New House Before Pictures

IS13fwp8xsrkoj1000000000So if you saw my last blog post you know that we moved – again! This time to more of our ‘dream’ home on an acre in a more rural area. We still have our condo and my sister in law and her fiance are renting it, so whenever they are ready to move on from the condo we will remodel that as well. But for now we are working on our new house!

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Our new house is on a rural highway and sits overlooking a beautiful wetland valley where we have seen elk, deer, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, hawks, cranes, and lots of ducks and birds. It’s super lovely on the back porch in the summer time!

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Our house was built in 1978 by the neighbor who still lives a stone’s throw away! He’s a sweet old guy with a sweet old wife and they are just the cutest, cutest couple! He’s been so helpful with questions we have. Our neighbor just between us is also great and has been helpful, too!

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When we bought the house it was in near original condition. Original carpet, popcorn ceiling, original bathrooms and some groovy wallpaper that had been painted over (ugh).

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The only thing that anyone had done was to put some stick down ‘wood’ floor over the original 70’s goovy orange and brown floral linoleum. Which was probably a good choice!

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It needed a lot of work, but I could see the potential. The land is great and the layout of the house is really fabulous, it just needed a face-lift.

We were not at all in a place to buy a house when we did, but we made it happen. B was not super thrilled about moving again, but all the work we did when we moved to the condo with minimizing our stuff really helped. We didn’t even need to rent a moving truck!

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So once we had the house we set to work. We knew it needed new carpet before we could move in. There was a disgusting perfume/cat pee smell that was overwhelming. So we tore up the carpet and found that the subfloor was covered in small water spill stains or pee stains. So we tore that up, too, and replaced it with new plywood. We had new carpet installed in the bedrooms and living room and left the tile in the entryway and the stick down wood floors in the kitchen/dining area.

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I also set to work painting. I painted all of the interior walls and I painted the kitchen cabinets and countertops. I just could NOT live with the mustard yellow countertops! If I had known we would be tearing out the kitchen less than 6 months later I would not have bothered, but our original plan was to do the kitchen next year but we had a mouse/carpenter ant issue in the kitchen and had to tear it all out to fix things!

I will make some posts soon on our bathroom remodel and, once it’s complete, our kitchen remodel!

(All the pictures in this post except the last one are real estate pictures)

2015 Update!

Things have been a little crazy (in mostly a good way!) around here this year since my last posting!

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Firstly, just shortly before my last posting we bought a house. I know, we have literally be renovating and moving the entire time I have been blogging! I really thought we would settle into the condo and be there a while – and that was the plan! We were not looking to move less than a year after buying and moving into our beloved condo! However, I happened to find a house for sale in an area we like with an acre and so we jumped on it. I’m so so glad we did! Things tend to happen for a reason and as the story unfolds I think you’ll see the serendipity, too!

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We bought our new house at the end of January of this year and we had to do some work to it before we could move in, so we got started on that right away. It was built in 1979 and the owners had done next to nothing to the house, so it was in basically original condition! Original carpet, original bathrooms, original kitchen… all very, very 70s and very, very worn. We absolutely had to replace the carpet before we could move in, so our first task was to remove the old carpet and we found that we needed to replace the subfloors as well. Before we had new carpet installed we painted all the interior walls. We also gutted the hallway bathroom to the studs and remodeled that. I will share that in another post. I love the finished bathroom! It was about 6 weeks of work before we could move in, but it was great to have the time to get all of that done.

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You can see why the carpet had to go…!

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After we moved in we had a nice period of rest and relaxation to enjoy our house. In April we went to Hawaii and got to enjoy Kauai for a week. Bunkers just absolutely loved Hawaii and by more serendipity we get to go again next month! You’ll see why…

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As soon as we got back from Kauai, B had to go to Finland for a work trip for a week and Bunkers and I had a really awesome bonding time while he was gone. I was nervous to parent alone for a week, but it went really smoothly!

That is, until a couple days before B was due home and something urged me to take a pregnancy test. It was faintly positive and I absolutely freaked. I bought more tests of different brands and they were all negative, so I breathed a sigh of relief and tried to forget about it.

