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!

Our Next Project?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sitting on the front porch the other day, I turned to J. and said "You know, I should have warned you when we first got together that I'm an old house lover. I restore old houses...it's my lot in life, I think." It's true. I've never lived in a new house and, given how they're thrown up now in a matter of days with substandard materials, I will never live in a new house. At least not one that I haven't built myself. 

Old houses have character. They feel "lived in" and loved. You can feel the history in their floors, their walls, the notches on the door trim where mothers marked the progress as their kids grew up. I have a bug and it's name is renovation. And, so, I'd like to share with you what may well be our next project with a little bit of luck.

She's a beautiful true brick house built in the late 1800's - I'm not sure of the exact date and haven't had time to research the history yet.  To the left of the house is an elementary school, so the location is great.  And it's so close to our house that I can see it from our front porch.  In fact, here''s the view of the back of the house when I walk down my street about half a block.

 The empty lot in that picture comes with the house.  It could be a nice big backyard, or you could build a garage.  

When you get closer, you'll see that the porch has seen better days.  It will need to be completely rebuilt.

And the addition on the back has termite damage and, at a minimum, would need new siding.

The addition is weird to say the least. That door leads to small laundry space that's not accessible from inside the house.  Who wants to go outside in the winter to do their laundry?

The inside has some issues also, but they are mostly cosmetic.  The kitchen is a wreck and needs to be completely redone.

There's a small bathroom on the right-hand side of the picture and then the entry to the addition even further right.

The kitchen may be a wreck, but the original ornate plaster ceilings and corbels are all there and in perfect shape!  This is the dining room.

And here's a closer look at the plaster ceiling in the bow window. Beautiful craftmanship and it's rare for these to be in such great shape.

There are two original hand-painted cast iron fireplaces in the house.  The first is in the dining room and it features 3 inset tiles: a boy on the left hand side, a stag in the middle, and a girl on the right.  All of the tiles on the floor are still there and not cracked. That's unheard of...

Off the dining room (and to your right when you come in the front door) is the parlor.  The hardwood floors are beautiful and were redone about 10 years ago.  Just some cleaning is all they need.

The entire house is full of these ornate plaster mouldings.  Why the heck would someone spray paint this vintage light fixture?  Ugh....I bet it's brass underneath.  Nothing that can't be fixed.

Here's the second fireplace in the house.  Again, hand-painted and cast iron.  The house was broken into and someone tried to remove the fireplace, presumably for scrap iron.  They did break one side (which is fixable) and thank goodness they weren't successful in stealing it.

Right behind us are the entry and the stairs. They're covered in ugly carpet, but all the trim detail is still there and they're begging to liberated from all that ugly white paint.  But I am the stripping queen!

I'm pretty sure there was a stained glass window in there originally.  Wouldn't that look pretty?

When we get upstairs, we have a second small bathroom and 4 bedrooms.  Here's the master.

It's in great shape except for some missing plaster where the roof was leaking.  They put a new roof on in 2008, but never fixed the ceiling. 

It looks like the parents let the kids paint their own bedrooms.

The fourth bedroom is teeny, but would make a great baby's room or home office.  

Okay, so let's look at the positives:   this house is all brick, foundation is solid, has all new windows, and a 5-year-old roof.  The negatives are: somebody stole the furnace and AC, and cut and stole the wires and plumbing in the basement.  Other that that, it just needs some lipstick.  

The house has been vacant for several months (which is when it was broken into) and is in short sale.  The owners haven't been approved by Citi for a short sale, so this could turn into a real nightmare.  Particularly since they bought the house for $90K 10 years ago and now have it on the market for $25K.  Yep, you read that right. 

Now I just have to convince J. to make an offer  :-)


  1. When I get my first house I don't want it to be one of these new pretty and nice ones that can be built in a week. I want one like this, super old, beautiful and filled with history. I can't imagine having any other kind of house :) I hope you get this one!!

  2. Oh awesome!! I hope you get it and are able to give us some great before and after pictures.

  3. It's gorgeous... but where are all the neighbors when all this breaking and entering is going on?


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