Archive for the ‘new home’ Category

I Bought A House, Y’all.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

(our house)

OK, so we don’t close for three more weeks, but I think by now I can finally share properly that Andrew and I bought our first house. We’ve owned two condos before, so first time home buyers we are not, but this is the first time we will own all four walls and a roof (that needs replacing, of course). And it’s in the burbs. Ok, it’s not like the BURBS burbs, it’s in Newton Center, a mere 10-12 minutes from downtown Boston, but it’s still not the South End, where I have lived and LOVED living for the past few years.  While I did not want to leave the city yet, the rents are INSANE and there isn’t anything on the market we can afford that we can stay in long term. Cue housing conundrum. The real estate recession is no where to be found in these parts.  It’s a total clusterfuck, to be honest. Rents are super high and inventory low and decent homes of sale under $1 million are being bought for over asking prices in desirable areas within days of being on the market. What is one to do?

Leave the city apparently, for some space, an actual driveway and garage and absence of noisy neighbors.

Well, we have been scouring open houses in close the the city towns for months and months. Open houses where 50 people would be waiting in the driveway 10 minutes before it was scheduled to start. Nothing to pressure you like a crowd of young moms staring you down like “Bitch please, I have a KID and another on the way, this house is MINE! I will cut you!”  So a few months ago we saw our dream house. Like, Father of the Bride dream house. I nearly punched Andrew in a fit of joy in our car when we drove up to it. It felt right. And it was really expensive, but we put in a low ball offer…and after negotiations we actually GOT IT. It was amazing and terrifying, but I had already begun renovating in my head.

And then we had our inspection.

It. Went. Horribly.

Like, one of the worst our agent has ever seen. Mold. Water. Bad electric. Old water pipes. Poor construction. Foundation damage. Termites. Roof problems. Need I go on?

We backed out. It was 300 grand in damage to repair and I am not Beyonce.  I can’t afford that.  I felt pretty gutted and really hopeless that we’d find something I loved as much.  Our wonderful agent told me about a place she wanted me to see, and after looking at the pics online I wasn’t sold at all. Charming, not so much. Not like the other house. But the location was amazing- a place that offers me a yard but the ability walk to Starbucks and shopping in 5 minutes. Since I was a bit freaked about leaving the city pre-children, I loved that feature. So I agreed to put in an offer. And we were outbid. OF COURSE. But something in the universe shifted and the deal fell through and we got it. For under asking, which is rare in Newton.

When it comes to real estate I always look to my dad for advice. He’s saved us from investment disasters and has had unbelievable luck (and skill) with investing in property his whole career. So when he gave it his blessing, and enthusiastically so, I was psyched. So we are working on it together- designing the renovation inside and out (in phases, of course) and I am uncharacteristically calm about it. Which I hope is a good sign. But just wait until we open walls and I figure out how much my new kitchen is actually going to cost… that calm will go right out the new front door.

The place has not been touched since 1941, I swear. Except for the systems, which is HUGE. Wallpaper from the 50′s EVERYWHERE. Original kitchen cabinets. ONE FULL BATHROOM (and one half, but STILL, this will be interesting!). But it does have pretty hardwood floors, dentil moulding all over, a sunroom and POTENTIAL. And a location to kill for. So join me in the coming months on a new blog series chronicling the in, outs, ups and downs of my home renovation from the closing day until the day we finish. I really am excited to have your opinion and support through this process and hope you find it interesting and funny and can keep me from walking in front of a soccer mom’s minivan.

Wow. Onto the next phase of life. In the burbs. And as the previous owner said with tears in her eyes, having spent her entire life in this house, ” I hope you make as many wonderful memories here as we did”.

We plan to.

Wish me luck,

Erin

Sofa Dilemma of 2011.

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

We are about thisclose to finally owning our condo and while I ponder what I want to do to the space I’ve been living in for a year (without decorating) my biggest decision are sofas.  While I want my space to be super clean and serene (I am assaulted by so much color and pattern and styles every day at work I kind of want my own home to be simple) I struggle with sofa color. As I’ve said a zillion times before, making decisions for other people’s homes is easy for me, for my own home it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

I’ve always wanted white sofas. I am obsessed with them. But I have two dogs. With eight dirty paws. And I myself cannot eat a single meal without some kind of sauce or wine staining my clothes, so this is not an option (sadly). I also am super lazy and won’t actually wash a slipcover so I will shoot down that suggestion immediately. So I had settled on grey.  Grey Chesterfields, to be exact.

And then I went and sat in the Chesterfields I wanted and guess what? So not comfy. And we all know a sofa in front of the TV HAS to be comfy.GAH!

