Monday, October 29, 2018

Selling Falconhead Cottage

On June 28, 2018 JEGs and I sat in a conference room in Conshohoken and handed over the keys of Falconhead Cottage to the new owners.  They were a young, newly engaged couple excited to buy their first house.  The settlement was filled with questions about utilities, neighbors, laughter, beer and surprisingly no tears (I was damn proud of myself for not crying).

How did we get to this point?  Well, we always knew this was a starter home, and after our daughter was born it was clear that our time (and the space) was running short.  In October 2017 we has started softly looking at bigger homes, testing out who was going to win the right to be named Falconhead Estate, but we were unsure if our house would sell.  In February 2018, someone in our neighborhood Facebook group said their cousin loved this neighborhood and was hoping to purchase in the neighborhood, was anyone selling their house.  JEGs and I thought, what the heck?  Let's have this chick over to see our house.   She made an offer, and months passed while we negotiated back and forth.  In the time we were negotiating the Eagles won the Super Bowl, JEGs' grandmother passed away, it snowed A LOT and I had breast reduction surgery (I'll tell you about that another time).  We couldn't come to an agreement with this woman, but JEGs and I started to think that maybe we could get this house sold.  

So we made the decision to finish up a couple small projects, move anything we didn't need for the next three months into a storage unit and put up a FOR SALE sign in the yard during the second week of May.  Three days and four offers later, we were under contract.  Let the packing begin.

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We were very lucky to have the ability to move in with my in-laws while we search for our next home.  All of our things are in a storage unit and we currently live in a house built by my husband's grandfather where my mother-in-law grew up and my husband grew up.  It's a small town in Chester County, Pennsylvania and the neighbor has a rooster that crows all.  day.  long.   This city girl is struggling.  Also, I have never seen a real live chipmunk before I came to Chester County.  They are cute as hell and I want one for a pet.  

Anyway, I thought I would do an official "Before" and "After" post.  Without further ado, I present the most finished version of Falconhead that we were going to do:

Here is a refresher of what we bought:
more bushes than a 70's porno
 We ripped out pretty much every single bush/tree there was and listed it on Craiglists.  I planted three hydrangea bushes and it opened up the porch.

The backyard was pretty much unseen on the blog, which is a shame because it was huge for the area.  We had taken down a tree, filled in all the holes the  previous owner's dog had dug and added a small shed and swing set for the kids.

Living Room

In the summer of 2017 we finally made the choice to replace all the flooring in the main level.  It was originally the cheapest carpet Lowes had to offer and a kitchen full of cracked grout and cracked tiles.  I HATED it.  JEGs installed laminate floors throughout in a honey oak to match the original hardwood that ran upstairs.  He also ripped out the entire landing that was patched together with 2x4's and plywood and expanded it with real hardwood.


One of the most dramatic changes, I think, is the kitchen. We painted the walls in Spring 2012, but when we replaced the floors, we also painted the cabinets, replaced the hardware and my vision of moving that stupid island finally came to fruition.  We added wainscoting to the island to add interest and JEGs installed an electrical outlet on the island.  Not shown:  the amazeballs sliding shelves he built for each side of the cabinets in the island.  LIFE CHANGING YOU GUYS.  I want all my shelves to slide now.

See that sexxxxay fridge?  JEGs bought that off Craigslist for $250 because it didn't work.  He snagged a part off Amazon and had it working in a jiffy.  We sold our previous fridge for $250, so it was basically a wash.  I miss that fridge like woah.


A little bit of paint, new floors and some cabinets and BOOM- transformation.  I wish I could say that it was that easy but this floor was so unlevel, JEGs still can't talk about it with out cussing.


Some of you may remember that when we first moved in, this small room at the top of the steps was used as my walk-in closet.  Then we got the shocking news that we were pregnant, and it quickly became our son's nursery.  When our daughter was born, it got a girly make-over.  


