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!

"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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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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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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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.