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Tips on minor renovations on a potential home. Sign In/Join 
posted
I've narrowed down my home search to a few homes. A couple need some semi-major updates. For example, two lack air conditioning. However, the home that I keep coming back to is a beautifully restored old home that really doesn't need any major updating. It for the most part is move-in ready. It's also in a very beautiful and well-established neighborhood close to upscale shopping and dining and many other things.

http://www.zillow.com/homedeta...-44118/33655242_zpid



This is the home. I'm concerned with the front of the house and curb appeal. It's very 'flat' and I'm unsure about the color of the home. I'm thinking I could just add an awning and a cute little fence around the front yard. Any suggestions?

Inside there are a few fairly minor things that I would like to change. I'd like add dry walling to the "family room" off of the dining room and in the basement. How much would something like that cost? I can't stand the wood paneling in both, nor the checkered ceiling in the room off of the dining room. I would also like to add french doors to the family room to make into an office. I think they'd have to open inward due to the dining built-in and not to interfere with the dining room table/chairs. Looking at the spec sheet the room is 9 feet wide by 11 feet deep - perfect for a nice desk and chair.




I would need to change lighting fixtures in both the third floor space and kitchen have, which have horrible fluorescent lighting.

I'm also not sure what I would do with the third floor, or the basement. I would think that in the basement I could put in a home theater system where the alcove is with the spotlights, and maybe add a small wet bar. The third floor I'm completely clueless what to do with. The second floor has three bedrooms and a full bath. I'd have my office space off of the dining... Haha, I'm not sure.

Lastly, the first floor has both a powder room and a full bathroom. In my opinion this unnecessary and redundant. I'm thinking I would turn the powder room into a laundry nook because the basement laundry is...scary. I'd like to replace the conventional door with a pocket door. I could have my front loading washer and dryer stacked in there, and also maybe add some small storage. How much would it cost to convert the bathroom and add venting to the outside? It already has plumbing, so that shouldn't be too difficult right?


Thanks! I would really appreciate the help as I'm looking to start on the process of buying a home soon, and moving now that warmer weather is around the corner.
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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IMHO the front exterior looks weird. The trim looks pasted on. Changing that may not be expensive but I'd suggest an architect consultant. Some other unusual things inside that may need a designer's touch. How much will these things cost depends upon local labor rates, and you didn't give your location. In general you need to talk to local contractors.
 
Posts: 12175 | Location: Ft Collins, CO USA | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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I'd probably want to add a covered porch for the front door. Not sure about the Tudor styling on the front. Well done Tudor is quite nice, done on the cheap it just looks cheap.

If you can fit it in I'd do the porch with a roof line to mirror the main house roof line. I'd line the peak up with the house, though the door is off center. Replacing the front door with one with side lights might allow you to center it up. That could be a bit of work though as it would require a new header above the door.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6931 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From another point of view. The Tudor stuff on front looks odd. Take the px to a contractor and get an idea what they can do with it. Most will spend a little bit of time for free if you are potential customer. I agree with sparky about a porch if it is allowed.

With any changes think ahead at least 5 years and better 10. What live changes might you have by then? I you sure you want to do away with a dining room? Pocket door have to have hardware in wall. Not as simple as it seems. Dryer venting depends what the access to your basement is and how far it has to run.

Nice wish list. Just don't be disappointed if you can't get it all. At least the home is move in ready.
 
Posts: 6958 | Location: North MN & Northern AR | Registered: Oct 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh, sorry guys. It's in the Cleveland area. The house is so well priced at 135.5, which can still probably be negotiated. There's a lot of room for renovations.

I didn't think about adding a covered porch. I think that's an amazing idea and could really make the home look a lot better. I think the Tudor styling was original to the house, but before the house was flipped the home was in really bad shape. The Tudor detailing is there in the old photos of the home. I was just thinking of replacing it with siding like the rest of house? I didn't even realize that the door was off center. That's so strange, haha. I don't even know what to do about that... hmmm.

