Sunday, April 13, 2014

New House!

We have purchased a new house!  And I no longer have an income!  YAY!  Here is our new 1973 split level abode, in Eagan, MN:
Yep, the maroon color is depressing and dark.  The cream garage door and window is going to be a challenge to work with.  I thought about painting them white, but I'm not sure what they are made out of.   My thoughts are gray siding with bright white trim/garage door and a fun color door.  And of course, fixing the difference between the trim around the upper windows and the lowers.  And ditching the hunter green screen door.  And new lights.  Anyway, the inside of the house is so light and homey!  It doesn't feel like a 'split level' when you are inside.  Front door on the right.
Our first order of business when we close is to refinish the hardwoods - they are the beautiful skinny planks, I think 1.5 inch?  It runs through the living/dining and upstairs hallways and bedrooms.   
There is a private fenced patio area that is accessed from both the dining area and the eat-in-kitchen area French doors/slider. 
Under the snow (I took these photos APRIL 5th and they had just gotten several inches!) is a nice deck, concrete slab and planting areas. 
The kitchen is considered 'upgraded,' but of course I'm not a fan of the sea of wood.  They are nice quality cabinets, the wood is actually pretty, and thankfully the shape of the doors is ok.  The counters are ivory Corian.  Sorry I don't have a better photo of the kitchen....we saw 16 houses that day!  The backsplash is different from one side to the other, and both sides are hideous.  That will be smashed out and replaced quickly!  The lighting and faucet will be replaced, too.
We need to buy a refrigerator and a microwave.  Not sure if we will put one above the range (not a fan of those) or find another spot for it.  It's hard to see, but there is an appliance garage/bread box at the end of the counter...and eyeball lights.  Oh, and also the silly country rail at the top of the cabinets.  Hello, 80s!!
Here is a better view of the vaulted eat-in area of the kitchen.  Love this part of the house!  The skylight makes it so bright, I do not have any intention of painting the beautiful ceiling.
And this area goes down to the lower level, which then pops up again near the front door.  I totally love that circular flow. 
Here is the walkout from the lower level.  I have not decided whether I will turn this into a mudroom since the 'back' door is there, or a play area for Ashford, or possibly a wee guest bedroom...I know one thing, I will one day replace that door with a French door to let in more light.  And of course, the ceiling and light need help!
And down the hallway is the laundry and storage area, a workbench/hobby room, a little half bath, and the family room complete with tongue and groove, laminate floor, enormous gas fireplace, boob light, and faux brick.  Yikes!!
Our plans for this room are to either fix up the faux brick or rip it out, modernize the fireplace screen, put in can lights, replace the boob light, and probably install carpet over the icky laminate.  I have claimed the little nook (to the left) on the other side of the room as my photo editing/computer station, but Shaun is thinking it should be a bar.  I don't think a bar is necessary to crack open a beer or bottle of wine...right?     
The stairs here take you back up to the living room.  Then there are 7 steps up to the bedroom area. 
The main bath is nothing special, but it is simple and clean.  I will probably paint the vanity, get new hardware, faucet, and light and install some can lights since there isn't a window.   Oh, and I guess a shower curtain rod is necessary, too. 
The two smaller bedrooms are pretty small, but workable.  I love the large wood windows throughout the house.  This room will be Ashford's room, it has a huge closet!
This will be our guest room.  Due to the width, I may end up putting the queen bed against the window wall.  The closet is on the wall with the door.  I'm seeing some creative decorating in my future to open up this space!
What really sealed the deal for me on this house, is the fabulous master suite!  The master is enormous!  I think it is 23x14 or something like that.  The carpet is brand new, but we will be pulling it out to refinish the wood underneath.  If there is no wood, I guess we will be installing some!
To the left is a double-wide bifold closet, and to the right is the walk in closet.  Oh my!  Thank goodness, since I'm giving up all my fabulous closets in our current house.
There is also ANOTHER closet over by the bathroom, I forgot to take a pic - it is cedar and great for off-season clothes.  And here is the very dated master bath.
I will have to replace the vanity top and faucet, no like the sea shell.  I will also probably replace the shower door, light, and all the small fixtures.  Here is the view from the bath area.  There is a skylight in the master, which I love for the light - but we are looking into a shade, since we both love our sleep!  (This is sort of a joke, since we have Ashford we can never BOTH sleep in at the same time...)
The house also has a nice big attached garage with rafters, which we don't have now.  We are looking forward to the extra storage space for Shaun's kayak, ice shanty, and other stuff that is taking up room on our garage floor.  It's also going to be very luxurious to be able to enter the house from the garage!
So, that is basically everything.  Here are my thoughts...I am not a fan of painting short little 'ranch' trim white.  I think it looks awful.  I also don't like painting hollow core doors that are so typical in mid-century homes, and I can't afford to replace them all with solid doors right now.  I also don't want to paint the nice wood windows and doors throughout the house.  However, there is SO MUCH wood in this house.  I want to embrace the retro feel of the house, but I cannot find a single inspiration image with original stained trim!
There is also this large casement window that apparently had a slew of animals using it as a scratching post.  I am not sure I could get this smooth enough to look good painted.  I'm thinking we will remove the small baseboard when we do the floors, and replace all of it with 1x4s stained to match the floor, then I will paint the kitchen cabinets similar to what Joi did with her kitchen to break up all the wood.  I think those colors would look great with the natural trim throughout the house, and the tongue and groove ceiling.  Please give me your opinion! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

