Archive for July 2008

dining room table!

Yesterday we went to Crate&Barrel to look at some rugs... and ending up buying a dining room table. We had seen this table a few months ago and really liked it, but it was soooo out of our price range. Last night we walked past the clearance section, and there was the table. It was the floor model so it had a few very minor scratches on it, but otherwise was in really good condition. And, it was less than a 1/3 of the price! Even though we weren't planning on getting a table anytime soon, we decided that it was too good of a deal to pass up. I think that we'll have it delivered in a few weeks so we have time to finish up the room first. It's a solid bamboo table, here's a close up picture of the top:Tonight I hope to start painting the bedroom. We took down the ceiling fan blades the other night and painted those white, it seemed like a good temporary solution until we can get a new fan. Normally I'm not a big fan (hehe) of ceiling fans, but we've had one in our room at the apartment and I really liked having it on at night. So I think we'll probably get a newer, updated fan at some point. Hopefully I'll have some pictures of a finished painted bedroom soon :-)


moving day

A picture of the clean floors in a very dusty room :-) We decided to use some hardwood floor cleaner on Friday before moving on Saturday. They cleaned up fairly well, but will still need a lot of work.
The floors in the bedroom
Newly painted ceiling and primer on the walls
Our furniture wouldn't fit up the stairs
The cats exploring their new house
All of the downstairs furniture in one room (don't let the picture fool you, Mom's been working hard!)
Not a great picture, but the new paint on the living room walls. We went with Antique White, I think it will look nice. It has more yellow in it in the daylight. You can also see how we started pulling off wallpaper in entry.

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the front of the house now, with the flowers Mom brought from Columbus, and a new hanging basket
no more pink walls in the dining room!
the wallpaper mess in the living room, this must have been professionally installed, it was behind all of the baseboards, etc and was applied right on top of new (at the time) drywall.
us trying to remove the mirror, we couldn't get it to break! We thought breaking it would be easier b/c it was so heavy.
what was behind the mirror - very old wallpaper over a crumbling plaster wall over brick
the mirror after we smashed in on the front porch :) that's about a billion years of bad luck...
the new drywall above the fireplace, doesn't it look like we know what we're doing??
(what you can't see is that we had to cut the drywall using the new return air vent as our straight edge b/c we forgot to buy one, and that what is behind the drywall was so crumbling that the drywall is basically just held up with liquid nail... the end conclusion of this project is that we won't be hanging our flat screen tv above the fireplace)
wallpaper mess in our bedroom - this wallpaper came off much easier. We went back yesterday and patched the walls and Mom is going to try to prime the room today.
I'm having a hard time picking paint colors for this house, the lighting is very different in every room and with the dark woodwork and the floors, the lighter colors seems to look best. I did pick one of these samples for the living room, you'll have to wait to find out which one though... (oh the suspense!)We started painting the ceiling in the living room last night, look how dirty is was! We used a whole gallon of paint and only got the ceiling a little over half way done before we ran out of paint. Yesterday we also were able to patch the new drywall, and Mom removed the rest of the carpet staples upstairs! Tonight we're taking the evening off to have dinner with my aunt and uncle who are driving through St. Louis on their way to visit my cousin in Kansas City.

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I can't upload any pictures b/c I'm posting from my work computer, but I thought I'd give an update anyway. We've been making progress, but I think that in most cases we're finding that we have to make it look worse before we can make it look better, hehe. We have all of the carpet out of the house, except for in the kitchen. The kitchen carpet is over plywood, but we might take out the carpet anyway and just paint the plywood for now. We've pulled all the staples and tack strips from the entire downstairs and stairs, and we've removed the wallpaper from the living room and our bedroom. We also were able to remove the mirror from above the fireplace (after much struggle) and then broke it into pieces on the front porch b/c it was too heavy to carry to the dumpster. So now the new neighbors probably think we're crazy b/c we break mirrors on the porch, hehe. We also have primed the dining room and started repairing the walls and priming the living room. The past couple of days have been hard, we have to work during the day and aren't able to get very much done in the evenings. Mom has been a huge help, it's nice that at least someone can be working on the house during the day! We'd like to have the living room and our bedroom painted by the time the movers come with our stuff on Saturday, but we'll see how that goes... I'll try to post some pictures soon, we have been at the house every evening until 9:30 and I just want to go to bed by the time I get home! In some ways I think it might even be a little easier once we're living there just because we won't be spending so much time driving back and forth.

