The Two Finished Rooms of the House

I’d like to take the time to share the two rooms we have finished nearly finished in fixer upper house #2.  98% of the kitchen is done and, back in September, we completed our master bedroom.  I wasn’t kidding in that last post about keeping updated through Instagram versus the blog.  I am much more present there.  And my Pinterest account.  Like a crazy, design-obsessed person hoarding all the pretties.

Back in November I sold a domain I’d been holding onto, for the food blogger part of me, which funded a good part of the kitchen, including Ikea cabinets in place of using the old that was our original plan.  This Ikea experience did not go as well as the last one.  With 2 Ikea kitchens under our belts, using two different Ikea stores, I’m going to say it depends which store you use.  Minnesota Twin Cities Ikea was better in every aspect versus Seattle Ikea.  I’ll just add that the experience started when we went in to order our kitchen and the employee most likely accidentally deleted our design and I had to sit and plan the whole thing by memory.  Or our having to unload most of our 300+ boxes ourselves when the “delivery” team arrived.  Or the hours we spent on hold for customer service (5 times) versus a rather quick response in Minnesota.  To be fair, maybe some of it revolves around the new Ikea store they are building here in Washington.

The old cabinets went to a kind woman whose home had been damaged by one of the northern Washington wildfires.   Horrible, awful event.  She had started the purchasing process just before the wildfire came, couldn’t pull her offer and didn’t want to lose the money she put down, so her retirement house was in need of serious work before she could even move in.  She says she was lucky because her neighbor’s homes were completely destroyed.   I can’t imagine.

On to the point of the post, though.  Any resource questions or questions in general, direct my way by comment or email.  Those who know us know “finished” means the room and not necessarily all the parts of decorating.  We are still working on the finishing touches like an eat in dining area and an island.  Please excuse the poor quality photos.

Before:

After:

 

Before:

After:

What are we up to now?  As of mid-March, we will have been in this place, our first Washington house, for a year.  We intend to have it finished in the next year (probably slightly longer) and move on to our next adventure.  We’re hoping it works out that we go full-time with remodeling houses and start building our own heirloom quality furniture.  I’m dreaming and scheming on that idea so hard, people.

We’re working on some furniture pieces for the kitchen (maybe I’ll get some more professional-looking shots in there….maybe).  I’m obsessed with old wooden folding tables like wallpaper and Indian event style.  I found one on Etsy and the lovely woman, Brenda in Pennsylvania, gave me a great deal and shipped it super fast to me.  I was made well-aware of its issues (unlike an antique library table I found not far from here, where the seller did not divulge such important information…more about that later), so we’ll be working on these tables.

I’m working on both bathroom designs.  Seeing the kitchen come to fruition has inspired me even more.  I have a much better sense of the style and design for the rest of the house.  I’m being a little bolder in the future.  Maybe bolder is not the right word, but it is different from our last house.  Says the lady who kept with the white kitchen with oil rubbed bronze accents and butcher block counters for both house’s kitchen remodels.

We are starting to work on framing the basement bathroom, knocking out the old shower stall, repairing some drawers on 3 dressers in prep for my finishing their refurbishing, and pumping ourselves up for repairing the drywall in the second bedroom followed by removing the texture on the walls in the hallway/dining and living rooms.  Finally going to take out this carpet soon!

And omg the moss.  No one warned us about the moss.  It is causing some problems on the roof of our garage and patio, so that will need addressed when warmer weather hits.  I have nearly wiped out a few times from the slick moss on our brick sidewalk.  I think a past post was all “oh, I love the soft moss yard we have in front.”  I only like it there, in the yard.  The landscape, more of it than we did last year, will be taken out in prep for painting the house after a good sand and scrape.  That will probably be one of the last things we do due to the budget and priorities, though.  I imagine we’ll be working on the inside of the house more than outside this spring and summer, the opposite of last year.

Have you finished any home improvement projects?  I’d love to see and hear about it.

