House Tour: 1 month

Now that we’re feeling a little more settled in our new home, it’s time to upload pictures of its current state! Not everything is moved in yet (as is obvious from the pictures of the garage), but we’ve made some progress. We’re sorry for the poor quality of the photos, as all we currently have are the cameras in our iPhone 4’s. So without further ado, here’s our house. 🙂

Living Room/ Entry Way

So the element we are probably least happy with in this house is the lack of an entry way. It is pretty much untouched at this point, and we’re not really sure how to make it feel more entryway-ish. The white shelf (the one that looks yellow because of the lighting) is not staying there, but is probably going to end up in the office. Andrew scored that at the neighbor’s garage sale for only $20! Woot! On the left side of the picture you can see the back of our new bed frame for the master. Yay!

Living 1

This shot shows the area right next to the entry way, the hallway, and our poor, sad couch. 🙁 There is a “lovely” built-in shelf that we may eventually take out to make more room for the fridge which is directly on the other side.

Living 2

The opposite end of the living room, the entrance to the kitchen, and the half wall separating the eat-in area from the living room…

Living 3

Last corner of the living room…and the wonderfully…awful curtains that the previous owners left for us. But hey, for now they block out the sun and help keep our house cooler, so we can’t complain too much.

Living 4
Garage

This is our garage. We haven’t tried pulling both cars in yet since we have all our boxes out there, but supposedly it’s a 2 car garage so hopefully they fit! Obviously we still have a lot of stuff left to bring inside and unpack, but we’re getting there.

Garage 1
Garage 2

Kitchen

This room is going to be the biggest and most expensive project, but we’re really excited for the possibilities!

Kitchen 1

Our favorite feature is, of course, the bright blue and white checkered linoleum tiles. Yes, they are individual tiles! Gross! But we can’t replace those until we redo the whole kitchen as we’ll be getting rid of that oversized peninsula, so we’re going to live with it for a while.

Kitchen 2

This is our eat-in area, and the doors to the deck and doors to the laundry closet are behind. This space is about 12 feet by 12 feet, so our table looks pathetically small for the space.

Kitchen 3
Kitchen 4

Kitchen 5

Hallway

This is our long, narrow hallway. Don’t you love our “upside-down lava lamp” light fixture? It’s got to go, not only because it’s hideously ugly, but also because when turned on it only manages to cast an eerie red glow over everything without actually making the hallway any brighter. It’s not really fulfilling its duties as a light fixture…

First door on the right is the hall bath, and next is the master bedroom. The door at the end is the guest bedroom, and the door on the left is the office.

Hall

Hall Bathroom

This room needs a lot of help, too. The popcorn ceiling is peeling, the painted-over wallpaper is peeling (that is not going to be fun), the tile is hideous, and everything is original to the house (a.k.a. outdated). Blech.

Guest Bath 1
Guest Bath 2

Guest Bath 3

Office

The office is a little lower on our priority list, but honestly will probably get done before kitchen and bathrooms. All we really have to purchase for this room is some paint and a new light fixture. I’m thinking gray walls. 🙂

Office 1
Office 2

Office 3

Guest Bedroom

Currently we’re sleeping in the guest bedroom while we redo the master, hence the furniture. But once we’re done with the master, this room will be empty! 🙁 Hopefully in the next few months we’ll get a bed for it. 🙂 As far as colors, I like the idea of a light, fresh green, but feel like maybe I need to do a bolder, richer color.

Guest Bed 1

Guest Bed 2

We think it must have been a kids room before from the stars on the ceiling and the mirror nailed unusually low on the wall…a kid that needed to look at himself in a full-length mirror apparently. Yeah, that mirror will NOT be staying there for long.

Guest Bed 3

Master Bedroom

The master no longer looks like this, thank goodness! Hopefully by this weekend we’ll be done with it and then upload the “after” pictures. Disclaimer: “Done” is relative. We’ll be done for now, but it’s not necessarily going to be completely decorated. We still need to decide on a light fixture and a few other accessories.

