It has been almost a year since we moved into our first house as husband and wife. And, just like us dating, it was not love at first sight with this house. It has taken some time to fall in love with. To be honest, I just wanted to get into a house. I knew something bizarre was going on with my job (I was laid off just a few weeks after the house purchase) and I wanted to get into something while we still qualified and the houses were cheap.
With Jeff having no opinion whatsoever on where we lived, that left it all up to up to me, and I needed to find something quickly. (Jeff said he didn't care if we lived in a cardboard box as long as we were together. Sweet, but I actually believe him, which is kind of scary.) He spent most of my house hunting nights at home watching 'the game.'
After multiple offers on tons of houses, ones I didn't really like and ones I cried when we lost, we finally had an offer for a house accepted! I was relieved, but not thrilled. This isn't exactly my dream house, but it was a house, and the mortgage was right around what we were paying for rent. This was success in my book.
Before we could move in, we had to get some things cleaned up and in habitable condition. This was not a well taken care of foreclosure after all. Below is the "before."
First thing to go was the floors. We had the upstairs carpet cleaned until we could afford to replace it and Jeff and his brother Spencer took out the flooring downstairs. There was just no saving it.
While the floor was out we painted the walls, then we put some wood laminate and tile floors down in the living room and kitchen respectively. These would not have been my first choice, but they were economical ones, and I really love the way they turned out. The yellow and brown tones really warm up the house. My favorite part was replacing the base boards. I didn't think such a small change would make such a big difference.
Normally I would like to live in a place a bit before painting, to see what the light was like throughout the day, but we did everything before we moved in. After we painted the blue I was a bit frightened. It looked so cold and too much like a nursery room color at the same time. We called it "iceberg blue" for a while. It needed more black/gray tones, but after a few months of living with it, the color started to grow on me.
Most people would think I should be afraid of the green in the kitchen instead of the blue, but I instantly loved it once it was on the wall. Jeff is actually responsible for this color. I gave him the choice between two greens, the current bright green and a more subtle green. I am so glad I went with his choice of bright green. I almost chickened out a couple times, even sitting at Ace Hardware for a good half hour trying to decide if I was going to change up the color at the last minute. Again, I'm very glad I didn't.
I like the colors we chose because if people never saw the owners of the house they would know young people lived here. It is a good reminder for me too, we are young and our house should be fun. There is plenty of time for class and elegance down the road.
Over the last year I slowly decorated, picking up pieces from Salvation Army and dragging things out of boxes from the garage (very limited budget with Jeffery still in school). There is still a list of things that I want to do, but I have come to the conclusion that there will always be more to do. There will also always be limitations. We have committed ourselves to spending under a certain amount on any renovations that we make to this house. After all, this is our starter house and we do not plan to be here for too long, no need to make any big investments. Especially in Vegas, during the state of the current market.
That said, here is my wish list for the down stairs:
Granite counter top for the kitchen island,
Cute cafe curtains for the kitchen window,
Microwave mounted above the stove, and
Herringbone marble subway tiles for the backsplash.
Nicer TV stand (not just my old dressers painted brown, maybe something that is actually wood and not pressed board),
Brown carpet tiles for an area rug,
Pair of unique antique chairs to replace the Salvation Army finds,
Round glass kitchen table from Crate & Barrel w/ upholstered dinning chairs.
(right now we use our craigslist coffee table as our dinning table, classy.)
Bamboo & Shrubbery
I know this list will never come to fruition, but it is in my dreams. This will be put on hold for at least another year. Up next on the list? Tackling the upstairs. Most likely after that, everything will be put on hold for things like diapers and cute little knitted booties. So I have 90% resigned myself to letting this list go. Having it pried away one finger at a time.
For now, I am still falling in love with this house. After all, this is the house that will get us through Jeffery's school years and hopefully even graduate school. This is the house in which we will bring our first baby home to. This is our first home together. I am so grateful that we get to share this house, whether it is perfect or not, I know we are blessed. Sometimes I actually just sit downstairs and am amazed that this little 1400 sq ft place is our home, all ours, it's were we find peace and love.