Historic Home Rehab

We’ve officially closed on the historic home and our renovation plans have been approved by the historical society. Our first job is to smash up the concrete pool deck, fill the pool in, clear and level the overgrown yard, and tear off the illegal addition built on the rear of the house. 

I was a bit surprised to find that the interior of the house is no where near as bad as the exterior. Don’t get me wrong….. it definitely needs lots of work, and it smells terrible, but overall it isn’t as bad as we first thought.

We are doing a full renovation on over 3,000 sq. ft., so this job is going to take several months to complete. The budget is around $75k-$80k, but hopefully our contractor can find a way to save a few bucks here and there. 🙂

 Heres a bunch of before pictures for you to look at:

Bowdoin St Springfield MA


Pondwater in Pool

Illegal/Halfassed addition built on rear of House

Overgrown Yard

Overgrown Yard

Interior of illegal addition


Kitchen pic 2

Kitchen Pic 3

Dining Room

Living Room

Main Hallway/Staircase

Full Bath 1

Full Bath 2

Half Bath

Bedroom with Fireplace

Bedroom 2

Scarface Bedroom

The REO broker told us that they took 8 dumpsters worth of trash out of this house just from the inside, and then they hired a professional cleaning crew to come in and scrub everything down…. and it still looks real nasty, and smells even worse. If you add up the cash-for-keys the bank had to give to the owners to get them out ($2,000), the cost of the trash out and the cost of the cleaning crew, the bank probably spent more getting the house ready for sale than what we paid for it!!!! Not to mention the $176,000 they lost on the mortgage they gave in 2006.  Hmmmm I wonder why all these banks are going out of business??

I’ll post some more updates of this project as things progress, as well as a few videos that we’ve put together.


  1. Mary Hart Shaffer says

    Where did that half bath come from? Each floor had a full bath. And if that 2nd full bath is the one on the second floor, the tub was on the other side, it was on the right not the left…but too cool what you have done to this house. We were living in Pittsbugh at the time and dad had gotten the job at the Armory. He went ahead and picked out a place for us, mom had too many small kids to go with him. It was a great neighborhood. The folks at Odd Fellows were very nice to all the kids on Bowdoin. I can’t wait to see more pictures.

  2. Mary Hart Shaffer says

    We lived in this house until Aug 1967 when we moved to Hampton Va, dad then went to work at Fort Monroe in Hampton. Could you show more of the rooms? There were 6 kids and enough bedrooms so that everyone could have their own. There was a walk through closet between my room and mom and dad’s. There was a full bath off the kitchen and a walkin pantry. Backstairs by the back door that went to the end of the hallway upstairs with a big walkin linen room. Tom and Jim slept up on the third floor which had a full bath and an attic too. Did you do anything to the basement? Dad would redo the hardwood floors every Spring. And we were the only ones on the block with the swimming pool..from Sears. Dad moved it from the backyard to the sideyard. Ice cycles would hang down from the third floor past the second floor and dad warned us many times to be careful of them. You have brought back many fond memories and would like to thank you for all your hard work and time.

  3. Thelma Hart Clagett says

    Hi Matt,

    When do you think you will be ready to put it on the market? Someone I know might be interested…

  4. I also lived there until they closed the Armory, went to Tech and moved at the end of the tenth grade. Around the early 60’s my Father had the back stairway by the kitchen lowered to stop heat loss and just before it was finished I put in a ” time capsule” which was a jar full of stuff. Anybody find it?
    I’ve been back to Springfield several times to visit old friends and made a point to go by the old house. It was really sad to see how run down it was. Looking at each room, I couldn’t help going OMG….GREAT JOB.. Can’t wait to see it in person.

    • Hi Jim,

      I’ll have to check with my contractors to see if anyone found your time capsule.

      Was it filled with gold and treasures??

      If so I don’t think any of them will admit to seeing it!

  5. Thelma Hart Clagett says

    My dad, William Hart and our family lived there from 1958 until the Springfield Armory closed. He was Deputy Chief of Security and Intelligence there.

