Six reasons why I’m loving our closed floor plan

We’ve always figured ourselves for “open floor plan people”. I mean, open floor plans are great for many reasons….  They’re open, airy, and offer increased visibility which is fantastic, especially if you have young children. Not to mention, they’re great for interacting with guests at parties.   Our first two houses had open floor plans and we loved them. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever NOT lived in an open floorplan. My parents house is open. All of my apartments were open. And Joey reports the same. He’s only ever lived in open floor plans.

So, when we bought our 1975 ranch-style house with a closed floor plan (which I’m defining as having a separate kitchen), we automatically figured that we’d be knocking down walls to recreate that openness. And although we still might open the kitchen more up to the dining space eventually, we’re looking at it a bit differently now. Because, the truth is, we’ve noticed some unexpected benefits to having a closed floor plan since living here.

When we moved in, I’d assumed that I’d have to “get used” to the closed floor plan. “Deal with it” until we had the funds for a full reno. But, I was completely taken aback when we moved in, and I actually kinda liked it. No, no… Not kinda. I DID like it. Granted, we’ve only lived here for a short time, but still… like is like.  And I figure, if I’m liking a layout with an independent kitchen this quickly, that’s a REALLY good sign. Why do I feel this way, you ask??? Well….

1. Family dinners are family dinners. This was one of the first things I noticed.   Meals automatically became about us and our food.   Not the TV.  Gone are the days of redirecting Lucas’s attention from the TV to his plate. Gone are the days of Joey getting irritated with annoying commercials and leaving his seat to mute the set. Gone are the days of meals with little conversation due to other distractions. We can’t see or hear the TV from the kitchen, so it’s pretty much out of sight, out of mind. Our new closed floorplan has opened our meals up to conversation, which is pretty much awesomesauce.

2. Speaking of TV, there’s been much less of it in general. With our open floorplan, the TV was always on. I mean, we could always see/hear it, so it was just second nature to wake up, turn on the set and then leave it on the majority of the day until bedtime. Even if we didn’t sit and watch it, it was always on. We started realizing that this maybe wasn’t such a good thing when instead of singing nursery rhymes, Lucas began singing State Farm commercials. Seriously. We would laugh and then wonder if it was funny or sad. But, we just.couldn’t.stop. The draw of the TV was just too much. We couldn’t not have it on and once it was on, it was hard to turn off.

Now, in our new house, there are days when we don’t turn on the TV at all for most of the day. If we’re doing stuff in the kitchen, bedrooms, whatever, the TV just stays off because there’s no point in having it on. We can’t see or hear it anyways. And, we’ve found that Lucas would rather hang out with us, rather than sit in front of the TV without us, so he’s exposed less TV as well. It’s very different, but good. And nothing that we intentionally strived for. Just a beneficial side-effect of our home’s layout.

3. In place of TV, is music. Before, unless I was in the car or on a jog, I rarely just turned on the tunes. Namely, because the TV was always on. Now, when I’m cooking or doing something in one of the bedrooms, I find myself busting out the Pandora. I’d forgotten how great it can be to just turn on some music. Lucas likes it, too. We’ve found spontaneous dance parties to be much more common around these parts.  Much moreso than in our previous homes.

4. Closed floorplans are ALSO great for having guests over. Just in different ways. We haven’t had a ton of people over yet, but in the few instances that we have, I’ve noticed several things.   With our open floor plans, I could see and talk to my guests at all times, but I’m so bad at multitasking that this would often result in burnt food, or me forgetting something major… Like putting all the food out, etc. Now, I can pre-plan and get most stuff done before guests arrive, then finish the last few things in the kitchen with focus, and have the rest of the night to chill with friends and family.  Thus, our guests actually GET all the food I’ve prepared.  And the food is relatively intact (relatively).  Also, the closed floor plan allows me to keep my mess contained to the kitchen, leaving a nice, neat dining and living space to entertain guests in. With our previous open floor plans, my cooking mess was out for all to see. It always made me feel scattered to have my countertops cluttered with stuff in front of guests.

5. I get my steps in. With an open floor plan, you can see everything, making things easier to find. With a closed floorplan, you must walk to find things. Some may see this as a downside, but as a lazy exerciser, I like it. Fitness is about overall movement and walking more contributes to that. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. ;)

6. I’m reminded of how much I enjoy cooking.  Sans distractions, I can actually focus on this task alone.  And I really love it.   I’ve found myself rediscovering creativity in the kitchen, which has been missing for quite some time.   I’m not sure if it’s the enclosed kitchen or the fact that I feel so at home in this house, but I’ve really noticed a difference in myself in this way since moving in.

Aside from that, I’m really finding our little, somewhat outdated kitchen to be quite charming.   Even the nose-cabinets are growing on me…

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(Flashback to moving day… I’ll have updated pics for you soon. :)

And I’m feeling more and more tempted to leave the cabinetry and layout original to maintain that charm (although, who knows… minds are changing daily around these parts).  It’s just so relaxing to sit in our kitchen in the mornings, sipping my coffee, as I gaze at our yard through the french doors.   Quietness.   No distractions.  I think it’s fair to say that I love our new home and feel so very fortunate to be here.  Especially since something (ie: closed floor plan) that we originally saw as a downside is proving to be much more enjoyable than we’d originally thought.  So, I guess the moral here is that you just don’t know until you give it a chance.    And I’m really glad that we did.

Ask and ye shall receive… (aka: Found an MCM dresser!)

So, yeah… the hunt was WAY less taxing than last time.   Woo-hoo!!!    Remember in this post, I mentioned that Drex (our first mid-century dresser) is now being used as a buffet in the dining space?  And that we needed a new dresser for the bedroom??   Well…

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I give you the newest member of our family.   He’s a handsome, solid wood, Bassett mid-century gem of awesomeness.

Ya see, after we moved in, I began searching for a new dresser for Joey (he uses the dresser while I monopolize the majority of the closet.  It’s just how we do.).  I visited thrift stores and antique malls, but nothing.  I tirelessly searched Craigslist, and after emailing no fewer than ten sellers about their dressers, I came across this ad…

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It was towards the end of the 3000+ listings for dressers, so I figured there was NO WAY this dresser was still available.   I mean, it had great lines and the original wood finish.   Plus, it was listed weeks ago.  So, color me shocked when the seller responded that not only was it available, but she’d dropped the price to $90.  Um… Where do I sign???

