Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Certainly No Coincidence

We definitely serve an awesome God who knows what we need before we even realize it!  Over the weekend, Jared and I tore out the all of the carpet that was in the house - and I mean all of it.  We had put the carpet in a pile in the guest bedroom, waiting until we figured out what to do with it.  Then, last night, Jared and I headed over to the new house to get some work done.  Typically we can't go over in the evening, but last night we were able to.  As we're driving down the streets, we see huge piles of trash out with big stuff, like furniture.  Our neighbors were outside, so we asked them if our suspicions were true - and they were; it was take-all trash night!  It happens just once a year - you can get rid of almost anything, in any quantity.  Music to our disgusting-carpet-hating ears!

But there was just one little snag ... we don't actually have trash service at the new house yet.  But again, God had taken care of that as well - our neighbor (whom we just met last night) let us put out our trash in front of his house.  And not only that... he offered to help us lug all of our trash out!  I really don't think he knew what he was getting into... that stuff stank.  Bad.

Two rolls of duck tape later, we were done, and our neighbor had a huge pile of rank used-to-be-beige-but-isn't-anymore carpet on his front lawn.  (Please excuse the poor photos - it was dark out!)

Below is the living room, carpet-free.  It still hasn't been cleaned (we still don't have water), but it's really not in too bad of shape.

Below is the upstairs hallway. Again, I hadn't even swept it at this point, but it'll look even better when it's clean!  And don't worry, those rolls of carpet in the picture made their way to the neighbor's yard!  I just jumped the gun a little on my picture taking :-)

I've also been working on the front door - replacing it with our bargain light and fixing up the mailbox - but it's not quite done yet.  Pictures to come when it's finished!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Productive Weekend

This weekend we've been hard at work both here at our townhouse and at the new house.  On Saturday we bought paint, which is very exciting! We picked out a few colors last week and tested them on the walls before making the leap.  The colors will probably vary from computer screen to computer screen, but the pictures below will give you a general idea of where we're headed.

On the first picture, we're going with the color on the right, which is Sharkey Gray by Martha Steward (color matched by Sherwin Williams).  It's worth mentioning that I like it a lot better in person, and the picture doesn't really do it justice.

This is the office color, which is Smoky Blue by Sherwin Williams.

And this is the master bedroom color, Upward by Sherwin Williams.

We're almost ready to paint, we just need to finish up our wall prep.  Here's a picture of all the wall prep necessary just around the fireplace.  Notice the color swatch to the left of the fireplace - that's the Sharkey Gray again.

I also spent this week painting the front door.  We wanted to go with something bright, cheery, and full of color.  We chose Sherwin William's Wheat Grass for this - it's a nice golden yellow in the daylight and a good bit more green in artificial light.  My mom also bought us the matching door mat!  It matches perfectly.

And last but not least, we planted the dogwood tree that my parents bought us - we're excited to watch it grow over the years!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Locks and De-wallpaper-ing

The first thing on our to-do list as new home owners was to replace the locks on the front and side doors.  Both doors will be replaced at some point, but for now, we just updated the locks.  So  now we have some spiffy new locks on some ugly dirty doors!  We still don't have water, so we can't really start cleaning much yet.  I'm really looking forward to that!

My mom also left us a surprise to find when we stopped at the house after closing - a "new" bird feeder as well as a young dogwood tree for us to watch grow over the years :-)

I also went to town scraping wallpaper!  It was much easier than I thought.  I peeled off the front of all the wallpaper, which left just the backing stuck to the wall.  I took some warm water, and mixed in a little bit of Dawn dish soap.  I sprayed it on the backing, one big section at a time.  Then I took a large scraper - like a mega razor blade on a stick ($10 at Lowe's) - and scraped the backing right off.  The scraper I used was similar to this one, but a different brand.

It wasn't hard at all, and it's starting to look a little better!  I didn't have a ladder with me to reach the high stuff, but the rest is done, and it only took about 2 hours.

The wall below was covered in wallpaper as well.  You can see just a corner of it in the "before" picture.

I'm so glad the wallpaper wasn't a nightmare.  Anyone else find that the Dawn solution works wonders?


Monday, April 4, 2011

Exciting News

After a very long and involved process, we've finally closed on a new house!  If you want the nitty gritty details, keep reading... otherwise... skip ahead to the pictures!

My husband and I bought our townhouse 2 years ago with the plan to stay here for about 5 years.  But recently, we realized that it would be a better use of our money if we could live debt-free, or close to it.  We came to this conclusion after reading a Dave Ramsey book, as well as hearing about it from others like Money Saving Mom.  We thought if we could actually own a house, debt-free, it would open our finances up to whatever the Lord might have for us.  We would be able to save our money rather than spend it on interest on the house, and we would be able to use our money in different ways to help others.  So we decided to start looking for a cheaper house that we could fix up, and one that would be more conveniently located to our church.

We looked at many different houses, but the first house we thought would be a good fit for us was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house that we affectionately called "the bungalow".  It was built in the 1920s, and was pretty small, but we were ok with downsizing if it meant we could reach our goal of living debt free in the near future.  After the inspection, though, we decided to reduce our offer a sizable amount.  The deal ended up falling through due to this.  Back to the drawing board!

