Thursday, February 11, 2016

the river house: intro...

 Hello, blog readers.

Meet what we're affectionately calling the River House.

You'll be seeing alot of her and hearing alot about her in the future.

She's only a street away from us!  She's about the same size as the house we have now.

She was built in 1901, and in 2006, a couple began renovations on it with intentions of making it their retirement home.  Unfortunately, life got in the way when the husband developed brain cancer and passed away, leaving the River House abandoned for many years.

You can likely guess why she's called the River House... from the back, this is the beautiful view of the James River.  (to the right, there's also a large working factory on the river, so that's not everyone's favorite to look at, but oh well... we'll just focus on the river...)

deck off the master bedroom overlooking the river
Thanks to an amazing set of providences, (I'm sure I'll share the story at some point!) the River House is now ours and we couldn't be more excited to renovate and restore her.

It will be the largest project we've ever tackled.  It will take years to complete and thousands upon thousands of dollars before it's all said and done.  

But at the end, we'll have poured a little deeper into our neighborhood and our community.  We'll have carried out a couple's dream that couldn't be realized.  And we'll have a house we literally designed and renovated from top to bottom.  (Call us a mini-Chip and Joanna Gaines...)

A peek into the front door tells you this place is going to be a TON of work.

There is no electrical, no plumbing, no appliances, no ANYTHING in this house right now.  (the radiators you see were all ripped out.  Radiators for sale, anyone?)

It's a shell of a house.  The previous owners had begun mostly structural and exterior renovations, and they built an entire addition onto the back of the house, but it is just framed out down to the studs.  Not even windows were installed on the addition.  

So we'll have the honor of tearing plaster off the walls of the original house and gutting it down to the studs.

We'll be knocking down walls and hoping for a mostly open-concept floor plan if it's possible.

We'll be installing everything- electrical, plumbing, heating & air, walls, floors, windows and doors, stairways, cabinetry, appliances, showers, tubs and sinks.  We'll keep and restore what we can, but nothing will go untouched in this project!

Phase 1: the basement
Eventually, our plan is to move into this home as our own.  (Caroline thinks she'll be 12 when that happens.)  It will be years, unless someone like HGTV miraculously comes along and brings an entire crew with them... 

But to be able to design a home for the needs and tastes of our family is quite an opportunity, and I can't imagine not wanting to live there in the long-term.

But our short-term goal is to renovate the walk-out basement this summer.  Phase 1: the basement.  We'll put a bathroom, bedroom, living room, and small kitchen down there and make it an investment property.  By doing that, we'll have some cash flow during the school year when we're not able to work much on the property.  

Phase II will be working on the main house, and because we'll be doing most of the work ourselves, I anticipate that being as slow as Christmas.  (Anyone want to come help?)  Once the main house is finished in Phase II, our family will move in and the tenant in the basement will move out.  

Already, plans and designs are swirling around my head!  I wish this could be a 30 minute HGTV show and suddenly... poof!  There's the before AND after!  Unfortunately, there's something called REALITY.

Since we're embarking on a crazy long journey to restore this beautiful property, I thought it'd be fun to share it with you guys through a series of posts called "the river house" where I can give updates and pictures on how it's all going.  

Nice to meet you, River House!

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