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

DIY Computer monitor of science

Posted on 2/5/2012 by Maggie Marystone in DIY Projects Office monitor

When he moved in, Brad's office setup included 4 monitors on a quad monitor stand on his desk, but the monitors were 2 different sizes. He liked having the screen real estate, but the dimensions were awkward.

When we found a great deal on monitors on Woot, we snapped up four of them between us.

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Anemone light fixture for guest room

Posted on 2/4/2012 by Maggie Marystone in design products

We looked around for a long time before we came across this light fixture for the guest bedroom. It's called the Anemone by Robert Abbey.

We got the 13 inch version, but there's a much bigger, cooler (and much more expensive) 23 1/2" version.

Look at those shadows!

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Happy accident

Posted on 2/1/2012 by Maggie Marystone in construction happy accidents

We had seen the dog wandering around the construction site before. It's a little fuzzy thing, the kind of lapdog your grandma might have.

The first time I saw him (her?), he was tromping down the alley like he owned the place.

The next time he was "claiming" a spot in the backyard.

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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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I'm Maggie Marystone. Here's some info about me and some other projects I'm working on.

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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.