Monday, June 27, 2016

Our homes and why we may never buy new again

This post has been edited due to the fact that we are now on our 5th house. 

I apologize in advance. This is a very long post. More like a vent. Grab a cup of coffee or two and enjoy. 

(Our fourth house when it was almost finished)

This is our fourth house. It is the second brand new house we have purchased. We may never buy a brand new house again. Yes, everything is shiny and new and no one has used your bathroom but you (supposedly, but I think some builders don't enforce this too much and their contractors tend to not care anyway) but along with all this "newness" comes little or no character and headaches.



(House number two the day we moved in. First brand new house).

The first brand new house we bought we had some plumbing leaks and something wrong with the toilet in the upstairs hall bathroom. We actually had that one build and paid extra for ceramic tile and upgraded laminate counter tops but it was still very plain Jane and boring, the builder gave us limited options. There were also 3 others in our addition just like it. Two were built by the original owners (ours and one other) and the other two were spec homes by the builder. Ours wasn't that much different than the spec homes but we definitely paid more for it.

It was so boring we had to do something about it. You have to realize that when we built it we thought it would be our forever home. Really. We poured money into it. We painted it. We replaced the flat doors with paneled, replaced all door handles for pretty ones, added doors between the dining room and formal living room so we could close it off and use it as a bedroom after the twins were born, added an island in the kitchen, replaced the carpet in the den with laminate wood and we did extensive work on the yard adding flower beds and a sprinkler system. We also put in an attic fan and solar screens because it was so hot in Texas and the house faced west plus extra insulation. We also replaced the front door, added shutters on the front windows and added a 10x25 covered porch in the back. Oh and the storage building we had built. And gutters installed. And the tube light Ed installed in the laundry room ceiling so we could get natural light in there (no window). That's a lot and probably not everything. 

(These pictures were taken in the weeks before we moved out)









We lived there for 3 years and 8 months. Then we moved to Indiana. Was it easy to sell that house? No. We tried but the housing bubble had just burst and we ended up being casualties of it. The house sat on the market for a year-empty and we had no other option but to rent it out. We rented it out in the fall of 2009 and we finally sold it in June 2014, after 3 different tenants. Yes, you read that right. Almost 6 years after we moved out. And we sold it for LESS than we paid for it. We sold it for less than the spec homes were selling for when we had it built. It sucked. We lost thousands of dollars and got no relief. It's money lost. The rental income barely covered the mortgage and repairs during those years and lucky for us or we would have had to pay taxes on that rental income. What a nightmare that entire thing was. Anyway....

Our first and third houses were existing homes.


(First house, looking back really needed work.)

The first was built in 1959. It had character and quirks. That's why we wanted new the second time around. We lived in our first for 26 months then moved to Germany. We rented the house for 6 months then sold it. We were still young and had little money for putting into a house but we did do some painting and landscaping, replaced the overhead garage doors and gutted and remodeled 1 of the bathrooms after a major leak occurred. Not much but we weren't there long and were pretty poor.





(Our first spring in the house, not much had changed..yet)

The third house was built in 1999 and also had some character with lots of quirks. We loved that house though. We bought it from the original owner and it was exactly the same as it had been when it was built. He had added a fence (which we had to replace when we found out at closing it was over the property line next door) and landscaping but that was it. He hadn't even painted it. In 11 years. We spent a week taping, priming and painting the entire house, all 3500 sq. ft. before we moved into it. We were so happy but the house still wasn't exactly the way we wanted it. The kitchen cabinets were golden oak, ick and the tile and fixtures were dated. So, we started replacing stuff and repainting.  The trim was all stained that same golden oak color as the cabinets and were not in good shape so we painted it and painted all the wood doors. We also replaced all the flooring except for 3 rooms in the basement with either new carpet, tile or Pergo (which we love!), replaced light fixtures, door handles and hinges with nickel instead of the brass that was there and redoing some of the landscaping.. We replaced all the kitchen and laundry room cabinets, not just because of the color but because there was water damage from leaks that we hadn't noticed prior to moving in. Then we put new counter tops and sinks in the kitchen, laundry room and three bathrooms. Oh and the powder room got an entire over haul with a new pedestal sink, toilet, mirror and flooring. The upstairs hall bath got new cabinets as well. We also added our own touches such as board and batten, bead board, chair rail and crown molding. And the sliding door in the kitchen was replaced with a single fixed panel french door with integrated blinds. Ed took the tired tile off the fireplace and we replaced it with glass tiles and painted the mantel. We also replaced the carpet on the stairs with wood treads and a runner and redid the railing and spindles. Oh and we replaced the hot water heater when it died and bought all new appliances for the kitchen and laundry room except the refrigerator which we had brought with us from our house in Texas. Again we dropped a lot of money into our house.

