Might Buy This House, Looking For Opinions

Joker_GirlJanuary 26, 2014

We might buy this house and I don't know whether we should or not. I'm trying to not think with my heart which is in love with it.

It's an italianate Victorian. It was built in the 1880s. The inside is nice other than the sloppy paint job, including the stairs unfortunately, and the fact that almost every room has dropped ceiling tiles, which idk why because the ceilings are still really tall. Like probably 12 feet or more. Also it has a very unfortunate (IMO) kitchen remodel, that was supposed to be a plus as it is all new custom maple cabinets, but they are tiny, and there is about 4 feet from the top of them to the ceiling. They also, when doing this, covered over the Butler's pantry which I pray is all still there.

The home has 3-4 bedrooms, 3 baths, all new plumbing, wiring, roof, and central heat/air and each story has its own. It has a garage that will hold four cars plus a carriage house. It has a full basement that is concrete floors and brick. The house is brick. The carriage house has a heated/cooled workshop/studio that we can use for our business.

We already know one repair we need done. The porch was set on blocks instead of poured concrete, and it settled. This has made the porch very slightly askew. To lift it, pour footings and repair where it caused a couple pillers to rot out I had estimated and they said $3500-$5000 at most, a couple days work, and not an emergency so can be done this spring or summer.

We own our home 3 hours away but want to move. I hate this town. We have been here 20 years and are still "out of towners". Our town has a population of 800 and little to offer unfortunately. We just recently sold out our business which was a very painful thing to do after fifteen years.

This new town is like 8,000.

They started off at $185,000, over a year ago, and are down to $142,000. Because of the porch we offered $118,000 and this is accepted. However, they piddled around and didn't accept it til over a month after our offer expired, so we are under no real obligation. We have enough to buy it outright.

Is this a good deal? We will use the workspace to make furniture and paint, refinish antiques etc. I'm also an RN.

But I'm afraid I will move and what if it's horrible there. Everyone seems nice but you never know.

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To me the house seems like an incredible deal. You will know more after the home inspection. Have you researched the community?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I don't know how you would do this, but I'd want to know more about the butler's pantry. How do you even know there was one? Did they just cover up the door and leave the room there, with no access? That just seems odd.

I'd also want to know what was above the dropped ceilings. In my experience, those ceilings get put up when the original ceiling needs to be repaired. You could have the old original ceilings there, with missing chunks of plaster, with more ready to drop.

I would get a very good inspector, one who has inspected many older homes and knows what to look for. There could be other hidden damage lurking.

