Azaleas blooming in April at Bebbanburg

All of you readers, I am sure, have figured out by now that we actually did buy this place. But before we did we went through a few dramatic discoveries.  It would be overwhelming to list them all at once, so I’ll talk about one section at a time, starting with the master bedroom suite.

In North Carolina when buying real estate, there is a “due diligence” period that the potential buyer can use to discover any existing problems that might affect the price or purchase.  We used that period to have a number of inspections done.  The main inspection report was 112 pages long, a very thorough and thoughtful collection of observations and suggestions.

We also had septic inspection, water analysis tests, heat pump, roof and pest inspections. We cannot say that we did not understand what we were getting into!

About two weeks before we were to close on the house, a hose in the downstairs refrigerator sprung a leak.  It was about that time that we had the heat pumps inspected, so that inspector happened to go into the basement for some purpose.  He called Brian.

“Are you aware that there are 2 inches of water in the basement?”, he asked.

The seller’s agent was informed, and soon the professionals were there, sucking up water and placing large fans to get the moisture out.  But it was too late to stop the drywall from wicking the water up like wall-shaped sponges, so the bottom 3 or 4 feet of most of the drywall in the basement was cut out.  All the trim was ripped off, and our halfway decent looking basement was stripped of its skivvies and stood embarrassed and naked in the aftermath.

This, along with the other inspection results, did allow us to get the selling price reduced by several thousand dollars, but the work we have to do to make it right again is significant.

We closed on the house in July of 2016, and started laying our plans.

We concluded we should focus first on getting the master bedroom and bathroom into a condition we could be happy with, so that we had a place to sleep and shower when we visited.  And so in August we asked our new friend and contractor, John, to start.  We’ll see how it all turned out in the next post.  Meanwhile, here’s the background:

The Project

The former owners seem to have had a thing for desks.  Lots of desks.  Built-in desks.  Desks in the “control room”, desks in the girls’ and boys’ rooms, a desk in the kitchen.  So it should come as no surprise to hear that the master bedroom also had a desk.  No, that’s wrong.  The master bedroom had two desks.  Maybe even three.

Suppose you needed two desks in the master bedroom, where would you put them?  I’ll bet you didn’t say “in place of nightstands on either side of the bed”, did you?  Yet indeed, that is where they were.  And that bulletin board over the west desk?  It was glued to the wall.  No way was that sucker going to move, by god!


Now, those of you who were in diapers or unborn in the early ’80s may not know that at that time, this heavy oak furniture was all the rage.  However, the architecture of this home is considered mid-century modern, and the two do not complement each other.  Besides, it’s butt ugly.

Beyond that, I could not imagine what a couple would do in their bedroom at their desks that would require them to be right at the bedside?  Maybe I don’t want to know.

In addition to the two desks, there was a built-in vanity, which looked an awful lot like a built-in desk, but with a sink and those oh-so-glamorous dressing room lights that were also de rigueur at the time, with the heavy oak-trimmed medicine cabinets.



Looking from the west to the east you can see that the bedroom ceiling is vaulted to a nice height.  And though you may scorn the ceiling fans, I am here to tell you they are wonderful– maybe not in looks, but in function.

Don’t miss the window box underneath the window on the north wall closest to the bathroom.  It is (you guessed it) built in.  Also, it (as were all the drawers )was full of mouse droppings and the lid literally fell apart when opened.mbrEastBefore

This photo is of the west wall and the alcove that sits between it and the walk-in closet.  It is about 8 x 8 feet and provides space for a sitting area, presumably.


The entry to the master suite shows the two bifold-door closets on the right and the entrance to the large walk-in closet to the left.



The Problems

So, what did we find unacceptable about this glorious master suite?

  • There was no flooring, and staples remained in the plywood from where carpet existed at one time (the same carpet was there from 1982 to 2016– 34 years. ew.)
  • The ceiling had suffered water damage and had bulged and mildewed in some places.
  • The oak desks and cabinetry  had not been maintained in any way.  The finish was dilapidated and they were filthy.
  • The mirrors were losing their silvering around the edges.
  • The plumbing simply didn’t work
  • The tub did not drain

Here are the pertinent items from the inspection report:


What did we simply not like about it?

  • The dark narrow trim was depressing
  • The dark beam across the ceiling felt oppressive
  • The oak towel bars and cabinetry were out of date and unappealing.  Besides, whose bright idea was it to make things of wood that would have wet washcloths hung on them?
  • The shower is tiny.
  • The wall colors was a yellowy white that sucked the soul right out of you.

Stay tuned for the next post to see what we have done so far…


Dogwoods in bloom on Bebbanburg Drive