As promised, I’m going to fill this post with photos of our new house and comments about our many overly-ambitious home improvement plans. Don’t worry, though; I don’t expect anyone but my mother to make it all the way through to the end. As I mentioned before, buying your first house is a little bit like having your first baby. Despite all evidence to the contrary, you feel like the first person in the history of the world to do it, and are temporarily rendered unable to talk about anything else. I promise, long after everyone else has grown tired of hearing about it, I’ll still be posting long progress reports on the status of our basement wiring project and our fascinating plans for mulching the flower beds.
With that said, here we go!
Things we like about our new house:
*Size: We were looking for a house with at least 1500 square feet and either a fourth bedroom or a bonus/family room that we could use as an office. What we got was 1975 square feet, a fourth bedroom, AND a big family room downstairs! We actually don’t have enough furniture to fill it, and that is a fun problem to have! Now, do we go French Minimalist, or Greg Brady Beanbag Chic?
*Age: We’ve been looking mostly at new construction, hoping to find something move-in ready with shiny new fixtures and a modern layout. This house is ten years old, young enough to have some of the shiny left on it, but old enough that the neighborhood has been established and grown up a little. Also, any major settling in the foundation or quirkiness in the house usually shows itself in ten years, which is comforting when you’re signing away your life savings. It needs a little more TLC on the front end than a brand new house, mostly cosmetic things, but according to the home inspector, it has good bones and solid construction.
*Openness: The moment we walked into this house, I fell in love with the big curved window in the living room. It sang to me (“The hills are aliiive…with the sound of muuusic….”) The whole upstairs is flooded with natural light, and with the vaulted ceilings in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and master bedroom, it has a wonderful open feeling. Not to mention plenty of space for the family frisbee championships.
*The cool hidey-hole in Caleb’s room: It’s definitely his favorite feature, and as he grows up, I’ll know exactly where to look for all those contraband items he doesn’t want me to see.
*The built-in closet shelves: They will be definite improvement over our old organizational system, otherwise known as Piles of Stuff on the Floor.
*Vinyl siding: Because real love is never having to paint the house.
*Lots of storage space: Finally, somewhere to put all the boxes we never look into.
Not so great things about the house:
*The garage door opener is broken.
*The home inspection found high levels of radon in the basement, so we have to have a radon mitigation system put in so we don’t paper our lungs with irradiated radon particles.
*The backyard is adequate, but not very large. So much for my plans to build a life-size replica of the HMS bounty for the kids to play in.
None of those things are dealbreakers, though, so I guess we’ve got ourselves a house!
Now, on to the pictures:
We’re taking it on faith that there is actual grass under all that snow.
This house was built without a deck, and apparently the original owner didn’t feel the lack, so he never added one. We’ll be building one this summer or next, depending on when we can get the money together for it. We’d like to build one with a ramp instead of steps, so that the upstairs at least would be wheelchair accessible. We’ll also fence in the backyard with a vinyl privacy fence.
This is the upstairs living room. That’s Kirk, one of our realtors, checking out the ceiling. He was awesome, taking us around to what felt like dozens of houses without the slightest sign of impatience, letting us talk things over and form our own impressions without ever feeling like there was any pressure. Kirk does all the showings and his wife, Mimi, handles the contracts and offers. They’re great.
Here’s a shot of the dining area and a little of the kitchen. We’re going to tear out the carpet in the dining room and the old flooring in the kitchen and lay down wood-look laminate through both areas. Carpet in the dining room might work for grown ups, but our kids would have a rainbow of food stains on it before a week was out! We’re also going to paint that back wall a sage green to give some contrast to the white cabinets and countertops in the kitchen.
Speaking of the kitchen, here it is. Blinding, isn’t it? The all-white motif really put me off the first time we saw this place, but I think once we get the darker floors in and paint that wall, it will be less severe. We’d also like to eventually replace the countertops and sink with something darker, but that’s a project for the future.
We get to buy a refrigerator, an entirely new experience for us serial renters. Paul wants one with the water and ice dispensers on the door. I just want one that doesn’t show fingerprints.
The master bedroom, or at least one corner of it. See that high shelf area over the door? Kirk called it a “plant shelf”, but I totally think we should put a tree fort up there!
This room, right next to the master bedroom, will be the office. Don’t those shelves look perfect for holding all of Paul’s electronic junk equipment? I’d like to paint this room, too, but since Paul confessed his recent nightmare that I had painted every wall in the house a different color, I feel I should tread lightly.
The split entryway needs a lot of help. The baseboards and the banisters are pretty dinged up, and need to be replaced or repainted. We’re also going to replace the flooring here with the same laminate we’re using in the kitchen and dining room.
Here’s the hidey-hole! I can only imagine the hours of fun this room will see. Caleb has chosen a medium blue color for his walls, so we’ll be painting in here and in Katie’s room. She wanted dark purple and black, but I talked her into a compromise and a nice lilac color.
This is the downstairs bathroom. The upstairs bathroom isn’t much bigger, but it does have more storage space and a counter top. We’re going to leave this bathroom white, but paint the one upstairs blue.
These two pictures are of opposite ends of the family room (or, as my friend Kathy would desperately like me to call it, the Rumpus Room.) Paul and some of his friends are planning to wire this room with speaker wire and network cable, but I don’t know a lot about that. All I know is that I’m painting it taupe and filling it with comfy furniture!
So there you have it–our first home. I’ll be sure to post some pictures along the way as we make the changes we’re planning!
Oh! One more thing (and if you’ve made it this far, well done you!) We need a name for our house. I was thinking about it, and in all the classic novels, homes have names: Pemberley, Thornfield, Longbourn, Mansfield Park, Windy Corner. I think our first home deserves a name of its own. I must give the matter more thought. I’d love to hear any suggestions!
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