That's what we did this weekend. Clean, clean, clean.
We're hoping to be able to get the Cass County Health Department to work with us and lift the condemnation status of the house and put us on a plan to complete the remediation. From what we've been told, the health department likes to work with homeowners to get them back in their homes. That's what we want. To be able to live in Logansport, in our house, and continue to work on "Annie" which is what we call the house.
One of the things that is important in a house with lead-based paint issues is to keep it clean to prevent any lead dust from settling. Even though all the lead paint has been remediated, I am a little paranoid and feel we need to keep cleaning. That means a boring process of consistently wiping down the walls, trim, windows, and floors with water, vinegar, and dish soap solution.
This weekend we added in our steam mop and WOW it did wonders on the tile and the wood floors. Not to mention I enjoy steam mopping. It's instant gratification.
We left feeling like it was actually starting to look like a home 🙂
I know you all may have been wondering what has been going on. I know that locally there has been a lot of scuttlebutt (I love that word), and I haven’t been compelled to share what’s going on with the house. While I did start this blog about the Greensfelder House to be open and transparent on our renovation journey, there were just some things I wasn’t ready to discuss.
But inquiring minds want to know, right?
And I finally feel like I can share.
As a reminder my husband and I purchased the Greensfelder House on 1/29/21. It’s condemned by the county due to lead based paint and the house is in very rough shape. It’s 122 years old and has not been taken care of very well in the last 10 years so it makes sense it’s in rough shape. However, it still has many original features and it’s really a diamond in the rough.
In March 2021, my elderly father called me to get him from his house in Tennessee. To make a long story short, he was in hospice care, and his then-wife wasn’t caring for him and he was in a bad situation. Overnight, I became a caregiver to my father, which was my new focus.
My husband and I never anticipated this happening when we bought the house. When we bought it, we had a plan to get it the condemnation status lifted and to complete the work needed to get a certificate of occupancy. Our ultimate goal was to become residents of Logansport when our youngest went to college. But overnight, our focus went to my dad and ensuring he was cared for. I am sure most of you would agree that family is most important. Not a house. Especially a place that has stood the test of time. We knew she would wait for us to be ready to continue her renovations.
After father passed away it took some time to grieve and heal before I was ready to continue this journey. It took longer than expected but we are finally ready to move forward. It’s not like we haven’t been doing anything. Except for the windows, the entire interior has been remediated of lead AND we painted it a pretty neutral color called Navajo white. I loathed the flat, ugly grayish white of the lead encapsulate and I wanted it to look more like a house. It’s just taken a long time. A lot longer than our original timeline. Life happens, right?
We have reached out to city officials to help us get another lead assessment and lift the condemned order. We haven’t asked to fully lift the order, but to modify it by putting us on a plan for the remaining issues, which is how other houses in Logansport with lead are handled according to the health department.
This will allow us to complete the repairs needed to get a certificate of occupancy while simultaneously continuing to remediate the lead. Our youngest goes to college in the fall and we would very much like to be able to live in the house at that time.
Wish us luck!
Lead paint, years of neglect, and an exterior that would make an excellent location for the next blockbuster horror film didn’t deter my husband and me from falling in love with this 1902 Queen Anne home in Logansport, Indiana.
Not to say since our offer to buy the house was accepted, we haven’t had our reservations - we have. Yet, we’ve been able to see past the exterior as it stands and knew what the house could be again.
So why did we want a hundred-year-old fixer-upper?
As we’ve approached the big 5-0, my husband and I have been giving more thought to what we want to do once all the kids are out of the house, what the next phase of our life would bring. We started toying with the idea a while back about finding an older home that needed some work in a smaller town than the area we currently reside. My husband is the big antique buff, and he relished the idea of restoring something to its original glory, while I liked the idea of a house that wasn’t like the cookie-cutter homes we’d been living in the last twenty years.
I became a frequent visitor to websites like Old House Dreams, Circa Old houses, and Captivating Houses to look at what was out there in Indiana. To my surprise, there were quite a few older homes, pre-1920, for sale in Indiana. However, most were already restored and therefore beyond our price range, or in such bad condition we knew it would be too much for us to tackle.
We went to look at an Italianate built in 1896 that we both fell in love with, and the price wasn’t bad for what the house was. However, the area wasn’t right for us and we didn’t feel it was a smart financial move. Disappointed, I headed back to scour the old home websites once again to see if I had missed anything when I came across Annie (that’s what we’ve named her).
She was scary looking on the outside, (my daughter immediately Googled the address + “murder” when she saw it), but the inside was relatively intact. Many of the original features were still there, and that was a huge win in our eyes. The crown moldings, the pocket doors, the hardwood, and tile floors were to die for. Sure, the fact the home was condemned due to lead paint made us a little nervous, but we figured it was only paint, right?
We went to see it, and surprisingly I immediately fell in love. The minute I walked through the front door, she had me hooked. Even the packed-to-the-gills-with-trash attic and basement didn’t bother me. My husband and I left, and I was surprised when he said, yeah, that’s not going to work. I had been sure he would be as excited as I was. When I asked why he said, it needs so much work.
Well, duh. A house isn’t listed for 35,000 if it’s in good shape. I told him I really liked it and I wasn’t afraid of the challenge. I’m the bigger risk-taker in the family, so once he realized I was on board, his attitude changed and we went back to the real estate office. A couple of other people were looking at the property, so Matt said we should offer a little over asking to have a better chance of having our offer accepted.
The offer expired the following day at 5 pm, so we spent all night looking at pictures of the house and dreaming. Of course, we talked about remediating the lead paint issue and didn’t think about all the many other problems. The next morning when Martin, our realtor, told me we got the house, we were instantly thrilled. And then I thought I was going throw up. What the heck had we gotten ourselves into. Not only because we’ve never rehabbed a house before but also financially, we will have 2 kids in college in the fall and one not far behind. Were we insane?
I spent the 2 weeks before closing in a state of anxiety. But every night, we’d sit and watch a video Matt had taken of the inside of the house and look at pictures, and it reassured me it was the right thing to do. Crazy but still felt right.
We closed on the house, opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate, and immediately put on our Tyvek suits and respirators to start cleaning and scraping paint. That’s when it hit us. There was a lot more to deal with than just turning on the utilities and doing some cleaning and painting. And once we really examined the house, we realized how much filthier it was than just the lead paint dust issue. It was too late to back out now, we joked, not that we wanted to.
This is our second marriage, and we have a blended family, so we’ve been jokingly calling this our first baby together. Even though Annie has her issues, we know that our baby will be great again through love, sweat equity, and money.
Look at the bones! You might think that's the only positive thing you can say about this house, but if you look past the abandoned furniture, garbage and rotting wood, you'll see the potential we see.
People in Logansport have been driving past this house for many years hoping someone would finally dedicate themselves to bringing the house back to life and making it fit the neighborhood. We hope we are those people.
It's important to document where we started so we can look back at the end and see how far we've come. Many of you have only seen the outside of the house, but today we present to you both the outside AND the inside in all their glory. These are the "before" pictures.