Saturday, 29 October 2011

House Hunting: "The Diamond in the Rough"

With an MLS hook like “diamond in the rough” I was hoping for some Aladdin type treasure. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about, where Jaffar makes him go down the creepy evil sand guys mouth to find the diamond in the rough? Yeah, basically that’s what I was expecting…minus all the sand.  Alas, there was no giant diamond, there wasn’t even a stinkin’ lamp (although there probably was at some point not too long ago haha. The house belonged to some 95 year old lady who passed (about 4 years ago) and the son who lives about 1.5 hours away just wasn’t able to keep up with it anymore. So it was about 90% vacant. Walking in you knew it was an old lady's just smelled like old person haha. Jason opened the linen closet, and I was literally knocked over with the stale, mothball smelling air that gushed out. I think it even made my hair ruffle in it's disgusting breeze, BLARGH!

The Stats:
  • Age: 42 years
  • House size: Bungalow (with master suite 2nd storey addition) roughly 1300sq ft
  • Prop. size: 75 x 175 
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 1.5
  • Other: Sewers, and central air (woot woot, no window shaker!)

The Pros:
  • Great Layout
  • Good size rooms with deep closets
  • Doesn't need any major work (mainly just updating)
  • Huge lot to expand with (and lots of room to add a porch in the front)
  • Forced air heat AND central air (which excites me more than I would've thought haha)
  • Garage
  • Large master bedroom (with a bathroom that we'll make into an ensuite)
  • Full basement (unfinished) with tons of room for finishing a rec. room, bathroom, laundry room, etc.
  • Decent price point (and it's been listed for quite some time, so there should be more room to wiggle)
  • In a town - which is good for walking with baby (yes, baby brain is growing ever stronger & after  looking at a few in the country & being sad I would have to drive somewhere to take the kids for a walk.) Hey I have to think long term right haha

The Cons:
  • TINY kitchen! (as in there's about a 6 x 6 space) - however the room includes a "dining area" so there's room to make it bigger. The fridge & stove are original to the house :S...the oven isn't even 2ft wide..WHAT?!?! And the fridge is only 5ft tall haha
  • The furnace needs to be replaced, definitely before next winter (if it'd even make it through this winter hehe)
  • All of the appliances need to be replaced

We, really liked this house. As in, it gave us that tingly, butterfly in your tummy feeling. Just plain good. We liked pretty much everything about it...we could see where our things could go, how the house could grow, how we could make it our own. We liked it so much that we're going to go back! We're taking papa B-rad so he and Jase can discuss in their know-it all tone about structural, plumbing, electrical, and all the general blah blah stuff that you need to know about, but I don't really know/care too much about haha. We'll bring the mama's with us too, because they want to see it too. SOOOOO....stay tuned, because we may have some exciting news coming up! 
 We are really happy that we like this place, because we really didn't have too many options left, at this point in time...and we told the landlord we'd be out at the end of our lease. So now hopefully we won't have to move back in with Ma & Pa Armitage.

Friday, 28 October 2011

House Hunting: The "Park-Like" Lot

We went into this house not really knowing a whole lot about this house. The real estate agent didn’t have any info about property tax or general expenses, and he said, “perhaps the tenant would have that info.” Hmmm, “tenant”…meaning this house is being rented? Is that why there was no pictures for me to peruse before seeing it? Does that mean it’s going to be dirty, and dingy, how did the person living there treat this house? I’m picturing some dirt bag, skeezeball who smokes all the time, creating this nasty layer yellow dinge on everything.

The Stats:
  • ·      Age: “Older” is about all we know at this stage
  • ·      Home size: 1.75 storeys & roughly 1000sq ft? (we’re not totally sure on the size, but that’s what it seemed)
  • ·      Prop. size: 75’ x 175’
  • ·      Bedrooms: 3
  • ·      Bathrooms: 1
  • ·      Other: septic tank & municipal water
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The Pros:
  • ·       Huge lot – which means there’s room for additions if ever needed
  • ·      New High efficiency furnace installed Jan 2011
  • ·      Newer exterior (2009)
  • ·      Thermal insulated windows (on about half the windows)
  • ·      Only about a 20min commute to work
  • ·      There isn’t really anything that NEEDS to be done to it right away (with the exception of the roof which really needs to be done)

The Cons:
  • ·      Closer to the top of the budget, so not a ton of room for immediate changes
  • ·      A little smaller than we are looking for – and due to the location of the septic it makes it harder for additions (they’d be oddly sized & shaped)
  • ·      Bedrooms are quite small (as in one is 7x7!?!)
  • ·      The “closets” are merely holes in the walls with poles in them
  • ·      There is no separate dining room – in fact there isn’t really ANY place to eat (you could fit a 2 person table in the kitchen) OH THE HUMANITY! Where would I host my dinner parties…where the heck would the Moir’s sit, (or even stand)
  • ·      Not much of a driveway – you could fit about a car and a half. I told Jason he gets the half spot…I mean the work van could use a make over right?

