The House, before it was ours

I’m going to babble here for a minute, so if you’re just here for the pictures, scroll down! There are lots.

Jon and I first started talking about buying a house in spring of 2012. Truth be told, I had been thinking about owning a house for pretty much my entire life. My mother is an interior architect, and I inherited from her a deep love for old homes. Jon was more interested in getting a foreclosure or something equally affordable. We didn’t have much money at that point, so we agreed to wait a while and save money renting.

A year later, right in the heat of wedding planning, I had the house bug hard core. I’d convinced Jon that we should really take advantage of being first-time home buyers with a low-interest, minimal down payment FHA loan (I’ll write more about that at a later date). Unfortunately, many of the foreclosures we were looking at didn’t qualify, but with the help of FHA knowledge and two raises, we realized we could look at homes with a little bit bigger price tag.

This was our wish list:

  • Had to be in one of our top neighborhoods (we basically narrowed it down to three in Kansas City, Missouri).
  • Nothing built later than the 1930s (my personal style preference).
  • At least three bedrooms so that we could have office/studio space and a kid or two some day.
  • Had to have decent (for the city) yard space for potential gardening.
  • Preferably more than one toilet.
  • If major rehabbing was necessary (bad foundation, flooring needing to be redone, bad roof, etc.) then the price needed to be considerably lower than our top limit. Basically, if there was going to be any major project, our price point dropped by about $30k.

We looked at several houses. Size for the price was often an issue. A few didn’t qualify for FHA loans. Major renovation projects were a deal breaker a couple times.

Sooner than expected (about a month before wedding day, in fact), we found our house. At the time we made an offer, they were asking $14k more than our budget, but it had been on the market a while (at one point it was priced at $34k more!) We decided that we didn’t want to mess around. We offered exactly what we could afford. After some balking, they accepted it, and even ended up throwing in a new roof! The best advice I can give to potential homeowners is KNOW YOUR BUDGET, stick to it, and be prepared to walk away! Even though we have run in to some issues since purchasing the place (more on that later), we still feel like we got an amazing deal.

The house was built in 1910 and has likely been renovated many times in the last century. The most recent renovation was done by the folks we bought it from. It’s two stories with an unfinished attic and “finished” basement (again, a story for another time). It has three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. It is in our top neighborhood, the same one I grew up in, close to work, school, and family. The backyard is large for the city, with potential room for a driveway or even a garage if we decide we need it some day. Basically, the house is everything we wanted!

Now before we get going with the tour, I’d like to apologize. We have lived in this house nearly four months and I have yet to photograph it furnished. You see, I don’t want to do it unless it’s clean, and it’s never all clean at the same time. Excuses, excuses, I know. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures the day we had our housewarming party. The house looked so presentable that day. But alas.

Actually, I am in the process of photographing it now, but since it could be a while before that’s done, I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up just yet. So in the meantime I hope you are satisfied with this tour of our house, comprised of photos taken on our final walkthrough.


The exterior


The entryway, from the living room

What I love most about this house is the openness of the first floor. It’s somewhat uncommon in houses so old.


The living room and dining room

It was renovated for the purpose of selling, so yes, it was a flip. But the style of the work done is fairly consistent throughout the house: modern, but not so much that it loses any of its original integrity.


The dining room, kitchen, and living room


The dining room


The dining room and kitchen


The kitchen

The kitchen is my favorite room in the whole house. Standing at the sink, I can see out in to the backyard, through the dining room to the living room, and down the hall, through the front door to the front yard. Basically, the entire house. Standing in the kitchen is essentially what made me fall in love with this house.


The first floor half bath


The upstairs hall


Bedroom #1

As to be expected, due to its age, the bedrooms aren’t huge.


Bedroom #1

Fortunately for us, they have relatively decent closets!


Bedroom #2 (the smallest)


Bedroom #2’s little nook


Bedroom #3 (the biggest)


Upstairs full bath


Upstairs full bath

What is/was your wishlist for your first house? What renovations would you be okay with tackling? What are your dealbreakers?

Stay tuned for more updates, our visions and plans for the home, the trials and tribulations we’ve already dealt with, and (eventually) a furnished tour!

10 thoughts on “The House, before it was ours

  1. Anna

    Beautiful. Those dark hardwood floors are making me a little jealous. I can’t wait to see what you do with it to make it your own. Whatever it may be, I’m sure it’s going to be fab. My first house wishes are much like yours. I’m all about older architecture because of it’s charm, but lately I’ve been getting into mid century as well. Anything with potential is fine by me. Of course I don’t foresee a house purchase in our near future. Boo 😦

    1. ladydemonte Post author

      I am so glad they stained the floors dark. I love light, too, but dark is where it’s at right now. I know we would never tackle a project so big when there are others to be done, so it’s nice that we don’t have to.

      Mid century is great, when done right! I think I just love big porches and creeky floors too much.

  2. Jane

    I’m liking your blog, Lydia (& Jon)! And we can’t wait to come visit you in your new house in a couple of weeks. Looks like you guys had a great game plan, I’m glad it got you your dream house.

    Love that you wanted space for gardening, that’s on my checklist too!

      1. Jane

        Haha, indeed it is! Gardening is best with a firm plan in place. I’ve been loving the blog for excellent first-time gardening advice from an active homesteader. I’m so excited for when Jeff and I finally get a house, I cannot WAIT to start composting…I’m super cool like that 😀

  3. chris rappold

    I really like it, esp the kitchen of course. I have lots of perennials and stuff to share like redbud babies, rose of sharons, lilacs, iris, mums; if Marg comes up for my b-day, early Nov, can send stuff back. Let me know if you’re interested. Word of advice: stay away from sweetgums! For seeds, Pinetree Gardens sells small pkts for less $. So happy for you.

  4. Pingback: First Floor Tour: the Kitchen (with a tale of woe) | House DeMonte

  5. Pingback: First Floor Tour Conclusion: Entry, Hall, and Half Bath | House DeMonte

  6. Pingback: House Tour: Exterior Update | House DeMonte

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