Wednesday, August 3, 2011

T.S.L.O.A.B.R.I.A.N.O.Y.O.H. (The Storied Life of a Basement Remodel in a Ninety-One Year Old Home) Part I

Looking back on these pictures I am about to share I can see the handwriting on the wall. I even feel a bit silly sharing these because everyone out there is going to look at them and think “oh gawd! what were they thinking?!” I honestly don’t know. 

I’ll retrace the steps to the beginning when we found this house. 
Back when we had 2 kids in school full time. 
Back when we were young and ambitious (4 years ago?) 
Back when we didn’t know any better. 
Back before the housing market fell off the face of the Earth. 
Back before we realized that homeownership can be overrated at times. 
sigh....

We LOVED the idea of an older home with character! I grew up in a house in St. Louis that was built for the 1904 World’s Fair and it was almost an assault on the senses with all the baseboards, crown moldings, pocket doors,  and 10’ ceilings. I wanted built-ins, hardwood floors, big windows, tall ceilings, crown moldings, etc. This house seemed to have *almost* all of that (buried under 3 layers of carpet, paneling, FPR, wallpaper, spline ceilings, drop down ceilings, falling plaster, and faux rock paneling!) 
We were willing to over look all of the downsides, or simply chose not to see them - including the basement that was supposed to be dry covered in faux rock paneling.  I’m still kicking myself for not having a picture of this to prove it. Let’s just say that an avid Dale Earnhardt fan lived in this home and because of the ghastly amounts paraphernalia on the wall we didn't eve notice the paneling. no joke. Surprise!! to us on closing day when we found it during the final inspection. It was like opening the biggest box under the Christmas tree only to find a dirty sock in it. That had a hole.
Back to the remodel.....
The basement wasn’t dry. Never was. And was sold to us that it was. AND the first time it leaked the carpet smelled like wet dog. A wet dog that had been wet before and dirty for a very looooooong time. 
THEN the sewer line broke and we had poo water. yep, poo water. I cried. There was poo water in my basement. If anyone knows about my aversion to toilets and bathrooms it would all make sense. 
So... we decided that we had to install a sump pump, then reroute the gutters to drain AWAY from the house and NOT TOWARDS. Something that must have slipped the minds of the original builder and every homeowner since him. That didn't solve our problems so we resorted to a french drain system that tied into the sump pump and the B-dry system. 
I think I need a nap. 
Here are the "phase 1" pictures right after we gutted the oil tanks, poo water soaked carpet, faux rock wall, golden oak corner unit fake fire place, & dimpled drop ceiling with a black grid nonetheless.
The studded "wall" once had faux rock paneling on the right side of it - opposite the furnace. 




This used to be the scary "oil tank room." It had a creepy door that squeaked and everything. The walls came down (the back line was where the framework used to be for one of the walls).

This is the East wall and the window that leads to no where. seriously! It goes under the back porch. The previous owners never bothered to brick it up. 

The stairs coming down from the kitchen on the right. I'm standing in the "oil tank room" taking the picture. 

And this was the old family room AKA Dale Earnhardt Will Live On Forever Memorial Room. 

I told you it would be obvious. 

oh and these were in the basement when we bought the house. 
Along with 88 gallons of diesel fuel inside. 

If one ever comes across these while looking at an old home - RUN! The house would have to be FREE or don't bother. Unless there is money hidden in the walls....AND that my friends is what we are still looking for. ;)


6 comments:

Splendorfalls said...

Ive never seen your basement! Oh my! Can't wait for the after!

{beth} said...

I can't wait to see!

Erica said...

I can't WAIT to see the finished product. You have such a great ability to turn all things beautiful with your craftiness! I've no doubt this is no exception! =)

Kika said...

OMG I just stumble across your blog and read this and felt like I was reading my story sans the 88 gallons of diesel fuel. I dreamed of buying an old home and restoring it, " ahem" yeah had no idea what I was in for. We just finished a new foundation, french drain and sump pump on our home that was built in 1916. They forgot to tell us we're sitting on an underwater spring. not too long after buying and a very wet winter, we started noticing new cracks in the plaster as the walls were starting to pitch out with the rolling foundation as a result of the underwater spring and wet basement. Yes we bought during an exceptionally dry summer so we didn't notice the wet basement and figured all old homes have cracks in the plaster. Any whooo know you aren't alone in this kind of drama.

Charisa said...

Why in the world were the oil tanks there? That is nuts!
I'm with everyone else, you always do such great things I can't wait to what happens down there!

We picked our current house with a thick pair of "rose colored glasses" on too. Never again, never again.... :)

Tasha Roe said...

We are getting closer and closer by the day!! :)

Kika - I cannot even tell you how inappropriate my reaction was to reading "underwater spring" in your comment. wow!!! best wishes on getting that sucker dry!!

Charisa - for heating the house. first they had a wood burning stove. no joke. it was the 20's and all crazy. lol
then oil, now a furnace. good times.