Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Does Anyone Have $545,000 I Can Borrow? No?

This house is currently my #1 obsession...

It just came on the market in our hometown. A lot this size (28,000 sq. ft.) is practically unheard of in our city, never mind that the house itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for it's architecture. Ladies and gentleman, the George P. Fernald House or, as I like to call it, my future home:

What kind of person makes it to the tail end of a renovation that tested the every fiber of their being and immediately starts to daydream about another fixer-upper? I'm sick.

Funny story about the house, though:

On Saturday, my husband and I actually met the listing broker to get a look at the house (what can I say, I literally could not resist). At the last second, my son Cullen - the two-year old - asked if he could come with us. Sure.

So, we get over to the house and meet the broker in the foyer. I am immediately awestruck and in love. With the house, not the broker.

As we're introducing ourselves and making small talk, I feel something curious inside Cullen's pant leg (he's in my arms). While Mike talks with Mr. Broker, I discreetly peek inside Cullen's jeans, at the ankle, and see - his diaper!?! What the hell? How did that even HAPPEN?

To makes things even better (worse) he diaper is chock full of poop and pee. Yay! All I can think is, "Thank GOD this house smells like crap ALREADY."

Luckily, Mike decides to check out the cellar first. I follow him down there, pull the poopie diaper out of Cullen's pants, roll it up tightly, and tuck it into the waistband of my own jeans, under my shirt. At this point, I am willing to take desperate measures to conceal the incriminating evidence. So, we have a good laugh in the cellar, and go about looking at the house. I'm figuring since Cullen just pooped and peed, we should be good for at least a few minutes.

We continue touring the house, and it is every bit as gorgeous as I thought it would be. Of course, it is in need of MAJOR rehab, but that was to be expected. Hence the price (yes, $545,000.00 is a pretty good deal around here). I let Cullen run around on his own, within eye shot of course, and he even found a cool secret door here:

It opens to a closet in the next room.

All is well until we are ready to leave. Mike looks at Cullen and tries hard to stifle a laugh. Uh oh. That ain't good.

We say bye to Mr. Broker, get out to the porch and I say to Mike "What was that all about?" Still laughing, he points to Cullen, who now has a huge, telltale pee stain all over the front of his jeans.

I am SO embarrassed and worried that he got pee on the floor of the house somewhere. Luckily, after a quick check of his socks and shoes, I decide the pee has been contained in his pants. So, we hightail it home, clean the little guy up, and decide we probably aren't cut out for mansion livin' anyway.

Kid's lucky he's cute :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

As an Aside...

Why is it that when someone says, "She just had a baby, about three months ago" its perfectly acceptable. But when I say, "I just paid that bill, about three months ago" everyone acts like I'm crazy???

I'm just kidding. Mostly.

I've been thinking about the state of the economy a lot lately. My husband and I bought the big yellow house just as the market was beginning to turn, so we got a pretty fair deal. We were also lucky enough to have had equity in the property the day we bought it. Based on the size of the house and lot, we were able to qualify for an equity line right away - even after getting a high LTV first mortgage (we did NOT put 20%, or anything NEAR 20% down). So, even though things SUCK right now, and things especially SUCK for people stuck sinking staggering amounts of money into fixer-uppers, I guess it could be worse.

At work, we've been doing a LOT of bankruptcies. These aren't people who just went nuts with their credit cards (well, some of them are). For the most part, these are hardworking, home owning people who lost a job, or got sick, or had an ARM that they couldn't refinance. These are proud people who don't even want to tell me why they're calling. I want to tell them not to be embarrassed, that it's not their fault. But I don't, because I don't want to seem presumptuous or nosey.

In the face of all this, it's hard for me to blog about home decor. Often, it's even hard for me to read others' blogs on home decor. It feels excessive and frivolous when so many other people have "real" problems to worry about. Hence the complete and utter lack of posts lately.

After wrestling with this over the last few days, I've come to one huge, liberating, conclusion: There are always gonna be people who have "real" problems (and sometimes, I will even be one of them). There will always be economic hardship, violence, disease. And the best thing we can do for ourselves is cling to what makes us happy - family, friends, home, hobbies (including, dare I say it, decorating). If making your home beautiful makes you happy, why NOT do it? Right?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quick, Pointless Update

Here's my new chair (I got it for $140 at Jennifer Furniture in their clearance section - wooohoooooo!*):

And, the chair as modeled by Batman and Robin:

Here's my new mirror (I got it for $10 at a yard sale - wooohoooooo!*):

(I haven't quite mastered the art of getting myself out of the way for mirror shots.)

And, a close up of the mirror frame. This is one of those old, plaster mirrors. Very heavy. Very solid. Initially, I was gonna repaint it, but the chippy, old look of it has grown on me.

*Very little excites me more than a good bargain. Can you tell?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Piece by Piece

Seeing as we now have a house full of beautiful, original, hardwood floors, the project of the moment is area rugs...many of them.

Since the floors have been refinished, we've spent a LOT of time trying to decide what the heck to do for rugs. I've been leaning toward something solid or with a fairly plain print. Nothing too busy. I've been looking everywhere and either the color is wrong, the size is wrong, the pattern is wrong or the price wrong. Throughout this rug-searching mission, I have come to one ultimate realization: rugs are really friggin' expensive.

Area rugs for the living room, dining room and foyer could easily run over $2000. Oh, I could just see it: "Honey, we won't be eating dinner at all this month....but check my new dhurri!" Yeah, not gonna fly.

Desperate and at my wits end, I started flipping through the flor catalog that magically appears in my mailbox every so often. And I have to say, I'm impressed. The prices run the gamut, that's for sure, but several of the patterns I like best are only $9.99 per tile...

this one is called Finer Things and is currently my #1 choice:

this one is called Checkered Past:

and this one is called Twill Ride:

After some quick math, I realized I could get two rugs, both roughly 9' x 9', for about $700.00. This is great a for a lot of reasons, the top two being:

1. I'll end up with a square shaped rug, which would best fit the room, rather than settle for a standard rectangular rug.

2. The flor tiles give us the ability to replace any stained or damaged tiles, which, with two little boys in the house, is priceless.
So, it looks like we might be going with flor for the dining room and living room (not sure about the foyer yet).
All in all I think we're off to a good start.