Monday, July 16, 2012

Homeownership: A Husband's Perspective

I stood outside the overgrown yard and stared, dumbfounded, at the vacant home that stood before me. I gazed at the short palm trees that lined the sidewalk whose palm fronds touched the ground. The grass conquered the once segregated planters, the bushes turned into a wall of vegetation that threatened to damage my roof, and not to mention the various bugs gave us stiff leg salutes as we walked into the house. The picture that my wife took in an earlier post should be all the words and description I need.

Yet, as I stared at this diamond-in-the-rough, I couldn't help but smile. This place is going to be my home. I own this place and it will be the first real home my son will remember. He will play in the backyard, ride his bike around the neighborhood, and grow up in this home. Over time we will change the colors, add and remove items, learn new things, and add new members to our family. All of these future changes will happen in this house that I bought for my family.

I did what every father and husband fundamentally wishes to do. I provided shelter, a home for my wife and son. I did it out of love and that is the greatest thing a father can give to his family. A safe area for his kids to grow in. A house for his wife to turn into a home. That is what I thought as I looked at this house on the 25th of May. While I lack the creative genesis my wife possesses, or the instinctive handy-man ethic my father-in-law has, I have the desire to build and help my wife create a home for our son. To achieve this desire requires money, and money is a great servant but a horrible master. My contribution to this blog will aim to any fathers or husbands who are active in building a better future for their families. I'll talk about finance, I'll explain how we paid off $6,000 worth of debt in three months, I'll explain our budget, and how to thrive as a traditional family. A traditional family as in one spouse works, and the other teaches and cares for the children.

Like a sports team, we divided duties and responsibilities to each person that has a specific strength. I handle the financial side of our house hold while being transparent with my earnings and fiscal decisions. She creates the budget, and I monitor the cash flow. There is no concept of "I, my, mine" when it comes to finances, every dollar I make is distributed to the goals that we decide. It is this team work that keeps us close, and that is the key to keep a family together. 
Royal Caribbean Cruise June 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Retro Room

When we bought our home we noticed much of it was outdated, which we loved because we wanted to buy a home to make our own - not a newly built cookie cutter one. Besides the brown shag carpet in two rooms, one of the most prominent things that took us back 30 years was the panel board walls in one of our spare rooms. I referred to it as the "Brown Room" when mentioning where to find an item in a box.
 The wires on the floor are drilled straight through the outside of the house. Until the paneling came down we didn't know this.
 Beautiful isn't it?
 When we first started to take the paneling down, we were really hoping there was a solid wall behind it. Thankfully there was!
 Rob working on his side of the room.
 Bringing out the tools for the extra sticky areas.

 Our pile of lovely broken particle board paneling.
  My dad is an absolute saint. I am blessed to be the daughter of a handyman. He has helped to patch up and paint every single room in the house since he has the tools to do it and an eye for proper painting. I tried my hand at cutting in pantry closets and failed miserably. I digress, my dad came by and scraped the glue off then mudded the walls. In this photo, near his feet is where we had a small mold issue. The wires in the photo above connect to a useless large radio receiver. The wires were drilled directly through the house, and well, living in Florida it rains - a lot. Seriously it's hardly the Sunshine State half of the year. Anywho, water managed to seep itself in through the holes and chill behind the paneling.

 Yesterday my dad came for the last of the guest room wall bonanza. It is painted Country Beige by Olympic and while I thought it would come out darker I like it. Eventually we'll add pops of color throughout the room to pizzazz it up but for now it is lightyears better than the room we purchased.

And a quick recap:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

What forced me to actually get into gear and start writing in this blog that I had already secured my name with  a month ago is all in thanks to Sherry of Young House Love. I have admired their home re-designs for a few years now and long-anticipated my own home to fix up and now I have it! But, what really pushed me to get the ball rolling was the Pinterest Challenge created by her and Katie Bower. I have been on Pinterest for a while now and am constantly pinning things that I want to do to my home. For the most part, I have made many recipes but nothing for the house.

My husband and I are finicky when it comes to our privacy, and while our new neighbors are nice, we do not like the thought of people being able to see into our house at night with our lights on and us being unable to see outside due to the dark. So for a month we would close our hurricane shutters on our porch to give us privacy. Dorks? Paranoid? The new weirdos on the block? Yup, that would be us. So after pinning these simple no-sew roman shades from Involving Color and wanting to face the challenge I grabbed a yard of fabric on sale at JoAnn's for $6, some mini blinds from Wal-Mart for $10, a tape measurer, scissors, and my hot glue gun and tackle the beast.
 After my son went to bed for the night I brought out the mini vinyl blinds and laid it on the floor.
 As mentioned in the original posting, I removed the white plugs from the bottom of the blinds on the thick plastic piece
 Next I cut away the three "ladders" of the blinds. Here is where I got nervous, hoping I cut the right part, leaving only the thick string that attaches to the shade adjuster.
 Earlier in the day I ironed the fabric and cut it to size.
 I then hot glued the corners of the fabric to make a nice hem (*Note, I only had a hot glue gun, and while it currently holds, it is important to actually use fabric glue and in time the hot glue will no longer hold up. I will be adjusting these shades as soon as I get the fabric glue.
 I cut off all but 5 of the vinyl shades, then glued them 8" apart with the exception of the 6th blind at the bottom that was about 2.5" from the one above it.
 I then screwed in the hardware and tested out the handywork.
 Here we have the shades open to see if the fabric folded in the proper "roman" form.
 The blinds even work great halfway opened/closed.
I was relatively happy with the product. Beside the glue, I would change placing the pull cords in the front of the fabric instead of behind, along with not cutting them so short because now I need to climb half-way on the counter to open the shades up. It does it's purpose though and I no longer need to feel like a dweeb for closing the hurricane shutters for privacy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

HomeTour Part II

Welcome back for round two of the home tour. Yesterday we left off in the guest bathroom. We will make our way down the hall and into the two extra bedrooms, followed by the jungle that is our back yard.

