Inside ‘This Old House’

As part of the house buying process, we had to have the house inspected. Thankfully we were able to go up to witness the inspection. It’s much better to be there so that the Inspector can point out things so as to see it first hand, rather than have to read the report and try to figure things out from that.

There were no surprises. We knew the house needed a lot of work. The good news is that the roof is sound–no leaks. There were no signs of termites.  I mentioned that the framing has been done in oak. The Inspector seemed really impressed by that.

As you can see from the foundation of the house in the following picture, the house was originally smaller. They made an addition to the back part of the house and added plumbing, bath and toilet at that time. Consequently, there are two kitchens…one in the original house (which they never removed) and one in the addition. There are currently no appliances in the house at all.

April 2013 (House) 050

(Two Foundations)

There are some joists under the floor in the addition that will need to be repaired due to water damage.

We will need to take off paneling on the walls, put in insulation, redo some of the wiring, redo plumbing, put in new wall coverings, pull up old carpet, put down flooring and build a kitchen and bathroom. Some of the walls might need to be moved depending on the floor plan we decide upon, and some of the outside framing will need to be modified for different placement of windows.

The Inspector said that the wiring is good, but we want to move the breaker box to the back part of the house. Right now, it’s right in the front of the house. We’ll also want updated electric outlets in other places.

It has a window unit for cooling, and we want to stick with window units to keep it simple. Replacing a central air conditioning unit these days is exorbitant. We want the appliances in the house to be as simple and basic as we can get them with no bells and whistles (or computer parts)  in hopes that they will last longer, and be less costly to replace if we have to, or at the very least, be easy to fix ourselves.

The house was built by the seller’s parents. He owns a big spread of land, and lives up the road. His parents continued to live in the house we are buying until they died. It has been sitting empty for about 2-5 years.

Bud made a basic diagram of the current floorplan. I think it will help to see it before you see the inside pictures.


It’s not marked, but the old kitchen is in the middle right of the floorplan.

Old kitchen in the old part of the house.

Old Kitchen

Old kitchen facing the living room door:

Old kitchen with door to living room.

You can see the chimney on the back wall. There was originally a wood stove there to cook on. There is also a flue on the other side in the living room. There are still quite a few people in Arkansas who use a wood stove for heat.
We will be using a wood stove, but will also have a propane wall heater. (We’ll need to rent a propane tank, too.)

The windows will all need to be replaced. Not only are they inefficient for holding in heat and cool, but some of them are also strangely high or low. At this counter in the current kitchen, I (the shorty) have to bend down to use it, as well as to see out this window. These countertops come up to about my hips (and I am about 5’2″).

Living Room and Front Door (Plus window unit, which we want to move someplace else)

Living room and front door

Living room – two windows facing street, small window facing front porch:

Living room, windows facing street

Living room facing the kitchen:

Living room facing old kitchen

The ‘new’ kitchen is facing the spring and pump house. In our preliminary plan, we are thinking of having our kitchen where the old kitchen use to be, and putting the breakfast/dining room where the ‘new’ kitchen is. It will be facing the spring and stream, and we would like to have big windows there. The current windows above the sink are strangely high. I can’t even see out of them.

‘New’ kitchen (facing street) in the addition to the house:

New Kitchen in the addition, facing street

‘New’ kitchen facing the back door:

April 2013 (House) 059Door to Utility Room and Bathroom off of ‘New’ Kitchen:

April 2013 (House) 060

On the inside of the house, there is only one door, and that is to the bathroom. None of the other rooms have doors.


House 058

House 057

House 056Second Bedroom:

Second Bedroom

Closet in second bedroom looking toward pantry/closet room:

April 2013 (House) 099The room between the two bedrooms has shelves, a place for hanging clothes, and pantry shelves. We are calling it the pantry/closet room for now. In the little nook where their pantry shelves are is the the only access to the attic. I also have to add (in case you can’t quite picture it) that this pantry is not even in the kitchen.

Door in the kitchen leading to second bedroom which you have to go through to get to the pantry:

Door in the 'old' kitchen-leads to pantry/closet room?


April 2013 (House) 076Closet Room opposite the pantry shelves with door leading to first bedroom:

April 2013 (House) 073The first bedroom is toward the front, just off the living room:

Bedroom by living room

You can see that some of the paneling in the house is cheap and warped, but other paneling is the nice thick wood kind. We think (though we are not sure) that there are oak planks underneath all of the paneling (like the wood that is in the pantry) and if there is enough, we’d like to use it on the floors. Since there is no insulation in the house, the paneling will have to be taken off, anyway, to put in the insulation, as well as for the work on the electricity we’ll be doing.

