Bob Vila, What Hath You Wrought?


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!

*This post has been reported to the National Blogging Authority for violation of the Excessive Use of Exclamation Points Provision.  Please amend the offending punctuation or be subject to the maximum penalty: transfer of this blog’s log-in information to the Associated Fellowship of Pharmaceutical Spammers.*


16 responses »

  1. Your house is eerily similar to ours!!!! How funny!! We had radon in the basement, too–and that little system they installed is so quiet that every once in awhile I freak out and run a test–but the system works great, and we’ve had no problems!

    Our kitchen isn’t open to the dining room–there’s a wall there over the cabinets. Yours looks so open! And ours was painted like Jimmy Buffett’s crazy college party friends’ house when we moved in, so the white gives me an idea of how it once looked…but all in all, I’m cracking up at the similarities!! Congratulations!! Very exciting!

  2. Before you name a house I think you must live in it for a while. Our last house complete with 9 people (which included Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle, 4 kids the mom, the dad, and 1 80 pound lab) was called Camp Chaos a lot of the time. Great pictures and congratulations on the new house!!

  3. I’m so excited for your family! A new house is so exciting! And I love your decorating ideas! I can’t wait for the first 80’s party in the rumpus room!!!! It will be totally rad!!!!!!

  4. Its been a while since I have visited Notes, but I am so stinking happy for you guys!!! Can’t wait to see the changes along the way 🙂 We are actually in the process of “looking” at homes too. On a fluke, we received an FHA approval for a home loan, but have absolutely no money in the bank for the 3.5% down! Uuuggghhh!!! But, we are looking anyway – we figure if God can get us an approval for a home loan with all of our bad history (and trust me, there is allot of it!), He can certainly provide us the money we need, when we need it, right? Is that presumptuous of us??? I’d prefer to call it faith!

  5. I made it all the way through! I loved the pictures and the house! Hmm, a name…I agree you need to live in it a bit…but I love the fact you want to name it…I name my cars. 🙂 I don’t have a suggestion, but I think (speaking phonically to a teacher ) it should begin with a “kuh” sound….since aside from your hubby, you all have that sound at the beginning of your names 😉

  6. I love the house and how it is pretty much a blank canvas for you to make your own mark on. WONDERFUL!

    My daughter has a friend named Pemberley. I think it is so lovely.

  7. LOVE IT! And I love how you’re alreay talking about how to make it YOURS. Color is a must. Sage green, deep reds and blues, that’s what our former home had and I loved it! I know you will, too!

    Have fun!

    Oh, and the naming should be interesting for as literary and as techno-geeky as you both are, this could get to be quite an experience to come up with a great name!

  8. The National Blogging Authority reviewed this post. Given the situation, the excessive use of exclamation points was deemed permissible.

    Congratulations on your new home! How exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Thanks, you guys!

    Liza–Nope, the name hasn’t been decided yet. We thought we might live in it for a while before we settle on one. 🙂

    Right now we’re in the middle of a massive renovation effort, aided by a small army of good friends. I’ll post in-progress pictures soon!

  10. I’m sitting here wracking my brain trying to think of a beautiful name for your house. I’m thinking it should reflect who you are and something special to you about the house. The first thing that came to my mind was “PaulTree Manor” but I guess that sounds too much like Paultry. 🙂 I’m going to keep thinking. Tell us when you decide! It’s a beautiful house I know you’ll make into a lovely home!

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