Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Close but no dice

We signed the enormous stack of papers for our new house yesterday. So while we recover from hand cramps and wait for the sale to record so we can have keys I thought I'd do a little snapshot of a few of the houses we considered buying. Our house hunt was pretty narrow because we really wanted a mid-century so we only looked at houses built between 1950-1970 in the 6 neighborhoods we really liked. And as much as I'd love to share pictures of the houses I don't think it's appropriate to put a picture of someone else house up and then critique it without their permission.

1. The Gingerbread house: This 1954 house was so cool on the inside. It had two walls of floor to ceiling windows and great old wallpaper that was still in perfect condition. There was lots of built ins throughout. The kitchen was big and open with tons of light and there was a den/family room with gorgeous wood paneling and built ins. This house was also on a HUGE lot, over half and acre and the lot was flat with great sun. One could have not only a garden but an urban farm. It was also really close to Chris' office and my parent's houses. But the outside of the house looked like a gingerbread house. It was pale yellow with shaker siding and white scalloped trip and a white picket fence. It just wasn't architecturally what we wanted which is not an easy fix.

2. The mid-century modern dream: I LOVED this house. It was built in 1955 and designed by a prominent local architect at the time. It was an iconic mid century modern split level, slanted roof lines, an atrium and it was completely original. It was also surrounded by an urban forest and with windows everywhere it felt like you were in a tree house. Unfortunately it was also decaying badly. There was mold, water damage, roof leakage, wood rot and so on. It would have cost $50,000 worth of renovations just to make the house inhabitable and we just didn't have that kind of savings. It was also on the small side at only 1700 square feet with no garage and tiny bedrooms with tiny closets. So despite this being by far the cheapest house we looked at it just wasn't practical. And Chris vetoed it almost the second we got inside. Interestingly the house ended up pending just 3 days after it came on the market. I'd love to see what the new buyer does with it because it is an awesome house.

3. Our dream neighborhood: This is actually one of my book club friends house. I have always loved this house and it's in our dream neighborhood (the same neighborhood our new house is in). It was built in 1953 and has a whole brick wall fireplace in the living room that has been painted light blue surrounded by to walls of floor to ceiling windows. Unfortunately this house was just too expensive for us and would have been too much of a financial stretch. But we will be forever grateful to it because it was how we found our new house which is just down the street.

4. The practical house: I always think of this house as the practical house because when we were house hunting this one stood out as the safe/practical solution. Compared to the house we bought it was cheaper and didn't come with a buried oil tank, oil furnace, leaking roof or original appliances. And it is a nice house. Build in 1956 it's a charming brick house, a little traditional but with some great modern features. Gorgeous wall of windows in front, nice big open bright kitchen with tons of storage and a lovely den with beautiful original wood paneling. This house also had a great backyard for kids to play, was next door to a park, in a cul-de-sac and in walking distance to lots of shops and grocery stores. But in the end this house never made my heart go pitter patter and next to the house we did buy it just felt like settling.

When we were looking at these other houses our house was still listed pretty high and we knew about the roof, oil tank, oil furnace and all the work it would come with. But I kept praying that the sellers would lower the price enough for it to be a good financial decision. And sure enough the sellers dropped the price an additional $50,000 so we made an offer. We were able to negotiate the removal of the oil tank, a new 95% efficient gas furnace, a new roof, and some needed electrical as part of the sale. So in the end it was just meant to be!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Color challenged

Remember this picture from my first photo reveal of the new house? This will be our main livings pace. This picture, from the RMLS, is taken from the dining room looking into the living room. The carpet in this room is posing a BIG color challenge for me.

Not only is a color I would never choose but feels like the dominant color due to its mass. Furthermore it clashes with almost all of the colors/accessories in our previous home which had a lot of bright red, orange and yellow throughout.

While we still don't have keys yet we know that one of our first projects will be painting, painting and more painting. Because every interior wall in this house needs repainted badly I want to start wrapping my head around an overall color pallet for the house and have some paint chips ready to put up right away. We know we want to paint Margot's room a soft grey. But unlike a lot of empty houses which serve as a blank slate this one comes with a lot of color already. Besides the rose carpet and two wood tones throughout the house there is the green marble fireplace, brick red/brown tile in the kitchen, pink and maroon tile and fixtures in Margot's bathroom and pink and grey marble in the master bath. And that's just the first floor. The lower level has it's own wacky color palate that is a topic for another day.

My instinct is that with so many colors already in play the walls should be light and neutral. But what neutral? Should we stick tot he off white/ivory currently in the house? What about adding a different shade of grey throughout the main space? Grey and pink is a pretty classic 1950's color combination. But how might grey and pink work with our existing furniture especially the yellow/gold/ivory chairs?

Unfortunately the pink carpet is here to stay (at least for the next several years) as is all the pink/brown/maroon tile. Given that, the challenge is to make it not only work for now but look good in the meantime. Ideas? Brilliant neutral paint colors to share? Ginormous inexpensive area rug ideas to tone down the endless pink?

Friday, July 19, 2013

brain dump

It has been a rough couple of weeks for me and right now I can't help but feel very deflated...

