Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Open Houses!

So on top of the houses we had scheduled to see we went to 5 open houses last Sunday.  We only planned on going to four, but one stop was a two for one, so we ended up seeing five total.  That was a total of 8 houses, it doesn't really sound like a whole lot, but boy when you're driving around all day and answering the same questions over and over again, it starts to drain you.  I've actually had a migraine for three days now, but it will be all worth it once we are in our new home. 

We were really only in love with one of the homes we saw that day.  We liked two of the houses total, but were really in love with only one.  The first open house we went to was a disappointment, the house was so small and had the strangest set up I had seen.  The kitchen actually looked like it was an afterthought an they just stuck it in a hallway.  But the second open house we went to really grabbed us.   

And here it is.  It was a nice ranch in a quiet little neighbor hood by Lake Monona.  Three bedroom, two full baths. 

It had a nice two car garage, which is a must for us.  J just couldn't live without an area to work on his car.  So the bigger the garage, the better.  And well finding a large garage in Madison is not that easy.  The closer we get to downtown, the less likely we are to even get a one car garage.  So a two car garage is a huge perk for us. 

This house also had a wonderful, huge bay window.  I love bay windows.  I think they really open up a room and well I know the cats (as well as Yoda) would love one. 

The house also had wonderful wood floors.  All original oak floors through the whole upstairs.  And they were in great condition.  I love me a wood floor and even J admitted it really opened up a room and looked much nicer then carpeted floors.  That a boy.

The floor plan was fairly open, not as open as what we are use to, but probably as open as we are going to get.  The kitchen was a little dated, but they are actually putting in new counter tops and a new sink possibly at this moment.  We really liked their choice in counter top, and well that would save us the trouble of doing it, which is a nice selling point.  Believe me, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would love the canary yellow counters and sink, but me and J have a more modern style, and they just wouldn't fit.  We plan on going back and seeing it again this coming Sunday (as long as no one else snatches it up), so I'll take updated pictures of the new counters.

This house really had just about everything that we are looking for.  It had this great 3 season porch off the back.  Again something the cats would love.  Our old apartment had a 3 season porch, and Nacho lived out there.  It also had a cute little yard that had plenty of room for a garden and larger deck (the current deck is a little small).  It also had a little play house in the yard that we joked my one student could rent (she's always hinting that she would rent a room from us).

The bedrooms were a nice size.  And the 3 season proch was right off the office which we decided would make a wonderful bead room for me.

The basement was the real gem of this house.  It was completely finished and had an extra bedroom and one of the most beautiful bathrooms I had ever seen.  It was beautiful and had plenty of room for our whirlpool bathtub.  The basement also had a workroom complete with vent fans because the current owner was a wood worker.  That sounds perfect for me and J.  A room that I could do my glass in or a room J could build his cabs in.  Perfect.

We really like this house, but are going to see some that compare to it next weekend.  Then we might be ready to make a decision.  Look how much things can change in one months time.  We were just thinking about buying a house a month ago, now it's a reality, Crazy!        

Monday, September 27, 2010

Next Round of Houses!

This weekend was our next round of houses.  We saw eight houses in all on Sunday.  Our first showing was at 9:30 in the morning and then two more right after that.  Then we grabbed a light lunch and on to five open houses.  Lets just say it was a long weekend again.  But we are definitely seeing things that we like, and plenty of things we don't.  We have decided since we are not in a huge hurry to move that we can wait for that perfect house and not settle on something that might not be exactly what we are looking for. 

The first house we saw was a short sale.  It definitely was the nicest of the first three we saw.  It was a bi-level home, which we like.  If we are going to have multiple floors we would like a bi-level.  It had great curb appeal, you drove up and thought 'this is a nice house.'

It was over 1700 square feet, which sounds pretty nice for our first home.  And it had a finished family room in the basement.

It was a short sale, so that meant the bank owns it and well we would be shelling out more money in fees and would be buying it as is, which can be scary at times, but we said if it was worth it, we would do it.

It had these great double doors that looked so nice from both the outside and inside of the house.  How cool would it be to welcome people to your home by opening two double doors.  Pretty cool.