  6. Hi!
    I bought the Italianate house on the corner a few doors down from you (1030 worthington) last summer, which also needs a total renovation, but not quite to the extent of the one you bought…but my question is, who is your contractor? you said your budget is under $100,000? I would love to be able to find a good contractor for that price! Are you doing any of the work yourself? I heard you bought the house for $16,000, is that true? I also heard there was a puppy mill in that house at one point! This summer I am hoping to do the exterior of the house, and put a fence up. I hate the Springfield historic commission – they seem to be being much nicer to you than they are to me. I’m meeting with them again on the 15th for my fence. I thought they said that they don’t allow any new buildings to be put up – do you think they will let you sell the lot as a building lot?

    • Hi Melissa,

      Looks like you have a project on your hands too. I like your house, it has a real unique look to it. We’ll probably see you at the meeting on the 15th, I think we have to be there too.

      The extra lot was kind of a bonus that came with the house. We’ll sell it if someone wants to buy it. You can build in the historic areas they just have really strict guidelines.

      Best of Luck

  7. Sure, my cousin’s Victorian flip is 22 West Broadway, in Red Lion PA. If you Google it, the house comes up on the usual sites…Zillow, Trulia, etc. He just listed it for sale.

    It was totally trashed, but he took great pains to keep the original trim and decorative floors. He even found an old photo from the early 1900s of the front, and he rebuilt the porch to look just like the original (sometime in the 80s the original porch was covered up). He has a nice exterior color scheme, as well.

    I think rebuilding the original front porch is what really won him the historical society’s praise.

  8. It’s going to look absolutely amazing with the dark trim and creamy white walls!! Can’t wait to see the pics!!!

  9. Definately do not paint the woodwork white! My cousin just completed a historic Victorian rehab, and he’s winning an award from the local historical society (great free publicity for him and his flip), but keeping the original dark woodwork is a huge selling feature. He compensated for this by keeping all the walls very light, and it looks terrific.

    • Hi Greg,

      Do you have any pictures of your cousins house? I would like to see what he did.

      I guess I may have to abandon my usual colors here and go with the dark woodwork and something a little lighter on the walls.


  10. I. am. so. jealous. Would love to get my hands on something like this! Can I come work with y’all for a couple of months?

  11. You are crazy with those bigg ass houses man. That one would eat me alive. I try and shy away from 2 stories. Its super killer though, I cant wait to see it all buttered back up with the correct historical style materials. Its hard to tell from pics but I think thats the #117 siding that we have here still available, you should try and grind it down to keep the house correct. I know you arent using travertine in here right? I see alot of ceramics being cool with white shaker style cabinets. I’d try and save that claw foot tub as I am sure you are planning. A 6 color paint scheme outside too would be cool. There are some good historical paint colors online you can match. Great project, Have fun!

    • Hi Tom,

      No travertine in this house, thats a little too high end for this neighborhood.

      We will be saving the claw foot tub and we are trying to save as much of the original woodwork as possible. The problem with the woodwork is it is very nice and ornate, but it’s all so dark…. and I want to paint it all white!!! But I hear people like the dark woodwork in these historical homes.

      We are going to be keeping the historical integrity on the exterior of the house but on the inside we will be adding some nice modern touches.

  12. Wow. [shakes head]

    And there are plenty more where this came from…sans an illegal addition or two.

    Idiots. All Around.

  13. Definately an awesome looking rehab–can’t wait to see how it cleans up. I’m sure the local historical society is mightily pleased with you right about now.

  14. They loaned 176,000 on this!!???? Who was the appraiser for this, Stevie Wonder? LOL

    I sure hope you got this at land value or less, because this thing needs a LOT of work!! 🙂

    • Hi Tony,

      We got this house real cheap. The REO agent actually suggested to the bank that they just give it back to the city, but they were determined to sell it.

      Another plus is this house came on a double lot, so we actually got a seperate building lot with the house.


  1. […] are some photos I have of the work in progress. You can see the before pictures HERE, the before video HERE and the CBS news story of the house HERE; Filling in the Pool View of […]

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