Thursday, August 01, 2013

The dudes' abode

The dudes' abode

K / @TwoAdults shared a really fun tour of her house and I've been enjoying the other posts following the same idea. I'm crazy-nosey and love peeking into internet folks' houses so I figured I'd give you a peek into mine in turn.

This is our house, or was our house when we bought it in February 2008:

This is our house now, more or less…I took the photo two(?) summers ago after the roof was re-shingled but it looks about the same now. We had it stripped and repainted and replaced all the windows during the summer of 2009 while I was pregnant with Nico.

I don't know what the style is called…Colonial Revival, maybe? It was built in 1940. The exterior of our house had to grow on me, honestly. I'm a bungalow or old farmhouse girl through and through, but after looking at 30 houses this was really the only option. We had grand plans of redecorating the entire place, but there was a surprising lack of money once we moved in, and then we started having kids which turned out to be a little bit expensive. Who knew?

I mostly love our house. If I could go back in time, I might try to hold out for a four-bedroom, but at the time we were certain we only wanted two kids so we settled for a three-bedroom. We aren't 100% sure we'll go for a third kid, but we've decided not to shut the door entirely, so that's something I kind of wish I'd seen coming. Anyway, let's get on with the tour. We almost never use the front door since the garage is around back.

If you walk in our back door (which is actually on the side of our house, not the back), you come into a very small landing. The kitchen is in front of you, up two steps. The door to the basement is to the right and the half bath is on the left.

I love this little bathroom. As far as I can tell it's original to the house and it makes me feel a bit sad for how sharp the rest of the house probably looked before it was redecorated questionably in the 70s. Once we pay off the baby, I'd like to de-wallpaper and paint the walls in here. I also need to figure out if it's feasible in some way for me to strip the paint off the door and doorframe. Tips are welcome!

Welcome to our orange kitchen. It's offensively orange! The wallpaper is a cartoony Holly Hobby type quilt print. The linoleum is cheap and was installed in the most half-assed fashion imaginable (Instead of cutting it to size, they stuffed the rolled up edges under the cabinets). Someone on facebook asked incredulously how I can stand to look at this every day. The answer is that (A) one becomes desensitized after a while and (B) the price of a full kitchen remodel is even harder to look at, so I carry on bravely. My only real complaint about the setup is that it would be a huge pain in the ass to replace the non-working dishwasher that came with the house, so we probably won't be able to get one until we fork out for a full overhaul. Which will probably be never. If you're standing where I was when I took this picture, the fridge is to your right and then the pantry; the stove is to the left and then the breakfast nook.

Awesome 1963 stove with double oven. If this thing ever dies I will probably cry.

Breakfast nook, which we use as a mudroom / storage room. When we were house shopping we knew we wanted a big dog, so in every house we looked for a spot to put a really big crate. This was a clear winner in that regard. In an alternate universe where we have all kinds of money to burn, we're going to build a deck onto the back of the house and put French doors in here leading out to it. In this universe the dog is worried about me taking a photo of him while he eats. This is not the little side addition visible from the front of the house…we'll get to that later.

Fridge, the only appliance we had to buy when we moved. Pantry door with apropos sign since we use the back door.

Our house is kind of laid out in a big open square, so if you're in the kitchen with your back to the side door, the doorway to the dining room is in front of you and the door to the foyer is to your right. Here's the foyer off the front door / stairs to the second floor:

Anytime someone knocks on the front door and Nico is home, he runs over and peeks out the mail slot to see who's outside. A photographer acquaintance recently captured this and it's one of my favorite pictures ever:

Here's the living room looking in from the foyer. Behold our collection of ginormous baby containment apparatuses! We're also using the ottoman that matched Nico's long-defunct nursery glider because we haven't bought nice ottomans for the living room yet. I blame MB, who stalled on buying some nice matching brown ones at Target until they were sold out. (Sorry, dear. It's true.) The curtains came with the house and we kind of hate them, but we haven't gotten around to shelling out for new ones. The doorway off in the upper left leads into Nico's playroom. The dining room is back and to the left.

Nico's playroom is one of my favorite spaces in the house. This is the little side-addition space you can see when you look at the house from the front. It used to be a side porch that the previous owners had enclosed and connected to the HVAC system. We originally intended to use it as an office and space for our evil cat, but we never used the office since we had laptops. Then it became the catch-all hoardy junk room of shame. Then we got rid of the cat. Then I cleaned it out and turned it into a playroom. It's not very big, but every time I go in there it makes me happy.

Here's the dining room, taken from just outside the playroom. The piano never gets played but I have great intentions of one day getting back to it. My mom bought it for the house I grew up in, and it's the piano I played as a child.

I like the buffet a lot…not sure it qualifies as a built-in since it obviously was added after the house was built, but it's nice for storage. Unfortunately it's also an unmitigated Crap Magnet (™ Temerity Jane). I also like the light fixture pretty well, but it puts off roughly the same amount of heat as the surface of the Sun.

Close-up of the wallpaper. When we moved in, this was my least favorite wallpaper in the house and that is saying something. It grew on me surprisingly quickly. I'm not sure if this is original 1940s paper or a later addition, but in the far distant future when we have stripped every scrap of wallpaper out of the rest of the house, burned it, and danced upon its ashes, I think this will still be on the walls. It does remind me of the plants that shoot spiky balls in the underwater levels of Super Mario Brothers, though.