These beautiful doors opened up to the entry way and you either went up or down from there.  Down to the half bath and family room.  Up to the large open dining area and huge over sized patio door.   

As you can see it had outdated railings, but those are easy enough to fix.  and it had older carpet on the stairs.  I would probably rip up the carpet in the whole house and replace it with nice wood or laminate flooring.  That would just open up the house so much.  Just make it brighter and more cheery to look at.

And speaking of carpet, here's a good example why I would want it all ripped out.  It was white carpet, who puts white carpet in a house?  You are just asking for trouble.  The carpet was all stained, you could see where each peace of furniture was and where they walked.  It was dingy and combined with this wall color, made the whole room look dingy.

Plus side of this room, those lovely large floor to ceiling windows.  They were newer windows and brought in so much light.  They also allowed you to see the lovely marsh right across the street.  This house had a great view.     

The kitchen and dining area was all updated.  It had all built ins, the bad news, some one had ripped out all the built ins and left large gaping holes in the kitchen.

The only thing left was the built in stove top and the sink.  But the cabinets were pretty and I loved the ones with glass panels.  My new dishes would looks so nice in these.

But the down side, we would have to buy all new appliances and they would have to fit into areas that were already cut out of the cabinets.  That was a little of a downside for me.  

The kitchen and dining room looked out into the large wooded back yard.  It was a very pretty back yard.

The back yard was beautiful.  It was all wooded and very secluded.  You might not even notice that you had neighbors.  You could barely see the house behind your house and you could only see the house on the right side of the lawn.  It was great.  And the house already had invisible fence, so that was nice.

Thee was a nice cement patio off the back that would very easily hold a hot tub and a nice patio table and a grill.  We could do some nice planters around it to.

And there was plenty of space for my large garden to go in.  Which I have to have room for my garden, I don't want to do a potted garden anymore.

This house also had a fireplace in the family room, but I don't know how often we would use it.  The floor plan also seemed a little cramped for being over 1700 square feet.  It also would be very difficult to add on if we wanted to in the future.  And we also couldn't find a decent place to put my glass studio.  I can't live in a house with out my glass stuff, that wouldn't be cool at all.

The house was really nice and the school district is one of the best in the Madison area.  There was just a lot of updates that would be needed.  But this house still made the list of ones we are still interested in.   

The other two houses in the same neighborhood were okay, but nothing that impressive.  I actually didn't even take pictures of the second house we saw because I was so disgusted by the half ass job they did on remodeling.  So tomorrow I'll show you some of the other houses we looked at.  We decided we really liked one of them, so we're going to look at comparable homes next weekend and make a decision on weather we should keep looking or make an offer.  Oh exciting!!! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Busy Weekend Ahead!

So today is my Friday, WooHoo.  I have to take a furlough day this month and  I decided I was going to take it tomorrow.  I really don't have a lot of rhyme or reason for taking tomorrow off, other then it's going to be a long weekend and I have house work to do. 

Lets see, what do we have planned this weekend.

Tonight the band J's in, 4 Aspirin Morning, plays at The Argus downtown Madison.  So if you are in the neighbor hood and would like to enjoy a night of ska music and $2 drinks, you should come on down.  It's always a fun time.  But a gig means we leave the house at about 5:30/6:00 so J can get to Madison early enough to help pack up equipment and what not.  I'm usually left to my own devises and drive around or do some shopping.  I usually head downtown to eat some dinner and sit around while they're still setting up.  And then finally they play at 9:00 pm.  So gig days, especially weekdays, are long long days.  But I love seeing J enjoy himself so much.  And the band is pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Friday is my furlough day, so no work for me.  But no vacation either.  I have neglected house work that NEEDS to get done.  We've been so preoccupied by the whole buying a house thing, that we barely have done anything around the house.  I will be cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  Sounds like and awesome day off.

Friday is also the only day this weekend that me and J will get to spend time together before he goes off for his training.  So he plans on leaving work early (it's his last day) so we can spend some quality time together before life starts to get too crazy. 

