This Couple Was Looking for A Home In The Middle Of A Pandemic And Their Choice Was Surprising
At the start of the pandemic, Paige Baratta and Tripp Simmons were desperately looking for a house. Unfortunately, most of their options were unavailable. Time was running out, and they were getting exasperated.
The couple was sending out as many offers as possible, but things were not looking good. It’s almost as if every one of their selections was fully booked.
Getting a House Is Like Playing the Lottery
In one case, the house they wanted had twenty offers listed! Had it been anyone else, they would have counted their losses and given up but not this dynamic duo.
Paige and Tripp kept trying their luck, hoping to land the home of their dreams sooner than later. Luckily, fortune favors the bold, and this pair finally landed on something worthwhile.
It Was an All-American Affair
The couple landed on a two-story American Foursquare abode with all the hallmarks they sought. It was spacious, classy, and, most of all, affordable. Sadly, there was a catch.
This home was not up to the task. It needed a lot of TLC to bring it up to speed. The partners could afford the house but were unsure if they could afford the renovation fees.
East or West, Option 1 Is Best
So with that, our titular characters decided to hit the road and try their luck elsewhere. After all, if you struck gold once, you might be lucky to hit the jackpot a second time.
Sadly, they quickly realized fortune only strikes once, and all the new options presented were either quite expensive or out of their budget. So, the couple decided to go back to the fixer-upper.
It Was the Right Call to Buy This Home
The home cost them a cool $320K, and by October, they had finalized all the necessary transfer details. Looking at the images of the house, the Prairie Box was a good deal.
The cube shape is iconic and reminiscent of classic American homes. Additionally, having four rooms on each floor is quite an impressive feat. The work needed on this home was extensive but worthwhile.
The House Was More Expensive Than It Looked
According to Paige, the repairs and renovations cost a pretty penny. However, if they played their cards right, they’d have their money back quickly.
Most American Foursquare homes are hotcakes in the real estate market. People don’t mind splurging on one if it is in excellent condition. So, no matter how you look at it, this was an investment plan that would mature sooner than later.
They Had to Come Up With a Tight Budget
To save on cost, the couple decided to take matters into their own hands and do most of the work themselves. Had they hired a contractor, the renovation costs would have skyrocketed?
It was a great decision, but the task at hand was monumental. There were many moving parts, and one wrong move could jeopardize the operation. Nonetheless, this pair was determined to figure things out.
The House Was Older Than Methuselah
The house was over a century old as it was built in 1915, meaning there were many outdated parts. All these parts had to be documented and worked on lest things fall apart along the way.
On the other hand, the previous tenants hadn’t been kind to the structure, leaving it in dire straits. Moreover, they had been there since the ’60s, giving them ample time to do severe damage.
Who Lived Here Before Them?
Interestingly, the previous owner moved out when she was 96. She lived in the house for several decades but still managed to maintain its original structure.
After a year or two, most people try renovating a home to fit their perspective and designs, so it’s quite unique to find a home that hasn’t been altered. Remember – the previous owner spent six decades here!
It’s Nothing Short of a Miracle
After six decades on this property, it’s a miracle that Pearl (the previous owner) hadn’t stripped away the original woodwork. Additionally, the fireplaces were still in good condition. That being said, the house had been empty for almost a year.
This is a long period for many things to go wrong, as evidenced by the damage caused by natural elements and insects.
Time to Assess the Damage
Expectedly, a thick layer of dust covered every inch of the abode, and the couple needed to deal with that situation before stepping in. On the other hand, the woodwork was begging for mercy as a termite infestation had taken over.
The termites had worked overtime as they infested most of the flooring and walls. Sadly, the creatures even did some damage to the beautiful windows.
Time to Sign the Paperwork
The big day finally arrived; it was time to sign the paperwork. All due diligence had been done and was down to the last step. The couple decided to sign the papers in a park to mark such a momentous occasion.
This might not sound like a big deal, but they were in a pandemic, so any sunshine time was precious.
They Were Sure of What They Were Getting Into
After careful assessment, the couple knew what they were signing up for, and as soon as they got the keys, they got to work. They were going to be hands-on with the project, so the sooner they started, the better.
They ripped the old carpet and linoleum floors, revealing the impressive craftsmanship below. As much as the termites had done some damage, it was still quite impressive.
This Was Not Their First Rodeo
As much as they might sound like amateurs, this dynamic duo is familiar with home renovations. Their most recent work was on their property in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Even so, the home was in better shape than this as it was a mid-century structure. It was their first job, providing the groundwork for their current expertise.
Trouble Even Before the Job Begins
No sooner had the work started that a major hurdle landed on their lap. The house was covered in asbestos panels which are not something to be taken lightly. This was a risky endeavor that posed a health risk!
