Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New House, New Blog.

Mike and I recently became proud new homeowners!  We have a house in Ruston, WA, a small town in North Tacoma (with its own wikipedia entry).  It was once a company town for the ASARCO smelter (defunct as of 1985).  Ruston is  a pretty amazing, unique place surrounded by North Tacoma on 3 sides and the Sound on another.  You can see a helpful google map here:  Ruston, WA

The house...well it needs a lot of work.  However, it makes up for its shortcomings with a view of the Sound and a rambling yard that slopes down towards the north (part of the same slope that once made up "Stack Hill", where the smelter's smokestack, the tallest in the world back in 1917, once resided).  The yard is amazing.  It is a quarter acre with a couple old fruit trees and some crumbling railroad ties.  It's a total blank slate.  I'm very excited to plan a large garden and get cracking on the yard while we are waiting for permitting and other things to get in motion.

The inside of the house is gutted.  It was a bank foreclosure that was in the process of being remodeled when the work stopped partway.  The good news is that we are saved from doing a big chunk of demolition, and since we'll end up tearing down to the studs and starting almost from scratch, what we do with the layout and structure of the house is largely up to us.  The bad news how much work this leaves us with.  This includes all the electrical (goodbye knob and tube!), plumbing, heating, building a possible addition, restructuring the second floor and roof (for a high vaulted ceiling!), plenty more windows, siding - really everything.  There is so much to do that our biggest challenge is going to be picking and choosing what to do, staying on top of it all and not getting bogged down in details.

We will have many house updates and plans to follow.  Enjoy!


View from the back of the property
Bugsy upset about being forced to pose.
Our pear tree.

Directly behind the house.  Raised beds maybe?
Second-floor framing. Thanks previous owner, but we're going to get rid of most of this!
The house.  Front and center


  1. Great news, Ann & Mike (and various animals)! Congrats on getting this new place. I am excited to watch your progress and cheer you on from my laptop in Seattle!

    The wood in the second floor framing still looks quite nice (at least from the photo). If you're not planning on reusing it, I think you could hand it off to Second Use. A contact told me that if there's a big enough load, they can come down to pick up the materials for you, and save you a trip! Excited to see how things progress, and wishing you all the best, Cynthia

    1. Thanks Cynthia! It has been an interesting project. Mike and I are all about trying to save what we can for reuse. It is kind of exciting working on such an old house because there just are so many layers to it! For example, under the plaster and lathe we have seen old wallpaper. Probably not salvageable, but worth taking a few pictures.