~Annie

 

 

 

Helllllooooooo

It probably could go without saying, but we’re obviously busy elsewhere and not posting much these days.  If any of you are truly curious, you can see what we’re up to through our Instagram account (anniewitkamp).  Greg and I are probably 70% finished with our kitchen remodel on house #2, so you will most likely see those photos at the top.  Umm, it’s pretty and getting prettier.  (Sorry to those of you who do not have an Instagram account.)  You’ll also see the food I’m cooking, our travels, our pups (recently in raincoats), and other rando bits of life (out of the old raincoat…Washington, it rains a lot…).   Instagram is about all I want to handle these days in social media.  I’ve simplified life and it’s been terrific.

Oh, and happy new year! Sending good vibes your way.

Annie out

April

We’ve been in the house for 1 1/2 weeks now.  The rental house was cleaned and ready to go a week ahead of schedule and our deposit already refunded.

So far the two of us have added lighting to the garage, switched out lights in the house, gave away the old by listing them on Craigslist (my old friend), organized every room, purchased oil for the furnace, unpacked, cleaned up the landscape/raked the remaining leaves, bought and used a reel mower, ordered blinds, picked up paint and wall repair materials, bought shelves and tables to work on outside, have had several electricians in to quote switching out the electrical panel (after finding that there was some “foul play” after it was inspected in 1997 concerning the correct service/etc….that has been frustrating to learn especially after having the house inspected previous to purchasing it and none of these visible issues were mentioned…which could cost us 3x what we were previously quoted and credited), bought one of these highly recommended Saatva mattresses, went over design ideas and about a dozen other small things were accomplished.

Greg got this label printer.  Like a happy boy these days (as seen on Instagram when he labeled his beer).  There have been only 7 trips to Home Depot and a few to Lowes-our trips to Menards are a thing of the past.  The schedule is set for projects yet open to change.  It’s nice to be busy and making improvements once again.  But most of all we’re enjoying the space.

Comfortably random

Greg and I are in love with the house as are the pups.  We’ve met most of our neighbors, adore that kids play outside almost every day, and it appears to be a dog-friendly area judging by the number of dogs around and that we see going walkies.  One of our neighbors is from Minnesota and grew up not far from our last house.  How cool is that?

This weekend will involve organizing the garage better so I can get my bum in there to refurb some furniture.  I have a wall of dressers and a number of things favorited on Craigslist.  I’m also looking for items to make an outdoor theater (projector, screen, outdoor sectional) to take advantage of the beautiful summer we keep hearing about here. I’ll check back later when I have a project worth sharing.  (There is no April foolery going on here even though it is April 1st…by the way, this is Greg’s favorite “holiday” so I’m just waiting for some of his antics…wish me luck.)

Introducing the 2nd Fixer-Upper Home

I snapped some shots, as promised, a few weeks ago before we offically moved in and I’m back to share.

The details: 1949 fixer-upper I spotted on the market in King County here in Washington (yeah I still can’t believe we made it here from Minnesota), went to pending before we could act, buyer lost financing, came back on the market and we pounced.  It’s a little bit bigger than our last house but with the same amount of bedrooms and baths which would be 2 and 1 3/4.  The 3/4 bath is in the basement and there’s potential for a few more bedrooms down there like our last place.  The basement is pretty much a blank slate in this house though.  Helpful.  Now all we gotta do is fix it up.

See?  I sometimes am in photos on here (ahem the shadow).

Note the pterodactyl dookie on the window.

Hubba hubba look at that beautiful 2+ car garage in back.

And there’s absolutely nothing in there to clean out.

And we inherited yet another ladder!  We were way too excited about it.

There’s a bonus storage area on the side of the garage too.

Unlike the last yard, this one needs next to nothing.  So there’s a weird “water feature” in the corner, but the rest of the space is full of mature trees/plants and is quite nice.

Then there’s the patio area and past the patio leads to more fenced yard where the compost bin is and potential garden space.

Oh so handy basement entry beyond the one in the hall upstairs.

Other side of the house.

One of the little things I enjoy is this path to the street on the side of the house.  I really don’t know why I like it so much.

Now we go inside to the entry with a closet.  This is the only house we looked at that had a closet in the entry.  (No, that’s not what sold us.)

