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Conductor's New House - The Fun Begins!


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First off, I'd like to apologize for being so absent lately. We got the keys to the house 2 weeks ago and I've been getting home from work about 5:30, working on the house until 10 or 11, taking a shower, and passing out. I've also had to go out of town for work twice in that 2 weeks (I'm sitting in Baltimore as we speak) so progress has been slow to this point. 


Anyway, I wanted to take a few minutes to update everyone and introduce you to the true task at hand. The house sits about 4 miles outside of the town I was living in before on a little over 2 acres of pretty flat land (as WV land goes) on top of the highest hill in the general area. On a clear day I can see the power plant above Pt. Pleasant which is about 25 miles away. The view is truly spectacular. My nearest neighbor is a little over 1/4 mile away, and on any given day just before dusk I can see at least 15 Deer at any given time. The house is 3,000 sq. ft. excluding the 800 sq. ft. garage and I have a 12 x 16 pole barn for storage. I have city water, a well that can easily be converted to supply the house in the event of an emergency, and 5 bars of cell service. It truly is "Almost Heaven" for an ol' country boy like me.


The house was built in 1996 and we are the 3rd family to live there (the other 2 ended up in divorce). The house has been neglected by the previous owners and the complete lack of maintenance is obvious. Every repair, or "update" has been done in the cheapest, shittiest, most tasteless, manner possible without exception. The lady that lived there previously was very nice and easy to work with, but I hope at her next house she lays off the DIY network and hires someone who knows what the hell they're doing. Every room was painted some funky ass color (3 of them were various shades of pink) and I'm relatively sure every room in the house has been pink at one time including the foyer which was at some point in the past fuchsia pink, yes the foyer was fuchsia. Every oak cabinet in the house has been painted including the kitchen cabinets which were clay colored and all the vanities which were......yep, PINK! GOD DAMNED PINK! Every outlet, switch, and baseboard is also either covered or partially covered in paint. None of the hardware and light fixtures match either. The kitchen for example, had 1 bronze light fixture, 1 brass fixture, chrome faucets, and brushed nickel transitions. It had pale blue counter tops with pastel yellow walls, and linoleum that must've been discontinued at some point during the Eisenhower administration. There was no lightbulb in the house brighter than 5 lumens, and each wall had no less than 900 nail holes that needed patched. I could go on all night, but it shouldn't be hard to get the picture. The good news is I got the house for under $77 per sq. ft. and the $20,000 I'm putting into the house (materials and appliances only) should bring that appraisal up into the $85 per sq. ft. range pretty quickly. By the time I'm all done I believe I can have it in the $90 range. 


Here the house from the front yard:




Here is is from the back:




Here is a narrow shot of the once fuchsia foyer. It will eventually be a burnt almond color:



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I dunno how I feel about the red roof and trim. Regarding horrible color choices a friends sisters house had some truly horrible pain colors it was like blood red everywhere on the walls. Nice house though after updating the style it will look much better.

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Red wouldn't have been my first choice either, but it was the perfect house, in the perfect location, for an awesome price. The outskirts of town consist mostly of family farms passed down through generations and very seldom come up for sale. The only reason we lucked into it was because the property was originally cut off from the several hundred acre farm next door for the guys daughter. It still took 2 divorces to fall into my hands and even then only because we had a mutual friend that got us together before a realtor got involved. She knew the house would've went for another $40k if it had hit the market, but by the time the realtor got their cut she came out about the same.

Jeth: The real estate market in some places amazes me. I've seen people on house hunters pay a half million + for houses I could buy here for around $100,000. It also amazes me how much the size of the average home being built has grown over the last 20 years. 3,000 sq. ft. Is still a big house, but at one point in time we considered that a small mansion. Now it's merely on the larger end of average. Ours is one of the 3 biggest houses in town, but within 15 minutes of us there are at least a hundred bigger and a couple hundred more of roughly equal size. I don't know what all the contributing factors are, but even into the early 90's they were still building 1500-1800 sq. ft. Houses. We are one of the more affluent areas of WV meaning I could've gotten the same house elsewhere for less. Most of the Doctors, lawyers, executives, and old money types, moved out of Charleston over the last several years and into my area. I guess that has a lot to do with it. What used to be the affluent neighborhoods in Charleston are now drug and crime infested shit holes.

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Conductor, all i can say is you better like to start to paint :lol:  Great looking house! cant wait to see the progress, when are you making it down to jacksonville? At one time in i believe 03-05 my county, flagler county was the 5th fastest growing county in the nation, it went from woods to houses on top of houses, The area is called Palm coast, marketed by ici as a retirement town, get retires to move down out of the cold, well in 2008, we had the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country, forclosures left and right, basically farm land surrounds palm coast. Alot of potatos that you and i eat come out of flagler. Now every drug dealer you can think of has moved in because of the cheap housing, people say the economy is getting better, well i have news for you, in flagler county it is not. Everything is screwed up from budgeting 2 million for landscaping, but cutting the fire rescue helicopter...ok that makes a lot of sense, or how about the school system, the school board bought a Macbook air for every highschool student in the county, thats 4000 kids!!! But then they now saying they may have to shutdown 2 schools, and cut all electives like automotive and shop. It blows my mind. 

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Wow Conductor, that is a very nice house and sounds like the property and view are awesome.  I like the style of the house, it just looks cool.  I bought my home in 2003 with plans on fixing everything up.  Here it is 2013 and I have only done the fireplace, Porch, Bathroom and a couple things outside.  Well congratulations on the new purchase and adventure.  I will have to come down sometime and sit and have a beer at your place to celebrate.

