Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dirty Demolition: Lath and Plaster Removal

When we look at our walls, we don't typically think too much about what they are made of.  Contemporary construction uses a gypsum/paper sandwich that we call sheetrock.  But, before the mass production factories could spit out millions of square feet of gypsum board, home builders had to use another method to create flat and attractive wall surfaces.

The materials used up until the 1950's involved cedar lath and plaster.  Typically, two-inch cedar strips were tediously tacked to wall studs with small gaps left between them.  Then a base coat of rough plaster mixed with horse hair was laid over the cedar.  As the plaster squeezed between the lath, it created a grip to keep the plaster in place.  Then usually, a top coat of finer plaster was laid over the rough base coat to create a smooth finished surface.  That surface was typically wallpapered as was popular at the turn of the century.  

With remodeling older homes, removing lath and plaster is sometimes necessary to easily access electrical wires and plumbing. I recently had the privilege of removing some distressed lath and plaster in my own basement. 

 I only needed to remove about 80 square feet of ceiling plaster.  But, with us inhabiting the basement it was necessary to take precautions so I would not inundate our furnace with dust or have to give all our storage boxes a bath afterwards.  

Plastic sheets were hung to contain the dust. A dust mask and disposable clothes were necessary as well.  The ceiling came down in short order but the mess it created was immense.  I removed 8 large (strong 3mm thick variety) garbage bags of debris.  Each weighed in excess of 50 pounds.  

How yesteryear's craftsmen installed this stuff in the first place is remarkable to me. They had to be work horses to do the job, I am sure.  Fortunately, it doesn't take too much skill to take it down.  

Underneath that formerly white mask and formerly black hat, I am smiling.  


Thursday, November 20, 2014

JUST SOLD! Arts & Crafts Duplex Restoration Project

I just closed on the sale of this property at 2539 Orchard Ave. in

This property was a wild ride for sure.  My client reclaimed the property from a previous owner after a default on a seller financed note.  The previous owner mailed the keys to us signed a deed giving the property back to my client.

That is when the fun really started.  We inherited a delinquent tenant who was notorious for mischief.  Prior to my client taking the building back, when the other unit in the building went vacant, she posed as the landlord and rented the unit out.  You can imagine the real landlords surprise when he discovered this sometime later.  However, for some reason, the previous owner never evicted this diabolically entrepreneurial tenant.

When we took possession of the building, this nefarious tenant asked that repairs be made to the property.  We instructed her that we could not make repairs but we were willing to let her break her lease and leave without consequence.  But, if she wished to stay, we would reduce the rents by $100 and she would be required to pay while she was there.  Unfortunately, she wanted repairs made and to live there rent free.  So, we proceeded with an eviction.

During this time we listed the property for $119,900.  We received an offer for $110,000 which requested seller financing on a 15-year note. But the buyer didn't want to move forward with the eviction being in process.  Later we received an offer of $100,000 from another buyer.  He didn't care about the ongoing eviction and moved forward.

All kinds of interesting things happened after that.  The furnace in the vacant unit was condemned; the tenant stayed until the sheriff showed up to lock her out; and, after leaving all of her belongings for us to store, her friends returned two weeks later to kick in the front door and steal a dresser drawer with some 'personal valuables' in it.  Despite all this, we were able to close the transaction for $97,000 on a 12-month seller financed note with the buyer placing $20,000 as a downpayment.

Despite the trauma, the home will doll up beautifully.  The buyer intends to restore the property as a home again.  Built around 1910, it was originally a 3,200 SQFT home for a well-to-do family in the area.  The original woodwork, fireplace, and lead glass are salvageable.  The hardwood floors can be brought back.  The community looks forward to seeing this gem of a home restored to its former luster.