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Our house!

Closing was yesterday and things went well. Even though we signed all of the paperwork in the morning, we weren't able to get into the house until late afternoon, so we weren't able to do much work yesterday. We did pull back a corner of the carpet and were excited to see that the floors looked like they were in good shape. And then we went to Home Depot and spent too much money. But Mom bought us a cool new ladder, and my brother gave us a gift card (I'll show you part of what we bought below...)

Mike opening the door of our house

The previously promised picture of the wall safe, turns out that it was opened about 30 years ago by the seller, and it was empty. But I think when I tell people about it, I'm going to pretend that we don't know that :-) Our favorite tool of the day, the new shop vac, thanks Alan! There is some nasty stuff under the carpets...

No more pink carpet!

First picture of the hardwood floors! Why would you cover these up? Today we were able to remove the carpet in the entire downstairs except for the kitchen, and all but 2 bedrooms upstairs. By the end of the day tomorrow, we should have all of the carpet out. Except for maybe the kitchen, but only b/c I'm not sure what's under it.

Pretty floors! They need a good cleaning though. Eventually we'd like to refinish them, but for now, this is way better than the carpet.

Not so pretty floors... I guess that the stairs used to come out farther into the entry. This is issue #1. I'm not sure how we're going to fix this, but we have a few ideas.

This is when we started to get worried - there is a good 2" gap between the stairs and the wall, and it looks like the wall is bowing out. Luckily, our super great bldg inspector was able to come over and reassured us that this wasn't a huge deal. He thinks that the stairs have also moved some, making it seem worse than it is. Still, this is something that we're going to have to fix, probably by cutting new stair treads. We'll need to do this anyway though because the bottom 2 treads are just plywood. Ugh. Issue #2.

The last issue of the day and also the reason why all of the carpet didn't get removed. This is the back small bedroom, remember the blue carpet? The carpet pad in this room was glued down somehow and the pad has just turned to dust, but is also completely stuck on the floor. We spent forever scraping at the floors, and were only able to get one layer up.

Tomorrow we should be able to get in another full day of work. We're hoping to get some primer on the dining room walls by the end of the day! Wish us luck!

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'Twas the night before closing...

We went through the house one last time this evening before closing tomorrow. All of the work (the a/c, the roof, the fascia, electric updates, etc) look really good. They are almost done with the a/c too, just doing some of the finish work upstairs. The a/c is on and running, and the house is nice and cool. The house looks much bigger without all of the furniture in it! All of the carpet and wallpaper just looks even worse though :-)

I guess that they have you go over the house before closing just to make sure that there aren't any surprises. We did find a couple of surprises tonight, but both fun ones!

1) there is a very old wall safe in the wall of the large back bedroom. The seller (who lived there over 50 years) was never able to get it open, so no one knows what is it in. How fun is that!? I didn't take a picture, but I'll post one later. It was behind a picture before so we never saw it.

2) this is a big one - remember the upstairs blue bathroom? It was really bothering me that there was no natural light in that room. Almost all of these old houses have windows in the bathroom, but this one didn't. I was trying to think of how we could add a window, maybe put in a skylight... something to bring light into the room, esp. since it's so small. Well, this evening our realtor was questioning the fact that there wasn't a window. So we went outside and looked at the side of the house, and guess what?? There is a window! For some reason it was drywalled over. That side of the house is right on the lot line and the neighbors have a giant tree, so we were never able to really see that side of the house, which is why we hadn't noticed it before. But we can def. see a window through the tree, now we just need to ask the neighbors nicely if they will let us into their backyard so we can try to see what kind of shape it is in. I'm so excited that there is a window!

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36 hours from now

we'll be homeowners! Things have been moving along with the a/c install and we were told today that things were still on track for Friday's closing. I can't wait to get started!

