The House Hunt part 2

We are officially home owners!! We closed today, on 2.13.12, and it went very well. After the closing we picked Truman up from daycare and went over there as a family. Just walking around in OUR home feels amazing and I can't wait to start making memories there! 

So let me back up a bit and really go into detail about the actual process of buying this home. I figure a time line is the easiest way to explain how quickly this happened.

Time line of events for buying our first house:

12.22.11-- met with a local credit union to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Relatively painless. Big first step!

12.27.12-- met with a highly recommended realtor to discuss what we wanted in a house. Immediately loved our guy and became really excited about the house hunt.

12.29.12-- saw 7 homes we found online that caught our interest for cute cosmetic updates. Hated floor plans, locations, the lack of dining rooms, teeny bedrooms, etc. Cosmetics are not a priority anymore and every house had at least one deal-breaker.

12.31.12-- saw 2 more homes from online listings, compromising on the 'pretties' and focusing more on floor plan and location. No real winners here, deal-breakers in each house.

1.3.12-- saw another house we found online, knowing it was 'old-ladyfied' but a fabulous location and great floor plan. Loved a million things about it, worried about a hundred things including the amount of work it would take to fix potential major issues in this 87 year old home.

1.7.12-- second showing of our fave house, brought Tony, Lois and Truman. Got a thumbs-up from them. Still nervous about 'hidden' costs to such an old home but really excited to take the plunge. Had been on the market for 50 days without an offer, and home was vacant as the owner was elderly and her children were the sellers.

1.10.12-- made our first offer on the house! Sort of 'low ball' at 40k less than listing price, but our realtor really thought they overpriced the house and we trusted him.

1.14.12-- seller countered at 15k less than their listing price. Doh!

1.14.12-- gave our final offer, at 30k less than their listing price. Still well-below what we expected to pay for our first home, but trying to account for the repairs and upkeep on an old house.

1.16.12-- seller accepted! We either got a great deal or will still be paying a LOT for repairs and updates, depending on the inspection. Mostly worried about electrical, roof, and chimney. We watch too much HGTV and know that homes can have some scary hidden issues:)

1.21.12-- inspection completed, best case scenario for us: chimney could use a bit of work if we want to do it now, but the electrical and roof are fine. Water heater is ancient and giving off carbon monoxide, but no major issues. The inspector said, 'This is a great house' and then I almost cried. :)

1.24.12--asked sellers for some closing credits and a new water heater before closing.

1.26.12--sellers accepted our amendments!

1.28.12--appraisal came back from our lender and we are getting about 20k of instant equity in our house, considering what we are paying versus what it's worth!

2.13.12--CLOSING DAY! We are home owners!

And now, more pictures of the house. Plus my Pinterest ideas and a few projects that are on our big list of To-Dos.

Exterior of house, back yard, driveway:
So we really aren't going to do a whole lot to the outside of our house just yet. It is wooden, painted siding that the sellers must have just painted. So someday, when it chips, we might replace it with vinyl siding. And then we'd do the roof and MAYBE do all new windows. Hello, giant projects and expensiveness! But if we do manage to do all of this exterior work, I would totally go for a brand new color scheme on the house. I picture slate blue siding with white trim and a grayish roof. Side note: see our cute 'airing porch' across the top level in back? PERFECT for hanging cloth diapers to dry, and for a little table and chairs to enjoy a glass of wine on warm evenings. Oh, and Nate wants to build a back patio in the back yard and possibly fence in our property, too. So never mind---there are lots of exterior projects but none will be done anytime soon. Except maybe put in a swing set for the kiddos. This yard is HUGE compared to what we have now, so we want to live it up!

