I mentioned that the house is a foreclosure and missing a few essentials like… lights. Appliances. A wood stove. Door knobs. We need to update the kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, and paint. I thought the process would be fun and I’m sure it will be at some point, but right now it’s overwhelming. Instead of buying one light for one room, we’re buying 20+ lights for all the rooms, so I’ve had to think about the bigger picture of the place and how the rooms work together. Before I get into specifics, I figured I’d show a brief, as they say, house tour of the place.
The original home was built in 1983, if I recall correctly. The original structure is the main back rectangle in the picture above. The piece coming out of the front is the addition, added in 1995. When the addition was built, the original front door was converted to large bay window and the front porch was added on. There’s no longer a clear front door to the house, which you’ll see later. The addition is clearly an addition… it’s tacked onto the front of the house and is stylistically quite different than the original structure. It adds a ton of square footage to the house in the form of a huge living room, second upstairs, and small basement.
If you head down the side of the house next to Alan’s truck, you’ll hit the garage and back porch.
From here I’m standing between the house and the garage, looking down the driveway. Were these pictures taken at the same time, you’d see Alan’s truck a bit further down the drive. This is not a ploy to show you all our cars.
There are two doors to the house off the back porch – French doors into the kitchen and a single door into the laundry room. This is the view from the laundry room towards the front of the house and that bay window overlooking the porch that I mentioned earlier. Since the addition added a basement, I planned to have the laundry down there and convert this room into a mudroom. There’s a clothesline in the backyard that I want to use frequently and I’m now questioning if I’ll really haul laundry up from the basement to the clothesline and if this original laundry room isn’t a more appropriate place for the machines. We’ll see.
Here’s where we get more into the “quirk” of the house. I’m not sure if this is actual brick or brick-like tile, but it’s not linoleum. It’s in perfect shape and, despite what the current design blogs tell me I’m supposed to be into, we like it. It will not be painted or removed. The carpet needs to go. To the left of this doorway is a bedroom, bathroom, then second bedroom, which I’ll now show in a series of wholly unremarkable photos.
The bedrooms are mirror images of each other with the bathroom in between. The first bedroom will be a guest room for now, hopefullymaybe a nursery someday. The second bedroom will be my “office” for reasons that I’ll outline later. The bathroom is rocking some seriously dark tongue and groove and blue fixtures. While blue fixtures aren’t ideal, the sink and toilet are quite charming. Were there not other issues with them, I’d try to keep or reuse them. The toilets in the house feel half size (I didn’t know they could even exist this low/small) so they have to go. The vanity also comes juuuust above my knee and I’m only 5’10″. Alan is 6’5″. I didn’t want to get deep into rehabbing bathrooms, but I’ve already ordered a replacement vanity to deal with the immediate issue. The blue tub will stay for a few years because we have far bigger fish to fry and we’re happy to have any tub after years without. Though the tongue and groove in the bathroom is super dark, I quite like it. Once new lights are installed in the bathroom we’ll see how things feel. I have no plans to paint all the wood, but I may address one or two walls if the room remains oppressively dark.
If you stand in front of the office door, next to the bay window, and spin around, this is the view into the dining/kitchen area. The open space to the left (where Alan is laying) is a nice secondary TV area. I’ve been calling it a den. The addition places the primary TV zone pretty far away from the main house and we’re TV people (ain’t no shame). We don’t have cable but we’re pretty religious about Netflix/Hulu and both play video games, so a second TV is just a reality in our family. The chimney is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the house and will be a functional, primary heat source. This is something I had to learn about Wyoming. In Michigan our home had forced air. Here the primary heating source is baseboards, wood stove, or pellet stove. The baseboards pictured are run by a boiler which I’ll show and explain later. For a variety of reasons that I guess I could discuss, though it may not be interesting, we’ve decided on wood stove as our main heat.
If you walk forward from that picture and turn, you’re in the dining space and looking at the kitchen. Among the many charms of the house is a certain… smell… which I’ve mostly eradicated thanks to some super strength deodorizer and Amazon Prime shipping. Between the smell, the proximity to the stove, my severe asthma, and the fact that the carpet runs under the dining area, we’ve decided to have it removed and replaced with locally sourced 8″ fir flooring. We may run the floors into the second bedroom as well, depending on how the smell progresses in that room. The bedroom currently has cheap laminate flooring that I don’t find offensive, but am also not attached to. That room is definitely the stinkiest of the bunch and I worry that the flooring is holding onto odor from the previous owner’s cat. At roughly 100 sq ft, it might make sense to just finish that room while we’re doing this larger section.
