Saturday, October 3, 2009

Casa de Harris

It finally hapened. I really didn't believe it would. We almost didn't close about 100 times, but we held on because this little row house on the west side of Chicago was destined to be our family home. It's on the perfect street near our dear friends near a park near transportation to Matt's work. It's just where we wanted to be. And after a nice nine-hour closing last Monday, and then a delay while we waited for a bank approval on the short-sale, we finally got the house in our possession. And then the next morning, at 7am, Mr. Tommy, the construction worker showed up. I let him in the door and then left for an hour to get Sammy ready for school. When I came back most of the walls were down already!! He's very quick. So, here is the lowdown on the renovation:

This is what you used to see when you entered the front door. On the other side of the left wall is....

this living room. Those windows are at the front of the house. I'm taking the picture from the back of the room. The wall on the left side of this picture is coming down and will be open to the staircase that you saw in the first picture (and the front door).

In the back of the living room is this random dark peach-colored room. It has no windows. The wall that this door is on is coming down as well so that it connects to the living room. It will be the dining room. Under all this old carpet are beautiful oak floors. Yay!

I wish I had a better picture of the demo, but this is what you see when you look left upon walking in the front door now. Behind these boards is a giant pile of junk and behind the junk is the fire place.

These pictures show the galley-style kitchen and the small dining room (or eat-in kitchen...whatever). All we're doing to the kitchen at this point is tearing up the flooring, painting the cabinets white, getting new appliances, and putting on new hardare. We're going to put a few cabinets on the right side along with a dishwasher and new fridge. Now if you look into the dark blue dining room back there, you can see a small door on the back left. It leads to...

this green "bedroom". The back door of the house leads into this green room, so it won't be a bedroom anymore. It will be a mudroom. Yay!

But Mr Tommy suggested taking that blue wall down between the dining room and mudroom/bedroom and moving it back about 3 feet. That makes the dining area in the kitchen larger and the mudroom smaller. It also will allow us to expand the kitchen later if we decide we need to.

So that wall is coming down and getting pushed back. In the process, Mr Tommy discovered that the ceiling in the back of the house (which are part of an older addition) could go up about 2 feet and be tall like the rest of the house, so we're doing that too.

I know getting the layout of the house is probably hard, but for those who actually care, this is looking back toward the front of the house through the kitchen. That brown door with the red trim leads into what will be the "foyer" or whatever you call the front of the house with the stairs. That door is actually going to be walled off so that you don't see the kitchen as you enter the house. You have to get to the kitchen through the living room, which is behind where Matt is standing.

I don't have good "before" pictures of upstairs because is was chopped up so tiny that you could hardly take a picture of any room. But, at the top of the staircase (behind this banister) there used to be a wall so that the second floor was a second apartment. This is a picture of that banister after the wall was removed. The room behind it is looking toward the bedroom in the front of the house. It's just open now, but we're putting in a small wall and a door so that it can be Claire's room. It's a pretty large room as it takes up the whole front of the house and has 3 windows.

Here is what it looks like right now.

The REALLY big daddy part of this project is that the landing at the top of the steps will be turned into a closet (along the left wall where you see the radiator). To the right of that will be a hallway leading back to the master bedroom where you see the red ladder in the back. There is a room to the left of that which was tiny and we took the wall down between them to make a master bedroom that goes the length of the back of the house. The big part of that was that the wall that they took down between the landing and the back of the house was brick inside. The rooms behind that were part of an addition, so they basically had to bang through the old back of the house to get to the bedroom. There was a door, but it was in the middle, and we need it to be all the way to the right to accomodate the large closet. Victorian row homes weren't big on closet space so this was a must. Behind this radiator wall is one more bedroom and that's where we'll put the Sammy Sam.

If you haven't died of boredom yet, come back later for more pictures. Mr. Tommy says that it will be ready for paint by next Friday. Are you kidding me? We'll see. If it is, it will be the house that was built in a week! Also, by the way, this entire project is supposedly going to cost less than $10K. If it really does, I'll be extremely excited. So there it is! We'll see how it goes....


ohio12 said...

I am really starting to see the potential. I love the staircase and I really really covet the mud room. Laure and I were just saying how having a mud room would make our lives complete. I can't believe how fast the contractors is REALLY coming together fast..but I guess I am just comparing to the full year of Saturdays we spent on our little bathroom. Can't wait to see more updates and see it in person as soon as you are ready for company! xo, Big Sister

mimi said...

Congratulations!! You lost me at somewhere between walls, but I can see your's going to be fabulous!

shiz said...

Wow, this is great...I can finally have an excuse to come visit once your house is done...just kidding. One of these days I will stop by on my way to work...seriously let me know when we can do breakfast or dinner in the neighborhood.

Robin said...

Holy Cow! $10,000 or less?!?! Where did you find Mr. Tommy and will he come down to Atlanta?
I'm so excited to see how it's all coming together. I can't believe how fast everything is happening, now that you officially own it.