As to whether or not you will like the new town. You know you don't like living where you are. You can either stay there and know you will be unhappy, or move and have the chance to be happy. Try walking around the new town, finding a place to have a cup of coffee and chatting with people. At least with a larger town, there will be more people and the chance of making friends will be greater.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:54PM
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You raise an excellent point, and one I had not considered....that the ceilings may have extensive damage. Not ALL the ceilings are covered with the dropped tiles (one room is sheet rocked, or plaster actually I suppose, a couple of rooms like this....these have the elaborate crown moulding and ceiling medallions of plaster around the chandeliers....another has a tin ceiling....but most of them).
I told the realtor ahead of time that we will pay for a complete inspection. From what hubby and I can tell, the foundation is straight and solid. The basement seems free of leaks and there is a floor drain in it. At one time, the washer and dryer were in the basement, but they had it moved to the second floor in the master bath. This is something I will want to frame in and disguise, as it's not attractive.
The butlers pantry is underneath the servant's stairs....kind of. The main floor bathroom, they simply boarded up the door which would lead to a space under the back stairs, and at one time, led to where you went down into the basement to do wash. Because the door has a glass thing above it, I thought if I climbed up on the sink, I could see into this space, but the window is mirrored glass! Still, you can kind of see in at the edge, well enough to tell that there are SOME kind of whole wall of cabinets, appearing to be tall built-ins, and they back up to where the kitchen is. I think at one time, the kitchen was much larger.
The setup of the house is odd, because the dining room is not right off the kitchen. This is another reason I think there is a pantry under there, but still, you would be walking through the bathroom to serve the meal, which is bizarre.
I'll describe it.
If you enter the front door, you come into the entry foyer, which is quite impressive with leaded and frosted glass panels in and above the front door...at this point, you can either go straight up the open staircase, to the left is a doorway into the parlor/living room, to the right is the doorway into the dining room, or you can go straight down a hall that goes back to the main floor bath. The flooring in this entry and hallway is all marble original to the house.
So say you go left, you go into the living room. There is a big bay window. There is a closet with a glass window over the top of it. It's an average sized living room. If you keep going, there is a storage thing, they have put countertop on this, and have barstools, so you could sit there and eat if you wanted. The carpet is kind of light tan. Then, there is the strange little kitchen. It has the cook top on this island thing, the fridge is boxed in, and small. All of this has pergo type flooring in it that is really light colored.
If you keep going back, there is kind of a hallway, and the tin ceilings start. The floor is marble here, too. The ceilings in the living room and kitchen are sheetrock or plaster and like you would expect.
Anyway, this little hallway is here, and to the north is the maid's stairs, a little bit further and to the south is an exterior door to go to the garage and carriage house, and a bit further and you can go through another door that there is a sun room been added on. The sun room was full of junk as they were kinda slobs. It has ugly indoor outdoor carpet and dropped ceilings, which appear to have had a leak, but the new roof is only two years old, and I'm sure that is part of why the roof got redone. There is no visible damage but for stains on the ugly ceiling tiles.
If when entering the front door you had gone right, you would enter the dining room, and it has a wide doorway and maybe pocket doors into the next room, which will be a library and where they had a piano. Both these rooms are big and have dropped ceilings.
If you went straight back, down the hall by the stairs, you would enter the main floor bath which is exposed brick, and very pretty. The bath also has a door into the library.
There is a huge closet under the stairs that is cool.
If you go up the stairs, there is a sort of landing, and you can open a door and go straight in and down the right down the back stairs. Also right by this is the former maids room and bathroom, which are lovely. Or, you can turn and to right immediately at the top of the stairs and into the master bath. Or left into what maybe was a nursery? A bedroom if not. There is also a hall right alongside the stairs.
If you went in the master bath/laundry room, and took a left, you would walk through it and into the master bedroom. It's fairly large with a bay window seat. Another left takes you back out over the stairs, and there actually is a door you can go out on the top of the porch if we put railing up. If you keep going straight across you enter a bedroom, then another left takes you into the maybe nursery, and another and you are back out in the hall.
The entire second floor is dropped ceilings.
The town seems friendly, we talked to the chamber about having a business and they seemed welcoming. Obviously the realtor is friendly. I researched the house and know who built it and some of its history. It is eligible to be on the historic register.
I do also know at least three people died in it, of natural causes...the original owner, his wife, and another owner about 60 years ago, and about 40 years after the first people died. All died of old age.
I appreciate any suggestions/tips/advice cause I don't know who to turn to. Neither me or my husband ever lived in an old house, our house is a 1970 ranch style. Both of us like old houses.
Also this town is less than an hour from two larger cities....one of about 250,000 and one of probably 500,000, so these are pluses. It does have some tourism and because the carriage house is zoned commercial and the whole property is only a block and a half from downtown, I'm hoping we can do the antique thing from there.
I sold my farm ground to be able to afford this fresh start somewhere, and I'm frustrated because I am back and forth and terribly unsure no matter what I do it will be wrong.
I'll try to put some more pics if it will let me, I have some with hubby in that really show how tiny the kitchen is (for perspective he is roughly 6' tall and 250#). There is another where he is in a doorway, showing how big the house really is.
Thanks for reading I know this is long but it's so hard to describe.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Some of the crown molding

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:17PM
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Hubs in the kitchen

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Hubs in the dining room. He is tall/average height, about 6'.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:21PM
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I hate that they painted this.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Here is looking down the stairs.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:25PM
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This is the pretty bay window in the master bedroom.
I forgot to add....all the piping is still there from when it had gas lighting! At least on the second floor it is. It's crazy! :-)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:28PM
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Dropped ceilings on the second floor with other signs of water leaks and a new roof do suggest the possibility that there were other leaks, so be sure the inspector does a good attic inspection. While he is doing the inspection, if he/she will not lift the dropped tiles to visually inspect from the room side (I would think that would be allowed as long as they can be easily lifted and dropped back into place), I would do it myself. If you can't see what's behind them, I'd be leary.

