Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Door

It started with a door.

When we first walked through our house, Ben proclaimed the black basement door had to go. I didn't disagree. It was no surprise when he wanted to tackle that project quickly, but as we've learned, one home improvement project often unleashes four more and repainting the basement door meant repainting the whole hallway.

So, we started with all the doors.

Six of them came off their hinges and hauled down to the basement for paint prep. Along with them went their associated hardware; knobs, hinges and screws which varied in color from chrome to gold to half spray painted white and desperately needed some consistency.

We primed and primed and primed that black door and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed every last piece of hardware. I was just about to give our bedroom door its first coat of fresh paint when something caught my eye—scrawled across the bottom in faded black Sharpie: “Pete and Jan’s bedroom”.

I'm a sucker for history and unearthing secrets in lives people lived before us, so I let myself daydream about Pete and Jan. They weren't the owners we bought the house from, and with their names on the raw wood, I imagine they may have been near the first if not the first owners from 1967.

Their life in this home likely started by marking that door.

Seeing Pete and Jan's ownership in ink makes me wonder about their memories in this house and what ours will be. We've already made a few, mostly involving late night painting parties, a 90's pop Pandora station streaming and someone's hilarious little dance to "Genie In a Bottle".

Several hours later and a few repeats of songs on our Pandora station later, we were almost done. It’s amazing what paint can do; the hallway feels clean, new, us. As we prepped to put the doors back on, Ben took a second to mark the bottom of our bedroom door with our initials. And just like it might have for Pete and Jan, in that moment our house suddenly became ours.

All starting with a door.

"B + D's Lovenest"

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend Notes: Painting and Meatloaf

Can I ask why people don’t like meatloaf? I mean, the name doesn’t do it any favors, but made correctly it’s essentially a super moist and flavorful burger sans bun. What’s not to like?

Also, can I ask why people paint small rooms dark colors? Or why said people paint small houses seven different colors? Unlike meatloaf, there’s no explanation for that.

This past weekend was our first stab at tackling the paint situation. And because we were so hard at work and damn hungry when dinner rolled around, this past weekend was also my first stab at bacon jalapeƱo meatloaf.
Hello, saucy bacon wrapped beauty
The meatloaf was a hit. It was super easy, sweet, not too spicy (actually not spicy enough for me) and honestly so enthralling just to wrap something that size in strips of bacon. Drool.

Painting was successful, too. We worked Thursday night, Friday night, all day Saturday and half the day Sunday to get the living room and foyer freshened up. Not to toot my own horn but it looks phenomenal.

Living room before:

Living room during:

Living room after:

Between the new outlet plates, Ben’s white trim work and my spray paint job on the vents the entire room feels new and clean. Three of the walls are a soft gray (doesn’t pick up via photograph super well) instead of a rust orange and dark beige, and one is a cool blue similar to our apartment. Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Our new Ikea Kivik couch is up (major shout out to my brother for helping me build it!) and so incredibly comfortable. I scored a new pouf on sale and curtains this weekend because it felt sacrilegious to hang the old teal curtains in a new clean room. Teal I said. We still need art work, a side chair and maybe a new lamp but we made massive progress this weekend alone.

Also included was a paint job to the foyer. I don’t have a good before picture, but you can see it to the left of the original living room picture above. Think dark beige walls, closed off, a weird childhood art project glued into the middle of the doorbell box.

Foyer after:

We brought the same white trim and light gray walls into the foyer as well, making both rooms flow together. I spray painted the old doorbell box white and replaced the childhood art project. Ben successfully installed coat hooks and our new light fixture with no issues. Not that he’s ever had electrical work issues, ahem.

Eventually, the gray in these two rooms will flow through the rest of the house, too. Another weekend, another room. At least right now with these two rooms painted and bellies full of meatloaf, we’re quickly feeling at home.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Up to Par

And we’re all moved in! Thanks to a two week gap with the home and the apartment, we were able to do a lot of work before family came in to help. Then last Saturday, with the help of Ben’s parents, two brothers and a trailer, we finished the move.

