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Geneticswhiz 09-08-2011 10:50 AM

Just bought our "Forever Home" fixer-upper
Just bought a house in the town of Elkton, MD. Close to the water, but not too close. Has great bones, but needs work. On 1.7 acres half cleared, half woods backing up to a small creek. Wife and I plan on raising the kids in it (14, 10, 8yrs and 9months).

Some background on me:
I’m a geneticist/molecular biologist, if my user name did not give it away. Have always been very mechanically inclined and LOVE to do home improvement. Have fixed up two houses in Texas and Colorado before. Been living in a condo for the last 2 years with family (see above) and am VERY excited to rip into the new house. Will try just about any home improvement project…except laying carpet…don’t really know why…

Some background on the house:
Block construction on basement and first floor, wood/vinyl siding on second. Walk out basement, that has garden windows on front and sides so about 2/3rds of the basement is underground. Sunroom on back with huge deck on back of house that raps about 1/3 around each side of the house. County records say it was built in 89, but we found out from neighbors that it was rebuilt after a fire in 89. I would bet it’s originally 1920s-1940s. Layout is good, but some things are a little weird. Looks like they added/did some remodeling over time and with it some weird things. Two big bathrooms with plumbing for third in basement. Some attic space on second floor. Two car detached garage, without power.

Current situation:
Was a rental for the last few years and got it on short sale. Previous, and probably long term tenants, were smokers and had pets (dogs and cats). So, carpets and walls were a mess! Not sure if the carpets were ever vacuumed. You could see the stains on the walls and carpets...not to mention the smell! The basement leaks. There was no sump pump. Basement was partially finished. Instead of fixing the water problems they simply finished off the half of the basement that did not flood, much. The den and bedroom was raised up on a 2X6 subfloor so the water would not damage the carpet. Little to no damage to sheetrock on the walls, but personally, I’m a little scared about what is under the subfloor. Has a good AC unit, but is its old. Oil heat. Has a fireplace in basement den, wood burning stove on main floor. Huge rooms for the kids. Walls seem a little thin as sound travels very well in the house. Roof in okay shape. All major appliances are in good shape…relatively new. Windows are actually good.

Animal stains on carpets (really bad smell)
Cigarette stains on carpets and walls.
Horrible colors on walls.
Old “brick” pattern vinyl in kitchen.
1970’s avocado green counters.
Stove is at end of counter, up against the wall.
Water-stained red brick and cement fireplace in living room.
Poorly laid vinyl tile in bathrooms.
Wiring makes little sense…some light switches are outside the rooms in the hallways.
Most outlets are so loose they can’t hold cords in.
Wicker containing ceiling fans…yes you read that right.
Poor weather stripping on all doors.
Most inside door knobs don’t turn.
Counters and cabinets in kitchen are only on one side…other side is bare wall.
Coat closet is in the dining room and extends into the kitchen.
Fire place leaks.
Some roof leaks.
Vent pipes in roof leak.
Basement leaks (really bad smell)
1970’s country wall paper, or painted wall paper.
Vanities in bathrooms are too small for the space they are in…about 1’ to either side.
All light fixtures in house are damaged in some way.
All light fixtures outside are damaged or barely hanging on.
Gutters are okay but drain right against the house.
Planting beds slope away from house, but create puddles about 2 feet from house.
Landscaping ties for some planting beds block water flow away from house.
Holes above master tube where repairs to upstairs bathroom were made.
Sheetrock nails backing out on walls.
Un-sanded sheetrock patching on walls and ceilings.

I have projects planned out in phases base upon living requirements. Water abatement/mitigation will of course be dealt with as necessary. I’ll post before and after pictures.

Phase I (main living area):
Replace floors on first floor (living, dining, master bedroom, stairs).
Fix and paint walls.
Replace fixtures, outlets and switches.
Replace all molding.
Remodel fireplace.

Phase II (Basement):
Water mitigation in basement.
Remodel basement den and bedroom.
Add third bathroom to basement.
Add storage/pantry to basement.
Reorganize utility room.
Add wash-room to basement.
Add playroom to basement.

Phase III (Kitchen):
Replace floor in kitchen.
Rearrange kitchen counters, cabinets and appliances.
Add cabinets and counter space.
Add island.
Add backsplash.
Remove coat closet.
Replace counters.
Replace sink and add disposal.
Replace light fixtures (electrical and plumbing).
Paint walls.

Phase IV (Bathrooms):
Replace floors in main and upstairs bathrooms.
Replace counters and cabinets.
Replace fixtures (electrical and plumbing).

Phase V (Deck and Landscaping):
Replace deck surface.
Update railings.
Add/replace light fixtures.
Repair grading for proper water flow.
Remove landscape tie planters.
Add garden and chicken coup.

Misc. Stuff:
Add Play-fort and/or tree house.
Wire garage for power.
Set-up beer brewing equipment in basement.

Gary in WA 09-12-2011 11:48 PM

Welcome to the forum! Well, you have your list........Glad to have you aboard!


picflight 09-13-2011 12:19 AM

Welcome and love to see pics of what you have ahead of you.

BigJim 09-13-2011 10:18 AM

Man what a list, you got your work cut out for you. I agree, pictures of before and after would be nice and you will be happy you did so you can look back and see what you did and how you did it.

Marbledust 09-13-2011 10:33 AM

at least the land was a good buy.
you should start new,leave that old house alone and build new.

Not a good idea to move the family into this one while doing 24 months of repairs?

Scuba_Dave 09-22-2011 10:06 AM

Welcome to the Site !

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