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!

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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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.