B came home and another week came and went and my period was late. I tested again.

YUP. Pregnant. Ooops. Definitely not in the plan! We had literally just decided that we were more than happy with just one kiddo and were planning when B could get the snip.

Serendipitously, my close friend found out at the same time that she’s also pregnant and due 12 days before me. This is funny and ironic because we were actually planning to try and have our second children around the same time so that we could do the new baby thing together this time. Our plan was to have June babies so we were going to wait until about now to get pregnant, but I got cold feet. At a playdate just before I found out I was pregnant she told me she had just found out that she was pregnant already and I told her that was perfect because I had just found out that I didn’t want to have another baby, so I’d support her all the way! Little did I know I was already pregnant. The universe works in mysterious ways!

Initially, I was devastated. I felt like I had finally (finally!) made up my mind and was a peace with the decision to not have any more babies. I felt like my world had been turned upside down. And to top it off we already had a fabulous cruise booked and paid for scheduled for the end of October. You can’t be more than 24 weeks pregnant to board a cruise ship and I will be 28 by then.

Before I even had time to try and process everything I got sick. My midwife says that I was dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum. Starting at 6 weeks and lasting until 16 weeks I was bedridden. In the middle there I literally could only get out of bed to go pee once or twice a day (that’s all the pee I had!) and to puke (about 5-10 times a day) and I would sometimes black out trying to do that. I could hardly eat anything and what I did eat seldom stayed down, even water. I lost 15 pounds in the first few weeks of that and didn’t start regaining any of that weight until after 16 weeks. Here now at 20 weeks I am still 8 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight!

It was a really, really rough patch for all of us. B and Bunkers were so wonderful. It was stressful for them – B had to do all of his normal work AND all of the household work that I usually did. He had to make all the meals and watch over Bunkers. I was basically useless for the better part of two months. Things gradually started improving by 14 weeks and I could get up and do things in short stints. I finally did a grocery trip with Bunkers all on my own at about 16 weeks and that felt like such an accomplishment!

I don’t really feel like going into any more detail about all of that, other than to say that I was really, really sick. It just sucked big time and it honestly didn’t help the way I was feeling about being pregnant in general!

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Thankfully the HG has lifted (some moms have it the whole pregnancy!) and I can eat full meals and take prenatals and supplements and go out and do things! I’m much more at peace with my pregnancy and am really looking forward to having a little girl!

I had the Panorama Maternity 21 test done at 13 weeks and we found out we are, in fact, having a healthy baby girl!

Needless to say, we had to cancel our cruise but we just recently booked a NEW vacation that I think will suffice just fine…

I can handle that!

We have some more interesting things going on right now (our kitchen is down to the studs currently, for example!) but I will save that for another post another day.

But now you’re up to date with me and why I haven’t been posting much at all this year!

We’ve Moved!

A lot has changed since I last wrote a personal update. We actually did something drastic and not at all what we had thought we had in store for our future – but we couldn’t be happier!

In January we met with our old realtor and he said if we wanted to sell our house we needed to completely finish the remodel and get it listed ASAP. DH wanted a second opinion, so he brought in his business partner’s realtor and met with him. They hit it off really well and we decided to go with him! He’s really awesome.

Anyway, he agreed we needed to get the remodel done as soon as possible. So we made a plan with timelines and deadlines and worked hard. DH work HARD hard. So hard.

In the mean time, we were not certain what we wanted to DO after we sold our house. Our dream has been to have a mini farm. But we couldn’t find land reasonably priced in our area (one of the most expensive areas in our state for land prices!). We thought maybe we would rent until we found what we wanted. But DH wasn’t comfortable with that idea – it’s essentially throwing away money every month that could be put toward a mortgage.

I don’t remember how it came up, but I suggested maybe we look into buying a condo or townhouse. It’s the absolute opposite of what we wanted – no land, close neighbors, no yard, etc… but it had the advantages of: being less expensive, yard work is taken care of for us, we can be in the location we want, equity is built really fast in our desired location, etc. So we looked more into that!

