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Historic Northeast Kansas City is a great place to visit and to live in. We moved here in early 2013 and absolutely love it. We live in a large brick house sandwiched between Cottage West and Cottage East. When the opportunity to purchase Cottage West came along in 2014, we jumped at the chance. And when the opportunity to purchase Cottage East fell in our lap in June 2017, we grabbed on with both hands.

A neighborhood can be improved if people care enough to invest in it.

By renovating these homes, we are improving our neighborhood and the community at large.

We have made a great deal of progress – but I wanted to share with you where we started in the process.

When we purchased Cottage West in July 2014, the yard was overgrown and the house was in dire need of repairs…

It was so overgrown, you could hardly tell there was a house there!

It was so overgrown, you could hardly tell there was a house there!

 

Trees were growing along the foundation and up the roof.

Trees were growing along the foundation and up the roof.

 

The back porch was boarded up, but the windows were broken and the wood rotting.

The back porch was boarded up, but the windows were broken and the wood rotting.

We cut back the trees, cut down two trees that were prohibiting us from running power lines in, and pulled down the vines growing on the side of the house.

 

A view of The Cottage once the trees were cleared away from it

A view of The Cottage once the trees were cleared away from it

 

Inside the house, there was plenty of cleanup to be done

Inside the house, there was plenty of cleanup to be done

 

Once we removed the carpets, however, we discovered that the hardwood floors were all in very good shape.

Once we removed the carpets, however, we discovered that the hardwood floors were all in very good shape.

 

There were treasures as well. This became a lovely coffee table.

There were treasures as well. This became a lovely coffee table. It currently sits upstairs in my library.

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The basement alone took days to clear.

The basement alone took days to clear.

 

Eventually the forest of weeds and scrub trees disappeared from the front of the house.

Eventually, the forest of weeds and scrub trees disappeared from the front of the house.

 

We ran a new electrical box into The Cottage and began to upgrade the entire electrical system.

We ran a new electrical box into The Cottage and began to upgrade the entire electrical system.

 

The house emerged, but it clearly needed paint and repairs to the roof and woodwork

The house emerged, but it clearly needed paint and repairs to the roof and woodwork. We left the wood in place that covered the door and front window for additional security.

 

The side of The Cottage looked much better now, but it was clear that there were fixes needed to the roofline as well as the roof itself.

The side of The Cottage looked much better now, but it was clear that there were fixes needed to the roofline as well as the roof itself.

By summer of 2017, Cottage West sported a new roof, new windows, a new porch and a fresh coat of paint. We had also had the concrete steps straightened, laid a path of brick, cut down the mostly dead tree (creating the stump planter you see below), and worked on landscaping the front yard. Inside, the wiring is nearly complete and the plumbing has been started.

Quite a change, eh? It's hard to believe it is the same house!

Quite a change, eh? It’s hard to believe it is the same house!

We still have a long way to go, but it is worth doing right, so it will take as long as it takes to complete the job. Next on the list is finishing some detail painting, finishing the electrical and plumbing, installing HVAC, insulation, and drywall, and painting. I plan on laying a lovely penny floor (yes, out of real pennies) to complement the cast iron bathtub and fixtures in the bathroom.

Meanwhile, we just acquired the Cottage East, which needs some significant work done to it as well…

Cottage East - at time of purchase

This house is directly to the east of our main house, whereas Cottage West is at the end of several city lots.

It needs a new roof, windows, siding and probably exterior doors as well as two full porch rebuilds front and back

It needs a new roof, windows, siding and probably exterior doors as well as two full porch rebuilds front and back

The view from our back deck

The view from our back deck

 

We will rebuild this back deck and make it twice as deep as it currently is.

We will rebuild this back deck and make it twice as deep as it currently is.

We have a lot of work ahead of us. Several years of it by my estimation. It’s worth it.

Stay tuned!