When we first moved into this house, this bedroom was storage.  We added a couch and tried to pretend like it was a man cave/playroom, but if I am being honest, it was just a place to shove our crap.  When the little lady was born, we made it a big boy room.  It was probably one of my favorite rooms.  JEGs bust out the closet, dry walled it and install bi-fold doors.  He made a radiator cover and added quarter round throughout the whole room.  This room got so much light during the day;  sometimes I would just sit on his bed and marvel at how this turned out.


I mean, that blue, right?  LAWDY I hated that color.  One of our last minute pushes to sell the house we decided to to replace the sink top and faucet as well as switch out the medicine cabinet with an IKEA mirror.  We added some shelves over the toilet and done.  


Oh this bedroom. We pulled this shit together in the eleventh hour to list the house.  If you remember, we had hung two rods in the nook area to expand our closet since the original closet was not big enough for use to use functionally.   We had plans of creating an entire all of closets, but it never happened.  So instead we decided to create a medicine closet in the storage space (you can kind of see it peeking out behind the bedroom door, and then JEGs built a custom closet system to house all our hanging clothes and shoes.  My parents gave us a dresser they were keeping in the garage and we slid that into the nook area and paired it with a circular mirror.   JEGs also built a radiator cover and bookshelf for added character and storage. I was a little upset we waited as long as we did to make these upgrades, because it improved the functionality of this room 100%.

This post has served as a "letting go", if you will.  Selling this home and moving was very emotional for me; I still have bouts of feeling home sick.  While we are so very luck that we were able to move in with my in-laws, this is not our home and I miss feeling of being settled at home.  But I am excited to find the next house;  after all the lessons we learned as homeowners in our previous house we have a must-have list a mile long.  Maybe I will even blog about house hunting again ;)

So farewell to you Falconhead Cottage.  You were our home for seven years, two months and twenty one days. I hope the new owners have as many joyous memories as we did.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The State of My Living Room

At one point, this is what my living room looked like: a dorm room full of hand-me-down furniture.

I kept saying I was going to refinish the side table, coffee table, and chair when the weather got warmer.  Well, time passed and I finally decided to get to gettin'.

I decided to start with the side table.   Let me tell you, I had a devil of a time finding a table to fit this area.  Our couch is very deep, the space between the couch and wall is not very wide and I needed storage, so I was looking for something very specific.  I had been scouring Craigslist and thrift stores to no avail.

One day I was paruzzing Target's website (like I do pretty much every day) and I stumbled upon this little gem

Even though it was technically a console table, if I turned it to the side, the length and width were basically exactly what I was looking for.  I showed it to JEGs, and at  first he was all "I can build that" and I said "...ok, but WILL you build it" and he bascially said "eeehhh... let's order it".

I love it when he lets me do what I want.

I used my Target RedCard and got an extra 5% off and free shipping so I knocked the price down to about $53 and some change shipped.  Boom.

Because of the price, we were hesitant about it, but we were pleasantly surprised that this table is 100% real wood, and it's pretty solid.  Our only beef was it was too tall, and we didn't like how low the shelf was.  JEGs took the saw to the legs and lobbed off a couple of inches to make it a better height for our couch.  Since the shelf was only held up with brackets, we moved it up to a little more

Like I said, this is made of legit wood, you guys!

For about six months we kept it the natural wood.  I liked the lightness of it, but my plans for the chair and the coffee table are to go lighter and I felt like something needed to balance out the darkness of the stairs and fireplace.  Andplusalso, the natural wood seemed to blend into the couch and rug.  I wanted it to pop some more.

The coffee table and chair were the same color, and  even though I didn't plan for them to stay that color, I did really like the tone of the stain.  I stopped at Lowes and snagged  a small can of Minwax stain.  I don't know what makes it sooooooo  much better than the other walnuts out there, but it's schuper schpecial.

After pouring myself the necessary glass of Cabernet, I got down to it.  Normally I would recommend doing this outside, but I am impatient and decided to stain in the kitchen on a Friday night.  Since we had been using it for about six months as is, I gave it a good sanding to scrub off all the gunk it had acquired.  I opened all the windows for ventilation and put the table on a piece of cardboard.

