Old House Restoration

A real family makes an old house their home...for the 2nd time
The Splendido's renovate, restore and rejuvenate their home with their own hands - all while living in the house
and balancing their family needs...you know...like most families have to do it!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Before Photos - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I am in the midst of working on the outside of the house - after all - although it doesn't feel like it, it is 'supposed to be' spring so many of my posts have been about the outdoors. Except I know many people come to an old house blog to see the house, not the grounds. We have done some work inside the house up to this point, but I have not written them yet (key word 'yet').

To please a few that have wanted to see some more inside shots I thought I would throw together a quick entry with before pictures from almost every room. I am glad to say this is a fantastic house already. We are lucky! Restoring the Splendor is definitely not a gut job...in fact we do not plan on changing the footprint or interior walls at all. No bump outs or additions needed. A HUGE factor in falling in love with this house.

The Good - several of the rooms are great as is and just need some fresh paint.

The Bad - The Roof - was horrible when we got here. It did not look bad in the pictures, but the peeling paint in ALL the bedroom ceilings told us otherwise. We had the roof repaired (and then some) as soon as we moved in...more on that in a later post.

The Bad - continued - The Electrical - we already had it updated to 200 amp service by Tom Nappi of Niskayuna Electric.

The Ugly - the Butler's Pantry and the Kitchen - you will see for yourself below.

The front of house on when we had it inspected
stone, clap board, aged copper...LOVE
With all this said, the house was "move in ready." I believe that is what Karen said and then she may have said, "sure it needs some work, but we can take our time, because it is not so bad." She'd make a good salesman. She knew I was concerned that buying this house meant many more years of work ahead of us transforming every room into the was she (I mean we) wanted it...and as for taking our time...let's just say it is only 9 months later and I have a blog to document all we have done and all we will do.   :-)   I am treading on thin ice right now...I better get back to the post...

Entry Foyer Design Ideas
Entry Foyer
The Entry Foyer - Look. At. That. Door!  The moment we walked through it I knew I was in trouble (meaning I had to start packing the old house because we would be moving). We have not touched the foyer. It is in good shape. Eventually we will remove the wallpaper and paint, but this room is waaay low on the Honey Do List because it looks nice.

BTW - Wallpaper does not scare us. It should not scare anybody away from a house they otherwise love. I have become an expert at wallpaper removal - EVERY ROOM & HALLWAY in the last house had wallpaper floor to ceiling. Notice I said had wallpaper. If you want pointers just ask...I can't say I can come over and help you (I have enough on my own plate)...but free tips? No problem. I'm sure I will explain my wallpaper removal process in a future entry.

Gossip Bench & Phone Closet
Phone Closet - Gossip Bench Closet
Also in the foyer area is this great nook and cranny. A phone closet. As of now the only change we made was to make this old phone closet and old phone closet once again. It was empty when we moved in. Karen has a knack for finding really nice (and many times valuable) antiques for next to nothing. She has an eye for it. She found a great Gossip Bench and I actually found a reproduction (but still old) Candlestick phone...I searched near and far for just the right phone...well actually just near...I found this at the garage sale directly across the street...here I just took a picture...

Gossip Bench and Candlestick Phone Closet
Gossip Bench & Candlestick Phone
Home improvements, old home restoration, house renovations
Before - Living Room
Here is a before picture of the living room. Very before. Not our furniture - it was the previos owners. We wish it was. We like it better than our furniture ;-) Again this is a great room. Nothing to do here except paint the trim Benjamin Moore White Dove (our new color choice for all our trim). But again this room is low on the list because it looks great the way it is.

In case you are reading this A.S., most of the trim in the old house is White Chocolate. I have to admit we chose that color partially because of the name. I mean who doesn't like white chocolate from time to time? Karen gets me a white chocolate bunny every Easter...because she knows its not Easter unless I get a white chocolate bunny.

Another view of the living room. Man...I really did like that furniture.

Master - not our furniture - it even has a sitting area - never had that before.
Master Bedroom - Another good. It is huge! Have I mentioned how lucky we are? The accent wall and the hallway have wallpaper that will be removed. Also it needs a light fixture and some ceiling repairs from the water leaks discussed above. But all in all a great room. HOWEVER if I learned one thing from the last house is DO NOT save your master bedroom for last!!! We just never got around to doing our bedroom at the previous house until January & February of 2013. We put our offer on this house and that house on the market within the month!...and I loved the color we chose for that room!...Grey Cashmere...we will use it here somewhere.

I actually was hoping we had a room with almost no work to be done. This oldest child's bedroom (i.e.- the largest bedroom) needed no work other than some ceiling repairs (basically minor scraping, light spackle and paint). The only problem - Paige swore up and down that she must have a pink room. Her room at the old house was VERY pink. She was upset before we moved in about this new room not being pink. Thank goodness she has come around and now loves this color, too. Whew.

