(Re)building the home of their dreams
2011 spring home improvement
Friday, March 18, 2011 9:49 AM
It may not be their dream house yet, but it’s pretty close.
Above, Amy Ardizzone is pictured in a bathroom mirror as she shows a visitor through her log cabin home north of Redkey. At left, the frame of kitchen cabinets is all that was present when Amy and her husband purchased the home as a forclosure in 2009. (The Commercial Review/Rachelle Haughn)
When Nick and Amy Ardizzone purchased the Richland Township log cabin in 2009, they knew they had their work cut out for them.
And, although their jobs and kids keep them pretty busy, the couple continues to inch toward their goal.
“We weren’t really looking for anything,” Amy said while sitting in the dining room area of the log cabin. “We had always thought it would be so neat to have a log cabin. We came and looked at it and we loved it.”
So, the family moved from a home they had renovated in Hamilton, Ohio, to Amy’s native county.
The couple purchased the rural Redkey home in March of 2009, after it had just been put on the market as a mortgage foreclosure. Amy said the house was built in 2003 and had been vacant for about a year.
Although the basic elements of the house were there — including a kitchen, a bathroom, windows and outside doors — many key elements were missing. For instance, there was no water heater and no furnace. All of the wiring to the electrical system had been cut and there was no water service.
“It’s rough now, but it was bad (before),” said Amy’s mother, Cathie Smith. Smith saw the listing for the house and mentioned it to her daughter. Amy grew up in Portland and graduated from Jay County High School.
“It was just a shell of a house. There wasn’t really anything inside,” Amy said of the 1,200-square foot, two-level cabin.
The floors were unfinished plywood, and the wood on the outside of the house had not been sealed. There still are no doors on the kitchen cabinets. The house came with a kitchen sink and counter, but no appliances. Amy and her husband plan to make the kitchen cabinet doors. They want to put chicken wire and fabric on the doors to give the kitchen a “farmy” look.
“It was like (the former owner) went through and just partially did everything when he did it,” Amy said while looking at the kitchen.
Along with replacing the things that were missing in the house, the couple had to repair some damage.
Amy said there are ruts in the floor that appear to have been made by motorcycle tires. Some of the interior walls were shot by paintballs.
She and her husband have scrubbed wood on the outside of the house to prepare it for waterproofing, which they plan to do this summer. Some of the interior walls have water damage and need varnish. Part of the ceiling was varnished before the couple purchased the house. Looking up in the living room, insulation hangs out near a window.
“You’re building a beautiful log home but you’re tearing it apart as you’re doing it,” Amy said of the previous owner.
Along with repairing the damage, the Ardizzones painted the downstairs floor, put tile down in the bathroom, added an upstairs toilet, added a shelf in the kitchen, added inside doors and a window and sealed existing windows. Nick also put the rest of the log siding on the back of the home.
Amy said her husband has always been a bit of a handyman. He used to have a heating and air conditioning license and ran his own business. Both he and Amy did extensive work to their previous house in Ohio — including painting, plumbing, refinishing the hardwood floors and landscaping.
Their current house likely won’t be finished anytime soon.
“There’s still a lot to do but we’ve done the most expensive stuff and we’ll do the cosmetics throughout the next two years,” Amy said.
Other plans for the house include adding railing to the stairway, transforming the upstairs playroom into a room for the couple’s daughters, painting the upstairs bedrooms, adding drywall, adding a deck at the rear of the house, putting carpet in the living room and adding a tile floor to the kitchen. Outside, they plan to add trees and shrubs and other landscaping.
“We get to make it what we want it to be — make it our own,” Amy said. “I think it adds more sentimental value to the house. You just feel like it’s your own because you did it yourself.”
Even though there is more work ahead, the family is already enjoying the house.
Through the sliding door in the dining room, the pond and nature’s creatures are visible. Amy said their children enjoy seeing the deer, geese, rabbits and other animals on their about 11 acres of land. “It’s the best. We just really love it out here,” Amy said.
“We always wanted to have a log cabin. We weren’t afraid of the work,” she said.