When we first saw the Red House, our real estate agent, Tara, had the foresight to have someone lay a dark blue/green tarp over the back part of the house. Why? Because the roof over the back of the house was collapsing. To hold the tarp in place, a couple of wooden skids were thrown on top of the plastic, too. On one side of the house was a large pile of roof shingles that had either been torn off during this process or simply had fallen off. It was quite a sight but luckily not anything you could see from the road. If the back of the house were in fact collapsing, you didn’t notice it until you were actually standing in the two rooms that were damaged.
These two rooms at one time had been an ugly beige and brown bathroom and a former laundry room that had been converted to a dingy white kitchen. Since I was totally frightened of even venturing into the bathroom because a) the ceiling had in fact collapsed and b) there was a dead mouse in the bathtub, I couldn’t even bring myself to photograph the space.
Needless to say, the previous owners left us nothing but a mess. No kitchen, only one working bathroom on the second floor and most importantly no keys to get in or out of the house other than going through the back door. This was very scary.
Every time I had to go through the back door, I was afraid the ceiling was going to collapse on my head. Consequently, I would make a made dash through the room until I reached the safety of the “red room” and quickly close the door behind me.
Once inside, I could open three other doors to get in and out of the house and wouldn’t have to deal with going through the back door until it was time to leave and lock up the house again.
We went through the summer trying to ignore the damage but the reality was every time it rained, there was this icky mold smell. I was pretty sure whatever it was we were smelling probably wasn’t good for us to be breathing either but I chose to ignore any potential health issues. What I really wanted to do was try and salvage those two rooms figuring it would be cheaper to fix them than to build new.
We finally gave our contractor the go ahead to start the demo work to try and figure out what we could do. He tore everything down to the rafters and confirmed our worst fears. The damage was so extensive it would be cheaper to tear down and rebuild a room on a smaller scale then try to fix the roof and the space that the previous owners had so blatantly ignored. (Note to homeowners: if you have a leak in your roof, try to fix it right away otherwise it’s going to cost you a lot more money in the long run.)
Our contractor started to frame out a small new addition and we decided this new space, while half the size of the previous two rooms, would work just fine. It could easily be both a laundry room and a second bathroom.
We’re heading into the winter months now so we did as much work as we currently can afford. Looking at our little room when I’m standing outside, I think aesthetically and architecturally it’s far superior to what was there previously. Now the challenge is to try and finish the interior.