The house that fooled me

Sorry I’ve been away.  I needed time to recoup, and re-group from all my remodeling madness I’ve done in the past 2 years.  4 houses total, and being that I am a one woman show, it wore me down. But now I am ready to post about my last  nightmare remodel that we finished in May. Well, almost finished, the outside is still a work in progress.  I’ll do this post to give you an over view of the condition of the house and why I was fooled by it’s appearance.  As you will read, I am pretty angry about this house…probably still am.  But it was a lessen learned and I am trying to chalk it up as an {expensive} learning experience in the world of remodeling.

We purchased this house in LA for our daughter Tiffany to live in while she goes to college.  She has been up in LA for 3 years, and we were tired of paying the sky high rents in that city, so we thought it would be a good investment to buy something.  We felt like it was time to get a little something for our money, rather than throwing it down the drain on an apartment.  Now that the house is complete {the inside that is} I think it was a smart move..but if you were to ask me that 4 months ago I would of told you “what a stupid idea this was”.  I’d consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to the bones of a house, I’ve remodeled enough homes to know if remodeling it would be worth it or not.  And when I saw this house I was confident it was a good choice. The popcorn ceilings were gone, it looked to have new wiring and new drywall.  I knew I would have to invest in the bathrooms and kitchen, but overall I felt it was a solid house that just needed some smart design changes. Boy was I EVER wrong! Even the home inspector we paid to check out all the electrical, plumbing and such, gave the house a thumbs up.  So it wasn’t just me, that makes me feel a tad bit better.

Here is the front of the house.  It’s a small house, about 1100 square feet

front of house that needed remodeling

The roof was newer, and the yard was overgrown, but overall a cute house in a nice neighborhood


Once we closed escrow and started doing some demo on the inside of the house, everything went downhill from there.  Bottom line, ALL the stuff I thought was new, was a facade. It was newer, but done so shoddy it wasn’t even salvageable.  Seriously, I have never seen such shoddy work in my life!  The drywall was dry and brittle, and not even attached properly, like with just a couple of screws here and there and NO tape and mud at the seams.  You could actually move the ceiling drywall, because they chose to only put a few screws in random places. The electrical was a fire hazard in the attic, with the way they ran the wires and junction boxes. The junction boxes were buried far in the attic, so they weren’t visible when we did the inspection. I quickly realized, this house was a dump with lipstick on it.

Here is the living room and dining room.  {all these pictures are from the listing} It had canned lights, new windows and no popcorn ceilings



living room and dining room

The kitchen was tiny, and the layout was wrong, but I knew I could fix that

Kitchen before in desperate need of a remodel

It had one long wall which housed the sink and dishwasher, a door opening into the hallway and then the small stove area

Kitchen before in desperate need of a remodel

There was a permitted addition done in 2008, but for whatever reason they chose not to utilize that area for the kitchen.  It was a catchall with no purpose.  On one end they had a refrigerator and a door to the outside, and then on the other side some random upper cabinets and lots of vacuums 🙂

Kitchen add on before that needed a remodel


The hallway had two entrances, one from the living room and one from the kitchen.  Which is weird since it is such a small house. We weren’t a fan of the wood floors, and you could tell they did not use the right underlayment, but that was ok since we were going to change them out.

the hall of doors

The hall bathroom was weird.  It went like this, free standing cabinet, sink, toilet, then shower. Lots of wasted space in this bathroom

disfunctional bathroom

The master bedroom was probably the worst though.  It too had the addition added on like the kitchen, but I think the homeowners changed it once it passed inspection. Off the small master bedroom {with peeling grasscloth wallpaper}


was a doorway to another doorway to a weird closet,

odd closetwith a large window in between the closet and bathroom door

closet area

and a tiny ugly bathroom off of that


Gawd!  They must of gotten a good deal on those tiny vanities, cause they used them both bathrooms

tiny ugly bathroom

This whole master bedroom/closet/bathroom area needed a major over haul.  The flow and layout was all wrong, and there was a lot of wasted space. I knew that going in.  What I didn’t know, was the piss poor job they did to get the finished room.  It wasn’t until we started taking down the closet wall and gutting the bathroom did we uncover a crap load of issues that blew our minds.  On the upside, the two other bedrooms were actually in decent shape. That’s the silver lining I guess.  Going in, I was expecting to spend about $65,000 on this house to remodel it, including the yard…HA!  Was I ever in for a rude awakening.  When all was said and done, we ended up spending double that, and the yard is yet to be completed.  Lesson learned.  I was fooled by the pretty lipstick, and won’t be fooled again after this house.  Luckily, even with the ton of extra money we had to put into it, we will still should get it back when we sell.  Now that I have done my rant and showed you the condition of the house when we bought it, my future posts will be focusing on the actual remodeling we ended up doing, and all the fun before and after pictures to go with it.  It’s pretty amazing actually, it took some sweat and grit {and a lot of cuss words} to get there, but I think you will like it.

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  1. I’d love to do what you do! I’m bummed that the sellers were so dishonest in their disclosure, but am happy for you either way. I cant wait to see what you’ve done with this – Claire

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