Friday, September 6, 2013

our third floor condo in Jamaica Plain... some "before pics"

when we bought the condo about three and a half years ago (january 2010), I promised that I would upgrade the place by making a prioritized list of things that needed to be fixed immediately, short term and long term projects, and wish list items.  as soon as we moved in and started living in the house, we realized that the list was longer than we originally anticipated.  things that you don't know are wrong with the house are suddenly horribly wrong and things you thought were kinda bad turn out to be terrible.
the entire cabinet interior was moldly, punky, soft, and completely rotten
I guess there was a leak under the sink... for a couple years!
the electricity was pretty good.  every outlet worked except one (and there certainly was not enough electricity in key locations such as the bathroom and the kitchen).  the hot and cold water worked.  some of the burners on the stove worked and the fridge worked (although every single plastic shelf in the door and in the main part of the fridge was broken completely, cracked beyond repair, or missing... oh, yeah, and there was a string on one of the door shelves serving to hold things from falling off).
looking at possible kitchen cabinet and wall opening design
envisioning a new kitchen: we put up blue tape on the existing cabinets and wall so we could see what would be left if we created an opening between the kitchen and dining room and adjusted cabinet locations.

the gas boiler in the basement worked, but the radiators were finicky and kicked off very uneven heat, leaving the living room frigid and the bedroom burning up.  the cabinets were totally melting off the wall, half of the doors were falling off the hinges and most of the interior shelving was sagging so bad you couldn't even put anything on them.
hideous lower kitchen cabinets in our condo awaiting demolition
rotten, scratched, stained, and broken cabinets, doors, and hinges were literally falling off the walls when we moved in.  we agreed to live with them until we had an overall plan of how to tackle the place.  it turned out that we needed more than three years to renovate the kitchen and dispose of this eyesore!
those are the basics.
window seals failed leaving condensation on all of the glass
every single window in the entire condo was foggy as all of the seals had failed.  translucent windows anyone?
most of the other issues we knew about in advance.  every single window in the entire condo was foggy (the seals had failed, most likely due to improper installation).  the basement often flooded a little and sometimes flooded a lot.  there was no washer/ dryer, no garbage disposal, and certainly no dishwasher.  the tub looked like it had a rare skin condition and my wife forbid forbade me to take an actual bath in it.  and it turned out that all of the holes in the floor were designed to let mice in.  quite a good first couple of months discovering traits of the place.
peeling paint and a rusty interior in the bathtub
the tub needed a little work, to say the least
when the warm weather hit we were ready for some action.  we knocked down a wall right away between the living room and the dining room.  this was quite an easy project and we felt great.  but... now what?  we had no specific plan other than we wanted a public side of the house (living room, dining room, and kitchen) and a private side of the house (2 bedrooms and the bathroom).  we knew we had to open up this wall, but had no idea what to put back.  a french door?  a completely opening?  a framed opening?  lots of questions and no answers.  so we lived with a stud wall for what ended up being almost two years.
creating an open flow between entry, living room, and dining room changed the house for the better
tearing down the wall between the dining room and living room was a good first step to open up the public side of the house
we were ready to make some more significant improvements.  we started planning more serious lists and trying to decide what to tackle next.  do we redo the kitchen then the bathroom or try to tackle both at once.  do we replace one busted item at a time or maybe remove everything that was unusable and start from that point.  maybe we repair the wall we demolished and then decide on the next steps.  it was quite a challenging time for us with so many daunting tasks.  we needed an idea, something to help us prioritize and focus and get us to move forward, spend the money, and start the renovation. we needed...

to be continued...

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