Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Restoring Vintage Apartment Buildings


If you live in an historic neighborhood, you know the buildings I'm talking about.  The big old rental properties... that the investors just let run down.  They, the investors, seem to take and take and never give back.  They used to be one of my pet peeves, being a homeowner in an historic neighborhood myself.   And, because I believe with all my heart if you are going to gripe about something, you should be willing to do something about the problem.  Thus began my collection of The Old Girls.  Now, I am "they."


Some of you may remember that before I left to go greet my new grandson, I was working on a unit in one of our favorite Old Girls, a very large fourplex built in the early 30s.  This was the last unit that had been continuously occupied by the tenant who was living there when we bought the place (June of 2006).   He moved out late this spring and these are the "afters."


This is a tired and sad "before" view of the same living room.



Leo Bolom's company does a magnificent job of refinishing the original hardwood floors and repairing any defects (two large pieces of plywood were discovered in each of the two bedrooms; bet you won't be able to tell where the repairs were done when you see the bedroom).   This is the way the floors were meant to look!!  Love 'em!!


A view from the dining room back to the living room.  I have an original chandelier from one of the other units and it is currently being rewired.  I will soon return it to this spot.


From the living room back into the dining room.  Aren't these Old Girls elegant? 


Same view dining room:  before.


Bedroom:  after.  Can you spot the defect in the hardwood?    I'm bettin' not.


Bedroom:  before.


Bathroom:  after.  Hours and hours spent with single-edged razor scraping up the linoleum adhesive.  I love the old tiles.  Love 'em.


Bathroom:  before.  You can't even see how disgusting the tub and cabinet was in the photo.   The tub was refinished.  Not something I usually do, but it had already been done once and was in terrible shape.  New sink.  New toilet.  Beadboard.  Better.  Still within reason cost-wise.



And, that's all for today.  I am happy to know that we have moved one step closer to restoring another Old Girl to her original beauty and elegance. 


Blessings to all ~ Tanna

33 comments:

Judy said...

These old gals are true masterpieces. I would love to have something historical and reclaimed. You have done a beautiful job....love those floors!

Judy

From the Kitchen said...

Beautiful Old Girl!! That's an apartment that I'd hang my hat in. I'm curious as to whether it has one or two bedrooms. We love our old girl. Our neighbors (62 years in their home) said that our house had always been taken care of. It shows. Upgrades have been a gas furnace and central air. The "bones" have been left undisturbed. It was built in 1921.

How are the little boys doing? Will they be traveling to visit you soon? I remember traveling from San Diego to Roanoke with a toddler and a newborn. How did I do it?

Best,
Bonnie

texwisgirl said...

just spectacular makeover! LOVE the hardwoods and the paint and trimwork! just gorgeous!!!

Julie Harward said...

I LOVE these grand old homes..we were looking at one last weekend, it was now $141,000 built in 1919, I wanted to get it but my hub said it would require too much money to fix it up. I still keep thinking about it. These floors look just like mine, ours are dark stained Hickory. Great job of this hold house..beautiful. :D

Susan said...

Spectacular makeover! Has Nate Berkus heard about you? You need to be recognized.

Wanda said...

Oh my what a beautiful makeover.

Love the warmness of the wood floors and color on the walls.

Who wouldn't want to hang their hat there.

Will it be rented out again?

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Bonnie: It was built as a two bedroom, but access to the second (smaller) bedroom is awkwardly either through the master bedroom or the bathroom. So, we only advertise it as a one bedroom with office/guest room.

Susan: you are too sweet! LOL! I'd faint if Nate Berkus showed up in our neighborhood!

Wanda: It is rented. The photos were taken just before I left to go greet the Littlest Man. The young woman who has it has really decorated it CUTE! I love it when The Old Girls are find loving folks! We have been very blessed.

Tara said...

WOW gorgeous. Great job! Nothing better than a fixer upper. I bet it is even prettier in person.
hugs,
tara

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

Loved this post. THat is so great that you've bought these old apartments and fix up. My neighborhood has a row of 1920's 30's apartment buildings that lines one perimeter. These buildings could be showplaces. They are charming. Yet....most of the owners have let them slide into terrible disrepair. The ones that are kept up nice...rent for a pretty penny. The ones that aren't kept up rent for little. They could be such an asset to the neighborhood instead of a downfall.

We also have rent houses on the opposite side of the park from me. Every rent house is not kept in top form. It ruins those few streets. People would love to buy those houses and fix them up and instead they refuse to sell and keep them rented and do not keep them up like they should. So irritating.

When I moved to my street - there were two rent houses. Both got sold thankfully within four years of me moving here and now both are beautifully cared for with very pretty landscaping and new paint and fixed up inside. I keep hoping that for the couple of streets on the other side of the park and for the apartment buildings. Those small apartment buildings are being turned into single family residences in other neighborhoods and I wish that would happen here.

