Introducing Jen's 1925 Farmhouse...
...but can it be a farmhouse if it's in the city? Hmm, anyways...
Welcome to my little abode, a 1000 sq foot farmhouse situated in a town just outside Boston proper.
Backstory: I purchased it last Fall, after looking for 2 years. Due to my price range and the towns I wanted to live in, I sought out 'Sad Sack' houses...you know the kind, with good bones hidden under nasty renovations. Well, this house was hidden under a century of smoke and a zoo. Seriously, when they had the broker open house, no one could be inside the house for more than 5 minutes because of the smell and the excrement laying about. Nice, huh? I was actually outbid in June 2009, but the first buyers backed out after the home inspection. But they weren't willing to come down, and my mom was sick, so I said forget it. Well, 3 months later, they came back to ME :-) and I purchased for my original offer price.
So, getting rid of the smell was the first priority. During the fall, I demo'ed several shoddily built rooms in the basement, removed the kitchen cabinets, and scrubbed every inch of the house with hospital & kennel disinfectants. I looked very fetching wearing a NIOSH approved respirator, let me tell you :-) All good, right?
Well, then disaster #1 struck. When I went home to Ohio for Christmas, the boiler shut down (leaky steam radiator valve), so the kitchen & bath supply lines burst. Good news is that the heating system was fine (thank goodness for cast iron pipes!). Bad news was that to get at the pipes, I had to demo one kitchen wall and part of the kitchen ceiling. Well, when I saw crumbling drywall due to old water damage, rusted radiator supply pipes, bathroom plumbing hack job, old plaster ceilings brown with smoke, a half dozen electrical wires running up the wall loose...I knew both the kitchen and bath had to be gutted. Now.
No problem, I say. I can do the demo & carpentry work (with a little help from my friends) to fix the past hack jobs before the plumber & electrician come in. So, the winter was spent demo-ing everything, and this spring, I was having all the subs come in for estimates. (Luckily, my condo finally sold in April, and I was able to buy a small trailer to live in while I have no bathroom!)
Then disaster #2 strikes. In May, I had to undergo emergency abdominal surgery to remove a very large tumor. Good news is, the mass and all surrounding 'stuff' is benign. Bad news is, no way in heck can I undertake any type of construction work. Now, an hour walk or cutting the bushes wear me out. But hey, I'm up and moving, so its all good.
So, current story: I now have a shell of a house, a limited amount of dough, and only 6 months, max, before I have to move back into the house. My plans change daily, but now I'm thinking about having my cousin help me fix the few framing issues and rough in a bath and kitchen over the summer. Then, this fall, have my electrician re-wire the house. This would also allow me to get insulation blown in before Old Man Winter shows up. I would LOVE to get the heating system replaced now (since most of the pipes are exposed), but the 30/40 year old oil-fired Weil Mclean system actually does a decent job. And even though tax rebate and oil-to-gas incentives abound, I don't think I want to take on more debt (or have the building inspector in) at this point. Heck, I'll be lucky to have enough dough for my cousin and the electrician this year. Luckily, I have a great working relationship with my electrician...and I just might have to take him up on his offer about a payment plan.
Future plans include stripping all the woodwork, rebuilding the badly constructed side entry (to include a half bath), removing the chimney (in conjunction with new heating system), reconfiguring the upstairs (to add a 3rd bd), installing my dream kitchen (complete with reclaimed wood cabinets & BlueStar range) and building out the basement. Oh, and re-grading the side yard (which has a pretty severe slope towards the house). And in a perfect world, adding full wraparound porch and a fireplace to either the LR or basement family room. Oh, thinking about all this makes my head (and wallet) hurt!
So, welcome to my little world. Would love any advice or suggestions anyone has!
Thanks, Jen in Boston
Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of my house