It is unfortunate that the kitchen was redone to a more contemporary standard and doesn't seem to fit the house, but you may have a real gem with a butler's pantry and other space that may be recovered. The stairs can be reclaimed or the treads replaced (reclaimed if you go for historic status). It is possible that someone who considers the old features of the house the norm and outdated could have been more interested in having new and something smaller and more efficient to heat/cool and maintain. The out of character kitchen actually gives me some hope that the ceilings were dropped out of a desire to be more energy efficient or to meet someone's idea of "cozy" (I can see this with an older person who gets cold easily and watches every penny). To me, the taller ceilings, butler's pantry, the gas lighting (could you still use it on the exterior at least -- inspection question?) would all be tugging at my heart strings too.

You don't seem to be afraid of the work to restore the house so much as the prospect of making a move to a place that you won't love. Is there a hotel, inn or B&B that you could stay at for a long weekend or even a week and spend some time in the town? Have you thought to ask around in neighboring towns to see what the reputation is? Do you know why the previous owners are leaving? Is it an estate sale?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:49PM
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You don't say where you are (or I missed it) but it looks like a great house at an incredible price. Around here if you could buy a house like that at that price assuming the neighborhood wasn't a disaster you could put $500K into fixing it and still have an incredible bargain.

Assuming the leaks have been taken care of plaster is relatively cheap and easy to repair, so I wouldn't worry much about that. Lots of sweat equity opportunities there! I'd sell the new cabinets on Craigs list and do something more appropriate in the kitchen.

How are the mechanicals? Are you looking at significant plumbing and re-wiring? That can get expensive if you're in a jurisdiction where you can't do it yourself. I'm guessing it needs insulation and sealing all around.

Try chatting up the neighbors-- introduce yourself and ask about the neighborhood. You'll quickly get a sense of what kind of place it is.

Looks like a wonderful house!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Great house and I hope the inspection goes well. Absolutely use an inspector who inspects old homes. An inspector who inspects modern subdivision homes should be avoided!

The windows above doors are called transom windows. They exists to facilitate air flow...from the days before air conditioning.

good luck,

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:53PM
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It actually has all new plumbing, wiring, and HVAC in it....hubs is rather good with some of that stuff and checked it all out. It actually has two separate central air units, one up and one down.

There are stairs on the side of the house, made of concrete, and that is how you get into the basement now that the way from inside the house is blocked. In our present house, we finished the basement (complete with nasty dropped ceilings), but in this other house, it's pointless since the house itself is so big. We can use it for storage...we won't need the living space. The basement is, however, kind of cool....it is concrete floors, brick walls, and huge....and one of the rooms is semicircular and it's almost like it would be a cool place to just hang out. For some bizarre reason, there is an almost brand new toilet down there hooked up. I guess for those occasions you are in the basement and just can't take thirty seconds to go upstairs.

The house is in Nebraska, actually, it is quite easy to find a house around here for as little as $20,000. Not a good house, but a livable one. In the town we live in now, the average house sells for about $50,000, and we will be lucky to get $65,000 out of ours. We have more than that invested due to remodeling it, finishing the basement, adding two decks, yadda yadda...but when we did that, we didn't intend to ever move. Our house is valued according to the internet at $80,000. This Victorian is valued at about $135,000.

The lady who owned it got married and moved into her husband's house about a year and a half ago. So they are having to make two house payments. It's a massive thorn in her side for that reason, and she wants rid of it.

The utilities are cheaper than in our present house, as impossible as it seems.

Taxes here are rather high....the yearly property taxes on it are about $2300. On our present house they are like $1200.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Joker_Girl, for perspective: Homes in Rochester NY (where I live) are very affordable, but property taxes? My house has 2700 square feet and is worth about $240K and our taxes are about $10000 a year. $2300 for a house like you describe sounds... too good to be true!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:09PM
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From your description of the first floor, it's possible someone rearranged some of the rooms.

The closet in the living room sounds like it might be a china closet, which might mean that was originally the dining room. Could you get to this room from the kitchen? Or go through the pantry from the kitchen into this room?

My grandparents' house was from about 1820 and had two pantries. A small one for food storage at one end of the kitchen. And in between the kitchen and dining room was a room the size of a small bedroom that was the butler's pantry, with tons of cabinets and shelves and counter space.

The smaller pantry was turned into a bathroom in the 1930's, because there was no main floor bath. I'm wondering if the oddly placed bathroom on the first floor was once another room and was converted later.

The dining room having a large opening into another room with possibly pocket doors--sounds more like front and back parlors that could be opened to each other for large parties.

