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Friday, May 20, 2011

Eyesore to Showpiece

Ashley and Scott Falls’ Charleston single was nearly 100 years old when they bought it in 2004 as a rental property. Over the next few years they began to notice that the home needed exterior work, and realized this was keeping them from attracting the caliber of tenants they wanted. During a walk-through inspection when a tenant was moving out, Ashley decided that a change was in order.

The Falls contacted several contractors, but none really clicked. Says Ashley, “I felt like they didn’t take us seriously since we are a young couple. We were thrilled when Bob came over to the house and was such a professional.”

Classic has done this type of work many times, so we know how important it is that the client understands what is involved. Historical structures can have lots of surprises for you due to their age, work other people have done to them, etc. You need to go in with your eyes wide open and the Falls appreciated this, saying, “We were so impressed by the thoroughness with which Bob looked at everything – he got up on the roof, he went under the house to check the foundation, he took photos and asked lots of questions. When we met with him to get the estimate he walked us through the whole thing explaining the work, outlining the process, and making sure we were comfortable with everything. The estimate was complete and accurate due to all of his work on the front end.”

As anticipated, the work was extensive. The entire front of the house was removed and rebuilt. Traditionally, Charleston singles have four windows on the front – two up and two down - but along the way some misguided soul had put in a bay window. When we removed the siding we found the original window sills and happily put things back the way they should be.

The double porches had to be rebuilt. “They were practically falling off,” says Ashley, “but Classic took care to save the columns which were original to the house. We were thrilled that they were able to be reused.”

While working on the porches we discovered that the roof needed to be reframed on that side of the house and some of the tin roof needed replacing. “This was one of the few surprises during the project,” adds Ashley, “and we were worried that it might blow our budget, but Bob was great and came up with a solution to tweak the budget so that we could make the repairs without going over.”

We also painted the exterior, installed custom wood shutters and added a beautiful tabby driveway with brick columns and a custom iron gate.

“Our dream,” says Ashley, “was to take a crumbling, dilapidated old house and turn it into a beautifully renovated and historically accurate home. We wanted to return it to the way it was when it was built, but with all the modern luxuries. Classic made that dream come true.”

We’re happy to report that when the For Rent sign went up Ashley and Scott got lots of calls – many from ecstatic neighbors thanking them for renovating and turning an eyesore into a neighborhood showpiece. Prospective renters called as well, none questioning the asking price. The Falls are welcoming their new tenants as I write this, and I hope they enjoy living in the house as much as we enjoyed working on it.