So, as I rethink the style (probably the Liam by MGBW or the Park ave by Duralee) I also became obsessed with a new idea. NAVY VELVET SOFAS!!!! So rich, so British library-esque. So chic! Paired with a great vintage Heriz Persian rug and a simple sleek lucite table and brass accents it would be so lovely, no?

And guess who rocked a navy sofa in her new apartment?

YUP. That makes it legit.

Yet, I cannot decide. I also am pretty sold on the place being white, grey and black. Hmmm, your thoughts?

(illustrated by Jonathan Adler pieces- not what I’m thinking of style wise, but they illustrate the concept well!)

VS.

Homeless Designer Seeks Shelter.

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Did that get your attention? Good because yours truly has 8 weeks to find a new home. That’s right, last week we found out our landlord is being foreclosed on and we are out May 1. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet. The picture above is how I feel about it. So, here I am using this blog as a platform to help myself find a new home. If you are in Boston or know someone in Boston’s South End or Back Bay who has a fabulous 2 bedroom for rent or sale please tell them about little ol’ moi. The listings right now are grim, so I’m hoping to find something by word of mouth. I have to say, I am the world’s best renter because it is my blood to make improvements on a space even if it’s not mine. :) And if you are thinking of selling, well, have your people call my people (my people being Baxter and Ollie).

Thanks guys! A new home means fun new blog posts…I’m trying to l0ok on the bright side (but really spend most of the day cursing my current situation).

New Place Update

Monday, May 17th, 2010

I am so excited to make my first purchase this week from American Express Membership Rewards! I am using 25,000 points to get a Pottery Barn gift card for $250 so I can get  gorgeous long white cotton drapes for my master bedroom. I’ll be installing them on ceiling tracks to give the room serious drama and a spa-like ethereal feel.  This weekend I made an attempt at painting the wall behind the bed black- bought the paint, Martha Stewart’s Florence from Home Depot, a pretty deep, deep charcoal- but never got to painting it. I will by the end of the week!  I did however, get to IKEA and bought this GINORMOUS print of the Eiffel Tower to hang on a large blank wall next to the bed! It’s like waking up in Paris every morning (and last night I got in bed early and watched “Paris” and “Amelie” and relished in all things Parisian!)

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Where the drapes will go:

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The drapes I selected- affordable thick cotton from Pottery Barn:

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I also hung my gallery wall this weekend and think it loks pretty good for having eyeballed it and having no plan beforehand!

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Fresh peonies from the market on the table make me deliriously happy…

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My bar completed:

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Oliver wanted to say hello as well…

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Another vignette from the house:

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Moved In!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

DSC_0093 copy(Bax and Ollie are pretty confused…but I think the killer dog park across the street will help them adjust!)

I am totally, completely exhausted after moving this weekend- but I’m happy to report we are in and I LOVE IT.  It’s a big difference moving from an old home to a modern loft space.  I was in tears on Sunday morning walking the dogs around Jamaica Pond one last time and fearing that I would miss it so much.  And while I will, I realize that we can go back there anytime we want- it’s only a 15-20 minute drive- but now I am living in the center of all the action and that makes my life SO much easier and enjoyable.  I’m a 15 minute walk from my studio and a two to five minute walk from all the amazing restaurants and shopping in the South End and under 10 minutes to Newbury Street! Last night we went out our back door and sat on the patio at Rocca to toast our new life. It felt great!

But there is MUCH work to be done before this place feel finished and like a home. One thing I am so exited about is getting to use this amazing trunk I found at TJ Maxx as a coffee table (our buyers bought our living room furniture).  I found this huge piece at TJ’s in Connecticut near my mom and dad’s house for $140! it’s wrapped in a grass cloth like texture and blinged out with nail heads! LOVE! We’re getting a new sectional, new throw pillows and some floor to ceiling sheers for the big windows but other than that I’m going to make do by arranging art and accessories we already have.  It is a rental after all!

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I found the perfect spot for that faux imperial trellis rug in the kitchen!

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The bedroom is one of the rooms I may paint– I am seriously considering painting the wall behind my bed black (cue happy dance).  I think it could look really dramatic with my silver starburst mirror hung above the bed and some pops of color in pillows on the bed (and new lamps, and awesome drapes, and a new rug, recover the bench….)  The best news?  America Express has asked me to partner with them to show card members how to use rewards points to improve the home- so they are giving me 300,000 points to makeover my bedroom! Did you know you can use points to get giftcards to Crate and Barrel, WS Home, Pottery Barn and West Elm? I didn’t! I’ll be posting about the transformation and experience in the next few weeks and I am beyond excited and honored to work with them on this!

Here’s the bedroom now with our bed moved in!

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Off to get some work done and run some errands for the house! And then I may collapse!