Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bathroom - Part 1 - One Hot Mess

So, back to the bathroom. It looked like this just 48 short hours ago...

But we got a little carried away. So carried away in fact, that we're lucky we have even a functioning toilet left...

Sunday mornings. I remember when we were carefree apartment dwellers. Sleeping in, or lazying around in front of the TV. We'd debate who had to do the dishes. Whether we should take a walk to get a bagel or make french toast at home. Oh Sunday mornings, you seem so long long ago. 

But guess what we did this morning? 
Yes, we spent this Sunday morning bagging every last little crumble. Then dragged each bag into one of the small bedrooms.  Then John crowbarred all the little floor tiles up along with the layer of cement, so we are down to the plywood floor. 

Just for good measure, here is a photo of the other small bedroom, filled with more bathroom demolition...
Don't you love how the sunlight streams in?

Our home!

Here is our home...

We love the blue and white! The entire exterior is the original wood siding, freshly painted with a brand spankin' new roof. The walkway, sidewalk and curb are all original flagstone. This is the photo from the listing ad which is why it looks so springy. Since the closing took place right after the owner moved and the day after garbage day, and the next garbage day was a national holiday, well, let's just say it's almost a week later and the sidewalk and curb are barely visible from all the trash! So we'll take updated outdoor photos later on.


I love the Roman shades, but they are in various forms of breaking down, so they might need replacing soon. I love the idea of each individual window having it's own shade. The radiator also needs a cover. Not sure where to get something like that...

Looking into the house, we catch a glimpse of the living and dining rooms:

Living room:
Fireplace! A real live fireplace!! 

The other side of our living room has a scrumptious staircase. Will definitely post more photos of that soon. At the time I took the photos, it was used as a not very photo-friendly hardware dumping ground.

Dining room: 
All original molding and stained glass window. 

The kitchen is in total working order. Except that there's no dishwasher. And the fridge is technically not even in this room. And in a perfect world I'd have my perfect white kitchen. But for now a working stove and sink will do!

Heading upstairs:

Bedroom 1: 
AKA the Master Suite Bedroom. We are debating whether to splurge for a King or Queen size bed. But the little home repair birdie keeps telling me we will be squeezing into our full size bed for a while yet! This is a nice size room - I don't think the photos show its full scale potential. It has an ok-size, almost-walk-in closet that will be able to fit a lot more with a few shelf adjustments.

The red in the photo below is wallpaper. I was so anxious to rip it out, I did it before I did anything else! 

Bedroom 2:
As of this posting, we've already ripped up the purple carpet. Some new paint and it will be better than ever...

Bedroom 3:
White walls with sponge painted leaves. At least it isn't wall-papered! 
We also wasted no time in ripping up this carpet. What lies beneath? That's another subject for another day!

Blink and it's gone...
Since it is the only bathroom in the house, we are wasting no time renovating this baby before we move in...

So since taking the photos a few days ago, we've ripped up the carpets in the small bedrooms, painted all the ceilings, scrubbed the kitchen down from top to bottom, cleaned up leaves in the front and back yards, prepped the living room, dining room, sunroom and master bedroom walls for paint, tested and committed to a few paint colors, scrubbed down all the natural woodwork to prepare for paint, polished the built-in bookshelves in the living room, uncovered some original doors in the garage, made 3 trips to the local hardware store within 24 hours, started to remove the wallpaper in the upstairs hallway, finished removing the wallpaper in the Master bedroom, ShopVac-ed our mess, and knocked back a couple of beers and a few pizzas. We were EXTREMELY LUCKY to have 10 of our very generous family members (and one small Yorkie) helping all weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Skeleton Keys

On our second day owning the house we stopped by to "check on things" and found in our entryway a little surprise...

A set of skeleton keys kindly slipped through our mail slot by the former owners! So magical! The house I grew up in has an almost identical set of keys and my parents display it in their kitchen. I might do the same :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's an American Foursquare

After finding our house, I guessed it was built in the 1920-1930s.  After googling things like "American Architecture of the 1930s", I finally found it:
The American Foursquare:
According to this, the American Foursquare is also known as a "Prairie Box" or the clunkily-worded "Transitional Pyramid". It was a popular mail-order style, hence the above ad. Everything would be delivered in a box car with a book of directions and all the parts pre-cut and numbered for self-assembly. Sounds like fun, right?  No wonder they were only $1,995.00.  

I love the reminder at the bottom of the ad: DO NOT ATTEMPT BUILDING WITHOUT PLANS


Long, long day, but it is done - John and I are officially homeowners! It has been an unbelievable time. From the time we settled on the price with the previous owners until today was only 5 weeks. Fastest closing ever!

