A Little Nervous….

I know I’ve neglected this blog for a while, but I haven’t forgotten about it.  I’ve just been busy trying to finish up school that it (and the house) have kind of taken a back seat. 

Plus, unfortunately, we think we have a couple big (and expensive) repairs we need to get taken care of.  Like plumbing (still don’t have a washer and dryer–Grrr.).

This afternoon we’re having a structural engineer come look over the house.  As we’ve been getting settled, we’re noticing that our floors are as well.  There are definitely dips in the floor throughout the house.  It’s actually kind of amusing, I put a golf ball down in the kitchen and it made a nice little journey through the dining room, around the couch in the living room and ended up in front of the fireplace.  Then Charlie took over. 


We realize the house is 80 years old and there will be settling and the floors won’t be even, we just want to make sure its not getting worse.  We’re also going to have him look at the cottage to make sure it has a solid foundation before we spend any money in there fixing it up. 

I’m really hoping paying this guy to do a thorough inspection is just a precaution and he’ll tell us we are fine.  I don’t think we have foundation problems (no cracks we can see, no out of the ordinary cracks in the walls and the floors don’t squeak), but as we’ve come to know….with old houses nothing is certain.

We’ll see how it turns out.


Still trying to catch up….

I’m still not current with this blog and it’s frustrating me.  My goal is to get all caught up by this weekend (as we will have lived there one month), but with a Tech game, going out of town and a lot of homework I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. 

There’s been quite a lot going on in the house.  It’s still a mess, but I can slightly see the light at the end of the cluttered tunnel.  Some of the things going on recently include:

-Painting the dining room and having “The Beast” delivered

-Painting and organizing my closet and installing a ceiling fan

-Removal of the Stairs of Death and getting the new Stairs of Life put it 

-Having the wall to the downstairs bathroom installed

-Spending ALL weekend painting the sitting room and bedroom.  This includes priming baseboards, windows and crown molding, 2 coats of paint, and then painstakingly painting baseboards, crown molding and windows.  I hope to finally finish with this tonight. 

-We’re also getting the concrete poured in the basement today, which means our washer/dryer hookups aren’t that far off!….hopefully

There’s a lot going on and I plan to still catch up with all my ‘before’ pictures and hopefully have everything current in the next week of so.  I’ll need some down time after sitting on the floor straining my neck all weekend making sure the high-gloss paint on the baseboards looks just right. 

Changes before we closed

While we were interested in the house from the moment we saw it, it took us a while to officially get under contract and list our house.  Also, the owner was trying to finish up some projects in order to get the house market sellable somewhat ready. 

The good thing was, since we were really interested, she let us put our input into the projects she was finishing up. 

One of her projects was to finish painting the breakfast nook/screened-porch.  This looks a lot better than the bare beadboard.  She also put in indoor/outdoor carpet.  I’m not a huge fan of it but it will do until I can maybe find a rug to cover it up.


Thankfully, she also decided to paint the living room, dining room, hallway and sunroom and let us pick the color.  Since I wasn’t sure if we were even going to get the house and if we were how I would be decorating it, I decided to go with a really light neutral color.  That way if we didn’t get the house, it would look good for whoever did, and it was light enough that I knew they’d have to paint it really well to cover up those dark crazy colors. 

We went with Valspar‘s Homestead Resort Jefferson White.  It’s one of those that looks white by itself until you put it next to true white.  It’s got a slightly brown/slightly gray look to it.  I love the way it turned out.  Very light, airy and warm and it’s one of those National Historic Registry colors which is kind of cool.


 She also told us that she was planning on replacing the dining room light fixture and if we found anything we liked that was around $100 she’d buy it for us.  I personally love chandeliers.  Big, vintagey chandeliers with lots of crystals.  I’d probably put one in every room of the house if Stephen let me.  

Looking at Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as some antique shops on the Square discouraged me because there was nothing that was size appropriate for the space in that price range. 

Then I found this one at a vintage shop on the Square.  It’s not perfect (in fact I’m pretty sure it was spray painted black and some of the crystals are missing), but I loved the shape and it was be big enough to fill the space.  Even better, the price was only $125, but they gave me the ‘shops in here a lot’ discount so it came out to be only $100.  Score!  I love the contrast of the black against the light paint color.


Then there was the bathroom.  You can see what a mess the hall bathroom was by looking at all the before pictures here and here.  

