Welp, we've been moved-in for a little over a month now. I've been wanting to record what we were able to accomplish in September, before we moved in. Here's a list and some photos!
Electrical - When we had the house inspected, we found out the house was running off of two panels. One was outdated, original to the house. The other was pretty small, not enough to power the whole house. As part of our buying contract, the seller had an electrician put in a brand new panel to bring the home up to code. However, there were still some things that needed to be done to make the house more livable for us. My parents were so generous to come out and help. My dad and James were able to work some magic to do these updates without even tearing out any drywall. Here's what they did:
- Ran modern, grounded wiring to outlets in the living room and master bedroom
- Reworked the garage lighting and electrical situation so that it was safer
- Ran a 220 down to the basement for our electric dryer
- Installed GFCI outlets in the kitchen and bathroom
- Replaced and repaired any broken outlets
Yard - We are so pleased with the size of our yard, and with the yummy fruit growing on our trees. However, the house had been vacant since early spring, so the yard was a huge mess. My in-laws came to the rescue and made some huge clean-up progress in the yard. James and I (and Joah!) helped out a bit too. We aren't so concerned about aesthetics at this point, since everything will be covered in snow soon. So we basically picked up fruit and tried to remove as many dead things as we could. It made a big difference!
Exterior - One of my top priorities was giving the exterior a quick facelift with paint. Something about choosing our front door color made the house feel like it was really ours. So fun to see it moving toward our photoshopped dream!
- Painted front door
- Painted stucco on garage
- Painted wood gate
- Filled in holes in mortar (mostly just in front; the back still needs attention)
Interior - The walls and wood trim were in desperate need of a good paint job, and we spent many many hours painting almost the entire upstairs, with the help of wonderful friends and inlaws. We chose a beautiful glossy white for all of the woodwork. For the walls, the living room is the same white, but with an eggshell finish. The kitchen and bedrooms are "painter's white," a super super light warm gray. I'm so happy with all of it!
Since we began house shopping, I discovered that I reach abnormally high levels of joy while creating floorplans.
So, aside from their being useful as we make updates to our home, this was so fun for me! I decided to create 3 versions for both floors of our home: current, dream and realistic. The dream version is what we would do given very very few restrictions, and the realistic version takes some important things into account—such as, whether our home would be left standing if we removed all the walls from the front half of the structure. Note also that "realistic" is a relative term, in this case meaning "Analisa's uneducated guess of what's possible."
For the first floor, the goal was to create as many free-flowing areas as possible, and involved stripping the front half of our home of walls, moving the wall that houses our electrical panel, moving exterior doors, and expanding windows. AKA, probably not even close to practical. So the realistic version adds columns and pony walls instead of just removing the walls completely, and works around the other structurally imperative things. Still pretty exciting!
I don't really have a lot of complaints about the layout of our basement as-is, so my dream version is pretty simple. Turn the staircase the other way; make the bathroom bigger and move the door to face the living area; and close off the laundry area. Since none of those things will be very smart when it comes to making our money back, I tried to pair the costs down for the realistic version.
So what to do with these???? For now, we're going to give the house a gradual facelift as we save for a big renovation. Hopefully some of these ideas will come to fruition in the coming years!
We closed early September, and moved in last week. James and I spent the days in between doing some quick improvements with the generous help of my parents and his parents, but we've definitely got a ways to go. For the record, here are some photos of the place before we touched A THING. Be prepared to be happy you don't own such a place! JK, it's not that bad. Well...
(I'm a little bit dumb and didn't take a lot of "before" shots myself, so some of these are screenshots from the appraisal.)
We were house-hunting all summer, looking for a place that we could make our own, but that was not a complete gut job. This one seemed to be a good balance for us. Some of the things we loved:
• Perfect size - double our apartment! Enough for Joah to have his own bedroom upstairs, and James and I get our own offices in the basement.
• Built in 1947 with a fun transitional style - post-war, early mid-century
• Original hardwood floors (oak?)
• Some original trim and doors
• Large windows let in lotsa light
• Cute circle window in front!
• Big back yard
• Fruit trees
• Location - near downtown; easy access to freeway and public transportation
So far all the challenges with owning this house have been so worth the feelings of accomplishment and ownership. We don't have heaps of money to put into renovating this place, but it's liberating to know we can do whatever we want, as long as we are willing to put the work into it. So so fun!
Oh and, for fun, here's an itty bitty screenshot of the assessor's earliest photo of our house. This was the only old photo they have online, but they may have more if I go searching in person. Could be cool!