Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aftermath of the Great Flood of 2014

Fortunately for us the pipe break and flooding incident happened before we owned the house so it was the previous owner's insurance that had to take care of things. For the mold remediation the carpet, kitchen flooring, and a significant amount of drywall had to come out. In that remediation process the floor tiles tested positive for asbestos and a different remediation company had to be called in to remove those.  
The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. Here is all the demo stuff removed from the house.

 Yep, that's about where the leak was.

At one point we had a dozen fans and two large dehumidifiers going to dry things out. Now that is the original kitchen flooring.

All of the drywall in the entry and some in the living room had to go. 
So some of the demo we planned on doing is done along with a bunch we didn't plan on doing. We did receive an insurance settlement so I guess things are all bad. The next step is to finalize plans with the contractor, then start the construction loan process moving. The current house closing is May 2nd and the new house won't be livable for at least 6 months. In the meantime we are moving into an apartment. The saying that two moves is like a fire is true. I have a feeling we won't have near as much stuff when we end up in the house.

Our Next House: Part 2 Water, Water, Everywhere

Gather round kids and let me tell you a story. So three days before we were set to close we got a call from the realtor with "news." One of the neighbors reported water running out the front door. Not just the bottom of the front door, but the top and the garage too. They couldn't get in touch with the selling realtor and ended calling the fire department to shut off the water. Sounds fun already, right? In the last cold snap we had a pipe freeze in the ceiling and it ran for 3-4 days before someone saw it.
We headed over that night to investigate. The front door was wet and so swollen it took some doing to get it open. Since this picture all of the paint has come off so we are looking pretty classy.
The pipe burst over the front entry closet and water filled up the house. The carpet in the picture is completely soaked and that's on the other end of the house from the break.

It ran right through the ceiling and even down the mail slot. 
Some trim popped off and floated away from the entry. You can see the high water mark.

Needless to say we ended up postponing the closing. The insurance company paid to have everything dried out for mold remediation which included pulling floors, drywall, and some ceilings. So the house that needed a bunch of work now needs even more. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Our Next House: Part 1

So enough waiting, here is the new place. It currently is a 2000 sf, 4 bedroom 1.5 bath house with a living room, family/dining room, a multipurpose room, laundry room, and one car garage. The house was built in 1950 and was the personal home of an architect. We are still tracking down more info on the original owner. The house is slab on grade, concrete masonry unit with brick fa├žade, and concrete shingles. It is a stout, but weird house. The initial plans are to stay within the original footprint but pretty much update everything to end up with 4 good-sized bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms.
The front view. Right now there are two front doors, one to the house and one to the laundry room. One will get eliminated.
The rear view. It is an odd house, single level ranch with a big southern facing sunroom.

Here is one of the huge selling features, a one acre lot. 

The sunroom has southern facing windows protected by an overhang. The ceilings in this room are tall, at least 10 feet. We have been told that the angle of the overhang prevents any direct sunlight from entering the space, we will see. 

Looking back toward the bedroom wing. The VCT tile definitely needs replacement. 
You can see through the last picture into the family/dining room and to the bedrooms. There are 3 small bedrooms and a nice sized master. The bathroom and such a weird layout that I couldn't get a good picture if I tried. There is a galley kitchen with original metal cabinets. They are in great shape and we are planning on keeping them, maybe after refinishing.
Coming next Part 2: water, water everywhere

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Longest Month

Oh man, where should I even begin?  We're under contract on our current house, which is good.  Today we officially closed on our new house.  But since our last post, life has been nothing short of a roller coaster.  We're planning on starting a new blog for the new house since we're moving off the Circle, but since that hasn't been started, I'll give you the cliff notes version of the new house saga.

But first, here's a sneak peak of the new place:

View of the back patio and overhang
 Please pay no attention to the rot.  As I already noted, this is a project house.

Back to the house-buying drama.  We got a helluva deal and had assumed everything on the financial side would be fine.  Long story short, it wasn't.  Due to some appraisal issues (again with the appraisal!) we had some financing issues and for a day or so, we weren't sure we'd be able to get the house.  While we were waiting to hear back on final approval, we got a call saying the new house had flooded.  This was on Sunday.

Flooded was an understatement.  Closing was less than 72 hours away.  We still didn't have financing secure.  Jesus Christ, we should have our own goddamn reality tv show and we haven't even gotten to the construction part!

Monday we got the final approval for the financing, Tuesday the seller's insurance agency started the claim on the water damage, and we delayed closing on Wednesday at the very last minute.  We were tying up loose ends on the water damage and wanted to make sure we were covered.  Everyone scrambled on the paperwork and we closed over lunch Thursday.  I have to say, after the last week, closing seemed very anticlimactic.

