The Brick Cottage Project

A while back I introduced the hashtag #brickcottageproject on Instagram.  I was excited because my son had purchased his first home.  It’s a fixer-upper but well worth the investment.  I created the hashtag to give the journey a name and to share the progress.  It’s been almost a year and we are winding down with the interior progress.  When he initially took the plunge into home ownership it was in mind that this would be his starter home and eventually move to a bigger home.  The house is located in our town not far from where we live and is close to 100 years old, so it’s got a bit of history on it.  The craftsman style home was built by the father and grandfather of the seller, whom we later found out was very familiar with my (husband’s) grandmother.  It’s about 1015 sq ft and has 2 bedrooms, separate living and dining rooms, kitchen and bath.  Whitmire is a very small town with deep roots and folks are recognized by their kin folks.  The common sentence is “who are you related to” – so you feel me on this.  When the owners decided to sell, Amir jumped on it (well of course mama bear had to give him a big  With the cost of housing sky-rocketing – it’s always best to take advantage of a good opportunity (if you can).  Unless you’re having a home built to your exact specifications, one thing for sure is, any home you purchase things will need to be done.  Minor renovations such as painting, light fixtures, flooring/carpet is always a given.  Excluding those costs, usually with a fixer-upper there may be roofing, plumbing or heating/air issues.  Brick frame homes are generally a better bang because of the solid structure.   When we went to tour the home the outside foundation seemed in good condition but it clearly needed TLC, keep in mind this is an “AS IS” purchase.

The roof looked fairly well, however, the house definitely needed new windows and an exterior paint job around the frames.  A big plus is it has central heating and air.

Going around the back of the house, there was a porch that had been completely dry rotted from over the years of wear and tear and needs to be demolished.  Luckily it’s attached to the house and not structurally part of the house.  This area can be rebuilt and extended to create a larger space. As my father once told me, when we purchased our first home (which was far far worse than this) – it’s only cosmetics.. if it’s standing it can be fixed.

It sits on an acre of land, which allows plenty of room for larger deck and garden beds.

So, I had to use those same words with Amir when we went looking at it.  Our children don’t remember how bad our home was because they were babies at the time and spent most of their time at my parents home while repairs were being made to make it livable.  Inside the home wasn’t too bad,  but it was in desperate need of upgrading..  (excuse the crappy phone pics).  The previous owner hadn’t been living in it for quite some time and it had basically become a storage space.  As you enter, you step into the living room and the first bedroom is on the right.

The dining room is the next room over

The bathroom was a good size as well.

This is main bedroom.

The kitchen had ample room but again, more TLC.

Despite its size, it was able to house a washer and dryer along with the stove and refrigerator and still had room to move around in… although it took away that eat in the kitchen portion (which is cool).

After touring it, and on a handshake deal, he said yes and the house became his.  The closing took place and the clean-out and demo began.  After everything was removed, we had a clean slate to begin our thought process.

She did assure us this leak was repaired from the outside, but the inside ceiling damage was not.

After seeing the house in it’s entirety, we knew it was going to be a babystep process and we were not in a big hurry.  Because of the visible cracks, the first thing to do was get an inspection done on the structural foundation.  Problem #1… It was determined the house needed to be jacked up and the joists need to be reinforced.  Inside, we pulled up the carpet to see what’s hidden underneath and that is when we saw problem2.  Right by the kitchen door frame the wood floor was crumbling, we couldn’t determine if had been from a water leak or termites. So, we had a termite inspection done.

It was determined there was some termite damage done to the house but they didn’t see any recent activity, however we needed to get the house treated for that and there was some form of mold as well, which had to be treated. To be honest, I didn’t know much about termites but knew they caused major damage to a house.  You can read up on them here. We also have to add a moisture barrier to protect the wood from further damage.   Luckily this was the only area that shown signs of interior wood damage .

While problems #1&2 were being taken care of we continued with the removal of the carpet and tacks.  The house also needed a new hot water tank (problem #3).  By now my son’s head was spinning with costs he had no clue of.

Pulling up those carpet tacks was a big pain in the toosh, but we needed to do as much ourselves to save on repair costs.

What a wreck right? lol   Amir was starting to feel overwhelmed but I assured him.. it gets better.  This is all part of the demo phase, and in the end – it’ll be worth it.  I kept reminding him.. Wainwright St (our home in Jersey) was a million times worse… lol.  He’s taking it all in stride and being a good sport but it’s a relief for him to know I’m there with him all along the way.   This is the story of the Brick Cottage Project and it’s the start of a new venture for my son.  I wish him all the best and may this be the stepping stone to bigger things.  I’ll be back next week with Pt.2 of the demo phase and start of the reno.  So tell me, I’m curious… what do you think?  Would this be a project you’d take on?  Stay tuned for the next post on the Brick Cottage Project.


16 thoughts on “The Brick Cottage Project

    • Hey Linda.. unfortunately we didn’t have an inspection prior to buying it.. it was “AS IS” and she needed to know.. others were wanting it so, we had to go on blind faith. But we did have one after we signed the papers.

  1. Yes, I would!!!! I am still in fix it mode for my old home (built in 1965). You do feel overwhelmed when you start because old homes can have some areas that seem to need attention all at once!!! LOL. He has purchased a nice home and I know that he will love the end result! And as long as he has the support of his family and friends he will be fine and make it thru!

    • Thank you Elle for reading..I’m glad to hear you’re in agreement.. yea, it’s a road we’re rolling up our sleeves to travel on. One thing it’s a learning lesson.. 🙂

  2. As long as the foundation and roof is in good condition I would take on the project. I can’t wait to see the direction your blessed Son takes and I know you will give darn good advice. Kudos!!

    • Yes, It all seemed pretty darn good. I’m happy to hear you’re following along on this.. I appreciate you reading.

  3. This job is for the young! Wow! I’m so excited to see the transformation. This cottage is so stinkin cute. Thanks for sharing.

    • Girl.. tell me about it.. but I’m actually enjoying the process with him… I’m so glad he took it on because it really is a cutie of home. I’ve got many ideas in my head.. just waiting to get them into fruition.

    • Thank you Frank! Yes I’ll be there every step of the way. I hope you follow along to see the finished look and thanks for reading

  4. It looks like a lot of work but it’ll be worth it in the end! The home has a lot of potential. The yard size alone is great. Good luck!

  5. When I was younger, I took on a couple of projects like this. Both were very successful. These days, however, there is NO WAY I would attempt it! I have a broken down body and just about zero patience. For young people, though, I think it is an invaluable experience that really shows your mettle. Nothing like the feeling of having created something out of nothing. It’s a satisfaction beyond compare. I wish you guys joy as you work together toward this big life goal.

    • Lol…i know Alycia… our first home was a fixer upper and i was a bit younger than him. Luckily i don’t do too much.. he’s happily taking on this project.. thanks for the moral support

  6. It is a job but it will be worth it all. We bought a 1950’s house and found many surprises, too. But problems were solved and home is almost where we want it. Your son is learning a lot from this experience.

    • Thanks Diane.. yes he’s definitely learning a valuable experience. He’s taking baby steps but sees the benefit of yakking it on. Thanks for reading and i hope you follow to see the finished look.

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