Wednesday, October 28, 2009

tour de (town)house

welcome to our home.

i love having a red door. it reminds me so much if both ireland and denmark. i don't think i can live in another place that doesn't have a red (or other brightly colored) door.

oh, and don't mind our ugly patio. it will (hopefully) soon be used to house our new bikes. (for those of you who aren't on facebook/don't ever log in to facebook, our bikes were stolen last week. with the help of craigslist, we found two better and more awesome bikes, but now we're trying to figure out what to install on our porch that we can lock our bikes to so that they will stay un-stolen.)

this is our dining area and front door area. i love this green. it's like an avacado/lime saturated green that i cannot get enough of. oh, and i'm in the middle of (trying) to secure the items i need to make stretched fabric frames for that green wall. if only ikea would have things in stock sometimes...

here's a peak into our chocolatey brown kitchen. i like to call this area where colors meet "mint chocolate chip." mmmm...

my small, but workable kitchen with all of the essentials: kitchen aid, toaster, crock pot, rolling pin, and deep fryer. and my cute green and orange apron i bought at target.

when we moved in, we bought a new refrigerator and dishwasher. and next summer (probably), we'd like to redo the cabinets and counter tops. the last occupants didn't believe in using cutting boards, thus leaving our counter tops hopelessly scratched. that plus the lovely yellowing of the formica is reason enough to replace it. and i bought those brightly colored tin canisters at ikea. i love how they match our house!

i also bought this amazing wood chopping board at ikea. i'm kind of in love with it right now.

our lovely (mostly ikea outfitted) living room. this is probably my favorite room in the house. and the colors make it feel perpetually like fall, my favorite season.

we spent a long time trying to find a rug we loved. after many stores, we finally found this creation at home depot, of all places. it's perfect in this room. also, that is a fireplace you see. every place we looked at had a fire place. in houston! where "winter" lasts about 2 weeks. we figure we could open up the windows on a particularly cool night and chill the place. then we could make practical use of our fireplace.

up the stair we our atomic room.

this yellow is called "atomic tangerine" and one cannot possibly be anything but happy in this room.

you can usually find matt in his musical corner playing bach cello suites. on both his cello and bass.

our cozy bedroom. i loved how deep and awesome the turquoise turned out.

our (mostly my) book collection, which is ever growing. i know. i have a problem. and yes, that is a buddha. it was my dad's that he got when he was in thailand, i believe. it makes a great book end.

the loo, me, and my new nikon d60. i'm more in love with that than my wood chopping board.

well, there's our home! we absolutely love it, and yes, it took me nearly 3 months to document it on film. and now, onto denmark...

Friday, October 23, 2009

my kingdom for a (town)house!

and now for the story of our (town)house:

buying a place of our own while living in houston was always on the table. we had saved up for a down payment, and by the time june came alone and our lease was nearing its end on our current apartment, we made the decision to buy. we were referred to a real estate agent from a friend who had used her to purchase his townhome, and within a week, we had narrowed our future home to two places: a newly renovated condo and an old, but well kept townhome.

i was leaning more toward the condo simply because i loved the newness of it. the townhome would require a lot of renovations, including at least one new appliance, new paint on every surface, including the ceilings, and hiring somebody to tear down and possibly fix a mirrored wall. we like vintage. but not that kind of vintage. after spending a weekend going back and forth, we decided on the townhome. we loved the idea of not living in an "apartment," but a place of our own with 2 stories that actually felt more like a real home. we made an offer, and a day later, after a few negotiations, we had settled on a price. woohoo!

the next few weeks were filled with paper work, trying to find a good loan, and the inspection...which is where this fun filled process started going down hill...

after the inspection, there were numerous problems that needed to be fixed before we bought the townhome, the most odd being to remove an old, non-working water heater from the attic that was apparently just left up there when it was replaced. we sent an addendum to our contract to the seller...and waited. and waited. and waited. finally, after a week (this is now mid-july, about 2 weeks before we were planning on closing and moving), our real estate agent decided we needed to step up and send a ultimatum: sign the addendum to the contact, or we terminate.

this was such a scary thought. we had to be out of our current apartment in 2 weeks, we had grown attached to this townhome, and now, we were about to lose it all because of a flaky seller who simply wouldn't sign a piece of paper.