  • We did close on our old house. hooray for getting one house off our plates.
  • Our closing date for our new house has been delayed 2x. It's been extremely frustrating. We were originally supposed to close this coming Monday and move in on July 27th. Then we were going to close on July 29th but we are now looking at a August 1-5 closing date and a August 10th move in date.
  • All of this stress is apparently more than my body can handle because I've been having horrific migraines and spent most of last weekend in bed. 
  • Nonetheless we are trying to enjoy the extra time with my family, we are temporarily living at my Father and step-mother's house, and have a nice fun summer with Margot
  • Margot LOVES bike rides so there have been lots of those
  • It's Friday and I am so looking forward to a weekend with almost no plans Margot and I are going to start our day sleeping in followed by some much needed retail therapy at Target and there will definitely be a bike ride this weekend, maybe downtown to Sunday streets and ice cream
  • Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Parents of three

This weekend we had a little family adventure. We tripled our children for the weekend with the overnight addition of these two, Jed and Matheson. Their parents are close friends of ours and the boys are frequent playmates of Margot. Jed is 3 and Matheson is 21 months. And look at all their hair! Margot is so jealous.
We were pretty nervous about adding to more kids to the mix even if it was only for 28 hours. It was after all 3 kids under the age of 4 and 3 kids in diapers YIKES! But it was a really fun weekend.

First we packed up all three and headed to my families 4th of July BBQ. Then we had a family picnic on the front lawn. Margot figured with two extra kids eating her macaroni she'd better just take it directly from the serving bowl.
Then we just couldn't resist the three kid in the bath moment. I mean come on, could they be any cuter? Oh and kid my kid be an whiter??? Like mother, like daughter.

They even all went to bed at 8 pm with little to no hiccups. And woke up Sunday morning to milk, pancakes and Sesame street before being carted off to church.

There were lots of laughs especially watching Margot with Matheson. She loves him so much and she kept hugging him, touching him, patting his back and jabbering at him. His response was generally a blank stare of "what are you doing?". 

But I will say three kiddos that close in age are no joke. There was one point when both little ones were on my lap and Jed was hugging my legs and all three wanted something at the same time and I thought I might loose it. I also changed 24 diapers in 28 hours and I am NOT kidding. In short here were our take a ways: 
  • We love those James kids and will happily borrow them anytime
  • Thank God my brother was crashing with us for the weekend because that give us a one to one kid to adult ratio which made things a lot easier
  • We want to maintain that ratio so three kids will not be in our future if we have anything to say about it
  • Little kids just love other little kids so much and it's a delight to watch
So thanks James' for sharing the boys with us. Margot was very sad to see them go and she misses her Matheson.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Goodbye house

This weekend we moved out of our house. We aren't 100% done. We still have some stuff in the house that needs to go to storage, goodwill and the dump and I'm only about 75% done with the final cleaning/spackling/paint touch up. But we are no longer living there and all of our stuff is tightly packed into storage for the coming weeks.
Mostly we are excited. We are over the moon about our new house but there is a part of me that is sad to leave this little house. This is after all where we brought Margot home from the hospital, where we spent night after night walking her around trying to calm her, where we lovingly decorated her room and where she took her first steps. For some reason it's the first steps that cause the lump in my throat. Maybe it's because I actually witnessed those first steps, unlike every other first, or maybe because I can so clearly picture where we were in the house and what we were doing. Regardless I'll admit to some choking up. All in all this was a wonderful house for us. It was a happy place full of love and laughs and it was really smart investment for Chris and I. We are grateful for the time we've had here and even more grateful for where we are going. So goodbye house. We wish lots of love, happiness and joy to your new owners and hope they create as many beautiful memories as we did.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oh where is my hairbrush???

We all know Margot, while blessed with crazy cuteness, a beautiful face, charm, and intelligence, is a little lacking when it comes to hair.

But over the past month the perpetual state of baldness has moved into wisps, some curl and even on occasion some hair sticking straight up:

Obviously we think Margot is perfect as is. But it is fun seeing her future hair start to come in. Because she doesn't have a lot of hair she looks more like a baby and less like a toddler making it harder to imagine what she will look like as a little girl. We also are dying to know what color this mystery hair is going to be??? The few wisps so far appear to be blond/red and I had strawberry blond hair until I was about 5-6 then it started to darken. But my Dad had carrot red hair until he was an adult,  two of my aunts are blond and obviously Chris and I both have dark hair. Until it comes though we'll relish all the cute baby features we can get, bald head included, because before we know it our baby will be long gone and we'll have a full fledged kid on our hands.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Margot's room Part 2: Mood Board

I finally had a chance play around with mydeco and try my hand at a mood board. Keep in mind this is my first attempt at mood board. I know there's a lot of room for improvement. But hopefully this image captures my excessively wordy attempt at explaining my plans for Margot's room. The dresser featured here is just an image I pulled of Google images that's fairly close to her actual dresser which has silver knobs and is a bit smaller (and a heck of a lot cheaper!). You can see her actual chandelier here. The doll and books in the center look a little weird but Chris said it was cold and sterile so they are suppose to convey the fact that this is a toddler room and will be complete with toys, books and stuffed animals etc. Image sources below.
1. Organic seedling sham, West Elm
2. Olin Grey white stripe area rug, Crate and Barrel
3. chandelier, this is a stock image within the mydeco program
4. Eames style rocker, contemporary furniture warehouse
5. vintage mid century modern walnut dresser, 1st bids
6. Minnen bed, Ikea
7. Mosaic Paisley crib sheet, land of not