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last but not least... small back bedroom and bathroom

The small back bedroom is by far, the strangest room in the house. Not only does it have bright blue carpet, a blue radiator, and wallpaper that has caused Mike to call the room the "old spice room" it also has wood paneling on one wall, and an attic fan it the window. When we saw the mls listing with the words attic fan in the description, we assumed that meant there was a fan in the attic? No, apparently this is how the owner would help to cool her house, by having a giant attic fan in one of the bedroom windows. The second picture is one of my favorite before pictures of the house. It's taken from inside the old spice room, looking into the hallway. You get a good perspective of all of the patterns, colors, and finishes that we get to work with. Notice the 3 different kinds of carpet, the wood paneling, the different wallpapers, plus, for some reason, the finish has been taken off the door frame in this room too.

This room will probably start off as the guest room, and might eventually become the office instead. Same as the others, the carpet, wallpaper (+ wood paneling) will be removed. There is also a small balcony off of this room that overlooks the backyard. The reason why this might become the office is because of this:

This is the only full bath in the house. It's right beside the old spice room. It's very blue, and very small. What you can't see is that behind the bathroom door there is a linen close... and behind the sink is the closet for the old spice room. My plan is to move the wall of bathroom back and take over the space of the linen closet and the bedroom closet. This means that the old spice room would lose its closet, which is why we might just make it the office instead. We haven't taken exact measurements of this idea yet, but I'm thinking that it will give us about an extra 2' in the bathroom. We'd like to be able to put in 2 sinks then, and really make it a fabulous bathroom, esp. since it's the only full bath. Of course I also have an even more expensive idea, that involves losing the old spice room completely and moving the master to the back of the house, but we could add a new master bath and a huge closet... that's the plan that we don't talk about cause it scares Mike :-P For now though, we'll remove the wallpaper and paint the walls and maybe the vanity. I'd also like to try to remove the glass shower door and put up a shower curtain, I think that could help hide some of the overwhelming blue tile and tub.

Well, that's it! The whole house. I'm excited to see it without all of the furniture in it, then I can get some true before photos. I can't believe that by the end of the week we'll be home owners! Ahhh!!
We spend the whole weekend packing, and I have to say, I'm pretty proud of us. I really don't like to pack, but we should be able to finish up this week. Take a look at how many boxes we already have (hard to see in the picture, but they go all the way back to the corner):

This is how Trevi helped with the packing... by enjoying having all of the furniture free for his napping.

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back big bedroom

This room is also a good size room, probably almost the same size as the room we're using as our bedroom. The plan for this room is to make it into a den / tv room. We have 2 couches, so one will go in this room, along with our smaller tv and probably the elliptical machine. Eventually we'd like to set up some kind of work out space in the basement, but for now I'd like to keep the elliptical upstairs.

This room is interesting b/c it has the exposed brick wall, and for some reason, most of the woodwork has been stripped. The theory from the inspector was the there was some kind of leak in the roof above this room awhile ago, and instead of repairing the damaged plaster, the homeowner just removed the plaster and left the brick exposed. We're just hoping that the floors weren't damaged under the carpet. Check out that wallpaper though! The plan for this room is the same as the other bedrooms - remove the carpet, remove the wallpaper, paint the walls...

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random other things...

Mike and I drove down by the house tonight and tried out a new restaurant. We took some more pictures of the exterior so I wanted to go ahead and post those. We also met someone who lives down the street, he was out taking a walk. He was telling us how they bought their house a few years ago and have also slowly been fixing it up. Hopefully the rest of the new neighbors will be as nice! We drove down the alley and say the air conditioning unit on the roof, luckily, you can't see it from the street. Anyway, when I was downloading the new house pictures from my camera I noticed that I had a few other pictures that I had wanted to post about, so sorry for the random interruption of the house tour, but hey, I warned you at the beginning that's how I work :-P

This is the view down the street, we love all the trees

The first picture above is of our house. The brown paint has got to go, as well as the front door. The next picture is of the house that is two houses down from ours, basically the same but with a much better paint job and with the original front doors. Plus, they have some nice landscaping and just overall just more color. We're hoping that we can get our house to look more like their house, but with a different color scheme. This house is down the street, I just really liked how they did their landscaping. This is the little wine fridge that we saw last week at Home Depot, I think it would fit perfectly in the spot where we're taking out the trash compactor :-) Mike is always making fun of me because no matter what it is that we're looking at for the home, I always always always pick the most expensive thing. For example, a few weeks ago we were looking at new fridges, and just based only on appearances, I picked a fridge that was way more expensive than any of the other surrounding fridges. It has nice handles though! I'm especially good at this when it comes to furniture. Anyway, we went to a nearby lighting store to check out some lighting options, and of course this is the first light I point out to him (see above). Guess how much it costs? Something like $11k. Completely affordable... but more realistically, I think that something like the light below would look nice in our dining room, I like how it's still very modern, but wouldn't contrast too greatly with some of the original features that we love about the room.

