Ten years ago, we bought a split-level house, built in 1958. We are the second owners of the house. For many years, the first owners lovingly cared for the home and expanded it twice, but then stopped all renovations and updates after the mid-80s. After that, the neighbors tell us that the original owners spent most of their time in their vacation homes.
Now, a midcentury split level was never my dream house. We needed to move pronto and this was one available, so we bought it after one mad afternoon of housing shopping.
We have had no regrets. It’s a solid home. The separate levels worked surprisingly well with everyone home all the time during the pandemic. Over the years, it’s needed many updates, like changing up the wall-to-wall pink carpet, dated wallpaper, and the brown kitchen. This year, we tackled the exterior to the house.
In the past ten years, we’ve done minor work outside. We pulled out some overgrown azaleas directly in front of the house. We had to do a lot of work trimming back and removing trees. Tree-work is frighteningly expensive. I hate it. We also had to do a little engineering in a corner of the yard, where a run-off stream would occasionally flood the yard. Another expensive, boring job.
For the past two years, we have been saving and planning to completely rehab the exterior to the house. The paint was flaking off. There were holes in the house. Bees and woodpeckers were treating our house as a breakfast buffet. The soffits were rotting. There was a mysterious hole in one of the gutters that was backing water through our kitchen ceiling.
There were esthetic issues, too. I didn’t like the tiny windows in the boys’ rooms, which are above the garage. I wanted to update the 50’s bay window to one with better insulation and that could open up more easily. With all the time being spent in our office, I wanted to put casement windows in there, too.
I wanted a new front door and back door to let more light into the home.
Finding the right contractor was a full year of work. There are a lot of ripoff artists out there. I got quotes from six guys. Once we found the guy with good taste and a fair price, we had all the front shrubs removed. And then we waited and waited for the contractor to arrive.