You can’t see it in the photo, but those are textured walls.  We considered skim coating to get rid of it, but that’s too much work.  We’re going to attempt to match the texture.

The living room.  Can you wait until we remove the carpet to reveal the hardwood floor?  I can’t.  Plus paint, updated electrical, new switch plate and vent covers with some nice blinds.  What kind of blinds?  Top-down bottom-up possibly?

It appears the seller primed the rooms but the dinge still exists.  That’s fine because we have to repair some cracks in the walls and ceiling before painting.  What color should we go?  I promise not to have 15 samples this time.  Surprise surprise, it’ll probably be gray.

Down the hall from the living room.  It just loops around upstairs…can’t wait to see the pups run around in circles.

The two bedrooms look about the same.  One is slightly larger with a closet spanning the length of the room while the other is half that size.

There’s a good look at one of the ceiling cracks.  It appears to have been there a while so we’re fairly sure settling is done and we can repair it without future problems.

The bathroom, while updated in the 90’s, needs help and is small.  All the houses we looked at had small bathrooms and often only the one.  Is that a Pacific Northwest thing for older homes?

The size could have been manageable if this vanity wasn’t there and the sink across from it placed in this cubby.  Someone really wanted a vanity, I guess.

Fun fact: the light switch is outside of the room in the hall and we inherited another non-functioning fan.

Bam-the kitchen. Not a big fan of the soffit.  We’re going to add moulding to help.

More kitchen…it’s a biggie.  Lots of potential. Island? Getting rid of the desk for sure.

Wood burning stove…that will be moved.

We’re going to see how much it will cost to get the electrical box moved to the basement.  The panel already has to be replaced because this brand is a known fire hazard.  There’s also electrical updating to do (again).  Not my favorite.  We got a credit from the seller for some of these repairs.

You can’t tell in the photos, but there was an addition put on to extend the kitchen.  It wasn’t properly attached to the existing foundation, so we have some issues with sinking and cracks.

Plenty of storage in the hall.

More storage.  Notice the wall texture.

Did I mention storage?

Shall we go to the basement?  Creepy much, Annie?

Come on down!

The basement has some walls up, but they are not necessarily rooms.  Rando shelving will go to the garage.

Second bathroom.  The layout is not ideal with 2 entry doors on either end.  I wouldn’t use this shower at this point with the tile falling off and claustrophobia-inducing size…this needs work.  It is a lot like our last basement bathroom which ended up like this.

Whose the guy trying to find the inspector that kept going off on his own?  That guy right there.  My main squeeze Greg.

They must have considered this the third bedroom.  Umm no.  It’s an office with an awesome rotary phone.  Sure we don’t have a landline but hey.  That doesn’t stop me from having fake conversations with people on it.  Moving on!

I love this stool.  I do not like the paneling and tile ceiling.

It does have a closet but a bedroom it does not make.

Then there’s this large area that is just furnace, sink, water heater, washer/dryer or utilities as I call them all wrapped into one bundle (ha like you didn’t know).

It’s not a full basement after the addition.  There’s a smidge of crawlspace over there.

Canning room.

Fin.

There it is.  Lots of work.  Well, not lots, less than the last house.  Most of me is all “let’s go YESSSS” with the eyes of a crazed politician, then a teensy bit is “ohhh (sigh), again.” Deep breath, focus and charge!

Subscribers: Ignore the Kitchen and Bathroom Link

Subscribers: For some reason my playing around with Polyvore published some very rough draft ideas about the new house’s kitchen and bathroom design.  So, that’s neat in a way that is not neat at all.  When I have a better idea about those things I’ll let you know.  Geez, I haven’t even shown you the house yet.  Continue on with your day.

P.S. And that does mean it looks like we’ll be moving in mid-March!

We Might Have House #2

Quick update: we found a house in King County WA (maybe I’ll be more specific later), put an offer on it over the weekend, had it accepted and now have the inspection today.  Yeah, crazy!

It was a place we thought had potential months ago then someone’s offer was accepted before we could go see it and we just went on with our lives.  Well, that person’s financing fell through and the house came back on the market, so we jumped on it.