Stephen and I were both prepared to start stripping wallpaper and cleaning this up, but the owner had already decided to take care it.  New walls, new ceiling, new shower installed and new floor.  I was sad to see the original floor go, but I absolutely love black and white flooring and think this definitely goes with the period of the house.  We did pick out the paint color but unfortunately I can’t remember the name (which I hate because there are already places we need to touch up). 

The tube and sink are original and were reglazed.  She did replace the sink hardware, which I kind of like, but I’ll might change them out down the line.


Overall we thought this bathroom remodel somewhat made up for the condition of other parts of the house since it would have been a lot of time and effort to fix it. 

These small changes were big improvements in the house, but we still have a long way to go….

Love at first sight

Here are some of the original “before” pictures of the house and how it looked when we first saw it.  Needless to say the previous owner had some interesting color choices, but paint is easy enough to change. 


The outside

Front door–I love it.

Screened in porch/breakfast nook off of the kitchen.

Back of house…looks a little rough but it’s not that bad.  That fence under the deck is gone.


Deck.  Don’t you love the two-toned siding?

Random deck off the side of the breakfast nook.

Screened in breakfast nook.

Scary crawl space.  One of our first big projects is going to be to finish this off into an official laundry room and storage.

The “man cave” downstairs.  We both love this room.

Bathroom in the man cave.  The shower has been finished but we will still have to put in a wall and door.

Stairs (AKA: The Stairs of Death).  Our other big project is going to be getting these replaced.


Introducing: the Fiesta-ware kitchen!  How many colors do you count?

I love that she saved the original telephone stand.  I plan to someday refinish it and put it back it the hallway.

Because everyone needs a door to the crawlspace in the middle of their kitchen.

The Office:

We’ve opened up that closed doorway.

Stephen admires the teal ceiling.  That door goes to the man cave via the stairs of death.

The office leading into the kitchen.

Dining room.  I’m SO excited to have a formal dining room!!

These built-in nooks are a big reason I fell in love with the house.


Stephen approves of the dining room.

Living room.  This may be my favorite room in the house.

I LOVE that window.  Just not the pastel painted panes.

Sunroom off of living room.  This room looked like a Easter egg exploded in it.

Looking from sunroom into living room.

Hall bathroom.  This could have been a big project but luckily was redone before we closed.


I really liked the original floor, however it wasn’t able to be saved.

Hallway.  That hole is where the telephone stand was.

Master ‘suite.’  The two bedrooms on the back of the house are connected so we plan on using one room as a sitting room/den and the other for our bedroom.

We chose not to keep the custom painted artwork on the windows. 🙂


Closet in the sitting room.  That thing in the left corner is a laundry shoot! 

The master bathroom in the back bedroom.  It’s small but we’re thrilled considering we don’t have a master bath now.

Back bedroom.  It has an exterior door which is kind of weird.  We’re told this room was an efficiency apartment at one time as well as a doctor’s office!

Walk-in closet.  Stephen said this could be all mine!

Well that’s how the house looked the first time we saw it.  Its a little rough in places but its amazing how much a difference a coat of paint makes.  I’ll post pictures of some of the updated rooms soon.

Here’s the story about how we stalked found the house. 

We first noticed the house a couple months after we moved into our current house by walking around the neighborhood.  We probably noticed it at first due to the dinosaur that was in the front yard.  After we looked past the interesting yard decoration, I immediately loved the style of the house.  Officially I think it’s called a “Storybook Cottage” (I plan on doing more research on that later).  They are categorised by swooping gables, rounded doors and asymmetrical features, all of which this house has, and were popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.  There really aren’t many in this style around the Square so its kind of unique. 

Last fall for some reason I really started taking notice of the house.  I just really liked it and would always want to walk by ‘the dinosaur house.’  After a while we noticed that there were never any cars there.  One day a few weeks later I worked up the courage to go peak in the windows (after Stephen told me not to) and found out it was pretty vacant.  After I knew it was vacant I kind of began stalking the house.  I would always drive by it, just to see if anything had changed.  It was this big mystery to me, and I think I was so interested in it partially because I didn’t know anything about it.  I remember one day at work I suddently had the random thought: “we should buy the dinosaur house.”  I often have random thoughts, but I remember this one because the way it popped into my head was so ‘matter of fact.’  I told Stephen I thought we should buy it and of course he thought I was being stupid because we knew absolutely nothing about it and he really didn’t get my weird obsession, especially since we hadn’t been in our current house (that we both loved) even two years. 

