Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be my guest

The older I get, the more I realize there's nothing like being in your own home. I remember being little and pleading with my mom to puuulease take us somewhere - anywhere - as long as we didn't have to stay home. We were so bored! But now I completely understand her side. After working all week and running around to this and that, all you really want to do is relax at home.

So I'm stealing this idea from Heir to Blair and inviting you into the place I love so much - my home.

Here's our house! Andi and I bought this house in May 2007.

We live in the city - the place we're most happiest - with lots of shops and restaurants and a movie theatre within walking distance from our front door. Our house was built in 1917 and is a top.bottom level duplex. Our original idea when purchasing this house was to live in one level and rent the other, eventually renting both levels when we outgrow our small 2 bed/1 bath space. But for now, it's the perfect size for our little family.

Come in, let me show you around...

The front porch leads to two doors - ours (on the right) and our renter's house upstairs. I always thought it'd be cute to have a wooden bench and a small table for a plant or something out here, but I have yet to find one in my price range. So, for now it's a pretty basic area.

Our main living area consists of a living room, sun room and dining room in one large area. I like the layout because it makes the space feel bigger and warmer than it'd be as seperate rooms. When we moved into the house, it was really old and outdated. Andi and I spent much of the first year painting, landscaping and remodeling the kitchen (I'll show you that in a bit).

(view from dining room)
We spend most of our time in the living room, usually watching the large tv Andi bought this winter. Shortly after we moved in I painted this entire space, choosing a few colors from Martha Stewart's paint collection. As part of her line, she has these great paint swatches that recommend other coordinating colors. I chose a tan color for the living room and sun room, a dark chocolate brown for the ceiling trim and a shade of green for the dining room. The colors are amazing together and I've received a ton of compliments on them. Three years later, I still love the combination.

(sun room)

(living room / dining room view as seen from the sun room)

(dining room)

We had an empty dining room for the first year we lived here. We didn't have a table and were in the process of remodeling our kitchen anyway, which included cutting a look-through window between the kitchen and dining room (see above). Andi and I have many memories of that summer -- eating every meal on our patio table on the back deck including lots of pizza from Carbone's across the street and guest after guest smashing their head against the dining room ceiling light. Two years ago, Andi's parents bought us our gorgeous dining room table for our birthdays/Christmas present. I absolutely cherish it. It's one on my favorite things in our house.

Let's move into the kitchen, shall we?

When we bought our house we knew we'd be updatng the kitchen immediately. The old kitchen had icky cabinets and cheap appliances. There was absolutely no storage or counter space so we spent our first four months here under construction. Not wanting to dump a ton of money into the remodel (remember, the ultimate goal is to rent both the upstairs and downstairs levels) we spent wisely purchasing IKEA cabinents and fixtures. We did add granite countertops but since the kitchen's small, didn't break the bank in doing so. I think it turned out great actually! Of course, it'd have been great to drop $50K and restore the old countertops with a beautiful tiled backsplash and all the modern ameneties but hey, I think we did a pretty good job for 1/5 of that price.


One of my favorite parts of our kitchen is the pull-out pantry. It allows for a lot of storage in an otherwise useless space between the stove and refrigerator.

(pull-out pantry)

I also like the built-in bookshelf / wine rack we added above the fridge. I store cookbooks, bowls and of course, a few bottles of wine here. Oh look! What kind of a hostess am I? It seems I'm running low on bottles of wine ... better get to work on that!
(built-in bookshelf / wine rack)

Off the kitchen is a small hallway which leads to the bathroom and two bedrooms. The bathroom was remodeled just before we bought it and is one of the best parts of our house. My favorite parts of the bath are the block windows in the shower, the cool travertine floor tiles and the original medicine cabinet.


Downsides of the bathroom: absolutely no storage (we keep the toilet paper under our bed which is a little inconvenient when you run out) and only one person can be in here at a time - literally that small. Also, sharing one toilet isn't always the most convenient at times. Both of us inevitably have to um, go, likely after long car trips, rich dinners and times of illness. 

Our bedrooms are also of the small variety, which is expected with an old house. Our "master bedroom" (if you can call it that) has two windows (oooohhhh ...) so that's why we selected this one as our bedroom. There's basically room for our queen size bed, one dresser and a night stand.

(our bedroom)
This is not my favorite room in our house and it really should be, you know? After all, it's the place we spend a pretty good chunk of our lives. I think it may be my summer project - needs new paint, new bedding ... new something. Also, only one small closet in our room where I keep my clothes. (Andi keeps his in the guest bedroom closet). One thing I do like in our bedroom - a framed photo of Andi and I the night before we started dating. I love to look at it because it reminds me of how far we've come -- also, how freakin' old we're getting. Look how young we were!

Across the hall is our guest bedroom (future nursery). This room's also small but simple enough for a full size bed, night stand and closet. Andi keeps is clothes here and I'm not really sure where we'll put them when this room turns into a nursery. Keep the baby's clothes in a dresser? Guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Now to my favorite part of our house (during half the year at least) - our backyard. When we moved here, the backyard was a weedy mess. It literally looked like someone took a handful of seeds and threw them all over the backyard. There was a big random mix of flowers, vegetables and weeds everywhere. The garage was also in terrible shape, complete with a dirt floor and a garage door on a pully system. During our first summer here, we landscaped the front and backyard and built a new garage - one of the best things we did to the house.

Well, that's about it! The upstairs apartment is a near replica of our place - with a few small differences. I'll post about that space this week because it's for rent and maybe you know someone who's looking!

Until then, let's kick back on the patio with a refreshing gin & tonic. Cheers!

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