How the other half lives. Duplexes where the twin is abandoned!

17 03 2009
Lee’s notes: I found this article, and found it interesting, so figured i would post it… What do you do when a conjoined twin dies?!?
How the Other Half (of the Paired Townhouse) Lives


What happens to houses joined at the hip(ped roof) when one half is abandoned by its occupants  and left to the elements? A photo essay by Camilo Jose Vergaga in Camden, New Jersey, explores the stark juxtaposition of living architecture and deserted buildings – paired homes where one remains in use and the other has fallen deeply in disrepair.


According to Vergaga, the remaining occupants encounter various problems when their former neighbors exit the picture. Burst pipes, potential fires, decaying materials and unwanted squatters are just the start. Sometimes the remaining resident simply turns their adjacency into a storage site or trash receptical for their unwanted old goods.


Vergaga points out that in poor neighborhoods, as opposed to middle-class ones, when someone is taken to the hospital or otherwise leaves their home the neighbors and police tend not to watch out for the place in order to prevent problems. As the population of Camden continues to decrease these mismatched pairs only grow in number.


Camilo José Vergara a Chilean writer and photographer now living in New York who is well known for his urban decay photography. In many cases, he makes return trips ot the same destinations to document changes overtime. He has also won a number of awards for his photography and has been exhibited in museums around the world. In one of his most compelling but controversial stunts, he proposed turning a huge portion of downtown Detroit into an intentional spectacle of preserved urban ruins.







Rearrange a room from the comfort of your desk!!

12 03 2008

Great online product that lets you redesign a room in 3-d. Upload a picture or design on the fly. Choose paint colors and arrange furniture! I played with this for about 10 minutes and am in love… Now I want to go home and measure my rooms to play with it some more!!!

3-d Room Design

Thinking about completing some remodeling and wondering how it will affect your resale?

28 01 2008

I have been flipping homes for over 15 years. I do most of the work myself, but recently I received a letter from a home owner who knows she is going to be selling in roughly 5 years.. Was a pretty long response, and I figured maybe some of you, internet playground peeps, would like to hear my thoughts as well….

When a buyer looks at a home, they want to make sure the kitchens, baths, and major systems(furnace, a/c, kitchen appliances, roof, etc) are up to todays standards. People aren’t too fond of the old octopus heating system that takes up an entire basement.. hehe Not that you have one of those, but you know what I am saying.

If you plan any major remodeling(add/remove walls, additions, etc) General Rule of thumb is to make the home open and airy.

When it comes to bath and kitchens, you need to put the minimum quality on par with the neighborhood. If you go above that your ROI(return on investment) will reduce. On that note, if you plan to be in the home for a while then buy what you will enjoy! Just realize you might not get the ROI you expected come sale time. Upgrades might push you into the lead against comparable properties, but don’t count on it. Does that make sense?

As for paint, etc. If you are specifically looking for resale, then try to stay neutral. That isn’t to say you can’t have some deep or bright colors, but be prepared for repaint. Another thought is to just paint one wall in a room a dark/bright color. It gives you the tone you want, and will be easier to change at a later date(if necessary). Stay away from painting ceilings dark/bright colors. Dark/bright colors, especially on a ceiling, have a tendency to make a room look smaller.

As for flooring: You don’t want to go too bright, deep, etc.. Flooring isn’t as easy or cheap to change. That being said, I have dark hardwood floors in my basement.. I like them, and I don’t think they will be too much of a hindrance come sale time, but I also realize they could be.

 For our region, here’s the average return on investment for some common projects:

Bathroom remodel                    Midwest 78.3%
Deck addition                           Midwest 89.7%
Window replacement                Midwest 82.4%
Attic bedroom                          Midwest 79.2%
Family room addition                Midwest 77.3%
Roofing replacement                 Midwest 81.8%
Master suite addition                 Midwest 72.2%
Major kitchen remodel              Midwest 72.6%
Basement remodel                    Midwest 68.9%
Sunroom addition                     Midwest 67.0%

Obviously, those can all change depending on how extravagant/inexpensive you go on your upgrades/remodel.

Remodeling can be exciting and great fun.. Enjoy it!