It's possible that there's more crown molding lurking under the dropped ceilings.

From the pictures, it looks like a wonderful house. If it is structurally sound and you are willing to put a bit of work into it, it could be a showpiece.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Thanks for checking it out!

I swear, I was in love with it almost immediately. You don't see a whole lot of Italianates around here....most of the older homes in the area are either the Gothic style farmhouse (which actually I think should predate italianates, but you do see them), the big boxy foursquare I think they are called, or the traditional Victorians with all the gingerbread trim and nooks and crannies (I am really fond of those, too....we looked at one, but it was considerably more expensive and needed way more work, unless this one turns out to have hidden problems). You rarely see Tudor styles here, nor do you see a lot of Greek Renaissance styles. Sometimes you see very odd combinations of styles. My favorite style has always been Dutch Colonial....I've wanted the Amityville horror house since I was a kid and saw it on late night TV. Eye windows and all.

I had seen maybe a handful of houses like this one, and had never been in one, and I think the uniqueness of it really charmed me. I'm not too thrilled about the vines all over it, and one of the vines actually got into the carriage house somehow, and this is something I will have inspected as well, because I'm afraid they will damage it, getting in between the bricks.

It is sorely in need of some windows, too...some are old, and may be really pricey too replace.

I can't believe it doesn't have a fireplace. Surely it did at one time.

The kids are NOT thrilled about the potential move, but they are 20 and 22 and out of the house, and it is really not their decision. Our son, tried to be the "voice of reason" and tell us we do not need such a large house for just us and the dog, we will be several hours away if they "need us" (aka want money or have some unpleasant task to be done that they want us to do), and we "have to think about all those stairs since we are getting older". I've tried to reassure him that 42 is not really what would normally be thought of as old age, but thanks for thinking of this. He remains unconvinced, probably because whatever money is spent on a house and starting a business again would be money that could be better spent on buying him new vehicles and beer. I actually do think that is why he is against it, and maybe it IS stupid to buy an old house just because I've always wanted one.

I can't help it, though. I just love them. I love their woodwork, I love their stained glass, I love their class and character. They're never the same, and they're almost always wonderful. New houses just have no style, they're all the same a lot of times.

I do KIND OF like a ranch style, when someone just absolutely embraces the style of it, and it is all mid century and pink and turquoise and black and gold. All that atomic looking stuff. But ours, because I like antiques and primitives, that's what I decorated with, so it is like a seventies house trying to be 1850 inside. I wanted rid of all the chrome and pink tile, and now I realize I should have embraced it. But even though I like that, I'll never like it the way I do primitives and Victorian antiques.

And barns. God, do I love a barn.

Holy wow, $10,000 a year for taxes!!! Compared to Kansas and Iowa, our taxes are high, but I can't even imagine. It almost makes you want to just rent.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:42PM
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This is the wallpaper in one of the bedrooms, I think it is to die for cool, unfortunately it is not all in pristine condition.

The house really at least DOES need some paint, wallpaper, and cosmetic things.

I thought that about the cupboards, too...find architecturally correct ones, by checking out the pantry (or save up for custom ones), and sell the ones in it on Craigslist. They're nice enough cupboards, they're just not me. We actually sanded and stained the cupboards in our present house, and they look pretty good for being cheap cupboards redone by non-carpenters. I found awesome red glass knobs on eBay and they look good.

I hate that cook top in that island. Hate it. I do like the double ovens, maybe for the holidays, that's about it. What I love is those stoves that look like the old fashioned ones. They're so expensive, though. Boy are they pretty.

The only thing I like about the cabinets not going all the way to the ceiling is it would be cool to decorate for Christmas. I love old houses at Christmas!!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:57PM
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"The home has 3-4 bedrooms, 3 baths, all new plumbing, wiring, roof, and central heat/air and each story has its own. It has a garage that will hold four cars plus a carriage house. It has a full basement that is concrete floors and brick. The house is brick. The carriage house has a heated/cooled workshop/studio that we can use for our business. "

I'd buy it in a flash!

Tell the inspector to bring one of the LED/Fiberoptic inspection scopes for a peek up through the dropped ceilings and if possible into the "pantry".

It's possible they just walled over the pantry rather than renovate. I know of two people who discovered basements that hadn't been seen in decades.

It's also possible they did the dropped ceilings in a misguided modernization and the original stuff is still there.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:56AM
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I have the identical staircase: bannister, balusters, gallery, newel post and everything. It is mahogany.

