Twelve years ago this month, we had nearly given up on finding an affordable house to buy in the Portland area. I had just graduated college that June, had a good job at an engineering consulting firm, and Kerri and I were to be married that November. Life was perfect; except we needed a house. We had been living in the very hip and desirable Belmont/Hawthorne area on Portland’s eastside. We really enjoyed that area, but could not afford to buy a house there. We had spent the entire summer touring homes for sale in and around the Portland Metro area. Many were nice, but out of our price range. The ones that were in our price range were scary and just short of being condemned. Yes, our house purchasing budget was that low. And then just as we were ready to commit to being long term renters, our real estate agent called saying the owner of a house in SE Portland had just drastically cut the price on their house. We went and toured the house, and liked what we saw. The house was a 1973 single story ranch style home. It had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a single attached garage, and a small manageable yard. The house had been built by a retired couple, and once they finally moved into a retirement home, their daughter purchased the house and used it as a rental home. But why was it so cheap? Because the house had never been upgraded and looked exactly as it had in 1973. It was a solid house, just outdated. It had avocado green appliances, yellow tub, toilets, and sinks in the bathrooms, brown wood paneling, linoleum flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, and cheap “rental” carpeting in the living room. But I think the biggest thing that scared people away was the yard. The retired couple that had built the house wanted a maintenance-free yard. So, they planted juniper bushes in the entire front yard, covered the rest of the yard with bark dust and surrounded the house with a metal chain link fence, as was popular at that time. It would require a lot of work to make the house and yard look nice, but we were up for the challenge. So, we bought it.
We have spent the last 12 years updating our “outdated ranch” into a very modern and comfortable home. We literally bulldozed the yard and started over. We gutted the interior in stages, as we could afford it, and updated the house room by room. We added an outdoor hot tub, water feature, granite kitchen counters, hardwood flooring, and many other upgrades. We love our house and are very proud of the work we have done. I know the new owner will love it as well. The photos above are of our finished masterpiece; the same photos used to sell the home. We will miss it, but look forward to our next project… wherever that may be.