October 12, 2010
OK. So, admittedly, we are seriously geeking out right now. It feels like we've stepped into some alternative universe in which the house project we've been talking about for more than a decade—and actively working on for four years—will actually be done someday. And, oh, by the way, "This Old House," the original home improvement show that we both grew up with, wants to be a part of it. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe it. We feel so privileged, not only to be chosen for a show that we admire, but also to be the first to represent the city of Los Angeles in the show's 30-year history! We hope that TOH viewers will enjoy getting to know the city we love through the eyes of Kevin, Norm and the whole TOH crew. We also hope everyone will enjoy seeing the evolution of our remodel.
Every story has a beginning, and our project started in true Hollywood fashion with a moment of love at first sight. My husband, Kurt, walked through the front door of our house and knew that, after 6 months of searching, he had found "the one." The house was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom Spanish Revival. Since it had never been remodeled, it retained all of its original charm and period touches, including beautiful wood floors, Art Deco light fixtures, a barrel-shaped living room ceiling, gorgeous Moorish archways, and even the original refrigerator from the 1930s (not functional, but still very cool).
Although the house's overall size was modest, the rooms felt spacious, because the house was laid out so well. That is, except for the kitchen, which was definitely a relic of a bygone era. The most recent update was the addition of some lovely harvest gold linoleum, added circa 1970. There was no room to put a modern refrigerator in the kitchen so we wedged our fridge into the adjacent laundry room. The kitchen situation made it obvious that, at some point, we would need to update at least that much of the house. So began the casual conversations about "the remodel."
These conversations continued over the next eight years and—as our little house started showing its age in a more pronounced way—they became less casual, and a bit more urgent. We're sure all homeowners face a number of unexpected repairs every so often, but, unlike us, we're guessing they take care of them right away. Instead, we kept saying, "Well, when we do the remodel..." over and over again, until our modest kitchen project turned into a fix-the- leaking-shower-termite damage-leaky roof-rotting deck-cracked-plaster-broken-tiles project.
But still, our fear of the expense and headaches that would go along with a major remodel kept delaying our willingness to really commit.
And then we had a baby.
After the birth of our daughter, the big question about our house became: Where do we put her? And her stuff? And the visiting grandparents? And the two cats?
Still, there was an even bigger question: "Will all of us really have to share one bathroom with an unusable shower?"
And so here we are. Second baby on the way; the back of the house ripped off; living out of boxes—and on a television show. Life truly is an adventure. And we can't wait to share it with you all.
(6) CommentsComment on this Blog
Quick questions..TOH no longer gives before and after floor plans so we are left to guess. After looking at the webcams I came to the conclusion that your original bedrooms were at the back of the house where the family room will be (the clue was the old floor boards) and that the new addition is behind the garage. But then the addition does seem to extend all the way across the back??? and what about the lower level...??
Hi Judy...you are correct. The original two bedrooms were at the back of the house. We previously had a side yard behind the garage that will now be utilized in the addition, adding to the overall square footage of the first floor of the house. The layout of the first level will be totally different from the original layout, now incorporating a family room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a staircase to the second floor. The "lower level" you are noting is the crawl space under the house. It is not habitable space. I hope this helps!
My grandfather is the person who built your home back in 1933. My mother is still alive and has pictures from the past. please send me a note for further info.
You're very lucky your house got featured in the TV show, Mary. If not, then the repairs would have continued to pile up. You shouldn't have let that happen! House damages worsen over time, you know. I hope that by now, you've amassed an emergency fund that you can use for immediate house repairs. =)