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!

Hot off the press: Your Guide to Pinterest

Posted on 1/30/2013 by Maggie Marystone in planning Projects corrugated metal writing Pinterest

I wish I had known about Pinterest while we were planning the house renovation. It is such a great tool for finding amazing products, collecting ideas, and organizing information. It took me a while to jump on the bandwagon, but once I did, I immediately saw how fun and helpful Pinterest can be. That's why I said, "Yes!" when the good folks over at asked me to write Your Guide to Pinterest.

The guide includes everything you need to know to get started with Pinterest. It was really fun to write, and I hope people will...ahem... make use of it. Ha ha.

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Modern kitchen design at Rural King

Posted on 1/22/2013 by Maggie Marystone in inspiration products afterphotos kitchen

Every time the Chiasso catalog arrives, I look for barstools for the kitchen island. Unless you're right in front of the stove on one of those cushiony mats, standing on hard bamboo for any length of time can make your feet hurt.

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and it has proved to be a natural gathering place when we have visitors, so we've been on the hunt for some nice, affordable barstools since the day we moved in.

Red ones.

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Seen in the wild: Corrugated Metal Siding

Posted on 1/16/2013 by Maggie Marystone in inspiration corrugated metal

During a recent trip to Colorado, Brad and I came across some corrugated metal siding in its natural habitat: industrial buildings. I never really noticed metal siding before we decided to use it on our own house, but now I see it everywhere I go. Here are a couple buildings we saw in Englewood, Colorado.

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Peoples Gas Grass

Posted on 12/11/2012 by Maggie Marystone in landscaping before & after

It is the Murphy's Law of front-yard landscaping in Chicago: right after you make any improvement, some utility company will necessarily arrive and tear up your hard work. Months ago, Peoples Gas replaced a gas line in the neighborhood and had to (barely) dig up some of our front lawn. We didn't think they'd ever come back, so we sprinkled some grass seed and hoped for the best. It grew...sort of.

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Andrew's corrugated metal roof: Before and After

Posted on 11/18/2012 by Maggie Marystone in inspiration afterphotos corrugated metal before & after

We love our metal roof. The rain sounds great on it, and it will last for ages. When Brad's brother, Andrew, said he was shopping for a new roof for his house, we suggested he look into metal, too. Flash forward: he got the new roof installed last week, and it looks great!

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Those Abandoned Houses

Posted on 11/16/2012 by Maggie Marystone in blogs abandoned

Even though we didn't win the This Old House renovation contest, I'll still show them some love. Check out this article, From Scary to Stunning - 31 Scary Houses Turned into Spectacular Homes. Pretty amazing what some TLC (and an army of contractors) can do, right?

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Landscaping This Abandoned House

Posted on 10/10/2012 by Maggie Marystone in exterior afterphotos landscaping

Here's a quick update on some landscaping efforts we have made over the past few months. We started with a mud pit. Trash is a constant problem in the front. Note the Corona bottle and plastic cup in this shot of Java meeting a neighbor dog. Bit by bit, though, things have improved. We (mostly Brad) made a picnic table and chairs, built a deck, assembled a fire table and planted many plants.

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"After" Photos of This Abandoned House

Posted on 10/10/2012 by Maggie Marystone in design afterphotos corrugated metal

A while back, the site crashed. It was catastrophic. Even though we had the site backed up in a couple different places, we lost almost everything. That's why those great photos from Charlie Mayer weren't up for so long.

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Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times - Years ago, I met Studs Terkel, and he interviewed me for his book about hope.  He called me Maggie Morningstone, and he gave me apple juice.