Many projects are on the horizon—hopefully with blog updates, too. So far, we’ve done a lot of little stuff to get the house up to par for moving in, like:
Bringing in the light 
Hello? Is there a foyer back there? I can hardly tell. (Listing photo)
The joys of moving/working on the house week nights is that we could tell just how insufficient the current light bulbs were. We spent some good time talking about warmth and wattage with a helpful Lowe’s man before replacing almost every bulb in the house.

Updating the outlets
They were all chrome plated before, and now have new white plates. A couple outlets were installed upside down which meant Ben spent several hours wrestling with stiff wires that hadn’t been touched in 60 years.

Hard to see, but between that door way are the waves. (Listing photo)
Ironing out carpet waves
The living room and dining room are carpeted, and while the carpet itself is in good shape the installation job was done poorly. The high traffic zone from living room to dining room/kitchen had major almost surf-able carpet ripples, so we had a carpet guy come in and re-install it.

I traveled around the house (while Ben was wrestling the aforementioned wires) yanking out nails, sanding and spackling where needed. Our walls have several battle wounds now, but they’re all ready for priming and painting.

Ew blinds
That's a lot of shower curtain goin' on. (Listing photo)
I gave the whole house a good scrub, but most notably the blinds. Mr. Previous Owner hadn’t cleaned them ever, as evident by the caked on sawdust from initial installation. I gag at the memory.

Curvy shower rod
Our bathroom is on the smaller side, which only seemed smaller with the curvy shower curtain bar that was hanging above the bathtub. We swapped that out for a straight bar like we’re use to in hopes it’ll make our one bath sitchu feel a little more spacious and enjoyable.

Ikea architechting
Our new couch and dresser arrived yesterday! My brother and I tag teamed both projects, assembling while listening to country music (and maybe me forcing him to watch The Bachelor) with a half time break for Chinese food. 

It's been mostly little stuff, but working in this house makes it feel more like our house. Plus with a few things crossed off the list we can breathe a little easier—and walk over and walk over the carpet a little less cautiously, too.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Moving—Part 1

I write this with paint stained hands and a sore body.

On Saturday we took 6+ car loads of stuff over to the new place. How did we get so much stuff? And why when we unloaded it in the new house did it look like nothing? Anyway, we packed our cars, drove to the house, unloaded and repeated until it was 10pm and we realized we hadn’t had dinner yet. Bless you, Palermo Pizza for being open and tasty.

There’s just about nothing left in the apartment that can fit in a car, including our kitchen. I moved it all which meant much to Ben’s dismay we had to eat our salad from Palermo’s Saturday night sharing one spoon. Oops.

Today we spent all day cleaning the house (the blind slates—EWW) and replacing outlet covers because someone once thought chrome was a good idea.

Tonight we’re priming the apartment walls back to white. Each roll over on our bright blue living room wall and I’m reminded of how hard Ben worked to set up this apartment for my arrival when we first moved in together two and a half years ago. This place was a pretty darn good first home.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chutes and Ladders

Last night we took our first of what will be many trips to Lowe’s for home stuff. It was getting late and by the time we checked out we were getting kind of tired.

As we wheeled our shopping cart to the parking lot, complete with a six foot ladder hanging precariously off the bottom rack, I had a terrible realization—ain’t no way a six foot ladder gonna fit in my car.

We had loaded the car up already with a couple big items from the apartment thinking we’d move them to the new house after a quick trip to Lowe’s. I now know “quick trip to Lowe’s” doesn’t exist.

So, at 7pm in the Lowe’s parking lot we unloaded the pre-loaded guitar, Christmas tree, full set of lacrosse pads, full set of golf clubs, a few boxes of wedding decorations and two sets of Rollerblades onto the pavement. Then we loaded in the ladder, and thankfully everything else back in with zero (and I mean zero) room to spare.

Whew. This must be home ownership.