The cons definitely outweighed the pros with this one…it was hard to get excited about something that didn’t have a dining room. Is that so much to ask for? Huh? Is it? A place where we can house a large table, and set the good plates? I don’t think so. I knew I wanted a dining room (preferable one that is it’s own room – I’m not really a fan of the open concept), but I didn’t think I felt this strongly about it. I seriously didn’t even want to look at the rest of the house haha. But, did. It took us 5 minutes total to go through the house…and we were being thorough haha. (I told you, it was small) We were ok going through, knowing that we would be able to bump out from the kitchen, to make it larger as well as add a dining room since the yard was so big. But then, alas…the dastardly septic posed a problem. It was only about 8ft from the house, pretty much right in the middle of where we’d want/need to bump it out. So, the addition dreams were gone, and with them the little bit of like we had left for this house. There still are a few more on our list, but we are getting closer to the bottom, and now that we’re coming into winter it’ll probably be even harder to find something.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

My First Pinterest Challenge!!!

SO! I have been obsessed with Pinterest for quite a while now, but have only been pinning myself for a few months. (I have NO idea why on Earth it took me so long to jump on the band wagon). In case you don't know what Pinterest is, it is a place where you can "pin" all of your favourite images from around the web, into one convenient place...and the best part is, when you click on your "pin" it takes you directly to the site you found it. So no more knowing you saw a picture somewhere, but forgetting where!
   I have so many things pinned that I want to make, but have either not had enough time, or don't have a house to "store" them, or have just been too plain lazy to make them. 
Sherry from Young House Love, Katie from Bower Power, Ana from Knock-off Wood, and Erin from House of Earnest are joining forces to host....wait for it....

(just in case you couldn't guess what it was called from the title hehe) Basically these ladies are challenging us to get off our butts to finally MAKE what we have been pinning. Like Sherry said, "I've been pinning 1001 things, and have only done 1% of them", which still puts her ahead of me. I haven't really done any of the things I've been pining. (Since good intentions don't count and all.) 

  According to the challenge, I have a week to get myself together and make something. Everyone will be sharing what they've done next Wednesday. I think the hardest part for me, will be to actually pick something to make. I have a few that are top contenders.

I had about three different shots of this one pinned (you can tell I really like it), but for some reason or another they were deleted :( ...and this one doesn't link to anything...I know it came from a photographers if anyone recognizes where it's from, let me know. This won't be hard to make...just time consuming.

from here...I love wreaths sooo much, I already have about 3 wanting to be hung at home...and they're easy to make.

LOVE these (along with pretty much everything from that site). I think they may be a bit adventurous for me to do in a week, but I like a challenge. 

Adorable...from here. This would be good to test my newly-rediscovered sewing skills.

So, now I just need to pick which one I'm going to do. They all are kind of baby related aren't they (well with the exception of the wreath). To me they also all make me think of warmth, and we'll go with that's why I liked these, instead of the fact I have baby on the brain.

You'll have to tune back next Wednesday to find out which I chose to make! And if you want, to see what everyone else made!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Halloween conundrum

So we STILL don't have halloween costumes yet! YIKES...and we have a stag and doe we are going to Friday, and another party Saturday, so needless to say, we really need some. These are the two ideas we've been throwing around.

So, the first idea we had, way back when was to be lawn gnomes, I don't really think it'd be that hard to do. Value Village to find some tacky pants, make a hat out of construction paper...fairly easy. 

The second idea we had (also from way back when) was to be Mary Poppins and Bert. Again, it'd be pretty easy I think. The hardest part I think would be finding the hats, and a vest big enough to fit Jase haha. 

