Tag Archives: real estate

New house color reveal!

For those of you who know us personally, this post has been a long time comin’. For those of you who don’t, SURPRISE! We got our house painted!

Before I get going any further, I’ll just leave this photo here as a friendly reminder of what our house looked like when we bought it.

DSC_0047There was nothing WRONG with the paint color, per se. Well, actually, the flippers did a pretty shitty job of painting the porches and trim… AND they painted the roof (a real “wtf?” moment for us when we discovered that!) But part of our deal was that the seller had to put a new roof on the house at closing. When the roofers asked us if we wanted the same shingles, we said yes, assuming they would be black (since, you know, the roof LOOKED black…which turned out to be paint…) But, they weren’t.

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I like to think of this roof color change as moving our house’s style from the goth look to more grunge. More Daria Morgendorfer than Morticia Addams. While I dig both of those styles in clothing, it wasn’t really working on the house. I felt like our house just looked so drab, blending in to the background (it was kind of painted camo colors, after all). And the dark trim that I had been totally okay with when I thought it was black now looked a lot more like muddy brown.

But getting a house painted is either expensive or time consuming, depending on the route you decide to take, Initially we were all, we-just-bought-a-house-and-aren’t-going-to-spend-any-money. Then we were all, oh-crap,-our-bathtub-leaks-and-we-have-no-kitchen-ceiling,-better-spend-money-on-that. And THEN we were all…

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dang,-a-tree-fell-on-our-fence-and-power-line…

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…and-ripped-out-a-chunk-of-the-house-with-it;-guess-we’d-better-spend-money-on-THAT.

Fortunately, that disaster was covered by our insurance (after the deductible, of course). Still, it kind of sucked to have a hole in the side of our house in the middle of winter. Oh yeah, and without power to the house, we had no heat! Fun stuff. Let’s get a close up on that hole (please excuse the fact that these are out of focus; it was the middle of the night and we were cranky).

P2360047That black thing is the pipe that goes to our toilet, for reference. The “good” news was, our kitchen ceiling was already open, so we could stuff some cardboard up there to block the draft!

Anyway, we got it patched up pretty quickly, thanks to State Farm.

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Our claims adjuster was awesome and easy to work with, and since we had a higher deductible, she gave us as much as she could so we were getting our money’s worth, including painting not just the patched area, but both the entire back and north sides of the house “that way the paint matches…” (including the shed!)

So, here we were, with two sides of the house being painted…that same boring blah color. I mean, really, people. Look at that picture up there. BORING. And icky. So we made a decision.

We decided to get the entire house painted.

Of course, like I said before, house painting isn’t cheap. But the contractor who was already doing the repairs cut us a deal, and we actually managed to cover the entire project with our tax return! Fortunately our indecisiveness and inability to agree on house colors gave us the time we needed for that check to come in…

I have, for much of my life, attempted to come to “agreements” and “understandings” in my relationships. I don’t like when anybody “wins”… I’d rather just have my partner understand that I’m “right” 😉 Well, on the subject of house colors, we just could not agree. We were literally on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I used the drawing of the house I made for this blog and the Behr website to try out our color ideas and, ahem, show Jon just how great my color ideas are. After much bickering and about 50 different paint swatches, he finally said, “Okay. You win. We’ll go with your colors.”

It was a little difficult for me to accept winning without him necessarily agreeing with my choice, but I knew, deep in my heart, that my paint color design was perfect. I mean, look at it!

House colors

It should be noted that, on screen, Night Shade looks kind of green. It’s not. On the color fan we had, it was situated in the blue family. It looked like a very dark, almost charcoal blue (picture it, I know you can). So I figured it would probably look more blue than green, which is what we wanted, but would be safer than going with a more blue-looking color. I was okay with the possibility of it looking green, gray, or even black (I was too scared to actually go for a black house… what if I just made it look even MORE Addams family?… but I wasn’t opposed to the idea). A search on the interwebs showed me that Night Shade tends to look pretty blue, which would compliment the color scheme we have going on the first floor of the house. So we went with it, and the painting began.

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The first thing they did after taping off all the windows was spray on the trim. Oh my gosh, you guys, I can’t even tell you how DIFFERENT our house looks with light trim! It was an instant transformation.

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I was freakin’ thrilled. Jon (who had originally wanted a darker trim) started to realize my brilliance… The cream trim makes the house stand out so much, brightens it, and I think actually makes the house look bigger.

When they started adding the body color, (pardon my French) hot damn.

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The color turned out pretty much exactly like I had hoped.

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We chose a satin finish, which was supposedly the less shinier option, and I’m glad we did, because dang does that afternoon sun SHINE off our house! Initially it was a little scary, but now I actually quite like it. OH—by the way—that siding we thought was asbestos and needed to be gotten rid of? Not asbestos! It’s actually cement. And the texture is really pretty awesome—something we barely noticed with the drab green of the past.