We really thought it would be our forever home. Then it wasn't. We started itching to move. We were not happy where we were. I blame the extreme winters we had in Northern Indiana and Ed's nomadic personality. We thought we would be happier moving back to the south where we had both been raised. We ended up in Georgia. 

We bought the house in Georgia because we were in a crappy rental. We rented it over the internet and didn't realize the pictures they showed were from when the house was new and it was no longer in good shape or even clean. I was so mad when we got the keys to the house. I won't go into detail about it but my advice is to NEVER  rent a house sight unseen. Just don't.

The house. It's our fourth house, second and possibly last brand new one (it was almost complete when we put in an offer). It's the same square footage as the last house but on 2 floors instead of 3, no basement. The rooms are large, excessively large I think. I was desperate to get out of the rental house and did not want to remodel or work on anymore houses. I think now that when we decided to never remodel again it had more to do with not wanting to put too much of ourselves into another house just to leave it again. We got rid of most of our tools. We were done remodeling and a new house was the answer. Except that it wasn't. We should have remembered from the first new house that it is in our nature to not leave well enough alone.

So we move into the house and within 2 days Jessica comes to me and says there is water in her closet. What???? Water? How on earth did water get into her closet? Well apparently there are pipes running between her closet wall and bathroom, no not her bathroom plumbing but the plumbing from the bathroom up stairs. And when the shelves were installed in the closet they drilled holes right into the pipes. I was informed, when they figured out what the leak was that this is actually common in new homes. OMG. So that had to be fixed and took almost 6 weeks from start to finish because we had to wait for the pipes to be repaired then the dry wall had to have numerous coats and finally the shelf guy had to rehang the shelf. Wow.

Our shower door leaked all over the bathroom floor. Had to have them recaulk it. Personally I think they didn't caulk it right the first time. 

The toilet flusher thing in the gameroom bathroom broke and had to be replaced. I know, not the technical term but whatever.

The faucet on the kitchen sink leaked. They replaced the inner parts and it was fine for a few months. It's leaking again.

There are numerous doors that were hung improperly we are having to rehang properly. My toilet room door opened out into the main part of the bathroom. Ed turned it around. I swear they installed it backwards and were just too lazy to flip it around.

There was a leak in the flashing on the roof on the back porch that 2 contractors kept blaming on each other and no one could fix. The builder finally sent someone else out and they have supposedly fixed it. He ripped siding off and pulled back the shingles to find where it was leaking so I am confident he found it and repaired it. Let's hope.

The master shower floor cracked soon after moving in. It was pretty bad. The manufacturer sent out someone to sand it down and redo it. I had to clean up the mess.

We have engineered wood floors on most of the main floor. They suck. They scratch so easily and have gashes in them. We will have to have some of the planks replaced.

Then for Ed's birthday I tried to bake him this awesome batman cake. I got up early and started. The first one failed. The second one failed. By now I am started to wonder what's up. I mean I know it was early but goodness I am not stupid and can bake a dang cake. The third one failed. I was livid. I realized that the freaking oven wasn't heating properly. I hadn't noticed it before really. We don't cook often anymore. Of course it was under warranty from the manufacturer and it took them 2 weeks to send someone out to look at it. Ugh. We had to buy him a cake.

And speaking of appliances. Builders tend to put the cheapest they can in. I hate the oven and dishwasher. We bought a new refrigerator and washer and dryer so they are ok.

There is a hole in the garage floor. They came out to patch it and it sank in. Ed says he will patch it correctly himself.

Even though this house is new and was nice when we bought it it wasn't our style. We ripped out the tile back splash in the kitchen and replaced it with subway tile. The tile was dark and not my thing. Also there was grout everywhere. I didn't notice it until we moved in and put in better lighting.

That's another thing, the boys bathroom didn't have a light over the toilet. They could not see to stand there and use the toilet. We had to install it ourselves even after pointing it out to the builder. We've also added lighting in places it needed to be so we could see. I don't care for lamps all over the place.

I have lost my patience with new houses and builders. The builder is only as good as their contractors and if they are using cheap contractors they will get cheap results. I am not a professional but I can paint a straight line and do cut in around the crown molding better than the painters who painted this house. And builder paint. It is thinned out to be sprayed on so don't bother trying to wipe the wall. The paint will come off. And to repaint will require at least 2 coats of primer and 1-2 coats of good quality paint, not thinned for a sprayer.

