My Experience With Major Exterior Home Renovations, Part One

cape house bedroom

Why I Bought a Fixer Upper

Years ago I began this blog when I had moved back to New England. I wasn’t much of a blogger and even I can’t find what I am looking for! While I’ve been trying to fix up my old posts, and link the stories together, I decided it was easier to simply re-do the whole experience and organize my home renovations photos and information in one easy place.

It’s easiest to begin at the beginning. At an age when I should have been close to retirement and starting to really enjoy life I was thrown another curveball.

The Quick Backstory

I was alone with my 13 year old son (he was born very unexpectedly when I was 41) when I had saved enough money for a downpayment to buy a home of my own. I had divorced my husband of nearly 30 years after he lost everything we had (having only lived in NH for a year and a half) and put me in the poorhouse. With bad credit (thanks to him) and a bankruptcy on my credit history, I knew getting a home loan would not be easy. So I saved up to show that I was serious about buying a house.

Ice sliding off the metal roof
Thick layer of ice sliding off the metal roof of the duplex

Renting Vs. Buying a House

Before the downfall, I had lived in a home of my own since 1981. Going back to renting was horrible for me. I hated the fact that I had no control over how I lived. The Duplex was quite nice, and my landlady was wonderful, but it was a rental. We got along very well (she lived in the other side of the house), but her house was they way she wanted it. It belonged to her, not me.

She had put on a metal roof which created huge overhangs of ice in winter. It got so bad that I wouldn’t use my side door for fear of being killed if it decided to let go at just the wrong time.

I also hated giving large chunks of money to someone else every month so they could live in their house. I was getting nowhere while renting. And even though the small duplex was nice enough, there was no garage, so I had to clean off my Tahoe for every storm and move it for the snowplow.

The House I Chose to Buy

I couldn’t afford much of a house, so my expectations were low, but I wanted a place of my own. Because renting was so expensive, a mortgage payment would be about the same amount, but I would be building equity and not throwing money away.

The yellow house was the third one I saw with my Realtor and although it was in desperate need of repairs, I liked it far better. It was in a nice neighborhood in a quaint town and it was in my son’s same school district. From the outside it didn’t look too good.

Then I went inside.

Yellow house in need of repair
The house as it looked before I moved in

My yellow house had obvious problems, some of which can be seen in the photo here. The clapboard siding was buckling where it had obviously stayed very wet for a while. The garage doors were falling apart and there was an ugly ramp at the mud room door. The green window boxes were rotting.

When I first walked in the front door with my Realtor, big ants were all over the living room floor. Despite all these things, as I walked through the house I fell in love. The kitchen had been done over it seemed, and it was huge! The living room was small, but cozy and had a fireplace where I could install a woodstove.

glass slider with caution tape
No access to the backyard because the steps are missing

The two rooms upstairs were very large with a good size bathroom upstairs as well. With two more rooms downstairs, I chose one for my bedroom and the other for my home office. It was perfect! In fact this house checked off all my boxes – two bathrooms (with windows!), a garage (two car!), a mud room, big basement, home office, and beautiful kitchen. I saw great possibilities here. I bought it.

Read Part Two

2 thoughts on “My Experience With Major Exterior Home Renovations, Part One

  1. Pingback: A Nomads Life, Places I Have Lived – New England's Narrow Road

  2. Pingback: Beginning My House Renovations, Part Two – New England's Narrow Road

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