Thursday, March 20, 2014

They Accepted Our Offer!!

YOU GUYS, GUESS WHAT!! The offer we made last weekend was accepted, and as long as the inspection doesn't uncover any nasty surprises, we'll close on our first house next month. I'm giddy! There is so much to do, but it's going to be fun. As far as we can tell, the house hasn't been updated since it was built in 1988, and that worked in our favor. We paid much less than the asking price because, well, it needs a lot of cosmetic TLC. Want to see it?

This is the front living room. When you walk in the front door and look to your left, this is what you see. The curtains will go away, and the nicotine stained walls will be painted.
Walk in the front door, turn around, and this is what you see. The wall of mirrors MUST come down. Eventually, I might like to change the brown tile that runs from the entrance to the kitchen. What do you think of it? For now I'll live with it, because this house needs other things that are higher priorities.
Just beyond the dining room and slightly to the right, you enter the dining room. Hubba hubba, look at those floors! The doors lead out to a small patio. To the left is a doorway that leads to the kitchen. This room just needs paint. And we want to replace that light fixture with the chandelier currently hanging over our kitchen table.
The doorway at the left goes into the dining room. Finally, a kitchen big enough that Keith and I can cook together! And OMG, cabinets and storage. I'll paint the cabinets and walls, because they're stained with nicotine, but the backsplash and counter tops are in good shape. I don't love the brown, but I can work with it.
The den is separated from the kitchen by the counter top you see at the bottom of the last photo. This is what you see when you're standing at the kitchen sink. I love the fireplace and the transom windows so, so much. I have a feeling this will be our most-used room. To the right is a door leading out to the small patio.
From the dining room, you turn right and go down a hallway to the reach the bedrooms. The first bedroom you come to is the master bedroom. Yes, it's very pink. Yes, we're going to change that. I like the architectural cutout and the beam on the ceiling. This might sound crazy, but I think if the beam is painted a dark color that brings it out, it will look cool.
The master bathroom is crazy! This is the one room that might eventually require a sledgehammer. I think paint, new tile, and a soaking tub oriented left-to-right under the window will work wonders, though. To the left of the shower are doors leading out to the small patio. 
I'm trying VERY hard not to be snarky here. This is the second bedroom, and an example of why many people couldn't see the home's potential. It was hard to see past the previous owner's decorating. Yes, I have pictures of the entire house decorated similarly to this. Let me know if you're interested in seeing them.
Now that the room is empty, it's a lot easier to see its potential. With new paint and curtains, and carpet that doesn't smell like cigarettes, it should be quite nice. I don't have pictures of the third bedroom at the end of the hall. But it's similar to this room, except it's painted blue, and it has a bigger window.
This bathroom is across the hall from the green bedroom. It's not especially cute right now, but it has a good, functional layout. If I strip the wallpaper, paint the walls a nice color, and paint the oak vanity, it should be perfectly nice. Eventually, I might try to get extra credit and replace the builder-grade mirror, hardware and faucet.
I kind of lied when I said the house is all on one level. This room is above the garage, and you reach it from a flight of stairs located off the kitchen. The left side of the room is a wall of closets. Woo-hoo, storage! This room is probably going to become our project and craft room. Keith will solder electronics. I'll set up my easel and make a place to organize knitting supplies. It will probably be a huge mess most of the time. And that will be fine, because it will be separate from the rest of the house. Win.
This is the small patio I keep mentioning. The back of the house is U-shaped and built around this patio. The doors on the left go into the master bathroom. The doors behind the table lead to the dining room. And the doors behind the black curtain lead to the den. This small area, and the glass doors that open to it, let so much natural light into the house. It's an unusual layout, and it's my #1 favorite thing about this house. I knew we wouldn't find another house like this. And if we didn't buy it, I'd always remember this house as "The one that got away."
Obviously, we have our work cut out for us. But the floor plan is great, so we don't need to do scary things like knock down walls. We do need to remove ugly wallpaper and repaint the walls. We need to replace all the carpet, because the current carpet reeks of cigarette smoke. We need to replace a few outdated light fixtures. We need to remove a tacky floor-to-ceiling mirror from a wall. We need to update the ancient appliances, one by one, as they die.* We can do that. And better yet, we can afford to do that, because we paid so little for the house.**

Despite its cosmetic quirks, there are so many things I love about the house: There are two beautiful fireplaces with real white marble. The gleaming hardwood floors in the living room and dining room are gorgeous. The bedrooms are generously sized, and they have nice closets. The house has high ceilings, so it feels spacious.*** Some of the windows have beautiful transoms. There are closets galore and lots of storage space, which was important to both of us. It has a real laundry room, which is located just outside the master bedroom instead of, like, in a dark basement or a damp garage. And it's (almost) all one level, which I strongly prefer.