And don't even get Ed started on the caulk. Was this house used for practice for new hires? And the clear coat on the stair railing is bumpy. I redid ours in the last house and it was smooth and nice to touch. Every time I run my hand down the railing now I freak out a little. I do have kids and they can be gross but then I realize it's just a poor job done. I will admit that I tried to clean it off when we first moved in though. lol I really thought one of the boys had smeared something gross on it.

Well we didn't get too far in our plan for the house in Georgia. We were told in July 2016 that his position was being eliminated so we had to scramble to figure out what to do. We also had to finish up the projects we had started. What a pain that was but we did it. We are now in our 5th house in the Indianapolis area. I like the area a lot better but not the house. I do miss the space we had in the last house. It wasn't really our style but the layout was quite nice. I didn't really appreciate it until we moved into this house. The grass is not always greener.

Stay tuned for updates on our current house because we are basically redoing the entire house. Inside and out. 

Thanks for stopping by.
Chris

Living room painted

Ed and I spent our weekend painting the living room. When you look at the room you don't realize just how long it will take or how much paint it is going to take. Ed started out Saturday morning priming the walls. I hadn't planned to help but I decided it was best I did and lucky I did or he would still be painting. Here is what the room looked like back in February. 


The wall color is just too dark and looks too dirty for us. 

Ed had already painted the ceiling so at least that part was done. 

By Saturday evening we had 2 coats of primer and almost 1 coat of paint on the walls. I say almost because in the end we ended up running out of paint and the store was closed. 


FAIL!

It was kind of annoying but in the end we needed to do two coats of paint anyway. We have very thirsty walls. Must be the Georgia heat. (just kidding, lol) 

Here is the final product. 



We also did the trim and it looks so much better now. 

That's 4 rooms done; the living room, kitchen, breakfast room and dining/school room. Now we have the 2 story entry, upstairs hall, five bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, mudroom, laundry room and 14 closets to go. All rooms need to have the ceilings painted either the new wall color or white and the ceilings are either 9ft or vaulted except in 2 bathrooms and the closets. That's a lot of paint. And time. Goal is to have it all done by June 1, 2017. Wish us luck. We are gonna need it!

Thanks for stopping by!
Chris

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Father's Day

This would have been posted Monday but the computer I use to take pictures from my devices (phone, camera, etc.) crashed. I had not backed them up to our cloud drive yet so I had to wait until Ed could recover them. Technology. 

I hope everyone had a great Father's Day weekend. I spent Saturday watching Edward paint the coffered ceiling in the living room. I am not allowed to paint or do much due to some issues with my back so I get to sit around and watch. That is just boring. Anyway...Edward painted the ceiling on Saturday. Two coats of primer and 1 coat of Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. I love this color. It just works in this house. 




Isn't that better? The color the builder put on the walls is just depressing. It looks dirty too. Ick. The walls are still the original color. It took Edward all day to cut in and roll 3 coats of paint. I did the dining room a few months ago so I know how difficult and time consuming it is. I wish I could have helped him but I really want my back and hip to stop hurting so I will follow doctors orders. 
  
I did make a cake for Father's Day on Saturday. From scratch. Cake and frosting. It wasn't the best cake I have ever had but it wasn't the worst either. I think I may just stick with box mix. lol The frosting was delicious though. I have plenty of experience with frosting. 



Sunday morning we gave Edward his gifts. We got him a fire pit with accessories, a rotisserie for the grill and a blue tooth meat thermometer. Since dinner was already planned we didn't get to use the grill accessories yet but he did light up the fire pit and we roasted marshmallows. 

(Please excuse the state of this room, it still isn't put together since the walls aren't painted yet)




.
And for dinner Sunday I made one of Edwards favorite meals, Apple & Sage pork chops. The recipe is from McCormick and we really like it. I served it with white rice. So yummy. 


Recipe coming soon.

Thanks for stopping by.
Chris

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Giant Jenga

Ed and I made a giant Jenga set for us to play with. I just finished it today and we played our first game tonight. Please excuse the way I look. It is hot and humid here today and I spent hours outside waxing the Jenga blocks. It was worth it. Now I need a shower. lol 




Thanks for stopping by. 
Chris

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mini vacation

Ed and I took the boys to Daytona Beach Shores for a few days last week. We were there before the storms went through over the weekend and beginning of this week. Originally we were going to be there this week but we saw the weather and moved our trip up a few days. 

We basically spent 2 days laying on the beach and around the hotel pool. The hotel we stayed at is right on the beach and the view is beautiful. 

This is the view from our room. It was almost high tide. 


Here are some more pictures from our stay. 