Now the painting is all said and done, so here are the Official New Exterior Photos!

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TA-DA! Isn’t it gorgeous? Seriously. Scroll up to the photo of the house when we bought it. Now look back at this photo. AMAZING, RIGHT?!

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It’s hard to see the Cinnamon Cherry porch ceiling and soffets in these photos, but in person it’s much more impressive. They add a nice pop of brightness to break up the blue.

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We didn’t like the house-numbers-on-a-plaque thing we had going on before, and for a moment I was afraid we would have to buy new house numbers. Afraid because those things are kind of expensive. I know, I know… they’re not THAT expensive… but we were already shelling out thousands of dollars to have the house painted, and I was feeling a bit stingy. Fortunately, the perfectly lovely numbers attached to the ugly plaque we had were only hot-glued on! Thanks, shitty flippers! So we were able to pop them right off. Jon used liquid nails to attach them to the post, which may not have been the best option as it was a bit messy, but… from here it looks great!

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There is still more to be done. We decided to hold off on painting the fence since we couldn’t decide on a color and we’re not sure if we’re keeping the fence or not (the broken bit did get repaired so the pooch could be contained). We also plan to paint the door and screen door red, and haven’t decided whether it will be the same red as the porch ceiling and soffets or if it will be a brighter red. So for now, I’ll leave you with this lovely little photo of our porch, my new favorite place. Fun fact: all of this furniture was free.

Stay tuned for photos of the back of the house and backyard… that area is a bit of a mess at the moment, but we have grand plans for the future!

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First Floor Tour Conclusion: Entry, Hall, and Half Bath

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You’ve already seen the entry in the first floor preview post, but today you get to see just a bit more.

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This is the view from the kitchen. The first door on the right goes to the half bath (the other door goes to the basement).

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We didn’t have to do much to the half bath, besides the laborious task of installing a towel rack. I am weirdly in love with this bathroom. The floors are perfect to me. I really feel that the sink, mirror, and light fixtures match each other and the house so well. They are sleek and modern but don’t seem out of place in an old house. I much prefer the sink downstairs to the one upstairs (see the empty house tour for that bathroom).

First Floor Tour: the Living Room

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As I mentioned in the dining room post, it’s kind of impossible to show one room without the other since they are interconnected, so here you get to see the other side of the dining room, too.

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The main furniture feature in the living room is probably also the most used piece of furniture in the house: the sofa. It’s another side-of-the-road find, and it sure was a good one! It’s very long (I can lay out straight on it and there’s still room for someone to sit at my feet) and just the kind of simple modern style I like. Though I love the color (and it influenced our decorating choices greatly) we plan on reupholstering it at some point. The poor thing has probably had the same upholstery its entire life, and judging by the style, it could be up to fifty years old. The foam cushions also need to be replaced, but in the meantime, it is a highly functional and still attractive couch.

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Oh, and we also lucked out in the fact that it doesn’t have any weird smells or stains!

In case you were wondering, there are three lamps in the photo above and yes, that pig on the left is one of them. We have quite the collection of lamps.

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Another of my favorite lamps is this black and gold horse lamp. I found it on the side of the road, too. Yes. I find amazing things on the side of the road.

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Sadly, the fireplace is not functional. That didn’t stop us from putting real wood in it, though.

And this concludes the south side of the first floor.

First Floor Tour: the Dining Room

DSC_0143Ladies and gentlemen, not only am I (finally) continuing the first floor tour, but this one actually includes a sneak peak of the living room as shown above! Since the dining and living rooms are open to each other, it’s really impossible to show one without the other.

As you can see above, the only alteration that has been made to the actual house is painting one wall navy blue (the other side is also painted, which you will see in the living room post.)

DSC_0144As for the furniture, this dining room needed a larger table than the one we already had. My parents kindly gave us this black table, which can be made smaller by removing two leaves from the middle and dropping the sides down, should we so choose.

DSC_0145The hoop back chairs also came from my mother. I painted them a bright blue to to bring some color in to the room. (Also—turns out you can see some of that navy in this photo, too! Check it out.)

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That chair in the corner (affectionately named “the dog’s chair” since she is the only one who sits in it) is a side-of-the-road find.

The piano came from Jon’s mother. Sadly I have not been playing it as much as I should, but I am still very happy that we have it in the house!

DSC_0147I decided to try decorating with books for the top of the piano. I chose the books specifically for their colors. They are also pretty good books. That amazing wooden bowl was a wedding gift, and the hand once belonged to a Sak’s Fifth Avenue mannequin (before they closed in the mid-2000s.)

That’s our dining room! Like I said, you will be able to see the other end when I show photos of the living room.