We arranged a time to meet and my dad and I went to check it out.   Seriously, I was shocked when I saw it.  It was SO much more lovely than it looked in the Craigslist picture.  It reeked of quality and character.  The seller told me that she’d been trying to sell it for months and it hadn’t sold, hence, multiple price reductions.   I was absolutely dumbstruck by this fact and jokingly stated that it was simply because I hadn’t come along yet.  ;)

I paid the nice lady and brought him home.  I shined him up with my favorite combo of Restore-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax (for more detailed instruction on how to use these products, check out this post or this one).   The Restore-A-Finish covered all the nicks, dings and scratches and the Feed-N-Wax shined him up beautifully. And that was all he needed.   Easy peasy lemon squeezy.


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And so begins the jumping off point for our new room.

The rest of our bedroom looks like this currently, since we basically just plopped down the furniture on moving day and left it at that…

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I think it’s definitely time to lose our current bed frame in exchange for something more simple and masculine to offset the more feminine bedding (Joey’s actually been lobbying for this for a while, thus engaged in major fist-pumping when I broke the news that it was finally time.).  So, we’re gonna sell it (any takers?).  The nightstands may get a little makeover as well.  And the paint color….  Oh, the paint color.   It’s hard to tell from these pics, but in person, it’s straight-up purple.  And it’s dark.  Darker than it appears in this pic.   I really despise it more and more every moment that I spend in this room.   It feels so oppressive to me.    Which just goes to show how colors affect people differently. This color fit the previous owners decor well. And it looked nice with their stuff. But it just isn’t us. The only window in the room isn’t very big in comparison to our last house and the backyard is so shady that the room gets little light most of the time.   Thus, we need a more neutral color in a lighter tone, stat.   I actually already purchased the paint for this room and am getting on that soon…. I’m so totally stoked about it, too.   I’ve mentioned it before, but I LOVE painting walls.   It’s just so therapeutic and satisfying.  Once the room is painted, I can work on the fun stuff… curtains and art and such.

Oh, and let’s not end this post without mentioning this ceiling fan….

Not only is it incredibly ornate and feminine which DEFINITELY doesn’t jive with the sleek, mid-century vibe that we’re going for in this house, apparently the blades were painted….

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… but the paint didn’t take.  We’ll be replacing it with another ceiling fan (’cause I mean, it’s Texas).  I  know the design world tends to shy away from ceiling fans (not that I flatter myself to actually think that I’m a part of the design world), but I’m all about attractive-function.   We can find a more stream-lined fan that better suits the feel of the space.   No doubt.

And while we’re on the topic of lighting fixtures…

Boob, be gone!!!   We’ll be replacing this anatomically-correct bugger that’s in the atrium area between the bathroom and closet, as well.

So, that’s the plan.  Stay tuned… I’ll have a paint update for ya soon.  :)

 

Sealing and enhancing our back patio

One of my favorite features of our new home is the covered patio out back.   I love the skylights and how from inside, it appears as though it’s an extension of the inner living space.   This was one of the main items that I fell in love with when we first saw the house.   And the fact that it had terracotta tile on the floor…. icing on the cake.  Here’s a shot of the patio from before we moved in…

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After we became somewhat settled, Joey got going like crazy working on the backyard.  Honestly, he’s done so many things so fast, that I haven’t even had time to photograph them all to put them on the blog.  Of the things that I did manage to photograph was the power-washing.   He power-washed the pool decking and back patio, which made SUCH a difference.  You can see the power-washed area below the line and pre-powerwashed above it….

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He started working on this task while I was out running errands, which is when he sent me a text…

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Brownie points for Joey!  Heehee!!  :)

Now, I will say, that we should’ve researched how to clean terracotta tile before power-washing.  Neither of us thought about it beforehand, thus, we were equally surprised when the tiles dried and looked powdery and unfinished…

Honestly, the tiles were so dusty before that we were unsure whether we’d stripped the glazing off with the power-washer or they were already de-glazed before.  Either way, we knew the tiles needed to be sealed to prevent staining and breakdown due to moisture.   I went to Home Depot and the associate whom I spoke with recommended this…

It’s a penetrating sealer and color enhancer meant for stone, tile, grout, etc. and can be used for indoor or outdoor applications.   This product was pretty pricey in my eyes.  Around $40 per bottle, but the associate assured me that it was a great product that would last way longer than the less expensive topical sealers.   So, I went for it.

Once I returned home, I prepped the surface.  Even though we’d power-washed the day prior, it had been windy, thus, some dust and debris had repopulated the patio.   I thoroughly swept, then vacuumed the patio to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.  Because of the cost of the sealer, I wanted to be sure I gained as thorough of coverage with the least amount of waste possible.  So, I decided to seal the patio by hand, rather than using a broom or mop.

I donned gloves and got going.  The process was simple.  Wet the sponge with sealer, press it into the tile and grout….

Then, come back 5 minutes later and remove the excess with a towel…

The first coat was VERY slow-going since the patio was soaking up a ton of sealer.  It was easy to see where I’d already applied the sealer as it definitely enhanced the color as promised.  Here’s what it looked like about a third of the way through…

You can see the beautiful tones of the tile coming out as well as the darker grout.   I’d say the first coat took a bit over 2 hours to complete and used up about 1.5 bottles of sealer.  I waited 30 minutes per the instructions on the bottle (and the instructions from my shoulders), then I applied a second coat (which went SO much faster).  I completed the second go-around in about 30-40 minutes and only used up about 2/3 of a bottle of sealer since the stone soaked up so much less this time.  The second coat really united the sheen, making the patio appear more consistent and finished.  After I was done, I was left with this….

And the before for comparison (this was taken after power-washing)….

And the view from inside….

And the before, again…

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I love it.  It’s just so dang RICH!!!   I feel like it looks like more of a floor now, less of a patio, which further contributes to that feeling that the patio is an extension of the indoor space.   When the tiles were dry and powdery-looking, they resembled pavers to me.  We had to avoid walking on the patio for 24 hours and couldn’t get it wet for 48 hours after sealing.   I’m now working on getting our patio furniture cleaned up and rearranged, so I’ll give you that update once I’m finished.  In any case, the hours and money spent on this project were well worth it.  Both for looks and piece of mind that the flooring is now water resistant and more protected.

