Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We're in!

We've been in for a couple of weeks but, true to my blogging style, I haven't had a chance to update things. And I'm glad to have such enthusiastic support for my little blogging project. I love an excuse to write lots of words about pretty much anything but matching a topic to a willing audience is often the tough part.

Our move went really smoothly thanks to the help of some amazingly generous friends and even a few generous strangers. Actually, I think there was only one mover who neither Eric or I knew, but there were a few we only know very slightly. And there were more than a few who moved all this stuff for us (including our piano!) less than a year ago.

With a fair amount of help we managed to get ourselves pretty well unpacked within a week. Then some friends came for the weekend and we unloaded our storage unit and spent the next week unpacking that in preparation for Gregory's baptism yesterday.

Normally I would be hesitant to put up any pictures at all until the boxes are gone, the house is clean, the pictures are hung, and I am generally satisfied with the state of things. But within a couple days of moving it became obvious that we will probably never feel "done" with our own house. We have very, very long lists of projects we'd like to tackle. They range from huge and necessary (wheelchair ramp, new roof) to small and optional (changing out the dated and mismatched switch plate covers all over the house).

For a brief, preliminary tour of part of the main floor, come inside . . .

The previous owner took us on a tour immediately after closing. She was lovely and helpful and had obviously loved the house. She had her brother in tow and he had personally done much of the work on the house. She claims that the house was in very bad repair when she bought it in 1997. We have no idea how old it is (yes, I know, you'd think this information would be on file somewhere). The realtor thought 1950, the inspector suggested 1940, and the previous owner explained how they had found the old gas lighting lines and capped them off. Maybe someday we'll know the real answer. Some of the original details were preserved:

These wide-plank rustic floors are definitely gorgeous but I'm not sure how long their charm will last. The cracks are wide crumb traps and there are a lot of splintery, damaged spots. But refinishing the floors is pretty far down our list.

The front room has fantastic natural light thanks to the bay windows and we love having a cozy sitting area. The two louvered closets are not my favorite feature. These front rooms are typically used as master bedrooms around here and those closets were added with that in mind by covering over a chimney (and maybe a fireplace?). We are thinking hard about tearing that out, re-exposing the brick and reclaiming that closet space for part of the living room at some point. For now I'm trying not to go nuts every time I look at the off-center couch on that wall.

And, no, that's not one of my kids! We were babysitting for a friend the day I took these pictures.
There are frosted-glass pocket doors separating this room from the dining room but they are off their track so it's an enormous project to get them closed. Someday . . . it's on the list!

We pretty much planned our furniture layout based on memory and the few measurements Eric was able to take on the inspection day. We had decided on this wall for the bookshelves and we figured that I would take at least one unit apart, cut it all down and put them back up to fit the wall. Imagine my delight when the existing width was exactly perfect for the space. The gap on the right is to allow for the baseboard heaters. We've since added the top shelves back on as well so they go all the way to the ceiling. Since those pieces were bottomless two-shelf units I just stood each one on end and trimmed the "feet" to accommodate the slightly lower ceilings here. Then I moved the shelf up a bit to split the difference and create two smallish top shelves. They look great but they are over full already so there may be some new shelving in our future.

The kitchen is probably the best I've ever had. I've had bigger kitchens and prettier kitchens but this one combines good design with decor that is not completely awful. I'm not in love with the textured blue floor tile, the faux-marble paneling on the walls, the faux-marble formica, and the psychedelic wood grain on the cabinets but I can definitely live with it. The previous owners had a stainless steel suite of appliances in here but stipulated in the contract that they would be taking the "stove, refrigerator, and microwave" with them. That was fine with me since we own a fridge, don't use a microwave, and were thrilled to be getting a new dishwasher with the sale. I shopped for a stove (not quite the stove of my dreams but definitely the "we're on a budget version" of the stove of my dreams) and bought it in black. I'm not a fan of the stainless thing in kitchens but I figured the black would match the stainless dishwasher and stainless vent hood nicely.

Imagine our surprise when we came for a walk through the day before closing to find a big, gaping hole where the dishwasher had been! Our agent got on the phone and had a check promised from the sellers to cover part of the cost of a dishwasher (which was really kind since I think it was an honest misunderstanding with one or more of the attorneys). Honestly, I'm on the fence about dishwashers anyway. We aren't rushing out to buy one and for now I'm enjoying an easy-to-clean spot to house my trashcan and recycling. Though I'm open to suggestions for making that spot a little more aesthetically pleasing.

The owners had also changed out the vent hood so I now have a black stove, cream vent hood, and white refrigerator. But that's okay. It's a work in progress.

The rest of our main floor is a nice large bathroom and two small bedrooms. Lots more pictures to follow as we set things up. And as soon as I have baptism pictures I will post those as well. It's good to be home!


Anonymous said...

YOu are wonderfully descriptive and I loooove the pictures:) I hope that the daunting task of owning a home will not undermine the joy/excitment of having your own space. Those lists will shift and change over time I would guess. I think its neat you dont know how old it is - how curious! Good choice guys! Peace (and with those bigger projects - good luck!

Emily said...

Love the new post!! We would love to see pics of the outside of the house and more inside pics :) Congrats again on the house. I have been meaning to post pics of ours....and now I will so you can see our transformation and give you hope about that endless to-do list!

Brian said...

Susan, look at Home Depot for a small bi-fold cabinet door or perhaps even a window shutter that matches the cabinets to cover the trash area, or take a cue from Granpa Gerold and put a curtian rod up just under the counter top and hang a curtian that is split in the middle...you have several colors to work with from the photo and your description...then let us know about your one pressing need so we can send your house warming gift. Love, Dad

ginger said...

Congrats on the new house. I love that the bookshelf fit in so well. Your kitchen cabinets reminded me of a remodel I saw on a blog recently. Painting the doors and getting new hardware would probably give enough freshness to make coping with the faux marble for a while easier to swallow. http://www.designspongeonline.com/2011/03/before-after-katie-jois-kitchens.html

Susan said...

Thanks for the link, Ginny! That is my plan and I'm thinking of practicing in the rental kitchen :)