Lily's room is also in great shape other than the ceilings...did I mention there was a roof problem? Another room that will only need minor fixing.

Up till now I have shown you mostly "The Good" and I would understand if you are thinking Restore the Spendor? It kind of looks great already...and I agree. But believe me there are some bad and ugly to come...plus this blog is not necessarily about fixing a house that is in shambles - definitely not the case - it is about restoring and renovating where needed and making this house our home.

The Bad and The Ugly

Luke's Room is a classic Paul Shaefer room. It has built-ins galore. The Dresser is built-in. The headboard is built-in. There is even a pull down desk built right into the wood work. Very cool. The only thing uncool is that everything is painted one color. Nothing stands out in the room. It is very dull. No pop. However, nothing that a little paint can't fix....oh and of course there are some ceiling repairs to be made...are you catching the common trend in all the upstairs rooms?! This room will take a while to paint. There is so much wood work. Trim work takes a while to paint. Give me a wide open wall any day. In the meantime we have made this a cool big boy room by getting him a platform bed. He gets to sleep up high and has cool matchbox race tracks and trains under the bed...and a teepee in his room. He loves it. I'd be happy too!

Built-In Desk on left. Built-In Headboard on right

The Office. It is GREAT to have one, but it is obviously way outdated with its wall-to-wall paneling. A lot of PITA painting in our future here. In case you haven't done it before - paneling is not fun to paint. A little history - my understanding is that this room was used as the maid's quarters for the family that owned this house during its first few decades.

The Breakfast Nook and Butlers Pantry - We loved the idea of this room immediately. We just didn't love the decor. Very old looking...and not in the good way. More tired looking than old. The good news - we renovated this room already! Paint, new hardware and cabinets doors that I refaced, a really cool rehab to the laminate counter-top, built-in breakfast bench that I designed and built (I still look at it and say "I can't believe I made that"), wide plank wood floors, and more...blog entries coming soon!

Up to this point during our initial walk-through of this house I have to admit although every room needed something, nothing was all that bad...then we opened the swinging doors to the kitchen...YIKES.

This kitchen has been waiting for us. We are just the people to bring it back to life. 

The obligatory first step Karen does for any of our restorations...she peels off some of the wallpaper in many different spots. She says she does this "to see what we are dealing with." I say she does this "so I don't dilly-dally." She knows the worst it looks the sooner I get to work.

Florescent lights galore in this room. They gave Karen a headache. They were an eyesore to me because the cabinet would swing open and hit it hard enough that the light always looked like it was about to fall down. And you cant see it, but the back side of the cover was actually cracked with a hole.

In the picture to the right you can see some more of Karen's handy-work. We have started this room! The lights have been replaced. Wallpaper removed. Ceiling and walls painted. Then I stopped in April because spring arrived (but really has spring arrived?) and I started the slate patio. So the kitchen looks better than this but it still does not look good. I like to say we are 25% done...the harder 75% remains.

Look at that 2 inch thick laminate counter! The linoleum floor! The cabinets need a facelift! We have our work cut out for us.

This was a black fan...until I cleaned it! So gross!!!
I love this fan...now...not then. I restored the fan, the fan cover and controls. They were caked with decades worth of grease. In fact, I thought this was a black fan when we moved in. No really. I had no idea it was silver!

Speaking of gross. I really do not know how the family we purchased the house from ate. Maybe they BBQ'd a lot, because they couldn't have use this beast. Only a couple burners worked and lets just say when we opened the oven to take a look inside we slammed it shut as fast as we could and never opened it again!!! Our friends at Earl B Feiden's helped us out of this jam. We love our new stove, but you will have to wait until the after pictures of the kitchen...and since I am not currently working on the kitchen...that may be a little ways off.

"Holy old and dirty linoleum Batman." What Robin would say if he was in the Splendido house. (Karen and Paige like to watch Jeopardy)
There is no cleaning this thing...and once again you can see some of Karen's handy-work. Like the saying goes - you got to make it look worse, before it can look better.

You have seen this picture before - but the slate patio was definitely another great area in need of a lot of attention. I am glad to say I am getting there! Almost done.

That does it for my current before pictures. There are a few rooms missing. 2 of the 3 bathrooms need a lot of help. The dining room just needed paint and a new light (done - coming soon). The basement is a great start for a basement. Partially finished. Beautiful fireplace...not sure when we will ever use it...but it is grand.

I'll finish this little before tour with a couple of cool trinkets from around the house and yard.

Basset Hound Door Knocker
Roman Soldier Head
sticking out of ground
Who me?

I look forward to sharing my renovation how to's, restoration challenges and successes (*hopefully*),  and more. As for now, I need to wrap this up and go coach some little league. Busy, busy, busy.

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