Friday, January 28, 2011

House Hunting: Bungalow

The third house we looked at was so charming in the pictures, JEGs and I fell in love with it before we even saw it.

The Stats:
Built: 1927
Style: Two Story Bungalow
Beds/Baths: 3  1/1
Sq Ft: 1,423
Garage:  Yes

When you entered the house from the front door, you were greeted with the most charming living room/ dining room ever.

again, I had to steal some pictures from Trend.  I FAIL at picture taking.

Um... those floors, you guys?  AND THOSE BUILT INS????   I died.  Right there.  There was even a charming pattern between the two rooms

The kitchen was directly off of the dining room

Ok, here is a fun game I like to play.  It's called Where The Hell Is The Fridge?  It's really a personal favorite of mine.

The kitchen was so tiny that the previous owners had to keep it in the mudroom, which was located beyond the doorway next to the stove.  Because the previous owners had taken the fridge with them, it took me a couple passes through the kitchen to realize there wasn't one in the house.

Next to the kitchen was a sun room addition. 

Although we liked the breakfast bar and the idea of a sun room, JEGs and I felt like we could probably turn this into one big kitchen area and reunite the fridge with the rest of it's appliance brothers.

The downstairs hosted a full sized bathroom that was still in pretty good shape

This is what I love about looking at older homes-- finding random things like flip out storage under the sink.  I've never seen this before.

Two bedrooms were also located on the first floor, however one of them had been turned into a den.  The bigger of the two would have been good for a guest room.

The master bedroom was located on the second floor.  I suspect it was originally an attic, but they converted it to a master bedroom with an added office area. They did install skylights to make the room feel airier.

There was even a half bath conveniently located in the bedroom

However, we ran into a slight problem.

Sir JEGs could not stand upstairs.  Hell, I even had a problem if I went too far to the left or right.

The layout

 Hello??  Did you not see the living room and dining room?  I bet I could have the  Youngsters drooling with envy over that set up.

Charm GAH. LORE.  I really felt like I could make this house worthy of the name "Falconhead Cottage".

Very large garage and driveway for JEGs to tinker with his vehicles. 

It was  located on a corner lot on a cul-de-sac, so we had a large yard with a good amount of privacy.

That kitchen.  That will be a major undertaking and something we will have to save up for at least a year.

JEGs physically could not stand up in the master bedroom.  We have the option of building a dormer so we can have a regular ceiling, but that will also take some saving of the pennies.  Until then, we would have to live in the downstairs bedrooms and have our bed in one room and our dressers in another room.

Location.  This home was located a little further north they we really wanted to go.  It's still doable, but it is adding to my daily commute to work.

Regardless of the cons, we did really like the house and the potential it held.  It's staying on the list, but there are still a couple properties we'd like to take a look at.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For the love of HOVAS

I'm not going to beat around the bush: we need a new couch.

The couch we have now is from a set I purchased from American Signature Furniture, back when they were still "Rooms Today".

It was the first piece of furniture I ever bought myself, and I got the couch, chair and ottoman shipped to my apartment for $773.77.  Don't believe me?  I still have a copy of the check.  It's dated July 14, 2007.

I was so proud of myself because I saved up for months to buy this set.  I loved the elegant curve of the arms.  I loved the neutral yet interesting texture of the fabric.  I LOVED the comfort and depth of the chair

When I purchased it, it was just me and my roommate JD; we are both teeny girls, so we could lay down on the couch and still have a good amount of room.

Then I moved in with JEGs, and the height became and issue

The seating area is only 5'7.  I'll spare you the math-- he doesn't fit.  We also like to lay on the couch together (aww, newlyweds) and with our current couch I am either half on the floor, or he is smooshed up against the back.  It just doesn't work.

One Sunday morning, we set out on a voyage to find a new sofa.  We had $250 set aside, hydrated ourselves, packed some snacks and mapped out every thrift store and consignment shop in a 20 mile radius.  However, for kicks and giggles we stopped at IKEA first.