@mewtwo I didn't want to get rid of the dining room. The first floor has two bathrooms, a powder, and a full. I was wanting to get rid of the smaller powder room because I don't need two bathrooms 5 feet apart from each other. It'd be more functional as a laundry room. I just wanted to add dry walling the small room straight back from the dining room and add french doors to it to make it like an official office space.



http://www.zillow.com/homedeta...44118/33655295_zpid/

This is the other home that I'm extremely interested in. Overall I think that it's a more beautiful home. The seller is a contractor and is really motivated to sell the home. The third floor has a bedroom that's small-ish, but another small area that you walk up into as well as a full bath. I asked my realtor about opening up the space to make a master suite. He said that the seller is willing to do that. There's just a couple things I'm not too big of a fan of. One is that the basement for me as a 6'4 guy is just unusable although it's finished.



The realtor also said that the seller could add venting here and connect the plumbing from the bathroom to make a laundry space where I could stack a washer/dryer. That's a recurring theme for me. I can't stand dungeon-esque basement laundry facilities in these older homes.

The other major concern for me is that it has radiator heating, and lacks central air conditioning. I need AC, and I'm not a big fan of window units. Is it possible to add central AC? I've also looked at other systems, like mini-split systems, such as the Mr. Slim by Mitubishi. I don't know too much about these. I know that for example the Mr. Slim provides both heating and cooling. If I had something like that installed I could remove the radiators, but I'm not sure how efficient the system would be in a Cleveland winter.

I've looked at newer homes, but I can't stand cookie cutter homes in cul-de-sacs. All of the homes I've looked at are unique, as are all of the other homes in the neighborhood. I'd rather live in a renovated older home or an older home that might need some work done. I'm just not too sure where to start, haha.

Purchasing a first home is more complicated than I originally thought - even after watching countless house hunters and property virgins episodes.
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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They both look like great homes for the price! The second one surely has better curb appeal, but adding the a/c could be a pain.

The first home looks like it could have had a porch across the front , maybe even a wrap-a-round to the left? Nevertheless ....it is screaming for a porch of some sort! It could be very cute....even with just a covered stoop! For me....that fake Tudor would have to go!!

Best of luck with this exciting decision!!
 
Posts: 3128 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by jujakr:
I'm not sure if you guys scrolled through the photos of the first home on the zillow listing, but this is what it used to look like.


The home has a wood shingle siding, and I've already thought of repainting it a different color. I'm getting ahead of myself I now, but I'm trying to think of myself down the road, and maybe what I can work on later.

.

I know the house I'm looking at isn't the same as pictured above. However, this gives me a good idea of what it could look like without the Tudor facade and with a front porch.

I have some connections that could probably help me save a few bucks. My grandfather is a contractor/owns his own business, but I haven't spoken to him in five years -haha, family drama. One of my close friend's father is the CFO of a fairly large construction company that her grandfather is the CEO of (family run business).

I really like the second home I showed, but the AC thing seems like such a huge task to take on. I also feel like the home is kind of "cold" on the inside, museum-like. It's very beautiful, but I'm not sure. I can't put my finger on it. My real estate agent has showed me so many homes from varieties of styles, age, and cost.

Edit - didn't mean to quote myself/meant to hit the edit button, haha.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: jujakr,
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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Well, it is better than it used to be! If you do not want a large porch, I was thinking something like this?

 
Posts: 3128 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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Some nice landscaping would help to take the focus off of the I centered door. This home has great potential!
 
Posts: 3128 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Grapefruit:
Well, it is better than it used to be! If you do not want a large porch, I was thinking something like this?


I think that's cute, but I've always actually liked big porches. My late grandmother had a beautiful plantation home with an amazing wrap-around porch. It had a porch swing and a couple rockers. I remember sitting out there with my grandmother eating freshly made baked goods doing cross word puzzles with her. That's why I really like the idea of adding a porch. I kind of thumped myself on the head for not thinking of it. Would it look better to wrap it around to the left side, stretching it across the entire front?

