The last 3 months (wow, has it been that long?) for me have been pretty consumed with work and moving to a new house. The house is finally feeling like “ours” and so I was itching to take some pics and talk about how 2010 has been going.
Lots of words and pics await you after this cut! here is the abbreviated version for the tl;dr crowd:
- we moved
- some stuff sucked really bad
- old wood is delicious to termites
- but mostly everything is good
- old wood is really pretty and smells like nice old people
We had a really stressful time househunting. I wanted to move during the holidays – I figured not a lot of people would elect to move during such a busy time, so I figured the competition would not be as steep (we rent). Not only was that an incorrect assumption, but the selection was pretty weak, too. The few houses that I/we really fell in love with were snapped up by faster check-writers. My better half lived 100 miles away, which made timing things pretty tricky, too.
Long story short, we found a really lovely old place so the headache seemed to clear up pretty quickly. It’s super-close to where I work and the neighborhood is charming and quiet.
We discovered right away that there were some big problems masked by all the pretty old details – things like the almost collapsing detached garage and the old plumbing. We have been slowly rebuilding the rotten garage (with landlord’s permission and reimbursement, of course) so that Paul has a nice place to work. It’s almost done but now needs new roofing when the rainy season ends.
We’ve already had two plumbers come in over the course of one month – one for a backed up drain that was causing laundry water to flood the backyard and another for a cracked water main (damn tree roots). Oh, and the place is being eaten from the ground up by termites. We’re learning good lessons about the price of living in a 90 year old house.
Anyway, on to the good stuff!
I am so happy to be living in the same space as the very talented, understanding, master chef Paulkaiju! That has been the best part – for all the headache of getting here, we are both (well, I hope both!) still glad we did it. I am so glad that we have similar tacky taste and that he has pretty much let me put things where I want them and have the bigger spare bedroom (after years of living with a sister who always got the bigger bedroom, ha!). He also has a nifty lamp and art collection and makes a mean quesadilla.
Oh yeah, and the house is cool!
The house was built in the mid 1920’s, in a Moorish revival style. All of the light fixtures are original, but apparently the house was burglarized in the 80’s and they stole all the original door hardware. Also the landlady was very proud to inform me that a male masseuse/prostitute once lived here. That explains the string of red christmas lights in the window.
It has the most important of our househunting criteria – “clean funk”.
One thing I find funny (not ha-ha funny, weird funny) is that this beamed ceiling is purely cosmetic – the outside roofline is completely different. This ceiling creates an attic space with a useless peaked floor. I’m glad they did it though, since I love beams and it makes it look like a church. We joke about putting a crucified Kewpie right over that little door in the middle of the front room.
We haven’t bought any new furniture or doo-dads yet. All of our money is going into little fixes and food. I’m getting used to our stuff blended together – for a while, it just looked like our stuff kind of smashed together but things are growing on me. In the last place I lived, the space was so plain and contemporary that I felt it was just blank canvas for my stuff, and some parts of this house are so ornamental already that I am trying to keep certain areas more spare.
So Much Brown!
I have always coveted wood. So often, beautiful old window casings and trim get painted white in the interest of easy maintenance and neutrality. I just about fainted when I saw all the great wood tones in the front rooms. Once we got all our stuff moved in though, I realized that there was a LOT of brown going on! I’m trying to get more pops of color in without painting this time (ugh, I painted the last place – with permission – and almost had to sue my landlord to get my deposit back), but at the moment it is very woodsy. I’m on the hunt for the perfect rug to bring more color to the front room.
Who ever uses the Dining Room, anyway?
When we were hunting, since Paul and I both need indoor studio space, we were looking for either a 3 bedroom or a 2 bedroom + dining room. This house was advertised as the latter. We planned to use the dining room as a studio. I was surprised to find that this house had a secret third bedroom, so the dining room was up in the air. For the first month, it was packed to the crown molding with moving boxes (literally). We’ve turned it into a TV room now. We had the TV and couch set up in the front room (the one with the beams) at first but it was creepy sitting with your back to the big front windows. Every time a dog walker passed, I’d spin around and wonder if anyone could see me watching something shameful like “Tool Academy”.
That’s about it! My favorite room to be in is the bedroom because it’s so comfy and simple. No computers, no TV tchochkes, no chaos. Perfect room to re-set for the next day.
The back rooms are stark white boxes and so are presenting the most creative-solution-head-scratchings. Paul’s room is of course monster toy heaven. My room is looking more and more like a crazy doll lady room but I’m working on keeping it under control. I’ve got a plan for a rolling cart to replace my big black desk and I’m building the shelves up all the way to the ceiling.
The kitchen is cute but has a few projects underway so I will share those photos in a later post.
The yard is a rambling mess (and I have zero landscaping experience so far). This will be an interesting spring.
Phew, thanks for making it to the end of this post! I want to write more about our household projects, so I felt an introductory tour post was necessary. I’m really enjoying living in a “real house” again after being in a condo. I am excited about all the possibility!