Pardon our obvious construction mess. The kitchen is huge, but somewhat lacking in storage. You can see the only appliance they left us – a sparkling clean, but slight suspicious oven and toaster oven combo from the 70s-ish. It’s sort of adorable in that it reminds me of my Airstream and I like the retro fonts, but since we’re already buying appliances for the entire house, this one needs to go. The current cabinets aren’t my favorite, but they’re mid range quality, which is more than I could ask for. I’m stewing on the idea of adding pulls or staining them to update the look a bit. Above all, I’m just bothered that they’re yet another wood tone that doesn’t match all the previous wood tones. The current kitchen doesn’t have a dishwasher, but my Dad, who is pretty much the best person you want around when looking at houses, quickly identified that we could add one onto the end of the cabinets and just extend the counter top further. On that note, check out that bangin’ blue laminate counter top! It needs to be replaced but cost is concern numero uno, so we’re looking at laminate or butcher block. I just typed sooooo much text about the kitchen, but it’s better explained in a full post so I’ll get into it later.
Second picture is a tiny hobbit door to a pantry under the stairs. When I was younger, in the first house I can vividly remember, we had a play room under the stairs. With that ridiculous door already in place, I cannot not do the same for our future children. I’m not going to devote this closet to pantry duty because I wouldn’t want to feel like I couldn’t give it up some day. This set of stairs leads up to the Master and is entirely (unsafely) open. To add storage to the kitchen, I chatted with our handyman about framing out a wall to serve as a better barrier for the stairs and to give me a place to add a standalone pantry or armoire.
Spin around from the kitchen and you’re looking through the dining room into the addition. I love me some shutters, but these are plastic and have deteriorated over the years. They need to come out. I’m planning a massive sliding door to cover this opening, allowing us to let people into the front of the house without being greeted by the dogs. The living room also doesn’t have a heat source, so the door will let us heat the main house more effectively in the winter.
Now we’re in the living room, turned towards the “front door” and porch, with a little sliver of the dining room and kitchen visible on the left. The closet in the corner is a great coat closet, nothing more. You can see the paint swatches that I tried out pretty much the first day we got the house. Above and below the railing will be the same color in the hopes of giving the room a little modern boost. The floors are a 12×12 terra cotta-ish tile and I actually love them.
Walk to the end of the room, turn around, and you’ll see the stairs to the second upstairs, to the basement, and the front door that I just mentioned. The room is too big to use as one large living room, so this side is for the couch and TV, the other side will be for… an office space? A library/entry? I’m not sure yet. I’ve already started painting over the red on the stairs, otherwise, as with the rest of the house, the wood will stay natural.
If you exit through the french doors pictured above, you’re on the front porch. We need some furniture and to take care of a ton of yardwork, otherwise this space is amazing as is.
I’ll limit this post to just the first floor, I guess. I’ll share the Master and Alan’s music room, which make up the two 2nd floors, in the next post, then share the outdoors situation.
This definitely gives a good idea of the vibe of the house. At 2800 sq feet, it’s more than two and a half times the size of our little old bungalow. We specifically targeted homes in the 1600-1800 sq foot range, so 2800 sq feet + a ~600 sq foot basement is… overwhelming. The house feels MASSIVE but the deal made it something we couldn’t pass up. I’m sure there will be rooms that we won’t even use for a years, but that also allows us to grow into the house as our family hopefully grows. After two years of looking for a home, I know the local market enough to know that we’ll be in this house for a very very long time.
Stylistically, the house is pretty much a best case scenario for something that’s both us and still Wyoming appropriate. I’ve touched on this a bit, but we’re not looking to fundamentally change the house. Instead, we’re going to respect what’s there and adjust our expectations and furniture to fit the vibe of the home. While a small part of me wants to gut the place and paint everything white, I know we’d end up with a 3,400 sq foot albatross that appealed to me and like one other person, and I’m not trying to complicate my life that much. When I see the finished place in my head, the house is warm, casual, a bit off-beat, with barn-like industrial elements and it all makes sense. Maybe….