The house and house and house and house.

I can’t sit still. I am so beyond excited about getting through this weekend and getting into our house on Tuesday! In case you were wondering, since I haven’t given an official house update since I expressed my concerns with the appraisal, we’re legitimate homeowners now! The appraisal went through without a hitch and we actually closed a week ahead of schedule! We went back to Ohio last week and closed on the house but since we closed early, the previous owners were not prepared to leave until March 31. Of course this was fine with us because we’re reasonable people.

If you remember, we had planned to have Josh go back before us so he could refinish the hardwood floors, but I can’t wait. I want to move! We’re all going back together, getting the boys enrolled in school and then playing by ear while Josh finishes the floors. We’ve decided that we want the original natural wood floors so since he won’t be staining them, it should only take 3 days. We’ll try to live upstairs (all of our downstairs furniture will be stored in the garage in the meantime) until it’s no longer possible and then the kids and I will just go to a hotel. We should be good to go by next Friday/Saturday.

I have ten million thoughts going through my mind and keep thinking of all of the ways I’ll be able to start working while Josh does the floors. We’re not doing the upstairs yet (it’s carpeted but we plan to do hardwoods eventually) so I can work on the kids’ bedrooms, and the kitchen floors are brand new bamboo so we won’t be touching those either meaning I can probably get a little done in that room as well. Speaking of the kitchen, remember how I told you about the painted tile that goes halfway up the wall? Well we found out the story behind those. It’s actually molded plaster, a common feature during the 1920’s which is when our house was built.  We laughed when we learned that’s what it is because we had watched an episode of Rehab Addict (obsessed) where she explained molded plaster and Josh had said, “Oh, maybe that’s what the tile is.” It is.

So what do we plan to do with the molded plaster? Personally, I love original detail so I don’t want to cover it up. We considered putting up board and batten or beadboard but I can’t hide something that’s so unique! I’m going to continue on with my plan to paint it white but I’m going with a high gloss paint to try and make it look a little like tile.

Apparently we bought the house from the world’s nicest people because the day after we closed, they offered to walk us through the house and give us the low down. Isn’t that super sweet? That’s how we learned about the kitchen walls and also how we learned that the quirky door that leads to the roof of our garage (the issue we were concerned with for the appraisal) was also a 1920’s feature. I guess it was common back then to create a sort of “deck” over your garage and while there isn’t railing on the roof anymore, there used to be. It was so cool to hear the previous owner tell her childhood stories of performing shows on the deck for the neighborhood kids below.

Oh yeah, that’s something else I forgot to mention. The previous owner was the only owner ever. Her dad built the house with his bare hands. She grew up in the house and then had it passed on to her when her father died. Something about that just makes me feel like we have an extra responsibility taking on this home. I have so much respect for history, family heirlooms and the passing of the torch, so to speak.

Here’s our little house 🙂

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First thing’s first. I’m ripping down the awning immediately and replacing that tiny little light with a big, beautiful, black lantern. Won’t that little step modernize the house so much? I’m debating on taking down the railing too but Josh seems to think it’s a necessity for code purposes as well as insurance reasons. “What if the mailman slips and sues us for not having a railing?!” If I don’t take it off for good I’m at least going to spray it black.

The bane of my existence, at least when it comes to this house, is the outdoor space. Josh thinks we can make it something but I can’t see it. Perhaps it’s because I am not a landscaper/gardener whatsoever, but either way I’m hoping to come up with something for in front of those three windows. I also hate that the house sits on a hill but I’ve been told it would cost thousands to remedy that and it’s just not something I want to spend that kind of money on right now.

You can’t see from this picture but the front door is absolutely beautiful. It is a rounded solid wood door that I won’t do anything more to other than clean and treat. I googled similar doors and found that it’s probably worth upwards of a thousand dollars +. I’ve always wanted one of those bright red or teal or yellow front doors but this beauty does the trick too.