After a long day at the beach we cleaned up and took the boys to Barnes and Noble. I swear it's their favorite store next to Toys R Us! They each came out with a lot of new books. I am so proud that they love to read. 



We each came home with a slight sunburn. The boys on only their faces, Ed and I also burned on our backs. I guess we didn't apply sunblock as often as we should have. We will know better for next time. 

Thanks for stopping by. 
Chris 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pallet wall art

I have some found really cool DIY wall art ideas on Pinterest so I thought I would put two of them together for some art for the breakfast area.

The first one is the pallet from from Wife In Progress. I followed her instructions and bought enough wood to get 21 pieces 22 inches long (7 pieces for each frame). I had Ed cut them for me and I stained them using Classic Gray and Dark Walnut stain from Minwax. I did some of them gray only or dark walnut only and others I mixed the two colors. I also varied the time I left the stain on before wiping it off. I wanted them all to be different and I think I achieved that goal.


After they dried I played around with the pieces until I had 3 sets of 7 that I liked together.



I glued 2 pieces of scrap that went almost all the way across all 7 boards to the backs of each frame and set a case of soda on them until they were dry. Sorry no pics of that. lol

I got the butcher prints from The Mountain View Cottage . She has a whole set of them available for free download.  I went to Michael's and picked out burlap colored card stock to print the chicken, pig and cow on along with 3 black 11 x 14 picture mats. I printed the butcher prints using my home printer then taped them to the back of each mat and glued one on each front of the pallet frames.

And here they are.


I really enjoy making art and I think that homemade art adds so much warmth to a home.

Thanks for stopping by.
Chris

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day weekend

For the long holiday we worked on the yard and finished up some things around the house. When we bought the house the flower beds in front and around the trees in back had pine straw which we replaced a few months ago. I do not care for this stuff at all. It doesn't keep the weeds and grass out of the beds and it makes it hard to dig the unwanted stuff out. When we cut the new flower bed in the back around the perimeter of the fence we decided to use regular mulch and that was on our to do list for this weekend. Thursday morning I got an email from Lowe's saying that mulch was on sale and it was the one we had picked out. Instead of $3.33 per bag it would be 5 for $10! Yay! So we decided at that price to go ahead and redo all the flower beds that had pine straw as well. 

Here is a picture of the front flower bed with the pine straw back at Halloween. This was the only before picture I could find. lol



And here is a picture of the front flower bed now. 


Our grass isn't nearly as green as it was. Not sure why, it's greener in the back-where we have grass that is. 



Here's a before of the back yard. 



The other thing we worked on this weekend was the entry and stairs. Back a few months ago we started this project but just hadn't had the time to finish it yet. We are bad about having 10 things going on at once. Right now we are trying to finish up all current projects for the year and this was one of them.

Here are some true "before" pictures.



See that wainscoting in the dining room in the first picture? That is what we wanted to replicate for the entry and stairs. We couldn't find the exact pieces they used but we found similar ones. It will be hard for most people to tell the difference. 

Here are pictures from part way through. It was like this for a while.


Here is it now with the boxes added.  Much better. Edward does such a good job!





So pretty.

The other project we finished up this weekend was in our kitchen. This one kinda snow balled like things tend to do with us. First we painted it. The wall color the builder put is very dark and looks like dirt to me. So we painted the kitchen and breakfast area plus the ceiling. We used Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray and love it. We chose white for the ceiling in here just to make it easy on us. We prefer white ceilings to begin with except where the ceiling is coffered. Then we thought adding board and batten to the breakfast area would be great and then we realized that the back splash just wasn't going to work with the new wall color and the board and batten. So we got a new back splash as well. All that was left for us to do this weekend was touch up the wall paint. That was pretty easy compared to the rest of it.

Here's the before of the kitchen and the breakfast area. 




Here it is now. 





Here's a close up of the tile. The grout is almost the same color as the walls. 

We used 1x3's for the board and batten and 3x6 subway tiles for the back splash with warm gray grout. The white paint is the same Sherwin Williams paint the builder used. Just plain white. No special white. The board and batten was a bit of pain in that we chose to take the baseboards off and put it behind them. It turned out fantastic though.

I also made the pallet artwork in the breakfast area over the long weekend. I will have a post on that in the future. 


Eventually we will get all of the builder paint covered with Agreeable Gray but it's going to take some time. I look forward to it because it really brightens up a room!
Other than that the boys played outside, we did some weekend cleaning and cooked hamburgers on the grill. Pretty low key but busy.

***Note: We no longer live in this house and left all of the stuff for it with the house. We can't remember the name of the grout color. Sorry. We moved a few months after doing this project. 

Thanks for stopping by.
Chris

I am sharing at this party:
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