It’s official!

It’s official… our settlement was Tuesday, August 25th and now we’re homeowners!!

Madison Sq Garden Block

It seems like just last month we were running around to open houses every Sunday (oh right that was just last month). In just the past month, we found a house, found a realtor, found a mortgage, made an offer, experienced our first home inspection, discovered our dream home has knob & tube wiring, found an electrician, and signed away our life saying we’ll not only pay our mortgage but rewire the whole house in a month or less.  Whew!  Despite the whirlwind process, and the minor snafus along the way, we have the keys and it’s OURS.  This blog will hopefully help us document the next part of home-buying… the renovations & making it “officially” our first home.

Current Stats:

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 1 bathroom (complete with clawfoot tub)
  • 1 non working fireplace
  • Dining Room & Living Room on the first floor
  • Bedrooms & Bath on second floor
  • Studio on 3rd floor
  • All hardwood floors & original woodwork details
  • Two large bay windows
  • 8×10 deck with fabulous view of skyline & PECO building
  • Semi creepy basement with Laundry & workshop
  • Fabulously small but covered bike parking off rear alleyway
  • Front Stoop onto Madison Square, one of 3 garden blocks in the Graduate Hospital area of Philly, built in the 1870’s

The whole block was placed on the Historic Registry of Philadelphia in the 1970’s, which has a lot of postive aspects- on the other hand, it requires a little more work for us to “legitimately” renovate anything.  Pretty much noone in Philly gets building permits for minor stuff, but on an Historic block you really have no choice.  Luckily the process has been relatively smooth so far, we’ve only had to make  two trips to L&I and the Historic Commission across the street in City Hall.  With both of us being architects it is a little bit easier to navigate but there is still quite a learning curve.  Hopefully by the end we will know EVERYTHING there is to know about everything. Hmm…

Our immediate plans include:

  • Rewire entire house (over half of it is currently 100yr old knob & tube wiring in pretty bad shape)
  • 100% brand new Kitchen
  • Create a new opening between the Kitchen & Living Room and widen the existing opening between the Kitchen & Dining Room
  • Build a new half-bath, closet and built-in credenza on the first floor
  • Reopen two boarded up bow windows on the north side (one in Living Room, one in Master Bedroom Closet)
  • Reopen a boarded up window in the Kitchen (north side) and replace the existing Kitchen Window
  • Reopen a boarded up window which will end up being in the half-bath
  • “Reorganize” the existing bathroom layout, build a new custom vanity, and tile the floor (currently wood)
  • Repaint practically everything (interior)
  • Future 5-year plans include a possible roof deck…

Most of the stuff we will be doing ourselves or with help from family & friends although we are hiring an electrician and probably a plumber.  We plan on doing at least 99% of the work before moving out of our Old City apartment by the end of November. 

The countdown is on… 3 months to go!

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