Most people who know what this place looked like when we bought it are astounded by the transformation. As can be seen below this place was a little rough when we bought it.
The House and Land We Bought
This is Pam out in what is now our front yard with the house in the background. This is what we saw as we drove up the driveway that first day. All we had was a house on a piece of property that was dirt and weeds. What were we thinking.
A closer view of the front of the house provides a better view of the exterior and the yard up close to it. While there were remnants of a sprinkler system it didn't work and there was no sign of any plants that may have been planted by the previous owners. All these plants were weeds.
Another view showing the front porch area. As can bee seen here there was a retaining wall with a steep hill above it right in front of the stairs leading up to the house. This wasn't safe for people, much less dogs. The satellite dish was used by the previous owner for connecting to the Internet.
This is a view of the front of the house back toward the driveway. The front walk looked pretty pathetic. You can also see that the rock work was in place but there were no lights on the columns. The black wire in the picture connected the satellite dish on the front of the house to the previous owner's computer.
This is the view of the house from the end of the driveway. Yes, that is a weed growing at the end of the house covering up the stairs. We could see where the previous owner had planned to build a garage. According to neighbors he ran out of money before he could build it. There are two satellite dishes on the house and fence for TV. This certainly wasn't a welcoming sight. Somehow we saw the possibilities of the site and house.
The other end of the house wasn't much better. Notice that the door for the crawl space under the house is missing and the yard was nothing but weeds. Whatever lawn was here had long since disappeared. While there was a sprinkler system it wasn't well done and much was broken by the time we bought the house. The two heat pumps in the photo are fantastic. One HVAC expert said we had enough to heat and cool a small theater.
The property is a little more than an acre and it was all dirt and weeds. There was very little evidence of a poorly designed and installed sprinkler system and absolutely no sign of any plants planted by the former owner. While there was a place where we could see that they had planned to build a garage. It was just an empty spot with poorly constructed brick walks, dirt and weeds. The front walkway was similarily constructed. The only fenced yard was in back of the house. The wood fence came all the way up to the sides of the house which added to the fire danger. The rest of the acre was unfenced except for a very poorly constructed fence at the bottom of the gully on the master bedroom end and an existing fence around the neighbor's house in front of part of the property. It took a lot of imagining on how this yard could be made safe for the dogs, much less, attractive with some "curb appeal." We also had to address the lack of garage, shop space, outside storage and a small kennel building.
Inside the property wasn't much better. Fortunately, though this was a foreclosure property, the previous owners didn't destroy anything. They did, however, take the refrigerator, washer & dryer and many of the light fixtures. Most of the light fixtures they left were very poor quality or were lights that just weren't installed at all. Most of the inside of the house was still painted white and those rooms that were painted weren't even close to any colors we would have chosen. The nook off the master bedroom was painted dark green and it had a dark laminate floor. The master bedroom was painted a very light green and the front bedroom was lavender. Except for the laminant mentioned and places that were tiled the rest of the house was covered in light tan carpet.
One feature we loved was the floor plan. At approximately 3,000 square feet we thought it provided a perfect place for us and the dogs. The master bedroom complex took up one whole end of the house. The bedroom was large and had a bedroom sized nook attached. We also loved the large master bath and walkin closet. We decided that the nook area next to the master bedroom would be great for a "puppy/dog room." The dining room and office area were very large. The kitchen which is actually in the center of the house was open to the family room and a nook in the front of the house. The house has three additional bedrooms two bathrooms and a large family room. There is also a large laundry room inside the house.
The master bedroom was very spacious. It had two large windows that provide plenty of light. Off on one side was the large nook and on the other side were the master bath and closet.
The nook off the master bedroom was large enough to be a separate bedroom. The previous owner must have used it for his office. He installed a dark walnut laminate floor and painted it dark green. Even with two large windows bringing light into the room it was too dark.
The pictures above and below are of the master bathroom. It's very spacious. While this is a room we'd love to remodel it serves us well. It has been painted a light blue.
Next to the master bath is a very spacious walk in closet. While it's big the configuration of the hangers and shelves weren't enough for half of our cloths. This is one of the first changes we made to inside of the house. It's fantastic now.
This house had plenty of public area for us. While it's all open there are some designated areas within the space. I didn't take enough pictures to show all the living space.
Between the kitchen and the family room there is a large bar. On the right side of the picture you can see how far back the living area extends in the back of the house.
Looking the other way in the family room is the entrance to the front bedroom & bath, the laundry room and the hall which leads to two more bedrooms and a bathroom.
Above and below are pictures of the kitchen. While it's not very large its central location is fantastic. When people say that "the kitchen is the heart of the home" in this house one could take that literally. This is another area that we'd love to remodel. One of the drawers was already broken. Since this picture was taken I've had to repair at least five more.
Having three full bathrooms in the house may seem to be overkill but it's actually fantastic. The one off the front bedroom is most often used by guests while the hall bath is used by Pam's mom. Remodeling these bathrooms is also on our list of things for the future but they are fine for now,
Above is a picture of the front bedroom. Yes, it was painted lavender but it's hard to see in this photo. It's now used as a den by Pam's mother.
Below are two almost identical bedrooms in the back of the house. Both have nice walk-in closets. The one on the right is now the kennel room we use mostly for the boys and Pam's mom uses the other one as her bedroom.
Another important room in the house is the laundry room. It's spacious enough for a full size washer and dryer and a sink which we added. The room also has some excellent storage. It's nice having the laundry room in a convenient location. It also acts as sort of mudroom because it has a door that goes out to the shop/garage that we added. We use this entrance to the house a lot, especially when it rains.
The pictures below show the lighting fixtures or lack of them that we found when we first saw the house. It was obvious that the house came with very inexpensive fixtures. There were places where the previous homeowner had obviously replaced some of them but except for one ceiling fan and they were all gone before we bought the place. There were also rooms without any outlets for lights. This was especially obvious in the family room and dining room. We had to have an electrician add one to the ceiling in both rooms. Fortunately we had him do it before the painter came in. Even all the nice pillars outside that were wired for lights didn't have any. As we discovered later the wires were there but they weren't hooked up to a power source. Our electrician had to fix that as well.
These lights were all over the house, even in the front entry below.
Front porch light.
The ceiling fan they left behind.
Examples of missing light fixtures.
No ceiling electrical box for a light fixture.