To make matters worse, the panel was so thick that it was nigh impossible to tell what was lying beneath it. If they didn’t approach this carefully, they might be opening a can of worms.
They Were Pretty Lucky
Luckily, the gods smiled down on them, and the task was completed without any mishaps. Moreover, most of the wood panels behind the cover were in excellent condition.
The work needed some elbow grease as the ruined panels needed to be replaced, while the exterior required a touch of paint. It was a demanding project but so far, so good.
They Had to Downsize Sooner Than Later
The couple’s budget couldn’t allow them to dilly-dally, so after sorting out some of the major parts, they moved into the home. This was barely a month after they had gotten the keys!
Who can blame them, though, since it takes a wealthy household to afford several houses? The taxes and maintenance costs are no joke for one home, let alone two!
Surviving the High Cost of Living
On the other hand, renting in the area was out of the question since they were also quite expensive. According to realtor.com, the median rent for condos is around $2600.
If you’re considering purchasing a home in Asheville, North Carolina, be prepared to fork around $500k. So you see, this couple had to make a tough call sooner than later.
They Took It One Step at a Time
The couple worked on one bathroom and bedroom to ensure the transition was seamless. This allowed them a living area as they worked on the rest of the house in phases.
During their renovation adventures, they made a few discoveries here and there. They found a vintage children’s shoe, a pair of glasses, and a cool-looking pocket watch.
They Got a Quick History Lesson on the Home
Before long, Baratta and their partner got acquainted with the neighborhood and started learning some interesting facts about the home. For one, it was built for working-class people.
Interestingly, a century later, the house still stood strong and was owned by working-class fellows. So, what are the odds that the architect and planners would have predicted such an interesting outcome?
The Renovations Took Longer Than Expected
The renovations took approximately one and a half years, which is interesting. The couple even decided to give their project a name, dubbing it Mahogany Mansion.
This name is not a random pick but an intentional callback to the building process. For example, the structure needed a lot of wood, and thus it was given a strong name to highlight this.
There Are a Few Kinks to Iron Out
So far, most of the house is in tip-top shape, but a few elements here and there need some touching up. The upstairs laundry room is one example of a section needing work.
It took so long to get done because the couple decided to use the slow approach. They had a budget, and they strictly stuck to it.
The Budget Determined the Progress
Instead of going gung-ho and tackling the renovations like a wrecking ball, the couple went about it in stages. First, they charted a course that would allow them to do this.
The budget determined the progress, and they worked on the parts they could afford at one time. By the end of the process, they had spent around $80k, slightly shy of their $100k budget.
The Couple Had Little Help
Surprisingly, the pair did most of the work, surprising them. This was not due to budget constraints but rather the unavailability of contractors due to the pandemic.
The labor shortages forced them to take on most of the work, which in turn not only slowed down the progress but also gave them a chance to learn more about DIY.
An Interesting Visitor Comes to the Home
During their renovations, the interesting couple got to know the grandchild of one of the previous residents. The lady visited the home while the renovations were still underway.
She was a sweet 80-year-old woman driven by her husband to see how her old home looked. The elderly couple loved the home renovations so much that they got a social media account to follow up on the updates.
The Result Is a Majestic Masterpiece
The home is now looking lovely and is similar to its original design. Baratta was keen on maintaining the original aesthetic but giving it a touch of her identity.
They painted the stairs brown and removed the carpeting to showcase the splendid woodwork beneath. The wooden details on the staircase complement the high ceilings giving the house a regal atmosphere.
Look at That Glorious Kitchen
The kitchen also got a modern makeover with painted cabinets that are trending. Surprisingly, Baratta quickly pointed out that she should have opted for a different style to stand out from the rest.
The lady wished she had maintained the original look with wooden cabinets. Fun fact; during the kitchen renovations, the couple used to wash their dishes on the lawn.
The Couple Is Proud of Their Work
Nonetheless, Baratta is proud of their accomplishments and refers to interior work as the grand millennial style. The bold colors, thrifted furniture, and interesting patterns highlight this.
The house has dark paint and flowery wallpaper making it feel like an old house with a modern touch. However, Baratta wanted to capture the true essence of the house without making it look archaic.
Thrifting Is the Way to Go
We mentioned thrifting, right? Well, Baratta is a big fan of thrifting, and that’s why most of the stuff in her home is thrifted. Most furniture and decor were sourced from friends or antiques and second-hand stores.
Aside from thrifting, this couple is big on restoration, as they managed to work on a couple of claw-foot bathtubs found on the premises.
Old Homes Deserve a Chance
From start to finish, Baratta uploaded progress pics on their social media handle to keep friends and family updated. Before long, the project had amassed a neat following. At one point, a neighbor nominated them for a local preservation award which the couple won.
It was a long journey, but it’s clear that it was worth every drop of sweat. Baratta’s big takeaway is that old houses deserve saving, and we are inclined to agree.