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  • Nalini Boodoosingh

OUR 1960s FIXER UPPER

It's been about four and a half years since we bought our home in the Bronx and while I don't see myself living here permanently, I do think this house will always be home base. When we started looking for a house, we were very realistic in our expectations. Watching enough episodes of HGTV will surely do that to you unless you're living in La La Land.

On our list were six simple things in order of priority

1. Desired location- we both worked in Westchester and commuted daily but my husband also has clients in all NY boroughs, so a centralized location was critical

2. No gut renovations- we're handy but certainly not experts

3. Off-street parking for at least 1 vehicle- required for commercial vehicles

4. Decent kitchen

5. Backyard large enough for storage and play space for Khloe

6. Within budget. This item was last on the list because we started on the low end of our range

During our search we saw 11 houses, 4 of which we never entered- stopped right at the street, 3 of which we spent 5 minutes within and another 3 which we liked. Of the 3 we liked; we made an offer on 1 but lost out to an all cash buyer. If you did that math right, you got to 10! Fun fact- I did not see the 11th house which is the one we ended up buying. I was out of town when the 11th house came up as a possibility, so Ken did the walk through on his own. He called me as he was leaving and said, "this is the one, it has a good vibe and it checks the list". After we chatted for about 5 minutes, we agreed to make an offer and heard back from the sellers that night. We had just entered into an agreement to purchase a house! So exciting. Now I know the former decision-making process is hardly ever the circumstance in making such a big commitment, but we are practical people and definitely trust each other when it comes to money and investments. We can talk investments in another post but staying reasonably close to our pre-defined budget was important because we were also building a rental property out of pocket in our home country at the same time. I also know for a fact I would have increased the purchase budget if we needed to, but Ken would have needed some convincing, so we worked off each other’s strengths during this process.

The Inspiration

Isn't that brick exterior via Design Indulgence dreamy!!! I hope one day my back yard looks as good.


Fast forward to a week later and I finally saw what we had gone into contract on, in person. Our little house had good bones but boy did she need a face lift.


The Reality

On our list of to do's in the first 2 months of moving in were the following:

  1. Refinishing the floors

  2. Resurfacing the walls - they were all uneven and had some texturing. Typical with many older homes

  3. Removing popcorn ceilings

  4. Installing crown molding

  5. Installing recessed lighting - the living room had 2 lamps connected to light switches

  6. Gutting and redoing the tiny powder room

  7. Changing a few stair risers that were broken

  8. Installing ductless AC units throughout the house - this required closing hole in the wall for window units

  9. Demoing the storage unit in the back yard, pouring fresh concrete, replacing the storage unit - storage is critical in our home since my husband has his own HVAC company

  10. Painting - every single surface from the walls, to the ceiling, base boards and doors were painted


Now, accomplishing this task list would have been very difficult if we did not have help. 7 out of 10 of these items were contracted out to my husband’s network of friends in the construction field. At the time we were juggling a 2 year old, while I travelled for work frequently, my husband had a flourishing business on the side along with his day job and we were living in the basement with boxes to the ceiling. It was a CRAZY time in our life, but it was also the BEST because we were making this house our home. Those 2 months also triggered my desire to be more hands on with renovation and DIY projects. I was pleasantly surprised at how many things I could learn and do myself - like tiling a bathroom- and when I caught myself in a pinch, I always had the option of reaching out to a professional, many of whom were friends. I'll be sharing each of these space over time here with you.


That brings us to today.


In 2020 when I started working from home and home schooling our daughter full time due to COVID19 I decided it was also the perfect time to tackle renovation projects that were on our to do list. Call me crazy, but my brain just functions like this. 2020 was the first year we had spent so much time at home and when I thought about it, I realized I'd never be home this much to do anything quickly (debatable) or supervise anyone without taking time off from my job.


In this blog , I will be sharing our next few renovation projects that my husband and I will be tackling together with minimal outside help and I hope you'll stick around to see them.

xo, Nalini


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