My Old House Online

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Was it the grand foyer, the stained glass, all of the originals hiding under years of paint and veneer, or maybe the vision of what you knew your house would be? What was it that made you buy your home and love it, when so many others probably ran away screaming?

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Nice looking.  Even in the old picture, though, the front porch had been butchered where it used to wrap around and was walled up with the white siding. 

there are some beautiful houses in apollo. I really considered one closer to pittsburgh, gorgeous woodwork, floors, etc. but all my capital was already tied up with other projects. One was a ridiculously cheap house that my youngest daughter moved into. Well worth the price of peace and quiet

Yeah Phil, it's been through the wringers for sure. I remember walking in and seeing the HUGE rooms and all the stained glass. I would have loved to have made a great house out of it but it was such a wreck. Had I bought it I wouldn't have had the money to repair it.

 

Lorraine, I agree. I lived in Pittsburgh for about 5 years. There's some great houses down there (a few of which my friends own) but I like the quiet most of the time. Freeport is pretty ideal. 30 mins to Pittsburgh and still nice and quiet. Apollo has some phenominal houses. It's a shame many havent been upkept better.

well it looks like my daughter will be moving into the house in apollo now, so I will be flipping the one she is in in Tarentum. That one is more of a dutch gambrel type, 1920 I think but I already have a tenant for it. I already put in some hardwood and tile but it still needs 2 new windows, some carpet and some work on the basement ceiling. The basement walls were all peeling, some kind of plaster with a light coat of something that just was peeling away. not very helpful or descriptive i know. I ended up sanding it some with a palm sander and used a light joint compound and lightly coated the walls in a sort of skip trowel look. Then I primed and painted. It turned out really well.

When we started looking at houses in late 2004, we wanted to be in one of Boston's neighborhoods.  We quickly realized that we could afford to be renters there, but not owners.   We ended up about 20 miles west of Boston in a town that some friends had already bought in.  We looked at about 15 houses in this town.  We found this long unloved 1867 Colonial Farmhouse style house. It was in such rough shape that the realtor didn't want to show it to us.  On our first visit their was a Harley parked on the front lawn, a mattress on the front porch and a large collection of Jack Daniels bottle on the porch floor. We found a poorly mounted kitchen sink (with a negative drain), a leaking master bath shower and an old oil tank that was still partially filled.  And this guy was supposedly a plumber. Along with many, many cosmetic issues.  The weird shaped rooms, dormers, the old brick patio and many other things stuck in our heads. 


We continued looking at other places in the same neighborhood, but whenever we went to another house, we always found ourselves driving by this old Colonial.  Something about it kept bringing us back. We finally were down to two houses and the old girl was one of them.   We finally decided we wanted it. 

This was taken with a little clean up by us.

This was taken after building new screens, replacing the screen door, building new sidelights for the doors, just cutting back the brush and splitting the hosta plants down.

Wow! Great job! Funny what a little bit of work can do to a place! Congrats on finding a house you like!

Thanks Will.  I also added the lattice work under the porch and pressure washed the whole thing.  So, it's got that little country cottage look to it.   We are considering taking the vinyl siding off the wrap around porch. I know the clapboards are still under there, but, we're not sure what condition they are in.  If the claps are in real rough shape, it won't cost a fortune to replace just the porch.  Plus, it will give us good lower level practice on working with the clap before taking on the whole body of the house.   It was a real crappy siding job anyway, so it won't be missed.  

Well I think it's smart that you're starting on a smaller scale to get a feel for it. My house has the old cement shingles. We're not replacing them, as it's still nostalgic and they look good not to mention they don't burn (and if you look at my house pics you'll see how close my neighbors are) so I'm more then fine with them!

oh it's ADORABLE! good job on the screens!

For me it was the gingerbread in the eaves and the washed brick paint. For sale sign went up one evening, I visited the next morning and had it under contract by the afternoon. (Obviously, I wasn't in my right mind!) But you know how it goes when you love old houses.

I was trying to find a 2 family home to buy so my friend could run a family daycare in one of the units.  Most of the houses I looked at were rotten, had all the good old woodwork replaced with ugly, plain trim and 70's paneling.  The mechanicals were bad and the structures unsound.  In 1997in southern Maine, these not good enough houses were 110 - 129k.  The house I  eventually bought had mistakenly been listed in MLS as 2 one bedroom apartments.  Ooops!  It is a huge 1817 post and beam, Georgian colonial; and although not updated, had been nicely maintained.  I purchased the house for 99k.  3 years later, prices had tripled.  I was blessed. 

The daycare lasted less than 2 years.  I ended up with a nice home and rental income.  My friend needing a daycare space, helped me.

Some day I will scan the pics my dad took for the conditional use permit. 

I am on an iPad which makes it tough to post pictures but if you google "the James house port Townsend" you will see a gazzilion pictures of our Victorian McMansion (mr James was a bit ahead of the curve lol). While it was built much better than the McMansion of today in size and lot swallowing..,,the old box fits the bill :).

We had to move for our 4 year olds health from our home in Alaska. He has a rare condition that isn't treatable (though he will grow out of it) and if we had stayed there he couldn't live a normal life (go to school etc) so our first consideration was a short cold and flu season. California was out because, well it's in California and its full of Californians :p. (who aren't all bad but many seem to be made of plastic). I also didn't want to pay a million bucks for a ranch house....so after an exhausting search we ended up deciding on either Duluth mn or port Townsend wa. We are stupid enough to have both dreamed of owning a grand home that "needed us". Dh loves to entertain so we wanted a home that would hold large crowds but that could also hang with the Thomas the train set. We negotiated on a lovely home called French house in Duluth but the owner was a bit off her rocker so we then started to negotiate on a house in PT called the Hastings house. Another loopy owner (we seem to be attracted to them) and a year of negotiations and we had finally decided to give up and pay too much for the house because we had to get our son out of Alaska.

Dh said "why don't you call the James house before we sign on the dotted line just to see if they have changed their minds" (we had called a year earlier to be laughed away by the owner). I kindly explained to my dear spouse that he was an idiot, but to appease him (because pouting men are no fun) I called the oldest b&b in the pacific northwest and asked about buying it again. She had decided to retire three days earlier. Gloating in a man is worse than the pouting by the way.

We flew down and struck a deal over coffee at a store I used to buy penny candy in as a child. It was our first house purchase that was not hostile as a couple....and I have to say not hostile is so much better. We bought the house lock stock and barel all the way down to the sheets and 142 house plants (2 are now living). The night we moved in was a November storm...horrible wind and rain which sucked after seven hours in transit with a dog and a 4 year old and we came in to find a dozen roses on the dining room table with cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine as well as a scavenger hunt for toys that had been left for our son.

I was "ok" with the house when we bought it (IMO it was too big and the gardens were far too large) but that night I fell in love with it. It opened its big arms to us and embraced us as a home (which it hasnt been since mr James died in 1920).

It took a good month to learn that the heating system was inadequate, the roof leaked and the restoration costs will likely surpass the purchase price...but by then we were hooked :). The house needs us so we will save him. Mr James wants it that way.

I look at many pictures in this thread and see houses that "needed" you all. That's heartwarming to an old house lover like me.

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