I thought it would be fun to join the “How I met my house” party over at Our Suburban Cottage. Forgive me if you already know the story, and forgive me as I’m trying to write it really fast.

I’m young. Single. Have a low price range. Somewhat “hip”, and snobby about which side of town I absolutely will not touch. Ha!

Let me tell you, in the nice part of town, the only places in my price range were pretty much ready for total demolition, and I’m not exaggerating. My dad was in town, and he drove around with my realtor and I, along with a brother here or there. To be honest, I don’t even know how we found my house. I kind of think we just saw a sign in the yard and stopped, but I’m not totally sure.

The house was empty, and had been for quite a while. The sign said HUD- Housing and Urban Development. Just entering the yard was enough to send your nostrils running, as I am sure that the flower beds and lawn had been being used as a restroom facility for numerous cats and dogs. We peeked in the windows, and were excited by the wood floors, arch, and quaint size (816 sq ft). Later we looked it up, and it was even below my price range. The next visit, the one where we actually went inside, would reveal why.

The stench of dog pee was so strong that it made you lightheaded. The carpets were destroyed. They looked as though someone had taken numerous cups of coffee and poured them all over the carpet Jackson Pollock style. Looking in the closets revealed that the carpet wasn’t even that old, nope, just peed on and left to sit for months, maybe even years. Huge holes graced the walls. The front door was scratched to hell by dogs. The back fence had a dilapidated “Beware of Dog” sign, confirming our suspicions that yes, dogs had lived there. The kitchen floor had a big 3′ puddle of water on the floor, no appliances, and a soggy hole in the ceiling that revealed the source of the water, a roof leak. The bathroom- oh, the bathroom. Disgusting, unlivable. Rotting wood lined the bathtub and shower, the surround had holes in it, and there were suspicious gray spots all over the walls. Curiously the toilet and sink looked new, though the toilet was taped shut (thank goodness). Did I mention there was an electrical outlet in the shower?

A trip down to the basement proved that we only thought we knew about the smell of dog pee before. The basement seemed to be where the crackheads (the only way I can imagine anyone living in a place like this is if they were all cracked out) kept their dogs most of the time. The “bedroom” down there consisted of some cardboard-like boards nailed onto some studs, an upside down door, and a disgusting linoleum floor. The rest of the basement was completely unfinished. I nearly cried upon seeing all the scratch marks at the bedroom door, and hoped that their dogs had found better owners by now who wouldn’t lock them in a basement for undetermined amounts of time. The cement floor had a layer of damp grime, and creepy shelves lined all the walls.

Needless to say, it was perfect!


I can’t remember who was with me for that first visit. I think it may have been my dad and two brothers, all experienced renovators. Even they were looking around with doubt in their eyes, and Matt said “If you get this, it will be the biggest challenge any of us has taken on.” But it had charm and seemed sturdy, and I was kind of wooed by the fun things- the fireplace, arch, and huge back yard. The street was cute, quiet, and tree-lined, and despite being on the “wrong” side of town (remember what I said before about being too good for certain neighborhoods? Things change quickly when you start thinking dollars and cents!), it was very close to downtown, where I happen to work. It was two blocks from the grocery store, less than half a mile from freeway access… it just seemed right! Plus, I was excited about the thought of demoing pretty much everything and choosing all new everything for myself, as opposed to someone else throwing on some crappy renovations to try and sell their house quicker and calling it “remodeled”.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you already know some of the major things that have been done on the house. If not, feel free to poke around, and start with the Tour (which needs to be updated badly). And as always, thank you SO SO SO SO MUCH to everyone who has helped.

Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post. But just in case I don’t, the end of the story is that I love my house, I love my neighborhood for the most part, and I have zero regrets about buying it!