A Clean Home, A Cleaner Mind

I write to you all tonight with a sense of relief.  This week was a busy one.  I let my house fall apart a bit this week and it’s been tough to relax seeing a myriad of unfinished chores.  Half painted walls, partially emptied moving boxes, and sadly–please don’t judge me–we still haven’t put our luggage from my Albuquerque trip back in the garage: these things all haunt me and remind me that I’m being lazy.  My first grader (yes, she’s getting that old) started school not too long ago bringing back a daily deluge of kid paperwork and with my husband entering his first year of law school, my home is not so slowly being filled with piles of law books.

With my schooling “complete” for the moment, I need a new hobby.  Reorganizing my life at this moment is becoming my mission.  I am facing the box after box (when I tackle them) of things that are taking up unnecessary space in our home and these items–while still usable–belong with people who need them more than we do.  For the things that are well beyond their utility, it’s the recycling bin (if they are made of the right stuff) or the garage bin.  I find that these tasks require I have an inspirational person to follow who believes in decluttering.  For awhile now that person has been Michelle from One Fit Widow whom I follow on Facebook.  Her blog entry, New Year’s Baby Steps, motivated me earlier this year to take some steps of my own and I thought we were doing well when we decluttered our rental and packed up to move into our current home.  Haha…not so much.  There’s still so much that I’ve been holding onto that is not serving a purpose in my life.  Additionally, I haven’t faced up to the fact we have some things we use ALL the time that has just met its demise and needs replacing.

As such, we carefully make some practical purchases from REI this weekend.  We picked up some hot beverage containers, which are made of recycled materials.  Our old ones made it into the recycling bin today.  We also replaced our well worn water bottles and recycled those as well.  We also got some clothing needs met too since REI had some decent sale items.  I picked up two United By Blue graphic tees.  I am a sucker for t-shirts and since they are one of my favorite weekend wear items many of my shirts are seeing the end of their lifespan.  I have other things I bought through ThredUp that I haven’t been wearing too much of recently so those hit the donate pile and we’re dropping them off later this week with some shoes, two kitchen dining stools, and two suits my husband no longer wears.

Currently, I’ve become quite a fan of StitchFix for clothes because the stylist I’ve worked with has been great with perfectly fitting petite clothes.  I have the hardest time finding things that fit just right in stores so when I really need a few overhaul items I schedule a clothing fix.  So far, I’ve only returned two items, a necklace and a wrap blouse.  The dresses have been my favorite things so far and I will probably try out a pair of jeans for fall sometime.

Anyways, I know I am getting distracted.  Haha….

The house is looking better now that we have our piles of “Donate Stuff” set aside and the other items were moved out to the recycling bin and trash can.  My closet is slimmed down and now it will be easier to plan out my fall wardrobe as the weather cools (eventually).  I am dreaming of fall so much right now.  I love October.  It is my favorite month.

My mind does feel more at ease now that I’ve tackled this simple project.  You might be wondering what happened to the table that goes with those chairs.  I had plans to use it as an “entryway” table upstairs in the hallway but it is too big.  Now my plan is to take it apart and see if I can use at least one of the leaves as a shelf.  It may (or may not) work but I’m willing to try something new.

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Design Inspiration:#magnoliamakeover

Like many of my fellow Americans who are HGTV fans I am smitten with Fixer Upper.  As such, I have been falling over myself trying to be considered for the #magnoliamakeover contest.  So far, my photo of my sad little patio was not considered and I decided to enter again, this time with a photo of my master bedroom. However, if this room’s not chosen, I might break down and enter in a photo of our office.  Currently, it’s burdened with a bunch of moving boxes, an exercise bike, and extra bedding. However, I did pick up new curtains. We needed some for the space but I won’t post any photos of them up in the space until it is 1) cleared out and 2) we get longer curtain rods set up.  The current curtain rod holders are shorter than the length of the window so we have some work ahead of us to redesign the space.  By the way, I love the savings on the curtains!

