Photo Hunt: Home Edition

Before I got buried in another New England winter, I knew I needed to take advantage of last few days of warmth for some outside clean up work. Here’s where we started:

And after two days of grueling work, here’s where we ended up:

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Can you spot at least seven differences? No, looks the same to you? Don’t worry, I kinda felt the same way. After two days of busting my ass (and my parents’ asses, as they were so kind to help), it was a little hard to not get that same gratification of immediate progress that I got the morning I ripped out the carpets. So for those of you who can’t see all the hard work, here’s a fun little photo hunt cheat sheet:

Photo Hunt

Ok you’re still scratching your head, aren’t you? So here’s what all the arrows represent:

  • Removed the iron bird feeder pole from in front of the picture window
  • Hung the downspouts back up (upspouts?) so that they were attached to the gutters and not just lying on the ground
  • Trimmed back the bushes that were actually growing into the house. Seriously, there were leaves and twigs growing into my basement
  • Removed the rusty & tattered American Flag & flag pole
  • Hey! There’s a tiny window behind that overgrown Rhododendron! Now I can see out the window by my kitchen sink
  • Bought my first power tool (hey, a leaf blower counts – it’s loud, heavy, and requires an extension cord to run) and blew approximately eleventy billion leaves out of the front yard
  • Trimmed back other overgrown weeds/sticks/etc. by the breezeway entrance

Not pictured also includes a scaly old wooden fence that was connected to the back part of the living room. This area was only a couple feet wide & ran the length of the room (I’m assuming the previous owner used it to let his dogs out in the winter) but the fence was really tall and ugly, and blocked a lot of the light the living room gets at the end of the day. Props to my dad who HeMan-ed it out of the ground and into the dumpster!

Let’s just dive in, shall we?

The first full day I owned my home, I really got to work. I had a dumpster arranged to be delivered so we could just dive in. The most pressing issue to deal with in the house was odor. It sat unoccupied for a year after the previous owner passed away, and he’d had a significant amount of animals in the house. The smell of dogs and cats was pervasive, and you should all just be lucky the internet hasn’t invented its version of smell-o-vision yet. The only recourse was to remove as much of the odor-trapping items in the house as fast as possible. And maybe open some windows.

The first thing to go was all the carpet. The stairs and second floor were entirely covered in wall-to-wall carpet, as was the breezeway/sunroom by the main entrance.

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Upstairs carpeting

Breezeway carpeting

Breezeway carpeting

After a morning of tearing out carpets (and another day of pulling up staples), I was pleasantly surprised to find a full floor of original hardwoods under the carpet upstairs. They aren’t in the best shape, having been paint splattered and trod on with wet feet from the Jack & Jill bath between the bedrooms, but I’m hoping a sanding & new coat of stain/poly will be just the nip/tuck they are crying out for.

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I was not so lucky in the breezeway, which just had a raw cement slab under the carpet. Will have to do some brainstorming for what to do in that room. For now, I’m just going to savor the lack of wet dog carpet smells.

Holy crap I bought a house!

But really, if that title doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what else will. After years of dreaming and scheming, I finally did it. Today, I bought a house. Want to meet her? Here she is:

There she is, in all her glory. This 4 bed, 2 bath, 1600 sq ft abode is now all mine. After 10+ years of city-style living, this house is the largest place I’ve ever had. The sheer luxury of four bedrooms still leaves me a little breathless.

I’m also still in a bit of disbelief that it’s finally happened. It was a loooong road that led me here. The years of scrimping and saving – how many times did I order a salad when out to eat with friends, not because I wanted a salad but simply because it was the cheapest thing on the menu? I mean come on, who actually wants to order a salad? Then once I felt like I was in a good enough place financially to start looking – I spent almost a full year on the house hunt. I looked at over 200 houses on the market this past year, usually averaging five houses a weekend when I would go out. I saw houses in 19 towns. I was often joined on various showings by four different friends, my parents, my brother, or my niece (my #1 sidekick). I went through three mortgage companies and two realtors.

And after all that time, this house was the only one that spoke to me in every room. This was the first house that I could see a vision for almost every room, every outdoor space. I’ve started this blog to document bringing that vision to life. Nothing makes a good “after” photo feel quite so accomplished than looking back and comparing it to the original “before” picture. Now it’s time to go find out just what the hell I’ve gotten myself into!