Which do you prefer? Gnomes, or magic Nanny? Or do you have any other ideas of costumes that would be fun? And doable within 3 days haha? Help us make a decision, because you all know that Jason isn't going to make a decision!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

House Hunting: Little bit of Country

Back down to South of the city, this place was about five minutes outside of Aylmer (which is a lot closer than I thought it was). This one we had on the list a little while ago, then for whatever reason it fell off the list. I don’t know why I would have ever let it fall off my list!? It just looks so cute. The angle of this picture isn’t the best, it kind of makes it look like the roof is not really level…I assure you, it is. This is another bank foreclosure, so this house is also vacant – good thing neither Jase nor I need a house to be “staged” to get the feel of how it would look. In fact, I think I prefer them to be empty.

The Stats:
  • Age: "Older" is all we know, although it seemed to be only around the 60 year mark
  • House size: 1.5 storey, roughly 1400 sq ft
  • Prop. size: 135 x 200 (almost .5 acre)
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2 
  • Other: Septic & municipal water

The Pros: 
  • Very large property, so room to expand if need be
  • Needs work, but not everything needs to be done right away
  • Double garage - so lots of space to do all those projects we'll need to do hehe
  • Outside structure is solid (only one small foundation crack we noticed)
  • Layout is good - especially for the additions down the road
  • BASEMENT! Not only is there a basement with full 7ft ceilings, it's a large, unfinished basement! Which means we could easily get another bathroom, and a large playroom, or bedroom, or something down there.
  • Decent price point (and since it's been listed for a while & winter is just around the corner there could be some wiggle room)
  • Heated via forced air (so if we wanted to add central air down the line, it wouldn't be too difficult)

The Cons:
  • Very large property - which means more yard work (although that is Jase's problem not mine hehe)
  • The slopes in two of the bedrooms upstairs are very extreme & cause a ton of wasted space - could be solved by just adding dormer
  • 90% of the windows need to be replaced (although not all of them right away)
  • There's a large old oil tank in the basement which needs to be removed
  • None of the bedrooms have closets
  • all of the rooms are on the smaller size (but that could be changed)
  • A large part of the house is wood lath & plaster
  • Birds are somehow getting in upstairs (it only appeared to be in the master)

The pro's definitely out-wayed the cons on this place. We both really liked it, and we were both able to see the potential that this house has. We spent a fair amount of time talking about what we would do with it, how we would change things. I didn't exactly get the "it's ours" feeling from it, but it is definitely still on the list. We have a couple more to view, and this one comes down to mainly being able to get it for the right price. We will have to see about this on, but we have definitely like it the best thus far.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Etsy Six-Pack

***I have fixed the commenting issues, so feel free to comment on anything makes me happy hehe***

I love Etsy! There, I have finally publicly professed my love. Most of you (if there's even anyone reading this) already know how much I love it, since I did the majority of my wedding shopping through the site. For those of you who don't know what Etsy is (because perhaps you've been living under a rock?), it is an online marketplace for all handmade, vintage, and just generally amazing "things". You can literally find pretty much whatever you want on this site. I love this site, because not only can you find great handmade gifts for friends (or yourself hehe) you are supporting small businesses.  
   So, without further adieu, I present the first Etsy Six-Pack. Where once a week, I will be showcasing some of my favourites, some recommended, and some just random shops. 

How many people has Halloween just gone and snuck up on? Jase and I were tossing around some great costume ideas, and now all of a sudden it's a week before, EEP! Best get my butt in gear and start making our costumes...I do believe a Valu-Village trip may be in order. So, in honour of Halloween I've pulled together some shops that will help you get in the (Halloween) mood.

First up, digibuddha paperie will help you get the word out that you're having a spectacular Halloween party. They also have great holiday cards, birth announcements, and other invitations. 

How great are these jewellery pieces from KasketKustoms? I mean, come on, look at the eyeball ring. I want it. Casually resting your hand so it stares at someone freaking them out. They have a whole spooky array, from rings, to necklaces, even cufflinks. They do creepy very well.

Next up is a shop that helps make you smell delicious. Symbolic Imports sells soaps, sugar scrubs, lip balms, a plethora of delicious skin care products. I am particularly fond of the way the the candy corn soap bar looks. I don't know if I'd want to use it, or just display it's prettiness.

Moving from personal decorations, to home decorations altered artichoke offers high res. images for download that you can do use however you may choose. Print the halloween images on a pillow, or an old sheet to hang on your door.

Since I still don't have a costume done, maybe something from devowevo will do. I do like that fluffy looking monster costume. They have some pretty wacky stuff in this shop, that don't have to be used for Halloween.