Honestly, the trickiest issue we have with this house is its location. We're moving to the suburb where I spent my teenage years, and it's in a subdivision with an HOA. That's not our style. So why did we choose it? 

a) It's in a very safe area where we can reasonably expect to never have a problem with burglaries or car break-ins. And we can walk the dogs at night.
b) It's close to grocery stores, Target, the interstate, and all the little things that make life convenient. 
c) Most importantly, we wanted Keith's commute to be shorter, not longer. 
d) If we still made all our decisions based on what we thought was cool when we were teenagers, I'd be covered with tattoos referencing Violent Femmes lyrics, and Keith would still have a fishnet shirt. What we want and need has changed.

So we zeroed in on an area between his office and our favorite places to go in Nashville. And in that area, we could pay the same price for a small mid-century house with a tiny kitchen and no storage space... or we could get a nicer and bigger house in a cookie cutter subdivision. What to do?! Keith likes STUFF, and we need space to store his stuff. So the cookie cutter subdivision won. And we're happy ridiculously thrilled.


* I'm NOT a fan of getting rid of functioning appliances just because they aren't a trendy color. It seems so wasteful.

** I am so glad we didn't buy a house with a price tag that will prevent us from doing home improvement projects. The house doesn't look super cool right now, but we won't be house poor. And we see home improvement projects as investments. Our new home is surrounded by houses that are more valuable because they were well maintained. I hope to bring our home's value up so it matches the rest of the neighborhood.

*** My friend Stephanie just bought an incredibly charming house with high ceilings that make the house feel huge. Her home made me realize how much I love high ceilings. Hi, Stephanie! Yes, I'm talking about you! *grin*


  1. YAY! I can't wait see how your make over this house. You can tell it has great bones, and that the work to do (minus bathroom) is really just cosmetic. Fingers crossed I someday find my dream house too!

  2. I am reading you talking about me and then commenting on it. META! Love the house. Can't wait to see the transformation. <3

  3. Jen, you are going to have so much fun redecorating that place. There's so much space!!!

  4. DUDE I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU. I totally see the potential in that house, and I hope hope hope everything goes through so you close (and... maybe we can have a cocktail party in the future? huh huh can we can we? ;)). Yay!

  5. Can't wait to see the revel when you are done!

  6. I can't wait to watch you decorate room by room. Also, I may be a total weirdo, but I LOVE the brown tile in the entryway. I think it is definitely something you could make chic. All the houses in my neighborhood growing up had this weird heavily marbled black and white stone in the entry/foyer. It is so bizarre but I love it because it is different and has character. And that bathroom despite being bizarre, is probably how I would have designed a bathroom when I was a little girl. It really is a barbie dream house

  7. I'm glad you said this, because the more I look at the pictures, the more I think the tile will be fine once the tacky mirror comes down. Thank you for basically reassuring me that I'm not crazy. :)

    I'd like to work with as much as I can in this house, instead of ripping out and replacing every single thing. It seems so wasteful to tear a house apart and send everything to the dump just because it isn't trendy.

    Check this out:
    The bathroom actually resembles the Barbie Dream House from the 80s!!! I wanted it when I was a kid, but never had it. Yesterday I was joking that on some level, I wanted this house so I could finally have it. :D

  8. Love the house and what a fantastic project to get your teeth into.

    You mention replacing the carpets. Have you checked to see if the wood floors are beneath the stinky carpets?

    I also think once you get rid off the window dressings and tone down the walls with decent paint colours, you'll find that most of the fittings and fixtures will look better immediately.

    Don't forget we'll need lots of updates along the way.....


What do you think? Your comments always make my day.

P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.