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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Goin' Down To South Park...

We have a neighborhood adjoining ours called "South Park." This is the largest historic district in Dayton. It has taken about 20 years to turn the neighborhood completely around but it is now a cool neighborhood to take a walk in. This week is their "Rehabarama." This is basically a showcase of homes that have been renovated and are being put on the market for sale.

Elizabeth and I took a walk down there last night to view the homes. There are 10 open for the tour but every real estate agent with a South Park listing is having an open house as well. The homes that are done look very good and have been decorated well by area interior designers. I wish I could have had more time to view each house better but Elizabeth was being a whirlwind and I couldn't keep up with her!

I had only one criticism though and it is quite a major one. Knowing what I know now about restoration, renovation and repairing old homes, I was disappointed in the quality of some of the workmanship done on many of these grand homes by so-called professional contractors. Besides some of the drywall seams exhibiting cracks, the floors in a few homes were sanded old growth yellow pine and they were polyurethaned leaving a natural finish. A coat or two of shellac would have made those floors say "WOW" instead of "Blah." One house had the stair rails replaced with new wood that was stained with walnut stain to match the walnut stained floors. The wood was ornate for modern standards but the wood hand rail was rough to touch and therefore unfinished. It looked OK but it wasn't a professional job. One property owner made a comment that it is difficult to find contractors who are willing to work on old houses because things aren't plumb and level, framing isn't standard and they just don't like to work on them. I also think some of them rushed to have the houses ready to show on time. It is a shame because if you click on the above link to read about the houses you will see what kind of price they are asking for them. Of course, like most folks, I would have "oohed and ahhhed" if this event was six years ago because I knew nothing about finishing wood or drywall. I only took two pictures because I was impressed by two things. This window in house #1

and Elizabeth in the same kitchen as that window!

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At 10/17/2007 1:25 PM, Blogger Ian Dunn said...

I live right across from one of the homes. I think they definitely were rushing to get them finished. They were still working on it the night before the show and are still doing some stuff during the days before the house opens. But that's understandable, given the scale of the project.

And of course it's always hit and miss with contractors...

At 10/22/2007 11:17 AM, Blogger kevin said...

What ian, said.

I also live down here in South Park (10 years) with my own renovations of sorts and have also developed a keen eye for seeing where someone cut-corners. I know both of the contractors, who did the restorations, and know that they fired several of the sub contractors during this build up ultimately losing time and money. Gary, you just happen to be the most thorough renovator within 500 miles and got look at this. And I agree with what you have pointed out. BUT, what is happening down here is saving an old neighborhood and beyond. We hope it's a contagious thing of all sorts of good to come and bucks the trend. As a neighborhood next to Walnut Hills, it's a good feeling that we're doing our best to make you feel that you don't have to worry about our inhabitants coming over and causing trouble.

I will also take an opportunity to point out that kitchen—and much of that house, couple others—you hilight was designed by my wife, Amanda. Thanks for the post, Gary!

At 11/05/2007 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the work was absolutley sloppy and rushed. Truth is, that people do expect primium work for a primium price. MattN


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