Fast forward a couple months (during which I was still discreetly house stalking), where one time when I drove by there was a van in the driveway.  I got so excited since this was the first sign of life I had seen at the house in the months that I had been watching it.  I was on my way to school so I frantically called Stephen and told him “there’s someone at our house!”  He was like “Um, yeah, I’m home…”  “No, the dinosaur house.”  (He groans.)   “Please go see who it is or if you can find out anything.”  He agrees to walk by, but by the time he got there whoever was there was gone.  I was sad because the mystery continued. 

A couple of days later, the van is back along with another car.  Once I noticed them on my way home, I rushed home and announced to Stephen as soon as I walked in the door that we were leaving right then to go walk by the dinosaur house.  He reluctantly agrees (again, he didn’t understand my obsession and honestly neither did I).  Once we were there the cars were still there, and it looked like they were moving furniture.  I just didn’t know if they were moving in or out. 

After forcing my husband to awkwardly stand on the sidewalk for a good length of time until the people starting walking outside (he wanted to go home, but I think he stayed in hopes that I would actually find out what was up with this house so I’d shut up about it).  We crossed the street and approached the woman and asked “are y’all moving out?”  She said “yes, its just taking me a while to get everything out and get the house ready.”  Then I asked the all important question: “are you looking to sell the house?”  She said yes, and we mentioned that we were always intrigued by the house and thought it looked interesting.  (No, I did not tell her I’d been stalking it for a couple months and that we really weren’t ‘just walking by’ and noticed them there, but I didn’t want to freak her out.)  She was gracious enough to take us inside and show it to us and tell us about it. 

And the rest, they say, is history.  My sister claims I’m one of the luckiest people on earth because it seems random things like this happen to me often.  Random things like finding great houses that aren’t technically for sale and are cheaper than everything else in the area just by walking by.  Yeah, that’s now happened to me now twice since that’s essentially how we found our first house. 

I do find it odd, but I’m not complaining.  🙂

Well to put it simply, we’re kind of crazy. 

I mean, we LOVE the house we’ve been in for the past two years.  We absolutely love the location.  We can walk to the Square for restaurants, shops and festivals, which is rare OTP (outside the perimeter for any non-ATL people).  We’re also in a historic district with lots of different styles of houses, and we’re not that far from the interstate.    Our current house is cute.  It’s pretty.  It’s decorated.  It’s in immaculate shape.  (All things which our new house isn’t.)  But, it’s also small.  That’s not really a problem now considering it’s just me, Stephen and the cat (who arguably takes up the space of 2 or 3 cats). 

However, we know that someday it will be an issue and we will need a bigger house.  We also know, that we want to stay around the Square in the historic district, in an old house.  We want something with character and more space.  The problem is, pretty much everything bigger than our house now around the Square is way out of our price range.  If you can tack on ‘historic’ and ‘walk to the Square’ to your house listing, it’s like you can instantly charge more.  We were very fortunate to get our current house at such a great deal (and it is coming back to help us now that we’re selling), but for the most part, a bigger house around the Square is a couple hundred thousand more than our price range.

And that’s where our new house comes in.  It’s bigger.  It’s older.  It has more character.  The lot is almost twice as big.  We can afford it.  But it’s a little rough.  And it’s going to take some work.  A lot of work.  And we love it.  The way we see it, if we’re ever going to tackle a big whole house renovation/restoration project, now is the time (when its only me, Stephen and the large cat.) 

This house was too good a deal to pass up and it let us get our bigger house around the Square.  Ironically, it also has almost everything I wanted on my ‘wish list,’ (high ceilings, unique features/character, two living rooms, master suite with bathroom, room to grow into, etc.).  The things it doesn’t have can be added someday (clawfoot tub, awesome kitchen, porch, garage. etc).  We love the house the way it is and at the same time excited about the potential it has for the future.  Hopefully, this will be our last move and we’ll be here for many, many years to come.

At least thats the plan.  Six months from now when I’m tired of painting baseboards every weekend, out of money, and sick of living in a disorganized mess, maybe I’ll think differently.  🙂

Stephen and I are so excited!  We’re taking on a big project that will no doubt consume a lot of our time, sweat, money and sanity over the next several years.  I hope to document the process here so that one day (hopefully) I can look back on it and know it was worth the effort.  🙂

More details to be added soon!