Lastly, Lillith snapped has some great photos you can use to decorate your walls for Halloween, or just for anytime. They have a great selection of spooky and lovely prints.

Well, I hope that my picks for this week helped you get in the Halloween mood. Maybe gave some inspiration for your own Halloween party, or costume, or whatever you're doing this year to celebrate. 

Saturday, 22 October 2011

In the Mood: Mer's new Sophistication

My darling little sister is now 18, and now that she is officially an adult, she needs a more adult room. Since she just so happens to be getting a new room, there is no better time than the present to spice things up! I used her want of a red wall as a jumping off point. We went out and she picked the flooring she liked, and she also bought a nice new grey duvet cover (for a great, super cheap deal I might add). So, without further adieu, here's my idea of how to make over her new room. here's what I was thinking for Mer's room. She is such a fun, happy, positive person, so I wanted to come up with something that would both reflect that, and encourage it. She also needed a space for both sleeping and working, as she is soon to be off to fulfill her post-secondary dreams. I tried to incorporate both fun, bold patterns as well as some different textures. Since flooring is going to need to be bought, we have to accomplish this room makeover on a budget, so I chose a good mix of inexpensive and DIY.

1. Since Meredith wanted red, something like Behr's "edgy red" would be great for a focal wall behind the bed. Since the room is not very large it adds some drama without making the room seem smaller. As for the other three walls, I chose Benjamin Moore's "cloud white", a creamier colour offsets the red better than a stark white, I would also paint the ceiling this colour for a more seamless look. As for the trim, Behr's "aging barrel" will do a good job of tying the darker knots of the wood she chose with the darker stain on her bed.

2. Like me, Meredith loves to read, so this clamp lamp from Crate & Barrel will easily affix to the bed, so she can lay in bed reading, without having to get up to turn off the light. (because every one knows that really sucks) The brushed, grey, metal finish adds some neutrality and also some nice texture. (Also goes well with that nice new duvet hehe)

3. This mirror is similar to the one she has (I would paint the existing black frame the same brown from the trim).

4. For another added pop of colour one or two of these wall files can be hung above the desk to house important papers, or magazines...or whatever really. They are super cute and functional!

5. As for the work space, I would recommend getting rid of your old bulky desk, and bringing in something more streamlined. Something like this desk would be ideal. It still gives you the work space, but looks a lot less bulky, which is better for a smaller space. The finish of the desk also ties in nicely with the colour of the laminate floors.

6. The flooring she chose, called "Paradise Walnut" and is a fairly realistic wood looking laminate.

7. The great new grey bedding!

8. Instead of having a traditional bedside table, placing two floating shelves beside the bed will give you a place to put that book you're reading...or anything else you want to put there.

9. Another bold statement is to add a fun DIY paper lantern pendant lamp to replace the old ugly typical "boob lamp" covering. Because no one wants to stare at lamp boobs as you lay in bed.

10. As for curtains, something neutral, yet fun will be a good compliment to everything else going on in the room. Something like this simple repeating geometric pattern curtain from Etsy draws from both the bedding and the cloud walls.

11. A red rose pillow on the bed for one more pop of red.

12. Stencils are so much fun, and easy (although sometimes time consuming) to do. Something like this tiger stripe stencil done in a tone on tone, on the red focal wall can be a subtly bold way add some more drama to the room.

By adding a fun colour, and some unexpected patterns and texture, this room can be transformed from boring and typical, to fun, dramatic and sophisticated. Perfect for someone like my amazing sister, ready to embark on her next stage of life. I hope you like my ideas Mer, and I can't wait to help you with some DIY projects to make your room awesome!

Friday, 21 October 2011

House Hunting: Frustration!

First off, I would like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful husband. He rocks, and I love him very much. I feel like I should've done something special since it's the first birthday we've celebrated as husband & wife. (In fact today, we have officially been married for 5 months!) We were planning on getting another tattoo, but we decided to hold off until Christmas for that. So...since we just decided that today, it left me in a bit of a bind...ugh. But I figured something out, that is pretty good. (More on that later) went from about 20 minutes South of the city, in the opposite direction…about 20 minutes North. With this one, we didn’t really have a whole lot of info. going in. This picture was actually the only picture up on the listing. (YIKES) I don’t really like when there aren’t any pictures…who does though, really? But we were ready to go out and take a look, to see if this could possibly become our house.