Future plans for the patio space involve:

1. Removing the decrepit railroad ties and replacing them with stone that’s much easier on the eyes (and will provide additional seating)

2. Beefing up the posts of the porch

3. Replacing the ceiling of the porch with a more durable material (maybe some type of vinyl beadboard).  Right now, its a thin plywood, that we’re learning has been compromised in more than one spot with mold/mildew thanks to leaky, poorly maintained seals around the skylights.  We’ve since fixed the leaks and sealed the skylights well, but the damage has been done, unfortunately.

4. Landscaping.   Once Joey’s had his way, it’ll look amazing.

So, anyways, that’s the scoop on the patio!  What outdoor projects have ya’ll been working on?

 

 

 

 

 

A little living/dining space update

This post begins as an ode to thrift stores.   Oh, how I missed them.  From the time that we found our new home and put in an offer until one mere week ago, I hadn’t allowed myself to step foot in one.   I figured it was just more stuff to move if I found something.  And I started getting twitchy.  Nervous.  Grabby.

I missed the hunt.

I missed the finds.

I missed the awesome 80’s slow-rock at Goodwill.  (Yes, I’m that weirdo who sings along with the mad tunes as I troll the aisles. …I mean, come on… it’s WILSON PHILLIPS!  Don’t tell me that you don’t pop into Goodwill strictly for a good WP fix.)

Anyways, I couldn’t wait to reestablish myself as Resident Thriftie of this establishment.   And NOW, I have some specific items in mind to find (which, despite my recent thrift store visits, I have not yet found.  So, it’s ON.)

For example, we decided to use Drex as a buffet in the dining area rather than our dresser in the bedroom…

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(Please ignore the floor sliders under Drex… He ways a TON and I couldn’t get them out.   And also, I forgot they were there until I looked at this picture just now.  Go me.)

So anyways, now we need a new dresser for our bedroom.   I know, I know… If you read about the PROFOUND struggle that I overcame to find a mid-century dresser the first time around you think I’m crazy.  Well, I’ll have you know that I AM crazy.  It’s a sickness of the MCM variety.   I.just.cant.help.it.  I’m seriously craving another mid-century modern dresser to fill the dumping ground that is our bedroom.  Can’t you just see it??  …Isn’t it grand??  I’m hoping that the hunt is a little less taxing than last time and much quicker… I mean, poor Joey is living out of garbage bags.  Garbage bags, I tell ya!!   (In all fairness, I suggested that he use Drex in the bedroom until we found something else, to which he stated (and I quote) “I would rather live out of garbage bags than move that heavy {insert choice word here} again.”  So, really, maybe it’s not that big a deal (tohim).)

Now, let’s hop back to the dining area once again….

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This space really excites me because it’s the one (and only) space that I know exactly what I want to do.  For example, the dining table will be painted white, then I’ll find a neutral, natural fiber rug (like jute or sisal) that’s large enough to accommodate the table and chairs.  We’re very lucky as Joey’s parents had these patterned Ikea chairs and gave them to us when they bought new ones.  Score.  Our Ikea Lack floating shelves will be hung above Drex and I plan to hang a pair of floaty white curtains alongside the picture window (with bamboo roman shades between them?? I’m trying to come up with a window covering option for night that doesn’t obscure the view during the day).

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You can see that I’ve put zero effort into styling the built-ins.  Part of this was lack of time due to the many time-suck-must-do-tasks that have come up recently, the other part is that I want to paint the built-ins white before spending time making them pretty accessory-wise.

Getting back to my thrift store wish list, we’re also in search of a different media cabinet for the living space….

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My cute little media unit from the last house didn’t work in here, so it’s in the foyer now.   It was just too small to be a media cabinet now that the TV rests above it.   We needed something larger to ground the TV.  You may recognize the cabinets that I revamped for the foyer of our last house standing in.   The TV stand between them was original to the set… I just need to paint it white if it stays.   I’m just not sold on it staying.  I’m on the hunt for some type of mid-century shelving unit or storage cabinet to replace it with, so that I can move these white cabinets to the atrium area of our bedroom.  So, I’m searching for something cool.  It might be a dresser.  It might be shelves.  It just depends on what I find.  It needs to be something relatively narrow, but wide enough to accomodate the equipment.   The world is my media-unit-oyster at this point.  So, we’ll see.

The rest of the living room currently looks like  this….

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(Lucas, ‘er, Leonardo, requested a cameo… Icouldntresist.)

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I haven’t officially hung any art yet.  I’ve just been leaning things against the walls to get an idea of where I want them.   As for window treatments, I’m kind of stuck on what to do for the sliders.   I tried hanging a pair of white curtains the other day and it just looked silly.  The fireplace is way too close to make curtain panels an option.   I took them down almost immediately.   I was thinking maybe bamboo roman shades hung high, but then the color is tricky as I don’t want them to compete with the fireplace. Hmmmm…. Only time will tell, I suppose.

And lastly, here is the wet bar as it is now…

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I just accessorized a wee bit, though I’m still noodling with it.   As I mentioned in this post, this area will be completely transformed once we’re done with it.   Since there’s no lighting on this side of the room, I hung an inexpensive plug-in sconce from Ikea.    Because the side view of the mounting bracket wasn’t super attractive…

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I simply wrapped it with a bit of burlap ribbon….

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Problem solved.

So, that’s where we’re at with the living/dining space after 1.5 weeks of officially living here.  I still have a lot of work to do decor-wise, but at least we have our furniture in place and the spaces are functional for the most part.  Our spare room is currently stacked with boxes of decor that are just screaming to be unpacked.  You seriously can’t walk in there right now.   I’ll get to it soon enough, I’m sure.  And, of course, I’ll update ya’ll as we go.

So, does anybody have any window treatment suggestions for slider doors??  Any words of wisdom?

Water, water, everywhere…

No, really. I’m serious. Everywhere.

So, y’all may have read about the flood we had before we moved in. Since then, we’ve been up to our ears in tasks devoted to water. Ya see, a few days after the flood was resolved, we came back to the house, only to discover this in our master closet….

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See that dark spot?? Water.

Fortunately, a roofer was already coming that day to give an estimate, so I showed him the spot and he climbed on the roof to inspect. Turns out, the fireplace was missing flashing where it met the roof. This meant that when it rained, the water ran down the roof, smacked into the fireplace, and dripped down into the house rather than being diverted around the fireplace by the flashing.

