The House Curse Is Lifted

The curse is gone. No, not the goat or black cat curse on the Cubs (for all we know that’s still there!) — the KP house-buying curse. In the past two years we’ve tried 3 times to buy a house:

1. 1924 Chicago bungalow, beautifully renovated, 2 blocks from current location. Got a contract. Inspection: termite damage, and evidence that someone deliberately tried to cover it up.

2. 1894 worker’s cottage, beautifully renovated and 2nd story expanded, 1 block from current location. Got a bid in. Got outbid at the last minute, and some of the way it all happened left a very bad taste in my mouth.

3. 1896 Victorian, renovated but needing some TLC and expansion out the back, 4 blocks from current location. Got a contract. Inspection: when the renovation was done, the supporting posts were unbolted from the house’s support beam, and never bolted back in. 7 years later, the support beam has torqued. Run away, run away

So, jaded and tired, we persisted. This house has no structural faults except for still having the original cloth knob-and-tube wiring. It’s a 1929 craftsman/prairie home, 4 blocks from our current location. It will be a lot of work, but it’ll be great. And since we’re doing the wiring, we’ll throw ethernet in there for all three floors while we’re at it …

4 thoughts on “The House Curse Is Lifted

  1. Congratulations! Home ownership can give you a special appreciation of how the “basics” in life are provided: water, electricity, heat, etc. Don’t be too quick to jump into the wireless world. I have heard mixed reviews, and if the locations you are connecting do not have a decent line of site, you are better off with hardwire. This article from gives a thorough review of networking a house. If you are rewiring for electical service, you may as well throw in a run of Cat-5 as well.

  2. Marc,

    Thanks for the advice! In our current (no pun intended) 1300 ft2 condo we have one wireless router; for a 2-story-plus-attic we’re probably going to add two more.

    Yeah, we’re going to do ALL of the wiring at once, because I don’t want to live in 75-year-old plaster dust again!

  3. Congrats. Sounds like a great deal of fun; I really enjoy big remodel jobs. I think after programming computers all day, it’s nice to go home and do some work that actually has tactile results to be proud of. And, a suggestion from someone who has pulled a lot of data cables: make sure to run the data cables away from the electrical cables if you do them at the same time. The best policy is usually to pull electrical horizontally (obviously) and data vertically to avoid current inductions in the data cables. Good luck!

  4. I would alter that recommendation just slightly.  Do not just run CAT5 or CAT6; instead, run conduit.  Conduit gives you the option of pulling anything you would like, so you will not be stuck if the preferred technology changes to fiber or something else.  You thread a pull-string through the conduit (you can blow it through with compressed air) and when you pull anything through, you pull another length of string for next time.

    I highly recommend that power and data wiring be separated by at least 12 inches, and ought to cross at right angles to minimize crosstalk.

    If you would like to talk to people who’ve already done this in the Chicago area, contact me.

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