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Anyways, getting down to business, I spend some time today dreaming about what would be fun to do if I received the prize package (shown below):

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  1. That’s right $1,000 gift card.  Where do I start?!
  2. The paint color was an easy choice; I love the weekend color.  My husband and I both have trouble sleeping, he more than I so we do like to keep our bedroom space as dark as possible.  We currently use black out curtains for our large side window and we found curtains for the two windows bordering our bed that we’ll purchase in the new month or two.
  3. I was a bit torn over furniture.  Our space is not very large and is already dominated by a curio, our queen size sleigh bed, an alphabet dresser, an Amish heater (temporary storage, not in use anyways with these hot summers), a garden stool (as a nightstand) and for some time (to be determined) a bistro table and two metal stools.  (In the past, I found it useful to have a table in the bedroom to do homework on the computer.  Currently, it’s serving as an oversized “nightstand.”)  A chair might do to replace the seating in the room and we can find a new place for the bistro table and stools.
  4. I think a non-wool rug would be most appropriate since my stepmom is allergic to wool.  While my family won’t visit often since they live out of state, I would want my home to stay as comfortable as possible for everyone.

Below is collection of what I love:

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I think the bold Weekend color should decorate the entire space and a thin horizontal stripe of Shiplap would add some beautiful detail.

I am also always on the lookout for additional storage in our home; it’s only 1,200 square feet and I don’t think people make enough use of the vertical space in their homes to maximize their storage needs and/or physical appearance of their spaces.  The dimensional these items add to the space is worthy for their functional and aesthetic qualities.

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Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 1.38.18 PM I really love the coat rack as one of the options to house my growing selection of scarves.  For a number of years I didn’t wear scarves (and I’m still not fond of turtlenecks) but now that I am adding these items into my wardrobe they need a better home than my dresser!

I know the cup rack is meant for the kitchen but it would be a great way to store various fabrics out in the open.

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I am also fond of these dreamer pillows!

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A slab table would partner well with a comfortable chair to round out the space. Oh and a rug (since that’s part of the package).

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Based on the $1,000 gift card the items that were outside of the 2 gallons of paint, a selected piece of furniture, and rug, the items still fall far under the total of the gift card.  As such, I am curious if the money could be use towards other home purchases because I absolutely love these plates and bowls for my kitchen.

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So here’s the space I nominated for #magnoliamakeover.  Hopefully, it’s chosen!

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Design Inspiration: Vintage Market & Design

This past week I was in Albuquerque for a conference and had the chance to check out Vintage Market & Design with one of my coworkers.  There are a ton of things I saw that tempted me and thankfully (in the future) I can buy something online from them.  For this visit, I made a very small purchase, both in price and size.  The metal house numbers (below) are a perfect little decoration to use in the house and I have plans to put them up on the master bedroom door once it’s painted.

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Want to see the other stuff that tempted me?  There was so much.

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And if you have extra time while in Albuquerque, don’t forget to pick up some candy!  One of my high school friends lived out there and recommended Buffett’s Candies.  Thankfully, they do online orders, too, just not this time of year.  I tried the chocolate covered piñon roll and it was fantastic.

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Saturday: Projects and Playful Adventures

Hello, everyone!  Not too long ago I promised I’d show off some progress we are making on the house and I am finally delivering on that promise.  One of my favorite projects recently has been turning Dutch Bros. hot coffee lids into framed art for our downstairs hallway.  The company has a variety of inspiration lids to give you a little daily pep talk but I kept a few I really enjoyed and this idea started when we were still living in our Gilbert rental.

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Don’t mind the fact the walls are still unpainted in the hallway. I will provide better photos down the road as all the art displays come together.  Putting the artwork together took a bit of craftiness I don’t normal tap into; the lids were not sticking to the scrapbook paper I obtained at Michael’s  with just a thin line of craft glue so I ended up putting glue on the inner rim, the edge and the “gap” between the two areas to help hold the lids on tight then I weighted them down with bags of rice and lentils for a few hours.

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The end result for the lids makes me happy and my daughter is (mostly) happy with hers as well. She wanted a shadow box for her room as well but I had a 50% coupon for a frame instead and instead of spending $15 for a shadow box I found a perfectly size frame which only costs me $4.

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I recycled the glass pane that came with the frame so we didn’t have a potential accident with the forgotten glass.  If you do something similar and could use the glass frame, I do recommend storing it safely until future use!

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My daughter got super crafty and snuck out to use the spray paint when no one was looking so her project has a bit of uneven color as a result. (Life happens!)

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We are still unpacking more wall art a bit at time so it is nice to see some playful representations up at this time even if they are a bit lonely.

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The living room is now the only room that is completely finished as far as painting goes. We did discover some of our artwork won’t stay up with Command Strips alone however I would still highly recommend using those items where possible.  As someone who rented for 10 years, they are a lifesaver.  Additionally, I still prefer to not put holes in the wall if they aren’t necessary.