My treads are pine have wearing-through old paint on them; the risers have been painted cream, and light grey at various times. The tread orginally had floor cloths tacked down. So don't regret the paint; the wood underneath was never meant to be seen.

My stair hall appears to be be about 30" wider. I, too, have double doors on the first floor. But since this a Greek Revival-style house, I also have side lights and transom window above the doors.

What part of the country are you located in? I'm in upstate NY.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 6:59PM
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If the inspection comes back clean enough, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. New electric and heating/AC? This is a huge advantage in an old house, a big big plus. And from your description it sounds amazing. It's clear from what you've written that you are an old house person - seems like the house will be in good hands if you and your husband buy it. It's great that you want to have an antique store there. When our old house was being renovated/restored this past year, one of the workers found a business card that showed that our house was an antique store at one time! Which leads me to the thought that if you want to meet new people, well I found that restoring and having work done on our house helped me meet a lot of nice neighbors. People would stop to comment and next thing I know I have a bunch of new friends. And if you have a business, even better.

Our house is a Second Empire, similar style to Italianate, but we have a mansard roof. We have the same stairway, double door, etc. as shown in your photo and I will tell you that every morning when I come down and see it from above it makes me so happy to live here. I agree with Liriodendron that the stair treads might be ok painted. We tried to strip and stain ours but discovered that between the wear and the embedded paint and the nail and staple holes from carpeting, we were better off with paint. I love the paneling and scroll detail in your stair photo.

Definitely have the ceiling situation checked out, but as was said, although sometimes dropped ceilings disguise substantial damage, some were installed to save on heating or just to establish a different design in the house. Our house had false ceilings that gave it a cottagey look inside. When we removed them the original ceilings weren't in such great shape, but they could either be repaired or in a couple of rooms we laminated over them with 1/4" drywall rather than try to repair them.

Re wallpaper - there's another thread on this forum about old wallpaper. If you buy the house but can't keep the wallpaper, save some as a memento.

Good luck, and please report back on what you decide!


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Oh, and more thing - the windows - you might want to read some of the window restoration threads on this forum. If the house still has its original windows, you should strongly consider restoring them rather than replacing them. When combined with storm windows in the winter, they are often just as energy efficient as new windows, and for those of us that respect old houses, they represent a tremendous part of the character of the house that should be kept if at all possible.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:57PM
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The only things to worry about are the things you cannot see, like the plumbing and wiring in the walls. It is not unheard of for electricians (or BIL-s posing as such) to leave the old knob & tube in the hard to reach areas and join new wire to it. If a real electrician did the work, their sticker will be on the new panel (hopefully 200 A) and you can call them and get confirmation on whet they did or did not do.
The plumbing and other mechanicals the same way; was all of the galvanized pipe removed? Were the DWV pipes run correctly, especially venting? Is the HVAC up to snuff with the needs of the house. It probably had hot water or steam heat, I presume that's long gone and you have a forced air system, which is not ideal for an old house with tall ceilings, which may explain, partly, the upstairs goings on with ceiling hts.. Ask to see the utility bills for a cold and a hot month.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:02AM
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Only 42 yo!? You're young enough to take on a project still! What you said about the kids: hysterical.
The house is fabulous. I'm jealous.
Kathy in NH
$210,000 home $6,000 taxes

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith.... :) From TV kitchens

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Not sure what the negatives are, here.. Have you read other members "should I buy this house" posts in this forum? They usually mention wiring, plumbing, roof, etc in the context of possibly having to replace them. All new, (& hopefully done appropriately, as mentioned). In my area, a house that large - that'd be a fast 60k to spend. Because of porch estimate of 5k max, 24k less accepted?
Actually, starting to sound "too good to be true", now.. (Amazing, how typing out thoughts can alter them!).
That said, you mention dropped ceilings, & individual HVAC systems per story. Where is the ductwork? Our PO's added lower ceilings on main floor, to cover/accommodate ducts. Could that be why? If I were the kind of person to cover costly water damage for selling purposes, (which I'm not!), it wouldn't be with pop-up ceiling tiles. It'd be covered in a way that'd cause cosmetic damage to view. (Which I wouldn't do, ever, my ethics don't roll that way..). I guess it just seems like a lot of trouble to go to, to hide something - when it can be so easily viewed, regardless?
You clearly WANT this house. Heck, I want that house. (Who here doesn't want it??). The things you like, you adore. The things you mention that you don't like, are (so far) fixable & you sound like you are the type to revel in doing it. (And only a year older than I, without my 7 & 14 year-olds, you probably have the energy!).