There she was.  The HOVAS.

She was everything we wanted- Neutral color.  Classic shape.  Removable slip cover. Ten year warranty.  A seating area of eighty-four inches.

Her price tag: $499.  Double what we had budgeted.

So we made a decision;  instead of having instant gratification and buying a sofa second-hand, we would save up and purchase our dear HOVAS when we moved into our new home.  Now, one of the first questions we asking while out house-hunting is "Will HOVAS fit?"

What do you guys think, did we make the right choice to wait?  Any feedback on this particular couch?

Always & Forever,

Monday, January 24, 2011

House Hunting: Rancher

The second house we looked at was a complete 180 from the duplex  This house was about 85% remodeled and ready to move in.

The Stats:
Built: 1955
Style: One Story Rancher
Beds/Baths: 3  1/0
Sq Ft: 1,120
Garage: No (Carport)

There wasn't anyone living in the home, but you could tell they took the time to have the home staged.  When you first walked in, you were in a generously sized living room with a lot of natural light.

some of the pictures I had to steal from Trend's website because I forgot to take pictures like this.  FAIL.
 The kitchen was in good shape and came with stainless steel appliances.  It could have used updating, but it was totally workable the way it was now.  I really loved the bead boarding.

There were three bedrooms, each one of them a good size to fit at least a daybed or twin bed.

Oh... and the original hardwood floors?  Love them.  Completely refinished, and apparently they do run throughout the entire house (aka, in the living room too).

The master bedroom was really big, and could have easily accommodated all of our furniture

It appears the updating of the home stopped midway through the bathroom.  We have a new sink and toilet, but the original grey and pink tiles were still intact.

Pink soap holder, toilet paper holder and towel bar-- now that's dedication to a color.

 And because I know you are all suckers for a diagram (like me), here is the general floor plan of the house:

 Basically this house was exactly what I wanted.  I love the idea of a rancher, and this is in much better shape then I thought we could afford.

The neighborhood is very quaint and quiet, with sidewalks.   I know it sounds weird, but I love neighborhoods with sidewalks-- probably because the area I grew up in didn't have them.

A nice yard with a covered patio that is already fenced in. ( I didn't take pictures because it was like 23 degrees the day we looked at this house and I just wanted to get inside).

No garage, but there was a carport that JEGs could possibly close in.

I absolutely, positively hate the layout of the kitchen, and I'm not even sure of how to fix it without loosing a window in the kitchen.

If we do close in the carport, the windows in the kitchen will look out into the garage. 

Although our backyard and front yard are a good size, we are very close to our neighbors on the sides.

No half bath for guest, and not really any place to put one.

The issues on our cons list are definitely not deal breakers.  We really liked this house and, as JEGs says,  we "are putting a pin in it".

Stick around, we've got more houses to look at!

Always & Forever,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Murphy's Law

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Just and JEGs and I had finally finished paying off my Jeep and feeling really good about our financial situation, this goes and happens

Some dude ran into the back of me while JEGs and I were stopped at a traffic light.  Thumbs down.

Luckily, the other driver's insurance is covering all the repairs and a rental car for me while it's in the shop.  Unfortunately, we aren't sure if my dear Sasha is going to make it out alive.  The mechanic told me that due to the age of the car, there might be more work then what the car is worth.

Obviously, he doesn't realize she is priceless to me.

So while we are waiting to hear about the fate of the Jeep, I am zipping around in a Hyundai Accent.  Hopefully we will hear good news soon, I don't know if we could swing a mortgage payment AND a car payment at the same time.

Have a good weekend!!

Always & Forever,

Update!  The repair shop called and informed us that the Jeep is salvagable!!  I have also traded in that craptastic Accent for a Kia Forte.  It's kinda sexxy.  Ok, really sexxy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

House Hunting: Duplex

Our first house we really looked at was... interesting.  To say the least.