If you are looking for a vintage home to restore in Ogden, CONTACT ME, and lets find one that will work for you.  I will handle all the sticky and unseemly transaction details so you don't have to worry.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ogden's Architectural Dynamo: Leslie Hodgeson

The Standard Examiner recently had a front page write up on one of Ogden's most prolific architects, Leslie Hodgeson.  Ogden's cityscape is littered with monuments designed by the man. Interestingly, the lot our house sits on was owned by Mr. Hodgeson when it was purchased by Henry H. Hudman who built our home.  I am curious to find out if Mr. Hodgeson was the architect as well.

You can read more about the amazing Ogden structures designed over Mr. Hodgeson's 40-year career in this great photo illustrated write up:


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

JUST SOLD! Art Deco Duplex

I just closed on the sale of this property with a buyer:

Located at 456 17th St. in Ogden, this property is an art deco masterpiece waiting for restoration.  The interior boasts original stain grade woodwork, light fixtures, fireplace, and even switch plates.  The property has been used as a rental property for years. 

The seller purchased the property in 2005 for $88,000.  Then in 2007, the seller attempted to flip the property for $143,000. That effort failed as the price was reduced to $135,900 in February of 2008.  In August of that year, the property was taken off the market.   

I year later in 2009 the property was relisted for $129,900.  After 12 months the listing expired in 2010.  The property was again relisted in March of 2013 for $105,000.  After 6 months of no interest, the listing expired.  

Finally, in July of 2014 the property was listed at $99,900.  My clients showed some interest in the property and in mid-August we submitted an offer $92,000.  The sellers sent us a counter offer of $95,000.  That was too high for us and so we let the offer lapse.  

After letting the sellers simmer in their juices for six weeks, we approached them again to see if they would reconsider.  We submitted a reinstatement addendum and changed the price to $93,000 with the seller paying $1000 in closing costs.  Because the property was teanant occupied, our inspections were delayed and we had to extend our contract deadlines.  However, once our inspections were complete we discovered some plumbing problems.  We requested a price reduction to $89,500.  The sellers countered and we settled on a purchase price of $91,000 and closed shortly thereafter. 

Congratulations to my buyers on the purchase of a fine period home.  If you are in the market for vintage house, CONTACT ME, and lets find a home that is right for you.  


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photo of the Day: Subtraction by Additions

I was cruising through town a while ago and stumbled upon this home.

Architectural features like dormers and a front porch can be a desirable thing.  But it is also possible for there to be too much of a good thing.  I think this is a good example.  I am  having difficulty comprehending what happened to this home.  Underneath all that is a cute cottage with a clipped gable roof.  It would appear to be that a series of successive additions have fully metastasized into a full blown case of Appendagitis.  Sometimes, things are better off left in their original form. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

PHOTO GALLERY: Whimsical Wacky Wonders

It has been a while since I have put together a photo gallery of oddities from the housing market.  So, for your amusement, here are some images you will remember.

Whoops! In an effort the kill the weeds in grass, this guy inadvertently applied weed and grass killer.  Of course, the weeds died...and so did the grass.  After applying it to two acres of his lawn, you can see the result.  To add insult to injury, the uneven application resulted in dramatic zebra striping.

This window was moved one foot to the left from its original location.  The brick arch is a feature that provides structural support.  You can see the brick separating now since the arch is missing its supportive leg.

Introducing the latest craze:  The Ovenless Kitchen.

    When your Victorian two story home has a fire and a contemporary 1920's style roof is built on what is left, this roofline is the result.  Art Deco meets Victorian in what we might call Vart Decorian.

Interesting artistic liberties were taken to augment this old home with unusual diamond shaped windows.

What compliments the opulence and luxury of new cabinets and granite countertops in a kitchen more than a frumpy old 1960's oven hood?

This is the first time I have seen the use of mirrors on the exterior of a home.  Interesting.

If you have ever wondered what it looks like to carpet your basement before you hang your sheetrock, here is an example.

Wallpaper can create subtle accents in a home...or completely overwhelming ones.


Sometimes wallpaper can make you feel like you are in some kind of carnival funhouse.

Need a toilet?  There's one in the doorless closet.  Just make sure folks look the other way while you take care of business.