I’m still here.

iy iy iy (I hope that’s how you write it out)! I have honestly never been so busy in my life. Between the move and the house and adjusting to being a part time single mommy, catching up with old friends and family, throwing a birthday party for Theo and celebrating Easter, I feel like I haven’t had a second to even breathe.

I’m breathing now. A little bit. Very quickly.

There’s so much that I want to write about and I barely know where to start but of course, I have to start with the house! Homeownership feels a lot like adding a new baby to the family. In the past three weeks I’ve felt excited, overwhelmed, in love, ill equipped, inadequate, overjoyed and have asked myself what have we done, more than once 😉

 photo IMG_8344_zpsc346b485.jpg

We are not completely unpacked, which is pretty uncharacteristic of me, but we have done so much to change this little fixer upper for the better already. I feel like we’ve renovated the kitchen but Josh said that word was a little extreme. Either way, within the first week we painted, updated the light fixtures, upgraded and replaced the appliances, changed all of the hardware, removed all of the upper cabinets and replaced them with open shelves and a wine rack (essential), updated and switched out all of electrical outlets, SCRUBBED the filthy mess (this house turned out to be Christina Aguilera Dirty) and added bamboo shades. Basically the only thing we didn’t do were the floors and the countertops. Overall, I love it and I’m so proud of Josh for how much work he has done already. I helped of course, but Josh has really taken charge and has constantly reminded me that we can do almost everything ourselves.

 photo IMG_8358_zps3b9425e9.jpg

One thing I’ve already learned from owning a home is that just because we own it, doesn’t mean everything will work out the way I we had imagined it would. I guess I’ve always thought that I’d love our house so much more if I could do anything I want to it but the truth is there are limitations on what you can do with a space whether it’s a rental or not. There have been a few surprises, both positive and negative, but luckily the good and bad have balanced each other out pretty well (so far).

Remember when we first looked at the house and I complained about the terrible, painted tile that turned out being molded plaster? Well we painted it a high gloss white and I absolutely love it. It looks like pretty square tiles but still has the charm since it’s really plaster. It also looks fantastic because it’s only half of the wall and contrasts the sea foam sort of green that we painted the top half of the wall. On the other hand, I hate the stove we bought. It’s cute (stainless steel flattop) but it sucks at actually cooking. Ha! Form over function, right? But the refrigerator is fabulous (I bought the same one we had in Texas so I knew what we were getting), the ceiling fan is fabulous, the hardware is fabulous (and from Ikea!) and I still love the bamboo floors. Three weeks in and the kitchen is about 90% done already. We have one beam over the sink that needs to be painted and we plan to replace the countertops eventually but everything else is done.

 photo IMG_8359_zps17e2c4ac.jpg

As for the rest of the house –

  • we’ve painted the dining room and hall way between the master bedroom and bathroom.
  • we’ve changed the light fixture in the dining area to the lantern that may be the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
  • we’ve ORBed (oil rubbed bronze spray painted) half of the heating vents throughout the house. They used to be an ugly gold so rather than buy new covers, we just bought a $12 can of spray paint and made them look new.
  • we’ve updated half of the electrical outlets throughout the house.
  • we’ve updated the dining light switch to a fancy new dimmer switch.
  • we’ve ripped up every single inch of carpeting within these small 1200 square feet.

And all in less than 3 weeks time.

 photo IMG_8348_zpsfe133d9a.jpg

 photo IMG_8332_zps868d8c38.jpg

Getting real with how I feel – it’s very strange. This house is exactly what I wanted. An easy, small fixer upper that mostly just needs cosmetic repairs. I want to do it myself, I want to learn as I go, I like the projects and I want this house to be a good investment. But something about this process just isn’t as rewarding as I had imagined. Basically it’s just this feeling of inadequacy. I see in my mind exactly what I want, we make it happen and then it’s not as good/nice/pretty as I had thought it would be. I’m not kidding myself – it’s not the house, it’s me – it’s my touch of OCD, perfectionism and insecurities. Either way, it’s a buzz kill.

I’m hoping that as we continue to make progress I’ll continue to fall in love with the house and it will start to feel more and more like our home. Since we have so many plans for this little cottage, I’m making a weekly list broken down into daily tasks (can you say Type A?) to help me visualize just how much we’re actually accomplishing in this big sea of projects.

 photo IMG_8370_zpsed2b90de.jpg

I’m excited to share everything as we keep chugging along as well as give an update on what it’s like to live separately from my husband for half of the week and an update on what it has been like moving back to our hometown after 7 years away. A lot of fun has also been being had and I’d love to document some of that so hopefully I find the time to pop in more often!

