1991 - We Buy The Farm

Early in the year Sandy and I moved from Albert Lea, MN to Mason City, IA and purchased this 1930 story and a half house. It set on a 2 1/2-acre site North of town with 1920's wood frame shop building and a 1930's open front machine shed. The house had a master bedroom/family room addition built in 1975.

The flat roof had several serious water leaks and some pretty bad looking water damaged ceilings. The entire house had carpets and other decorating from the 70's and the kitchen had been upgraded in the late 50's. Pretty scary, eh?

We knew that the property had potential so we began making plans for a substantial remodel. The images on this page show the original house as we purchased it. The front of the house faces East and sits fairly close to a county gravel road. It has steel siding from the 70's.

North side of house
House viewed from the north side.

South side of house
House viewed from the south side.

Both of these views might give the casual observer the opinion that this is a very trim house and grounds, but look at the image below and see if you can see the potential we saw.

A less than flattering view.

This view of the property is one of the first pictures we took after deciding to buy the property. The owner had a renter in the house and we were asked not to bother them while they moved out. As you can see the lawn, if it can be called a lawn, was in miserable shape on the north side of the driveway. The shop was supplied with power by an overhead line that was fed from the neighbors electrical service. Of course the addition of several vehicles in the drive did not make things look attractive.

The next picture shows the machine shed as it looked when we purchased the property. It was 120 foot long and had four open bays that were originally intended to store farm equipment. In recent years it had turned into a storage place for the owner's well drilling equipment along with a ton of junk from previous renters and neighbors.

Machine shed viewed from the east

Now before we paint a very picture of this property we offer a few pictures we took once we had moved in and cleaned things up a bit. The picture below shows the rear deck that was part of the 1975 flat roof addition project. As it turned out it was a redwood deck and although very weathered the wood was in great shape and later was used to do some deck framing on the first addition. The opening and steps leading to the deck as viewed here was one of our first projects. The deck as built in 1975 was only accesable from the south side.

Redwood deck on west side of house

The next picture shows the same deck as viewed from the southwest corner of the flat roof addition. Note that there is a roof extension that partially covers the deck and protects the sliding glass door from the sun.


The last picture is included here to illustrate one of the reasons that we knew we needed to do something to alter the roof line. This shows the old 1930 dormer looking out onto the flat roof addition. The view from the window was of the fireplace chimney. The roof detail on this entire structure was a nightmare and was the root of all problems with water leakage. The water from the west side of the 1930 roof would end up on the flat roof addition and without any drainage (the roof was not pitched) the water would form large puddles and ice dams depending on the season. The old brick chimney on the original house was sound but the flashing was a disaster waiting to happen and as you can see it had rusted and stained the roof shingles. The dormer roof had a flatter pitch and the shingles were near the end of life but not leaking.

1930 dormer and flat roof detail.

The most major project we started at the time we bought the property is the conversion of the main bathroom into a new half bath and a smaller maiin bathroom.

Return to the Projects Page.