Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

1893 Victorian: The Exterior Makeover

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I've been promising these pictures for a long time now and I finally found the time to get all these pictures together off the two cameras, my old laptop and my phone.  We've been working on this house for a long time!

Here she is in all her glory not long after we bought her in 2008.  If it looks like a cold, late Fall day, that's because it was.  Cold and rainy.  And the house was just as dreary as the weather.  She looks so sad with all her missing windows and porch lattice, peeling and weather-worn paint and the front porch steps that are being held up by one lonely nail and alot of tradition.

In late Spring of 2009, we started the huge task of addressing all the exterior issues.  First up was clearing that 100-year-old maple tree off the house (left side of the pic) and taking out the old chainlink fence and overgrown bushes.

This next picture was taken looking at the west side of the house from the edge of the 2 lots that came with the house.  The yard, in fact, is huge and awesome.  It would be a great place for a garden or orchard.

Even on this side of the house we see more signs of neglect:  more missing and boarded up windows, shredded roller shades and general disrepair.  But one good thing?  The roof wasn't leaking but it needed to be replaced. 

Here's a closeup of the attic window on this side of the house.  If you look closely, you'll see that many of those little square panes of glass are missing.  We would find many a squirrel skeleton in the attic because they were taking advantage of these openings to get inside into the warm attic.

If you look through the front porch in this next picture, you can actually catch a glimpse of our house just across the street.  Being so close would become really handy, as we spent almost every waking hour for the first year working on some project on this house.

Behind all the overgrown trees and bushes and the peeling paint, there were signs of a beautiful, old house just waiting for someone to bring it back to life.  This original stained glass window at the foot of the stairs is what made me fall in love with the house initially.

In the first year, we would completely tear off and rebuild the bottom of that big ol' wrap around porch with its curved railings, put a new roof on, replace the furnace, fix all the broken windows, replace all the windows in the attic with energy efficient windows, and scrape and paint all the wooden trim and windows.  In an upcoming post, I'll show you some detailed photos of the work in progress but, for now, how about a before and after side by side?

Click to biggify this picture!

What a big difference, huh?  I have really enjoyed seeing this grand old lady come back to life with some TLC.


  1. Awesome job! I'm so happy that you saved this house from a fate worse than death :)

  2. Wow, it looks great! I can't imagine how much work went into it but it was well worth it!

  3. Awesome! I love seeing beautiful houses get all fixed up and pretty!

  4. It almost brought me to tears. :’) The restoration was first-rate! Do you plan to add a garage on it? I love Victorian houses, but I think it would be fitter to modern living if they have such feature. But that would erase one of its distinct features, knowing that these houses were built at a time when cars were still not invented.

  5. Every house with old age should be restored to their former beauty or at least, be given a new look. Even if your house is Victorian-styled, it's timeless. It looks so beautiful and full of history. I wish your house could talk. Haha!

  6. It’s great that you’ve decided to restore this Victorian beauty to its former glory! Though it may have taken some time to get everything right again, it looks like it was worth all the effort. After all, classics are always worth saving.



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