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Wow Conductor, that is a very nice house and sounds like the property and view are awesome.  I like the style of the house, it just looks cool.  I bought my home in 2003 with plans on fixing everything up.  Here it is 2013 and I have only done the fireplace, Porch, Bathroom and a couple things outside.  Well congratulations on the new purchase and adventure.  I will have to come down sometime and sit and have a beer at your place to celebrate.

It's hard to remodel a house once you move in. The only way is if you can take one area an make it your living area for the duration of the renovations. It's also easier if your single or just married kids make everything more difficult. The other big thing is money renovations are expensive!

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Thanks guys!

Chase: Should be in Jax sometime around the first of the year, possibly earlier. Your area took a hard hit. They moved our Crew Dispatchers to Jax about 15 years ago. A lot of the people from up here want to come back but their houses are only worth 1/2 or less than they owe on them so the market has them cornered. Last time I was down there was an all night program of houses and beach condos for sale at insanely cheap prices.

Eric: I'd love for you guys to make it to WV. Anytime you're ever in the area you better look me up. I'm going to try to make it out to Chicago in the not too distant future as well. I've been to every major city on the east coast, but I've never been any further west than Evansville, IN. We just don't have much business out there because the Railroad is all Baltimore & Ohio trackage north of Cincinnati and Louisville & Nashville west of Russell, KY. You guys have every major RR in the country running into Chicago. CSX, Norfolk Southern, BNSF, UP, CN, and all the smaller ones as well. Barr Yard was the largest rail yard in the country for decades in certain statistical categories and may still be in terms of the number of tracks.

DR: I hate to paint. I'm pretty good at it, but I hate it regardless. I've painted 3 bedrooms so far and I'm going to do the living room tomorrow. I'm on my cell tonight, but hopefully I can update with a bunch more pics tomorrow night.

Jeth: Come on down brother!

Harold: How far are you from San Diego?

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DR99 you hit that on the head. We had kids and all the house work has slowed down, well not to mention the money aspect. Conductor you will have to show us the yards if we can make it down there. I love trains.

We can probably work something out. :)

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The kitchen was the largest undertaking by far. As I told you, the previous owner painted the oak cabinets a clay color. She said the oak was "soooo 90's". Mrs. Conductor was having none of that shit. 1st order of business was stripping that crap off. She was under the impression this was a day or 2 job, she was wrong. 2 weeks we've been stripping, sanding, and filling, in the midst of all the other work. We first use a citrus based stripper. It pretty much sucked. I told her to go back to HD and as for something that required a zoot suit to use. It works much better.


Here is the initial strip




After that shit got a little more real


we disassembled everything and took our work to the garage




We originally planned to do a solid surface counter top. Mrs. Conductor priced them and said hell no. We decided on tile as we had them in our first house and the looked really nice. We're going to lay it over the current formica top and do a tile back splash as well, so we chopped it up in preperation




The one thing that I was delighted to find is that the shut off valve for the ice maker is above the damn floor. Who the hell ever decided to put them under the house anyway?




We laid half the kitchen/dining room on saturday. We have since laid the other half and have started into the mud room, but no pics yet






The paint eater proved invaluable in the stripping job. The disc for it clog up pretty quickly and run $15 each. It wasn't the cheap route, but it saved a ton of time



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I have no idea why it flips all of my damn pics. Ever since I started using Mountain Lion it's been doing it on most pics. They look fine on my computer, but when I attach them they all end up upside down or sideways. Sorry guys :(

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No problem with the photos. I flipped them when I looked at them. That is a good size kitchen. Lots of good cabinet space. And the island is nice. I used that orange striper on all 10 of my door casings and it worker well. I left it on for 1+ days and then scraped. Then sometimes a second coat. I had 5 our 6 layers of paint on my casings. Your really going for it. I have yet to tackle my kitchen. I did build a closet this weekend. That way I can expand our master bathroom. Love hearing and seeing the update conductor. Keep them coming.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This little shit house is now tiled, but for the sake of a before pic, here it is. This is the downstairs bathroom and will serve as both my little girls bathroom, and the guest bathroom. 




Sanding and stripping all these cabinets has been more of a job than even I expected. It's been going on for 3 weeks now. My garage has yet to take any sort of shape as a result and is currently 800 sq. ft. of chaos.




My M12 Multi-Tool proved invaluable is my cabinet sanding jobs




After so much stripping, it was nice to finally get down to staining



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The countertop issue became a big decision. After pricing granite and corian I decided on a tile countertop. I got the tile on clearance for under $1 a sq. ft. and doing the work ourselves, we have a nice countertop for under $300. We cut the backsplash off, took up the existing formica, and layed directly over the pressboard. It did cause a very slight bow in it, so in hind sight I should have left the formica on.




It went pretty quick once we got going.




After all that stripping work, the cabinet doors and frames cleaned up very nicely. The big flats on the end were a different story. I probably could have cleaned it up with a lot more work, but I decided to cap them with bead board. It turned out really nice. Everything is good and flush and it gave the cabinets a little extra flare. It you're steady handed with a circ saw, or you have a track saw, it's a nice option. 








We tiled the backsplash as well. We layed it right over the sheetrock using Acrylpro adhesive. Again, once we got it started it went pretty smooth. 




At Mrs. Conductor's insistence, we did decorative pieces through the center. It was a little more hassle, but it turned out nice.




Finally laid the mud room and laundry room for a total of a little over 650 sq. ft. thus far. Still haven't grouted any of it though.  



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