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The Big, Long Awaited, New House Post. (The post is big, not the house. Just so there's no confusion.)

checking out the new 'hood. It's still weird to see civilization around instead of the odd deer or porcupine.

It's a long story.
Not just long but dramatic.
Emotional.
I'm talking deep and traumatic stuff here folks...

Nah, I'm totally kidding.

Well...just a little bit. It's not primetime material, (but it is a lot like those cheesy home shows, now that I think on it) but it has certainly kept us busy for these past nine months.
Whoa that's weird. It's like we've been pregnant or something and gave birth to a house. Actually it does feel that way, a bit, at least in the emotional and mental realm of things.
Like : OMG, what have we done?!
"It's all your fault!" (me to Justin when the day we moved into the house the water heater crapped out.)
And again, "What now?! It's too late to pretend we don't own it, the neighbors have our cell numbers.."
Well I'll tell you what will happen now, those friends of ours who are veteran homeowners will gleefully rub their hands together at the prospect of a fellow commiserator and chirp smugly, "Welcome to homeownership you guys!"
The other half who are staunch renters will expel any traces of jealousy and maybe-we-should-buy feelings with the relief in the knowledge of having dodged a bullet.

Finding a good lion den these days is just not easy you know?
Especially when lions come in all shapes and sizes and most importantly, tastes.
We knew we had to move out of our rental situation in January, and so, while Leo was recovering from his Christmas vacation in the PICU, we started compiling our list of house requirements.

Number one and at the top of this list was that our future lion den needs to be, at the max, no more than thirty minutes from the hospital. Even that seems risky so in my mind I changed it to twenty minutes MAX. No! Actually make it fifteen, come on here folks, lets not play with fire... (FYI my intense feelings on this may have been compounded by the fact we were actually IN the hospital when we made this list. When you are in, it's hard to imagine being out. Especially a half an hour away...or more.

Number two was to be in the same school district as before since switching Leo from his current stellar and rockin therapists and educators to a completely unknown group seemed kinda like also a big deal. An unnecessary one. Why fix it if it ain't broke?

Number three, it had to be close to big sister's school because that daily commute of forty minutes was getting OLD. 

Number four it had to be close to my work, and to the highways for Justin to get to his worksites easily.

Ok so those were the easy no brainer requirements. The other ones were much harder to nail down. Like the country vs city.
The big turn-key mansion, or the funky fix it upper. Well that wasn't really a contest because even though we liked to play around at being able to afford the big turn-key we could only in theory afford the fixer upper. And by fixer-upper I do not mean the idyllic weekend project of new paint and fixtures. I mean more like: how in the name of everything is that..building...thing(?) still standing?!
Yeah. We went though a couple of those.
Nika enjoyed keeping track of what number it was that we were "gonna buy." 
Just to give you an idea, we actually bought number four.
By four I mean the houses we actually got under contract with. They all fell through, thankfully by the grace of God, because most of them were waaay outside our scope of reality. 
One log cabin that was in a very idyllic setting but needed lots and lots of work and probably had a septic system that was invented and put in by some guy drinking way too much moonshine.
A gorgeous old townhouse right in the middle of all the action and close to everything, but old yes? Think knob and tube electric wiring and horse hair plaster; a bringing up to code nightmare.
A ranch right on the border with the horse farm where I work, but not really for sale, and also not a ranch as it happened, but a mobil home (which our loan doesn't cover).

We certainly learned a lot about home buying those past nine months, and it was all mostly along the lines of what we can't get, and really slim in the lines of what we can.
There was disappointment. 
And also relief in hindsight.

And now I know that it was all leading us to here. To this house. Our house.
It is still surreal to say that. Especially after there were several close calls in our financing when we thought it was all over. Plus our loan officer I think had power issues and enjoyed seeing us squirm like a worm on a hook.
But we didn't get eaten after all, though going to closing felt much like taking a plunge into uncertain watery depths...



Deer in headlights at the lawyer's office. Notice the essential key fob. My only explanation was that the previous owner was trying to hint at something. Like a broken water heater and how we will definitely need a drink, or two, or three.
We got so excited when we signed the papers, that we jumped into homeownership swinging hammers and drills, so before you knew it, where there once was pristine and empty new house, now there were walls down and scenes of construction in every room. I guess we just couldn't believe that we somehow managed to buy a house that wasn't in a major state of disrepair and construction, and so we were still drastic remodel land. Though in all fairness the house was pretty much live in ready. But the wall removal was definitely essential.

There used to be a wall there. We didn't like it. So we made it go away. 
We got so excited at "making our mark," we might have made one mark to many...
Anyway after pulling a couple of all-nighters most of the house is back in order. More or less.
The move itself was pretty painless, we didn't have far to go, and the enormous truck wasn't even packed to the max. However we did end up getting rid of tons of miscellaneous stuff that had managed to creep into our house in the dead of night. That's the only explanation, RIGHT?
Anyway we've been blissfully painting, (several times repainting..ahem..some not so great spur of the moment color decisions) patching up after our giddy demo day, and moving furniture around.

Burning the midnight oil adding in new tile where the old wall was to make symmetry happen in front of the door..
There is still some patching to be done...like installing a matching railing and bannister.
Here are some pics of what it looks like now, though I guarantee it will change at some point. We already have plans brewing for an addition.

This is the kitchen before....

And the kitchen now...


We moved the fridge across where the little pantry used to be, and Justin built a new bar/ counter area in the freed up space. The fridge was just taking up too much room, plus I love having it kinda hidden.


We trimmed out the new fridge nook in barn board that we had lying around and varnished it with a natural whey based poly. We ended up doing this barn board trim in a couple different spots so it kinda became a theme.


It helped make the house feel less like a pre-fab vacation home...


Although it still does a bit. Leo's awesome Godmum is giving us their old wood-stove (So awesome!) so the fireplace isn't going to be around much longer because the wood-stove will replace it. This is Vermont after all. We need our heat to actually, you know, heat, not just look pretty.
There are two bathrooms, which was definitely towards the top on my list of requirements as there was no way I could go back to just one after being spoiled for three years with two.



Notice the barn board again where there used to be a wall and doorway. It felt like squeezing through a gauntlet, and two doors opening out into the same small landing was a kid falling down the stairs disaster waiting to happen.


 Nika's room is pretty self explanatory, she's responsible for the decor. Seriously, I had nothing to do with it.


She has this thing about cats.



My sewing studio for my little side business...



Justin's music studio. For his, you know, side business.


So you know what? It didn't start out as our "dream home," no, it was more like "this or nothing" home, but after a month of living in it, painting it, wrecking stuff and building stuff in it... owning it, 
I know that it's right. 

It's a good lion den for Leo.


Many many thanks to everyone who helped it happen! You know who you all are. Moving help, mental help...etc, etc, etc.




Comments

  1. looks great! sounds like a lot of work! glad you have this home! what a blessing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love it! You have certainly put a lot of thought and hard work into it! All that's left is to bless it! :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love it! (BTW we lived in our house for 7+ years and some of the things you have done already are still on our to-do list..) The view is great - makes me miss New England. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete

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