Tour of Babci’s House

by Sandy L on March 10, 2011

Yesterday a few folks expressed interest in seeing some photos of Babci’s House.  So here’s a quick little tour of Babci’s place in all it’s glory.  The last photo in the deck is babci’s new bathroom. I wish I could find a before photo because it was so gross.  Her second bathroom is also pretty gross but that was the better of the two.  The door to the bathroom doesn’t open all the way because there is a sink behind the door. It’s just so dumb. That’ll be next on the list once we put the hall and upstairs bedroom back together.

These pictures are missing some of their babciness because she’s been gone for two months. There aren’t clothes hanging off of all the backs of the chairs and there most definitely would be something cooking on the stove.  Her sewing area would have a little pile of fabric scraps underfoot and her mudroom would have at least one pair of muddy boots in it and root vegetables in a bucket.

Babci Doesn’t Like Her Bedroom

Babci’s bedroom has been gutted and redone, so it’s actually one of the nicer rooms in the house with outlets galore (something not easily come by in a house over 100 years old).  Babci claims the  floor paint I used is slowly poisoning her. I was trying to save a little money with the paint because the house is worth less than we paid for it in 2005. Since I don’t want Babci thinking I’m deliberately poisoning her we’re going to splurge. The next bedroom will have hardwood floors installed and we’ll move her there.  I personally think she’s getting sleep apnea due to her size and that’s what’s causing her discomfort at night but that’s a discussion I need to save for her next doctor’s visit.

She also has this bad habit where the closets sit empty but she has piles of clothes hanging on hooks or the backs of chairs in every room. It drives me a little crazy but I think she does it not because she wants to drive me nuts, but because she didn’t have closets growing up. In her little log cabin, you stored things on your walls and on the backs of doors and under beds.  You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.

Babci’s New Bathroom

Almost everything in the house has been bought second hand, or came with the house when we bought it (the house was an estate so most of the furniture in it stayed).  I’m very excited to finish up the bathroom. It’ll literally be the nicest bathroom she’s ever had and considering that the first 1/2 of her life she only had an outhouse and no indoor plumbing, this new room is palatial in comparison.  Believe it or not, even though the bathrooms at this place were falling apart, they were still in much better shape than the ones she left behind in her rental house. It wasn’t until she moved out that I had them redone. For a long time, we just didn’t have the money to do anything about it and neither of us were going to go into debt to fix them.   Now that’s a lesson right there.  She’s always been grateful and never complained because each place has been a step up from the last one.  That’s patience isn’t it…having to wait 78 years for a nice place to bathe.

Is it Okay to Live in a Construction Zone?

My cousin thinks it’s a little cruel to have babci’s house a disaster area all the time, but each passing month the place gets a little nicer.  Plus, she lives alone so it’s nice having the hustle and bustle of work going on.  There’s nothing more interesting to an old lady than to watch another person at work.

I know it may look like a dumpy old fixer to some of you, but after we put an offer on the house, I brought my mom out to see the place. When she stepped foot in the kitchen, she broke down and started to cry  in front of the people selling the house. She said it was the most beautiful place she’d ever seen and she couldn’t believe this was going to be her home. I’m really glad she likes it here.  Plus, I think the previous owners were happy that they found nice people to sell the house to. I was a giant pregnant woman wanting to move my elderly mom to town. What’s there not to love?  We ended up moving her 2 days after my due date. It was a little nuts, but it was worth it.

Well that’s all for now. I know it’s not MTV cribs, but I hope it’s at least mildly interesting nonetheless.

The New Bathroom - Almost Done

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos March 10, 2011 at 7:43 AM

Hi Sandy, thanks for sharing. The kitchen looks about like I’d imagined. Neat, tidy and functional, with a semi-permanent cutting board next to the sink. I’ll bet Babci is pretty handy with a knife.
Not easy to work on an old house, as I’m finding out.


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:19 AM

101 – this place is a gut job. I tried patching the hallway first before I ripped it out and within a few months the walls were cracking again. The plaster wasn’t even stuck to the lathe anymore.


Moneycone March 10, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Nice photos and I loved your comments on them! One’s gotta admire Babci’s frugality!


Everyday Tips March 10, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I love this post. My grandma has the mandatory doily on all wood surfaces too!
I can just picture Babci shuffling all over the house, doing her thing. I think she has a very nice home, and tell your cousin to come over and do the work herself if she has a problem with it!

I have had homes with that yellow-square linoleum too!


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:21 AM

Everyday Tips – believe it or not, the kitchen is what sold us on the home. It’s in relatively good shape compared to the rest of the house. Once it gets nice out, babci spends most of her time in her garden. She spends very little time at home, unless it’s to cook. Winters drive her nuts.


Nicole March 10, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Ha! I so recognize the mandatory doilies. My parents have them too as a gift from a late great-aunt who was scandalized with our doily deficit. (Dearth of doilies?)


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:23 AM

Nicole – sounds familiar. After we bought our home (but before my mom moved here), she would come over and try to hang old lady lace curtains around our house. We would fight like cats and dogs over her insistence on trying to redecorate my house. I also caught her with some loppers once trying to remove “unnecessary” ornamental shrubs from my yard. I caught her in the nick of time.


Molly On Money March 10, 2011 at 9:53 AM

I love it! The bathroom looks great. I had to laugh at the cracked toilet seat. We had this great resin cast toilet seat that had fish set into it. After a years it cracked- we didn’t replace it for about another year!


