Category Archives: Selling Our Home

God Laughs…

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You know that saying “Men plan and God laughs”? That’s about how it’s going for us right now. Sorry it took so long to put out the update on project Moving on and Moving Up. The skinny is we are definitely “moving on”. This actually went in our favor. We were buying our house on contract and thought the only way to get out of it was to sell it. The contract has run it’s course so we called the Seller that we pay out mortgage to. Turns out he is willing to release us from the contract and he is going to sell the house himself. Awesome, right? I’m pretty happy about it.

No we have to “move up”. We always assumed that we’d take our $20,000 down payment and get a mortgage on a house. We paid off my car, paid off all the credit cards and all but one of the personal loans. Last weekend on St. Patrick’s day we put in an offer contingent on financing and I spent my monday in pursuit of a mortgage. First they turned down our offer on the house, then the broker told us, after all we did, our credit scores were still to low. It was suggested we wait a year. Well folks, I don’t have to tell you, I don’t have a year.

My husband always accuses me of being too optimistic. So, true to form, I’ve found the silver lining and started working on the new plan, “Moving Up 2.0”, if you will. This is an opportunity to downsize and spend the next year saving for an even larger down payment! This week we’ve been listing our large furniture pieces on Craigslist. We’ve got at least one sold. Still waiting on the others. We’ve looked at a few rentals but we’ve finally settled on a 3 bedroom townhouse. I’m happy it’s a corner unit and the kids are happy there’s a pool. I’ll be back tomorrow (at least that’s the plan) with the new “to do” list. Now I’m off to go day dream!

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What Goes Up

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Things are happening! It’s been a VERY busy week and serious progress has been made. But we can’t talk about that yet. As soon as a few more details have been ironed out, I promise to spill the beans

Until then, I thought I’d share what the girls and I managed to get accomplished last weekend. Along with packing the dining room and filling nail holes, we finally did something about the kitchen ceiling! Let me just say BIG check mark by the list.

The previous owners put a drop ceiling in our kitchen. I didn’t love it but I’ll say it’s been convenient. When the upstairs bath tub needed some plumbing work, it was easy for the plumber to take down a couple of tiles instead of cutting a huge hole in our ceiling. Unfortunately water seemed to be attracted to that ceiling. First my son flooded the toilet and water came raining down into my kitchen(not a good day), then we had the tub drain issue. The last thing you want to hear when your taking the first bath in your newly remodeled bathroom is, “Mom there’s water pouring out of the ceiling!”

I had to do something. I wanted to go with the really nice vinyl ceiling tiles. I checked out the Ceilume web site and I have to say that I’m impressed. I needed a 24 inch by 24 inch tile. I happen to like the Stratford tile. I found them locally, for $7.95 each. The online price was $5.95 but I decided after shipping it would likely balance out. Then I ran the numbers, $254 to fix the ceiling! I got real with myself. If I was fixing this for my taste and for me to continue owning this house then that’s not bad and I would happily pay it. However, that’s not what I’m doing. To sell it, I’m just not willing to spend that much. The same home improvement store that had the vinyl tiles, also had regular tiles priced a little over $30 for a box of 16 (sorry I didn’t write down the exact price). I bought 2 boxes and called it a day.

I owe my tallest step daughter a big thank you because Sunday this was the scene at my house…

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I would not have been able to do this without her. I am so short my fingertips barely grazed the top of the ceiling, even with my ladder. As you can see from the second picture I “tried” to put some in. She has 4 inches on my easy and had no problem. We worked out a pretty good system. She took them down, I loaded them in garbage bags, handed her the new tile and she put it up. We did the whole tiles first. The she took down all the odd-shaped tiles. I took them out to the porch and used them as a template. I traced the shape onto the back of the new tile with a permanent marker. I used a serrated steak knife and sawed off the excess. I carried them back to the kitchen and she put the new tile up. This process took about 2 hours but at the end…

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It’s hard to tell since I forgot to take a before picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but it really is a big improvement. It just looks clean and since we are hoping to not live here much longer, that’s what I need. That’s it for now but I promise I’ll be back with more soon!

Small Victories!

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In the immortal words of Clueless, “not a total Betty but a vast improvement.” That’s right the girls and I have knocked a chunk off The List. While it’s only a small portion of The List, I’m far enough behind schedule, thanks to my sickness enforced weekend off, that I’m celebrating the small victories.

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Let’s recap just what this section of the list looked like shall we.