Then Saturday is the Car Show and Swap Meet in Jefferson.  J goes to this twice a year with his dad and uncle.  So that means I have a day sort of to myself.  But I have a hair appointment that day and all my running around to do, so no sitting around watching tv.  Too Bad.

And on Sunday we have a whole bunch of home showings.  Our agent has sent of list after list of homes for us to look at.  We just keep adding ones to the list that we would be interested in seeing.  J's parents are coming with us, so that means a day of running around Madison with his parents in tow.  I can't wait for that.  No I'm excited to see a new list of homes, and the one that I'm really wanting to see is on this list, so I can't wait.

Then J leaves for training on Monday.  Yoda will just have to listen to how my day was during that time.  I'm sure she won't mind.  Like I said, busy, busy weekend.  If you don't hear from me, I'm probably hiding.  :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paint Colors - Living room

So one of the other rooms that I already know what color I'm going to go with is the living room.  When we moved to our current place we decided to get rid of the couch that we had bought used from a friend that had bought it used.  We went out and got a nice small sectional in a dark tan with sort of an army green tint.  It goes great with our deep red curtains and dark wood furniture.

Stone Lion
We would like to paint to walls in the living room a nice tan/stone/light brown to compliment the rest of the room.  I'm leaning towards Stone Lion or Beach House.  I think both colors would look so good with our dark red accents and dark tan couch.  Oh and maybe some beadboard on the bottom of the walls painted white.  That might look pretty too.  I'll have to sit down with J and decide on what we want to go with.

I have all of our pictures matted in deep red and then in black frames.  I can just picture them up on a wall painted one of these two colors.  Oh the possibilities. 

Then I was thinking a dark brown rug, but after looking at a few I decided to go back to the drawing board and decide if I really like the dark brown. 

And some of you maybe asking, why is this crazy girl picking out wall color and rugs for a house that they don't even have yet?  First off a girl can dream can't she, and second we sat down and discussed everything over the last week or so and we have decided to go for it.  We've narrowed down our choices to two different houses.  We've made a list of the pros and cons of each house and now have the task of deciding which house we would like to put an offer in on.  We have scheduled showings for both houses this weekend so that we can bring the parents with to ask their opinions and we will be stopping by the bank later in the week to get our pre-approval.  Then J leaves for training for a week.  Hopefully both houses will be available once he gets back and we will put an offer in on the one we've decided is the best house for us. 

We never expected to find a handful of houses right off the bat that we liked and fit our criteria.  We decided that we didn't need to rush to do this, so we could find a house that met most or all of our needs and wants.  But it's such a good market for buyers right now that we found quite a few that we liked and a couple that we loved.  And I will be very happy if we move before the first snow fall here in WI.  Every other timed we've moved, I'm talking every single time, it has been the dead of winter and the snow and the ice made for some interesting times.  So if we could move before there are a few feet of snow on the ground and the temperature is below freezing, I would be ecstatic.         


The count down for J's new job is now 6 days.  He only has 4 more days left in Waukesha and then on to a new chapter in our lives.  Yay!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Driving, driving, a little bit more driving, and some houses!

So we went over the list of houses for sale and made a day of driving around looking at them.  We had a very large list and it literally took us all day to look at them all, but we made it through this list and had a few nice surprises.

There are a number of houses that we are going to make appointments to go see.  I'm pretty excited about a couple of them.  Most are withing biking distance to downtown, a few are a little bit farther north then I would like to be, but if the houses are nice, then who cares.

We've both checked our credit reports and are ready to go get pre-approved for a home loan.  I can't believe this is actually happening.  I have been dreaming about this for so long and now it's finally coming true.  And who knows, maybe we'll find something we like and we will be in our new home by Christmas.  Oh how nice that would be.  Then maybe we could have Christmas dinner at our house this year. 

We're going to call the real estate agent this week and set up a few showings, so I'll have some pictures soon.  Stay tuned for the second round of house showings.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paint Colors - Bedroom

I know I'm getting ahead of myself here by picking out paint colors for our house, you know that house that we haven't even bought yet.  But I have been living in apartment after apartment that were anti painting the walls.  I miss having paint on the walls, I don't want white walls anymore.  Ok, I'll stop throwing the tantrum and just get on with the colors we have picked so far. 

