Monday, August 29

The Hunt

We love house hunting. We've done it twice ourselves, and enjoyed a few opportunities to hunt with friends. Seriously. We love peeking inside just about any home to see what potential it holds. We already showed you our new house on move-in day, but today we thought you might like to peek in on the house hunting trail! Here's how it all went down. (These photos are all saved from the online listings of the homes.)

We left our last home in Illinois and moved into a rental in January, but with our old house on the market we weren't looking to buy right away. That definitely didn't mean we weren't looking, though. I spent those two months of down time pouring through every online listing I could find to get an better idea of what we were looking for, where we wanted it to be, and how much it was going to cost. Husband said I shouldn't worry about it until we were ready to start seriously looking... but I can't stop won't stop. As the end of February rolled around, we got an offer on our house. Excuse me husband, IT'S TIME.

Turns out those hours of online hunting had paid off. We set up our first day of visits with the realtor in our most desired area with our top four houses (and we scheduled visits to another area the following weekend). The house hunt had begun. It went a little something like this:

House #1
3 bed  -  2.5 bath  -  3300 sqft (including basement)  -  1.35 acres

House #1 had a great open flow with the living room open to the kitchen and dining area, but we found our first problem right away - this house belonged to someone tall. The kitchen cabinets and counters were built up higher than my elbows, much higher than my short self could reasonably use. The yard was a good size with a nice deck, but a lot of it was front yard. We prefer a back yard for little guys to play in. Plus the house listed three "bedrooms" but one was so small I don't think a twin bed could actually fit in it without blocking the door. It didn't take us too long to realize this wouldn't work for our family of five. So we crossed it off the list.

House #2
3 bed  -  2 bath  -  2500 sqft (including basement)  -  .55 acres

House #2 was a beautiful brick home in the woods, overlooking a quite creek. It had a grand entry, large living spaces, and three huge bedrooms (including a master suite with a fireplace & balcony). It needed lots of updating that made our DIY eyes sparkle with possibilities. The biggest downside we found was with the yard. Most of it was front yard (again), and the back yard actually had a crazy steep drop down to the creek. We would prefer four bedrooms, but the three it had were so large we were sure it would work just fine.  We loved this house and left it wondering if we should make an offer when we finished the rest of the tours that day.

House #3 
4 bed  -  2 bath  -  2600 sqft (including basement)  -  .75 acres

This was actually two houses down from House #2. Again we loved the area, but this one completely lacked any kind of back yard (although it had a slightly less steep drop to the creek) that left us feeling iffy. This one had a totally different style with a cabin-in-the-words feel. It had a beautiful living area with vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace and huge windows. It had four bedrooms including a master suite, but they were smaller and the master bedroom was on a different level. Overall this house was great (we probably would have loved it more if we hadn't seen the brick house) but House #2 was more our style and felt like it would be a better fit for our family. So this one was crossed off the list with House #1. As we drove to the last stop of the day, we talked more about if we should go ahead make an offer on House #2 or wait until we saw more houses next weekend....

House #4
4 bed  -  2 bath  -  2500 sqft  -  2.14 acres

A little backstory - this house wasn't actually in the town/school district we were looking at that day. Husband didn't want to look at for that reason. But he humored me and went to see it anyway, with several reminders that "we probably won't buy a house here." Got it. We turned down the street and the house came into view. I screeched something like "OH MY WORD IS THAT IT?!" He (frantically?) reminded me we probably wouldn't buy it and we already saw a great house... and I should keep it cool for the realtor. Right. My bad. So we went inside and walked through room after beautiful room - brick fireplace, built-ins, original wood floors, big windows, beautiful deck, huge yard and workshop. I did not keep my cool. It had almost everything on our list - 4 large bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (no master bath, but a bathroom right next to the master), large living spaces (plus a handful of smaller rooms we didn't even know what to do with), a huge property with mature trees, full basement, garage we can fit both cars in (when we don't have projects spread out across the floor), great commute to work, even a fireplace and a balcony off the deck (the only two things Biggest Brother was looking for in a house) - plus a boat load of character and charm. As we finished the tour, Husband looked at me and said "We should probably go ahead make an offer tonight." Yes, Husband. Yes we should. Turns out he loved it just as much as I did. We cancelled our next round of visits and bought the house.

So our entire house hunt consisted of a one-day trip to see four houses. Not only did we find the house of our dreams, we also saw another house we loved plus a third we would have been perfectly happy in. I feel like that deserves some kind of online house hunting award. Like a trophy. Or maybe a pie.

Do you like house hunting? If you've bought a home, how many houses did you look at? What were your top must-haves?

Thursday, August 25

The Move-In Tour

It's hard to believe we've already spent a few months in our new home. We've been slowly making it our own, unpacking, tackling a project here and there, but before we start showing you what we've been working on, it's probably best to start at the beginning - move-in day!

It's an old house built in the 1920s, but it's been pretty well cared for. It's close to town but has more of a country feel. It has lots of character, plenty of space, and hit almost everything on our "wildest dreams" house hunting list. You'll see in the pictures, so let's go!

Sun room with original windows.

Living room - there is a fireplace & glass door built-ins behind Mount Move-In. And a built-in window seat under those three windows! (check out how we touched up the original crown molding)

We call this the library because THOSE BOOKSHELVES. And because it's so fun to say.

Friday, August 12

Rustic Captain's Chest Nightstand - Friday Hack

Today we're hacking a bedroom I've been going back to for years. I always love this chill, relaxing space and I've gone back and forth between wanting it for our guest room and our boys' room. Well today it can be your room! We'll start with free plans for that fun and functional little captain's chest nightstand, then we'll share a few tips to finish off the look.

So let's go ahead and get started with our little chest of drawers. I love having drawers in my nightstand to keep things tidy, and this little guy is just perfect for the job. (I also have a whole series of nightstand plans to tickle your bedside fancy) This guy is a workhorse and a key design component in the space. Finished dimensions are for this piece are 30" wide x 23.75" high x 1.25" deep.

Read through all the instructions before you begin. Measure twice before you cut. Use glue in each step. Use appropriate safety gear. Be careful and have fun!
Shopping List:
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 6'
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 4'
  • 1 - 1x2 @ 6'
  • 1 - 1x4 @ 6'
  • 2 - 1x6 @ 6'
  • 1 - 1x8 @ 6'
  • 1/2" plywood - you only need half a sheet for this project!
  • 1 1/4" screws AND a couple 2" screws (if you don't have a Kreg Jig)
  • OR a Kreg Jig + 1 1/4" pocket hole screws (optional, but makes a nicer finished project without holes to fill) 
  • finishing nails (optional)
  • wood glue
  • 6 drawer pulls
  • 4 sets 10" full-extension side-mount drawer slides
  • 4 - 2" flat corner brackets
  • 4 - 2" mending plates 
  • finishing supplies