House Oddities

What Were We Thinking? (Before Photos)

Looking through the photos we took five years ago when we were buying our house, all I can think is, “what were we thinking?” If someone else showed me these photos and said they were thinking of buying this house, I would tell them, “don’t walk away, run.” Then John and I would privately discuss how crazy they were to even consider it. It looks like so much work…and it was. Today, I love our house and think we made the right choice to buy it – it’s perfect for us, and we definitely saw its potential (we were so young, naive, and optimistic 🙂 ). But it was UGLY. UG-LY. Hideous. Filthy. Dark, dingy, disgusting. I could go on. Let’s take a look.

Here’s the entry.

Here’s a view from the entry looking the other direction. You can see the dining area to the left and the entry to the living room.

Here’s another view looking straight into the living room. This room is really hard to photograph (and the previous owner kept all the shades drawn and lights off).

The dining area.

The kitchen. Here’s how it looks now.

Upstairs bathroom.

“Built-In” in the den. I feel that needs to be in quotes.

Top of the stairs going down to the bedrooms (our living areas are all on the second floor, as is the entry).

Bottom of the same stairs. Yes, those are (filthy, disgusting, who lives like this??) stains on the stairs.

Downstairs hallway. Here’s the “after”.

Downstairs guest bathroom.

Another “built-in” in the master bath (and John, the most attractive thing in this photo…in any of these photos).

Just so you don’t think we’re completely nuts, here’s one of the main reasons we bought this house…the location.

Redbud in bloom.

Amazing sunset, with Mount Diablo in the distance, barely poking through the haze. See more of our sunset photos here.

Photo Tour of House Oddities: Non-Supportive, Non-Symmetric Post

Our house was built in 1979, and a garage and living room were added the next year. The home was built by the owner. Everything we’ve found suggests that it’s very solidly constructed, but there is some serious funkiness. I mean, we live in a geodesic dome, so you would expect it to be a little strange, but some things go above and beyond. I’d like to present a little photo tour of our house’s oddities. This will be done in installments, and I think you’ll soon understand why. Introducing the first oddity: The Non-Supportive, Non-Symmetric Post, located in our den.

This oddity is really a head-scratcher for me. There is a section of loft that juts out into our den. It’s cantilevered, with at least 80% of of it directly supported and probably 20% or less overhanging into the den. And yet, I naively assumed that the post below the cantilevered section served some utilitarian purpose. Part of the reason I thought this was because the post wasn’t at the corner of the cantilevered section; it was offset about a foot, making it look more than a little awkward. If you were going to put in an unnecessary post, wouldn’t you put it in the corner, where it’s nice and symmetric?

In the second photo you can see a corrollary oddity: Why on Earth Did They Use Dark Wood Trim There? (Also: Why Was the House so Dark Before We Moved In?) Anyhow, you can see how that post is clearly not at the corner of the overhang. It must be over a joist, right? Before we tackled the post, John decided to fix the funky trim, which required a surprising amount of work. He had to shim under the existing ceiling, and install new drywall and texture.

So, was that post over a joist? Of course not! It was just resting on sub-floor, totally unsupported from below. Because of the cantilevering, it’s not a structural necessity (which is confirmed by its original unsupported location). Nevertheless, we decided it would look strange to get rid of it entirely, so we moved it to the corner of the overhang. Where it is directly over a joist. 😮 I love our house, but there’s only so much of this that my brain can process at once (hence the installments)!

Here’s how it looks after all the work. John did such a nice job trimming it. It’s totally plumb, the second photo’s just a little off. You can see the new floors, and we also painted all the window and door trim white.

Well, having shared that, you know I would love to hear about any of your house oddities! Do you live with them or fix them? Are you fond of your oddities, or do you wish a pox on the responsible party? I have grown to love our strange house, oddities included!