Another house, listed as a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, and located just a few streets over, had been on our "watch list" for about a month, but was a little over our price range.  We decided to go see it, in the off chance that the sellers would accept a much lower offer - since it was a foreclosure, we thought we might have a chance.  The day we went to go see it, the listing price was dropped a good bit!  Not only that, it actually turned out to be a 4 bedroom house, which was great news.  We made an even lower offer, and to our great surprise, they accepted.  Thus began the roller coaster of purchasing a foreclosure.

I will save you the details, but suffice it to say the listing agent wasn't very good at her job.  But, praise God, we were able to close on the house last Friday, April 1st (hardy har har).  Since then, we've been busy at work - although the house wasn't destroyed when the owners left (they had actually moved out quite a while ago, so it was vacant for some time), it wasn't very well kept while occupied.  We have our work cut out for us, but most of the work we need to do is cosmetic.  Structurally, the house is in great shape.  The house was very well built, and it was built with a lot of charm.  Now we get the wonderful job of restoring the house to its original glory!  The house, "Carly" as we like to call her, has a ton of charm hidden under the years of ugly taupe paint and disgusting carpeting.

So without further ado, here are the photos!  Keep in mind that there is a lot of work to do, but I guess we're crazy enough to see the beauty underneath it all.

We love the back yard - it will be enough room for us to have a garden and patio, and room to play!  We will be removing the tree trunk... don't worry.  Anyone need some fire wood?

The back of the house - obviously the siding needs some help.  We plan to repaint it for now, and maybe replace with vinyl at some point down the road.

And now for the inside - the front door opens into the living room.

What we love:
The large window
The opening in the ceiling which leads to the skylight and second floor hallway.
The stone fireplace.

What we don't:
The color.  Please, somebody help me.  Purple?
The carpet covering up the wood floors (which are in decent condition as far as we can tell).
The blinds.  I'm afraid to even touch them.

The living room is open to the dining room - a very open floor plan for the 50s!

What we love:
The way it opens up to the back yard, which lets in plenty of light.
I'm learning to love the architectural details like the funky openings above the doorway to the kitchen :-)

What we don't:
The glossy ceiling paint.  Again, it's purple.  Does it need to be glossy, too?
The wallpaper to match.
The trim, which just so happens to be embossed with leaves.  In purple.
The non-working sliding glass door.

The downstairs bathroom is in a state of disrepair.  At the current moment, there is no water in the house (hopefully this week!).  But even if there were, the toilet supply line leaks, the tub piping leaks, and the cold water knob doesn't work.  The fixtures are some sort of fake ornate ceramic.  The tub surround is missing.  Did I mention we got a good deal on this place?  :-)

And the "Best Paint Color" award of the last 50 years goes to...

Seriously.  And it's EVERYWHERE.  Trim, blinds, and ceiling included.  But check out those hardwood floors!  The pink room will become the office - it's in the front of the house (it's the window on the right in the front exterior picture).

Next up is the sponge painted guest bedroom, which is across the hallway from the office.  We'll probably wait until last to paint this room since it doesn't make me want to cry quite as much as some others.  And trust me, the poor paint choices aren't even over yet.

Next up is the kitchen.

What we love:
The layout.  I think it'll work out quite well - it's a corridor kitchen, which makes a perfect work triangle!  And it has two windows which will let in lots of light.  The doorway leads to the side door and the basement.
We'll be able to make do with the cabinets for now, especially once they get a fresh coat of paint.

What we don't:
The brick color.  Will be painted until it can be dealt with.
The appliances.  There is no fridge, the oven makes noises even when it's not on, and only one burner works.  The dishwasher is a nightmare.  I think I had a nightmare after opening it.

Once you head up the steps (they're off the dining room),  you enter into this hallway, which really caught my breath the first time I saw it.  I wasn't sure what to expect upstairs (especially since I thought it was only a three bedroom house), but was so pleased when I found this hallway!  It's super wide, and bright since it has the skylights and opening down to the living room.  We will probably need to do something about the foot high barrier to the living room... but for now, we're kidless, so unless my husband decides to use the boards as monkey bars, we'll be ok.

This bedroom is the future nursery.  It's pretty low down on the priority list since it's not in terrible shape and we won't be needing it for a while, anyway.

The upstairs bath isn't too bad.  It looks really gross below, but I think it's mostly just dirty.  The layout is terrible, but it's workable until we get around to fixing it up.  The tile appears to be in pretty good shape, so this bathroom is fairly low on the priority list as well.

The shower is right in the middle of the already skinny room.  This is something we'll be trying to figure out once we get to this bathroom.

And finally, the master bedroom.  Orange.  Come on!
  The awesome part is that this room has two closets - so it'll definitely be the master bedroom.  It's also fairly large.  The one closet also has a sneaky attic space attached, which accounts for the round window on the front exterior picture.  I claim that closet!

So there it is - the new house!  We've already been hard at work, so stay tuned for progress updates as we go.  I can't guarantee them with any regularity, but I'll do my best :-)

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