House is sold

We have an accepted offer on our house!  This actually happened a few weeks ago, but I wanted to make sure the inspection went ok (it did) and the appraisal came back approved (it did) before we posted the news.  With that said, we are both horrified and happy because it means we have to leave our beautiful house, but it also means we never have to clean it for a showing again! 
This is Ashford skipping down our beautiful walkway because he doesn't have to put his toys away any more.  (Just kidding, he totally does.)  So, the dirty details....we sold for 194,900 and are paying 1.5k of the buyers closing costs after a wee negotiation.  We are THRILLED that a family with a daughter about the same age as Ash bought our house.  They love the place and I couldn't be happier.  Our official closing date is April 25th and because of that, we did go to MN last week to look at houses. 
The trip didn't go very well, meaning we didn't find a place to live.  Now I am a little stuck because I have two weeks left of work and cannot go look at houses again until after the 11th, unless we drive up this weekend.  It's very upsetting to see houses come on the market and be sold in 1 DAY.  Yes, that happens.  That market is hotter than the mess in our attic.  It was especially depressing when we came back to our house and realized how much better it was than anything we looked at.  I'm a little stressed, but we're working out a plan for temporary housing.  In the meantime, I'm taking lots of photos around the house and hoping to capture every detail, the light, the space, everything.  I set my camera on our dresser and pulled out the remote last Sunday morning, with totally fun results!
As you can see, Shaun was not interested in participating.  But this is a classic weekend, one parent wrangling the kid while the other desperately tries to sleep in.
I'm so happy I took the time to do this, and I'm trying to find other places around the house to stage little photo shoots to remember moments like this.  
 I can't believe we only have a few weeks left.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dressing room to bedroom

Before we put our house on the market, I knew I had to turn my dressing room back into a bedroom.  There wasn't much to do, I just had to move the bookcases and bench out and find a bed.  Luckily, my mother in law had acquired a charming vintage metal bed for us, and it was a perfect piece for this room!  Here it is with a bad paint job and faux wood contact paper over the adorable metal flower design.  I can't believe I didn't get a shot of the contact paper!  Seriously, it was awful and I scraped at it for a long time.  
I thought about painting it a fun color, but ultimately decided white would be best.  Shaun told me the flower design was ugly and I should paint the entire bed white, but I wanted to keep that detail.  I figured if it looked ugly once painted, I could always paint it later!  
I used two cans of spray primer, and two cans of Rustoleum Universal spray in satin white.  I think the end result is darling!  It is amazing what some fresh white paint can do.
Once I cleaned up the insets, I loved them, and they keep the bed from looking too much like a hospital bed. Which it does, I'm aware.  
The rest of the room turned out great!  I finally hung the yellow clock on the wall, it had been resting on top of the window blinds for the last three years.  
I added this little half-moon table, which was also given to me by my mother in law and painted white years ago.  It works so well under the window, a perfect fit!  An old Ikea desk lamp was a free bedside light, even though I wanted to buy a cuter one.  I was actually pretty impressed with my restraint.  (Since, you know, I get Shaun's employee discount at TJ Maxx!)
I found the sheets, bed skirt, and reversible throw at Target, the pillows and blanket I already had from various places.  The yellow vase was purchased years ago from Crate and Barrel.  I decided to leave the racks on the wall as display rather than take them down and deal with patching all the holes.  I couldn't think of anything creative to use them for, so I hung my colorful skinny belts and a girly purse.  
The other rack holds a robe and some other random items.  Yep, I stole one of Ashford's toys because it matched the room.  
The other side of the room looks exactly the same.  I did paint the windows in this room, which I hadn't done yet.  I was actually shocked at how many doors and windows we hadn't painted in the five years we've lived here.  Awful that you do it all when you are going to be leaving soon!
I still get ready in here every morning, as you can see I didn't remove all my shoes or extra overflow clothes in the closet.  I'm very happy with the way it turned out, and even happier that it only cost me a few cans of spray paint and some bedding that I can use when Ashford is old enough for a twin bed.  
On the home sale front, we have had huge turnouts for our open houses, lots of showings, fabulous comments, and a few very interested buyers, but only one couple that has had a second showing....which was yesterday.  They really like the house and do NOT have a house to sell, which is amazeballs.  We are hoping and praying that this is the couple that puts in our first offer.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The house saga, and an ode to winter

