One Month Later: All Moved In

Supposedly two of the most stressful events in a person’s life are becoming unemployed and moving. I’ve had to deal with both of those situations within the past week and I’ve managed to come out of the experience pain-free (minus some shin bruises and paint in my hair). Last week I was told I would have to be let go at the magazine due to some changes relating to funding and management. I took this as a sign to hunt down the perfect job for my creativity and talents, somewhere I can learn from a group of peers who will inspire me to be better every single day. Luckily I have unemployment money coming in to hold me over, along with freelance photography and blogging work on the side. Despite the stress of moving into a new home and having to be creative with an entirely different budget, I am actually incredibly excited for this opportunity. I plan to challenge myself to find something where I can truly grow and allow myself to try new things.

A month has passed since Pete and I purchased our home together and we are finally settled in. We spent this past weekend moving in our belongings, with the help of Pete’s family who were sports for dealing with our massive amount of stuff. During my recent stint of unemployment, I spent the week before our move-in painting ceilings, trim and walls to make sure our first floor was live-able. We packed up nearly the entire contents of our apartment in one day, so needless to say, we started this weekend off completely exhausted and ready for a nap. Unfortunately, Pete and I are pretty obsessive about unpacking things before we kick our shoes off to relax. Today is the first day I’ve had a chance to just sit for an extended period of time, and despite feeling a bit lazy, I have to say it’s pretty darn nice. Our to-do list remains never-ending, but I thought it might be swell to share our progress with you so far. We are pretty proud with the achievements we’ve made in only a month and I look forward to tackling many more house projects with Pete in years to come. This weekend we will be removing the rest of the wallpaper in the kitchen, patching, prepping and painting the ceiling and walls.

I’m so lucky to have such a supportive boyfriend and family, I can’t thank you guys enough for all of your help over the past month with everything. It’s also really amazing having a second family just around the corner…I definitely owe Pete’s family a coupon for one month of free manual labor, especially now that I’m unemployed. Anyway, I can’t wait to share our future projects with you guys, but until then, here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

Betty White approves our new rust-colored rug, which has been unbelievably comfortable to rub our feet on after a long day of working on the house.

Here’s a look at our sunroom at the moment. Up until yesterday, it was filled to the brim with boxes and yard tools, but at least now the boxes have been unpacked and recycled. Eventually we’ll get patio furniture and all sorts of pretty stuff to fill this room with, but for now we’re just going to toss some beach chairs and garden tools around and hope no one judges us too much.

The sunroom door leads to our living room, which holds our new IKEA Karlstad sofa in Isunda Gray, courtesy of my way-too-nice parents who spoiled us with a new couch for our housewarming gift. They also surprised us with ceiling fans, which Pete managed to install on his own and impress me with his man skills. Another thing you may notice about this room is how shiny and new the floors look! Pete’s parents were super kind and chipped in for us to have the hardwood floors refinished as their gift to us…we really think it makes an incredible difference! Don’t forget to look at our last round of before & after shots as a reminder of what things looked like up until now. The white fireplace and trim really make the walls (and Betty White) pop. Speaking of walls, we had thought we selected a medium gray color for the room, until we actually ended up painting and discovered we had ourselves more of a blue tone. This just goes to show that purchasing paint samples is worth it if you’re a stickler for perfection, but we think it actually works out well in complementing the orange rug.

Painting the wooden door, windows and trim white was one of the most time consuming things, but definitely well worth it in the end. Betty White agrees, despite making her disgruntled “why are you using flash so early in the morning?” face.

We plan to get a floating shelf to put above the couch, which will have framed artwork and knick knacks resting on it, but until then we just have a lonely astronaut painting by one of Pete’s favorite artists, Scott C. You will also notice during this tour that we are lacking in curtains and decorative pillows, which will be resolved once we have some more savings for emergencies, such as one of us having to go on unemployment (ahem).

Pete gifted me these beautiful pop-up books by Robert Sabuda last Christmas and they remain to be one of my prized possessions. Robert came to my illustration class in college to teach us his ways, so it is extra special to have his work on display in the house.

The dining room area consists of a table I revamped with vintage family photos, along with a gossip bench and cabinet I refurbished.