We scheduled for him to fix the issue the soonest he could fit us in… Which was one week later on Friday. Or so we thought. On Friday, he called and said that he needed to reschedule for the following week. And wouldn’t ya know… Friday night, it rained.  Aaaaand the water spot returned, right on schedule.

So, Joey went up into the attic to locate the leak and place a bowl to catch the water….

He said he was simply locating the water spot with the screwdriver. Other individuals may say, “You tell that spot who’s boss, hottie.”. (Okay. So, it was me. I said that.  And I added the “hottie”. But, only because it’s accurate.)

Anyways, while he was tending to the roof leak, I started cleaning the shower for the first time. I didn’t take any pics because, well… I was “just cleaning the shower” and didn’t expect to be blogging about it.

Dontchya just love it when a “just” turns into two days of work and the entire house reeking of bleach??

Spoiler alert: that’s what happened.

Ya see, as I cleaned the shower I was wholly able to appreciate the sheer amount of mildew in the space. It was insane. The ceiling of the shower looked solid black in most places, where it should’ve been black tile with white grout. In fact, mildew was on every plane of the shower. And it was having a party. Boozin’ it up on all the moisture. Lushes.

So, I doused the shower with bathroom mildew remover. Which did NOTHING. And I mean nothing. Not.a.dent.

Later that day, I decided to just take the plunge and do it. I threw on some old clothes, covered my hair with an old T-shirt, threw on my respirator and scrubbed EVERY SINGLE grout line with 100% bleach on a sponge (Side note: Did you know that if sponges are allowed to sit in bleach too long, they turn into a sticky pile of mush? They do. They totally do. Now you know.). Two sponges later, the bleach worked like a charm. Even the worst of the grody areas morphed into nice, white grout lines. It was brilliant.

Unfortunately, during this time, I also discovered quite a few areas of missing or cracked grout lines which were allowing water to seep in.

So, I whipped out the waterproof silicone caulk and patched each and every vulnerable spot (still no pictures, sorry… but the basic technique was, squirt silicone caulk into grout line, smooth it with my finger, and then buff the tiles to remove any remaining residue.  It was amazing how the silicone blended right in with the grout.). The next day, I got to here…

The threshold of the shower door. Riddled with mildew.  So gross. I started by removing all traces of moldy silicone with a razor…

…and the threshold came right up… Which left this…

Even grosser. Ick. So, I once again donned my sexy respirator face…..

…removed the adhesive backing from the threshold and then bleached the heck out of it and the surrounding tile….

Which, again, left the grout lines sparkling white.  Once everything was dry, I recaulked with clear silicone, which left this…

SO much better. I hadn’t gotten to completely scrubbing the soap scum off that back tile tile yet, so just ignore that.   Once I was done, I was left with this…

Like new, right? Still outrageously ugly (and coffin-like… seriously, doesn’t the shower resemble a coffin?  My aunt pointed that out and it was completely spot-on), but now it’s mildew freeeeeee!!!!

And just to completely divulge the series of water-related events, here’s what Joey was doing while I finishing up with the shower….

Replacing the leaky washer spigots that apparently have been very slowly dripping into the wall. More water. Jeepers. I’ll never understand why one would allow moisture-related issues to persist in a home. It’s just no bueno.  He did a great job though.  We now have shiny, new water spigots (please excuse the dark phone pic)….

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I still need to paint the walls…. so add this room to my list, since (again), no touch up paint was left for us.   But I’ll take dry to perfectly painted any day.

Oh yeah, and then there was this…

The areas of the covered porch that Joey had to patch due to mold growing around the leaky skylight (which mysteriously was not visible during our home inspection. Riddle me that.). We still need to caulk and paint, which should happen soon.

Um, then, we ran the dishwasher…

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And it leaked too due to a worn out seal. Oy. It was a small leak, but still.   Small can lead to big if not tended to.  So, I siliconed the gap in the seal and all was well with the world (Ithink).

In any case, despite these issues, we really are loving our new house. I swear. We really are. It’s cozy and just so US. It’s amazing how it felt like home almost immediately. It’s just completely taken us by surprise that we’ve experienced all of these moisture issues so soon after taking possession. It makes us wonder how long these problems persisted prior to us buying the home. We’re doing the best we can to knock ‘em out one by one and are learning a lot (to say the least). Aside from that, we’re slowly getting settled in and I can’t wait to show you progress pics. They’re coming soon! As are some fun decorating posts (finally)… It’s been way too long. I have so much pent up creative energy just waiting to get it’s decorating on.   :)

 

 

Selling our home

THIS has been a roller coaster. Holy. Moly.

So, if you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve recently purchased a new home. And were selling our current house. When we went into this process, we put a lot of thought into how we wanted to handle buying and selling at the same time. This was a first for us. We’d both bought and sold houses before, but never simultaneously.

At the time that we decided to seriously start looking for a new home, the market here in good ole’ DFW was really hot and very, very competitive.   We knew that if we listed our house before finding another, the chances of us selling way before finding something that we truly loved was high. We were very picky about what we wanted in a new home and decided that we weren’t settling on ANYTHING.  This would hopefully be our last move (ever), and we figured that it might literally take us years to find exactly what we wanted.  Thus, if our house sold fast, we could potentially be homeless for an undetermined length of time.  So, we opted to house-hunt, then if we found a home that we couldn’t live without, we’d list our house. Even if it meant getting pre-approved for less by doing so. After speaking with our realtor about it, it was a done deal. He agreed that if we could do it that way, we should.

So, we searched for a house.  And after about nine months, we found THE ONE.  We put in an offer and after dealing with a bit of competition, our bid was accepted. Once we’d gone through the inspection process, and knew we were sticking with our contract, we listed our house. I was all nerves. What if it didn’t sell fast? Did we want to be stuck with two mortgages?! OMGOMGOMG. Saint Joey, as he is now known, put up with me beautifully (albeit with several deep-patience-breaths worked in there).

Fortunately, our realtor had given us sound advice.  Within two days of listing, we had 4 showings which yielded 2 offers. We were absolutely over the moon! Picture me screeching and doing elaborate happy-dances while Joey sat calmly nearby, telling me that he’d be more outwardly excited if I wasn’t hogging all the energy. I do that sometimes. It happens.

