This posting will begin a 7 part series on the house on Maywood. Last summer, the two girls and myself trekked to Illinois to get the house ready to put on the market. I like to think of this series of postings as our 'diary of a dirty house'.
Having spent 3 weeks this past summer readying the Maywood house for the market was an overwhelming task. The first issue was Mr. Thrifty could not take the time off of work to help on this momentous project. The two girls were going to be part of my crew and they would be paid for their efforts.
If anyone would have told me how well this plan would have worked out, I would have never believed them. Having not stepped in the house in over 5 years was a scary thought.(The house had been rented out for the past 13 years.) A dear friend of mine that lived in Peoria would be my eyes and ears until I arrived in late June. He would obtain the keys to the house from the rental manager and give me a quick look see at what damages had occurred. I was astounded. You have to keep in mind that while my grandparents, the original owners who had built the house, were fastidious housekeepers. We use to joke that Grandma would catch dust in the air, because the place was always spotless.
When I first bought this property, many things needed to be updated. In 1993, a new roof, new furnace and the first air conditioner were installed. I spent my first summer going through 2 heat guns, stripping and repainting all the exterior wooden window frames. I couldn't afford to buy all new windows, so that was the alternative. All the original wooden floors covered with carpet were sanded and refinished. Every room was painted which was a feat in itself. While painting the living and dining room, I returned the morning after applying the first coat. It looked like the walls were in ancient Greece. They had all crackled because some type of varnish had been applied over the paint. I guess this was to keep them from absorbing stains. I had to start from scratch after washing with bleach all the walls in the remaining rooms. TSP did not even work on these surfaces. New linoleum was laid in the kitchen and basement stairs. The basement was painted with paint to seal moisture from coming in. And that was just the inside. With the help of a bricklayer friend, we laid a brick patio using old street bricks in the backyard.
After I had married, Mr. Thrifty insulated part of the attic and installed brand new easy clean tilt out windows. He re-plastered and painted all the ceilings on the main floor. With my Dad's help, he updated the bathroom. All window sills were stripped, stained and coated with polyurethane.
This picture was taken after the new half-circle front steps and the front brick patio were completed. I loved the original wooden screen door painted bright red. My dad had built and installed the window boxes.
By the time we finished, it was a glorious place. When we moved out of this house, we videotaped the complete house just to validate all the work that had been done.
And this is the picture with all the tulips blooming right before we moved out in 2000. The new glassed green screen door updates the original red wooden screen door. This picture shows the lawn at its best. (And seated on the front stoop were our two girls, one of them a newborn baby and myself.
And so begins the documentation on the Maywood home.