We came across this house in the most random way. Tina and I love our city of Claremont and we love our neighborhood. We ride our bikes often and we always take the same route to the “Village” where all the shops are. On most days on our way there we would see this house on 12th Street and it was very easy to spot. It was very run down and there was always trash and debris scattered everywhere. Every time we would pass it I would always tell myself that if I had the chance I would take this place and make it look the way it deserves. Well after years of riding by the house it finally went on the market. So that same day I called the agent and told him that I had to have this house and that is has been calling me to it for years. What can I say, you just have to dream it, think it and believe it and it sooner or later it will happen. At that time what I didn’t know was that I was dreaming, thinking and believing in something that might have been more than I could chew.
The first obstacle was to remove all the debris and 20 something abandoned cars, vans, trucks and even motorcycles. We spent a week just towing these vehicles out and every time we would remove something, we would find more trash and debris. When we finally got the place cleared out it was easier to picture what we were going to do with it. It was not a very big house so we had to make the floor plan much more functional.
It took Tina and I awhile, but we finally came up with something. We knew that whoever was going to buy this house had to have a master bedroom. So the most challenging part was to find a way to fit a bathroom into the back room without taking too much from the kitchen. So we decided to take down the wall in the living room and create a galley style kitchen so that we were able to get enough room for a true master bathroom.
After all the mechanical items were done we were ready to get to the fun part, design. Tina and I live in a craftsman and we can say it is our favorite architectural design. I mean what’s not to love, when you see craftsman you think hardworking America building their homes by hand using real wood. So with that thought in mind Tina went to work on coming up with the perfect designs. We wanted to use as a lot of wood features and stains to emphasize on the craftsman idea. So we decided to build our cabinets from scratch using real wood like they did the day this house was built.
Tina also came up with an amazing idea. When we were on one of our shopping trips at Silverado Salvage she remembered seeing a set of old 9 lite windows that we could use as doors for a book case. So we went back and found the doors she saw and we knew they would be perfect. After taking some measurements and making some adjustments, I figured out a way to make it. In fact, I came up with the idea of putting in a reading bench just the they were built back in the old days. We knew all this custom work was an added expense, but we knew in our hearts this was the right way to do things.
I will be honest, this house became a little personal for us in so many ways. It is in our neighborhood and we would be walking by this place for the rest of our lives and we want to be able to tell our boys that mommy and daddy fixed that house. Plus our neighbors would see this house, and we had to show them that this is our passion and we are the best at it. So we went back to work and dug deep.
For tile choices we decided to go simple, but we knew we had to give it some old world accents. In our home we have a Batch Elder fireplace and we knew that was something we wanted to bring into this house. So after searching for tile at several stores we finally found a tile that had that Batch Elder look and feel. We decided to use it as an accent piece, and in the bathrooms we went with subway tile. It was a perfect balance of clean lines with old world feel.
We also went brass fixtures everywhere to really enhance the craftsman pride.
For color we knew that had to do something to make a splash so this place would stand out. So we decide to go dark with mint green accents. It was a bit daring but Tina nailed it again.
Some of the things we did that were not shown on this episode are that this house is actually a duplex with a full 2 bedroom 1 bath home with its own kitchenette. It also had stairs leading to the front deck that was the entrance to the unit and the stairs were actually falling apart. We had to build brand new stairs and a deck from scratch along with a banister to meet code.
Another big thing we did which didn’t make the cut is that we actually demoed and removed the old cracked concrete driveway. We then poured all new concrete for the driveway and formed block steps leading up to the house.
We also built a cedar fence in the back yard to give the front unit some separation and privacy. This was one of the biggest projects we have ever taken on but honestly with it being in Claremont and so close to our home I can say it was definitely one of our faves.
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