The Stats:
• Age: 1950’s ish
• House size: 1.5 storeys – roughly 1200 sq ft
• Land size: 150’ x 150’
• Bedrooms: 3
• Bathrooms: 2

The Pros
• Large property
• Decently sized rooms (according to MLS)

The Cons
• The drive in the winter is usually not great
• Has been vacant quite a while
• Don’t know much background

So while we were all ready to go view it, with our appointment set up and everything, I got an email from the listing agent that said it had been sold. UGH! Seriously, why does this keep happening? It is very frustrating, because there isn't really a ton out there right now (and we have very wide parameters) We weren’t really too upset about it though. Mainly because we didn’t really know anything about it, so we didn’t have a chance to get our hopes up. Not to mention we still have a few more on the list that we are more excited about/interested in.
SO...we still don't have a house.

We are getting close to the 60 day notification mark...for letting the landlord know when we'll be out. Our lease is up in December, and we were hoping we'd be able to be out by that gives us just under two weeks to find a place (if we're going to be out in December) We're hoping we won't have to pay for January (although we get the last month free - so technically it'd be December) - confused hehe? Me too. SO! We are going to see another place Sunday, and it's the most we've been excited about a place in a while, so lets hope it's decent.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

House Hunting: Small Town Living

Ok...where to start with this one? This was our first foray south of the city, to the town of Belmont. We were able to find out a fair amount of information going into this one, which was good. This was the first one we were looking at that actually had people currently living in it. The man bought it before he was married, and rented out one of the rooms. Then, he got married and had a baby...and the wife was pushing to update the carpet, and do some general "updating". But like a man, he wasn't too interested in changing his house haha. So, she decided it was time to move, and get a place of their own.

The Facts:

  • Age: Older (around 80/90 yrs)
  • Home size: 1.5 storeys (about 1400 sq ft)
  • Prop. size: .11 acres
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Other: Sewer & Municipal water

The Pros:

  • On sewer system (which is a pro for me and my "city girl-ness" (yes that's a word) but Jason doesn't care either way)
  • Has a new roof (only 4yrs old), and some newer windows
  • A nice back yard (one the ugly ass above ground pool is removed) with nice stone patio (picture a bistro table and some drinks, ah yes.)
  • Had an enclosed foyer - enough for a bench and some storage

The Cons:

  • Did not age well (floors, stairs, pretty much everything not level - even on the main)
  • The supporting beams in the basement were the original 2x6's!!! (YIKES) (and many of them were rotting)
  • TERRIBLE layout, had to step up into the kitchen & master bedroom
  • Small room sizes (the specs on MLS were sooooo not right.)
  • There was only about 3 internal walls - all of which were supporting - so we wouldn't even have been able to tear down walls to give us more space. (there wasn't even anyway to rearrange or shuffle the floor plan)
  • There was too much work to be done just the get the house up to scratch, and there really wasn't anywhere to go from there
  • Jason noticed some obvious code violations, ie: the stack about 1ft away from one of the bedroom windows :S

Ok, so, I think it's pretty obvious that this was a big resounding "NO"! Mix in the fact that the real estate agent was nutso, and trying to sell another property more than this one, we just knew it wasn't the one. It was however a bit of a turning point in our house hunting. This was the first property Jason came through with me, which finally got him more in the mood.  He started to voice his opinion, which makes looking at this place worth it in my eyes.
   The plus side of this viewing, was that after...we went on a date! Woohoo! We saw 50/50, it's great, we both recommend it! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Let's give this a shot!

 We have decided to start documenting our quest to find our perfect home. We are in no means looking to find a "perfect" home, instead we are looking to find a house that we can turn it into (some semblance of) our perfect home. So far our quest has not gone too smoothly...we were a little let down. We are beginning to wonder if things are ever going to go our way. The first place we were going to look at reached the end of it's listing and the seller didn't want anymore The second place was even better than the first, bigger, in need of less work, and was a bank foreclosure so really, it was a steal. But, it got snatched up from under us before we were able to get all close and comfortable with it. The third house still remains our favourite. The location was/is beautiful, creek along the side & back of the property, and backing onto a lake! It was like a cottage. It was in quite a state of disrepair though, and unfortunately we had to turn away. The latest house we went through had no hope. I don't really have anything good to say about that place, so we'll just leave it at that.
   We have a few more we'll be viewing in the next few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for us.