file under: biting off more than we can chew

DanO and I have a problem. We don’t like to sit still. There remains only one large project to undertake on our house – the backyard and garage – and we’ve started to feel this itch. It started out as looking at real estate listings in the area(s) we would like to move to for our next house (see: better school district) and dreaming about finding a fixer upper there. The reality is, though, that we aren’t ready to sell and move. Our house suits us very well and we are really enjoying the improvements we have made.

What is one to do when they are almost done remodeling their house, they want to keep remodeling, but don’t want to move?

One buys investment properties, of course!

Through most of the process of renovating our home, DanO’s parents have been integral. His dad is a talented and visionary architect who has designed and built their last two homes from the foundation up. Note: I do not mean “building a house” by picking finishes and floor plans in a development with a builder. In our family, “building a house” means designing it, drafting it, digging it, framing it, and literally building the house. The summer we were engaged, DanO was the general contractor for the building of my father-in-law’s house, in charge of any employed workers, dealing with the city permits etc., and personally doing a large amount of the work as well. DanO’s brother also completely overhauled the old house in which he and his wife currently live. In a pretty real way, re-doing houses is a family affair.

So why would this investment property be any different?

This will be a joint effort between my mother and father-in-law and DanO and me. (Let’s all just take a moment to acknowledge that I love my in-laws and know that I am blessed to have a functional and comfortable enough relationship with them that we didn’t hesitate to take on a joint business venture. And I’m not just saying that because they read this. Really. (Hi guys!))

DanO and I will jointly be general contractors on the project, and his parents are both consultants and capital. I envision many nights where DanO is at the property and I am solo with the boys, but only for a time. I also envision many days with the boys running wild in the yard at the property and DanO and I laying tile like madmen.

After walking through a couple dozen houses ranging from scary to smelly, we finally found a house for which we saw potential and reached an agreement with the bank that owned it! Prepare yourselves. It ain’t pretty.


We close in January, at which point all of this will be torn out because, mercy:


Here are a couple more glimpses of the work we have cut out for us. Some of it is just paint and flooring, but some of it is going to be wiped clean and started over. Like the pink bathtub. The pink bathtub will not be staying.


O, yes, we brought the boys with us to the showings, because we like things complicated and exhausting.


It’s at this point that the blog reader in my head is all “But AllisonO! You haven’t even shown us the after of your kitchen remodel! And now you’re just moving on to some crappy house you’re going to flip?! SHOW ME THE KITCHEN!!!! ”

To which I say, OK OK ALREADY. The good news about the impending bigness of this undertaking is that it has made DanO very motivated to finish the last remaining things on our house. We installed a goodly amount of trim before Christmas and will be continuing to do so until it is done – before closing. When the trim is up, then I will write the after post. Pinkie swearsies.

11 Responses to “file under: biting off more than we can chew”

  1. christa

    Wowza, the last house we rented had a pink tub and toilet. My cousin’s son who was about 4 at the time refused to pee in the pink toilet :)

  2. Beth Anne


    I am in awe of you & so excited to see this happen! Also, I’d like to fly you & Dan O down to North Carolina to help us out over the next few months with our Money Pit.

  3. Julie S.

    You guys sound like my husband. It took us 4 long years to finally finish our house– the last piece of trim was nailed up 2 weeks ago. And now he wants to start something new and I am all like can’t we just ENJOY for once? But kudos to you! I can’t wait to see the end results!

  4. McKt

    I love crazy people. Good for you. :) I also love amazing in-laws, I have a set myself. They make the crazy with young kids seem a bit closer to sane. Good luck with the new venture.

  5. Heather

    we do this, too. sometimes I think, even though it’s terribly exhausting and messy, that we do it because life with the smalls would be really kind of boring if we couldn’t bring them into these adventures. Don’t get me wrong, it’s never “boring” like “nothing to do” but hopefully you know what I mean, with how the things to do are not all that brain engaging for a grown up.

    Enjoy!! It’ll be fun! And the dust won’t be in YOUR house, and that’s perfect. :)

  6. Joy

    You want our blue bath tub to go with your pink one? Who designed these 50’s bathrooms anyway?

  7. Claire

    I love this! The picture with the dark blue paint and DARKER blue trim-JUST like the house we bought eighteen months ago. De-licious! Please tell me yours has a matching dark blue ceiling too?! Minutes after closing that trim was hi.stor.y! Can’t wait to see the progress. And yay for killer in laws, such a blessing! Thankful for mine everyday!

    Blah-sorry! Book. Just had to high five over the blue on blue. Get it.

  8. Kasey M.

    Are you flipping it or becoming landlords? It looks like two small units from the front. Either way can’t wait to see your progress!

  9. erinasmommy

    Once again, we are so on the same page, I just left a showing of a duplex we are thinking about buying and renting out, in which homeless broke in and lived for a couple months. Oh, and it’s 113 years old. Oh but it has great victorian bones and the location is amazing. Anyhow, just had to comment that you guys are so capable and could rock it!!! Oh and I just love the yellow/blue combo reversing. So very creative.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>