It was kind of on a whim, and kinda spur of the moment… but we decided to go that route! We toured a few condos (one of which had the vibrational energy of a mad house, eeek!) and found one we loved. And we bought it!

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Our condo is so lovely. It’s the top floor unit above all the garages. That’s our balcany. The two windows on the right are the bedrooms and the two on the left are the living space. Our garage is the last on the right.

It’s a little under 1,000 square feet. Our house was 1,800 square feet. We had some major downsizing to do!

We had been working on that for years, really, as I have discussed before. But it was time to get serious about it! We sold A LOT. We made A LOT of Goodwill trips. We made several trips to the dump. We made over $2,000 selling our furniture, electronics (TVs included!), and other miscellaneous stuff. It was liberating and freeing!

So we packed and got rid of stuff and worked on the old house. We moved in March into our condo and we have loved it so much. It’s so bright and airy inside. Our old house was so dark all the time, even in the middle of summer! The remodel helped with that, but it’s nothing like our condo. It’s quiet and safe here. I can walk down the street without being afraid. I am mere minutes away from my friends, now! We get together so much more often and it has been so wonderful for me and Bunkers!

Here are some more pictures from the real estate listing:

Main living space!

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Other side of the main living space.

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Entry. It’s on the second floor, so the stairs down go to the entry way and the front door.

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Kitchen. Red. Why? ALL the condos we looked at had blood red kitchens. Bizarre.

It is two bedrooms and 1 bath and I couldn’t be happier with the amount of space. We have two beds in the smaller bedroom for us all to sleep and the large bedroom (master) is the office and craft room. It works out great!

Here are some pictures with our belongings:

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Still a lot of organizing going on, but our furniture fits so nicely!

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I love this dining space so much. So. Much. Light.

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Need I say more?!

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Our porch!

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Looking out the front windows.

We are still working on pairing down our possessions. We currently have a storage unit with power tools, camping stuff, etc. Our garage is still full of boxes. I wonder what if any of that we still need? Obviously the camping stuff we will keep, but maybe we can sell the power tools? Rebuy them when/if we need them rather than paying rent on a storage unit just in case we do? It’s a tough call.

I feel so much motivation to continue our work downsizing, though. It’s our goal to be rid of the storage unit by fall. We really needed it in the beginning because we had to empty the old house to do the remodel and we didn’t have the condo yet. But now I want to see it gone.

My life seems to have a pattern of tossing at me things I like to call ‘everything I never knew I wanted’. I would have never seen us in a condo, especially since our dreams were facing the other direction. I felt the same about massage school. Up until six months before I started I had never, ever considered doing massage as a career. But it was perfect for me and I loved every second of massage school and my massage career. It is my goal to jump back into that in the future, but I will leave the when/how up to The Universe. Anyhow, it’s been the same with the condo. We just love it. Who knew?!

I will end it here by saying that our old house remodel was finished a month later than we had wanted. But that ended up being a blessing in disguise and the market exploded in that area and we got almost $40,000 more for our house than we had hoped we could get. And it sold in four days. A true blessing! Our realtor is amazing!

Warlmy.

Christina

Home Renovations: Kitchen Remodel Ikea Style

We’ve had the kitchen nearly done for about six months, now, but I haven’t gotten around to writing up a before and after post until now.

Here’s the kitchen before (these were real estate pictures – I don’t have a TV in the kitchen! 😉 :

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Take note of 70s orange floor…

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And that’s really it. The kitchen is square with the doorway directly across from the oven (the photographer was standing in the doorway in the last photo). There was nothing in the opposite corner when we moved in. It was an ‘eat in kitchen’ for a tiny table, I guess. I put a cutting counter there and shelves.

Anyway, we really thought it over and opted for a whole remodel. At first I thought maybe we could just paint the cabinets, but after pricing everything out an Ikea kitchen wasn’t going to cost us a whole lot but would make the kitchen really pop.

We used the Ikea kitchen planner tool for several weeks before deciding on what to do with our kitchen, and in the end we pretty much kept the floorplan exactly the same to make it easy on us and so that we wouldn’t have to hire anyone to move plumbing or electrical.