We have a black and white bedroom and I really love it, I love our bedding and I have some great ideas for art.  I would like to use these prints from Steven N. Meyer.  I really love them and I think they would go great with our bedroom.  I mean look at this beautiful Eucalyptus plant.  It would look so nice.  I want to do that whole collage of smaller pictures in individual frames.  I love how that looks.  Just think prints like that one in black frames with white matting, oh it just sounds great.

Print by Steven N. Meyers

And what color will the walls be you ask?  Well maybe you don't but too bad you're gonna find out.  I would like Cooled Blue or maybe Sky Blue.  Wouldn't a light blue look great in a black and white bedroom?  I know our black and white bedding will look great with those colors.

And the best thing is J has agreed to this color.  I didn't even have to convince him.  I just showed him some of the prints I want to use on the color I want to use and he said yes.  That was a lot easier then expected.  Now I just have to convince him accent walls are a good idea.

And now I can go to garage sales and pick up some side tables and maybe update the hardware on the current dresser.  Yay!!!

And sorry, I'm having problems with blogger's picture uploader and link adding thing right now.  I can't add a link to the print above, if you are interested in it here's the link.  I know it's annoying to cut and paste, but right now I can't add a built in link.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Open Houses - House Three

This was the third house that we looked at last Sunday.  It was also an estate sale and a pretty good size house.  It had it's perks and it had it's share of downsides. 

First off it had a huge wooded yard.  It wasn't fenced in, but that's easy enough to do.  Plenty of room for my garden and for the dogs (there's another hint boy) to run around.  The downside was that it ran up to the railroad tracks.  And I know for a fact that these tracks are used a great deal, since the bus stop is just down the road from here and I have to wait for trains all the time.  But I wasn't going to judge the house just based on the fact that it was on the tracks, we could easily put up a privacy fence and some nice trees along the back of the yard. 

The other downside I saw before I even entered the house was that it was on a very very busy street.  So no street parking and traffic constantly, a lot of traffic.  I'm not really looking for a house on a busy street, there are so many downsides to it, the largest one being Yoda getting out and running across all those lanes of traffic, not good.  But again I wanted to see the inside of this one before I started to judge.

The house had hardwood floors throughout, which is always a plus in my book.  The floors were in really nice condition too, so I liked that a lot.   

There was a lovely wood burning fireplace in the living room, which we would probably not use, but it was in nice condition and it was pretty.

There were large windows looking out on the large back yard, which was pretty.  But again I would like a set of patio doors going out to a nice deck, so that would be something to add to the project list. 

The kitchen was nice.  It had a little bit more updated appliances then the other houses we had looked at.  The counter top was old and we would want to replace that, but overall the kitchen was nice.  It was roomy and a decent set up.  And one thing the whole house had was this great retro intercom system.  Every single room had one, even the bathrooms.

There was a 3/4 bath on the first floor which was nice, but no bedroom on the first floor.  All 5 bedrooms were upstairs.  The bedrooms were average size and did have lovely hard wood floors, but again they were all upstairs and me and J really don't need 5 bedrooms.  We would like at least one of the rooms downstairs because we feel it will be used more if it's not hidden away upstairs.

The full bath upstairs was all original, except for the toilet.  So again that would have to all be redone.  It was very retro, but I just don't want a green bathtub and sink, though I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would.  It was an average size bathroom, we just would probably replace almost everything in it.  So more to add to the project list.

Then finally there was the basement.  Completely unfinished and not really able to be finished.  It was an old house, and it had an old basement.  That was that.  It had one room that looked like it was added on later that had some potential, but you would have to walk through the original part of the basement to get there.  It's just not really what we're looking for.

So though this house sounded great on paper; two car garage, hardwood floors, 5 bedrooms, over 2,000 square feet, it just wasn't for us.  We decided that someone with a big family would do great here.  There is plenty of room for everyone, but just not what me and J are looking for.

We looked at one other house that day, but I don't have any pictures.  I wasn't really thrilled with that one and all and we didn't plan on looking at it, the real estate agent just walked us over to show us.  So I didn't even take out the camera because it was nothing we were looking for and it needed a lot of work.