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Color swatches shortly after we moved in. Top is Behr’s Off Broadway and the lower one is the Behr New Dawn.

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This awesome $400 couch is from IKEA.  The star burnout pillows are from American Furniture Warehouse (only $6 a piece).

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The color might look dark but it’s lovely in person and bounces back between a rich gray and a bold blue depending on the light filtering into the room.

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The danger of not using your paint right away is the color separates.  We obtained a mixing tool that attaches to the drill to help mix the paint again.  Stir sticks are not sufficient for this heavy separation.

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Ta da!!!

Again, the room’s not entirely finished so we still have artwork to place but I hope you love the current progress.  Lastly, here’s a peek of our before/after progress in the kitchen.

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A reminder of our ‘before’ from May of this year.

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The kitchen desperately needed some additional storage and this French Country island fit the bill.

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The stools add some nice pops of color.  We saw some high end ones at Design Within Reach but picked up truly affordable ones awhile back from Target (green one), American Furniture Warehouse (blue one), and the one on the right from Fry’s grocery store.🙂

We also received some unexpected surprises courtesy of our loan officer for the Fourth of July.  Thanks as always for sharing in this delightful journey with us.  I love seeing this house become a home.

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Design Inspiration: Genevieve’s Renovation

As most of you know my budget is modest, modest, modest.  It’s almost so small it might not exist, which is why I won’t always have awesome updates for you about the house.  We have done a few things like installed a new toilet in the master bath, picked up a French Country style island from American Furniture Warehouse, and painted the living room (finally).  The two best things about the island purchase were the fact we paid for it with our refund money from the rental and a $25 coupon from AFW reduced the price a little. I will share photos of both those adventures once the spaces are closer to being finished.  However, I know I don’t have a vast array of exciting stories and Instagram worthy photos to share with you all the time.  Sorry my life is pretty ordinary so I (also) enjoy living vicariously through the design efforts of others and love talking about the amazing things they do with their spaces, too.

For approximately the last week I’ve taken up watching Genevieve’s Renovation and fallen in love with the bathroom tile in her daughter’s bathroom and become envious of these gorgeous floors.  (If my legs could look like hers when I’m in my forties too I also wouldn’t be disappointed.)

While I haven’t watched her design shows in quite some time this renovation project has me interested. My husband and I don’t pay for cable so we watch tv as a family using Hulu and Netflix. My daughter doesn’t seem to mind watching a plethora of design shows with us. We also catch episodes of Fixer Upper but Genevieve’s Renovation speaks to what I love in design: an eclectic mix of style that highlights world travels.  The Moroccan door she put up in her renovated apartment is stunning.  While I’ve loved the idea of visiting Morocco for some time now whenever I see Moroccan design elements my heart is so happy.  I was actually quite disappointed during one episode of House Hunters International when a couple choose to build a western style home in Morocco rather than restore one of the riads.  What were they thinking?!  Riads can be so beautiful; the designs are something I wish American homebuilders would gravitate towards.

Here’s hoping you find some awesome design inspiration this week, too.

~Cheryl

p.s. If any home design company/tv show wants to throw some free products my way, I won’t mind a bit.  My house will love the extra goodies.

Design Inspiration Day

Today started off with a perfect amount of ‘me’ time.  My daughter is spending the Fourth of July weekend camping with her grandparents so I have the time to invest in some unfinished projects and relaxing with my husband.  We started our day off with a 50 minute walk/jog around and just outside our neighborhood and headed out to Nico’s Kitchen for brunch.  It hasn’t been open long and today was our first outing there.  The space makes me think of a combination of Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.  It’s so beautiful and our servers plus the food there was excellent.

We were the first customers of the day.  I can tell you I’ve never been the first customer of the day at a restaurant and it’s a giddy mix of joy and also a bit nervousness.  In that moment, we are the center of attention and I certainly didn’t want the staff to feel that their efforts were under appreciated.  Hopefully, more people start to check this place out. The experience was fantastic.

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Nico’s Kitchen (Located in Downtown Gilbert)

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The space is so fresh and inviting.  

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While we were eating our meal, one of the servers tucked sprigs of rosemary into the other place settings.  We were in so early ours weren’t finished yet.🙂

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Don’t let the prices deter you; the food is REALLY worth it.

My husband had the chistorra and eggs and I choose the classic crepe.  We treated ourselves to donuts as an appetizer. The sweet milk is fantastic; it has vanilla beans in it and the closest store bought product that brings me similar joy is Shamrock Farms vanilla milk.