We ordered all new appliances and those were delivered a few weeks before we actually started the demo. Everything came out. Floors ripped up and we painted the walls.

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New flooring almost complete.

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Hanging Ikea cabinets. This was all SUPER easy.

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Installing butcher block counters. Also super easy.

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Cabinets in place, ready for doors, drawers and fronts.

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Semi-complete!

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I love the open shelves by the window and the cubbies by the wall. My favorite cookbooks fit nicely there.

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Neat corner cabinet…

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So much brighter!

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At this point we hadn’t put in the cabinet that goes next to the oven.

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I love this sink!

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Backsplash tile we chose.

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Backsplash installed!

I really should put a better after picture in the daylight. I will update this space once we grout the backsplash. That’s really all we have left to do in the kitchen. I’ll also take a picture of my work space in the opposite corner.

Overall, I’ve been really happy with this Ikea kitchen! It was inexpensive, easy to plan, easy to buy, easy to put together and easy to install. I think the finished product looks lovely and I think the money we put into this kitchen will be returned to us when we sell.

Five Months

I can hardly believe it has been five months since I’ve posted here!

I feel like so much has happened in those five months! Where do I begin?

We redid our kitchen! That was exciting! I’ll make a post with pictures in the future.

We laid a bunch of hardwood upstairs! That was also exciting!

We got most of the painting and trim work done upstairs! Also exciting!

We sold our tent trailer. Partially sad, but nice to have the money for our remodel.

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WP_20130723_022We went camping twice (in a tent!) and it was lots of fun.  After having a tent trailer for a summer (last summer) and camping half a dozen times in it, I can honestly say that I enjoy tent camping much more. As long as you’re not in the rain. But, then I’m not a super fan of camping in pouring rain!

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Eco-friendly baby with his reusable shopping bag! And a haircut 😉

R has been a non-stop talking toddler! We counted out how many words he knows and it’s close to 300. But, probably more. He’s like a little sponge, this one. He picks up so much. He can count to ten, too. Like, whaaa? He’s been doing that about two months, now. I didn’t know 21 month olds knew how to count?! Amazing. He knows a whole host of shapes and colors, too. All this and I haven’t actively taught him a thing. I think he’s just a natural born learner!

It is me and B’s 5th wedding anniversary this week! I can hardly believe it’s been that long. The time just FLIES. Every year I get older, the years just sail on by that much faster. It’s almost fall already!

R will be 2 next month and B’s parents are flying in from Wisconsin to celebrate with us! I am so excited! R is going to LOOOOVE having them here even more than he has in the past! He spoke to his Wisconsin grandma on Skype just this afternoon. He was showing her all kinds of things all over the house. It was too cute.

We are flying to Wisconsin for Christmas this year. I’m both excited and nervous. I’m quite terrified of flying with a toddler! Pre-baby, I was that person on the plane (not so kindly) asking the poor exasperated parent to make their kid quit kicking me in the back of seat and rolling my eyes and getting huffy when a baby was crying. Ooops. I know how they feel, now, and I just don’t want to be ‘that parent’. Our garden is doing quite well!

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Caesar Salad! YUM! Garden fresh romaine and home-made dressing!

In garden news, we’ve had LOTS of zucchini to eat, which has been fabulous. Plenty of romaine, some kale, and a bit of broccoli. Our squash seems to be coming right along (and climbing right OUT of their beds! We packed them in there too tightly!) and the tomatoes are even doing well enough! The one plant I bought from the farmer’s market is doing the best, but there are four that I started from seed that are doing decent! We may even get a ripe fruit off of one! We’ll see.

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I’ve started canning again for the season! I’ve got… 4 half pints raspberry jam, 4 half pints vanilla blueberry jam, 12 4 oz jars of low seed raspberry jam and 10 4 oz jars of cardamom blueberry jam. The cardamom blueberry jam is DIVINE!! I may do a post on that… I made up the recipe myself. 🙂

I think that’s mostly all we’ve got going on here. I will try to post more often! I get so very little free time and when I do have it I need to do chores! Ha.