So that was our first weekend of open houses.  I know it will be a long journey and there will be a number of more open houses before we find the house that's perfect for us.  So I'll keep everyone updated on future houses we look at.  Then it's the fun part of fixing up the house and making it exactly what we are looking for.        

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Open Houses - House Two

So today I'll show you house number two.  This was a really nice house, an estate sale, so priced to sell.  I think this was my favorite for the day.  It was a nice layout and had a lot of what we were looking for.

First off it was a corner lot.  We would love a corner lot.  That's a huge plus on our list.  It also had a two car garage, which is another huge plus on our list.

The house has only had a couple owners, and the last ones had been there for over 25 years, and it was in really good shape.  The yard was kept up nice and the house seemed to be fairly sound.

The living room was great, nice and open.  Oh and did I mention, hard wood floors throughout the whole house.  Beautiful, original hardwood floors. They wouldn't even need to refinished, they were beautiful as is.  I was in love with them.

The bathroom again would need a little bit of work, but it was good size, so it wouldn't be hard.  It definitely needed a face lift, it has a steel blue toilet in it.  But it did have tile in the bath tub that looked like mother of pearl.  Even if it wasn't real, it was pretty and I would want to keep it and use it for a future project.

The kitchen was where the major updating would have to take place.  It had all original appliances, all built in.  So that would mean all the appliances would need have to be replaced as well as the faux brick walls.  Unfortunately some of the cabinets would have to come out because the stove was so small, I don't think they even make them that small any more.

But the real jewel of this kitchen was this beautiful stainless steel exhaust hood.  It was in fantastic shape (well all the appliances were in fantastic shape, just old).  I fell in love with this.  I want it, I wanted to leave my number and let the person that does buy the house know that I would be interested in it if they were going to rip it out.  I would be heart broken to see this baby go to the dump.  The picture doesn't even do it justice, it was beautiful.       

The bedrooms were nice sizes and had a decent amount of closet space.  And the windows were old, but looked nice and sealed nice.

The best part of the house was the finished basement.  It had a built in bar and a half bath.  It also had a nice laundry room and a work room.  Something that we are looking for, a nice finished basement.

The yard was nice.  It was good size for a corner lot.  This was the side yard.  It was already fenced in, so that would be less of a priority, even though I would eventually like a privacy fence.  It already had a large garden, so I know for a fact there would be room for my plants as well as my compost pile, water barrels, etc,etc.  And still plenty of room for Yoda to run around, and maybe a second dog, hint, hint boy.

Over all we liked this house.  The majority of the work would be in the kitchen and some paint.  It had a lot of dated built in features, circa 70s, but we could either take them out or work them into our decor.  This is kinda of a house we would be looking for.  A well built, well maintained ranch style house on a corner lot with a finished basement and a two car garage.  We are in now huge hurry to find a house and move, so luckily we can take our time finding something that will be perfect.  Too bad we weren't more ready to buy, we would have probably put an offer in on it. 

Tomorrow will be house number three that we looked at.   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Open Houses - House One

So today we decided to start our house hunt.  Well actually we've been looking on line for a while now, but we decided to make this whole house hunting thing real and we actually went to some open houses.  Now we're far from ready to buy a house, J doesn't even start his new job until October, but we're ready to start looking.  And it would be nice to find something before winter set in. 

So here is house one.....

This house was nice.  2-3 bedrooms (depending what you use the extra room in the basement for) and one bath.  It's close to the highway, so it would be the really convenient for J.  Look that's J in the picture. 

But the layout wasn't the best.  For as much square footage, it seemed cramped.  It also had a bathroom that would have to, have to, have to be redone.  The bathtub was one of those tiny little ones and the toilet was crammed into a little corner, making it hard to even reach.  Luckily there was a closet that could be taken out and the bathroom made bigger.  So it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

This house was a split level, which we normally like.  The garage was under the house and only a one car, but was doable.  There was a nice deck off the dining room, but the house was on such a large hill, that there were a large number of stairs to get to the upper, main, level of the house.  Which would be nearly impossible for Yoda, she's just too little for something like that.  And J also pointed out that we would be lugging everything up stairs all the time.  We've done that, it was okay, but a pain in the butt.  I would prefer we not have that again. 