The Family Room (aka, where I think we'll spend most of our time):
This is our huge, long room right when you enter the front door--with a working, natural fireplace and tons of windows. Really hate the powder blue carpet but that is the first thing to go anyway, because the hardwood underneath is going to look amazing when we get it refinished. And you can see all of the dark woodwork that I plan to paint white as well. I realize this is a very controversial topic because this type of wood is 'very expensive' and in great shape, but it's just so dark and old to me. I want bright white trim with a modern color on the wall---like maybe a pale blue? Love the built in bookshelves and the french door and the numerous windows. I think getting rid of the heavy window treatments will make a ton of difference in this room all by itself, then you add in wood floors, painted walls and painted trim? Dreamy.

And now for Pinteresting this room...
I bought this rug for our family room. Yes, it's a trendy chevron pattern but it was a great price and will be awesome for making the room come to life:
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

And this is sort of the overall color scheme I want for this room--bright throw pillows, pale blue walls, and white woodwork:

On our 'someday' list, I want to convert the fireplace to gas and make it super sleek, sort of like this one.

And we are thinking of making some storage/shelving system for the front of the room right when you walk in. I think this would be perfect!
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

I plan to attempt sewing some paneled curtains for all of the windows in the room, and want my mom to help me make some Roman Shades for the tiny windows above the built-in bookcases by the fireplace. Kind of like this, but not black and white, and maybe we'll just sew them for real instead of relying on Stitch Witchery:

I really want new couches, too, but that might have to wait. And I hope to recover our existing throw pillows with a new color scheme (or just buy some cheap ones, whatever is easiest).

The Dining Room:

We have radiators as our heat source (and a brand new boiler that supplies them)! Which means we don't have any forced air duct work, and we also don't have central AC. Someday we will probably add it but not right away. We've never had central AC in Wisconsin anyway, and really we only run our little window units maybe 2 weeks a summer so we plan to do that again for a little while at least. At first I hated the look of the radiators, but now I think they are sort of charming and since they are freshly painted, we'll just leave them alone. But when they do start to chip, I want to invest in some awesome wooden covers like this:

The built-in china cabinet in the dining room will stay natural wood, as will the windows above it (where I think more Roman Shades would look fabulous). But the door frames and baseboards will be painted, I'm afraid. I want a new light fixture and plan to spruce up the walls and find a cool dining room table, similar to this:

The Sunroom/playroom/office:
I love this sun room so much. It is going to be SUCH a pain to paint the french doors and all of the windows, but I think white woodwork in such a bright sunny spot is a must. Thinking of either a light yellow or maybe light green for the walls? I picture it to be something like this, which is a sunroom from a totally different house we were eyeing a while back. White wood, light walls, hardwood floors. Drool.

I am leaning towards putting our desk and computer/printers in there along with a lot of kids' toys, which will make this a multi-purpose room, for sure. But it's right off the dining room and would be a great place to store the numerous toys that are taking over our family room right now. I envision a lot of pictures being taken in this room because of all the light.

The Kitchen:
So THIS is where we will spend a big majority of our money and time, because although this is a functional kitchen it's just not very 'us'. We want all new, stainless steel appliances, new counter tops (dark-ish), and white cabinets. I'm hoping we can get the flooring guys to tear out the multiple layers of ugly linoleum and find the hardwood under there somewhere to refinish. Really dislike the wall-o-cabinets as a pantry, so I'm thinking of making that area a small desk with open shelves above it.

For the cabinets, I think we will just order new doors all together and then paint the existing bases white because I don't mind the layout and the cabinets are actually in great shape. How cool will it be to have tiny glass doors for that top row of cabinets that we have now? I think it will really break up the space and make it seem more complex, instead of just having a TON of cabinets:
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

And this is the color scheme I love the most--wood floors, white cabinets, and gray-ish counters with aqua walls. Swoon.

Nate wants a 'real' island in there, and we definitely won't put a kitchen table in the middle of the room. But what about a fun island like this instead of a big heavy-duty one?