There will be more details to come and a relocation of the blog.  But we need a name for the new house and we're stuck.  It's a brick 1950s ranch on an acre.  I know somewhere in there is a clever, witty name but right now all I keep thinking is Brick S#&t House.  Any good suggestions?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coming soon...

A beautiful 2-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom house in Prairie Village will be coming to the market soon. Located close to Shawnee Mission East High School and the Prairie Village shopping center, this mid century modern gem could be yours.  A private backyard adjacent to Brush Creek features a sunken patio.  The garage is probably one of the largest in PV - 6 cars total!  You better hurry, this won't be on the market for long! For more information contact Bob Myers

OK, sales pitch aside, we are selling the house.  Things have been more than a little crazy around here but the big news is...


We found a 1950s ranch on an acre just south of here for a steal.  But it's rough.  Really rough. So you can look forward to lots of new pictures and projects.  This house is going to make the work we did on the Roe Circle house look like child's play. Seriously.  But an acre. John is already dreaming about getting a tractor.

This just goes to show you that sometimes things don't work out for a reason. Two months ago, we were in full addition mode and hadn't even considered the possibility of that load being denied.  And now we're tackling a project even bigger project.  We're very excited about the new place: it's bigger, no stairs, huge open family room, an acre lot, unlimited potential for MCM cool, and an acre. It needs a ton of work, but it has good bones. Did I mention it's on an acre?

Things are moving fast, to say the least.  We close early March but will need some time to get the bathroom fixed (there is duct tape in the shower, I kid you not) before we move in. Winston will be swinging a hammer in no time.  Stay tuned, the inspection is on Thursday and we should have some pictures to post after that.

But seriously, if you or anyone you know is interested, please contact our realtor or pass this information on. We've been told our house should sell fast, but the more interest, the better.  If you don't want to scroll back to find house pictures, here's the link to when we were on the KC Modern Homes Tour in 2009.  Not much has changed other than the furniture.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Take Your Project and Shove It

Well I spoke too soon. Our appraisal came back yesterday and it was the perennial problem for modern homes, we have no kitchen. Wait, how can you not have a kitchen? So when you enter our house you enter in the middle level at the living room. You can either go down a half flight of steps to the kitchen and dining room or up a half flight to the bedrooms and bathroom. Since the kitchen is below the grade of the front door the appraiser decided it wasn't living space and didn't include it in the overall total. Funny, all of the comparable sales had kitchens.

How can this be, there has to be some other way. Well it comes down to appraisers really not being supervised or the homeowner having a legitimate course of action for objective review of a biased appraiser. I mean without legal action which isn't an ideal solution either.

Fannie Mae Selling Guide
Section 405.06 – Gross Living Area

Rooms that are not included in the above-grade room count may add substantially to the value of a property-particularly when the quality of the "finish" is high. For that reason, the appraiser should report the basement or other partially below-grade areas separately and make appropriate adjustments for them on the "basement and finished areas below-grade" line in the "sales comparison analysis" grid. To assure consistency in the sales comparison analysis, the appraiser generally should compare above-grade areas to above-grade areas and below-grade areas to below-grade areas. The appraiser may deviate from this approach if the style of the subject property or any of the comparables does not lend itself to such comparisons. However, in such instances, he or she must explain the reason for the deviation and clearly describe the comparisons that were made.”

 It basically comes down to the appraiser needing to make and justify an exception. As we have found in the past, most appraisers don't understand or appreciate mid-century modern homes. Throughout the process cap fed has been great to work with and I cannot say enough good things about them.
What's next? I really don't know. We are exploring some other options and only time will tell.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shastoration Sunday

The trailer project continues. I took some time off this week and made some good progress. We ordered the aluminum skin from California and it showed up in three big boxes. It's not ready for skin just yet, but we have it sitting on the shelf. The house and trailer wiring are finally finished.
The electrical cabinet contains three fuse panels and one inverter charger. In total there are four AC circuits and five DC circuits.
 And there was light. All of the lights are DC LEDs so they draw very little power.  

I replaced the standard bulbs in the main house light with LEDs and rewired the original kitchen light for two LEDs also. Although not shown in the picture, we saved the original 1960's glass sconce for the kitchen light. You can just see the remote battery monitoring panel mounted on the front of the fuse door there in the closet. I picked up a cheap car battery to test out the systems. Eventually we will get use a sealed AGM type for camping.
Most importantly, the refrigerator works. So now when the world ends and we have to pull it into the middle of nowhere, the beer will be cold.
The next step is to trim and insulate. Since we will be using lots of spray foam for insulation, the interior trim will need to be completed so nothing leaks in or deforms the panels.