The house was built in 1949 (3 years older than our first home in Minnesota), one story with basement, owned by the same couple since the 60’s and maintained very well.  There’s a large 2 car garage (hello, workspace) and nicely landscaped yard with fence (yay for the pups).   It has 2 bedrooms + 1 bath upstairs and a clean, unfinished basement with a bathroom and loads of potential.  Total square footage is around 2,600 with about 1,400 upstairs.

Don’t get me started on the storage.  We were told that much storage is rare.  The ceiling is coved like our last house.  The only thing I’m not crazy about (besides the kitchen having an addition that wasn’t properly tied into the existing foundation and had some settling, causing cracks in the kitchen…more on that later) are the textured walls.  It’s everywhere.  I’ll get over it.  It is in need of updating and some repairs, but nothing like the last place.  Oh and this time we have hardwood floors under the carpet!  I love the character.

The MLS photos don’t do it justice, so I promise to shoot some myself.

Here we go again (I hope)!

 

2 Months In Washington & House Hunting

In a few days marks our 2 month mark here in Washington.  I’m anxious to find our next fixer upper house.  Right now we’re in Federal Way between Seattle and Tacoma in a rental house.  (A rental house we can’t refurbish furniture at or run a business from.  I’m going a little crazy.)  

The newness is wearing off.  It’s always busy here with a large population (as expected), but you don’t really understand until you’re living inside and become one of the many.  Blending in with people of varying backgrounds.  It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time.  

Then there’s also a view of Mount Rainier from many of the areas we find ourselves which never fails to take our breaths away.  I’m known to ask why people in the other cars aren’t amazed-there’s a freaking mountain over there.  Or our drives to the Puget Sound with its spectacular water views (and real estate wowza) and there are those times where we’re hanging with my sis-in-law in Seattle.  She works and lives close to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.  I find myself saying hey to both institutions.  I literally say hi.  Just so happy.  I love it here.

I’m obsessed with house hunting.  I’ve been researching and planning part of our future which involves rental income properties and another house to remodel.  To reach this, we soon need to find a place with potential in a desirable location…proving difficult.  

We met with our real estate agent a few weeks ago to peruse Tacoma.  She is wonderful and knowledgeable…our agent and the city.  It didn’t take long to fall in love with Seattle and Tacoma. They are laid-back with a small town feel but you don’t forget you’re in an urban, forward-looking, progressive locale.  There’s also nostalgia with nuance.  A pleasing, comfortable vibe…even when the fifth person asks you for money in an hour or person talking to themselves starts to yell at you or when a street performer completely embarrasses you in their juggling act (ahem).  There’s just something about it here.  

Back to the real estate though.

Greg and I are open for a house in Tacoma or Seattle.  That’s a pretty big spread and we’re still struggling.  A big issue with all of this is the cost (it’s very expensive and we don’t know how most people afford it)…then there’s the quality factor.

People live in conditions we can’t wrap our brains around-whether it be filthy, gross conditions the owner or tenant keep the house or the home’s structure.  Gross can typically be cleaned, but structure would take some doing and more moolah.

The roof is falling in and leaks, the house is sinking, you can’t actually use the 1/2 story upstairs, the stairs are too steep or built in such a way that leaves the upstair’s layout unusable.   You can’t stand up in the basement, you have to walk outside to get to the basement and that’s where the washer/dryer are or maybe the electrical box is located on the exterior of the house, the garage (if there is one) doesn’t seem safe to be in…things of that nature.  

You can have one section of a neighborhood be great then drive a smidge down the street and have the completely opposite condition.  There are various styles and ages of homes in the same neighborhood at various levels of maintenance.  It’s tricky to figure out decent from not-so-decent here which sounds strange, I know.  

These have been houses in our price range making it a bummer thus far.  Often the house location does not make it profitable either or you’ll be fighting other investors who make…you know…those crappy, cheaply remodeled interiors that don’t address the problems, instead masking it with shiny-yet-still bland finishes.  We’ve considered fixing what they’ve done, but there’s not been an ideal candidate for it.  

I never lose hope though.  Not when I have mountains and water to look at.