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:24 AM

Molly – Yeah, this seat’s been cracked for at least 2 years. That just shows you how cheap I am. I just hate replacing something in a room when I know it’s only a matter of time before we do it over.


Niki March 10, 2011 at 11:21 AM

It is so sweet that Babci cried when she saw the kitchen. She must really love her home. She will probably cry when she sees the bathroom too.
This home reminds me of my grandparents home, doilies and yellow square linoleum.


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:25 AM

Niki – well, we did buy it from an estate. I think the previous owner was about 90. It was fate. They even had a sewing machine that they left behind for us.


retirebyforty March 10, 2011 at 1:19 PM

A lot of work left to do on the house. Are you guys doing everything yourselves? Hope Babci is doing well!


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:26 AM

RB40 – yes, we do most of it on our own. The contractors around here are very unreliable and sloppy. Plus we’re cheap, plus we bought this place at the peak of the market.


Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom March 10, 2011 at 2:19 PM

It’s just how I imagined it would be – only less cluttered. I had grandma deja vu there, but am a little shocked that Babci doesn’t have rag rugs to go with the doilies! But maybe those seat cushions are crocheted strips of cloth?
My grandmother grew up in the 12 children / 2 room house – I think it was a sod house at that, but she used her closets. I’m not sure, you’d probably have to ask Babci, but I think one reason why the people of that generation don’t use their closets much is that you’d wear your outfits for a whole week and you wouldn’t want to hang the current outfit up in the closet with your clean clothes. At least I think that’s why.
Do you see the stairs becoming a problem for Babci down the road? Those century houses can have killer steep staircases.


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Jacq – those seat covers are little braided rugs. My mom actually doesn’t like rag rugs or quilts. It reminds her of being poor, so in that case, she’s upgraded. Growing up, having a long continuous sheet of fabric to make a bedspread out of was a sign of wealth.

I think you may be right about the dirty clothes.

Reply March 10, 2011 at 4:43 PM

I love that she cried tears of joy when she saw it. That’s so touching. It goes to show how very nice, secure and pleasant even a non-glamorous (non- “MTV Cribs,” as you call it) home in the U.S. really is.


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:28 AM

Yup it’s true. Most people here lack perspective. Even the crappiest of homes is still pretty nice compared to a dirt hut without running water or electricity.


Laura L. March 10, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Oh, this house looks perfect for the Babci you have described. I can just see her in it.


Sandy L March 11, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Laura – yeah, she digs it. It feels like home to her and she does not at all miss her hovel in the hood. I thought she would because there was a Polish church or grocery store nearby that she could walk to, but the good outweighs the bad. Plus, she has fantastic neighbors who snowblow her driveway and keep at eye out for her.


Little House March 11, 2011 at 9:46 AM

The redone bathroom looks great! It looks like you’ve been working really hard fixing this place up. I’m sure Babci is impressed, too.


Lindy Mint March 11, 2011 at 3:56 PM

So sweet, thanks for sharing this glimpse into her life. The new bathroom looks great! I am very familiar with living in a construction zone and don’t see anything wrong with it as long as function is still the same.


sandy @ yesiamcheap March 11, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Maybe the toilet liked that particular friend’s rear? I’m sure Babci will love the redo. My grandmother grew up in a 2 room house as did my mother and her siblings, so when we moved to an apartment? Oh man, it was like Park Avenue to her. :)


Len Penzo March 12, 2011 at 1:18 PM

I really enjoyed this post. I so love being a looky-loo in other folks’ houses! Thanks for sharing this, Sandy — what a great home!

All the best,

Len Penzo dot Com


Money Reasons March 12, 2011 at 8:41 PM

A lot of the furniture reminds my of my grandmother’s house. Especially that style of captain’s chairs and dining table.

Kudos to you and your husband for helping remodel the place. It’s a lot of work, but your mom is worth it!


Sandy L March 13, 2011 at 7:35 AM

Little House – Yeah, the place is a dump. We’ve been pretty much doing stuff to it nonstop since she moved in..roof, furnace, landscaping, refinishing floors, gutting rooms, updating electrical, putting gutters and new windows in the basement to prevent the cellar from flooding. It’s definitely a work in progress.

Sandy – yes, most people would be appalled to have to shower in a rusty peeling shower, but to babci, it’s great. The new bathroom will be even better.

Len – I like pictures on other people’s blogs too. I have to get better at posting them.

Money Reasons – I’m glad Babci’s decorating style is age appropriate. I’m sure it would look a little funny if it were all ultra modern. We like remodeling and seeing the before and after. Time is the only issue. It’s hard to cram everything we want/like to do in a weekend.


Cesar A March 14, 2011 at 8:36 AM

I love it! It feels like a home! My mother also has the mandatory doilys of various colors all over her house. Cut up rugs line every floor even on nice new carpet. She also refuses to throw away “good” stuff that can be used for a new project! Some of the pillows that I have used when I visit take me to memory lane. The pillows are stuffed with old fabric and the clothes we used as children. There is never a room in the house without a tissue box that has a fancy doily cover or some type of amusing cover on it. My aunts send back projects that are great for kids to have like beer can purses : ), milk jug easter baskets, and others. Tables in my parents home have never been used without some type of makeshift table cover. Thanks for sharing your stories!


Denise @ The Single Saver March 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

I just discovered your site and am absolutely loving it! I have been laughing out loud at some of your comments. I especially lov the commentary you have added to your pictures!


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