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!


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:


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 without Dryer: $42.47

Here is a list of tools we used, and which ones we had to buy:
Cordless Drill
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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