Girl’s Bedroom

· Paint the trim and walls

· Take down all art

· Hang Mirrors

· Update light fixture

· Curtains

· Change up the beds/bedding

· Purge/Pack whole room

· Purge/Pack Closet

The first step in this project was the paint and let me tell you, it was the biggest impact. The girls and I attacked it as a team. While I was at work the girls prepped the space and started purging. When I got home we started with the trim. Right away we had a hiccup. The room had brown painted trim and doors which I had intended to prime before I painted white. When I opened the primer, it was the consistency of cottage cheese. No amount of stirring would save it so we moved on.

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The trim and doors took far longer than the walls did. However, I would say they had the biggest pay off. I spent hours crawling along the floor, painting. The girls helped but I soon discovered I worked faster down low, while my tallest step daughter, who stands nearly 4 inches taller than me, took the window trim and door trim. I did the doors while everyone had lunch. Three coats later, we were finally ready to start the walls.

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We worked together and divided the work. I used my handy Shureline edger and made my way around the room while my younger daughter painted low and my older daughter painted high. Then while 2 of us attacked the second coat, my older and (as I mentioned) taller daughter used the edger to paint up next to the ceiling. Some how we managed to finish and put the beds back together just before midnight.

Right now you’re thinking “you let them sleep in those paint fumes!” Rest assured I thought of that. Because we had to keep living in the space and it’s still to cold to air out the room, we opted for Olympic brand No VOC paint in eggshell. I have to say I am very pleased and the girls commented that it was the least smelly paint they’ve ever sniffed. I couldn’t bring myself to do white walls with the crisp white trim. So for color the girls and I chose “Silver Feather” for our white trim and “Silver Sand” which is a nice warm grey with a slight pink undertone to it. Both colors are by Olympic which is available at Lowes.

Next came the light fixture update, much to the girls relief. They have hated this green thing forever and it just didn’t fit in with our pretty walls.

BEFORE…

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It had good bones but needed some TLC. I hit up the lighting department at Lowes and came home with a few things, including new glass globes at $4 each and a new pull chain, also for $4. So for a grand total of $16…

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Isn’t it amazing how much better it is? If I had purchased a new one I would have spent $30 or $40 easy and it’s neutral to fit in with anyone’s decor.

The bedding and the curtains happened today. I did a little hunting and I found some old curtains I was no longer using. I’m not 100% sold on these curtains. I may end up at the store on grocery day buying plain white panels. You’ll see why in a minute. In the mean time, I hung them on tension rods inside the window frame. I couldn’t stand to cover up the beautiful trim work. For me it was a selling point of our home. I’m hoping buyers will agree with me.

I did a lot of scouting for this bedding. I wanted 2 matching comforters and one of the girls hates flowers.  I finally settled on a aqua, yellow and grey chevron from Target’s room essentials line. I ended up having to go to both Targets in town to get them but the girls were so happy with my choice that it’s worth it. Having the matching bedding really helps the room to look less cluttered.

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The bedding looks great with the ombre dressers that me and the girls painted several months ago but not so great with the curtains. What do you think? White curtains, black or yellow? I’m leaning towards white since it’s only until we sell.

Other than the curtains I am so pleased. It’s not a highly decorated room. I’m not putting in that kind of effort until we are in the new home. Then lookout because the girls and I have been squirreling away some great things for the “Teen Room” as I’ve started to call it.  For our purposes here we were just going for cleaned up and uncluttered kid room. I knew I achieved that when one of the girls made the comment “some one finally let in the light.”

Have you every painted a room and instantly felt lighter? Have you recently done any small updates that had a big impact? If so tell me about it!

Best Laid Plans

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I had grand plans for what I could accomplish in one weekend. I really did. I was going to get the dining room list completely knocked out and start on the upstairs hallway list. Have you ever heard the saying “men plan and god laughs”? That was my house this weekend. I came down with strep throat and the baby had an ear infection. I spent the entire weekend sick on the sofa trying to take care of the baby from a safe difference.

Since I can’t show you anything new I’ve done, I thought I’d show you a project we did to improve our home a couple of years ago. I scrapbook so I photograph everything! So this is a look back at our upstairs bathroom reno.

Before…

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The upstairs bathroom was a plain white box that needed to be brought to life and I was up to the task. It’s hard to tell from the pictures but this room has the same amazing woodwork that the down stairs has but was painted white like the rest of the room. I knew this called for a little sweat equity. I suited up…

Stripping Gear

Armed with paint stripper, I used Klean-Strip KS-3 Premium Stripper (in an orange can), and a hand scraper I started on the inside of the bathroom door (after I took down the towel bar). For those who have never done it, you paint on the stripper with a cheep brush (now is not the time to use your nice paint brushes), wait 15 minutes, and start scraping.

