Friday, June 1, 2012

this old house

Last November (the same day we got Guinness, actually), Ian and I began our house hunt. That first day, we toured five homes on Milwaukee’s East Side, where we were determined to live. In all, we looked at around 30 houses that seemed to cover every part of the house-condition spectrum: a cozy but obviously crooked bungalow; a creepy old boarding house; some cute but character-less flipped ones; a former commercial building; and a few foreclosures that had once been beautiful, but are now crumbling inside, the ceilings dropping off in gobs and the walls covered in mold thanks to burst pipes and general neglect.

As we hadn’t spent much time in houses there -- which are typically 100-plus years old -- it took awhile to realize that, rather than spend on a house that had been rehabbed in a style we didn’t love, we’d rather buy low and make exactly the changes we want.

So this is it. Our house! Chateau Cliffe (pronounced Cleef), a 3-bed, 1-1/2-bath bungalow built in 1904 (it only has one floor of living space, but is topped with an enormous attic that’s begging to be used). We could move in now, but the apartment is ours until the end of July, so we’ve chosen to make some changes before we officially become Milwaukeeans.

Paige, our amazing, patient, and very wise Realtor, said that if we hoped to get divorced within our first year there, we should do the work ourselves. We agreed (having virtually no prior DIY experience). So, the contractors are finalizing their bids, and we hope to make our decision by Friday. I’ll share more about the work we’re doing as the projects progress.

Meanwhile, how would you amp up our curb appeal? These photos were taken at our inspection in early April, but I think it’s a good way to start -- the absence of leaves on the trees shows just how blank a slate we’re working with.


morethan15minutesoffame said...

I suggest landscaping the front yard. Over 30 homes? Oh my goodness. We looked at four before putting an offer on the ill-fated Second Street home and then later putting an offer on our new place on Crocker Avenue South. However, you have more choices than us. Good decision on waiting to move until the improvements are done. We sort of did the same thing - painting before moving.

ellie said...

Landscaping is definitely in the cards. Luckily, we don't have to do that before moving. Although I'm itching to! So far, we're thinking some sort of evergreens (not necessarily conifers, though) to give year-round color, plus a smaller red-leaved Japanese maple on the left.

Elizabeth said...

I have to say: that porch has amazing possibilities! Can't wait for a tour :) And I just discovered candy corn vines (Manettia luteorubra) that are so cool, I'm going to plant them all over the place next year. Google them, they're easy, they love to crawl up walls, and grow very quickly!