Friday, February 15, 2013

Remodel Begins

With the start of February, the remodel begins.
They started with removal.  Removal of carpeting (turns out that was a very good thing - carpeting on the first floor was kind of 'icky'), and walls that were poorly constructed as well as poorly placed. 
We are very lucky to have Robert Ginn, Creative Carpentry and Design and Dusty, High Caliber spearheading the remodel work.  Robert and Dusty are more than skilled builders, they are friends AND they have a whole house perspective - what needs to be done, what can be done to bring the house not just up to code .... what can be / what should be done to bring the house back into balance.
First floor family room - carpet removed.
Turns out the first floor family room and bedroom used to be the garage.  At some point, the garage was remodeled into a family room and a bedroom and a four car garage built.  I'm good with that.

First floor bedroom - carpet removed, walls to closet area removed.

First floor family room looking towards entrance from garage.  Pellet stove (or gas - plumbed for gas, we chose pellet) pedestal on the left side of the picture.

This is a picture of an awesome find - a drain in the room where the furnace and the water heater and pressure tank are located.  What makes the drain so cool, is that Robert thought he was going to have to put one in - between the water heater, the pressure tank - that space needed a drain.  Not to mention, the crawl space under the floor needed ventilation (I can't even describe the fumes that almost knocked Robert out when he moved the laundry sink and plumbing).  Anyhoo - when Robert cut the access hatch into the crawl space he located the drain and all they had to do was drill out the floorboard that had been covering it and howdy-do .... drain!!

Picture of the laundry room - where the sink used to be AND where Robert filled in the gap in the floor tiles so we have a solid floor.  Pulled the laundry sink from the middle of the wall (more space for the dryer) and as you can see the plumbing now angles to the left towards the left corner of the room.  Sink will go in the corner.

Picture of the formerly blank spot of tile (now filled in) - immediately to the left of the shower.  When the former owners left there was a big gap on the left side of the shower, between the shower and the wall.  Robert found spare tile in the garage and filled in the gap .... first floor bathroom now has a complete floor.  Woohooo!!

Not up for remodel or removal - Picture of one of our evening visitors.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Catching Up - and Homeowner milestone

I think I've been pretty free with sharing my excitement that final paperwork, signatures and transfer of ownership was completed end of last month (January 28, 2013). 

The end of a wicked stressful (for me at least) time .... getting paperwork together, getting inspections done, having the well treated, meeting all the requirements of the lending approval agency (and for that matter, the lender). 

As many of you already know, the days leading to the closing were not without drama.  The well tested 'unsafe' for levels of cholioform (generic name for a bacteria family).  The good news is that it tested negative for E.coli - that is the bad one (and I am assuming expensive to remedy).  I researched and became first name friends with the folks at Colorado Department of Public Health, flushed the pipes, sent off a sample and crossed my fingers.  The sample came back "unsafe".  Okay - now we are up against a deadline - credit report from lender about to expire, acceptance of the offer from the bank about to expire ..... At this point a huge THANK YOU to Crystal Eidson (my amazing realtor), Dave Leonard (and Sheri Parkhill) at the Mortgage Lending Company, my family and friends ..... for not killing me, disowning me or ignoring me as I tried to get everything done in the time allotted. 

Obviously, we did it!!
Thank you!!

In the middle of the well water quality issue, the appraiser made his visit to the house. The short version of the story is that I ended up painting the outside of the north facing doors and windows and the garage doors. The seller's agent was kind enough to paint the bare wood window frames on the south and east sides of the house. Seems FHA won't approve a loan to a house with chipped or peeling paint or bare wood ..... and we had some weather (chipping and peeling of paint) on the north side and there were a couple of window frames on that were bare wood. Guess this is where I give thanks for the time spent as a painter while we were living in Harwich. I grabbed can of primer and started painting. When I started the temperature was about 40-degrees and when put my brush away, it was 33-degrees. Not pretty .... and while the appraiser didn't seem impressed by the paint job, he did complete the appraisal on the house and we were 'good to go' - at least from the Appraiser.

 Master bedroom north facing french doors (that's me taking the picture) - primed and free of peeling paint.
Living room french doors - post removal of peeling paint and application of primer.

Living room window - primed and ready for re inspection by Appraiser.
As I said, not a pretty paint job .... the goal was to eliminate all peeling and chipped paint .... goal accomplished!  And - it all got done before the temperature hit 32-degrees (temp at which you have to stop painting cause the paint doesn't really work at 32-degrees or colder).
And effective January 28,2013 ..... "Homeowner" ......

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yesterday we were back at the house - I think this is going to be a routine we'll be following for the next month or so, at least until we are ready to move locations.

The big news is that the bank has approved the short sale amount/offer and signed the the short sale agreement, which means, the clock has started ticking towards closing.

So yesterday we did a walk through with our friends, Robert and Melissa Ginn.  Robert is a General Contractor (does fabulous work) - both Robert and Melissa have amazing vision when it comes to seeing possibilities AND possibilities within budget constraints.   Not to mention they've taken several houses, put in work and made changes - applied vision and the result has been an amazing home.

Above and beyond all of the house transformation projects, Robert and Melissa are our friends and we do trust their judgment, opinion, observation and vision.  That said, Rob found a few things we'll need to make sure the inspector sees and the Ginn's had some really good ideas.

First in the basement family room where there is a fitting for a gas stand alone wood (but gas) stove - put in a pellet stove.  More energy efficient and easier to manage.
So in this corner (shared wall with the garage) in the basement family room we will eventually have a pellet stove.  Heat proof pedestal is already in place, gas connector is capped (inspector will verify safety and correct capping of pipe) - all we need to do is get the pellet stove and have Robert route it through the wall and garage to the outside.  Gonna be nice and warm!! 