we sent in the ultimatum and waited. the seller's real estate agent said he kept trying and trying to get a hold of the seller, but couldn't. we were suspicious that he wasn't trying as hard as he said he was, and a day later, after waiting to hear something from a incommunicado seller, we terminated the contract.

we were incredibly sad that night knowing we'd have to start the search all over again and find something else very quickly. thankfully, the night ended incredibly well. our amazing real estate agent went above and beyond to remedy the situation: she called around to some of her connections, one of them being a property manager, to ask if she knew of anything for sale. this property manager owned a townhome in the same complex as the one we had just lost, was in the process of renovating it, and was planning on renting it out, but was willing to sell it for only a little bit more than what we had offered for the first townhome.

we breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. not only had another property been found so quickly, but in the same complex! the same layout! and newly renovated! simply amazing.

we went and saw the townhome the next morning to check it out. they had installed new tile downstairs on a 45 degree angle that was awesome, were recarpeting the upstairs, and had freshly painted the place from top to bottom. we were ecstatic. and jumped. and by the end of the following day, we had a contract in place to purchase this townhome! simply amazing.

now, it was a race against the clock. we had just barely 2 weeks to switch around our loan, close, and move. we really had great people, including our loan officer, working hard for us, and less than 48 hours before we closed on wendesday, july 29th, we secured the closing date and time and were officially on our last leg of becoming homeowners.

and now the fun part. with pictures. only a few hours after we closed, we were at our new home preparing to paint. we had bought all of the paint and supplies the night before, and with the help of amazingly kind friends, started painting. thankfully, since the entire townhome had been freshly painted top to bottom, we only had to paint the walls and didn't have to worry about the ceiling or trim or doors. thank goodness.

oh, blue paint tape. i love you, and yet, i loathe you. i don't think we realized how long it would take to tape the entire house, especially the kitchen and bathrooms. but tape we did. this is our friend gareth who is our almost-neighbor in the complex and one of matt's good friends from school. he was there practically the entire time we were painting helping out.

once the paint started coming up, we were elated! we had picked very bold color choices, and while slightly afraid that they wouldn't turn out as we had hoped, we were thrilled and relieved to see them all turn out mostly as we had thought.

we painted for the rest of that day, turned in relatively early (by midnight?), and were up bright and early to begin a new and full day of painting. that was thursday and we were moving on friday, so we had to have everything finished before we started the move. we painted, literally, all day. and most of the night. until 2:30 in the a.m. again, with the help of friends, who we could not have finished all of this work without.

ruth and grant come over to help, too. which is amazing, since they were moving the same day as we were. they were truly great friends. and did all of this for the price of papa john's pizza, which we fed them for dinner.

funny story: that corner ruth is taping in the picture apparently didn't like the tape. she finished taping that corner soon before we painted that wall, and it just fell off. oh, and she also left before that. i started blaming her all night for anything that went wrong at the last minute. way to help us out, ruth!

as that long night progressed, we were obviously starting to get a bit giddy. (paint fumes, much?) this was the last wall to be painted, and we felt the need to document it. it was amazing.

and it turned out fabulous! i think the giddy made matt angry instead of happy...i'm not sure why...

after the last coats of paint (ha! i typed "paints of coat" first...) were up on the walls, we cleaned up a bit, and went home to sleep for a measly 4 hours in our first home together before the move. it was quite bittersweet leaving our little apartment. while we had started to get so sick of the smallness of it, we actually found ourselves sad when we left it for the last time. we ate a dinner of burgers and fries from burger king on the floor the next day before we completely cleaned out the place. and when we left, tears were shed. it was our first place together. and it will always hold a special place in our memories.

as this post is getting way to long, i'll post again soon with an official photo tour of our townhome completely put together. i finally had an excuse to take photos of the place soon after my nikon d60 arrived in the mail. yeay! but one last note: i'm not sure what it is about me (lack of grace? passionate artisticness?), but both days we painted, i got covered in paint. much more than anyone else. while it might have something to do with my lack of coordination, i choose to blame it on my passion for art. and awesomely colored paint.

Monday, October 12, 2009

you know you're a geek when... sends you the book recommendations like this and this.

...and when you spend 2 hours of your sunday evening discovering ardi and then convince a professor to let you "borrow" his copy of science.