After discussing our options, we took one of the offers, signed the contract, and thought we were good to go. That is, until they bailed. Ugh. Turns out, the buyer of their house had terminated his contract, and because our contract was contingent on that, they had to terminate ours. UGH.UGH. So, we figured, okay… We’ll take the second offer. Our realtor contacted the realtor of the other couple who’d submitted an offer to see if they were still interested. But they had literally signed a contract on another listing earlier that morning. UGH.UGH.UGH!!!

So, here we were with two offers and no takers.  Now, I know I shouldn’t have been complaining at this point. We’ve had several friends who had their homes on the market for months at a time. My hats off to you, friends. Seriously. Keeping a home show-ready is legit. I can’t imagine having to do it for months. But alas, I’m a stresser. I can’t help it. It just is.  And the fact that I’m a stresser was compounded by the fact that I wasn’t sleeping. Insomnia makes everything more dramatic. I was truly afraid that we’d missed the boat by choosing the wrong offer the first time around.

That next weekend, we had 9 showings, yielding three more offers.   One was a good offer, but was contingent on the sale of their home.  The second was a total low-ball offer.  And the third, oh, the third.   The.sweetest.people.ever.   I actually got to meet them because their realtor had trouble getting into the house.  I had to return home to let them in.   They were an adorable young couple who were accompanied by her mother.   They seemed so grateful that I had allowed them to view the house as late as I did (it was nearly 8pm by the time I was able to get home).  They put in a great offer the very next morning. And it was not contingent (thankgoodness). They also included a note telling us about themselves and how much they loved the house and hoped we’d choose them.  They were engaged to be married and starting out their lives together.  This would be their first home if we chose them.    They even included a picture of themselves.  It was so stinkin’ cute.  And we were sold. (Note to buyers: Include a personalized note with your offer.  It works.)

We adjusted some of the finer points on the contract and accepted their offer.  

The home inspection went well since the house was so new. We had some minor things to fix, but fortunately, it was all stuff we could do ourselves.  And then came the appraisal.  At this point, we’d just closed on our new home and were itching to pack and move.  But, we needed to keep our home show-ready until the appraisal results were in.  So, we packed up the closets and anything hidden in the meantime. Being the impatient person I am… This was hard.  I just wanted to pack everything. Like, now.

And then we got the results of the appraisal. (Cue the sad foreshadowing music)

The thing about appraisals is, they’re luck of the draw. Most appraisers are good and want deals to happen, but then a few crazies enter the mix. And we got one. Even though other houses in our neighborhood – houses without wood floors, crown molding, granite countertops, backyard landscaping, extended patio, etc. – had been selling at or above our sales price, our appraiser deemed that our home did not make value. And not just by a little bit. By $9000. That’s a HUGE amount considering that our price point wasn’t super high to begin with. Everyone was shocked. Our realtor, their realtor, us, them. Everyone. Everyone felt that our sales price was fair. Everyone but the appraiser. And unfortunately, he had the say-so on the loan amount that the bank would award the buyers. Basically, his stating that our home was valued at $9000 less than the sales price meant that the bank would now give our buyers $9000 less money for their loan.

Thus, if we still wanted our contracted sales price, the buyers would have to make up the difference in cash. Which they didn’t have. So, here we were. Owners of two houses. Finding out that our appraiser had royally screwed us over. #badday

Our realtor spoke with the appraiser, simply to find out the appraiser’s motivation for valuing our house so low.  He pointed out why our house was worth the sale price,  (ie: the MANY available comps and the fact that our house had all the bells and whistles (where the others didn’t)).  But, it didn’t matter.  I just couldn’t believe that there was black and white data available to clearly back our sales price, but instead of choosing to use that information, the appraiser chose to screw over perfectly good people instead.  Most of us involved in the transaction would lose out based on the appraisal report.

At this point, our realtor informed us that our options were (1) drop the price, (2) end the contract, put the house back on the market, and hope for a better appraiser next time, (3) hope that the buyers could offer us SOMETHING… Meet us in the middle. Just SOMETHING so that we wouldn’t lose money (as we would at the appraised value after closing costs and fees). He talked to their realtor and we waited. It was absolute torture.

In the end, all parties ended up contributing something to make the deal happen. The buyers added money, both of our realtors gave up part of their commissions, and we ended up sacrificing over $4000 in sales price thanks to our shoddy appraiser. All of these factors basically added up to is splitting the difference between our sales and appraised prices. Ugh. Better than the appraised price, obviously, but still… UGH!!!  That $4000 would’ve gone a long way towards the improvements needed at the new place.  All because of one turd person.  You can probably guess that the non-sleeping-issue continued for me throughout this entire process.  It was pretty exhausting.

In any case, everything else went okay and we closed on Wednesday. Thus, I’m happy to say that we are the owners of two homes no mo’. (Hallelujah!) So, now all of our stuff is officially at the new house, though I refuse to say that we’re “moved in” until we’re able to actually enter rooms without doing the moving-box-shuffle and/or complete any given task without a “wait, where did we pack that?”. So, this weekend we will be unpacking fools. And then the real fun begins…. (Mischievously rubs hands together)

 

Easy Caulking

So, yeah.

This post is about an easy way to caulk.

And is in no way revolutionary.

But, for me… it was absolutely MIND-BLOWING.

Seriously.

The fact that I hadn’t tried this method sooner makes me wanna knock my head against a wall repeatedly.

All of those lumpy caulking jobs in my past.

All of the paper towels just thrown to waste in my feeble attempts to create a clean, straight line.

All of the jumbled swear words.

Wasted. Just wasted. (andnotinafunway)

I’d seen this method on some of my favorite blogs (like this and this), but simply poo-pooed it in my head.   It’s not like I thought it wouldn’t work…. obviously their results were fantastic.  Its just.  Well.  I HATE painters tape.   We have a hate-hate relationship, painter’s tape and I.   I’ve never had luck with painters tape (becauseithatesme).  It mocked me: “You think you’ll get a crisp line??  Well, I showed you!” and “You think you’ll have no bleed-through… well watch THIS.”.

But, somehow, we seem to have made amends.   Not sure when it happened, but we’re totally cool now.   I think the tape felt bad for me and decided to throw me a bone.  And for that I will now invite him to my birthday party.

