.  What a great entrance!  This house has great bones, but needed MAJOR work.

Living Room:
 I think this was one of the only rooms that didn't have major damage to the original plaster, but what you don't see in the pic is the vine growing on the front wall INSIDE the house.  

Den:  What were we thinking, this place was disgusting! The den was apparently the "smoking room"- the walls were covered in tar.  You can kinda see the white spot on the wall to the right.  It's not actually "white" just not as dirty as the rest! 

Dining Room:
This room needed MAJOR work- plaster, floor, everything.  You can see outside the window on the left there is a bit of wood in the top of the window.  That is actually the "porte cochere."  I kept calling it a carport, but was corrected enough times I decided to look it up, and found that, yes, i admit it, I WAS WRONG.  
So here it is: A porte-cochere (French porte-cochère, literally "coach gate", also called a carriage porch) is the architectural term for a porch or portico-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building, through which it is possible for a horse and carriage or motor vehicle to pass, in order for the occupants to alight under cover, protected from the weather.
 Anyway,  the darn thing was falling down, and the previous owners we told to put it back up, or tear it down.  They PROPPED it up with a too short 4 x 4 cemented in a 5 gallon bucket!  The new roofline poured water into the house through the hole where the beam should have been attached, and really damaged the floors and walls.

Kitchen:  How do you say "ugly" in a way that doesn't sound rude?  It looks a lot bigger in the picture.  Behind the wall on the right (1st pic) was a butler's pantry, in addition to the food pantry you see in the second picture.  Tons or storage, but not much SPACE.  There was a wall oven taking up a good portion of the wall to the left, and they had, apparently, had a small fire at the stove.  Just in front of the door in the 1st pic there was a hole in the floor so that we could see the ground under the house.  We were told that was where they would pour the food out of the bag for the dogs to eat! 
Notice the interesting doorway arrangement in the second pic.  We were never really sure what to think about that.  That piece of molding butting into the middle of the doorway is actually a second doorway with a small cabinet behind it.  Seems like a HUGE waste to me, since there is NO WAY to put a door on either of these two openings!
Breakfast Room:
This room was the icing on the cake, the worst of the best, the part that made me need to go straight home and take a shower.  This was a sewer pipe- a BUSTED sewer pipe.  They had opened the entire wall to fix it, and just left it.  So all the gases and disgustingness could linger in the house.  YUK!  What were we thinking?  Do we really have this much time and energy.  Please note:  the staining on the ceiling is actually a different problem, it is rust from the metal lathe under the plaster caused by a leak in the drain pipe coming from the sink.  We found this one when our light fixture filled with water and we had an inch of water on the floor.  But that is a story for another day!


  1. Sunla, I know it must have been so rewarding saving this lovely home. Sounds like you had a lot of challenges in the beginning. So wonderful you were willing to take on the job of restoring it!

  2. First of all, thank you so much for your comment today and for leading me to this post. Your house truly is awesome, I can see why you were able to look past all the awfulness and make it your home. Do you have "after" pictures posted yet?

  3. I don't have after pictures yet, but I hope to start posting some soon. After working on this house for a year before moving in, and living in it for 5 years, I still feel like our rooms are not "done." But I look forward to sharing our house with y'all once I feel it is "camera ready!"



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