9:30 am: Bagels.
10 am: Walk-through at the house. Found out our huge tree is actually the oldest tree in our town. Cool!
11 am: Still waiting for our closing costs from our lawyer. Relaxing (trying) in town with coffee and tea.
11:45 am: Call from lawyer. Everything is ready and there are no surprises with our closing costs. Awesome!
12 noon: Stop by bank to get the SCARIEST CHECK EVER!!!
12:30 pm: Title office. Paperwork rules!
1:30 pm: Starving. Big Italian Lunch.
4 pm: Still dont have the keys. Try to break into own home. Stop and make a few phone calls first.
4:30 pm: Everything's cleared. Keys are ours!
4:35 pm: Rip out wallpaper in Master Bedroom.
5 pm: Scouring fridge and oven - inside and out.
6:30 pm: Learn how to do a meter reading.
6:45 pm: Sweep.
7:30 pm: Lock up.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last Look

Closing in less than 48 hours! Can't believe how fast this has gone.  SO anxious to close and get in to the new place and start cleaning. I have grandiose plans for the house, some that I fear may make no sense in any version of reality other than my own mind. So we shall see...

In the meantime, here is a last look at our apartment before everything is dismantled and packed...

Everything in this room is scheduled to be re-purposed, painted or tossed. The brass headboard from Pottery Barn was lovely a few years ago, but just looks boring now. So do the bed-side tables!  I love the lamps, but I'd like to change the shade. The bedding is cozy and pretty, but in an all-beige room - YAWN!!! 
However, the painting above the bed is precious to us and will follow us wherever we go...

Wish I took a photo of the lamp below before I spray painted it white and added a new shade. It resided in my parent's foyer for years.  Mom banished it to the basement shortly after my uncle noticed it and started actually pointing and laughing at its ugliness! I beautified something ugly!

The dresser is an IKEA throwaway. I love IKEA, but sometimes it just doesn't love me back. I can recall several rushed mornings when we were on our way out the door and this thing just started falling apart. I've dismantled and re-mantled this thing to death. It will surely be left behind.

The other side of the room has been designated as the television graveyard. Yes - the dreaded tube tv that is too heavy to put out on the curb but too ugly and gigantic to bother keeping.  It's sitting in an equally hard-to-move armoire. Both will be donated to the curb gnomes*.

Below is our un-remarkable bathroom. Will not miss opening and closing the medicine cabinet door while John is spitting his toothpaste into the sink.

Below is our darling kitchen. I use the word darling very loosely. The refridgerator is to the right but nothing special enough about it to photograph! Someday I will tell my grandchildren - see that tiny spot between the stove and the dish rack? Well, that was Nana's entire cooking space! 

Mrs. Meyers how I love thee, let me count the ways. I could never go back to any other hand soap after this. I love the colors and print of the tray below from IKEA. 

Our breakfast nook / dining room. Ask me if we ever eat at this table! The good news is we can add a couple of leaves to expand it so it will be our dining room table for a while. The bad news - it's a little too country-kitchen for our future formal dining room. 

Living room:
IKEA Lack bookshelf - this truly is one of those staple pieces of furniture that can fit into any home.  The book mish-mash will be neatened up, and we will add some storage baskets/boxes with supplies in our future office.

Fireplace - more like a fakeplace! But love the old marble mantle, even if it surely isn't original to the space.  

Also included is this awesome cast-iron fireplace cover up thing-y with a creepy face. It would be more creepy in an actual Victorian house. In this weird addition to an old 3 story apartment building, it's just funny. Which is why I had to include it...

The other side of the room, the side with 2 large windows, holds a large credenza which we use for our tv.  It is probably the most important part of our home since we spend more time staring at it than any other area. (Reminder to take a photo for memory's sake!) Right now it's a staging ground for our moving supplies and empty boxes. Also further down the room is our office space/entry way. Complete with rigged desk area. (Reminder to take a photo of our desk for comedy's sake!) Like many other of our schemes, we have grand ideas for our desk space later on. 

*Curb Gnomes: Magical creatures who whisk away our unwanted random junk from our front curb. Especially active on Sunday afternoons.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Welcome to It's a Good House!

Amy and John - Central Park on our first anniversary

We're both from New York, I'm from Long Island, John's from Staten Island. We crossed over to the dark side years ago when we made the move to Jersey City. Now we are just about to buy a house. In the suburbs. In New Jersey! Our closing date may be very very very soon. So we're crossing our fingers and hoping it all works out alright.

In the meantime, here are some photos from last month. To celebrate our anniversary we spent a Saturday afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History, followed by a walk in Central Park and dinner at Mercer Kitchen.

Natural curiosities
Obligatory visit with a T-rex