Hello, all!  I just wanted to check in and tell you all what has been happening.  Our house has been on the market for 65 days now, and we recently dropped the price 8k to 197k.  We really feel bad about the price after all the updates we've done, but we are also trying to be realistic about the soft market in Racine.  Homes comparable to ours (although not as beautifully decorated/updated, of course!) are selling in the high 180s - so we are hopeful that dropping below the 200 mark is going to get us a new set of buyers.  Our realtor is pretty confident we will sell in the low 190s, so we're hopeful about that.  We are SO ready to sell, and have had nothing but great comments on the house, in fact we have two sets of buyers that really want our house, but have their own houses to sell.  Isn't that always the way it goes?  
This winter has not been kind to us.  We just get more and more snow, and the sub zero days are awful.  It will warm up and snow, then the ice and snow will melt, then it is below zero and everything is ice.  We don't ever feel like we have a weekend, it is always spent cleaning and shoveling.  Our beautiful patio is definitely not a selling point right now!
The shared driveway is still the number one issue for potential buyers, which is funny, because the shared driveway has saved my life this winter!  Our neighbors are retired, and they take care of every snowfall for me while Shaun is away during the week.  If I didn't have them, there is just no way I could get the snow shoveled and keep track of Ashford.  That kid does love to join the shoveling fun, though!
The winter doesn't always seem as bad when you get to see it through your child's eyes.  
And the snow does make for beautiful photos during the day...
...and at night.  So, there's that.  (I still don't like you, snow)
We have an open house scheduled for tomorrow, and I have a question for you all...should we have Shaun's famous homemade cookies and water bottles available?  Or is that a pointless expense/effort?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My new walk in closet

The last time I showed the master closet, it was looking like this:
I had my vision all marked out on the wall with tape, and then I went about ordering all my materials.  The boob light (and the tape) was taken down...
I put up a plain bulb light fixture - ok, it was just hanging by the wires in this photo - painted the trim, and painted the walls with my bedroom color, Behr Aqua Smoke....
Floor trim went in, my DIY crystal chandelier went up, my DIY window treatment went up, I accessorized, hung pretty hooks, and here is the finished product!  

Oooo, I love it!  It actually holds most of the stuff from the dressing room.  There is a lot of hanging and folded clothes storage in this 4x5 space.
It all came together exactly as I thought it would! 
Here are some details from my fabulous little space.  This DIY Faux window shade was so easy!
The chrome rod/shelf supports are from, I got three for each rod to avoid sagging.  They are shiny and fabulous!  The white laminate shelves are from Menards and Home Depot.  
The small chrome self supports are also from Closetbay, and came two per pack which was a great price!  
The rod and shelf supports come out exactly to the depth of the window trim, so it all worked out perfectly.  I used my signature stained wood closet rods in here, of course!  
My crystal chandelier, which will be shared as a separate post.  It was so worth doing myself instead of buying a fixture!
My favorite crystal hooks from the Home fact, the wall anchors in this wall just kept falling back into the framing because whoever drywalled this room used the thinnest crap drywall ever.  Needless to say, all the shelf supports are in studs!
When I saw this funny postcard I had laying around the house, I knew I had to find a pretty frame to hang it up in this closet.  I hope potential buyers find it funny when they see how my clothes take over just about every closet in our house!
The gorgeous hand loomed cotton rug is from Overstock, I love it.  It is a good complement to the orange Moroccan tile rug in the bedroom, without being too matchy. 
The shoe rack was dug out of storage, and the white storage unit for my sweaters and jeans was a cheapo Room Essentials bookcase from Target.  I also added a little clasp for the original window shutter to keep it closed, it was brass and I sprayed it white. 
The little white cloth bins I found at Shopko for $5 each, what a steal!  I have all my tights and dress socks in those.  
So, that is the new closet.  The incredibly hard to photograph closet.  What do you think?  Is it worthy of taking over the duties of the dressing room?