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:50PM
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Holy cow, you are BRILLIANT! That's EXACTLY where the ductwork HAS to be!!!
That didn't even occur to me! Til now! OF COURSE! Because that's one of the reason we used them in our basement!
It was a good thing we did, too, because immediately after, the water line to our fridge sprung a leak and took out about 4 tiles.
One really funny thing about these tiles in our house, in the basement....once in a while, in the winter, the kids would not get the door shut all the way going out into the garage, and we would get a mouse.
I HATE mice....and I know we will get mice in an old house even worse, and I can deal with it, but I hate them. I hate when you go to get a box of pasta or biscuit mix, and every single one of them has a hole in it, and the cupboards are full of crumbs and mouse poop. I used to holler at the kids every time we got a mouse, it happened almost every time that door wasn't shut all the way, if it was under forty degrees or so.
But we put our bedroom in the basement when we redid it, and if we got a mouse, they would run across the inside of the ceilings, and it literally sounded like a herd of elephants. It would wake you right up. And every night, they had a party at about 3 am.
It's that obvious I love it, isn't it?
I have to get someone in there to look at it. Soon. If we can get a decent report back on it, and it needs less than $15-$20,000 work done on it (excluding work we can do, like paint and wallpaper), I really think we ought to get it. And if we can get it zoned like we want. The carriage house and garage are zoned some kind of "limited commercial" or something, and when I talked to the zoning board guy, he said basically as long as we aren't having so many people parked all over that it is annoying and inconveniencing the neighbors, we should be fine....but I still want to be sure that is going to be okay. There are only two or three houses on that block, and I need to go up there and personally talk to the neighbors and stuff. I can't imagine we would ever have enough people there at one time that it'd be an issue.
It's not particularly far from Lincoln, and we know a guy there who does landscaping, some of the yard and bushes are a little wild, maybe I can have him get it into shape to where we just have to maintain it. It has a concrete fountain (I assume this doesn't work) and two big concrete lions on each side of the sidewalk lol.
So if that IS what is going on with the duct work, it's under that ceiling, I wonder hmmm....I could get some of those things that look like tin ceiling tiles to replace these. It would be expensive, though. I maybe could take them down and individually stencil them, or cover over each one with that wallpaper that looks like ceiling tiles. I wonder how that would work.
Have you guys ever seen that Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper? It's INSANELY beautiful (and expensive, and not pre pasted, so I can't possibly hang it myself, and it's probably out of my price range anyhow).
The only thing that would be better would be if it was on an acreage, and had a barn, chicken coop, etc. I just love a big barn.
I'm going to have to try to sell this house, too, or at least rent it. I've got WAY too much stuff. It's overwhelming. Our house is about 1600 square feet, I'm guessing, and I have way too many antiques, books, craft projects, art supplies, etc. Especially antique furniture. I am a furniture hoarder I think. But some of it was my grandma's. That doesn't excuse the fact. Such as the fact that I have four Hoosier cabinets. That's just wrong.
I'm really enthusiastic about old houses and old furniture, there is really very little in this world that gives me more happiness. I will probably return to working as an RN in the not too distant future, but I'd love to spend several months lovingly restoring this home and getting the antique thing going.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 10:37PM
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My cats don't allow mice in our house, thank goodness. Particularly since we started letting them patrol the basement whenever they want. I meant to say before that an artistic friend of mine repaired beautiful wallpaper in her parents cottage by painting the design where it was missing and possibly some repairs with plain paper first. A labor of love clearly and a lovely result.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:14AM
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that is an amazing house. i'd love to see more pictures.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:26AM
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I agree... it's an amazing beautiful house and terrific price! My first thought on the drop ceilings was that it was done either for acoustics or to help with the heating bills! lol! But I read all the posts and see that you now believe that duct-work is hidden there. I just wondered then why all the ceilings weren't dropped, but I guess that doesn't matter. :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:03AM
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You've posted pictures, told us the price, and I believe the location....if you want this house, I'd advise you do something about it. Remember, for every person who responds, I believe there are something like 100 estimated "lurkers" who don't say anything.

If you hesitate, it may be gone....