From the front view of the house you can see where the roof pitches. That is the front facing wall in both the boys’ room and Ruby’s room, which creates a really dramatic shape to the bedrooms. Of course it creates challenges for furniture arrangement but like I’ve said, I love character and this definitely adds to it. Also, if you notice the sort of triangle on the left side of the chimney – that’s the attic and while it’s unfinished, it is insulated. There is a small door that leads to it from the boys’ room so we’re excited for the potential of finishing that big space. We’re hoping to (phase two 🙂 ) blow out the majority but keep a small portion of the wall to create a sense of division for either each boy to have their own space or a bedroom/hangout space.

Kind of like one of these,

PicMonkey CollageOh, also, we bought the first upgrade for the house today. This light fixture from World Market.

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I have been in love with the Ballard Designs pendant lanterns since I got the chance to take a tour of the Ballard Designs Bosch house* in Serenbe, right outside of Atlanta (Josh’s aunt lived in Serenbe and it is truly one of my favorite places in the United States). The Bosch house featured the Eldridge Rectangular Chandelier and sparked my dreams of one day having that light hang over my dining table. It doesn’t get any more beautiful but with a price tag of $500!!!!! I couldn’t convince Josh that it was okay for a light fixture to equal one month’s mortgage payment (seriously). I thought it was a lost cause as I had never seen anything remotely as lovely at any other shop but today my lucky stars aligned and YHL did a feature on upgrading their hallway lights with Ballard knockoffs from World Market. My fingers sprinted to World Market’s website and after texting Josh to get the go ahead (he knows that I’m going full speed ahead with this house so he’s asked that I consult him before I make any purchases 😉 ), I bought this lantern. It felt really exciting, not only to make a purchase for the house, but also to have it shipped to our new address. Truly exciting.

*I Googled the Bosch house and randomly came across this blog. I may, or may not be the person in the 5th photograph down. Ha! 

I could keep going. And going. And going. But I’ll stop for now since I think 1300 words is plenty for one blog post. Obviously I’ll have much more about the house to come but the next time I pop in I’ll probably be doing a recap of our trip to Cape May. That’s right. Last stop before we move back to our hometown is the only other home we’ve ever had. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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,

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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,

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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,

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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!

The kids’ rooms: Take 2

 photo PicMonkeyCollage_zps51cf4812.jpgI can not get a good picture inside of this house. The lighting is terrible. 

I’m a chronic re arranger. Chronic. Which is funny because when I was a kid, I hated changing my room. I had the same bedroom set up from the time I was 8 until I was 18. Unlike me, our kids have had about 4 different rooms each, just within the past year. I love to decorate but mainly, something about a new house takes me around 8-9 months to “figure things out.” Our house has 4 bedrooms so when we moved in, everyone had their own room. And then the boys decided that they wanted to share so we moved Parker into Theo’s room since it was bigger. We painted and decorated with a combination of their tastes. And then a couple of months later Josh decided that he wanted to move Ruby into Parker’s old room. Her bedroom was in the back of the house and had a huge bay window that faced the ocean so aside from our room, it was the coldest in the house. Because she’s still so little, we keep her door shut at night so it was getting really cold as the temperature dropped and it just made sense to move her to the other side of the house. We painted her new room and redecorated similar to her old.

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Over the weekend Theo decided that he no longer wanted to share a room. We decided to move him into Ruby’s old room with the hopes that the cooler room will help him sleep. He’s our little sweaty guy so maybe a temperature drop at night is exactly what he needs and since we don’t close his door it shouldn’t be too cold. I spent all day today moving furniture and hanging pictures and was able to finish up in time to surprise Theo when he got home from school. He’s a major nature lover so his room reflects that. I still have to hang his curtains but he loved it.

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As for Parker’s room, I decided to try and make it a little more “grown up” for him so I used our extra love seat to create a hangout area. I’m not a fan of tv’s in the bedroom and although he did have one for about 3 months, it’s not something I ever want to do again. Though we didn’t mean to do a “theme” for Parker’s room, I noticed today that his walls are covered with all things travel. Maps, bikes, license plates and these incredible car paintings that Josh’s aunt bought from a street artist in Cuba.

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I still have some holes to patch and a little touch up painting but hopefully we’re done playing musical rooms. The kids are all happy with the way things are now and so am I. For now.