Allow my pictures to do the talking….

**Note: remove the tape immediately, while the caulk is still wet.  

Right??!!  See those nice crisp lines?  Friggin’ gorgeous.   So, tell me, painter’s tape… did it hurt? When you fell from heaven?   Oh.Yeah.

Ya see, I’ve spent many hours caulking lately at the new pad.   While the baseboards had been newly replaced and were beautiful choices, they were never actually caulked to the floor. So, I had scary mental images of a washer leak or toilet overflow where the water pretty much shot straight under the baseboards and into our walls.   Um, no.   Just no.  Therefore, caulking was one of the first things I started on once we got possession. (Please note the “started on” part.  Like anything else in this house right now, it’s still not finished.)

In any case, the painters tape method has worked like an absolute charm and all of the “wet areas” in the house are now caulked and sealed.  I just have the hallway left to do.  There are some areas where I’m having to go back twice as the gaps are so wide between the floor and baseboards, but slowly but surely, I’m getting there.  I want this house sealed like a tank.   And it will be.  Someday.  ;)

So, this is one of the many (fragmented) projects I’ve been working on as we slowly get settled in our new home.  So, have ya’ll ever stalled on trying a technique, only to have that “why didn’t I do this sooner” moment?

Flooring and Flooding

…Yes, that’s right.  And in that order, too.

So, when we purchased this house, we knew immediately that we wanted to put new flooring in the living/dining space.

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The beige carpet looked like a recipe for disaster as far as we were concerned.  Not only did we see a fair amount of thru-traffic to the back patio, but light-colored carpeting in a dining space (with a 3 year old) just seemed like a bad idea.

When we lived in our first house, we’d changed out flooring and knew what a headache it was getting it done while living there. So, we decided to take advantage of the overlap between when we gained possession of the new place and closed on our current house to try to get it done.

The original plan was to have the carpet in the bedrooms cleaned and simply replace the flooring in the living/dining space.  But then the sellers moved out and we discovered many stains that had been camouflaged by their furniture.  The pictures don’t do them justice, really.

The sellers had disclosed that there were stains on the bedroom carpets, but we’d just assumed that they were referring to the few stains in the main traffic areas of each room.  In reality, there were many stains in every bedroom and the commonly-used walkways were much more grey than we’d thought.   We knew from experience (firsthouse) that even with a good deep-cleaning, many of these areas would return.  So, while the house was still empty, we decided that (if we could get a decent price) we’d try to also replace the carpets. Because we’d been house-hunting for older homes (and fixer-uppers at that), we knew we’d likely have to replace flooring prior to move-in, so fortunately, we’d planned ahead, saved, and budgeted for this very purpose.

We got several estimates, and the winner ended up being Empire Today.   We’d used them in our first house and were very satisfied.  Plus, they came in WAY cheaper than the other estimates and could install the flooring the very NEXT DAY.   Kick butt.   We’d considered installing the flooring in the living/dining space ourselves, but since we still had an entire house to move, and work to attend, and Lucas, we knew that we probably wouldn’t be able to get it all done before we needed to be out of our current house.

The following day, four installers showed up. They were on time and polite. And were done with the install in about 7 hours. Totally worth it.

The process of carpet removal was interesting, to say the least. We discovered some really, um, different stuff….

Yes. That is asphalt. In the middle bedroom next to the master. Somebody poured ASPHALT. In the BEDROOM. On top of the SLAB. WTH??!!! The room is in the middle of the other bedrooms, so it wasn’t a porch conversion or anything. So. Weird. I’ll never understand people. The installers weren’t equipped to remove the asphalt (nor would we want all that dust in the house from that process), so now, we have a layer of asphalt beneath our carpet. Ya jealous?? ;)

I did some research regarding the safety-factor of asphalt being in our home and learned some interesting things.  From what I could gather, the harmful part of asphalt is the coal-tar sealant that coats the asphalt to make it that smooth, black color.  Our asphalt was clearly not sealed with anything.  It didn’t smell of tar and the many rocks and pebbles were highly evident.  Plus, the asphalt had a greyish tone rather than that bold, black color of a sealed surface….

Also, I learned that most of the danger with asphalt occurs when it’s being poured and the few years afterwards due to off-gassing.   This asphalt seems to have been here for years… we know that the sellers lived here for 2.5 years and hadn’t been the ones to pour it.  So, we hoped that the off-gassing period had passed. Lastly, I learned that sealed asphalt becomes dangerous again when it breaks down due to weather conditions and the dust is breathed in.   Since our asphalt is unsealed, this doesn’t really apply, but it made me feel better that our room is temperature-controlled and that we’d purchased carpet padding with a plastic lining which would hopefully seal in any dust to keep it out of our air-supply.  If any of ya’ll have any additional information that we need to know about this, please leave me a comment.  This is definitely an unexpected finding and one that we’re not really sure what to do with.

Aside from the completely random asphalt, we also found a vintage floor safe….

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Total old school. This is awesome, no?? We talked to the neighbor and he said that the previous owners had opened it and it was empty. But, still cool huh??

In choosing our flooring for the living and dining spaces, my main goal was to allow the fireplace to shine.  The floor needed to contrast with it so it would stand out. So, that pretty much left really light floors (but all their lighter options were way too yellow), or really dark floors. So, we went really dark.

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We chose an ebony laminate flooring that came in 7″ wide individual planks. They didn’t have that ebony color in real wood or we probably would’ve gone that route. I have to say though… we installed laminate in our first house, and nothing could beat its durability. NOTHING scratched it. And we had a 50 lb crazy-muscular pitt bull at the time who LOVED to slide all over the floor. The laminate wasn’t great with moisture, but we were assured by Empire that this particular flooring choice is made from a much denser material which allows it to tolerate moisture better. They explained that this is also why it didn’t need time to acclimate to the home prior to installation.

One thing that I really loved about Empire was that they were the only company who didn’t use quarter-round at the baseboards. They actually removed the baseboards, installed the flooring and then reinstalled the baseboards for a more seamless look. So much better than quarter-round in my opinion.

Here are a few before and afters for your viewing pleasure…

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The floors were dusty in these pics and needed to be cleaned up a bit (I hadn’t gone overboard with cleaning at this point since we still had work to do before moving in).  They’re a bit darker when clean.   I really love how they turned out.  They provide just enough contrast with the fireplace and really make the space feel elegant.  I can’t wait to paint the built-ins white.  That’s really gonna allow the fireplace to pop.

