Thursday, March 31, 2011

Same Time, Last Year

Last year, on March 31, 2010, Bill and I were signing a bunch of documents for our first house.  That's right, it's been exactly a year since the house was officially ours.  How crazy is that?  Time flies so fast.

So in honor of our one year anniversary, here are the top ten reasons I love our house:

1.  Location, location, location.  We are walking distance to local bars, restaurants, and hang outs.

2.  The history of our house.  It was the first house built on the block, a small farm house.  The river rock on the front was hand carried by the original owner's three daughters from the local river.

3.  I call it a love house.  Bill proposed on the front porch last July, carrying on the tradition of love.  The original owner's three daughters were all married in the house in front of the fireplace.  He even widened the stairs for their dresses to flow down.

4.  The front porch.  Some nights I love nothing more than sitting on the front porch enjoying the evening.  We light candles, watch neighbors pass by, and even get to watch the occasional thunderstorm coming in.

5.  The half bathroom.  It's so nice to have a bathroom downstairs that guests can use.  Especially when ours is a mess upstairs (which is most of the time, who are we kidding).

6.  Our brand new driveway.  When we bought the house, it was gravel.  Now it is a lovely asphalt drive and my tires now longer spin when going up it.

7.  The fireplace.  There's nothing better than on a cold winter night, snuggling up on the couch and having a wood burning fire.

8.  The removal of a few of our trees

9.  The hardwood floors!  I love them!

10.  Just the fact that it is our real first place, and we get to call it home.  It is our little oasis, that belongs only to long as we continue to pay for it!!!

And here are a few things that made our first year a bit rough.

1.  Large branches falling out of trees, hitting the gutters and narrowly missing our cars.

2.  Water from our bathtub overflowing into our dining room below.  This was a very bad day for me.  The sound of rushing water into your house is not a good sound.  We ended up having a hole in our dining room ceiling for about a month...

3.  A lovely root ball in our main sewer line that cost us quite a bit of money and required ripping up part of that lovely new driveway I mentioned earlier...ouch!

4.  The hardwood floors!  I know I put this on the above list, because I do love them.  But I also fear for them.  Brooklyn's paws and nails are not easy on them, and I am consistently worried about them getting scratched.  They are also so hard to keep clean!

The good definitely out ways the bad!  We definitely feel like we've been initiated into home ownership this past year, but we still wouldn't change any of our decisions.  We love this house!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Right now:

Current happenings going on around me right now:

*Listening to the Avett Brothers' "The New Love Song" on Pandora.
*Sitting in my cubicle at work...the joys of life!
*Stressing about a job interview I have later today...eek! 
*Day Dreaming of warmer weather so Bill and I can take bike rides that end with ice cream!

Happy Tuesday! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Did I Ever Tell You...

We were once in the newspaper?  Well, we were.  It was last September.  About two months after we moved in, we were approached by the local housing association about having our house on the local historical tour.  We couldn't say no to that!

So we spent the first six months of living in the house just getting it full of furniture and atleast a few things hung on the walls.

About a month before the tour, our house was selected to be featured in the Indianapolis Star.  The article turned out fantastic!  It was the front page of the home and garden section (we were completely in shock!) and they even included our favorite pooch!

The article is no longer online, but the picture gallary is.  Click here to see.  I'm not allowed to post the pics myself as they are protected by copywrite.  Side note:  the first eleven photos are our goes straight into the next gallery after that (although the next house looks amazing, I can't claim it as my own).

I'll try to scan the article and post tomorrow.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our House

I think today would be a great day to show you what the inside of our house looked like while we were in the early stages of purchasing it.  I have to admit, the house was/is in really good shape, and we are lucky we don't have to do a lot of upgrades as first time homebuyers.  Therefore, most of the changes we've done to date have been for personal reasons.  Although, I maintain that removing the big tree in the front yard helps curb appeal, which will some day help in property value!

So, here is the house as we saw it when we first drove by.  
The property did not show up on any of our listings, we just happened to be driving down the street it is on to go to an open house for a house that was on our list.  When I saw the for sale sign, I couldn't help but get excited.  It was gorgeous!  It looked like a warm, comfortable lodge.  We thought, if we loved how it looked in the winter, that we'd probably love it in the summer as well!  We've since had the driveway paved as well, which makes it look so much nicer and also helps with the value of the house.

The first room you see is the living room.  The front door opens up right into the middle, which can make it pretty difficult when it comes to decorating.  I immediately fell in love with the hardwood floors (which were newly sealed after this pic) and the fireplace.

The house has all brand new windows which was a huge selling feature to us.  In most of the older houses we looked at, a lot of the windows were painted shut!  Such a shame.  The front door is also the original door to the house.  I guess I should mention that the house was the first house built on the block. It was the original farm house (our local historical society even has some old pics of it) in the area built in 1918.  We love the history of the house!

Here's a view of the other end of the living room  So many windows!  Gotta love the natural light!

Next is the dining room.  It right off the living room.  The swinging door in the back left goes into the kitchen.

Here is a small glimpse into the kitchen.  I can't seem to find all of my pictures right now of the kitchen, but I can update that later.  This is the small addition that was added on to the house in the 40s and serves as a breakfast nook.  Again, I love all the windows and natural light.
I wanted to include this picture as well as it contains the original built-ins on the left.  We use them as a pantry right now as we are limited on storage space, but they are just darling.  
We also have a half bath right off the kitchen.  Another big item on our "want" list.  We rented a house with only one bathroom, and it was a pain for guests to have to go upstairs to our (usually messy) bathroom.

