hidden-room-house
Ex Trailer Trash

Library!

Fair warning: house porn photos ahead.

This specific house is intriguing enough, G immediately said, “I want that one.” It’s located in our ideal area of southern Iowa. The house is on the large size, but not so much as to be un-workable.

hidden-room-house

And y’all… it not only has a library, but a secret room behind one of its bookcases.

library

hidden-room

I mean, really, what else do you need?

Oh, okay, you’re right. A kitchen would be prudent. It so happens the kitchen is also easily more than double the size of the one we currently have. The cabinets are okay. The green countertop is ugly as sin, but we could replace or refinish and have something a bit more acceptable. I don’t know what’s going on with that floor. It might be linoleum – not vinyl, but real, old-fashioned linoleum. The stuff is indestructible. I’d probably be tempted to keep it if so, on principle.

kitchen

The house also has a dining room big enough for me to use my vintage/antique table. Where we are now, it’s folded down and tucked against a wall in our bedroom, one of the few spaces where it will fit. It’s a solid walnut drop-leaf piece dating back at least to the first half of the 20th century, and we’ve never really had enough space to open and use it.

As you can see below, a few areas needs a more extensive updates and repairs. While I’m not a fan of boilers, the whole region is Vintage Mansion Central, So we’ll most likely focus on restoration where possible, vs. ripping it out and replacing with a forced-air system. The 80s-era wallpaper and god-awful carpet, however, gotta go. And possibly the dropped ceiling, depending on what’s on the other side of it. Hoping the water damage is old and whatever caused it has been repaired. A new roof is pricey and so is a full repipe.

bedroom

A fireplace graces the cavernous living room, and the staircase looks original. The fireplace needs cleaning and a different insert. Most likely the staircase needs to be cleaned and polished and would be good to go.

living

Big room, and again – carpet’s gotta go. along with the cheesy 1980s swag lamp. I’m not opposed to ceiling fans, but not the one you can barely see in the foreground.

The full real estate listing is here, for all the specs. There are half a dozen outright mansions in that town, going for cheap. Yes, it’ll take work to bring them back, but well worth it.


So you get a comparison, this tiny little box – our current abode – is what you get in Arizona for roughly DOUBLE the price of the above home – and we’re in the middle of nowhere. Closer in to any city, the prices rise exponentially.

House-front

You might not be able to see it, but there’s an itty-bitty baby lemon tree in the front yard. It’s about halfway down the picture and on the right.

House-back

The tools leaning against the house in back are from the start of our landscaping project. If you look closely, you can see there are half a dozen planters already out front, with some dusty miller and petunias to get started. I added some jacaranda seeds to the mix, which will hopefully fill in by the time the annuals bite the dust.

We also have moringa seeds and plan to plant them once they’ve sprouted. So imagine the nekkid yard, only with three or four of these in front and at least a couple of them in back:

moringa

The photo shows a moringa 1-2 years old. Not kidding when I say they grow fast.

I’m also grabbing some seeds from the bush/tree already growing at the corner of the house We’ve now cut that thing all the way down to the ground at least twice, and are constantly trimming it back. It’s still taller than G in no time flat. We haven’t watered it or done anything else to it. If it’s that green and lush without any help, I want to add them to a small forest in the yard. Trees here add exponentially to a home’s value, especially trees that require little to no upkeep.

We most likely will NOT put down sod. It takes an exorbitant amount of water to keep a lawn green here, and sod itself costs a pretty penny, too. We don’t want to mess with an irrigation system other than a drip line to the lemon tree, which we already have.

We’ll likely rock parts of the yard. Whoever did the front yard did a horrendous job. Before you lay rock beds, you need to put down a layer of weed control. That didn’t happen, which is why this is what the house looked like when we originally bought it:

raw-old

All that green stuff in the small photo above is weeds. Only it wasn’t green when we closed escrow – it was brown. The only living things in the yard (other than the tree at the corner) were ants. Lots and lots and lots of ants. The ground moved. We’ve been battling them for two years and have them mostly under control now, thankfully, but it takes staying after them constantly.

6 thoughts on “Library!”

  1. I love old houses and that one looks like it would be fun to bring it back to life. There is no dignity in a swag lamp in a Victorian 😖

    1. A swag lamp COULD work in a Victorian – if it was the right lamp. But definitely not in the living room, and a million percent not THAT lamp, lol.

      I love old houses, too. That one is so seriously cool. It would be a huge project to take on, though. We can’t jump into the pool without being sure we have the physical and financial stamina to get it done. Because for all the stuff you can see, it’s a safe bet there’s even more you can’t see.

  2. Wowwwwwwwwww! I love it! And it’s mere blocks from the town jail – very convenient for when hubby comes to visit you there, which you KNOW will be an eventuality. Seriously though, it looks awesome (or at least has awesome potential). Puts DangerHouse to shame, and we paid about that exact price for it (although we do have 30-thousand acres of state park right outside our door to compensate for the smaller abode, and a far less chance of the stray tornado whisking us away). I would definitely get a home inspector in to check that water stain in the Addams Family room, but I’m sure that’s unnecessary advice. Otherwise, yeah, I would love to have a spacious home like that myself. If you get it, invite me over! And maybe NewWifey(tm) too.

    1. I know! That place is amazing – or will be after restoration. We’re trying to decide if we’d have the resources (physical and financial) to do this place (or a comparable one) justice. We could do the asking price without breaking a sweat. We might get enough from our current cracker box to pay cash for it.

      If all it needs are the cosmetic things you can see, no big deal. G loves painting, and he and I together pulled up old carpeting and such in the previous tin box. We’d work on it one section at a time to remove, then hire out either refinishing the wood flooring I suspect to be under the carpet, or hire flooring put down if needed. But once we get into structural issues, extensive rewiring, re-plumbing, re-roofing, a new HVAC system, etc – the price could easily double, which would put it out of our retirement wheelhouse.

  3. My jaw hit the computer table when I saw the price! OMG! That house could be mostly livable as it is. That gives you time to make it what you want. I also think there is hardwood under all that carpet. Good luck.

    1. It isn’t even the only one. There’s a 4K sf house not too far from it, for about the same price – and in better condition. There are more expensive homes too, obviously – anything built in the last 20 years is exponentially more expensive – but I’m floored by all these graceful old homes offered so ridiculously cheap.

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