So many folks were asking so I thought I would give you a mini update on our house in Monroe.
Back in February, we officially closed on this hundred year old home in the historic district of our favorite little town. It was definitely one of those situations where we had looked at all these older in-need-of-renovation homes and this one always stood out….maybe because it was the ugliest, maybe because it had this crazy huge awning, or maybe because it had a For Sale sign in the front yard. Probably the last one. Plus, it was affordable.
Our back story here is pretty standard….we did some frequent drive-bys, checked out the neighborhood, looked up all the details on Zillow and decided it wouldn’t hurt to call. The current owner answered the phone and told us that the listing price was wrong ($40K) and that it was actually available for $86K because the rental income was so high. Our hopes were dashed but for some reason this house was still on our minds. We honestly didn’t know why we loved it so much but for some reason, this ugly little hundred year old home wiggled its way into our hearts.
Then we heard that the bank seized the house and we contacted the bank folks to see what the plans were for the property. It was tied up legally with some other properties and they had to sort everything out so we waited and waited and waited. The house got transferred to different departments within the bank and after every single transfer, Jeremy tracked down the person we needed to contact so that we could get updates. I’m sure the bank people were completely annoyed with us but we just wanted to make sure that if the house went to auction that we would be first on the court steps to bid. We also didn’t want to lose out on placing an offer if they decided to list.
On the day that it became officially for sale, we put in an offer without ever seeing the inside. It was definitely a Flip Or Flop moment. They countered and we accepted. Almost two years after we first called about the house, it became officially ours.
We have heard some back story on this place and basically all we know right now is that it was built by a church originally as a parsonage. This is WAY back in the day. I mean like, out house and hitching post kinda times. In fact, this house had both. That’s right no original indoor plumbing.
It became a single family home later and we have talked to the granddaughter who was born here. She has photos of the place and we can’t wait to get our grubby little hands on them. (Don’t worry, I am sure you will get to see it all too!) She told us that the awning was put on by her grandparents in the 50’s and that the original kitchen was on the other side of the house.
Then at some point after that, it became a nursing home and was converted from a single family home to having six bedrooms and six bathrooms and very little common space. The folks living there would have church worship time in the red barn out back and that is why the front porch has a giant ramp and hand rails. The older lady that lives next door shared with us that it was one of her happiest memories of living in Monroe because the singing of hymns would waft in the air as she rocked on her porch.
When it was bought later, it was used as a rented single family home but the layout never changed. Apparently that situation was short lived and soon it became office space that was rented out per room. We don’t know when that situation fizzled out but back in February of 2013 our friends were house hunting in Monroe and they walked through this property and it was completely vacant. The previous owner has loads of other rental properties and he had six other adults move in here after that (some of which were his employees) – using it like a boarding house.
There was also a period of time (we believe it was right before it was a nursing home but after it was a single family house…it’s hard to keep things straight because the house has had nine lives and everybody has a different story to tell us) that this house was associated with a lot of crime and drug issues. We heard stories that there were nearby shootings, attempted attacks, and that this house was dubbed ‘the crack house’ for obvious reasons. Speaking of that label, last time I talked about the house, I came across differently than what I wanted. It was just basically an epic fail. I jumped the gun. I didn’t mean to come across insensitive or mean or ignorant but I did. And I tried to explain in the comment section but that was like epic fail part two. I am honestly very sorry I offended anyone. Can we blame baby brain for foot-in-mouth-happy-trigger-finger disease?
Soooo anyhoo….We are uber-excited to be officially part of this community and even more excited to get started working on this house but we had some obvious speedbumps (LJ’s nickname will now be speedbump). And now we are putting together our proposal for the Historic Preservation Committee. Yup. We have to go before a slew of Nicole Curtis types and get every single thing approved before we can start any changes to the outside. Plus, we have to have our plans already set (including the types of materials we will use, any building plans, proposed changes, sketches, drawings, etc.) to even apply for a Certificate Of Appropriateness (COA).
To say that we are overwhelmed with this part of the planning process is an understatement. We know that there are definitely some things we need to get fixed before we can even start to work on the inside…like the foundation:
And the chimneys are in really bad shape. We had a local expert mason look at them and they are in such bad shape that they need completely replaced. Just so you know…if you ever have to pick out brick and have a complete mental breakdown in the brick yard, I will not judge you.
And the roof is crazy bad. We knew that it would be terrible but we didn’t have any idea of HOW bad. So far we have received six quotes and all of them said that we have up to FOUR layers of shingles in some places (including the original shake!) and we need to redeck a portion of it as well as address any structural issues. It’s gonna be a huge expense but hopefully it will be great because right now you can see daylight from inside the attic and don’t get me started about how it is when it rains 🙁
We won’t be DIYing the roof or chimney (Bowers = height issues) but we can not wait to tackle some other exterior stuff…like ripping out the old screens and shutters and awning and jack hammering the concrete outside. It should be a banging good time 🙂 See what I did there?!
And before we start with a new roof, we need to remove this big unsafe addition on the back of the house. Basically we have to remove the room that has all those windows and the little room next to it that has one window. All of that was a mud room/laundry room/utility room. It wasn’t part of the original structure (it’s actually an addition to an addition) so we are planning on removing it to add an uncovered deck. But if you are in the area and want to experience a roller coaster affect, just sit on those steps while a car drives by….it’s basically Six Flags Great Adventure 🙂
So that’s where we are…doing a bit of homework so that we can get the COA from the Historic Preservation Committee. I am so nervous about the whole thing. It’s like I am basically back in high school and a large report is due and I didn’t pay enough attention during science lab. But instead of being able to sweet talk the teacher (hi mom!), I am presenting to a panel of nuclear physicists. And for some reason I am always naked in this nightmare. I guess as long as I show up with clothes on, its gonna be a success, right?! Please say yes.