The carpet that we chose for the bedrooms was a speckled Frise carpet called “Ginger”.  Some before and afters here….

Before:

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After:

Before:

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After:

I only took pics of a few of the rooms to give you an idea since it’s the same carpet throughout. We LOVE this type of carpet as it is so forgiving. It hides stains so well. We installed similar carpeting in both of our previous homes and have zero complaints. As mentioned earlier, we chose a type of padding with a plastic barrier on top which prevents stains and other groddies from penetrating the padding. Supposedly, it extends the life of the carpet by 5-7 years.

After the floors were installed, we were feeling pretty darn good about the house.  The following day, we walked in expecting to rub our faces all over be enamored of our fresh, new carpeting.  But, instead what we walked into was a flooded bedroom.  Among the many quirks of a 1970’s house is apparently the weird placement of copper pipes.   And while the carpet was being installed in the first bedroom, one of the installers knicked a pipe while installing tack strip.

Which left the room looking like this…

Greatness.  We think that the installer pounded the baseboard, which drove a nail that was in the baseboard through the pipe. The thing that was most frustrating to me was that I HEARD IT. When I went into the bedroom to inspect after they’d finished installing the carpet, I heard a hissing sound which I thought sounded like water. I looked, but didn’t see anything, so I just assumed I was hearing the reverberations of the power saw through the wall (they were still cutting laminate outside). It was a smaller leak, so at the time, it just hadn’t spread to where I could see it yet. I just shrugged it off and went home (Note to self: Don’t do that. If it sounds like water, FIND the water.). Literally, the leak continued all night long due to my negligence, which left most of the bedroom carpet and padding completely saturated by the time we returned the next day.

Luckily, we were able to utilize a plumber friend after Joey and my Dad tried to DIY the leak to no avail.  So, now it’s fixed.   I called Empire Carpet to report this and see about getting the carpet fixed/replaced.  And I have to say that I was not thrilled with the problem-solving process of this company.   It amazed me that it had been only 48 hours between when I’d initially called to schedule an estimate to when the flooring was actually installed, yet when there was a problem, I was told that I wouldn’t receive a PHONE CALL about it for 1-3 business days.  REALLY??!!!  I tell you that your installers caused a flood and I don’t even get a phone call for 1-3 business days?? Nice.

In actuality, it took five days and about seven phone calls to get a response. But, I will say that once I finally got that return phone call, it was less than 24 hours until the issue was resolved. They arrived, changed out the padding, and reinstalled the carpet in the blink of an eye. Which left the room looking like this…

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Obviously, I’ll be repainting. We repaired the drywall, but I’m being slow, and sanding the spackle in tiny little fragmented phases. It’s still unacceptably bumpy at this point, but it’ll get there. That is, if I can actually spend a solid five minutes sanding without getting distracted first. Having an older house has definitely affected my focus… Every time I start on one thing, I get distracted and begin something else. TOTALLY not like me usually. I expect it’ll be like this for a bit, though, until the house reaches some semblance of order. It’s all in the spirit of moving, I s’pose!  At least we have carpeting now and can stash various odds and ends in the room until I actually manage to complete a project. Progress is progress.

So, anyways, I’m gonna continue plugging away at the new place and update ya’ll whenever I can!  Until we meet again…

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TDC Before and After

The Before Tour, Part Deux

Wow, guys.  It’s been an insanely crazy weekend with more than a few hiccups.  I’ll eventually cover them here for all to read, but dang, ya’ll.   I’m exhausted.  And the stress-meter is through the roof.  I’ll just say that I never expected one piddly little weekend to involve an unfortunate sales price reduction, mold, lead, and flooding all at one time.   Seriously.   I.Need.Wine.  In any case, we’re trudging through and trying to keep our chins up as much as possible.  And being the dork that I am, nothing helps me keep my chin up like a good ole’ fashioned house tour.  So, onward with the fun stuff…

Last we left off with the tour of our new 1970’s house, I’d just finished showing you the foyer, kitchen, laundry room, half bath and living/dining spaces.   So, let’s continue, shall we?

Off of the foyer we have the hallway to the bedrooms…

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The hallway contains not one, but TWO linen closets, which are like a total dream for me.  Iloveclosets.  On the left hand side, we have two bedrooms.   Both have built-in desk areas (which I can’t wait to get my hands on).  Here’s the first…

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It’s the smallest of the bedrooms, and we aren’t really sure what purpose it’ll have at this point…  But rest assured, we’ll figure it out. ;)  Possibly guestroom/office?  Yeah, that sounds good.

The next bedroom is the largest of the secondary bedrooms.  This will be Lucas’s room….

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I’d like to switch it up a little this time around.  I’ll still probably use a lot of decor from his current room, just in a different way.  And I’ll also be choosing a new wall color with little man’s help.

Across from Lucas’s room is the guest bath, which you saw in my first post about the new house…

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The pedestal sink will be gone at some point in place of a vanity with storage.   I’m not a super big fan of the black tile bath surround either, so that may eventually make a disappearance.  And this room will be repainted, though I’m not sure what color yet.  As neutral as the current paint color is, it’s just a bit too yellow for my taste in person.

Once you walk out of the guest bath and turn right, the hallway takes a 90 degree turn.  I forgot to take a picture of this view but here’s the reverse view from the master bedroom…

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That doorway past the sconce on the right is the third secondary bedroom, which we’re planning to use as another hang-out space.  Our Friheten sofa that’s chillin’ in the front room of our current house will likely go in here…

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My favorite feature of this room (of course) is the closet…

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You beautiful, beautiful beast.

Then, at the end of the hallway, we have our master bedroom….

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The bed will go on the wall on the left-hand side of the above picture.  Standing from that spot, here’s the view…

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That little atrium area leads to both the walk-in closet (left) and our epic master bath (right) …

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From the other side of the room….

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There are no words for this room.   But then there are many as it’s quite the conversation piece.   I mean, it’s purple marble with swirls of mauve!!  How could it not be the topic of conversation??  This’ll likely be a full gut down the line.  I’d love to replace the gargantuan purple tub with a nice (smaller) claw-foot version, enlarge the shower, add a solar tube for natural light, and just basically replace everything.   Including the stained 1980’s floor tile.  In the meantime though, I’ll be repainting the walls and doing whatever I can to make the space more visually appealing to tide us over.

