Saturday, October 23, 2010

First 3 Projects

We finally have pictures of our first three house projects: the garage, the mailbox and the pool area. The most complicated of the three projects was the mailbox. It took 3 trips to Home Depot to complete! Enjoy!

The Garage



The Pool Area



The Mailbox


All three projects went pretty well! Next up for me is painting the shutters. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

House Tour

Okay, we know this post is long overdue. Enough of the previews, now it's time for the feature film...

The White House
(pun intended, thanks Jacob Shannon)

Our house is a tri-level or split-level. We'll start with the downstairs. The first pictures are our living room.

We actually got all of those boxes unpacked, so the pictures are a bit outdated. As you can see, we have our two love seats instead of a love seat and couch (read more about our couch mishap in one of our previous posts).

Here's our downstairs bathroom and laundry room. When you walk down the half set of stairs, you will see a doorway that leads to both of these spaces. Immediately to your left from the half set of stairs, you see the living room.

Now onto our main living area including the kitchen and dining room. Thanks for the fan Dad and Tammy, it was a hot one!

Monkey was our home inspector. She's very thorough!

When you enter the front door, you are in the dining room. If you walk through the dining room you'll reach the kitchen.

Thanks Mom and Steve for the gorgeous flowers! Thank you Don and Susie for the festive fall wreath on our door!

Now on to the upstairs. There's a half set of stairs leading to the three bedrooms and bathroom. This is our upstairs bathroom. It has a nice linen closet.

Monk leading the way upstairs!

Here are some photos of our master bedroom. Thankfully, we had most of this furniture in storage. They belonged to Tim's grandma and we're able to use them in our new home.

Now onto our guest bedroom. Monkey thinks this is her bed and loves perching in front of the window to get a good view. She's the newest addition to the neighborhood watch committee. She'll bark to alert you of any suspicious activity including squirrels, other dogs, or menacing trees.

This is the third bedroom or our sitting room. We're mostly using this space for storage.

Thanks for touring our new home! We can't wait for you to visit in person. We're sure enjoying our new place!

Move-In Day!

You know that house we added at the last minute? We're definitely thankful we did, because that's the one we purchased!

That's us on move-in day trying to get the little rascal, Monkey, to cooperate for a family photo. As you can tell in the photo, we purchased a split or tri-level home. The house includes a two car garage to the right and a fenced-in yard for Miss Monk to enjoy (and boy, has she).

Tim and I actually got the keys and stayed in the completely bare house on Thursday night. Here's Tim enjoying his first meal in the new house. We like to keep it classy with some Mickey-Donalds as Brooklynn would say.

We are so thankful for our wonderful family for helping us on move-in weekend. It was not totally dissimilar to previous move-in days. Unlike previous moves, we hope to not move annually and this move wasn't into a residence hall!

Don & Susie came down Friday night and helped us empty our storage unit. The trailer Don rented came in handy for our multiple furniture pick-ups on Saturday! My dad & Tammy brought mattresses for our room and the guest bedroom with them. Visitors, thank them for having something to sleep on haha. I should've gotten a picture of the mattresses strapped to the top of the van! My mom & Steve brought our kitchen table/chairs and patio furniture with them. Then, the furniture maddness began. Everyone was cleaning and assembling for most of the day Saturday. Here's some pictures of the madness:

This was probably my least organized move of all. Tim and I are expert movers by this point. I think at one point I counted 11 moves in 5 years? We label each box with the room that it goes in and the contents of the box. We organize things by where they need to go and have jobs planned out for everyone. I give us a C for this move because we had multiple pick up locations for furniture, stuff, daily use items, and more furniture. Did I mention we had almost no furniture before we moved in?

Speaking of... we also spend the day trying to fit couches that were too large for our doorway. Whoops. Tim and I ordered our couch and love seat from Big Lots. We honestly didn't think to measure it because the previous owners had a very large couch in the downstairs. Apparently, theirs must come apart. After spending 30 minutes trying to fit this 7'4" wide couch into a 7'0" tall doorway, we gave up and bought another love seat instead. Much to your surprise, I'm incredibly impatient. As you can surmise, I was instantly annoyed with this couch situation. We just say that we like people to share the love and be cozy in our house- or something like that.