Expect many posts on our kitchen renovation, because we are hoping to do a lot of it ourselves and we want it done before we actually move into the house. And I personally want to be in the house by April to give us some time to settle before baby comes in May--we shall see if this order is too tall or not:)

Upstairs-- the three bedrooms and full bath:
All three bedrooms are close to the same size, but our master has a gigantic closet. And the nursery only has two windows instead of three. The woodwork is mostly white on this upper level already, thank goodness, so we'll definitely do the walls and maybe change the doors to white, too. I really dislike the look of our bathroom and a renovation is on the 3-5 year plan for sure. Just adding a radiator cover and a nice shower curtain would do wonders for it, don't you think?

Pinteresting Baby Girl's Nursery:

My beloved rug arrived the other day and I could not be more in love. It's SO pretty in person, you guys.
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

And I want to paint our current Jenny Lind style crib pink, sort of like this, but not quite as bright. I'm tempted, though, to go all out on this one:)

Love the blues, aquas and pinks that I could pull from her rug into the bedding/curtains/rocker. And I just LOVE this paint color combined with the aqua accents.
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

Not sure if I'll do a pink crib and pink walls, though. Don't get me wrong, I am a pink freak but there's no need to go totally crazy for this little girl. Maybe aqua walls with the pink crib would be more tolerable?

Truman's room:
My boy will keep his bold striped rug, the fabric pennants mom and I made, his new bed with truck bedding, and most of his artwork. Except I want to make something similar to these two Pinterest ideas for him, too:

Source: via Julia on Pinterest

Our Master:
I bought a new duvet cover for us from West Elm that I am loving. This is it:
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

So I want to go with the ever-popular gray and yellow theme in our bedroom. I think I'll do a pale yellow paint on the walls, or maybe just stick to gray? But then I want to spice it up with yellow and printed throw pillows on the bed (something else to sew!!):

So overall, kind of like this but not exactly.

Yeah, really don't love our bathroom right now. Would LOVE to make it more like this one someday:
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

Wainscotting or beadboard, aqua, and yellow. Love. But our current bath is functional now so whatever. And the half bath on the main level is just 'fine' too. Gotta love 'someday' projects!

Other details of our new home:

Love our old door knobs, the solid doors, the great original crown molding and baseboards and door casings, the built-in bookshelves, and the hidden hardwood floors I found by pulling up the carpet. This house is going to be totally transformed just by doing our 'big three' projects before we move in: the floors, painting walls/wood trim, and the kitchen renovation. I really hope we can pull off the balancing act of decorating an old home to fit a modern family. And mostly, I can't wait to start making our own memories in a home that surely has stories to tell from past decades. It's going to be a lot of work but we are so excited to finally become home owners!

Now if only I can remain calm and collected while caring for my toddler, working part time, being pregnant, packing, moving, painting, decorating, SPENDING much to do, so little time. Let's all hope it goes smoothly and we can move in before baby comes and our lives change even more. :)


  1. Congratulations!!! Owning a home is so awesome. Definitely a lesson in patience, but still awesome. Have fun!!!

  2. Hoo boy, what a list of projects! The next few months will seriously fly by for you guys. LOVE this house and can't wait to read about it every single step of the way :) All your ideas are amazing! I really wish I had half your motivation when it comes to house projects - I think I used all mine up in the first few years we were in this house - once we got our "big" projects done (ripping up carpet, painting, kitchen "update", upstairs remodel, bathroom update) we've just done nothing and I'm pretty okay with that :) It mostly just makes me tired to think about. OK, everything makes me tired to think about right now. Ha! Anyway... congrats on closing :)

  3. Love it all!! I can't wait to see how it all comes together. The house is SO cute and I know it's just gonna get cuter as you go.

    Our styles are so similar - I had to laugh as I read through the post because so many of the elements you are planning are either things we've done or things we want to do. I think old houses are the bomb and I know you guys will pull the old/modern thing together really well.

    Random tidbit - take it or leave it of course. :) In our first house, I painted every room a different color. Later, I kinda hated I'd done that because it really broke up the house, rather than flowing together. In our current house, most of the rooms on our main level are the same color. The living room is a medium gray and the entry, dining room, hallway, kitchen, and sunroom are all that same gray color, just cut with 75% white to lighten up the color. Same for Isaac's room and the bathroom - his room is a green/blue/gray color and the bathroom is the same color, cut with 50% white. I really like how the whole main level seems to "flow" as a result, especially all the main areas. Anyway, just a thought. I'm know whatever you do will look awesome!!

