Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yeah, um, so we, like, bought a house

I guess it's official, I am a grownup: we bought a house. I still don't have a job, which is weird, but I've had a few nibbles lately so hopefully that will work itself out soon, too.

It took us three years of on-again off-again looking to find something good. We live in a very crowded city with insanely expensive house prices. I wasn't all that excited about most of the houses we looked at anyway. This city is FULL of Victorians and I'm more of a mid/mod kind of girl. Mostly, I just wanted to get out of the fog and into a neighborhood with a little sun. The "good" non-foggy neighborhoods just didn't have anything for us.

We looked at SO many really, truly, sad homes. It seemed like everything in our price range was in extreme disrepair. We'd have to live in one room for months while we brought the rest of the place up to some kind of minimal live-ability. Imagine a tiny, un-maintained, turn-of-the-century house with 20 tenants, false walls everywhere, shanties in the backyard, and people living in the kitchen. Sad. That's pretty much everything we looked at for a long, long time.

It became clear that we'd have to re-assess our plan. Our agent had been suggesting that we look in one of the the less "good" sunny neighborhoods and finally we agreed. Am I glad we did! We found lots of cute mid-century houses at good prices, direct sunlight, and no visible crack-heads or prostitutes. Even at night! Much better than the so called "good" 'hoods we had been concentrating on!

We found a two-story 1956 beauty with a big deck and amazing views that was in move-in-able condition, affordable, and had no tenants. It is on a quiet low-traffic street too! The whole process took a really long time because we were the second people to put in a bid, and our bid was lower. Our patience totally paid off. The first bidder couldn't get his financing together and it was OURS!!

The house is on a little winding road on the top of a hill. The whole street was developed at the same time so the houses are all from late 1950s. We were extremely fortunate in that our new home is pretty much unmolested by updates, except for a really hideous 1980s kitchen remodel, some poor lighting and fixture choices from the same era, and the ugliest pink/white tile flooring imaginable covering the entire downstairs.

Unfortunately, this home was ignored by the landlord for about ten years. The owner lived out of the country and the tenants, well, it appears they had an indoor farm in the garage and upstairs bedroom. Nearly every surface was painted a dark grayish beige. It looks white in the photos below but, trust me, it's not. It was also scandalously dirty and smelled like wet dog but it's still a zillion times nicer than anything else we looked at. I LOVE THIS HOUSE!

The snaps below were taken by the realty company, so they're not the best, but I think you get the idea. We are going to work very hard at getting the 80s out and the 50s back in, as much as possible.

The Deck and the Tiki Spa Hut (Yep. Cold city + hot tub = happy me!)

Guest Bathroom
The Most Hideous 80s Kitchen

Master Bathroom
Living/Dining Room

Rather than start a whole new blog for home renovation I'll prolly post stuff here. Instead of chronicling each little change in the new house, It'll probably be just before/after pictures from time to time. We have been repainting like crazy so you might see some snaps relatively soon.

The sewing will slow down for a bit while I get my sewing room set up again. This blog is supposed to be about sewing so hopefully we will get back to that relatively soon. I'm itching to start a new project and it will be fun trying out new places to do photographs.


  1. I am so excited for you!!! There is nothing like owning your own home - and good for you for holding out until exactly the right thing came along. Can not wait to see the renovations unfold!
    When's the move in date?

  2. It looks great, good luck with the renovations!

  3. Congratulations! That's fabulous! I can't wait to see your renovating progress!

  4. Okay, the kitchen isnt' THAT bad, I've def seen worse. I mean, it could be all stainless steel and faux marble.

    But those bathrooms are so deliciously retro, I am so lovin' the guest bath and the black/white gingham tile! I've never seen that before in the shower stall but I'll have to put that in my inspiration file. So cool. Good luck and have a great time fixing it up.

  5. I'm so happy for your and Morgan! I hope you guys have some sort of soiree' and invite Frank and I!

  6. Wow, congratulations! It looks fabulous (besides the kitchen lol!). Look forward to seeing your renovations.

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny

  7. Congrats on your home purchase. Kitchen is not so bad...rather plain, which means lots of opportunity.


  8. Congratulations!!!! Very happy for you and M. Please feel free to call James if you guys have any questions about the remodel, he would be glad to help. He cant do the physical stuff anymore but can advise. I cant wait to see what all you guys do. hugs

  9. Congratulations! Have fun renovating, I'm sure you'll do the 50's proud!

  10. Wow! what a beautiful home... you're right about that bathroom, they went all retro there....huh?
    Well, at least you have time now to enjoy the decorating and imagine the coolest things there.

  11. That's exciting, it looks fabulous, lots of potential!

  12. Thank you everyone for your sweet comments!

    We are finally moved in. The painting of the upstairs is nearly done. We'll be putting up wallpaper and shelving next month and then I think the upstairs will be finished. (Except for the kitchen...yee.) The downstairs is going to take a bit longer as we need to do some construction down there in order to make it a usable space. There is a slanted wall and some giant "curbs" in the main room which make it impossible to have any furniture against the walls. Plus we need to create some storage places for all our books, CDs, LPs, and our ginormous collection of tsotchkes.

    @ Kim Bombshell - Yes! Party! We will likely have an open house once we get a bit more organized. Hopefully some time in October, if things go well with the renovatin'.

  13. Wow, congrats! I can't wait to see it!!

  14. What great news Gab. It looks very nice. Love the bathrooms and the kitchen just needs paint on those cabinets. Love the deck and Wow! what a view.
    Is this in the Bay View District?

    My son lives there on Pennsylvania.
    Happy for you.

    By the way, are you on FB, I am, look me up...lots of family goings on there.