The Grotto

Welcome to Joe’s Bar and Theater


Big Joe

While the basement of the house was a beautiful blank slate, the rest of the house had suffered several years of grime buildup. In one bedroom, which was slated to become a guestroom/library for our son, one wall had a cloud of brown on an otherwise white wall where years of grease from a child’s head had deposited. Chunks of undetermined material were caked underneath the handrails on the back stair case. Teeth marks were on several of the window blinds where they had been gnawed by their kids.

oldfiltersAs part of our offer on the house, we stipulated that a professional cleaning crew must come through and clean the house. While they did a wonderful job taking care of most of the filth, some things were missed, like these HVAC filters. I’m not sure how many years of buildup this is, but I’m going to guess all eight the previous owners were here.

Most of the walls were still the builder’s original white, which effectively hid the extensive trim work. One room had been painted—the dining room had been painted a safe beige-like color that I named ‘sickly flesh‘ due to its faint pinkish cast.

All of the light fixtures were the same original builders’ grade cheap bottom-of-the-barrel bright brass jobs that we had quickly replaced in our last house. They would be junked even more quickly here.

Outside, no landscaping had been done, other than the front tree and bushes the builder had planted nine years earlier. No deck or patio was found in back of the house, leaving an odd exterior door dangling fourteen feet from the ground off the morning room.

The big advantage we found to the state of the house was that most prospective buyers skipped this house, despite the asking price sitting at a six figure discount to other houses in the neighborhood, and a dearth of inventory. Fortunately, unlike some other houses in which we had interest, all of the issues we found were merely cosmetic, and left us with the blank slate advantage of a new house, without the new house premium that could take a decade or more to recoup.

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