I really like these framed prints by Berkley Illustrations above the thrifted globe and camera finds. Our BFF Laura Kicey created the colorful architectural composite above the owl chess set, which matches the chartreuse, yellow and purple tones in the room wonderfully. We have her work throughout the house, as we like to think of ourselves as two of her biggest fans, evah!

The bay window area with natural wood is one of my go-to spots throughout the house. It’s really nice to unwind and catch up on emails while listening to the birds chirp and cars drive by outside. The framed piece by Jeff Soto above the gossip bench is one of my favorites because of its sense of nostalgia and pop surrealism, with a little bit of robot love thrown in.

Sadly, the kitchen has been neglected during this entire process, but we will give it some much-needed TLC soon. The walls are half wallpaper-removed, half in need of major patching and repair, so it’s definitely a big project that will easily eat up an entire weekend. Our plans are to paint the walls a deep teal-blue and utilize black and white checkered vinyl tiles in addition to swapping out the sink for a birch and stainless steel, free-standing model from IKEA. We plan to remodel the kitchen as our first major project, but for now we are just making it work with our modest budget and some elbow grease. Ew. Whoever came up with that term needs to rethink that one.

There was an enormous amount of kitchen storage in our previous apartment, so we had to be creative when trying to make room for odds and ends in our new, much smaller space. We used this bookshelf by ikea to store things like tupperware, dish towels, random appliances and our treasured copies of Everyday Food.

Here’s a glimpse into our office/critter room, which is under construction for the time being. Pete was kind enough to treat me to a sweet drawing desk with a light box from IKEA for my birthday, which can barely be seen in these photos. Unfortunately, the desk legs aren’t back in stock yet, so my office area is kind of in shambles while we wait. I am so excited to start using the desk, it will definitely take me back to my days of making carbon copies of Ariel and my other favorite Disney characters.

This room is an especially difficult one to photograph, so bear with the terrible angles in this one. We’re not really set on the positioning of most of the artwork in this room, but I figured once the desk is assembled we’ll have a better idea of where we want to hang certain pieces. Willie Nelson, Cadbury, Maude and Applesauce are all pretty pleased with their new digs and window views.

Willie Nelson may look like he doesn’t approve of the new house, but I think he’s just putting on his game face. Don’t sass him, he is a feisty one (not really, he’s a big poof ball of cuddles).

Meanwhile, Betty White attempts to eat her foot off on our new horseradish quilt by West Elm and patterned sheets from Target.

The closet space in the bedroom is pretty much non-existant (you can’t even fit the width of a standard hanger in it), which is why we had to be creative once again about figuring out storage for our clothing. Thank goodness for IKEA’s green storage bins, which we had an abundance of in our apartment. Plus, this way we have an opportunity to showcase our knick knacks. Pete thinks the owls are way too cluttered in there, so we might end up shifting them to a floating shelf elsewhere, but for now they can keep us company when we go to sleep. One of my favorite owls is the one my brother gave me after his theater company toured in France. The owl actually opens up, so I suppose I could stash drugs in him, but Fun Dip sounds like a much more enjoyable option.

Betty White was begging for pets and flashing her Britney during these photos, so please don’t be too appalled by her exposed lady bits. She doesn’t know any better, honest. The lamp and dresser were inherited from my grandparents, which is the case with many of our knick knacks and artwork throughout the house. I really like mixing vintage pieces that have a lot of heart to them with more simplistic, modern styles. Laura Kicey’s contemporary construct photography matched the grey and yellow tones of the room, which made me happily flail because I was itching for some artwork above our bed. What looked like a light gray on the paint swatch has turned out to appear quite mauve on the walls at times, but we’re okay with it. We actually ended up purchasing a very pale gray for the walls, only to test it out and realize that it looked pretty much white. I decided to paint the ceiling, windows and trim with the nearly-white gray instead, to keep the room looking muted and serene. Lesson learned: stop being lazy and invest in some gosh darn paint samples!

The new bedding is really comfy and definitely makes it harder for us to get out of bed in the mornings. Betty White has deemed it her own, and is often seen flashing her pink “area” to innocent passersby.

I forgive her though, because she keeps me company while I listen to This American Life podcasts and wear pajamas until mid afternoon on days like this.