We're also looking to pull the carpet in the basement family room and replace it with flooring that will stand up to some traffic.  The garage connects to this room as does the mud room.

We wanted to make sure washer and dryer would fit in the laundry room - to make everything fit AND be easily accessible we will need to move the mud sink (pictured above) a bit to the right, probably just even with the outlet in the picture.  Shouldn't be too big of a deal, Robert added it to his list of things to do at the house.  YES!!  We have a mud sink in the laundry room.  Yippee!!
We also have a full bath on the ground level.
There is a sink just to the left, out of the picture.
On to the barn
Stall dividers should be easy to fix - we found the poles that go in the open spot - there are a couple that are bent; however, not bent to the point of being a hazard to the horses.
The good news with this wall - hay storage exterior wall - is that while it looks bad, Robert took a look at it, and it seems that while there may be a few boards that need replacing, the majority of the boards simply need new screws to tighten them up and keep the weather (and sunlight) out. 
Easy enough - and something I can do!

This is the stall divider that needs to come down.  Robert's suggestion was to move this about 2-feet to the left which would make a really nice size stall, wouldn't take that much away from hay storage and rather than plywood divider use something horse friendly AND nice to look at.  Currently the only access to this stall is from the outside of the barn so we (Robert) will add a door / gate / access to the stall from this side, the inside of the barn.

This is another area of concern in the barn.  You can see the retaining beam is starting to buckle out.  Robert has added to his "to do" list for the house/barn - remove retaining beam, dig out dirt that has shifted and put in a retaining wall from ground to the retaining beam and replace the buckled beam.  Gonna be sweet!!

We've got an e-mail into the roofer asking about cost for a metal roof.  There is no question the barn roof needs to be replaced, Robert suggested checking out metal roof and then of course we will need to add gutters.
Clear need for a new roof.

Gutters will help manage erosion in the corral area off the barn and the horses won't have to worry about getting buckets of water on their head if they want to put their heads out of the doors during rainy weather ..... win:win for everyone!!
Yes - no question the barn need repainting or stained.  That is something we will do.  The nice thing about the stalls is that they all open (or will open) into the barn as well as out to the corral area.  AND the doors to the outside are dutch doors in that they can be closed on the bottom and the top half of the door left open so the horses can have line of sight to the outside.
The one part of the house I didn't include pictures of in the original post - master bedroom.
Master bath taken from the master bedroom.  Doors to the right (of the sink and kind of in the middle of the picture) are a linen closet - a big linen closet!
Master bedroom. 
Ceiling fan (nice!) and french doors that open to the deck. 
French doors from living room also open to same deck. 
And that concludes the updates from our walkabout yesterday .....

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Holy cow - I forgot one of the most important pictures .... the pasture!
This picture was taken from the far end of the pasture looking towards the barn (on the right).  The house can just barely be seen behind the big clump of pines on the left.  Pasture will be good for all four horses.  Enough slope and a few trees to make it interesting, flat enough to safely run (on the initial walk about we did not find any critter holes - which is good) and flat enough for Hank. 
It will be interesting to see what kind of grass comes up in the spring.  Estimated total pasture space to be about four acres which is totally manageable from an agricultural perspective - controlling erosion, grazing, weed control and growing/maintaining good quality grass.  We won't get the pasture perfect in the first year or so; however, with 4 acres, we can get a good start.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Pictures

34766 Morgan Trail
Elizabeth, CO

Offer to purchase has been accepted by the Seller and is now pending review by the bank.  The house is a short sale which means the bank has to approve the offer.

The house is a bi-level (or as we call them in WI, a split level) walkout.  There is a deck along the back on the upper/living level.  The basement/ground level is 95% finished.  There are 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and approximately 2395 square feet.  The backyard is fenced.  There are two pastures and a corral which are all fenced.  The lot size is 5 acres. And there is a 3-stall barn!!

Front Door

 View of kitchen with very nice gas stove
Other side of the kitchen. 
Windows face south so there should be some nice light for plants on the windowsill.

Awesome sink!!
And yes, it is deeper than 5-inches ..... woohooo!

View from the kitchen into the living room.
Living room
Fancy ceiling fan

French doors to the deck.
One bedroom.

Another bedroom.

Master bath (with skylight).

Hallway bathroom.

 Stairs to ground level
Inside of garage - 4 car garage!

Furnace and hot water 'closet'

Ground floor family room

Ground floor bedroom
Ground floor mud room / hallway
 Ground floor office / study

Laundry room
Built in bench and storage - ground level mud room area. 
Door from here on the right leads outside.  Study/office area directly opposite (behind me as I take the picture) and laundry room to the left.  Door to the ground level family room and bedroom also to the left.  Ground floor bathroom opposite and between the study/office and laundry room.
Back of the house.
Sliding door is the door that opens from the mudroom area.

Another view.  Two windows are the ground floor bedroom windows.

Barn and corral. 
Yes - barn roof needs replacing and barn needs paint.

Barn - 3 doors are three stalls.

Inside of barn.
Lots of 'junk' to be hauled away.

Tack/feed room

Trees in pasture area. 
Even though they are pines, I think they will be some shade for the horses.
And, good scratching posts!

View of house from pasture.

Another view of the barn main hallway. 
Enough room for horse and farrier.

Hay storage area.
With garage door for easy offloading of hay.

View of back of the house.