Do you have a piano? How often do you play it? How about side-of-the-road furniture?

First Floor Preview

After a busy weekend, I didn’t have much time to write up a post. I hope you will be satisfied with a sneak peak of the way our first floor looks now that we live here.

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Keep coming back for more posts this week, including tours of the first floor, details about what the heck is going on with our kitchen ceiling, a price comparison between Door to Door Organics and Trader Joe’s, and of course, this week’s box!

What did you do this weekend? Lots of work or lots of play? How are you celebrating the most wonderful season of autumn?

The House, before it was ours

I’m going to babble here for a minute, so if you’re just here for the pictures, scroll down! There are lots.

Jon and I first started talking about buying a house in spring of 2012. Truth be told, I had been thinking about owning a house for pretty much my entire life. My mother is an interior architect, and I inherited from her a deep love for old homes. Jon was more interested in getting a foreclosure or something equally affordable. We didn’t have much money at that point, so we agreed to wait a while and save money renting.

A year later, right in the heat of wedding planning, I had the house bug hard core. I’d convinced Jon that we should really take advantage of being first-time home buyers with a low-interest, minimal down payment FHA loan (I’ll write more about that at a later date). Unfortunately, many of the foreclosures we were looking at didn’t qualify, but with the help of FHA knowledge and two raises, we realized we could look at homes with a little bit bigger price tag.

This was our wish list:

  • Had to be in one of our top neighborhoods (we basically narrowed it down to three in Kansas City, Missouri).
  • Nothing built later than the 1930s (my personal style preference).
  • At least three bedrooms so that we could have office/studio space and a kid or two some day.
  • Had to have decent (for the city) yard space for potential gardening.
  • Preferably more than one toilet.
  • If major rehabbing was necessary (bad foundation, flooring needing to be redone, bad roof, etc.) then the price needed to be considerably lower than our top limit. Basically, if there was going to be any major project, our price point dropped by about $30k.

We looked at several houses. Size for the price was often an issue. A few didn’t qualify for FHA loans. Major renovation projects were a deal breaker a couple times.

Sooner than expected (about a month before wedding day, in fact), we found our house. At the time we made an offer, they were asking $14k more than our budget, but it had been on the market a while (at one point it was priced at $34k more!) We decided that we didn’t want to mess around. We offered exactly what we could afford. After some balking, they accepted it, and even ended up throwing in a new roof! The best advice I can give to potential homeowners is KNOW YOUR BUDGET, stick to it, and be prepared to walk away! Even though we have run in to some issues since purchasing the place (more on that later), we still feel like we got an amazing deal.

The house was built in 1910 and has likely been renovated many times in the last century. The most recent renovation was done by the folks we bought it from. It’s two stories with an unfinished attic and “finished” basement (again, a story for another time). It has three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. It is in our top neighborhood, the same one I grew up in, close to work, school, and family. The backyard is large for the city, with potential room for a driveway or even a garage if we decide we need it some day. Basically, the house is everything we wanted!

Now before we get going with the tour, I’d like to apologize. We have lived in this house nearly four months and I have yet to photograph it furnished. You see, I don’t want to do it unless it’s clean, and it’s never all clean at the same time. Excuses, excuses, I know. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures the day we had our housewarming party. The house looked so presentable that day. But alas.

Actually, I am in the process of photographing it now, but since it could be a while before that’s done, I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up just yet. So in the meantime I hope you are satisfied with this tour of our house, comprised of photos taken on our final walkthrough.

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The exterior

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The entryway, from the living room

What I love most about this house is the openness of the first floor. It’s somewhat uncommon in houses so old.

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The living room and dining room

It was renovated for the purpose of selling, so yes, it was a flip. But the style of the work done is fairly consistent throughout the house: modern, but not so much that it loses any of its original integrity.

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The dining room, kitchen, and living room

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The dining room

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The dining room and kitchen

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The kitchen

The kitchen is my favorite room in the whole house. Standing at the sink, I can see out in to the backyard, through the dining room to the living room, and down the hall, through the front door to the front yard. Basically, the entire house. Standing in the kitchen is essentially what made me fall in love with this house.

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The first floor half bath

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The upstairs hall

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Bedroom #1

As to be expected, due to its age, the bedrooms aren’t huge.

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Bedroom #1

Fortunately for us, they have relatively decent closets!

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Bedroom #2 (the smallest)

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Bedroom #2’s little nook

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Bedroom #3 (the biggest)

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Upstairs full bath

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Upstairs full bath

What is/was your wishlist for your first house? What renovations would you be okay with tackling? What are your dealbreakers?

Stay tuned for more updates, our visions and plans for the home, the trials and tribulations we’ve already dealt with, and (eventually) a furnished tour!