On our recent long weekend visiting our old stomping grounds of Cincinnati, we not only scored Stanley McCrosby Pasquale, but we also caught up with friends and family and even had a few minutes to swing by my old abode. I spent a few great years in this old house. My younger brother, Rob, was my sole roomie for the first couple, until Kim joined us as room-mate #3 for the last year before she convinced me to pack up and move to the place we now call home, Chicago.
Located in Cincinnati’s Newtown neighborhood (or the east side for your Queen City folk), this little beauty was truly a “handyman’s special.” We had worked out the math so that closing time would fall about one month before my old lease expired, so we could have the place in tip-top shape before Rob and I were ready to move in. But as things go, closing was delayed and we ended up with about nine days to completely overhaul the entire interior.
The house’s former owner was a heavy smoker, and while the majority of the smokey smell went away with the carpet and drapes, my mom and I spent an entire afternoon scrubbing every square inch of the ceiling, walls and floors with bleach to remove all of the…um, residue. After everything was clean, a few coats of KILZ sealed up the drywall once and for all.
In addition to scrubbing and priming every surface in the home, we also patched some drywall, painted every room, installed all new fixtures, hung blinds, and had fresh carpet laid in the main living areas. All in less than 9 days with pesky full-time jobs getting in everyone’s way.
After the initial move-in push to finish projects, we eventually gutted and remodeled the bathroom, refinished the entire kitchen, laid new laminate floors, installed some ceiling fans, added french doors to the basement walk-out, chucked in a garbage disposal and, well… you get the idea. This home was basically a live-in fixer-upper for me, Rob and eventually, Kim. We spent lots of time after work and many weekends painting, fixing and renovating, and we had a great time doing it. Along with lots of help and tons of pointers from my folks, this place went from being uninhabitable to quite cozy over the years that I owned it.
While there are things that I’d certainly have done differently if given the chance, there was no better way to learn how to rehab a house than simply moving into one that needed it. If we didn’t like the way things looked or worked, we had to find a way to fix them. All on a barely-out-of-college budget with tools inherited from grandparents and relatives.
Renovating this house was an awesome experience, and I think that Rob and Kim will agree. We all learned a lot, and many of the projects featured on this here blog would not be possible without the skills learned in my first home.
So, are you folks more of the fixer-upper types who would rather start with a house stripped to the studs and customize from there, or do you prefer a place that’s move-in ready? Over the years, I’ve done both and have to say… I’m still a little torn myself.
Enjoy those trips down memory lane? So does my lady. You can see her “old sweet home” right here.