This Abandoned House
From vacant and abandoned to the most distinctive house on the the transformation!
Learn how we bought and renovated our dream home at the height of the recession!

Renovation elevations!

Posted on 1/31/2012 by Maggie Marystone in renderings exterior

Some new renderings of the exterior. This was before we settled on what color the windows and doors should be, but it's very close to the final product.

I love the shadows the spiral staircase makes on the back of the house.

It's funny to see these drawings now, after we've lived in the house for a year. We realized that it's not even humanly possible to view the house from most of those angles.

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Renovation: The final layout

Posted on 1/30/2012 by Maggie Marystone in design floorplans

This was when it all came together.

Patrick took all our feedback and came back with a really nice, responsive floorplan. The addition of some furniture to the floorplan really helped us visualize what it would look like.

The Big Hole got even bigger. The utility closet moved from in front of the front door to off the dining room. And the laundry room was expanded to do double-duty as a closet, too.

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Renovation: Design #3

Posted on 1/29/2012 by Maggie Marystone in design floorplans

Patrick, our architect, and I didn't agree on everything. Here's an example. In the previous designs, the kitchen was on the right side of the house. Patrick preferred a combined living/dining area. I, on the other hand, wanted to combine the living room and kitchen. Patrick had a good argument. People standing at the front door wouldn't see piles of dishes in the sink if the kitchen were on the right side of the house.

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Design #2

Posted on 1/28/2012 by Maggie Marystone in design floorplans

Armed with all my comments, Patrick began the first revision.

This was when the "Big Hole" became part of the design. The house is on a typical Chicago lot - 25 feet wide and 150 feet deep. There is a narrow gangway on one side of the house. The other side is almost right up against the house next door. No wiggle room. And, more to the point, not much opportunity for light.

Even if we put windows everywhere, none of it would get down to the first floor. Enter Patrick's brainchild, the Big Hole.

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Finding inspiration on the road

Posted on 1/27/2012 by SuperUser Account in design siding inspiration

While we were in the design process, I traveled to Minnesota to see my family.

My sister knew we were considering corrugated metal siding, and told me about a couple houses in her neighborhood that I might like to check out.

I snapped a few photos and sent them to Patrick and Brad as inspiration.

I like that splash of color on the front, and I knew Patrick would love it since his own office is very orange.

I hoped to include some splashes of color on the exterior of This Abandoned House someday, too.

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Design #1

Posted on 1/26/2012 by Maggie Marystone in design floorplans renderings

When architect Patrick Thompson and I first sat down to talk about the house, I hadn't even applied for it yet.

I needed some expert advice.

How could I renovate this house given my limited budget? What should my priorities be?

One of the first decisions I made was to return the house to a single family home. The house had been split up into three apartments, one on each floor. I was nervous enough about being a homeowner. I wasn't ready to be a landlord, too. If there was a way to combine the apartments and keep to my budget, that was the idea.

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The first look: how bad can it be?

Posted on 1/26/2012 by Maggie Marystone in before walkthrough

All the applicants were given a chance to walk through the house. Patrick came with me.

I'm not gonna lie - it didn't look good. The house had been vacant for years. It looked like the last owner started some renovations, but they didn't get very far.

Some aspects of the house were puzzling. Why the step up into the bathroom on the first floor? What happened to the toilet?

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What was I thinking?

Posted on 1/23/2012 by Maggie Marystone in planning

It was summer 2008, and I wanted to buy a house. After a number of failed attempts to buy a condo alone or a two-flat with a friend, I discovered a little-known program sponsored by the City of Chicago called Preserving Communities Together (PCT).

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