All in all, it’s been a pretty exhausting week, but I look forward to all of the change to come in the next few months. Be sure to stop by again soon for more progress shots and updates on my editorial/creative job hunt!

Advertisements

Before & After Inspiration

Our house inspection is this Saturday, so we’re crossing our fingers all goes well on that end. We will be working on saving for any potential house emergencies for the next few months. That being said, we will have to be creative in figuring out affordable ways to modernize the house if it ends up being ours in a couple of months. Since we don’t want to spend on any major renovations right away, we will be removing wallpaper and painting for the most part. Once we have our goal amount of emergency savings, we can begin renovating the kitchen, which is number one on our makeover list.

Here are some affordable before & after ideas for sprucing up our potential new home:

“After” Image Source

In the smaller bedroom upstairs, wood paneling covers the walls and ceiling, which can hopefully be revamped with some cheerful color and painted white ceilings.

“After” Image Source

The sunroom is pretty as is, but could use a fresh coat of color and trim, maybe something subtle and earthy to go with the blue floors.

“After” Image Source

I’ve mentioned before my obsession with white fireplaces, which I think would look really lovely with grey walls and pops of color incorporated in the room.

“After” Image Source

The bay window area needs some love, which could be accomplished by hanging airy curtains with new hardware and an area rug.

What are some simple ways you’ve given your home a new look on a tight budget?

Potentially Home: The 1st Offer

As planned, Pete and I went on our second house hunting adventure this weekend. We checked out two houses, the first was the house I posted photos of last time. It was incredibly small and not at all what we had hoped for, so we moved onto the second house. I saw this house listed online but it didn’t have any photos, so we took a risk and went with our realtor to see it in person.

You all know my love for bunnies. If being greeted by a bunny at the front door isn’t a good luck sign, I don’t know what is. Let’s not forget there is also bunny wallpaper galore in this house.

The house is a two story bungalow from 1940 with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,342 square feet.

When we first stepped inside the house, this enclosed sunroom made me fall in love with the place. With a little modern lovin’, this room could be amazing. I really like the distressed blue floors and I’m sure the room could look a lot more airy if given a slight painted makeover.

Once you step through the sunroom, you enter the living room. Hardwood floors and a brick fireplace greet you with the first of many wood paneled walls (eek).

The living room leads to the dining room, with a beautiful bay window area. The hardwood floors are throughout the house and have some great details that would be absolutely beautiful with some refinishing. It’s safe to assume all wallpaper would be removed and painted with painted walls throughout the house.

The kitchen is a bit of a downer and cramped, but I think it could be revamped with some creativity in the form of extra storage, painted cabinets, wood floors and wallpaper removal. The door in the kitchen leads to a mudroom, which takes you outside to the backyard. There’s a lovely fenced in area where we could garden, along with a shed and concrete area that needs some TLC.

We are still waiting to receive the house’s disclosure, so we are anxious to find out when the appliances were last updated, in addition to when the roof was last replaced and if there have been any major problems.

This area of the kitchen could be better utilized with counter space and storage, as opposed to a breakfast nook, considering we usually eat our breakfast in the living room anyway.

The first floor has two bedrooms and one bathroom. We would obviously remove the wallpaper from the bedrooms and give the bathroom some updating, but for the most part, the foundation of the rooms gives us a great starting point.

The wallpaper border in this room has bunnies and hearts on it…something tells me this would be the room where our critters would reside (although we wouldn’t make them stare at that wallpaper).

I didn’t get any good photos of the basement, some of these are just shots I took with my iPhone and others are photos I snapped quickly when we toured the house for the second time with Pete’s mom and brother. The basement would need the most work, but we could take it one step at a time and not overwhelm ourselves with too many projects at once.

Inside the kitchen there is a door that leads to the upstairs. A wood paneled hallway leads you to a full bathroom (sorry for the awful photo) and two bedrooms. The latter room would be our guest room and the other would probably be used as an office space since it’s the smallest of all four rooms. And yes, we would do something about the wood paneling (probably painting it to start). The office could later be turned into a nursery if we decide to have a mini version of us (years and years from now, people!). It’s just good to know we would have a lot of space to expand our family…if that means housing goats or a baby (I’m leaning toward goats).

