Monday, November 2, 2009

Hey good lookin'

So, in order to avoid the frustration/heartache/ugh-iness of the Eastway house, I have waited to start a house blog. But hark! We have have now owned our very own first home since October 23. So let the blogging commence. For the stats, this is in fact our very first home. It's a modest ranch in a section of unicorporated Decatur, Georgia. The house was built in 1955, and it has about 1000 square feet upstairs, which includes three bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a semi-open concept dining/living/kitchen area. The house also has a mostly finished basement that is about the same square footage as the upstairs, with two bedrooms and a full bathroom, as well as a kitchen (with a sink and cabinets but no appliances for now). We bought the house using a grant program called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which gave us a $14,000 grant to use for our down payment. If we stay in the house for six years, we get to keep those funds. Woot! If not, we pay the money back on a graduated scale. But hopefully the six years won't be a problem. We are also getting our $8000 first time homebuyer tax credit, which will mostly go to cover the cost of our new roof and our new fridge. But that's OK. We still feel like we are coming out on top. And the old roof leaks and the old fridge smelled weird and seemed to have mouse poo in the freezer. Which is really weird, since I don't understand how a mouse could be living in a freezer and pooping in it.

The only information we know about the house is gleaned from the few neighbors we've met, and all of the bizarre things that we have encountered so far. The house was a foreclosure, so it's not like we could chat with the former owners and find out about the little quirks, like the fact that our living room light (spiffy and new from IKEA) has to be shut on and off via the breaker because some dingleberry didn't wire it to the switch on the wall. That being said, we found out that the house was being used as a rental property, which is not surprising given the neighborhood has a fair amount of rentals (sigh) but is surprising considering the weirdness that we are running into now.

When we first looked at this house both online and in person, we thought it looked BIZARRE. Someone had painted the windows on the front of the house with stripes and flowers and other hippy dippy stuff. The landscaping is totally bonkers, with a huge banana tree in the middle of the yard and weird Christmas tree looking hedges along the driveway. And it got even weirder inside. The smallest of the upstairs bedroom was covered in purple paint and foam stickers of flowers and dinosaurs. The largest bedroom was a pale purple with flower decals and a painted border along one wall that read "Isabella" and had a sequence of images including hearts, yin yangs, doggie foot prints, suns, etc. The windows were painted with a floral pattern. The third bedroom was a purple shade in between the others and had a tree painted on one of the windows.

The kitchen featured more artistic flair, with weird stripes and flowers and checkerboard patterns on one wall of the white laminate cabinets. The drawer pulls and knobs were supposed to look like aged hammered copper and the countertops were some kind of green mess that looked like it might be trying to be marble...? The dining room had a totally weird light fixture with glass balls, a metal cage bowl, foil wrapped cords and loops of green ribbon finishing it off. The living room was OK, but the walls were painted an icky sherbet green and the front window was painted with stripes. There was also a large mirror on one wall that had some chips on the edges.

In the basement, things are OK, but the ugly countertops are down there, coupled with ugly cabinets and weird light fixtures. There is dirty berber style carpet in the two bedrooms that has apparently been glued directly onto the floor (ugh). There is a fun green door down there that leads to the backyard and features an awesome guitar shape. That we like. As for the other stuff, I'm not going to get started down there until things upstairs are more under control.

To date, the house is already looking much better. It's stressful to think about how much is left to do, but it's mostly cosmetic. The only structural problem is that we need a new roof. The roofers are coming on Wednesday of this week to get started. About two weeks after they are done, we'll fix the ceilings in several of the upstairs rooms that have sustained some water damage from the leaky roof. We don't really mind this issue, since it's not as big of a deal as the issues with the first house we had under contract (which would also have been an extra $400 a month in payments...yikes). So yes, aside from the roof, we have been doing a lot of painting. We ended up using Ralph Lauren colors, but only because we just could not find what we were looking for withe Behr, and because we opened a Home Depot card when we bought the paint, we got 10% off, which took us close to the price of the Behr paint. We still have to paint some of the trim, the kitchen has to be totally painted, and so does the hall. We have not done much unpacking and have boxes everywhere, and there are no window treatments up. I tried putting up Roman shades that I found at Target (on clearance of course) but the window frames are metal, so I've got to reevaluate that idea. We have taken all of the paint off of the windows, and the cabinets are about halfway done being stripped. It is extremely tiring and tedious to clean the cabinets. Several people have helped me with it (thanks) and it still takes almost an hour to do one cabinet. Ugh. People, DON'T PAINT WEIRD STUFF ON YOUR CABINETS. Someone will hate you later. Oh, and back to the weird stuff, Justin found a lock of hair next to a key in the backyard by the door during the inspection of the house, and in our first few days of getting started with the clean up, he found a tooth. A human tooth. AHHHH!

OK, I'm exhausted. But I'll try to post the "before photos" before I pass out.


  1. Just a tip -you can color match anything in Behr...I have them match Benjamin Moore colors all the time. Just use that handy little swatch they will scan it and color match and then you save $$$.

    Good luck with the remodel! That kitchen is INSANE.

  2. Thanks for the tip! I'm guessing it's our new homeowner-ness that led us to believe the Lowes paint counter lady who told us that the colors wouldn't look as good if we matched them. Lesson learned. I'm really glad to hear that they come out nicely. Consumer Reports rates Behr paint really well.

    And yes, that kitchen is insane. Can you image being a renter and thinking it's OK to do that to your kitchen?? Ugh.

    I can't believe you looked at my blog. That's so exciting.