The Before Tour- Outside Edition

Ok, so when we last left our little story we had just lost our minds but won a bidding war on the overgrown mess that we planned to make our dream home. I gave you a sneak peek into the craziness, but let’s take a closer look on what we were getting into. I have to apologize in advance about the photo quality here. I really wish I had taken better before pictures. But to tell you the truth, this whole process was such a crazy whirlwind I never really did. The best before pictures I have are the listing photos, because as soon as we got the keys, the hubs turned loose like a Tasmanian devil with a tool belt and things started changing right away (I guess I can’t really complain there).

The house had been vacant for about a year. The owners were elderly and had passed away. I can only image it was getting harder for them to keep up with this place well before then.

Here’s another view of the front of the house.


See those huge overgrown bushes on either side of the garage? Yeah… those aren’t bushes. That’s bamboo. Bamboo is an invasive species in Florida, and I think this is the stuff they make bomb shelters out of. It is impossible! Impossible to kill, impossible to cut, impossible to get out of the ground. And this is not the only place we had it around the property. If I never see bamboo again in my life I will be a happy camper. If you’re thinking about planting bamboo… don’t. Just say no. It will haunt you for the rest of your life.

You really can’t see from any of the front pictures, but there is a nice long front porch. I could just picture this thing all spruced up with some fresh paint, new light fixtures, and a bunch of rocking chairs. But it has a long way to go.


If you look closely you can see there’s an arbor in front of the screen door. These arbors were everywhere! They were in front of both the doors entering the screened pool deck, and there was a long stretch of them in the front yard creating a sort of nature walk around a little pond.


And while a “nature walk” sounds lovely, having to walk underneath grungy overgrown nature every time you walked in or out of the house was creepy. I mean who knows what was lurking in there waiting to jump out on my head and try to eat me alive. Those had to go. I mean, don’t get me wrong… I love nature. It’s kind of why we bought a house in the woods. But this was too much nature… assertive nature… nature that was all up in my business.

The pond looked like it had been a rock star koi pond in its day. There had at one point been two waterfalls and a little stream with a bridge over it. I’m sure it was amazing. But to be honest it just wasn’t any more, and hubby and I had no interest in taking on the upkeep of getting it fish-friendly again. We decided pretty quickly that it would have to go. Some of our friends and family thought we were crazy, and they were right in that it really could have been a nice feature. But the bigger issue was that it was steps outside of our front door, and we had no front yard at all. Kids and puppies like front yards, and I needed to tame the nature back from my doorstep. If it had been anywhere else on the property we may have considered trying to revive it, but alas, this guy ended up on the hit list.


Speaking of hit list, let’s talk about enemy number one on ours. This property had yet another surprising feature… “The Compound.” It was a 2,000-square-foot plywood structure with a chicken-wire roof set away from the house in the middle of the property. It had that cozy Silence-of-the-Lambs sort of feel.


Dude, it was creepy.


The actual story behind this thing is far from the sinister scenarios my overactive imagination cooked up. The gentleman who owned the house had a side business rehabilitating injured animals and releasing them back into the wild. There were hatches in the walls so he could give them food and water without them becoming accustomed to human contact. From what I understand he had mostly deer and birds like owls and hawks. Yes, that’s a warm fuzzy story… doesn’t mean that thing still didn’t make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It had to go, and I had no plans to be anywhere near that part of the property in the meantime.

Now, let’s talk about the pool. Remember, we called it our “glimmer of hope.” It really sold the house for us, but not just the pool itself. This thing was huge, and so was the surrounding pool deck. Turns out, we had just bought ourselves an 1,800-square-foot house with a 2,000-square-foot screened in pool deck. JACKPOT! You want to talk about an entertaining dreamland!? In my mind I now had the ultimate party spot tucked away in the trees. I could just picture the birthdays, and thanksgivings, and countless get-togethers… long tables on either side of the pool, with cafe lights strung overhead and floating lights flickering off the water. But first we had to clean it up.


It was hard to really get the feel of the scale of this space in its current state. The screen was lined with planters and *sigh* more pesky nature. And not just any nature… those plants behind that handsome pool boy are bamboo. Plus, the wooden planters were rotting and soil and mold were covering the pool deck.

We also had a nice little pool bath with a walk-in shower and small covered lanai (complete with more planters and two moldy icky water features).


While the inside of this house was more about what we wanted to add, the outside was all about what we needed to remove. And we had quite the task ahead of us. Up next, contract to close- 77 days and why we started working on a house we didn’t even own yet.

What do you guys think of our compound? Sweet or scary? Has anyone else stumbled across something utterly creepy while house hunting or renovating?



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