As with all renovation projects you must be aware of the pitfalls. Every renovation will have a problem, or several, okay, perhaps hundreds of problems. We have renovated or done partial renovations to five houses so far. I’m not counting repainting, or updating flooring in houses we fixed to sell and move from. These are houses we changed by gutting and redoing. For a while there, my husband and I actually chose to take on the task of renovating old houses.
Those were the crazy years.
We are down to two renovated houses. The house we live in was built in 1910. It was updated once around 1979. When we purchased it, the two toilets in the house didn’t work. The one wasn’t connected and the other when flushed would shoot the black sewerage out across the room. That was fun.
The old house is quite nice now. We have three new toilets – I should be specific so you don’t think we have spare toilets sitting around. We added a large master bath upstairs, put a new toilet in the old bath upstairs (a reno-project yet to be), and created a new half-bath downstairs. The bath downstairs is tiny but suited to it’s purpose. I decorated it as if it had been put in in 1910, complete with light fixtures I picked up at Bluebird resale shop. This picture doesn’t do those light fixtures justice. You’ll have to take my word for it, they look like the ones used in the old days.
The other house we have is a rental house. During those aforementioned crazy years we actually bought a couple of houses specifically to rent. To people. I know. Don’t get me started. The two rental houses were in the same neighborhood, which made fixing them a tiny bit more convenient.
Time passed and bills mounted. We got tired of fixing and repairing and replacing with one of the rent houses. The renter could not change a light bulb. We sold it as soon as our renter legged it in the middle of the night. She left us with holes in the walls, broken fixtures, and an oven that took me two days of soaking with grease remover to scrape clean. (I was rather proud of myself after that – it shone.) There was so much damage in the kitchen we did a partial gut and replaced all the lower cabinets, plumbing, and sink. And we did sell it. So now, we have one rent house.
I’ve been loath to sell it because we have such a wonderful renter. Wonderful renters are a rarity.
I was just thinking this past Tuesday morning how nice it was that nothing had broken since the freezer went out during the big storm. I caught on to the fact that it was de-frosting when I saw the trail of water across the garage floor. I’m so thankful it was in time to save the good stuff. Two pizzas were casualties though.
Tuesday rolled by. That evening the renter called. She was apologetic (she’s such a sweetheart), but her toilets would not flush. Neither of her toilets would flush. (She has five kids. She NEEDS a toilet!!) I was so sorry to hear it, for her sake. I assured her I would call right away to schedule a plumber. He came the next day and found some blockages and removed them. Everything was working when I left. That evening she called because the toilets were blocked again. I called the plumber back.
Unlike the toilets this story is running on too long, do you feel it?
So what will happen? Best case scenario would be that the only thing I have to do is buy a new toilet, because one toilet is refusing all attempts to fix it. Worst case scenario is when the plumber comes back this Tuesday to use a video camera down through the sewer line, he finds something horrible in that 60-year-old pipe and we have to dig up the foundation and the bathroom.
I don’t want to have to sell the rental house. But there is often so much work that needs to be done with these old houses, it’s hard to keep up.