This is a small glimpse into the third bedroom (the only room on the main floor).  We use it as a catchall right now.  It is Brooklyn's room, the office and also has a futon for any overflow of guests.
When you walk upstairs, you run right into our bathroom.  It was completely gutted and redone. 

The upstairs bedrooms are both the same size (no master suite for us).  The ceilings are slanted in the bedrooms but I think it makes them feel cozy.  This is the room that faces the front of the house that we currently use as a guest bedroom.
Not sure where my pic of the other room is, but just picture this same thing with a slightly different wall color facing the back of the house that we use for our bedroom.

I promise that I will soon take some current pictures of the house so you can see what we've actually done with some of the rooms.  We've lived here for about a year, so not a whole lot has been taken off our to-do list yet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Bill stayed home from work yesterday because he wasn't feeling so hot at the start of the day.  By mid-morning though, things were turning around, and I have to say, I could get used to him staying home.  While I was at work, this new light I recently bought magically got hung in our living room!  I apologize I don't have any pics yet, I spent all night saying thank you over and over again, but here is a pic from CB2's website!

photo courtesy of CB2
Also, the dishes got done, the floor and rugs were cleaned and all the clutter put away.  It felt great coming home to a clean house!

On another side note, he had dinner planned and ready to go so we could start cooking as soon as we got back from taking Brooklyn to the dog park!  My least favorite phone call of the day is the "what do you want for dinner tonight" phone call, so it was so nice not to have to think about it!  And it was delicious too!

All of this to say, I think Bill would be a better stay at home "parent" than I would be.  I probably would have watched Oprah and Law and Order all day!

Sadly, I never heard back from the Craigslist posting regarding the dresser I was interested in...bummer.  The search continues!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Landscaping: Part 2 - Hello Yard

The trees came out last week and I'm finally getting around to posting the pictures.  I can't profess enough how much I love our front yard now.  You can clearly see the house and everything just looks so great.  Exactly the way I pictured it.  Bill loves it too, so that makes me feel even better!  Now we just need to get some grass seed and hope it grows!

Here are a few before pics again...

And here are the amazing (in my opinion) afters...

I feel like our home is now the showcase of the yard, and not some overgrown Christmas tree.  It makes me love our house even more!

The backyard also looks great.  It definitely opens up the space more and makes it feel a lot bigger.  Brooklyn was a bit confused the first time she went out, but has since come to terms with the missing trees.  She really likes to try and chew on the trunk that was left for us.  We are hoping to use some of the leftover trunk as firewood, but some of the pieces are huge!  Thinking maybe we can use some of the as "extra seats" around the fire pit!  We shall see!

If you'll remember the before...

And now the after...

Obviously there is still a ton of work to do back here.  Our main focus will be the grass.  Hopefully we can sod the backyard soon and it will look even better!

In other news, I found a really cool dresser on craigslist I'm hoping to buy and repaint for the dining room!  I haven't heard back though, so hopefully it is still available.  Fingers crossed!!!

Have a great weekend!  I'll leave you with my to-do list this weekend:

1.  Hopefully pick up new dresser!
2.  Hair appointment--getting highlights.  So nervous!
3.  Dinner with a work friend and her husband!  Today's groupon just happened to be the same place we are going...score!
4.  Clean, clean and clean the house.
5.  Rid-a-pest appointment--our yearly termite appointment to keep our warranty and our house pest free!
6.  Lunch/Early Dinner with Bill's mom.
7.  Reading on my new eReader!  Whoo hoo!

Landscaping: Part 1 - Goodbye Trees

Bill and I recently decided that we really wanted to do some landscaping so we can enjoy our outdoor space much more come spring/summer.  The main focus for the beginning is to get some grass to grow.  This has proven to be very difficult for two reasons:

1.  Too much shade due to some unhealthy trees in our yard.
2.  This little monster (Brooklyn that is, not Bill).

Therefore, we are currently undergoing Phase 1 of Project Landscape.  We are removing four trees from our property. 

The first one lives in the front yard right off the driveway and closer to the street.  We've learned that it was once a previous owner's christmas tree, but has since grown taller than our house and shades most of the front yard allowing minimal grass growth.  The roots are becoming extremely large; therefore, preventing any additional grass to plant in the earth.  I, for one, am not sad to see this guy go.  I haven't liked him since we moved in.  He is lopsided and his lower branches have been cut off, so he is just plain ugly.  I think Bill is a little more worried about his removal. 

The other three trees live in the fenced in portion of our backyard.  We were recently told that none of them are particulary healthy so it wouldn't hurt to take them out.  I think this is a great solution to problem of growing grass in the backyard.  Currently it is mostly dirt/mud, as you can see in the pics below.  I've planted grass seed, overseeded it, watered it, but nothing really takes.  Too much shade, and unfortunately, Brooklyn likes to eat and scatter anything I try to plant back there.  We are hoping to sod the fenced in portion of the backyard in order to increase our chances of having grass back there. 

The trees are coming down today, and I am extremely nervous.  I hope that my convincing Bill to take them out was the right decision.  We shall see!