Here are the stats:
Built: 1931
Style: One story/ Bungalow
Beds/Baths: 3  2/0
Sq Ft: 1400
Garage: 2

The house used to be a duplex and had been passed down through a family.  About 25 years ago, the current owner renovated it to a single family home.  I use that turn 'renovate' loosely.

When you first walk in, you are in what they were using as a dining room

The opened door behind my real estate agent leads down to one of the two basements.
The kitchen was directly off of the dining room.  It was small, but it could probably fit a small table

The incredibly pink bathroom was directly next to the kitchen.  Other then the Pepto Bismol color, it was in really good shape

Directly off of the dining room was the living room-- that had two closets.  I have a feeling that when it was a duplex there was a wall there and those used to be two bedrooms.

Don't be jealous, but that television comes with the house.  Bonus...??

The room on the other side of the living room was the owners master bedroom

It's hard to tell, but see that small rug on the floor?  That is where the door to the second basement is.

The small room off of the bedroom was being used as a den/office/closet

this dude had a thing for shelving. 

Anyone who has ever been house hunting can attest that you find some interesting stuff in other people's houses.  We were in one of the garages checking out the storage, and look what our agent, Kim, stumbled upon.

Nudie pictures.  Lots and lots of nudie pictures.   Hysterical.
Anyway, back to the house tour.  Confused yet?   Yeah, it's a little strange of a layout.  Here is a diagram-- I love diagrams

In a perfect world, this would be a good set up- you have master bedroom that has a door that leads out to a private porch.  The "den" could be turned into a killer walk in closet, and you have a full master bath attached.  Pretty cool, right?

There are two major problems for me
 1.  There is a door to the basement/garage in your bedroom.
 2. You can't get to bedroom #2 without going through the master bedroom.

But then JEGs and I got to thinking: 

What if we turned it back into a duplex?  We could live on one side and rent the other side out?

So we came up with this diagram:

We would reconstruct the wall in the current living room and create two bedrooms.  The den/office would be converted back to a kitchen.  Each side has their own private entrance, a garage and a basement.  The money we made from the rental could be saved and used towards the purchase of our next home.  Also, when we decided to move, we wouldn't have to sell the house-- we could just rent out the other side. Plus, with all these renovations going on, I've got blog material for the next 4 years!

There are, of course, some cons to this idea.  First off, it's going to take a lot of money. Not only build a firewall between the two apartments, but also to put in all new flooring (that carpet was nasty) and also install an entire kitchen on the rental side.  There is also no guarantee that we will have renters for the property.

Also, it will be a sacrifice for space.  Right now we are crammed into 900 sq ft, and this will only give us 700 sq ft.  However, we will have a second bedroom for guests, and a basement for storage.

In high school JEGs worked for a fellow named Mike who owned his own construction/renovation company.  JEGs said he could work magic with a hammer and some nails so we asked him to take a look at the house and give us a ballpark estimate on the cost of repairs.

He took one look at the house and told us to run.  Run far, far, away.

Beyond the simple repairs that we wanted to (new floors, new kitchen, new wall, etc) this house had code violations left and right.  He told us that if the house passed inspection (big IF), we were looking at another 75-90K just to bring it to 2011 code.  He also told us he thought the house was overpriced by at least $100,000.
As much as I wanted to breath some new life into this cottage, JEGs and I decided it was just too much to take on as our first home and we have decided to walk away.

There are plenty more fish in the sea, and we've got our fishin' poles!

Always & Forever,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feels Like the First Time

Well, it's offical.  JEGs and I have decided to loose our virginity. 

Our property virginity, that is.  (where was your mind, you dirty bird?)
We are offically house hunting

This place looks quaint.  Think it is in our price range?


This is our absolute must have list:
3 bedrooms
1 bathroom (at least.  I don't do port-a-potties)
Garage or room to build a garage
Parking for 3 cars (whether it be driveway or street parking)
No Townhouses or Condos.