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small front bedroom

On to the next bedroom... This bedroom is located next to what will be our bedroom, and is currently the only room in the house that does not have carpet over the hardwood floors!! And it doesn't have wallpaper! This room gives us hope...

For some reason we didn't really look under the rug though, hopefully the rest of the floor is in as good of condition as what we could see. This room will either be the guest room or an office (more on that later) and really only needs to be painted. Oh, and the green vertical blinds need to be removed... I don't know know if the bookcases are going to be left or not, if so, we'd probably take them out. This could get interesting though, if you look closely at the second picture, you can see how they solved the problem of covering up the light switch with the bookcase - they cut some holes in the bookcase and relocated the switch to be on the side of the bookcase. What's even better about this is that now all of the wiring is just exposed and they left a hole in the wall. Sigh. This is just one of many little things that I'm sure we will find.

We haven't heard anything from the a/c guys the past couple of days, but the weather has been great, so they should have been able to get a lot done. We were going to try to call them sometime today for a status update. Last night we continued the packing and were able to get a lot done, hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll have most of our stuff packed and ready to go. It's going to take us awhile to really clean the apartment, so I'd like to be completely packed by the middle of the week.

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front big bedroom

This house actually has 4 bedrooms. When we first starting looking at houses, we were looking at 2 bedrooms, and a few with 3 bedrooms. We never thought we'd get a house that had 4! But, we already have plans for all 4 rooms :-) I'll start with the largest bedroom, the one that we'll be using as our bedroom.

I ran out of time during the inspection to take pictures upstairs, so I only have a few quick pictures of each room right now from when we first went to see the house. This room has a nice big window with a window seat and has 2 closets. Like the rest of the house, we want to take out the carpet and wallpaper. I'm thinking of painting the walls in our room a very light blue-gray color, and maybe finding a good size area rug. I'm so nervous about what the hardwood floors look like... This room is high on our priority list b/c we want to be able to escape some of the crazy that will be going on in the rest of our house. I think it will be hard to figure out how to arrange the furniture though, with the window taking up almost one whole wall, and the closets on the opposite wall, there aren't very many places that furniture can go.

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2 posts in one day, crazy! Actually, I realized that next week we'd probably be really busy with last minute packing and I wanted to try to get all of our current "before" pictures posted before then. So now on to the kitchen!

cabinet in hall outside kitchen

wall toaster!

In the hallway right outside the kitchen there is a great built-in cabinet. Some of the shelves are covered with contact paper, and some are just covered with placemats. Depending on how the paper comes off, we might have to paint the interior, but the exterior is in great shape and it still has all the original hardware. I've very excited to finally have a place to put the wedding china! The kitchen itself needs a lot of help, but it does have a dishwasher and a newer stove. For now, we're thinking we'll just repair a few of the cabinets and paint them white, and put on some new knobs. We'll take out the trash compactor and probably just make some kind of shelf to put in its place. On the other side of the kitchen, we're going to take out that weird table thing, and the wall toaster. That's right, a toaster that is in the wall... I've never even heard of such a thing... Maybe we'll sell it on ebay :-) We'll also update the light, the current one is made of plastic and has fruit on it. We might have to leave the carpet in the kitchen for now, we're going to try to see what's underneath, but I'm guessing that it's just some type of old laminate. As for the bathroom (it's the door beside the fridge), we're just going to do some painting for now. Eventually, we'd like to put in new flooring in the kitchen into the bathroom, put in brand new cabinets, countertops, appliances, bath vanity, lighting, etc. We might even open the wall up between the kitchen and the dining room. But that is all part of a much bigger project that won't be happening anytime soon. I think just paint and some new inexpensive fixtures and hardware will do a lot to make it look brighter and more livable. Oh, did I mention that the ceiling is also wallpapered?

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