 The directions mention it can be left on between 5-15 minutes before wiping, but I opted for the lesser time to control the color.

It only took about two coats (three coats in some spots) but I am really happy with the outcome.

 The shelf is perfect for holding our "snuggle blanket" along with a pile of my magazines (that one day I will hopefully get to read).  We also have a little box that corrals all of our coasters and remotes.

Underneath we have enough space to tuck in three IKEA SAMLA containers of Hunter's cars, LEGOs and other various toys.

One down... two more to go...

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Tour 2015

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We have nothing coming up in the next two weeks, and I am totally ok with this.  We are  rounding out three weeks of insanity with me working at the chopper, holiday parties, my cousin visiting for a week, lots of drinking, more chopper work and the holidays. Not to mention Hunter, Tessa and I have been passing around a cold back and forth for two weeks.

We had a great holiday-  Hunter was totally spoiled by Santa and family, as was Tessa.  Christmas Eve was spent at my parents house for a big turkey dinner and gift exchange with my family.  JEGs made the most amazeballs cannolis from scratch.  When we got home, Hunter was super psyched to put out cookies and milk for Santa.

Tessa was trying to snatch the cookies for herself...

Christmas morning Hunter tore through his gifts and then we headed over to my in-laws where Hunter opened 29479274287 more gifts and I cooked my first Christmas dinner. It was also my turn to have the head cold, so that was awesome.

 Ya'll I am tired.  JEGs and I don't have anything planned for New Year's Eve except a steak dinner and maybe a bottle of red wine.  I can't even promise I'll make it to midnight.

This is me, firmly planted in my 30s.

Anyway, I thought I would do a quick holiday tour of the house.  We keep the decorations up until January 8th; my mom always did for Three Kings Day, but also JEGs' family celebrates Ukrainian Christmas on January 7th.

The outside got the usual garland strung from the porch and lights around the trees.  I took this picture the week before Christmas when our neighborhood did a luminaries night.

Mother Nature was brutal to my decorations this year.  We haven't had any snow, but it has been super windy, so I have been collecting my decorations from my neighbor's driveway daily.  

I added some seasonal throw pillows to our rocking chairs.  The HO HO HO pillow came from the Dollar Spot at Target a couple years ago and the buffalo plaid pillow came from Joann's this year.  The bigger pillows I made years ago from a table cloth.

I snagged a galvanized bucket from the Dollar Spot this year and added some burlap and satin ribbon.  My mom and I got clippings from a tree farm for free, so I arranged  them to the bucket.

My trusty vintage sled is propped up next to the mail box and I planted poinsettias in the pot with more free clippings to fill in.

The mantel got a little bit of a make under this year.  Instead of swagging the garland in the front, I sat it back behind everything. Some candle sticks and faux trees anchored the space.

This year I wanted it to be all about the stockings.  Since we got to add a fourth stocking this year for Tessa, I had to retire my JOY stocking holders.  

Pottery Barn had this really sweet Santa sleigh and reindeer set that I loved, but at $40 per stocking holder, I was having a hard time making the commitment.  Then I found these adorable reindeer holders at Target for $10 each and I was sold. 

The red ornaments from years past were retired and new gold (shatter proof) ornaments took their place on our tree along side our wood and felt (unbreakable ornaments).

I did add a new ornament to commemorate our family trip to Maine at the end of August

More garland up the banister.  I love me some twinkle lights.

When I was finished decorating the living room, I had a bunch of stuff left over that I really love but didn't have a place for; my twine trees, Justin's favorite Ark of the Covenant deer and my manger set.  The only answer was to set them all on the buffet with some more free clippings.

 I added the chalkboard behind it because I was feeling sassy.  That's just how I do.  Feelin' sassy, add a chalkboard. 

I hope your New Years is as eventful or uneventful as you hoped.  

From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

Always & Forever,