Master Bedroom 1

Master Bedroom 2

Master  Bedroom 3

Master Closet

This is the master “walk-thru” closet and my favorite room! This truly is what sold me on the house. How could you not love the possibilities? We’ve done the measurements, and this room really is 100 square feet. Some might say it’s a waste of space. I think those people are crazy. 🙂

Master Closet 1

Obviously the space is not being utilized in the best possible way and the floor is the same hideous tile as in the kitchen. For now, though, it’s serving it purpose just fine. (And no, that is not my entire wardrobe. I have four or five boxes of clothes in the garage that have yet to be unpacked. Yikes!)

Master Closet 2

Master Closet 3

Master Bath

This is the room I’m most unsure about. It’s a very large space, but everything you could possibly need in a bathroom is already there. What does that leave? Two toilets? Probably not. Bidet? Jetted tub? Definitely not those either. So I’m left with a really large bathroom and nothing to put in it.

Mater Bath 1

The only things I do know about this room are the following:

1. They painted over wallpaper. Again. That sucks for us.
2. I want a longer vanity than the one we have now. With the two sinks there really isn’t much counter space.
3. THE FLOOR HAS GOT TO GO! It’s starting to make me dizzy.

Master Bath 2

Oh, and really? A blue floor, blue cabinets AND a blue shower curtain? Who thought that was a good idea? Too much blue for me!

Master Bath 3

So there’s our house (minus the laundry closet which is in a previous post). We have a ton of work ahead of us, but we really think the house has good bones and amazing potential! It may not be pretty yet, but it really is starting to feel like home. It grows on me a little more every day. Now all I need to make it complete: a kitty!

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Our First Project

Since we knew we wouldn’t want to change the laundry room after putting the machines in, we decided to tackle it as the first project in our new house. We started tearing the nasty, peeling shelf liner off  the shelves as soon as we moved in and unfortunately never got a before picture with it on. You will note the awful blue and white checkered tile that is in our kitchen, but don’t worry, we will get to that!

Before

After dismantling the shelves we found that the previous owners had used dry wall anchors and then pulled them out so our “quick” project was going to take a bit more work than expected.

Oh no! Holes in our wall!

After running to Lowes to pick up some mud, we proceeded to make the holes even bigger!

Hope we can fix this!

While I worked on the drywall repair Arielle got to work refinishing the shelves. They had a layer of adhesive shelf liner over a layer of wallpaper that had to be scraped off. Then she painted them with an antique white paint that we already had.

That floral pattern had to go.

Even though I have seen a lot of mudding done, I really had never actually muded myself. The truth is, the experts are good because they practice a lot. It is very difficult. The practice in this room was good because most of this work will be hidden. After scraping and painting the ceiling, repainting the room, and adding an updated flush mount light fixture ($10.00 at Lighting Emporium on super super super clearance) we were ready to add a touch of style with these fantastic and cheap pulls.

After all of the work was done, we realized we needed a gas shut off to hook up our dryer. It took three trips to Lowe’s, tightening the bolt instead of loosening it (for 5 minutes), and a small hole in the sheet rock near the trim to attach the shutoff so we could connect our dryer, only to find out it wasn’t working! They had been in storage for a year, and it made a loud rattling noise when burning gas. We decided not to risk setting our new home on fire, and found a used one on craigslist for $50.00. Here is the finished product:

After

We were lucky enough to find a dryer of the same brand as our washer. They are almost a perfect match, and it’s far better than our old, rusty dryer. The total cost of this project (without tools- hey we’re new homeowners and we had to purchase a few we didn’t have) was $92.47. Here is a break out of how we spent it:

Paint: $10.97 (we bought flat and we have a whole gallon, so we can touch it up whenever there is a scratch or spill, but since it is a laundry room perhaps we should have done satin or semigloss)
Ceiling Paint: $3 (We bought a whole bucket for the rest of the house $49, approx)
Lumber for new shelf joists: $5.18 (two 1x2x8′ used about half of it, there is more for other closets in the house)
Sheetrock: We used the extras that were in the garage! Free!
New Light Fixture: $9.97
New Door handles: $2.44
Gas Shut off valve: $7.97
Gas Flare Joint Hookup: $1.12
Thread Seal Tape for gas joints: $1.07 (for whole roll, will use forever)
Dryer: $50
Mud Joint Tape: $.25 ( $1.55 for a role that will use forever- although in retrospect i recommend the self adhesive kind)
Drywall Screws: $.25 (unfortunately you cant just buy the 5 or 6 you need so we bought a box $6.47)
Masking Tape: $.25
Mud: We bought a bag for $7.98, but we used some leftover from the previous owner in the garage for this project.

Total:$92.47
Total without Dryer: $42.47

Here is a list of tools we used, and which ones we had to buy:
Hammer
Cordless Drill
Screwdrivers 
Pliers
Pipe Wrench
Drywall Saw ($9.98 at Lowes)
Skill Saw($10 at garage sale- used to cut shelf holders, but you could use a handsaw)
Skill Saw Blade($5.38 again you could use handsaw)
Goggles ($5.94 at Lowes for 2 pairs- but we will use them for the whole house as we scrape ceilings!)
Trowels and Mudbucket ($7.98)
Laser/Level($14.97 a must for hanging the shelves straight, although you could use a chalk line as well)
Paint Brushes
Paint Pad ($6.00)
Paint Pad Tray($1.74)
We really enjoyed our first project. We certainly have acquired quite a collection of tools, but they will continue to be useful as we fix up the rest of our house.

 

UPDATE: We thought we were done with this project, but just a few days later we encountered another problem and ended up making big changes to our laundry room! Read about it here.

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There’s nothing short about a short sale!

So you’re probably wondering “What is a short sale?” Well, as we heard a thousand times over the last 4 months, the first thing you need to know about short sales is that they’re not short.

As first-time home buyers we didn’t know anything about them. The abbreviated answer is short sales happen when a seller is unable to make payments anymore or wishes to sell but the value of the house is less than what they owe. Sometimes the bank will take less to avoid foreclosing on the house. This also benefits the seller as a foreclosure will severely damage their credit. Downside is, they take forever because these big, out-of-state banks have to approve the sale and get like a million signatures for every part of the process. Generally, they have bigger fish to fry, so selling you the house isn’t usually top priority.

Whew, anyone else confused yet? As we began our house search in mid April, we viewed several homes that were listed as short sales, but we really wanted to avoid them since we needed to be out of our university housing in 2 months. However, when you’re fresh out of college and just starting your career, money is tight and options are limited. The very first house we looked at was a short sale. After viewing over 60 houses online and many in person, we decided that there weren’t any other houses we wanted.

So on April 22 we made an offer! However, unlike people on the HGTV show “Property Virgins,” we did not get a call within the hour or even the same day. We waited 2 months to hear that the bank was even considering our offer.

Finally on July 22nd, only 3 “short”  months later (and by short, of course, I mean long), the bank, Wells Fargo, accepted our offer. Since our rental agreement had expired the week before, my (Arielle) brother and his wife graciously accepted us into their home for what they thought would be two weeks. Little did they know it would turn out to be 5!

We finally closed on August 19 and moved in that weekend. Anyway, this blog isn’t really about the sale of the house. We wanted a fixer-upper, and that’s what we got. So join us as we explore what it means to be homeowners (I think we already figured out it means spending money!), fix up our charming* little house, and  maybe do some other DIY projects along the way. After thinking about how we should fix up the house every day for 3 long months, we’re ecstatic to be done with the process and finally able to make it our own.

*Let’s be honest, charming is just a nice way to say that it needs a lot of help. 🙂

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