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The Little Gray Bungalow

Two words: Cedar Shake. That’s pretty much what sealed the deal for me in purchasing this cute little bungalow, which happened to be just up the road from the house I was living in at the time.  It had been for sale for a while and once the price dropped within my range, I went to take a look.  What I found underneath the red aluminum siding was the original cedar shake shingles.    And so, the rest was pretty much history, regardless of what the inside looked like.  I mean….I was planning to renovate the entire house anyway.

This bungalow was built in 1924 and and at just under 1,500 sq. ft. had 3 bedrooms and 1 bath.  We reconfigured the space to a 2 bedroom/2 bath house with a large master walk-in closet (rare in old houses) and were able to bring the laundry room inside the master closet which turned out to be pretty much the best thing ever.  Who folds clothes these days anyway?

So to start with, everything had to go.  All of the walls were covered with paneling, original floors were covered by carpet or linoleum, and even the ceilings had tiles attached to covered up the cracked plaster.  And don’t forget about the red aluminum siding which I was able to recycle and make a little money off of.  This was also the point when my next door neighbor (who wasn’t really into home improvement projects) asked me very politely why I was taking down the perfectly good siding.  I mean... it was red, so..


As the homeowner I was able to pull my own permits with the City but most definitely wanted to bring in the professionals for the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.  The rest was handled by me, my family and friends, and a few other subs as needed.  I served as the designer and project manager and loved every minute of it.  We tore down walls, I was taught how to properly frame and put up new walls, and I also did all of the carpentry – trim, hardwood floors, doors – as well as any tile work and other items.  Trial and error is how I learn and I’ve also figured out that simply watching the professionals and asking questions goes a long way so that next time around I don’t have to hire as many people to help.

My order of priorities may seem a little strange but I always rank a back yard fence and dog door leading to that yard at the top of my list.  I’m not moving in without my dogs and I’m way too lazy to have to take them out every time they need to do their business.  So, while all of the other stuff on the inside was going on – and since I had knocked off the side laundry “space” where the back door was located – I had to simultaneously add a deck and privacy fence since the back door was on a slope.

Once all of the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC were cleared, I just needed to have the hardwood floors refinished and one bathroom working in order to move in.  Kitchen is always optional for me since I hate to cook.  Just give me a refrigerator for my Pepsis and chocolate ice cream and a toaster and I’m set for months.  I know, I know…’s just not my thing.  Plus I’m a terrible cook.  Anyway……

After I moved in the pressure was off.  I could work on projects as I had time especially since I had a full-time job.  I would say 80% of the work was completed within 6-9 months and almost everything else was wrapped up within the first year.  So then I turned my attention on the outside since gardening and landscaping really are my favorites when I have the time.  I ended up staying in this house just over 8 years which seems like an eternity but since I was working part-time for the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg, I got my “rehab fix” without having to live through it….which turned out to be pretty great.  Once I decided it was time to move on, I was tickled to death to have the parents of one of my neighbors purchase it from me and I hope they love this little gray bungalow as much as I did.  For all of the before and afters, be sure to view our gallery.

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