Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Introduction to the Project

I don't know about you, but Stephen and I cannot really afford a new house, and we aren't willing to incur debt to buy one.

"Buy an old one," you say?

We just spent the last three years rebuilding a 1970's house for an uncle on the weekends - new floors, drywall, finishes, electric, bathrooms, kitchen, exterior siding, roof. etc. We had a living room that literally had no light fixtures. No kitchen appliances, broken down mucky cabinets, ancient carpets and bad tile. Sections of cheap fake-wood paneling had been used to make a pseudo-wainscot below peeling wallpaper. One of the bathrooms had a tub that had the long side parallel to a three foot vanity with 8" to stand in between to use the sink.You had to stand in the tub to turn on the faucet.

In our spare time, we looked at other, more historic local homes with an eye to buy, but the restoration process on those looked considerably worse than the one we've just done. Why don't people maintain their homes better? Why do people with an eye to restore do such a truly awful job? The homes that looked salvageable had largely been purchased and renovated with a box-store, owner-with-no-experience-done period "look," covered with vinyl siding, that sort of thing. We'd have to pull off all the renovations just to start restoration, though the renovations are considered to be much of the value of the property.

Also, I contacted people from the city and local contractors, and we do not have qualified people to do most restoration work in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Restoration foundation repair, plaster, plaster mouldings, sash window restorers, whatever. Don't have it.
Between the increased building time, cost, and lack of specialized labor required for a half-way decent restoration, we decided to build our own period home. And we're doing it on weekends.

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