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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sold Signs and Welcome to The French Farm Project

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If you're a follower on Serendipity Refined's Facebook Page, you've probably figured out by now that way back in the beginning of May (seriously, I've been waiting to tell you all of this for over two months) I found and purchased a new home my next project. I wanted to get to the point where I was fairly certain that I was actually going to get to do  this project before I talked about it out loud.




There are still many details to be worked out but if all goes well, I'll begin work on The French Farm Project (Yep, that's what I'm calling it...unless YOU have suggestions for a better name...please help!) sometime within the next couple of months.

...you know, after my oldest moves back from his summer internship in Georgia and both of my sons are moved to two different college campuses within nine days...and we close on the new home...and our current home...and pack all of our earthly belongings...and put half of them into storage while working full time..

                                                                         ....my French Farm project will start right around that time.


Until then, here are some "before" shots that I took last week (the current renter hadn't completely moved out when these were taken...sorry)  and a few "statistics" about the project.  

THE GOOD: The lot is almost 3/4 of an acre, on a corner, at the top of a hill. The home is currently a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, red brick and siding ranch which was built in 1950.  It's got a ginormous living room, formal dining room and a kitchen with an eating area...all great, right?! 

In the beginning, I thought that I'd just  paint the brick and distress it...add some vertical siding...put a cupola on the roof....add a ton of lavender and a crushed slate drive and it would be french farmhouse FABULOUS! 

                                                                                                              Yes, that's what I thought.


I figured, heck, I've done this a few times, I can handle it. It's nothing that a bunch of hard work and some decorating won't take care of, right?! But then, as I looked around a bit more, I uncovered a few other things:

THE BAD: The house has had water in the basement, it has lead plumbing and needs the main water and sewer lines replaced.  It also has grading issues on the lot, windows that are painted shut, chimney flashing that's  leaking and and a roof that needs replacing.

Okay, I thought, none of this is anything that I haven't been through on a prior rehab or during the building of our current home.  I'm still not seeing anything about this project that would stop me from taking it on...are you?


But then, the home INSPECTOR came and found a few more things. He confirmed my suspicion that the "200+ amp" electric service that was specified on the listing was actually 100 amp. He discovered that the heating, air conditioning and hot water systems in the house are 26 years old and will also need to be replaced.

                                              At this point,  I thought, Well...okay...I probably need to think about this.


When he found exposed electrical wiring in the attic and evidence of roof leaks in the dining room and one of the bedrooms, I'll admit, I hesitated.

But then, when he opened up the door to the crawl space beneath the bedrooms and found not only a mud floor and a five gallon paint pail with a pump in it acting as a sump system...and I could see daylight coming from a hole in the wall on the other side of the back corner of the crawl, I paused.....
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                             ......for several days.


Even with all of that,  I just couldn't get the location.... or the lot...or the AMAZING exposed brick garage...out of my mind.  I called a builder (actually a couple of them) and an architect, and had a bunch of meetings on the property to discuss the scope of the work to be done...then, purchased it anyway.


On Saturday afternoon, the "SOLD" sign went up on The French Farm Project. The closing is set for July 31st...yikes! Less than two weeks!

Then, yesterday, our current home found it's new owners!  We met with the wonderful couple who will be building their own memories, entertaining family and friends, and adding to the story of 127 (contingent upon an inspection and closing on their current home, of course.) for what I hope is many years to come.


He was born  in France, and she, like me, is  a "mother of two boys" and she's also "Grand" to one lucky young man.  There were many tears and much hugging...discussions about future dinners...and my gardens which they said reminded him of early summer in Provence...(yes,  I did get tears in my eyes when he said that.)

It's incredible to me that both of these homes seem to have found their proper owners.  The home that I'm going to had been on the market for nearly two years. It seems that it was waiting for me and my crazy need for major projects.  Our current home has been on the market for about 7 weeks waiting for the this special couple who can appreciate all of the upgrades and detail and heart that I designed and built into this home.  They were among the first to see it and they told me yesterday that they knew immediately that it was "home".

I'm looking forward to watching them make 127 their home...while I'm figuring out how to turn a 1950's red brick ranch into a French farmhouse....after taking care of a few of the more pressing issues on the property to make sure that it's safe to live in while we figure out next steps.

Source
This is  my inspiration. It's the former home of designer extraordinaire, Suzy Stout. I've loved this home since she built it about ten years ago. It's not far from where I currently live and I can tell you that it's even more remarkable in person than it is in photos!

If you'd like to see more of this remarkable residence, here are a couple of links to articles and more photos of Suzy's former home:
http://hookedonhouses.net/2012/06/08/designer-suzy-stouts-french-country-farmhouse-in-illinois/
http://5thandstate.blogspot.com/2009/09/home-and-garden-tour-with-suzy-stout.html


It's going to be a little crazy for the next few weeks as I muddle through an inspection and two closings and three moves,  so I may not be around much.

In spite of all of that, I hope that you'll continue to join me (and help me to give my new French farm a proper name *smile*). I promise to keep you updated as often as I can and I want you to know that I truly DO appreciate YOU!

Kimberly