A DIY Blog introduction
In the beginning…
When Mr. THWC and I went house shopping, the list of things we wanted was pretty reasonable:
- 4 bedrooms
- 2–3 bathrooms
- an office
- needs great internet (nothing out of town, further into the mountains *sigh* 🙁 )
- something that needs a little work, but not too much
The bedroom and bathroom requirement speaks for itself; there’s Mr. THWC, me, and his two children (an 11-year-old young lady who I’ll refer to as “A”, and a 9-year-old boy who we’ll call ‘R’). A & R don’t live here full–time.
Mr. THWC has shared custody, so they are here every other week, for an entire week at a time.
The office & internet were requirements because Mr. THWC works from home. He’s a software engineer, and telecommutes full–time. Without the internet, we pretty much can’t pay for the house (or anything else) so it’s not a luxury requirement for us.
Sadly Mr. THWC’s expertise is in IOS (iPhone and AppleTV apps, specifically) so he still doesn’t do the technical side of my blog for me, because those skills are very different from his.
I don’t think ‘affordable’ requires much of an explanation, who doesn’t want their house to be affordable? Though in our case, it specifically meant “something we can pay off in 15 years”. We’re currently in a very very small town in Colorado, where everybody knows everybody else, and which happens to be the hometown of Mr. THWC’s ex-wife. Seeing that he doesn’t much enjoy living somewhere where half the town is related or besties with his ex, we’ll be moving as soon as the kids are grown up.
Ideally, we’ll have the house paid off by then. *fingers crossed*
The “something that needs a little work” requirement was because I needed something to do. I’m a European ex-pat, (from Belgium) and when we bought the house, I didn’t have permission to work in the USA… and I was going a little stir-crazy because of it. Can you imagine being a ‘forced’ housewife, when:
A) ‘your’ kids aren’t even here every week to ‘mother’ over, (nor are they really ‘your’ kids)
B) your husband works from home all day long
I tell ya… it’s enough to drive any reasonable sane person nuts, and I didn’t exactly start off from the ‘reasonable sane’ point to begin with.
I needed something to do!
And of course, for a DIYer, the only possible meaning for ‘something to do’ = ‘a house to rip apart and put back together again’.
So here’s what we ended up with:
The house was built in 1976, in the typical cookie–cutter American suburb way, where all the other houses on the block look the same.
It’s 1500 square feet, with another 1500 square feet worth of unfinished basement downstairs.
1st Floor Floorplan
The basement is basically the exact same square footage, and floorplan as upstairs, with a bunch fewer walls.
The picture I have how it looked back then aren’t very good, because, I had no idea that I’d be starting a DIY blog, and would be telling a bunch of strangers on the internet about my brand-new-40-year-old-house (Cuz… who does that? And… who cares?) so I didn’t take any pictures.
Thankfully, the realtor had taken a sales video of the property which I downloaded, because I thought it might be fun to look back on it a few years later.
The quality of this things is… well… realtor-video-quality. I tried to edit it as much as I could to make it less choppy, but what ya see is what I got folks!
Of course, those of you who are paying attention will be quick to point out that this house doesn’t fit our minimum criteria of 3-4 bedrooms + an office AT ALL.
Instead, there are 3 rather small bedrooms, and no office. Obviously, this house isn’t going to work for us.
Except that we quickly found that there were no 4 bedrooms + office houses in our price range in our town.
Undeterred by the fact that smart people continue to rent when they can’t find a house to fit their minimum criteria in their budget, we drove our realtor crazy by insisting on shopping for a house which didn’t exist.
By the time we got to this property, I imagine she must have given up on the idea that she was going to convince us that we needed to spend $75k more than what we were planning on spending, because we were now well into the phase where she was showing us houses which had some pretty serious components missing.
We saw one with a roof leaking badly enough that you might think it was doing double duty as a cauldron, and another one with foundation issues bad enough to make you feel seasick walking around, and a third which had all the copper stripped out of it by squatters.
This house, with its 2 whole rooms missing was actually looking quite reasonable, especially after our realtor explained that it did have the two extra rooms we wanted, they were just hiding in the unfinished basement.
She went above and beyond sketching out in vivid detail how we’d put another 2 bedrooms, and a bathroom in the basement, and then end up with a massive bonus family room on top of that. Like so:
Future Basement Floorplan
Really, instead of this house having rooms missing, it had EXTRA rooms from what we wanted!
We would just finish the basement, which would take 6 months… a year tops… and live here happily ever after… well at least until we moved to somewhere where we actually wanted to live.
It was going to be great…
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