  4. love! love! love your new home! I love the idea of white trim and have it throughout my house. That wood is SOOO beautiful, it's hard to think it could look great, but I know it will! Painting trim will be a chore! After learning the hard way (sloppy painting after growing tired and bored and getting sore arms and not using the right paint), I definitely encourage you to get the best paint--which does not yellow like a lot of white paints will (another painful lesson learned). For bright white paint I suggest using Benjamin Moore Impervo and Benjamin Moore Underbody primer. This paint is expensive, but for me it was worth every penny after spending a ton and having to put in new doors because it looked so bad with other paint. It's oil-based and looks so beautiful on. It's hard and wont' chip either. I used small 2-in foam rollers and it looks gorgeous on after it dries. Also you can get an additive that thins the paint just a bit so it doesn't get sticky and helps the paint look gorgeous. A good paint store that sells Benjamin Moore will know what it's called. Best of luck to you! Congrats on the new home

  5. Congratulations! such a beautiful home and your ideas are great! Reminds me a lot of our first home in Minneapolis, now I am jealous since we back to being renters in San Francisco.

  6. Love the new house! We just moved into a place with radiators and here are a few tips (all good!):

    1- They make these little boxes that hang on the front of the radiators that you put water in- instant humidifier!

    2- If you don't want to cover your radiator in the bathroom, put your towel over it when you get in the shower- instant towel warmer!

  7. Congrats! I can't wait to see all the transformations take place in the new house! How exciting!

  8. Oh my goodness, I'm so excited for you. We bought a brand new house that needs no updates so I'm going to have to live vicariously through you as you renovate and decorate!

    I love it. It has soooo much potential to be amazing! Can't wait to see the kiddos rooms all done :)

  9. I am both SO EXCITED and totally overwhelmed on your behalf, ha!

    But really...what an exciting time for you guys!

  10. I was ooh-ing and aah-ing over all the potential in your great new house... so much my husband came to take a look. What a gem! I would so much rather find something like your beauty and make it your own than have something already done. It never is what I would exactly like. Congratulations on such a great place.

  11. Congratulations! You must be so relieved to have the closing process behind you and to allow yourself to imaging our projects coming to fruition. The house looks so awesome with so many cool little details. I love the exterior and I look forward to seeing the way you make it your own! That green fireplace is so neat-the jerk who sold us our house covered up the fireplaces. One day when we win the lottery, maybe we can uncover them ;)

  12. Love it all, Julia! Since there's very little home renovation going on over here, I'm going to live vicariously through you. Can't wait to see how everything turns out (especially that kitchen!).

  13. Congrats on being home owners!! What a gorgeous house. I love bungalow style homes and I'd totally have one if they were out in the country LOL.

    But *sigh* why why why are you painting that beautiful original 1925 trim?! Trim, doors, and other milwork is what makes arts and crafts style homes this isn't a colonial where painted trim fits the age of the home. The quality of the wood used is unparalleled and the hours of time spent making and installing it is unmatched today. People devote years to striping and restoring trim just like that. But it can never be brought back to the original patina it currently has. Often the trim is destroyed trying to remove the layers of paint and primer. My father owned his own custom milwork business where he made new trim to match historic homes and churches (to replace the trim that was destroyed trying to strip off paint or for home owners who didn't want to bother attempting to strip the trim). Plus white trim, doors, and windows requires more maintenance than stained wood. Lots of touch ups are needed and painting windows in a way they won't stick shut eventually is always fun. OK rant over.

  14. Congratulations!! What a cute house. Looks like there is a lot of room there to put your own mark on things. Can't wait to see how you transform it.