We’ll see…

 

 

 

House update and a kitchen sneak peek.

Even though it seems like things are moving in slow motion (at least for us) with this house buying process, it actually hasn’t even been two weeks since we signed on the dotted line. The truth is, we’re making progress everyday. We’ve had the inspection done, ordered our homeowners insurance, ordered the appraisal, filled out and signed what seems like ten million forms and invested lots of money already. We’re at the point where we’ve accomplished everything we possibly can until the appraisal comes through.

Speaking of the appraisal. Since we’re going with a VA loan, the house has to be approved for purchase through an appraisal done by the VA. We’ve done a ton of research on what the approval entails and honestly, we’re a little nervous about it. You see, the house has a few small problems that we knew about prior to making an offer and that we’re prepared to repair ourselves. Our only concern is that these problems could cause our appraisal to fall through leaving us at the mercy of the sellers who would either fix the issues or back out of the contract. The good news is that the odds are in our favor and there isn’t anything we can do about it anyway, so rather than dwell on what I can’t control I’m going to embrace positivity and excitement and share some of the ideas that we have for our little cottage.

Refinishing the hardwood floors throughout the downstairs is the very first thing we’re going to do (before we even move in). They’re the original floors and just have normal wear and tear so we called around and got quotes from flooring companies but ultimately decided just to do it ourselves. We also have to raise the stair railing in the upstairs before we move in. The first time we looked at the house I noticed that it seemed dangerously low and that was confirmed by the inspection. Apparently railings and banisters should be 36 inches high and ours doesn’t meet that requirement so we’re going to attempt to raise it ourselves. The next big upgrade we’re planning is installing central air but that won’t be done immediately – just by June 😉 But all of this is the boring stuff that I wish we didn’t have to spend money on so let’s talk about the fun upgrades.

I keep teasing Josh about phase one and phase two. Phase one is what I plan to do immediately and phase two are upgrades I have planned for later. Having phase two is essential for me because I change my mind a lot (ha! poor Josh) and because we need the time to save up the money for each phase two project. Besides lots of painting throughout the house, the kitchen is the main area I plan to semi reno right away and I have ten million pins and idea books on Pinterest and Houzz as inspiration. Without further ado, here’s the kitchen now via our inspection photos.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.31.34 AM

First thing’s first. We need to get that fridge and stove matching the dishwasher. I’m hoping to buy new appliances right away but it honestly just depends on our other expenses. If everything goes as planned we will be able to as soon as we move in but it really comes down to Josh’s apartment/house situation. We have to make sure he’s taken care of before we make a pretty refrigerator our priority. Besides those obvious upgrades, what you can’t see from this picture is that half of the wall, from the baseboard to about the bottom of the freezer, is actually painted tile. I don’t understand why you’d blend the tile into the wall but I plan to strip it while praying that it’s beautiful underneath. If it isn’t pretty, clean, white tile I’m going to paint it white (phase one) and the rest of the dreary gray a nice pale blue, like this,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.54.43 AM

Also similar to this picture, Josh and I are going to take out all of the top cabinets. They’re just not practical for us,  in size or location, so we’re taking them down and installing floating, open shelves like this,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.59.11 AM

Another thing you don’t see in the inspection photo are the light fixtures. Directly above the sink is an ugly old-fashioned jar light and in the center of the room is a ceiling fan. We plan to switch out the jar light for a pendant light  and upgrade the fan with fixtures kind of like these,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.45.25 AMThe last part of phase one is updating the cabinets. They look decent in the photo but actually, they’re finished with some kind of high gloss paint that isn’t my favorite. Josh really likes gray cabinets and since we’ll be getting rid of all of the gray paint throughout the rest of the room, we may go with darkening up the cabinets a bit. We’re also changing out the hardware for brushed nickel bin pulls and knobs kind of like this,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.15.33 AM

So obviously, we like a bright, clean, farmhouse style kitchen which brings me to phase two. Eventually, we plan to change out the countertops for either quartz or butcher block, upgrade the sink to big, beautiful, ceramic white farmhouse sink and, depending upon what we do with the tile on the wall, either do a subway tile backsplash or bead board. I can’t wait to get started!

Asking for good thoughts, positive energy, crossed fingers and prayers as we wait for this appraisal! Eeekkk!