Play Room/Bedroom 1

Once again we see the wonderful plugged in ceiling lighs and loud metal closet doors. This room has since been painted Alpine Valley blue by Olympic and currently holds everything that has not been removed from boxes (pretty much far too many office items).

Office/Bedroom 2

Ahh, this room has proven to be the most fun so far. Honestly, don't the paneled walls scream "retro"? This room has random wires leading to three separate antenna's outside. Like the other bedrooms, we have a plugged-in ceiling fan, which is noisy, and a set of metal closet doors. Along with the master bedroom, the carpeting in this room skips vacuuming to be cleaned and goes straight to raking. The room is accentuated with a lovely shuttle light switch, seen in the bottom photo where my son also make a cameo.


Looking from the office door to the dining area.
And from the dining area to the office door.


Our porch has beautiful tile work that we will definitely be keeping. The shades were definitely sun damaged and clearly falling apart. These have been taken down. In this photo you also see our first family pet, Poutine -named after the dish in Canada and equally fat.

Standing on the side with the green shades we now face the walkway to the house. There is also my son, in a diaper, making art with mashed blueberries and strawberries. To the left is Panthro -named after the Thundercat, who we swore was a boy before the first vet visit, turns out he's a she.

With our back to the backyard we have a wall.
 Backs to the wall and we have the great outdoors.
Complete with a gazebo that we will eventually tear down and one too many overgrown plants. Prior to this picture the pathway to the left was completely covered with plants.


 Oh the gazebo. While thoughts of relaxing in the hot tub sounded like a lovely idea when we bought the home we quickly realized it is definitely NOT child safe. And the entire gazebo takes up the perfect spot for a future playground for all of our babies. The gazebo was built around the hot tub, making it more difficult to sell the shell and tear everything down.
 Some remnants from the previous owners.

Back yard

 The jungle, in all honesty. All of the plants surrounding the gazebo have already been torn down. Good thing too because we found the remains of a dog hidden in the bushes. After talking to some neighbors, we come to find out that the remains were that of Baxter, the small dog once owned but the elderly man that lived in the house before us. He thought that Baxter had just run away one day. We buried Baxter back in the backyard.
 Another shot of between the porch and gazebo.

 The gazebo and crazy bushes where Baxter went to "sleep".
What is a shame is that the palm tree branch is blocking the big nasty tree that was way too big for the corner of a house. The branches were all over the roof and full of wasps.
Here is just part of and after shot where my husband cut down more than half of the branches. Now, all of the branches are gone and we are left with a nubby, ugly stump right there.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Home Tour: Part I

Here is our first home. Pictures were taken on the days prior to moving in (one week after our purchase we were on a family cruise to the Caribbean and were not able to move in quite yet). We are the second owners in the home's history. The elderly couple before us had each passed away years apart from one-another. The home smelled strongly of a "sitting" house as it hadn't been occupied since November 2011. Additionally, the previous owner was a smoker which added a musky smell. With the house being vacant for 7 months the yard had overgrown and some bugs, namely roaches, found a new home here.
Front Yard
I promise to eventually get a larger photo of the entire front house so that you can see the big oak tree! There are many dead plants throughout the entire yard that have been cut back or removed altogether.
 Laundry Room

 Here we have outdated vinyl flooring and curtains along with three appliances that are more than 6 years old. The dryer is on two pieces of wood and there is a large hole in the wall behind it. Both the washer and dryer are being replaced this upcoming weekend and all three appliances are going to be cleaned and put on Craigslist.

Family Room
 A view towards the front door/family room from the old dining room.
 The old dining room as seen from the family room. I say old because this area was at one point the dining area but is currently used as a toy corner and eventually a reading nook.
 Upon first entering the family room we have this corner to the left. Behind it is the kitchen and we have big hopes to one day cut the wall in half like this. But since the home is built masonry solid we have to come up with a Plan B.

Master Bedroom
 Old window fixtures, dirty walls, and a brown shag carpet that my husband says needs to be raked, not vacuumed is what greeted us on purchase day.
 To add to the lack of oasis that was our master room, we also had a chain-link ceiling fan plugged in the wall and a sticky metal closet door.

Master Bath
 The vanity is newer but the curtains were remnants from the previous owner, along with a large mirror with water stains at the bottom and a seashell border. The shower- where to begin, we cannot wait to tear this one out, and add some nice tile. When I first washed the shower, the corners had an unbelievable amount of dead bugs and roach feces coming out of it. I spent a good 30 minutes spraying the corners out. Gross!
 To the right in the bathroom was a very dirty toilet and brown bathroom accents. That toilet seat was such a pain to take off since the screws were rusted and stripped.

 This view of the kitchen is what we see as we exit the master bedroom. To the left is the wall we would like to take half-way down, and to add something to block our son from reaching/touching the stove. Our kitchen is not equipped with a dishwasher, but plenty of cabinet space. The right side bottom cabinet is where we would like to eventually put in a dishwasher.
 Here is the opposite side of our kitchen from the "new" dining room.

Living Room/Office/Dining Room
 The previous owner used this space to watch television but we decided it was too small to entertain our large families. Currently this spot is used as our office, though that will soon change and then we will be back to a blank slate.
 With our back to the current office nook we see the dining area and door to the laundry room.
 And here we have the entrance to our back porch. The yard was the previous owner's pride and joy, though it has definitely been overgrown in the past 7 months. 

Guest Bath
 Again, outdated wallpaper, shower curtains, wall border and a wooden toilet seat.
Outdated vanity that I cannot wait to demolish.