The biggest worry we had about the property turned out to be one of my favorite spaces. The home had a totally illegal garage apartment. My fear was that it would cost us a fortune to get up to legal standards.
The garage apartment wasn’t even mentioned on the real estate listing even though it was being lived in by tenants when we checked out the house. This was the one and only picture of the garage apartment in the home information on the realtor site.
I snapped these two from the front of the house.
It took some work to get the realtors to change their listing to include a mention of the unit and even then the listing said it would be a great place for family to visit. The odd thing for us was that the unit was built at the same time the house was and should have been legal. It took a little digging to figure out that the place no longer met minimum requirements for a rental. Heck, it didn’t meet minimum requirements for anyone to be in. The unit was missing smoke alarms, there was no carbon monoxide monitor, there was a hole in the floor that opened to the garage below, it had a gas leak, the garage below had an unvented working gas hot water heater that also had a gas leak, it needed the foundation worked on, and the only method for escape in case of fire was through the door. You know just the basics.
I have absolutely no photos of the inside of the apartment before we bought it. There were three pit bulls, guns, foil over the windows, fly papers hanging all over the place inside the unit, two people and three dogs living in less than 400 square feet, cigarette smoke, and moth balls everywhere. I was too overwhelmed to venture into the space very far and feared the worst.
Once the tenants moved out we got our first real look into the space. I loved it. I did not expect to be so happy about the space but I was almost giddy.
Yes, it had all the problems I remembered but what I had not seen before was the original charm that somehow had not been stripped in 67 years. Some of the light fixtures were original, the phone niche was still there, original doors, aged pine flooring, and original kitchen cabinets.
The stairs and deck were solid, even if they were a little dirty and someone scorched the deck with a grill at some point.
I think my favorite room in the unit is the dining nook. The windows, the light, the phone niche… I like it all.
Look past the dirty in the picture to see the wide baseboards and the light that comes in.
The kitchen is amazingly efficient. The original cabinets go all the way to the ceiling.
I like the faucet coming out of the wall.
Not the biggest fan of the stove, but now thanks to my buddy who worked for over an hour solid before I joined in for another hour, it is clean and there are no gas leaks. It isn’t perfect, but until we find another apartment sized stove for a decent price it will work.
The bathroom vanity is original and super cute. I wish I had the time to strip it down to see the original hardware without a million coats of paint on it. That light must go. I know what I want. I hope I can find it.
The bathroom was a nice size for the space. It has a huge, deep cast iron tub. One day I hope we can get it reglazed.
This is my one and only photo to show you just how dirty this sweet place was before we scrubbed, washed, went back to the store for more cleaning supplies, cleaned some more, and sealed the floor. My buddy cleaned the windows but it took cleaning them twice to cut through the crud to clean glass. She is a superwoman when it comes to cleaning.
I am not ready to show off the newly painted, cleaned and ready inside quite yet because we still have a few things to knock out but isn’t the space great?
Here is how the old girl looks from the outside now. I think I will be painting the porch posts white but it is much improved. I can’t wait for you to see the tree house as a my buddy calls it.
What a journey we have been on.
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