Introducing the Evergreen Project!

Inspiration

More than a year ago, I toured a 100 yr-old house in Mesa’s Evergreen Historic District that was on the wholesale real estate market. It was in terrible condition and needed a huge amount of work, but I wanted to get my hands on that house SO BAD. You know when you walk in a house that’s for sale and it just speaks to you? This house has a soul and I felt way back then like we were supposed to work on bringing it back to life! Even though we tried really hard to buy it, in the end we were outbid by another flipper. I was so bummed, but we moved on to the Gentry project and focused on that house rehab last year.

Then at the end of the year we learned the other flippers were ready to offload the house (they had not done much work in the year they were holding it). We jumped fast to buy the house as soon as it came on the market again, and it for sure feels like it was all meant to be! The neighborhood is GORGEOUS and we’re really hoping to focus our rehabs here in the historic district, which is only about a block away from our Juniper offices! I hope this house is the first of many we redo in the neighborhood!

The house was originally an 800 sq ft Sears kit house, built in 1920, but over the decades there have been several additions and now the home is more than 2500 sq ft. The same family lived here since the 40s and it was fun to learn a little about their story. The owner’s mother had been a librarian for many years and the house was absolutely covered in books when we first walked it more than a year ago. When we closed on the house a few weeks ago I was DEVASTATED to learn that the previous flipper had taken all the books to the dump! Isn’t that unreal and so, so sad?!

The above photos are how the house looked when I toured it last year and below when we closed on the house a few weeks ago. If you look closely in this photo you can see a yellow children’s book they accidentally left behind on the shelf. We took it to the studio with us before demo and I hope to figure out a good way to use it in the home. There are some cute illustrations inside that maybe we’ll copy and print? We’ll think of something to give a little nod and a wink to the previous owners!

We also had the crew carefully pull out these old built-ins that were in Bedroom 1 and we’re planning to clean them up and install them in the living room. I love the glass sliding doors at the top (the glass is still in tact!) and the sawtooth shelf supports in the base! So old school!

Here are the plans for the house, both as built and with the layout changes we landed on. The original floor plan wasn’t all that bad and I was shocked at how large the original kitchen was! I’m used to having to give up a lot of space from other areas in a house to get a bigger kitchen in remodel projects, but we didn’t have to do that here. I think the new layout really helps the house flow better and make the house more appealing to buyers. (NOTE: I only shared the first floor here for the sake of simplicity, but there is a bedroom and bathroom on the second floor.)

We made the most changes to the back rooms. We were able to add a full master suite, a guest bathroom and a bigger laundry room/mudroom space that I think really helps to modernize the home. Here are a couple more before photos (this was the day we closed on the house):

The coved ceiling in the sunroom is my favorite! This room has the best vibe! I can’t wait to get in there with some beautiful furniture!

And here we are a few short weeks later! This week we are finishing up drywall and window installation! We’ve come a long way!

The drywall guys need to soften the arches on the fireplace and kitchen walkway, but I’m loving everything already! Isn’t it cool that we unburied that old wood burning fireplace out of the wall?! We have some fun plans for this room! Stay tuned for lots more updates as we finish up this house in the coming weeks!

What did you think?
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18 thoughts on “Introducing the Evergreen Project!

  1. I love the way you kept those gorgeous shelves. They are definitely a nod to the past and look lovely I. The home. The previous flipper taking the books to the dump…
    In house this age, what/ how do you update the electric wiring? Do you do a full gut and redo or what is the process?
    There is a home in my neighborhood which would benefit from your talents.

    1. As a home owner of a house about this age (1925) we recently had all of the electric wiring updated and we were able to have it done with very little damage to the walls or ceiling because we have a basement (a crawl space would give the same access) and some knee wall attic access. The electrician was able to run new wire to all of the outlets and switches by going up in the walls and across through the basement (instead of across through the walls like in a new build). It uses more wire but it’s quicker than cutting open the wall and then having to patch and repair the wall, which would be hard to match the original plaster texture. We only have one light in the center hall that required extra holes to fish the wire and had to move the light switch in the bathroom because an air duct was blocking access to the original location. If you have an old house that needs electrical work find an electrician that specializes in retrofitting old homes.

  2. I’ve been waiting for an update on this cutie of a house! I can’t wait to see how you transform it and wish I could hire you to work some magic on my old house too.

  3. Hi there,

    As a librarian, while I do understand feeling sad the books have been tossed….they were probably very dusty and or full of mildew or mold or both…when I was a volunteer at our local library we would get boxes of books that we would just toss in the dumpster because they were a health hazard to even evaluate. On the bright side…there are now all those lovely shelves to fill with wonderful new books!! I so admire your vision…I would never be able to look at that mess of a house and see anything else but a mess of a house.

  4. I love all the layout changes! And I am so excited for your plans to fix up more houses like this. There is something so satisfying about seeing an old house polished up and returned to active duty.

  5. What a grand project. I will look for your progress. The “flipping “of the books to dump was sad . There is something about an old house that new can’t duplicate.Look forward to your choices as you redo.

  6. I love the new site!

    I cannot wait to see what you do with this home. The bones are so so good. THAT SUNROOM!

  7. Hi Jenny, I’m curious…how did you address the updating of heating/cooling in a home this old in AZ? Was there ductwork already in place? What type of heating & cooling systems will be used? Was/is solar being considered?

  8. What a gem this little house is, I just love it! I’ll be following along to see the transformation, which I’m sure will be amazing.

  9. I am eager to see the changes that you make. So happy that you were able to save those lovely book shelves. If I could make one suggestion. My pet peeve is doors in tiny bathrooms. Pocket doors make so much more sense if there is room to install them. Just a thought.

  10. I SO admire your work ethic and your commitment to the integrity of a home. This is going to end up being such a stunning home.

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