The hunt is on!

Tim posted back in April about us looking for a house. Fast forward a few months and I'm writing this post from our new casa. It all started about a month and a half ago when I heard from UC regarding a position. We had already narrowed our search down to Fairfield. We knew we didn't want to live inside 275 (the Cincinnati outer belt) because we wanted a more suburban location. Fairfield is ideal for Tim because it's only a 15 minute commute to his job in West Chester. As for me, it's about 35 minutes on a daily basis (25 with no traffic or 50 on heavy traffic days). Then, the search began.

We already had a realtor, Kurt, picked out thanks to our friends, Kathy & Brian, who worked with him to purchase their first home. As first time home buyers, we had endless questions. Kurt was very kind and offered sage advice. The week I got the offer from UC, we decided to look at houses. We selected 5 houses in Fairfield. They were all on the south side of town, but in different areas. At the last minute, Tim showed me a 6th house and we added it to the list.

Some of you have asked about the houses that we looked at prior to purchasing our home. To respect the owners, I'm not going to share pictures of any of these houses as some of them are still on the market. But, I will give you the play by play with our decision.

House #1: This house was a short sale. We didn't realize this when we decided to look at it. The place was a wreck and looked like the family left in the middle of the night mob-style. I really loved the floor plan though. It was a tri-level or split level home. I liked that the bedrooms were clustered together upstairs and the living spaces downstairs. I'm really not a huge fan of stairs because I'm terribly clumsy. Yeah, that's right... I fell down the stairs in Natalie & Alex's apartment. All the way down. I liked the the split or tri-level houses have half stairs. The biggest issue with this house: the back yard was totally wooded. Wooded=buggy. We all know how much I love bugs. I'm calling the Orkin man because I'm creeped out just thinking about it! Oh well, at least my sick-o dog likes to eat them.

House #2: This house was in first place starting the day. The back yard was fantastic and had a pool! It's hard to find a house with any respectable yard in Fairfield. Most of the houses we saw online had 0.125 acres or so. This house also had 4 bedrooms. Amazing! So far so good. This house was a bi-level. Unfortunatley, those homes do not sell well in this area, so our resale opportunity really stinks. The downstairs included a "half bathroom." Yeah, right. It's more like an industrial commode in a unfinished room with the hot water heater, electical and plumbing lines, and a washer. This is a major issue. So major, we couldn't overlook it. We even visited this house again at the end of the day to re-evaluate this terrible "bathroom." No go.

House #3: This was the only ranch we visited. Unfortunatley, ranch homes are scarce in Fairfield. We really hoped for a ranch (again, the stairs issue), but struggled to find any. This house was on a very small lot, but was next to a vacant lot for sale. The yard would have been great size if we purchased both properties. This house was in the best condition. The seller re-carpeted and re-painted everything in the home. The kitchen and appliances were new as well as recently renovated bathrooms. Sounds great, huh? Unfortunately, all of the rooms in this house were tiny. The property taxes were also lower on this house, but as soon as we drove to the house we realized why. The house wasn't in the nicest neighborhood. I'm definitely not above living in a low income neighborhood, but the unfortunate part is the other properties. The other owners lack funds or interest to maintain and improve their properties, so the values decline. This would make resale challenging for us.

House #4: This house was also a short sale. We walked through it and it was nice and clean. The owners seemed to care about their home. This home had a garage tucked under the bedrooms of the home. This is a popular design in many of the areas in Fairfield. I think it was just the trend in that period to get maximum square feet for minimum land. The street was busier than we preferred and had an extreme decline. A very sloped road + too much traffic = car accident waiting to happen. The yard sloped far too much to be functional. Monkey could run around, but that's really it. The home was just kind of bland too. We didn't love it, but we didn't hate it.

House #5: This house was also a split or tri-level with a garage tucked under the living space. This house was also vanilla. The major flaw was definitely the kitchen. Many apartments in Brooklyn have larger kitchens than this place. Tim and I really enjoy cooking and entertaining while I bake more than some pasty chefs. A small kitchen just would not work for us.

House #6: As you're probably guessing, this house was the winner. I'll elaborate more on it in another post. I'll also include pictures because I don't think the homeowners will mind. :)