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Note to self: time to move to Nebraska.

OMG that house would be at least 350-400K where I live. My Victorian cost me nearly 300 and was not as ornate and in rougher shape. But then again I'm an hour from NYC...that sort of explains it. And my taxes are about 8K...with only .3 acres and 2300 sq ft.

I love that place. I agree, don't wait too long...it might get scooped up from under your nose.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:02PM
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I told them we would take it, pending the results of the inspection, and we are going up next week to have one final look ourselves and I am going to check out every window to see what needs repaired/replaced, and look up in that ceiling, as well as take some measurements. But I told her yes, consider our offer active once more, we will be up next week to have a final look, and go talk to the chamber and the neighbors, and pay for it. Then, we can put our house up for sale or at least rent, and start moving and working on things. So we are back "on"! :-)
The first order of business will be making the ceilings so they don't make me want to kill myself, and paint/wallpaper. I decided the best way to deal with the ceilings (maybe) is to take them down one by one, and individually cover them with that white textured wallpaper so it looks like a tin ceiling. Maybe it's not the best way, but it would be relatively easy and cheap. That way, I can at least live with them. I know it's horrible, but I'm going to have to install some ceiling fans, too....I can't live without them. We have really nice ceiling fans, maybe I'll take them with and just put up some cheapies here.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:50AM
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Seems like an amazing deal. Gorgeous house. It would be over a million where I live (Mass./Cape Cod).

But…get a very good inspector in there.

Check out the public school ratings. That's one way to get a sense of how "nice" a town is. If they're good schools, that is a good sign. Family/child centric towns tend to be good ones.

I bought an amazing house at an amazing price on Cape Cod last year, only t move in and find out that a LOT of the people in this village are unfriendly, unneighborly…a lot of "white trash" here. That has been a major disappointment (especially being single and one who believes strongly in community and the importance of being a good neighbor). I'll have to go find my community.

The kitchen in "your" house, though, needs to be brought back to reflect the richness of the rest of that house. Who ever did that reno needs to be noodle-whipped.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:53AM
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Buy this house instead!!! 1885 Italianate in Nebraska for $99,000 and it's completely redone. The kitchen fits the house. Gorgeous!!! Is this town close to you at all? Auburn, NE?

Here is a link that might be useful: 1885 Italianate ��

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 2:35PM
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We live in an 1890 home that was in very good condition in AL. We have 12 foot ceilings . We did remove the drop ceiling in the kitchen when we remodeled that room in 2006. We made it the same as the rest of the ceilings in the house...smooth sheetrock and white paint.

I would not rush on the ceilings. If they are 14 ft...which is what they look like given your DH's size in that doorway then I would really suggest that you do something smooth and plain...either redo the plaster as you are able if it is cracked or else sheetrock and paint over. I think the "wallpaper tin" is way to distracting and would be over the top in room after room. Also if you are going to have ceiling fans you will need very long extension rods to bring them down to a usable height. We have 3 foot extensions of very plain white Hunter fans from Lowes. They blend in well with the white ceilings and give lots of comfort and are unobtrusive to the eye. Just my 2 cents. We have had our home since 2002. It takes time to make it yours but it is best to take it slow and make good lasting choices rather than having to go back and re-work things...like the ceilings. Good Luck. c

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Oh I know....I've seen that house in Auburn before, and drooled over it, if I thought we could make the antique thing work there, I'd love that one. The wallpaper in it is over the top. It's obviously been a great labor of love. I prefer the red brick, too. It's smaller (though a God's plenty big enough), less well located, and doesn't have much for garage space. But it looks like a museum.
I love the metal railing on the 2nd story porch thing, and I want to do that to this porch after we get it fixed.
That, too, is a crazy nice house.
I'll have to show you a link of this other one on that site I love, it's a second empire.

Here is a link that might be useful: old house dreams second empire house

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 4:52PM
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This is a place we looked at in Iowa that is like two blocks off the main street and was used as an antique store up until here recently.

It is FANTABULOUS but far enough from family and friends that we were getting some static about it.

It is considerably larger than the one we are liking on. I thought it was pretty cool, but really, really big, and kind of fancy looking. Super warm and inviting, though, on the inside.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:14PM
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Looks like a bed and breakfast! Could you combine that with an antique shop? Maybe sell consignment pieces to guests and visitors? :)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:29PM
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I LOVE that Second Empire house! Except perhaps the one bath.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:09PM
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How exciting Joker_Girl! You will have the house that many of us dream of because where we live they don't come at that price. What a bargain and opportunity for you.