Anyway, we really love the place and can see its potential. We placed a bid on it yesterday, so hopefully we will hear back early this week about whether or not our offer has been accepted. If it has, we will need to review the disclosure (the offer is contingent on the disclosure). If we are unhappy with what we read in the disclosure, we’ll continue spending our weekends house hunting! If the disclosure looks good, we’ll move forward with the inspection process.

It’s been really fun browsing blogs for decorating ideas with Pete and watching home improvement shows together. I think we’ll be great at tackling renovations together, after all, he is incredibly handy and I’d like to think I’m pretty darn crafty. If this ends up being our home, it will need a lot of work, but I think it’s something we can handle if we take baby steps. As a side note, I have a strong desire to paint a fireplace white, and I’m pretty lucky that Pete and I have the same taste for decorating and that he goes along with me on these things. When he recently mentioned liking subway tiles, I fell in love with him a little more. I think buying and having a home together will be great for our already-happy relationship and I can’t wait to (hopefully) spend weekends together cursing about how hard it is to remove antiquated bunny wallpaper.

Update: We have agreed on a price with the seller, which is only a few thousand more than our original bid. We’re saving nearly $20,000 since it was listed at $200,000 and we’d be getting it for $190,500 including sellers assist ($11,000). Pretty darn excited! Next up: Inspection and finger-crossing.

House Hunting Part Deux

I’m really looking forward to house hunting this weekend with Pete. It’s hard to fall in love with a house online when there aren’t any photos of the bedrooms, bathrooms or basement, but judging from the interior and backyard, the place above in Glenside is definitely what we are looking for in a quaint, new home. The other house we are visiting doesn’t have any photos online, just a street view on Google maps. I’ll be sure to take photos to document our process…who knows, maybe we’ll be on our way to placing our very first bid on a house.

I can’t wait to have a house that is officially ours. I’ll admit I’ve become addicted to house blogs like Young House Love, but I have to remind myself that I’m not a mastermind when it comes to interior design and we’ll have to take baby steps in the remodeling department. I have a feeling there will be a lot of trips to flea markets and estate sales this summer to furnish our new abode. As much as I’d love to be able to afford to deck out our digs with gorgeous furniture from Anthropologie, I know that’s not realistic for our budget and we can probably achieve a similar look with some elbow grease and creativity. Plus, I think we’ll have more fun working together on thrifty furniture makeovers (and our credit cards will thank us later).

I’m really going to miss our current apartment, it is lovely and it feels like we live in our own little secluded bubble most of the time. But it will be nice to be able to have some more freedom (having guests over after 10pm) and our own backyard. Betty White will be able to bark her little head off if we leave to run errands. I’m hoping by giving Betty more room to run around, she will relax a bit and her separation anxiety will improve. She’s gotten a lot better and being able to take her to work has certainly helped her in remaining more calm. I’m really grateful that things have been able to turn around and she is a happy little pooch again.

*Speaking of Betty White, how many times can you spot her in these photos?

School desk makeover, check!

Progress is well underway for my upcoming Cafe Estelle art opening on Friday, December 3rd from 6 to 9pm. I have finished drawing and painting the school desk which will have my prints, button packs and pocket mirrors for sale inside. Next up: create as many originals as possible within the next 10 days. Please RSVP if you plan on attending the opening so I can figure out a rough estimate of how much grub and drinks to bring!

Here’s my updated to-do-list (eep!):

  • Make cow illustration
  • Make chicken illustration
  • Make duck illustration
  • Make owl illustration
  • Finish ink drawings on children’s school desk
  • Paint children’s school desk
  • Order “say hello to my little friends” custom wall decal
  • Order number pins for labeling work
  • Create and print title/price list
  • Set up printer and scanner at home
  • Scan new pieces and add to website and Etsy
  • Order prints of any pieces that are not in stock
  • Order more chipboard backing and plastic sleeves for prints
  • Print labels for buttons and pocket mirrors
  • Package buttons and pocket mirrors
  • Design and print postcards to promote the show
  • Redesign business cards and order them, pronto!
  • Pick up food and beer for the opening on Friday, December 3rd