First Bedroom with door leading to the close/pantry room:

House 070First Bedroom facing door toward the living room:House 071That about sums up the tour of the inside. It looks daunting, but we are going to do a little at a time. We are hoping to just get it ‘liveable’ this summer so that we can move in when Bud retires next year.  ‘Liveable’ will mean getting it cleaned up, getting the plumbing working and getting the water pipes repaired. Then we can do the less important stuff while we are living there.

Thankfully, (and unbelievably) there are no building codes in the county.

Everyone has been saying how rewarding it will be that we have done all of the work ourselves, when it is all said and done. I’ll have to trust them on that one. Though there will be some things we will need to ‘hire out’, we want to do as much as we can ourselves. It’s scary to think about doing it ourselves, but we are looking forward to doing it together, and getting it just like we want it. It has been fun discussing how we can re-work things. We are excited about the possibilities we can see in it.

8 thoughts on “Inside ‘This Old House’

  1. Oh Kara, it’s so neat! I can see why you love it. It seems so clean, which is nice. You must try to look/copy pictures of it when it was lived in. I just can’t wait to see the progress and all the little touches you make on it. What’s your style?


  2. I hadn’t thought of trying to get pictures of when it was lived in. That’s a good idea. We met the sellers when we were there for the inspection and I’m looking forward to having them for neighbors and finding out more about the history of the place. I’m almost certain they would have some pictures. I’m so glad you mentioned it because I am really curious about the history of the place.

    Actually, I’m not sure what my style is. 🙂 I’m stuck somewhere between Country Farm House and Ozark rustic. Who knows what it will end up being? It will be fun figuring it out.

    Thank you for sharing in my excitement. 🙂


  3. I think this house is in pretty fair shape when you consider everything. Love all the wood and I like paneling, except for the really dark kind. Think it could be made livable pretty easy, considering your “needs” and not your wants. The wants can be done while you are living in it. I’m so excited because I think you are going to love it when you are able to get moved in. You’ll be like the pioneers, sort of. Thanks for the pictures.


    1. Thank you for sharing in my excitement. I think you are right as far as it being made liveable pretty easily. I’m thinking plumbing, water and some cleaning to get it liveable. Then we’ll start on the rest. I think I have a pioneering spirit and I’m ready. I just can’t wait to get back up there. I’ll take some more pictures when I do.


  4. The bedrooms are labeled on the floor plan and I think you said that the kitchen is in the middle of the room, but what is above and below the kitchen on the floor plan?


    1. Above is the living room. The middle is the original kitchen. Below is the ‘new’ kitchen which they put in when the addition was put on. They never took the old kitchen (in the middle) out. So there are actually two sinks…in the middle and in the section on the back (or ‘below’).

      The middle kitchen counter and sink are way too low, ‘as is’. The sink comes to my lower hips. I would have to bend down to use the counter and the sink. That is where we are thinking we would like the kitchen to be, so it will need to be redone. It will all need to come out anyway in order to redo the floors. The kitchen ‘below’ is where we would like the eating area to be.

      Sometime in the future, I’ll do a post about our future plans for the house.


  5. I can visualize your ideas and I think they are great. Using the old wood in the walls for flooring is brilliant! I”ll keep my fingers crossed that you will find enough. I like the idea of the kitchen in the middle. I also like the big windows and view from the eating area. The floor plan is similar to ones I have seen in old houses in Oklahoma. There they have the bathroom in what these folks had as a “pantry” between the two bedrooms. I imagine it would be much more expensive to move the bathroom since the plumbing is already there. You have to wonder how short the owner was to have the drainboard that low. Maybe she was in a wheelchair and they lowered it for better access. Anyway it is a mystery, lol.


  6. Using the wood in the walls for flooring was actually Bud’s idea, but I love it! Love old plank floors. Yeah…I have wondered why the counters are so low, too. Could be what you said about the wheelchair, or they were really short, or they put the windows in first, and figured out that it was too low a little too late,and the countertops had to go below the window! I plan on talking to the sellers and finding out as much as I possibly can about the history of the place, since it was his parents who built it. He grew up there. I love that kind of stuff.

    I’m so glad you are reading my blog. I look forward to your comments and ideas. I’ve heard that you are a whiz when it comes to house design and decor. Thanks for stopping by!


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