I'm just trying to hammer all of this stuff out because I want to start the buying process within the next couple weeks. There's a good few months that are prime for moving before the harsh Cleveland winters move in. I want to be as settled as possible before 25 degree weather and lake-effect snow. Haha.
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Grapefruit:
Some nice landscaping would help to take the focus off of the I centered door. This home has great potential!


I totally agree with it having potential. I'm so glad that work was already put into it, and that not too too much needs to go into it.



This is what I'm talking about. The bathrooms are so close together, so it just seems to make sense to try to convert it.


This is the the only room that I would have to immediately change when I move in. The walls and the ceiling... Great office space, but it makes me want to vomit, haha.



I'd also like to drywall the basement and remove the wood paneling. It'd make a good rec room, and I can actually comfortably stand in it.



And lastly, I'm not sure what to do with this attic space. It may remain empty for a bit until I figure out what to do with it.

With the home as is and the potential combined with the price and its amazing location I really think that this might be the home.
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a wall unit like you were thinking about but only for a/c. The heat is provided by electrical (coils I believe) and the cost will depend upon what you pay for electric. It would probably be more expensive the heat you have. But it would work for the a/c.

The original px of the house looks so much better than it does now. I think it is the color. The landscape helps too.
 
Posts: 6958 | Location: North MN & Northern AR | Registered: Oct 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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At least it seems that the home is move-in ready. Are these projects that you would do after you move in?

I agree about the paneling! Have you thought of just a different paint color? Once your furnishings are in you will get a different feel for the space. I think I would live with it until I was in for a while. Overall, this seems like a great house.

As far as the porch goes....I, too, love porches! It seems that a porch would wrap around to the left on this house. I would get a drawing done before doing anything else. If the scale isn't right for the porch/house it will never look right.

You might want to post these things on the "General Decorating" board here. There are many talented folks over there.
 
Posts: 3128 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Haha, I'll make sure to post there. I've been working on a project, so fantasizing about a new home has been a nice distraction.

I don't like the paneling, nor the ugly checkerboard pattern on the ceiling. It looks cheap and even painted it doesn't look too great as you can see with the basement. Drywall is fairly inexpensive.

I would probably try to work on these soon after I move in.
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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I see that I was commenting on the wrong room.....! Yes, the cute little room must lose the paneling!! Is there possibly drywall underneath the paneling? Or, was this an enclosed porch? I have never seen a ceiling like that!!
 
Posts: 3128 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Grapefruit:
I see that I was commenting on the wrong room.....! Yes, the cute little room must lose the paneling!! Is there possibly drywall underneath the paneling? Or, was this an enclosed porch? I have never seen a ceiling like that!!


I think at one point it might have been. Looking at the horrifying old pictures it's covered in them as well.



I'll have to have the inspector really check it out. Hopefully its stable and well insulated. Having that extra space for an office is a huge plus. The person who rehabbed the house added an amazing deck off of the back. It's a beautiful outdoor space.

Also: I made a post in general decorating

This message has been edited. Last edited by: jujakr,
 
Posts: 10 | Registered: Apr 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Are the tudor "beams" real wood or just painted on stucco? Is there a possibility that under the tan vinyl or aluminum siding and under the brown shakes there is a brick or stone facade? The offset on that front door makes it look like a poor diy replacement for a larger door that was centered - so a header for a wider, more appropriate door may already be there. That's what makes me think that brown siding was not original.

Here's a suggestion for that back room - as long as you plan to tear off the inside walls, you may want to consider replacing the center windows with french doors facing the back yard while you're at it. At a later date you could extend the deck around to it, hopefully without having to relocate or lower the AC unit. That would make that room much brighter than those three high windows.
 
Posts: 748 | Registered: Jan 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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