Thursday, October 31, 2013

The New Abode - day 2

So yesterday, I shared pictures of the nicest parts of the house - the kitchen, dining and living rooms - and in the interest of fairness, let's go down and check out the not-so-nice area, the basement.

This house was built in the 1960s. While the living areas have since been updated, the basement is original, so you'll be able to peek at how a typical 1960s basement looked like - design flaws and all.

When you go down the stairs, you will be greeted by this corridor if you turn left. This view was taken from the doorway of the room in the basement ( a room was carved out for use as an office ) and if you look at the bottom left corner of the picture, you should see the bottom step of the stairs.

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a kitchen or specifically, a summer kitchen. The concept is similar to the Pinoy's concept of a having a nice kitchen (for show) and a dirty kitchen where the real cooking is being done.

In the case of typical 1960s households, a summer kitchen would usually be used during the summer when the weather tends to get hot. Basements are typically cooler than the living areas during the hot summer months so the idea was to cook here when it's hot so you don't introduce more heat into your living areas.

I've read that in some instances, summer kitchens also come in handy when you can/bake/cook and need lots of space to spread out your tools & containers.

This part of the basement isn't so bad, really. It's dated but functional. There's a working stove, a range hood to vent out smoke and a working sink. There are also plenty of cabinets for storage and it has a laminate countertop.

The right side provides an area for a refrigerator.

There is a sump pump in the corner (for getting rid of water) and we do have french drains installed.

The sellers also left their full-sized washer and dryer - they're not the pretty, high-tech ones that we dream about but these should do for the meantime.

And now on to the ugly part... see all that lovely (I'm being super sarcastic here) wood paneling all over the place ? Now, wood paneling and basements do not mix. Wood panels are porous, thirsty things that suck up all moisture in the air and basements, those that do not have dehumidifiers, tend to get very humid. They become perfect breeding places for mold.

To address this, we're having this torn down. All the paneling has to go, including the kitchen cabinetry (yay!) - admittedly, we are quite happy with the excuse to get rid of this now.  We got in touch with a Mold Remediation company and got a contract for all these to be taken out, the insides treated and then sealed. We won't have a 'finished' basement after this but it shouldn't be too difficult to put up drywall again once we have the funds.

The ceiling panels will also be torn out - you'll see that they've already been torn out in some places whenever the previous owners needed to access the ceiling for repairs (usually, electrical or plumbing work for the house). In the future, we'll replace this with a drop ceiling to the wires and pipes running through the ceiling can be accessed without damage to the basement ceiling.

We met up with the guys in space suits this morning and they started working with the house. If all goes well, they should finish by Saturday afternoon and at worst, they might have to work into Monday.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

the new abode

The family is moving! Yay!

This has been a long process but we knew this house was going to be our home the first time we saw it in February (2013) - or at least, I did, and that's what I told my husband, "This is going to be our house, I just know it" as we were walking away from that open house. The list price was beyond our budget at the time.

I was so disappointed when it went off the market soon after the open house and was happy when the sale didn't push through and it was again put on the market. We eventually offered for it and went into contract in July. The next 6 weeks was spent in painful negotiations as we went back and forth with the sellers regarding different things that came up during the inspection. We eventually closed the sale early October (i.e. this is when we signed the rest of our lives away with the mortgage company)....

... but didn't receive the house keys until today (the sellers asked to rent the place from us while they sorted out arrangements for their next home). So today is really the first day that we can truly call this ours (and the bank's).

We took some photos to memorialize this milestone and so we remember how nice and clean this house was before we moved in.

The rest of the house is pretty much empty yet so we'll take pictures and share a section at a time. Here's a peak at the kitchen... (obviously my favorite place in the house).

This is the view from the living room, looking towards the kitchen and the dining areas.

This is a closer view of the left side of the kitchen. There are granite countertops, built-in double ovens, a built-in microwave oven, a gas-cooktop with a pop-up vent (the type that comes up at the touch of a button and can remain hidden from view when not in use), a pasta arm (a faucet thingie on top of the stove so you can fill big pots with water and not have to carry all that water from the sink to the stove). The cabinets and drawers all have soft-close mechanisms and there is an appliance garage at each corner of the kitchen. 

Here is a closer look at the cooktop with the pasta arm, we didn't think of raising the vent before we took this picture so it's hidden from view.

And over to the right side of the kitchen is a built-in steamer (goodness knows what I'm going to cook there - pressure, pressure!). The refrigerator and dishwasher are "hidden" behind wooden panels that match the cabinetry - a nice touch, no ? The refrigerator has a bottom freezer drawer which Swe-cha will surely love as he can easily get his ice cream now.

And the peninsula (?) houses two additional refrigerator drawers (not really sure what they're called, wala sa bundok namin nyan eh). Swe-ca is going to love these and I can see how he'd get his juice and snacks from these locations - they're the perfect height.