  15. Thanks,all!

    Robin--Thank you for your opinion on painting woodwork white, also. I hear this argument from my in-laws all the time too, so I'm getting used to defending my stance on the matter:)

    I really think it all boils down to personal preference: some people love the look of natural wood throughout their home, and some do not. I respect our new home and love that it's old and quirky and is built differently (better?) than newer homes out there. I love the overall style of our bungalow...except for the dark woodwork. I know that not everyone agrees with me, and my in-laws are the first ones to tell tales of hand stripping painted woodwork, since they have done a TON of stripping to their painted woodwork downstairs (interestingly enough, our upper flat has never been painted. We should just switch apartments and we'd both be happy!!)

    So anyway, yes: painting the wood work is a sin to many people out there (but still not as awful as ripping it all out, because I know of a few homes that have had the woodwork removed all together--would never do that here!) But I have to do what will make this home feel like OURS and for me, that is white wood work. I have lived in the wood-wood-everywhere style of home for 4 years and yearn for a time when I can make the house fit our personality a bit more. I hope that makes sense! Obviously not everyone will agree on this (or on the wall colors I choose, or the way we do the kitchen, etc....but to each her own)

    If nothing else, someday if/when we do sell our new place, maybe the new owners will give your dad some business to get natural wood back in there! But maybe the future owners will be like myself and love the look of white wood, too. Who knows! We aren't planning to move again for a VERY long time so we might as well make this comfortable for us.

  16. Congrats on the new house! I'd KILL to have a great bungalow like that; in my town that house would go for about $500k. Boo.

    That said, I have to ditto Robin. Please, please please do not paint the original wood trim. Also, Please please please do not reside the house with vinyl. Both of those items (especially the vinyl) take away from the historic integrity of my home. And vinyl isn't as great as you think; 1 hail storm and it looks nicely perforated like swiss cheese.

    AND, make sure you check with your local government. Some, like the one I work for as a historic preservation officer, require you to go through a process before modifying properties listed in a Historic District.

    Also, check the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Homeowner's page for great resources and information.

    But mostly, congrats on finding a fabulous house. Color me green with envy :)

  17. Congrats on the new home and love all your decor ideas! What would you do without Pinterest? ;)

  18. I am SO excited to see your progress on this! Our house was built in 1959 (in AZ that's considered old) and we have done most of the work ourselves too, lots of fun but lots of work - but totally worth it!

    Some thoughts about your pics (I took notes while reading): The long living room is just like ours and an entry way section will totally break it up. Ever thought about painting the radiators until you can cover them? Search around on Pinterest for some, they look so cool it makes me wish I had radiators! Glass cabinets in the kitchen are totally classy but until then you could always take the doors off and just have open cabinets, would open up the space until you get new doors on them. We have an Ikea rolling island that I love because you can roll it in and out of the middle of the kitchen to use it (we did our entire kitchen ourselves, including flooring). Your molding throughout the house is AMAZING, I am so jealous!

    Congrats on closing on the house, it is a labor of love but you will live there with your family for a long time. So excited to follow your renovations!!! :)

  19. I knew I wouldn't convince you but the old home lover in me had to write something. : ) At least you have lived in a home with similar stained wood trim for some time and know it doesn't work for you. So many people just paint it without regard because that is the thing to do.

    Either way I still can not wait to see how your place turns out! Renovating is so rewarding in the end.

  20. The house is great! I can't wait to see how you make it your own! :) We bought our house- it was older too! And we are slowly updating it! It's a lot of work and going very slow- but it's fun to look at how much it has changed!! Congrats :)

  21. I love the house! And just like the others said, color me green with envy... THIS is my dream home.

    I'm also on the side of not painting the trim, but also on the side of doing whatever YOU want and whatever will make it feel like home to you.

    I know whatever you do it will look amazing. We moved 12 hours away from family, house hunted, decorated a nursery, AND had our 2nd baby all within 6 weeks... so I can feel and understand some of your stress. Good luck :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Sorry that commenting through Blogger can be a royal pain. I'm glad you are commenting despite that, and please email me if you are having issues.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...