Our real estate agent was fond of telling us that the only thing you can’t change about a house is the location– everything else is up for grabs. And while we love the location of our house and many of its features, there are a bunch of things that we want to (or have to) work on.
Below are pictures from the property listing.
The front of the house
- I love the lavender bushes in the front; lavender is one of my favorite plants. These will need to be trimmed back, they’re that big. There are also some holes in the planting beds that I would like to fill with some ground cover or creeping plants.
- The front path is very dark; we need to improve the lighting down the path and next to the house for safety reasons.
- You can’t see it here, but to the right, between the house and the yard, is a path that leads to the back yard. Eventually I want to put down bark/wood chips.
- Eddy likes the color, but when the house needs a new paint job, I’d want to paint a different color…grey? greenish gray? grayish green? olive? We’ll see. Eddy needs to be convinced first!
- The house report mentioned a few loose bricks on the chimney; those need to get fixed before we even think about having a fire in the fireplace.
- The parking strip needs to be completely landscaped. There’s moss growing there now, in patches, and the dirt is below the level of the sidewalk. I think this is something we need to live with for a while first though– I’ve already had a bunch of different ideas of what to do and we haven’t even been here a month.
The back of the house
- We love the back yard, and it’s mostly complete. There are a couple of all dirt areas that lead to verrrry muddy dog paws however. One is behind the berry bushes, another is just in front of the back fence, and the biggest is on the north side of the yard. We want to add lots of plants there (and got a good start this weekend). We’ll also mulch all the exposed dirt. Eddy has dreams of adding a potager next summer: fresh lettuce anyone?
- The deck needs to be sanded and re-stained. This is fairly high up on the list of things to do as soon as the weather is reliably dry.
- I’d like to dig out the
sand boxfire pit and add a fire pit cover.
The living room & dining room
- While…cohesive…the color choices in the living room & dining room were not exactly to my taste. So before we even moved in, we repainted. The pictures of the interiors from the listing don’t do the paint hues justice.
- Eventually we might want to redo the double pane windows, as we can’t open the living room windows. Now that I have figured out the storm window system it seems a little less urgent, but it would be a nice to have.
- I want to have the fireplace inspected before we light a fire in it…fire near or in my house makes me a little nervous!
- I was going to change the dining room light fixture, but eventually changed my mind, and Eddy really likes it.
- We found a table for free on Craig’s List, and refinished it before we moved. I bought benches for the long sides of the table, but still want to find chairs for the head and foot of the table.
- We have a couple of empty spots for art on the walls, but I have found spots for all of my favorite pieces!
- I think one of our first big remodeling projects will be redoing the kitchen. We definitely want to open the room up to the living room and dining room, and as is, the cabinets aren’t practical for people as short as I am. We need more storage too, but the kitchen renovation is more of a long term project.
- We took out the hanging pot rack and gave it to one of the painters.
- Eddy doesn’t like cooking on an electric stove, so at some point we may want to upgrade to gas, but again, that’s a big project.
The master bedroom
- This room is right on the street, but luckily the previous owners left privacy / light blocking shades. We added curtains pretty quickly.
- We also painted: one of the many shades of white that Eddy mocked me for picking out at the store. I love how calm it looks! We didn’t have the painters redo the trim, but we may want to repaint the doors in this room.
- We also need art for the walls, but I’m fine with waiting and picking pieces out slowly.
- Kate’s room is right next to our room, and as the smallest bedroom in the house is the hardest to furnish without seeming cramped. We brought some of her furniture over from her last room, but the real coup was finding a metal bed on Craig’s List that I spray painted pink. I want to find a bookcase to replace the one she has, but I’d like for it to be solid wood.
- I would have kept the blinds, but she managed to unravel them our first weekend here, so out they went!
- She picked out her paint color from a very limited selection that I had her choose from: guess what color it is?
The downstairs bath
- I wasn’t too sold on the tile when I first visited the house, but now that it is painted white, and the heavy glass medicine cabinet is removed, it looks much better.
- This is the room that I have spent the most time fixing things in, and I’m really happy with how it looks. We took out the towel rods and added hooks; removed the oversized medicine cabinet and put up a mirror instead, and found a place to hang the toilet paper. I also splurged on a fancy cabinet knob from Anthropologie; it wasn’t too expensive considering that I only had to buy one! I just need to put up shelves and art and this room will be done, cosmetically at least.
- The shower pipe squeaks very loudly, so a priority for next month is getting a plumber to come adjust the water pressure.
- I think that this room was the one that scared off most potential buyers, whether it was the photo in the real estate listing, or when they visited the house. Again, the paint color is very muted here compared to real life. Think Smurf blue, squared. It took me a little while, but I managed to convince him (and Owen) to let us get their rooms painted before we moved in. We chose a very pale green and painting the ceiling white made the color choice visible; the room looks big and bright now.
- I bought all of his furniture on Craig’s List before we moved; he’s in a full size bed now!
- Owen’s room is much bigger than Jonah’s and at first I was worried that they would fight about who would be sleeping where. It’s also the first time they have ever had separate rooms, and I think it was strange for them at first! It helps that they have the whole upstairs to themselves.
- We painted Owen’s room too: a very light, light grey. The ceiling being white helps a great deal! I wanted to put up curtains, but they both said that they preferred shades, so we’ll leave it as is.
- Owen inherited Kate’s bed from Grandma’s house, but now says he wants a futon like Jonah. I guess he’ll be moving into a full size bed soon too!
The upstairs bath
- I think the previous owners had daughters as there was both a lot of storage space in this bathroom and a very feminine color palette and accessory set.
- The walls are covered in tile look vinyl sheets, and I think that this bathroom would make a great candidate for an overhaul. It seems pretty cramped, but I bet that we could get an architect to help us figure out how to add a shower. I also want to upgrade the sink and fixtures and light.
- The carpet on the stairs and in the downstairs family room looks completely new. The only changes here are to possibly stain or paint the railing on the right side of the stairs as you go up.
The family room
- This was another room that sold us on the house. It’s the perfect size for Xbox watching and guest accommodating.
- The carpet looks brand new, and the entertainment center is already wired for cable.
- I’m not quite sure why there is that strange windowed wall between the two downstairs rooms. I think it might be nice to remove it at some point, although Eddy isn’t so sure.
- The window in this room is single pane, so would be good to replace at some point.
- There is a closet, but it has only one shelf, which is so close to the top of the closet that it is hard to squeeze things in. I would eventually like to redo the closet so that it can accommodate winter coats, gift wrapping supplies, and guest linen.
The laundry room
- I think this room, which is in between the family room and the garage, was the previous owner’s exercise room. The washing machine and dryer are closed off here, and I’m not quite sure why in what is otherwise an unfinished room.
- This space is the one that I consider to need the most work. The washing machine and dryer are awkwardly positioned with the water heater in between them. There is a ginormous utility sink next to the washer that should be ripped out. The concrete floors are unlevel and could do with a new layer of concrete to flatten them out, and then I would like to finish them in some way: polished concrete? More carpet? Wood-like flooring?
- This is the logical space to add another bathroom as well, and some day I would like to refinish the space and add at least a half bath downstairs.
- We’ll have to replace the windows with double pane at some point too. It would be great for the cats to have a window to go in and out of the house from, and this is a logical location.
- The lock on the door to the garage is on the wrong side of the door; we can’t lock the house from the inside, only the inside of the garage from the house. All we need to do is switch the knobs around.
So there’s the house tour from how we bought it! I mention some of the things that we have already accomplished; as each room gets completed I’ll do a new post with the updates.