Saturday, July 19, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

Well this has been an interesting journey! We were given six weeks to relocate, and we took 4 days to come and check out the area to find a place to live. We're renters. We had a list of apartment complexes to check out that were in our price range and the right size in the right areas.... however when we got here we found out that every single one of them had income guidelines, and for the first time in my life I was told we made too much to live there!

So we only had two other places to look at. One was a nice 3 bedroom townhome, but it turned out to be really tiny. We kept it on our list, but we really needed more space. The other was an older 3 bedroom house in a not so great area. It needed some work, but it was charming... then I saw evidence of rats, not mice, rats...and I couldn't get past that. We were also told that it was a rough area, and with two small children we decided to keep looking. So we asked the landlord of that place if she had any others for rent and it just so happened that she had a 3 year old 4 bedroom, 2200sq ft, full basement, 2 car garage house for rent! Wow, dh and I were awestruck. We could do it, we could make the payments, sure let's check it out. It was beautiful, such a nice clean space with tons of room we could never fill up. But we talked and talked and talked since it was outside our range by a little bit, and ultimately decided that it was in our best interest to pass on this house and keep looking. We didn't want to have to stress about making rent each month, and while we could have made the payment, it would have been tight. Also, I've never been a huge fan of subdivisions or cookie-cutter houses, but I was temporarily blinded by how clean and spacious it was. We had been crammed in about 800sq ft for 3 years, so I'm sure you can see why it appealed to me at the moment!

We also scoped out some more apartment complexes...the ones that were big enough were out of our budget, same price as the house. So we were feeling pretty down as we headed back home ready to settle for something that was just OK.

Then once we were home we realized we still could find something else. So we checked out Craigslist again and there it was! We had first come across this place when we first learned we were moving, just to see what was available in the area. We loved the pictures we saw of it, but it was too early to really apply for it, so we let it go. But there is was again! The right price, the right space, good area...beautiful! So we went for it, and we got it :) It's a beautiful historic duplex on what once was a major military base. All wood floors, dark wooden trim on windows and doors, full basement, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with a sunroom that is huge! There is a park just a block away that has a water play area for the kids. nice sized yard... it's just perfect! It was built in the 1930's to be quarters for the officers.

The living room, w/ a gas fireplace. Through the french doors is where our sunroom is and it's huge! All the windows are so big here and let in tons of natural light so we don't need to turn on any lights during the day. Once the weather cools down (and we've gotten rid of all the mud dauber and paper wasps nests in the windows) we'll be able to open the windows and have beautiful cross breezes. The sunroom (3rd pic down) is where our computer office and sewing room will be.

Dining Room:

Kitchen. Our landlord replaced the stove with a brand new gas stove, and there is a new (I'm assuming!) microwave over the stove. Most importantly - A DISHWASHER! We are thrilled after three years of washing dishes by hand and always being behind on them. There is a good amount of storage space, but we could use a bit more. We'll be seeing what we can find in order to store a couple more things that need a home. We've scaled down a lot, but I guess it wasn't enough. The back door opens onto a nice little porch and the back lane where we can also park. The door next to the fridge opens to the stairs to the basement and has a little built in pantry area to the right.

View from the living room towards the front. We have a front entryway, that I guess would be a mudroom. There were two doors that at one time opened but have been sealed shut...however there is an entry door there as well as a nice sized closet. I really like that little room! Also you can see the stairs up to the 2nd floor.

This is one of the is tiny! The other two are a really nice size, but this is maybe 6'x8'. We decided to make this one the playroom for all the boys toys. We put an area rug down, but it's really not working, so we're looking into other options. We found a recycled rubber flooring that would be perfect. We're looking for something to protect the wood floors from the boys rough play, and something that is a smooth surface for all their cars, trucks, trains, etc.

The master bedroom. It's HUGE! We fit our king size bed w/ two nightstands, a huge 6ft long dresser in there and it still looks almost empty. Our son asked to move his bed to our room, it's a new place and he's a little timid about sleeping in his new room, and even with a toddler bed in there we still have plenty of room to walk around and it doesn't feel crowded at all. Plus, with us all in one room, we only have to run one window a/c unit at night.

The boys' bedroom, also a nice size. Nothing really in it yet, but we'll be furnishing it eventually.

The upstairs bathroom. The decor leaves a lot to be desired, but overall it is a nice space. There is a built in cabinet from floor to ceiling with TONS of room for storage...we don't even have it 1/2 full. It is so nice to have all that space though. I guess one complaint would be that there are separate faucets for hot and cold in the you can't really make "warm" unless you fill up the sink. In addition to the cabinet there is a nice sized medicine cabinet too. The tub is small, and showering is difficult since it's a handheld shower head... it's not mounted on the wall so it's kind of awkward, but not awful. There is a second bathroom in the basement - toilet, sink, and a shower. It's nothing special and I haven't taken pics of it yet. My husband prefers to shower down there, which is fine. I'm ok with either one.

The outside - you can see our yard better, it's a pretty nice size. There is a walkway all the way around, a nice sized porch on the back, as well as a little terrace in the corner behind the sunroom... we also have one of those neat storm door entrances to our basement. You go down the stairs and there's a little area there for storage, then a locking door that leads to the actual basement. Pretty cool!

I'm sure you've noticed all the radiators in the house, and yes they are functional. We have steam heat from natural gas for those. I'm not sure we'll be using them a whole lot... the gas fireplace in the main room will be enough most of the time. We like the cold and it doesn't usually get much colder here than it did in TN. We rarely had to run the heat there, so we might be ok here. We have three window a/c units...quite a change from our central a/c in TN. But there is one large unit in the living room, and as long as it doesn't get above 95, it's nice! We run a couple fans too in order to circulate the air. We've had a couple days of extreme heat - 99, 102, etc - and the living room unit was hard pressed to keep it cool in here. There is a smaller a/c unit in the master bedroom and the boys bedroom and they keep it ice cold in there. We turn off the downstairs unit, and only run the master one at night. Hopefully this will prove to be efficient and keep our electric bill down.

I'll be switching from focusing my blog on my garden, to putting together my new house. We hope to keep it nice and simple and clean!

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