If you turn and look back into the living room, this is what you see. We used to have a second bookcase in that open space where the lamp is, but our new couch is so ridiculously large that there wasn't room for it.

We're not going down to the basement. There's a very cheaply "finished" section that really barely counts as finished. In that imaginary money-having world, we're going to get it waterproofed and remodeled into a family room. In this world, it's full of stuff and it's really ugly. We do have a separate laundry area and storage space, so that's nice. There are lots of spider webs. Let's head upstairs instead, shall we?

The wallpaper pièce de résistance, plus the affectionately-nicknamed Kermit carpet:

May I magnify your horror by informing you that the entire first floor used to be outfitted with that green carpet? We never saw it, but shreds remain caught in the baseboards here and there. At least once a month I consider ripping out the carpet, but then I think it probably will provide a decent cushion if one of the kids falls down the stairs and I leave it. Looking up the stairs, there's a small built-in cabinet at the top which I love, and a lower door to a laundry chute that we don't use because I'm afraid our clothes would get stuck in the walls somewhere. That doorway you can barely see leads to the full bathroom.

Bathroom. Neither ugly nor particularly attractive. Has inherited mildew in the shower that we can't kill. Gives me daydreams of ripping it all out and installing a big soaker tub.

If you go down the hall past the bathroom, there's a cool built-in linen cabinet on the left and Nico's bedroom is straight ahead. Cabinet, Nico's doorway:

All of our furniture is kind of a hodgepodge. The bed in here is half of a bunk set my parents bought used when I was a kid. The other half is in Elliott's room. I don't love them but they were free. My favorite piece in Nico's room is his dresser, which I picked out at Goodwill in college and used until we moved into the house. I loved it so much that I literally sat on it while my dad went up front and paid for it so that no one else could buy it. MB has always disliked it, so I sent it to be the baby dresser and started using another one for myself when we moved.

Our room is next to Nico's. The master bedroom is stupidly huge. We have a queen bed and a giant crib in there and still have space for a half-court basketball game. I actually wish the builder had given some of the space to the third bedroom because poor Elliott's room is disproportionately small. When we have all that money to spend, I'm going to see if I can find a creative contractor who can move the wall two or three feet in and give E a bit more space. The ceiling is wallpapered. (So was Elliott's ceiling and so are the ceilings in the kitchen and half bath. Former owners LOVED wallpaper.) And don't you love our classy top sheet? The dog sleeps on the bed all day and I don't want his hair getting all over the bedding. The brown dresser in the room is mine. It belonged to one of my great aunts. I might have to add a photo of my nightstand. It's the same light green as Nico's dresser (which is why I loved Nico's dresser on sight) and it was the first piece of furniture I ever picked out for myself. My parents took me to the furniture store when I was about four years old and I can remember seeing the little chest on a dolly being wheeled out to my dad's truck. If we ever buy nice matching nightstands for our bedroom I'm keeping my green one, too.

Finally we come to Elliott's room. MB has vowed never again to paint a two-toned room. We decided to leave the twin bed set up when we converted this from the guest room to the nursery. Good thing, too, because I slept in there with Elliott for his first ten weeks and still sometimes end up in there. My favorite thing in the room is his custom nursery art above the dresser, made by a girl I used to work with…you can't really tell, but it's actually hand-painted pieces assembled together in a sort of collage on a watercolor background. It's exactly what I wanted as soon as I found out I was having another boy. (She is available for commission work, so let me know if you'd like her info. She's crazy talented and super nice!)

So that's our house! It definitely has some challenges but overall I really like it. It's a solid place that has some character and charm without being a total fixer-upper. It may end up being the only home we ever own since we opted not to do the starter home thing. Time will tell, I guess!


  1. 1. How fun to see!

    2. It's funny how wallpaper either ages Very Well or Very Badly. I love the trains and the Underwater Mario Plants. We looked at one house I wanted to buy for the wallpaper alone, because it happened that ALL the wallpapers chosen by those owners long ago had Huge Vintage Appeal. The kind of wallpapers that would be made into modern reproductions and sold for a million dollars a square foot now. Sigh. I still pine for it a little. But that house had two bedrooms and no room to expand, so.

    3. I love the shot of Nico peeking out the mail slot!

    4. I have a bureau painted what I think is that SAME green. My parents painted it in the 70s. It's like, green with streaky bits of brown. I replaced the drawer pulls but I need to try again because the ones I chose aren't quite right.

  2. I am loving the house tours! Yours is very whimsical, thanks to the wallpaper. If you ever strike it rich and manage to get rid of the stuff you don't like, you HAVE to save and frame swatches of it. It's too awesome.

    Also, I'm sure you are shocked that I absolutely love your green dresser, and kind of love the kermit stairs.

  3. That green dresser is gorgeous. I dig all the built-in cabinets, too. Also I find myself wanting a mail slot for some reason. :)

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  5. Great house! It's so big and has tonnes of potential if you want to change it and spend more bucks. It totally gives me flashbacks to my childhood in the 70s and 80s..I can almost smell it. Although that sounds weird. Probably it doesn't smell like smoke, like I imagine based on the wall paper. OK! Anyway. Great colours and nooks and crannies. The kids (and Indy) are lucky to grow up there.

  6. It does have a distinct but not bad old-house smell, though luckily it doesn't smell like smoke. I'm not sure why our house smells old but friends' and family members' equally-old houses don't...maybe because it was vacant for almost a year before we bought it? One would think that would fade in time, but I still notice it when we come home after a few days away.