The funds were wired and the deed was signed yesterday.

Kim and Karen’s dandy little idea to one day flip a house, is now a Real Thing. We’re the proud owners of a run-down old bungalow in Pasadena (The ‘Dena, if you’re from around here.) It’s a patchwork of dark, too-small rooms, sagging and weathered, and the whole thing smells awful.

But step outside, onto the front or the side porch, and you can see water. Stoney Creek is visible in two directions; the community beach is at one end of the block, and the dock and boat ramp is at the other end. Stoney Creek feeds into the Patapsco River, then out into the Chesapeake. This is a sweet, special location. We knew it when we first laid eyes on it.

The last two weeks have been a flurry of contractor meetings and hours-long sessions staring at floor plans. Online and in person, we’ve been haunting Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ikea.

Now that we have possession of the house, an estate, the first (sort of bittersweet) step is emptying it out. Salvation Army will take some of the furniture and dishes; a few nice pieces of furniture will go to an estate dealer. The family has collected what they want, but there’s a lot left.

Kim’s father flipped houses in the 1970s and ’80s, before it was even a thing people had heard of. Her family has several pieces of good china that came from his various purchases. It’s a weirdly sentimental thing for Kim, to go through this house like her mom and dad used to do, to sort and pack these things that meant something to another family but have now been left behind. At first it seems sad, but honestly, how many serving platters and brandy snifters and ceramic tchotchkes can be passed down? There are limits.

But enough words! We know you’re here to see “before” pictures.

Here, in all its glory, is The Shutter Cat House. Let’s call these the before-before pictures–because the house is so full, it’s hard to see from these photos what we’re going to be working with.

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