Christine said...

Your love shows through all of the pictures. The last picture of the hallway is unbelievable!
Attention to every detail can be seen.

THANK YOU!!! for taking such great care and restoring these "Old Girls".

Your grand children are blessed to have a grandmother with such LOVE.

Deb said...

you've done an awesome job...your ole gal is beautiful...

Chatty Crone said...

This was one of the most fabulous jobs of restoration I have ever seen. Do you own that? I want to move in!

Vickie said...

Beautiful job Tanna - I absolutely LOVE those old properties. It's so wonderful to see them properly restored. The Beautiful Old Girls, they are! I'm glad you shared them with us! And thanks for your sweet comments!

podso said...

you have wowed me this Wednesday, What a delight to see your before and afters and to read of all your loving care to this particular old girl. It is spectacular! (and the fireplace surround is very similar to the one we just found on Craig's list, albeit in need of repairs) ... How wonderful you found such a good renter!

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Wow, Tanna, you should have a program on HG.TV! The transformation is just beautiful. Great work! I love seeing old homes restored. Take care.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Tanna, that old girl is just stunning. I could so easily move in and dress her up!

Susan said...

Tanna, never say never. Just keep your fingers crossed!! Nate, are you there?

Catherine said...

Dear Tanna, All I can say is, "My Goodness!!" That is a great restoration job. I am sure that the feeling of accomplishment is satisfying when you look at the finished product. Good job! Blessings, Catherine xo

Along A Widowed Road said...

Tanna,
I would so move in a moment into one of these old girls. Lovely.

Viola

The Little Adventures of LueLee said...

I am sure the Old Gals are all so grateful to have the tender loving care that you have given them. They are so lovely and gorgeous :)

Debbie said...

They sure don't make them like that anymore! Charming! I'd love that living room. Our house hasn't any fireplaces of its own. Restoring is hard work, but it pays off in a big way :D Beautiful!

Donna said...

Tanna, I found you over at No Spring Chicken and you are just what I need. Isn't God neat like that...
We are building a house right now and I found a door I love for the front of the house...on another historic house that I drove by. Can you give me any ideas where I might be able to find a door like this?
Rats. It won't let me paste the picture from my desk top into this comment....
It is a double door, but skinny as a regular door, with two long glass panes from top to slightly below mid door...one on each door, with a 4 pane transom above, that will match my windows.
If you have any ideas, here is my email:
donna.longshot@yahoo.com
Thanks so much. Donna

California Girl said...

Nice work Tanna. What paint brand and color did you use? We're about to paint our very large Master BR in the old farmhouse a soft, creamy yellow by Sherwin Williams. It's called "Paper Lantern" and it looks like yours, as far as I can tell.

Mary said...

Tanna, that is a gorgeous apartment. People will be beating down the doors to rent it. You are good, girl! Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

no spring chicken said...

And beautifully! Good for you. Slowly, over time since we moved here 20 years ago, several of the old beauties in our neighborhood have become rentals. The one right next door was finally redone by the owner 3 years ago and it has been sitting empty most of that time. Sigh. Again I say, good for you.

And thank you for the encouragement, today seems to be a bit better...

Blessings, Debbie

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Fantastic makeover! Love, love, love this! I want to live there now. :)

All That Glitters said...

Wow!! She's gorgeous!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Nita: I used to want them turned into single family homes, too. Now, I appreciate that this is exactly what they were built for and I find a strong sense of satisfaction in honoring that.

Chatty: Yes, she is ours. Ours and the bank's that is. LOL! Five down, ten more to go (years, that is).

Susan: I'm watching for Nate!! ;)

Donna: Google Architectural Salvage; there are several resources there. Or, try Craig's list and/or, if you are close enough to Roanoke, VA, try Black Dog Salvage!! They have EVERYTHING! Good luck! We will need to see what you find!

CG: The paint color is Woolskein by Sherwin Williams. With their stock white gloss. I love the name, "Paper Lantern!" I have to confess that I am swayed by the names sometimes! LOL! Kind of like the OPI nail polish names! Weak! I know. LOL!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Tanna, the beauty is just breathtaking! No wonder you are passionate about the restoration!

Leontien said...

haha i loved all the afters BUT i also loved all the befores!!!

Thanks for sharing
Leontien

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your "Old Girl" restoration is so beautiful! I love natural wood floors and original tile. The moldings, doorways and arches look like my house. I'm sure your new tenant is very happy! Property is such a wonderful investment and I'm glad you are making them gems!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Hello, I am new to you site and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. It does my heart good to see a building being lovingly restored. Our home in New Hampshire was built in 1730 . By the way, I'm originally from Texas.

Cindy said...

What a gorgeous "Old Girl" it is now! I would not mind renting from you, I would love to live in a place like that! I hope you are always able to find good renters.
Cindy

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