Some of our “fans” have been asking for updates on a couple of projects that actually aren’t part of the HHR business, but were started by Sue Ann and Lee before the company formed. Both these projects really should have been finished long, long ago. But they aren’t. They are involved in a domino effect–Sue Ann is an empty nester in a giant (nicely remodeled) house when she’s in Austin, and a roommate is coming soon to help fill the nest. But, she can’t move our of the Big House and sell it until she has a place to go. And, well, both potential houses to live in aren’t livable.
Villa Park’s Sad Summer
Let’s start with Villa Park, which long-time readers will note has not been a blog subject since May. Funny, in this post we expected it to be rented out by January. It’s a cool property with a large main house and a small “casita” or nanny suite behind it. The casita used to be two apartments, but they were too weird to simply fix up and rent again, so we decided to turn them into one 3 bedroom, 2 bath mini-house. It would be a great income property for someone or a great place to live if you are a multi-generational family, and it’s gonna look great–see the pictures at the end of this post (the last you heard of the property).
Well, since March, when the interior appeared to be almost finished (nope, didn’t hit that January goal) not a thing has happened, other than sliding downhill. The interior I’ll spare you. Let’s just say some drywall is getting re-done and the tile is not finished, paint to re-do, and oh yes, carpet for the bedrooms. It’s all been sitting there since March.
Why? Well, it’s rained. And rained. And then it stopped a while but then it rained some more. There was an issue with the water line running to the rear unit. It never would please the inspector, one who is not fond of rehabbers, so it had to be re-done a few times, during which it kept raining. Rain and big holes don’t mix well. It finally was done. Ready to get inspected! And the biggest flood of the year happened. Broke the pipe. No work could be done until it dried out. Time passes. Contractors have other work to do, because they have to earn a living. Tick, tick. Eventually, oh hooray, it passed inspection. Then the second biggest flood of the year happened. Here are some pictures of how the house looked last week, after finally drying out after the second flood. About halfway down there are pictures of what it looked like after a bobcat came in and regraded, and all the debris was hauled off. Note how green everything is.
Whew, the house was a mess! The back yard was scary. The renters in the main house had moved, out and we could not bring ourselves to try to rent it with the giant gaping hole, so money also went down that drain.
On the other hand, the empty main house gives our Mangum team a place to stay while the Lakeland house is in perfect shape for selling! Only workers had been “visiting” that house. Yuck. If you are going to cook on the stove or use the bathroom, at least clean up. And the light-colored carpet is ruined. That encouraged us to go ahead and put in some very nice laminate, though, so whether we sell or rent in the future, much better flooring will be in there.
Midway on the Projects…
As you can see in the pictures below, our contracting team came in with a vengeance and started getting the place looking good again. All the debris was hauled away (including items that were not ours, “conveniently” stored in the garage). And they got a big ole bobcat to come in and smooth out the dirt in the back, start grading for better drainage, and most important, finally filled in that hold. There’s a reason so many photos of a dirty driveway are in the photo gallery!
You’ll also see what the main house looked like before the flooring went in, but after that sad old carpet went out (actually, it wasn’t that old…the family with four children who lived there a year just made it LOOK old…hazards of rentals). One nice thing about carpet is that it hides imperfections in the foundation. So, builders often don’t take the time to make it perfectly level. This was definitely the case in the main house here, compounded by the fact that there was a big addition (the family room, one bedroom, and the expanded master). The laminate flooring is nowhere near as forgiving as carpet, so an additional 1.5 days got added to the flooring installation job. These are the kinds of things you just don’t know until you start the project!
And at the end, you can see they DID manage to install that laminate. The house looks many times better, and will be easier to keep clean, too. We are putting carpet in the bedrooms, but have been careful to choose something so incredibly neutral that it will show few stains and go with anything. It has bits of brown, tan, gray, and cream in it. The colors of pet hair, coffee, and many food stains. We hope.
A Few Steps Closer…
Now that the flooring is in, the Mangum part of the Hermit Haus team can hang out there while the Lakeland house is being shown in its pristine glory. Visit the sale site for it if you haven’t yet!
This week I went with Ruben, the GC on the casita project, and picked out carpet for the bedrooms there. It is a medium tan with some dark bits, some light bits, and even a bit of gray. It will match anything, even if new people repaint it the trendier gray that every other house is painted. Also it won’t show dog hair, lint, or spilled coffee. The banes of my existence!
Let’s stop here, midway through the final home stretch. The contracting team swears they will be working like demons all weekend to get the casita and yard ready for occupancy. Final inspections can occur next week, any necessary fixes can be done after that (and with this inspector, there WILL be fixes), and then other members of the Hermit Haus team can install some basic furnishings and hang out there while our big house gets packed up to sell.
Stay tuned for more progress!
Photo credits go to Sue Ann Kendall, Carol Mangum, and Russell Mangum.