As you exit the master bath, and are facing out of the atrium, you see this wall, which is where our bed will go…

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This space will likely be repainted as well, since the purplish undertone clashes with our bedding.   Actually, come to think of it, I suspect most of the rooms in this house will be repainted eventually.  I actually love the color of the living/dining space, hallway, kitchen, etc., but unfortunately, it was painted in flat paint, which makes it impossible to clean.  And from what I’ve been able to tell, they didn’t leave us any touch-up paint for that color.   I plan to have it color-matched for the time being, but that’s really just a band-aid.  The walls really need an eggshell finish down the line for more durability.   I may very well use the same color, just up the sheen.  But, I guess we’ll see!

In any case, we’ve got our work cut out for us.  We’re really excited about it, though.  We’ve been getting estimates, making smaller improvements and working on getting some of the floors replaced, so I’ll update ya’ll on those things soon.  Plus, I owe you guys an outdoor “before” tour, as well.   So, anyways, ya’ll have a great week and I’ll be back soon!

 

The Before Tour (Part 1)!!

Oh, the PLANS!!!! Every room…Plans. I have so many plans and ideas in my head right now. Just swirling around in there. Just marinating. Blossoming. Reconfiguring. It’s.so.dang.FUN!!!!

We finally got possession of the new house Wednesday, and are now in the process of getting a few things done before we move in (more on that in another post).   In the meantime, I thought I’d begin our tour of “before” pics of our new pad. I’m gonna break down the tour into smaller segments because… Well… I have a lot to say (feel free to feign surprise).

I thought I’d start at the beginning… with the foyer.  This is the view when you walk in (ignore the unpainted door jamb… it’s on the list)…

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When you walk in, you’re faced with a small foyer area. To the left are both the hallway to the bedrooms and entrance to the living room….

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From the other direction…

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And towards the right there is a sizable coat closet and an entrance to the kitchen…

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And from the other direction…

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Walking into the kitchen you see this…

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This kitchen features original cabinetry, chipped laminate countertops, a dented sink and mismatched appliances.  It’s not nearly as offensive as it could be, though. Seriously, some of the kitchens we saw when we were house-hunting were epic. This kitchen is livable and is actually starting to grow on me a bit. It just needs a little face-lift.  We definitely have a good deal of storage space in the cabinetry. Though, for some reason, whenever I walk in I get the distinct feeling that I’m being watched….

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Heehee!  Not sure when the whole hardware-in-the-center-of-the-cabinets-thing was a good idea. It seems inefficient and awfully schnoz-like, but what-evs. The 70’s were a crazy time (or so I’ve been told. #eightiesbaby).  The kitchen is the space where you’ll likely see the least amount of major changes at first.  Of course, I totally plan to decorate and tweak the space.  It’s just that we plan on a giving this room a total overhaul down the road.  I’m talking opening walls, new cabinetry, new layout, new countertops.  The whole chebang.  Except for the floors… I really like the slate.  We want to live with the space for a while before we decide what we want to do with it reno-wise to be sure that we account for how we truly use the space.  We’re lucky that it’s a large room, with a nice eat-in space…

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The French doors lead out to the pool, and the closed doorway to the left leads to the laundry room and half bath. We’ve already tossed the idea around of opening the wall that separates the kitchen from the larger dining space (that huge bank of upper-nose-cabinets shown two pics above) and then using this eat-in area of the kitchen to house more cabinetry to make up for the loss of upper cabinets. We’ll see though. Much can change between now and then.

If you go through the door to the laundry room, you see this….

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This beautiful blank slate of a laundry room. We’re definitely gonna add shelves or cabinetry for storage and possibly a little mudroom area for pool stuff. That door straight ahead leads to the covered patio out back. I’d love to replace it with a door that has a window in it. Maybe something to match the French doors in the kitchen. This room needs some natural light and that would be an easy way to do it. To the right, is a nice-sized pantry, and the so-called half bath. I say “so-called” because it’s literally a teeny room with a toilet…

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You have to use the sink in the laundry room to wash your hands, I guess. We think they put this in to be convenient to the pool, which is pretty genius in that sense. It was just kind of weird seeing it for the first time during our showing. It was like… Oh, hey, a random toilet… (Pause) Mmm’kay, cool.

Now, coming back into the kitchen and facing the opposite direction, you see this view of the kitchen….

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That open doorway to the right leads to the dining space….

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And just for fun, here’s a better shot of the view out of the window…

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The dining area is open to the living space…..

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Now, I’m standing where the sliders are in that last pic and looking into the living room….

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It’s darker in this part of the room since there’s no overhead lighting or skylights. We plan to add some recessed lighting to the vaulted ceilings and possibly a solar tube to brighten up the space with more natural light. That open doorway back there leads back out to the foyer and hallway.

As for projects in this room:  The built-ins will definitely be getting makeovers…

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This one next to the fireplace will likely be painted white to allow the fireplace to shine. The two compete visually right now since they’re such similar colors. Then, we have the wet bar….

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Joey thinks this is the coolest thing ever. I personally don’t get it. I mean, why a sink??? Wouldn’t an ice-maker make more sense?? Or better yet… a wine fridge??? Just sayin’. I guess I’m more of a dry-bar person. No sense in wasting perfectly good plumbing. In any case, at this point, the sink stays and this little area will look completely different when I’m done with it. I’m thinking: remove mirrors, add a pendant light, paint cabinets white, remove side/backsplashes, apply a concrete overlay treatment to the countertop, add some art. Oh. Yeah. Come to mama.

Here’s the view of the living room when you walk in from the foyer….

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I just love it. That fireplace!!! You had me at that fireplace. The fireplace will remain original. We’re planning on changing out the carpet in this room for wood floors before we move in, so stay tuned for that.  And the view of the porch through the windows will also change, once we’ve gotten our hands on it.  Joey’s already busting at the seams with eagerness to get started on that project.  I’ll go over the plan once I get to the outdoor tour, though.

So, my friends, this is where I end today’s tour. I’ll pick up next time and cover the rest of the house. Until then, we’ll be tirelessly working on some of the maintenance issues that were picked up in the inspection (post about that later) and getting estimates for various items.   So, wish us luck!  :)