What exactly is the “Cinderella Project?” It is turning something ordinary and abused into something beautiful. We purchased this home on September 22, 2015 after 9 long months . It is a 1903 home in the historic district of Ocala Florida. It was converted into a boarding house in the 70’s or before. I have not had much luck in locating any history on our house. Since then it has deteriorated and been severely neglected. Here is our story.
New Years 2015 we spent time with our friends Ken and Wendy. We went to their house and then decided to take a walk downtown. They live in the historic district of Ocala and there are some beautiful homes. There are also some not so beautiful ones. Ken and Wendy purchased a Craftsman Bungalow that needed a ton of work earlier in the year.
Steve and I have talked about “one day” buying an old house and fixing it up. The more we walked, the more we talked about this dream. The following day I called a friend/realtor and asked if she would set up time for us to look at 3 homes. Michelle the realtor scheduled time for 9:00 am on January 2nd. (Steve, Charma, Kyle, Michelle, Ken and Wendy attended)
The first house we were scheduled to look at we found out already had a contract on. The second house was a super cute house at a great price but it was small and there was no room for any sort of workshop or garage.
We were met at the third property by the realtor (Billy) for the sellers. The house is currently a boarding house. It has 5 separate apartments. 1 apartment with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom and 4 apartments with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. The realtor must give the tenants 24 hours notice of a showing so that the tenants can vacate. However……they did not.
Apartment 1: We walked and there is a woman sitting in the dark on the couch. Later in the story, this is the lady who makes buying our house very difficult. She is not very friendly and it is crazy dark. All the curtains are closed and it’s creepy. She immediately tells us that we are not to go upstairs because her daughter is sleeping. We continue walking through the apartment (this is the 3 bedroom 1 bath unit) Kyle is ahead of me and as he walks into the kitchen area, I hear him say, “Hi kitty”. He turns to me and says there is a cat on the dishwasher. Wendy and I see the back set of stairs, which we are not supposed to go up. We hear the woman from the front room yell “don’t go up there my daughter is sleeping.” I am currently freaking out and Wendy goes up the stairs. She looks into the room at the top of the stairs and then looks at me. I said “what do you see?” Her response is “I see booty” There is a naked girl laying on a mattress in the room passed out. We named” this apartment the smoker lady and naked girl apartment. There were two other bedrooms and a bathroom.
We continue to look around the apartment. The windows are original 1903 with beautiful wavy glass, the floors are original hardwoods. I’m in love already.
Back out to the porch and into the 2nd door. This led up to the 2nd and 3rd apartments. Walking through the porch door, immediately there is a large very steep set of awful AWFUL stairs. Into apartment #2 respectfully named the Christmas tree apartment. It was by far the cleanest apartment but that’s not saying much. Walking directly into a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. A bedroom was immediately to the right. Still original windows and wood floors and bead board ceilings. Swoon. The floors are covered with linoleum stick down tiles and I wont even talk about the filth.
Back to the hallway and into apartment #3 “the pool table “ apartment. We were greeted by a woman looking very uncomfortable. Her apartment as well was very dark, messy and I couldn’t tell where the heck I was. The front door led into a room (not sure what it was) immediately into the pool table room and the down a hallway to the right where there was a bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. We did not hang there for long. AWKWARD!!!!
Back to the hallway there is also a ceiling access that leads to the 3rd floor. From the outside of the house you can see a small leaded window on the 3rd floor. Treasures or dead bodies, not sure which to expect.
Down the stairs and back out to the porch.
Unable to enter apartment #4 today. BOO. It has a bay window in it and can’t wait to see the inside.
We wander around the outside of the house which leads to a 5th apartment that has a separate entrance but is attached to the rest of the house. MIL suite, yes I think so. We are unable to get into this apartment today.
There is a large access to the underside of the house from the back and there’s a basement. Billy says is 20 x 20 but today it is padlocked. OMG!!!!! Can you say Abandoned work shop?
The siding on the house has been covered with aluminum siding. Gross gross and grosser.
There is a very large carport. 4 open bays (2 cars each) a garage with no door and a locked bay on the very end. It’s in need of repairs but what a great thing to have.
The property is ¾ of an acre which is huge for downtown. There is a circle driveway all the way around the house and the backyard back up to our friends Ken and Wendy. So we share the fence and we would be neighbors if this happens.
Later that night we went downtown with Ken and Wendy. We walked to the downtown square and stopped at Starbucks. We talked and talked about the house and already decided to make a second appointment to go back and see the rest of the apartments.
January 8th 3:00 returned for a 2nd viewing. (Steve, Charma, Kyle, Ken, Wendy, Michelle and Billy attended)
We were able to go back into apartment 1 and get a better look. The tenant lady was still there but much more friendly. She had the curtains open and we could see so much more than the first visit. The walls were covered with some sort of wood paneling. Wendy was drawing all the walls and details while Kyle took pictures. This is so essential since we would be turning this home back into a single family residence. We all walked up the stairs to the naked girls room and this time and found that this was a single room with a small bathroom. This room would make a great office or craft room. There was also no naked girl to be found. Thank goodness.
We went back up the stairs to the 2nd floor apartment #2 (Christmas tree apartment) and went in again. No new surprises were found.
We were unable to get into apartment #3 today (pool table apartment)
Back downstairs to apartment #4 and entered. There were two men sitting on the couch as we entered. Super weird but I think we were all used to the weirdness by now. The first room was a living room where the bay windows were located. There was also a fireplace or stove in this room. You walk to the right and on the immediate left there is a really gross kitchen, continue down the hall and there is a bedroom and a bathroom. If things weren’t awkward enough, that day there was a plumber fixing the toilet. So as we peek into the bathroom to see the super cool claw foot tub we have to look over the plumber hunched over the toilet. In the rear of this apartment was a closet that was padlocked. Ok my thoughts went immediately to maybe it goes somewhere in the house. BUT NO I was told it was probably there marijuana plants and drug stash. Terrific. This apartment also had original windows in major disrepair, hard wood floors and beadboard ceilings.
We were also able to see apartment #5 which we call the MIL. It is around the back of the house and is attached but you cannot get to it without going outside and around. Up some stairs, which will need to be turned into a ramp and into a very dirty 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment. The ceilings were lowered and the kitchen is the size of a small closet. Always in the back of my mind are my parents. This would be the perfect home for all of us.
Ken and some others went under the crawl space to look around. I AM NOT GOING IN THERE!!!! The good news is, everyone said it looked really good.
We were able to get into the basement today!!!!! It’s amazing beyond amazing. It’s totally finished on the inside and there is already electricity ran to it. My heart did a little pitter patter when I saw this room. However there are stairs that lead down to it and thinking of lugging furniture down the stairs makes me hurt, just a little.
We stand in front of the house for what seemed like an hour after we looked at it for the second time. I think both realtors just wanted to yell “what the heck are you going to do!!!!!!!???????”
We decided to start the process. At least find out what the options are. Our current house, a new/gross/old/cool/disgusting house full of tenants, insurance, residential mortgage, commercial mortgage, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.
to be continued………..