So other then the bathroom, there really isn't a lot of work that would need to be done.  Just some painting and maybe new hardware on the kitchen cabinets.  The house had a lot of closet space but not a lot of room for a garden.  The neighborhood seemed to be really nice and there were no sidewalks to shovel.  But it did have landscaping that we would probably pull out next summer and redo.  And it needed a front walk put in, it just had some not so level patio stones. 

Overall it was a nice house.  Probably not the house for us, but a nice house.  We're just looking for something a little different.  So we'll keep on looking.

Tomorrow I'll show you the second house we looked at today. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finally Friday

WoooooHooooo, it's finally Friday.  I am not really sure how these short weeks actually feel like they last longer then a normal length week, but they always do.  I'm just glad to be able to sleep in tomorrow.  Now that it's getting a little bit chillier in the morning (I'm not complaining, really), it seems to be a tad harder for me to get up all perky and happy at 5 in the morning.  Now I just seem to crawl out of bed at about 5:30.  So the thought of a weekend and sleeping in has been in the back of my mind all day.  Yes that's right, I've been sort of day dreaming about sleeping in.  That's weird.
I guess I won't be worrying about it for much longer.  By this time next month me and J will be driving together again.  And well I know he won't be up for leaving the house by 6:00 every morning.  His new job doesn't have a set start time, so he plans on getting to work later then he already does.  Now I don't have a set time either, but I'm the lab manager dammit, I'm going to be the first one there if it kills me a little bit everyday.  It's only right that I'm there first.  And anyway if I get on the 6:30 or 6:45 bus, there are no high school students to fight for seats with.  Really there's no one to fight for the seats, normal functioning people aren't up that early.  So that means I'll be taking the 7:30 bus (or even later).  That means I'll have to fight high school as well as college students for a seat on the bus.  But, really the people you have to look out for on the bus are some of the women, ladies between ages 40-60 that work at the university.  They will push you to the ground to get on the bus before you do.  I've seriously been waiting to step onto a bus, when some woman pushed in front of me.  Sometimes I get annoyed with the students disrespect, but I really get pissy with the adults that should know better, come on people.       

But I digress, I really am excited about driving together again.  It means we'll be saving gas money as well as I'll have someone to sleep in the seat next to me as I drive to work and then back home.  Yes, J always sleeps in the car, so really the drive will be exactly like my drive is now, only a boy will be next to me, not my computer bag.  I joke, I really loved driving with J before.  Yes, it dictates when I get to and leave work, but that's okay.  And hopefully we'll be able to find a house before the Wisconsin winter sets in too much.  Then I won't have to drive to work ever again.  I just get on a bus and bam, I'm at work.  Sounds good to me.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  I'll be enjoying a weekend off. I'm sort of happy J doesn't have a show for a little while.  This is a much needed break for the both of us.          

Friday, September 3, 2010

Today's the Day

Yeah, boy got a job!!!!
Today is the day that J gives his 2 weeks notice at his current job.  This is a little bit of a worrisome process for us, because his boss tends to overreact the things.  But J will be so much happier at his new job.  It's back working as a design engineer and not in sales anymore.  J was a born design engineer, that's where his passion is.  You should see what he does at home just for his small projects.  It's amazing.  So I know he'll be happier.  We also are going to be so much closer to all of our friends, we can finally hang out with them and not have to worry about the hour drive home.  So life should be good.  I'll update later with how the whole process went. 

So on a different note, last night J's band played at the Argus again.  It was a really good show.  They played with Whiskey of the Damned, a awesome Irish punk band.  It was a good show.  Unfortunately, J and I are still pretty sick.  Well I guess I'm not still sick, I just got sick yesterday.  I just got over a bad stomach virus and now this, I better not get sick one day this winter.  J still sounds and feels like crap, but I think he might be starting to get over it.  I don't know he has good and bad days.  But hopefully we both feel better soon, we have to do some celebrating.  :-)