We are looking in our general area that we live now (King of Prussia, Blue Bell, Plymouth Meeting, East Norriton).  Access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike is clutch.

We've got a great real estate agent, Kim, on our side.  She has promised to be gentle .

Now, as anyone who has ever house hunted before knows, this will not happen overnight.  I have made a promise to not sugar-coat this experience for you guys.  I plan to show you every promising property and (god forbid) every crushing blow.

Alrighty then.. let's start the auditions for Falconhead Cottage!

Always & Forever,

image stolen from here

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's the Most Busiest Time of the Year.

Sooo hey guys.  What's up?  Anything exciting happen the past three weeks or so?

I mean, other then Christmas and New Years?

Oh hell, who am I kidding-- that's the ONLY thing that has happened to me in the past three weeks.

I'm going to let the Almighty Google Maps paint you a story of my holiday:

Christmas Eve:
driving home, to work, to my parents house, back to home
Christmas Day
Driving from home, to Momma & Poppa G's, to my parent's house, back home
December 26th
home, to Justin's grandfather's house, it started to snow, back home
So in under 48 hours, we drove over 300 miles.  The Jeep was tired. 

My holiday was fantastic however.  Our family's were more then generous-  we received many gift cards, a table top grill, I got some fantastic boots and  new GPS and JEGs is excitedly playing with his new blue tooth kit for his car.  Momma G also gifted us a blanket that is so warm and cozy, I have been dragging it around like Linus from Peanuts.  I also ate so much that my yoga pants were tight the next day. 

Now onto New Years.

I was on the night shift for most of the week, except Friday (New Years Eve).  When I do a night shift to a day shift, I'll spend the night at the office and let's be honest; it's not quality sleep.  I'm sleeping on a couch with a huge divot in the middle.  As soon as I got home from work, I had enough time to shower, change and then we headed out to Lancaster to spend New Years with our good friends Mike and Mandy.  I dressed in a fabulous blue dress (that Manders and I are now dubbing "Kate Middleton Blue") and we headed out to paint Lancaster City a pretty shade of red. 

I drank some champagne.  I danced.  Mandy and I found Mike a girl to talk to.  I had a four cosmos.  Between the alcohol and the severe lack of sleep, I was so drunk I sprained my ankle on the way home.  So diva.

JEGs and I spent New Years Day recovering, but hosted a family dinner on January 2nd.  His parents and grandmother, my parents and my brothers, my sisters-in-law and my nieces and nephew were all invited over to enjoy a delicious meal of ham, deviled eggs, pineapple stuffing, cole slaw, sweet potatoes, and topped off with peaches and cream or Momma G's famous Better Then Sex cake for dessert.

At this point I have decided  that it is not that I have gained weight, it's that every single pair of pants I own has somehow shrank in the wash.  It's the only reasonable explanation.

Most people's holidays would be over by now.  But not ours.

JEGs' family is Ukrainian Orthodox, so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th.  So that Friday the family gathered at Momma and Poppa G's house to eat the most wonderful dinner of MumMum's home made pierogies (please do not mention the name Mrs. T's in this residence ;), smitona, hulubski, paska and a bunch of other amazing Ukrainian food that I'm sure I will spell incorrectly.  MumMum sent home a bag of her pierogies, and we aren't sharing them with any of you suckkas.

But wait.. there's more.

Every year my friends and I get together and have a Nasty Santa party.  It's basically an excuse for us to get together, drink too much and give each other inappropriate gifts- past years have included a ball gag, a DVD of gay porn, and an enema.  This year it is scheduled for January 15th, and I somehow got roped into hosting it.  So while you have sung your carols and packed away your Christmas decorations, mine are still up and lit. 

My 12 Days of Christmas have turned into 21.

But that being said, I do have about six post already written that I cannot wait to share with everyone (including a resolutions update).  I hope you all had a wonderful and safe (and shorter) holiday season!

Ho Ho...zzzzz,