Friday, July 10, 2015

Sarah and the Duplex

My wife, Sarah, has been on a push to make sure that we are financially viable in the future.  To do that, she decided that we needed some rental property.  The funding for that would be the equity in our house.

Our house was sold last week after being on the market for a year.  We were going to be left living in an apartment until a perfect solution appeared a month ago.  A friend of Sarah's told her that a duplex was going on the market and arranged for us to view it before it became public.  Another couple was privy to that too and walked through with us.  It is a place that fits the needs of both of us.  We both love our neighborhood, Avondale, a historic area in the close in suburbs of Jacksonville.  This one is only two blocks from our old house and still close to the Shops of Avondale, a two block strip with several restaurants and businesses.  Sarah real estate company's office is in the strip.  And the new place is just far enough away to avoid much of the traffic that we were getting at the old house.

So we are closing today.  It turns out that many other potential buyers wanted the property, but Sarah was fast with the trigger and got us in first.

The building has two units, one per floor, and they are nearly identical at 1380 s.f. containing two bedrooms and one bath.  I have been looking for ways to add a bath to each, making them much more valuable as rentals and for our use.  I do this by looking at the messy parts of the floor plan, then rearrange these spaces to make them as large and efficient as possible.  This building has a back stair that takes up much valuable space.  It also has a large bathroom and useless corridor connecting both bedrooms.  I found the solution yesterday by taking out the corridor and giving the space to a second bathroom.  Then I removed the back stair and gave this space to laundry, closet and half bath functions on our upper floor.  Now our unit has private baths for each bedroom, then a half bath for access to guests.  It is a remarkable improvement.

While there last night we decided to keep the bathroom and hall in the rental downstairs and add a full bath in the old stair area, so I have some work to do.

The place also has a two car garage very similar to the one we gave up at the old house so the scooters have a new home too.

While we were there last night I was doing my usual photography to have a record of the current conditions.  I usually get at least four photos of every room.  While doing this I kept noticing that Sarah would pop into the photo at the exact time I was taking the photo.  She did this several times and I liked the results.  So here are some of the photos of the new house.  We will move in to the lower unit soon.  Then renovate upstairs and the stair space below before moving upstairs and renting the lower unit.

Hanging out beyond the opening.

A touch of color and light through the doorway.

Dining room to Living room with porch doors beyond.

Here she is in the hall outside the back bedroom.  Just passing through.

Here she is on the second floor porch, enjoying a spot that will become a favorite soon.

Rocket in the driveway outside the lower floor big bedroom.


  1. When do we start construction????


  2. Sounds like things are progressing in Jacksonville. You're only 2 weeks behind what we are dealing with - looking forward to catching up soon. Be well, Jim

  3. You guys are six to seven months ahead of us.

    I may be after you for floor plan advice in the fullness of time ;)

    1. Maybe I can ride to Toronto to help with the plans. Then visit the new boathouse I designed in Muskoka.