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Classic Crepe

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Chistorra & Eggs

We ended our morning with a little peek around A World of Tile in Mesa.  Quite some time must pass before we can tackle the bigger jobs associated with our home and I am not quite content to settle for the selection at Home Depot.  We eventually want to replace the carpet upstairs and downstairs.  Currently, we are thinking about scraped bamboo for the upstairs and a wood grain porcelain tile for downstairs.  Below are some of our favorite selections of tile from today’s window shopping adventure.

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This tile reminds me of my travels and I’d love this (or a similar product) somewhere in the house.

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My daughter would probably love this tile selection because the crackle glaze is something she’d like based on her love for glitter.

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Product information for the crackle glaze product.

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Love…love…love.

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It glistens like snow.🙂

Sneak Peek: A Necessary Home Feature

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Where’s the peephole?!

I know I posted this photo before but I wanted to share with you that when my husband and I purchased our home we cluelessly missed the fact the front door did not have a peephole.  Seriously!!!  We missed it.  We were so enthralled with the idea of homeownership we breezed on by and said yes.

This weekend we tackled this little problem because it was becoming a big problem.  On numerous occasions a slew of solicitors have come up to our home and we cannot see them except for when they walk by the premise.  Currently, we are on the hunt for a fantastic ‘No Solicitation’ sign and I am looking around Etsy for just the right thing.  We would not go another weekend though without resolving the peephole issue.  Thankfully, our local Home Depot has those in stock and we found one that fit our particular needs.  Having never lived in a home without a peephole I was surprised to find out just how common it is for doors to not have peepholes.

We will eventually paint the door (interior and exterior) as the budget allows but for now this simple project brought a lot of joy (without a lot of effort or money).  Please know for the duration we live in our residence I am very hesitant to post full shots of the exterior.  I am happy giving you small glimpses here and there of things but privacy and safety are very important to me.

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And the final product:

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Weekend Work

Pulling the house together requires tackling one obstacle at a time and for me right now those obstacles are the boxes. We still have a fair amount of boxes cluttering up the house and I am thankful our city does trash and recycling pick up on the same day.  Each week our bins are full of moving debris: curled up balls of tape, cling wrap, packing paper that cannot be used again, and a small amount of moving boxes that didn’t fare so well during the move.  We are holding onto the good boxes so we can reduce the amount necessary to purchase for a move later on.

This weekend Avery and I went to Merchant Square in Chandler in our quest for a few new wall mirrors.  Our outing was not entirely successful.  We found a variety of things, but did not purchase a mirror there.  I was delighted though to run into one of my coworkers and her husband.  She was the one who told me about the antique market but during one of our recent discussions didn’t plan on going antique hunting there this weekend.

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This mirror was one of the more affordable ones that I found but not quite what I wanted.

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I don’t know what I would do with it, but I love this old door.

I was a bit bummed so many things I found interesting were more expensive than I thought they’d be so I made the decision to not purchase a mirror there.

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Old rail car door $240 (Love It!)

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We bought this veteran made heart for $22.

I think the next time I check out an antique market I will go in with a broader understanding antique/flea markets don’t always have inexpensive items on my wish list. I picked up a mirror instead from Target. I found a Threshold collection mirror for $50. After bringing it home and opening the box I found a tiny chip in the frame but we decided to keep it anyways. Thomas sanded the edge a little to soften the appearance and as needed, we’ll distress it more as necessary. I eager to get some of our wall decor up so we’ll go back and paint the wall later.  I do think once the wall is painted the mirror will stand out a bit more.  (By the way, this white paint is driving me crazy; whatever paint the builder used is not great and it shows scuff marks and dirt like you would not believe.)

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I still have a minor project in the works for my daughter.  She picked up a beautiful bright pink frame and now I’m in the process of spray painting it. I taped off the portion directly surrounding the glass so it stays pink (as best as possible) so my daughter can have the blue AND pink frame she wanted.  We’ll see how well my first spray painting job goes….

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The best find of the day is this small frame.  It was listed for $8 and because it was one sale, we paid just under $7 for it.