Hard at Work

After a week of hand scrapping I was frustrated. My very wise Uncle Frank suggested I invest in an oscillating tool. So off I went to the local home improvement store. We have 3 and I shop at all of them.  He suggested and I purchased a Rockwell 2.3 amp oscillating tool and attachment kit. I don’t recall what I paid for mine but I can tell you Lowe’s currently has a 73 piece kit listed for $149. Mine came with a scraper attachment and I quickly made progress.

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At this point I took a little break to go shopping and chose new fixtures and flooring.

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Sorry no picture of the flooring sample, but I wasn’t planning a blog at the time. I will say we went with an 18 x 18 peel and stick vinyl tiles and hired my Uncle and his friend to install the flooring and our sink. I will say I was very willing and excited to do this myself but my husband did not have confidence in my mad skills and over ruled me. Once they were done my dad came over to install me new wall sconces. Again my husband decided I was not to be trusted but I couldn’t possibly leave the crazy glamour bulb fixture circa 1980. YUCK!

Then I was allowed to return to work painting and staining. I didn’t feel the need to match the woodwork down stairs or the hallway. I wanted this room to stand out. I went with Minwax “Jacobean 2750”. As you’ll see it’s a very rich, deep color. I didn’t exactly follow directions applying it. I did use a wood conditioner as directed. It was then recommended to paint the stain on, going with the grain and wipe it off. When I did this I didn’t feel that the color was dark enough. So I painted it on and then just left the room to let it dry. It turned out great!

Because this is a bathroom and some of the wood is right next to the shower, I used a water-resistant sealer. I chose Minwax Helmsman Semi-Gloss Spar Varnish because it’s water-resistant and works with temperature changes, ideal for the humidity changes in my bathroom.

After that I caulked and painted. We used Valspar paint. For the lower half of the wall I painted it “Linen”, the upper portion of the wall is an olive color that they called “Barrell”, finally the chair rail and bathroom cabinet were painted “Cloth”.

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I finished up with the fun details. I hung an oil bronze towel bar on the back of the bathroom door, a hand towel ring, and new outlet cover. Instead of a curtain I chose a cordless accordion blind in off white. After putting all that work into the molding, I just couldn’t bring myself to hide it behind a curtain. With a little elbow grease, family helpers and $1000 I had a bathroom I was proud of…

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We finished this upgrade in the spring of 2011. I hope you enjoyed this look into my house. The girls are home and I’ve started to feel better so tomorrow we’re back to the list. I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the madness that ensues.

No More Shame

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As promised I’m here with a Friday update on my progress with The List of Doom. This week I tackled the living room. While I didn’t complete that portion of the list, I did several small things that provided a big visual impact.

Before I show you my before picture let me warn you. I made several bad furniture decisions. (Hangs head in shame) I’m aware and I am making baby steps to fix it. With my love of DIY interior design I can offer no excuses for how I went so horribly wrong. Also, I am aware that I need to find my local chapter of Clutterers Anonymous. With that being said…

BEFORE…

Living Room Before Shot

I told you it was sad. But Improvements!! I have made them! Lets consult the list shall we? I’ve crossed out a couple new items and I’ve added some comments to the items we completed.

Living Room

· Post the sofa on Craig’s List and get it sold! Sold for $50 after 2 weeks & picked up today.

· Post lamp on Craig’s List and get it sold! Posted it tonight, just not sold yet.

· Clean out the big wooden desk, Post it on Craig’s List and get it sold!

· Clean out the bench and sell or donate as much as I can stand

· Replace dog eaten Blind on the front door You’ll see this in the after picture. So Good!

· Hang curtains in the living room I have half of them hung but wow!

· Clean off/out the coffee table & side table, store in attic for future family room

· Take down and put away all photo’s and personal art

· Clean and bring in the white leather sofa Thank you hubby (He handled this while I was at work)

· Clean marble and paint the base of the coffee table on the porch & bring it in

· New Chairs?

· New Rug?

· New console table to replace desk?

· Stage the entertainment center

· Touch up wall paint

AFTER…

After photo! Living Room

That Navy really pops on the green walls right? Now here’s the cool thing…These curtains are $5 flat sheets from Wal-Mart and I hung them with 2 sets of $6 curtain ring clips. That’s $11 per panel and $22 per window! I will admit to splurging on the blind on my dog eaten roman shade for the front door. $37 from Lowes, but even my very picky hubby was impressed. Here’s the before and after so that you can truly appreciate the difference.

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Like I said big difference. Well that’s it tonight…or rather this morning since I just noticed it is past midnight and technically Saturday morning. So I guess I’m 20 minutes late of this post huh?