I know this has been a tough decision for you because you think you may be making the wrong one. But like I tell my kids we all have to make decisions based on what we know. Some will be right and some will be wrong. We don't know until later and we can't predict if there are unknown facts. So keep positive and post often because we want to live vicariously through you. lol

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:40PM
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I skipped alot before posting.
I would ask to see a copy of the utility bills.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:45PM
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I will I asked about it, and she said altogether electric, gas, water/sewer, and trash ran an average of low $200s each month. That seems insanely low to me, as our house is about half as big and runs more than that. I am going to request actual copies so I can see this.
We are planning if the inspection goes well, on actually signing everything and writing out a check, if we can go that far. If we have to wait several days,i will leave a check with the realtor and as soon as it has a clear title, she can cash it.
We aren't going to find anything much better that will be much cheaper. I DO want to have everything ready for the annual festival held there each April.
It will be sad leaving the first home we shared together, the first one we owned, and did work on, and the place we raised our family. But we terribly need a fresh start.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:58PM
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Here is some of the gas lighting piping on one of the walls.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Looking toward the maid's staircase.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:02AM
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The very beautiful and inviting maid's bath

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:04AM
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All the walls in the main floor bath are brick.....mmmmmm

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:06AM
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I hope and pray this isn't too bad of a fix. It's cracked where the upstairs bannister attaches to the wall. Someone thought putting contact paper on halfway was the best fix.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:10AM
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Joker_Girl, regarding that fresh start: I bought my last house when my first husband and I divorced. It represented freedom, safety, and life to me. Seven years later, I remarried and my new husband moved in with my daughters and me, and seven years after that an inheritance made it possible to look for a house that was ours. My husband said that he always felt that he was living in my house. Both of my children were in college, so we were free to go where ever we wanted. We found this house, and, while it was awfully hard to leave my little house where I had raised my girls for 14 years, I love this house and they'll have to carry me out horizontal to get me to leave it. What you say about a fresh start? I agree. There just comes a time. I hope that you'll be as happy in your new home as we are in ours. And please, post a LOT of pictures as you spruce up the place!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:32AM
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I can't tell by the photograph.......is the house wood exterior, stucco, brick? I live in a much older stucco over original brick, and all my walls are plaster over brick. Eighteen inch thick, the interior between rooms as well as those on the exterior walls..

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:39AM
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It is brick, painted white. We went up today to sign all the papers and leave an earnest money deposit. It will be inspected Monday or before. We tried to get behind the door under the stairs again but gave up before we broke it. We did figure out how to see in, though....to put new pipes to the remodeled kitchen, someone just knocked out some plaster from the wall in the back stairs.
We looked at three other places, too, but really there's never been any others for me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:21PM
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This is soo exciting!!! I love love love it and am also a little (make that a lot) jealous. :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 11:27AM
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Just bumping this....Any news? How did the inspection go?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:33PM
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This is the exact home I lived in while attending the University of Ky... it was known as Hamilton House built in the 1860'S...some of my happiest days were spent living there!!! UK decided to tear it down and not even the BBT could save the house.. Last week I went to say goodbye take and some pics....It was still a beautiful house you are very lucky to have found her sister!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Oh my, I forgot to update.

We bought it in March and are having a great time redoing it!

I tried to start stripping the stairs, but it was horrible, so I'm painting the risers white and the treads a very dark black/brown.

We did carpet the living room, which had very ugly carpet in it, most of the floors we are removing carpet, though, because there are nice floors, that someone painted...ugh.

We have hired someone to lift the porch up, pour footings, and replace the parts that are damaged and showing rot. Otherwise, no major issues. Pretty solid, crazy 12" thick brick walls, even the interior walls, most of them.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:02AM
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What a gem! You are one lucky girl!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:22AM
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PICS!!!! I want pictures!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Living room bay window

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 8:12PM
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Front door...more to come! :-)

And to the University of Kentucky Hamilton House lady....oh my GOD! I looked it up! Shame on them for tearing that poor baby down! How can they do that?!? If it was trashed out, that's one thing....but it's not!
If they are just going to destroy it, my GOD...I wonder if I could buy the corbels and those beautiful little windows?

I just HATE to see them ruin that. :(

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 8:20PM
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