The List of Doom

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The past several days have been very busy for our family. We had a small family birthday party for our oldest daughter on Saturday (she turned 15!) which involved a visit to Grandma 45 minutes away. On Monday Mycah had a conference. My little man is cruising through preschool with flying colors and Mrs. H pronounced him ready for kindergarten! Of course, I’ve also been devoting a substantial amount of time to the “Moving On” portion of our family project. I hope to provide an update with photos on Friday. In the mean time…

It dawned on me after reading my favorite bloggers at Young House Love and there recent update of Listy McListerson, the original short list I whipped up when I announced “Project Moving On” was vastly inadequate. So today I will remedy that situation. Brace yourself because I ran screaming from my laptop when I finished it. Any thing crossed off is done and the list is broken down into sections by room.

Living Room

· Post the sofa on Craig’s List and get it sold!

· Post lamp on Craig’s List and get it sold!

· Clean out the big wooden desk, Post it on Craig’s List and get it sold!

· Clean out the bench and sell or donate as much as I can stand

· Replace dog eaten Blind on the front door

· Hang curtains in the living room

· Clean off/out the coffee table & side table, store in attic for future family room

· Take down and put away all photo’s and personal art

· Clean and bring in the white leather sofa

· Clean marble and paint the base of the coffee table on the porch & bring it in

· New Chairs?

· New Rug?

· New console table to replace desk?

· Stage the entertainment center

· Touch up wall paint

Dining Room

· Clear off the window seat

· Purge/pack the contents of the cabinets

· Purge/pack my scrapbook stuff

· Scrub the hardwood floors

· Take down/pack 75% of my art

· New Rug?

· Touch up paint

Kitchen

· Take down awkward cabinet by the fridge

· Paint the kitchen walls

· Paint the cabinets

· Hang Shelves

· Make a window treatment

· Plumbing work

· Cover Hole in the wall from previous plumbing work

· Wall paper and paint ceiling tiles

· Clean all appliances within an inch of there lives

· Clean the pantry area

· Paint the pantry area?

· Hang shelves in the pantry area?

Guest Bathroom

· Lipstick renovation (a.k.a. paint)

· Add a cordless blind

· caulking

· Paint touch up

Basement

· Deep Clean

· Purge & Pack

· Repaint the walls

· Sell the Queen Bed

· Restage the basement as a Family Room

Second Floor Hallway & Stairwell

· Deep Clean

· Paint

· Stage with storage

Master Bath

· Deep clean

· Update cabinet hardware

Master Bedroom

· Purge/Pack Closet

· Clean Bedroom

· New Bedding

· Add Mirror Over Vanity

· Take down/Pack art

Girls Bedroom

· Paint the trim and walls

· Take down all art

· Hang Mirrors

· Update light fixture

· Curtains

· Change up the beds/bedding

· Purge/Pack whole room

· Purge/Pack Closet

Mycah/Harper Bedroom

· Purge/Pack Closet

· Window Treatment

· Hang art and shelves

Attic

· PURGE!!!! (The stuff that was here before we started packing) Do we really need this junk!

· Move all boxes that were already packed up here for storage until the move

Did you make it to the end? I told you it looked scary! But the good news, did you see how much I got done!!!  Stay tuned!

Project Moving On & Moving Up!

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Yesterday I gave you a peek into my busy life and teased you with the promise of our big family goal. Well here it is…

We are going to sell our house and buy a new one in a different neighborhood.

My husband and I loved our house from the second we walked in. Yes, it fit our family, but more importantly it felt like us. We’ve even put in some serious work to make us love it more. Our home is over 100 years old and I believe it’s called an American four square style. I have 3 bedrooms, a partially finished basement and two bathrooms (rare for this neighborhood). Why give it up, right?

Our Home

To understand the answer you need to know a little back ground. We bought our
house on contract in 2010. In August of 2011 I was in an auto accident that
shattered my ankle. I walk okay now, but it was a long, slow recovery with
complications and set backs. There are a lot of stairs in my house. This meant I
spent three months sleeping in my living room and other wise living in my living
room. Then when I was able to finally get up my stairs and trade the walker for
a cane, we got pregnant with our little princess baby. I no longer need the cane
but we’ve out grown this house and the stairs are not my friend.

Now our contract is up and we either need to buy our house with a traditional mortgage or sell it and move on. I’ve started phase one of the goal, prepping the house. As promised yesterday, I’ve made a list.
  • Purge the house
  • Deep clean the house
  • Finish any DIY projects
  • Stage the house
This doesn’t sound like much but this has to happen in the living room, dining room, screened in porch, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, the attic and the basement. Did I mention I live in a house full of pack rats? I bet that list looks a lot more foreboding. But I’m an optimist. I’ve set my self a deadline of April 1. I know this is sounds like a joke, but I’m not fooling around. I’ll keep you posted on the list and it’s progress. Fingers crossed we’ll make it!