Below is the color it will be once finished:

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Dream “Shopping”

We are not too far into this adventure of homeownership and I can say it’s exciting and stressful. It is very disappointing to find out the blue painter’s tape does not work well with the texture walls here. In painting our daughter’s room we found the paint bled under in several spots. I know it’s not the end of the world especially given the fact we will upgrade the baseboards and add crown molding later, but it feels like wasted money on this product. During our outing to Home Depot today we picked up some FrogTape Painter’s Tape and white and clear caulk for our next couple of painting projects.  Apparently, you can lay down some caulk over painter’s tape and paint over it to help get some crisp lines.  Fingers crossed!!!  The two different estimates we have from professional painters are between $2,100 and $2,500 to paint the whole interior; as such, a professional paint job (on my budget) is not going to happen.

Currently, there’s not a lot of progress in the house to share with you all.  I painted one full wall in our bathroom’s toilet closet and half of the wall on the opposite side.  My goal is to paint the rest of the latter wall and a third wall tonight.  For the time being, we will leave the last wall unpainted.  I do not yet trust my skills to dismantle the toilet to paint behind it.  However, we do plan on replacing the toilets next year so it might look ok until then.  We are considering the Kohler Touchless toilet for our bathroom and our daughter’s bathroom and a dual flush toilet for the powder room downstairs.

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Later on we want to change out the sliding glass doors for some fancy French doors like these.

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The doors are a bit pricey so replacing the sliding glass doors is another project for down the road.

As we look to modestly update this home, we are exploring a number of businesses offering products we like and/or products we can personalize.  Later this month I plan on checking out the Merchant Square Antique Marketplace in Chandler.  I am looking for mirrors that can be updated with some Rust-Oleum Paint and Primer Spray. I bought a bright yellow, citrus green, coral, and teal blue cans for future projects.  Today I stopped by one of the local Goodwill stores to see their mirror selection.  The store didn’t quite have the right style I’m looking for so hopefully the antique marketplace has at least a few pieces.

Additionally, I am keeping an eye on things that are sold on Etsy.  In the past, I bought some floor poufs for my daughter’s room and a pair of earrings through two of the vendors on the site.  I don’t know that I would go through Etsy for mirrors because shipping make make the mirror purchases more cost prohibitive than I like.  Again, I am working with a modest first time homebuyer budget so bear with me.  The house won’t quite look like you’re walking through Pottery Barn or Design Within Reach, which is not really within my reach!  We have furniture from IKEA, American Furniture Warehouse, and Target to name a few things.  Below are a couple of the things I’m considering from Etsy vendors:

I am having a lot of fun envisioning how this home with grow over time.  Last night was the first time we had anyone over that’s not family and it felt a little odd showing off the house in its raw state.  Thankfully, our guests who are parents like us weren’t turned off by the plethora of boxes still cluttering our space. I also learned about the number of projects going on at their own home in the Eastmark area of Mesa so we’re in good company.  Young homeownership is studded with projects in various states of completion!

Talk to you all again soon.

~Cheryl

First Home

Everyone,

I have some exciting news!!!  After so many obstacles and setbacks, we finally are homeowners.  This past year has been a series of ups and downs (and I know I haven’t shared anything with you since last April) but please know I hope to write sporadically about our latest adventure.  We closed on the house last night and so this weekend is very full with tying up loose ends with our current rental.

We have chosen to stay in Gilbert, Arizona as we love the community that we are in and feel comfortable raising our daughter here. There are a lot of restaurants we love like Liberty Market,  Isabel’s Amor, and Romeo’s Euro Cafe.  I still love the Agritopia neighborhood as one of our favorite places to go walk around especially since we frequent the Cosmo Dog Park adjacent to it; I was excited recently to find out more businesses are going into the Agritopia community.  Honestly, I think the only way we’d move out of Gilbert is if my husband later on took a job overseas after he’s done with law school, which won’t be until 2019.  Even then, I know we are both interested in keeping our first home so we will always call Arizona home, even if it later is only part-time for a few years.

I had been so nervous about this transition since our past experiences trying to buy a home have not gone over so well.  Our budget has been so tight we have felt every potential resale of our desired square footage (1,200 to 1,600 sq. ft) was a fighting match against investors who could provide a cash offer that we could not.  Comparatively, we also could not afford a new home purchase in Gilbert.  Even on the low end last year one of the most affordable new build homes was about $37,000 above our price range.  To say our home search was disparaging is an understatement.  I know I took this adventure (and its downfalls) very personally because I saw back in 2011 how the Phoenix housing market dipped down significantly and back then a home purchase could have been within reach had I not suffered a yearlong period of unemployment in 2012.

When we put in an offer on this home, I wrote a prospective home buyer letter sharing with the home owner how I am also a female veteran and some of our background.  I knew it was a long shot but it has been tremendously scary to see how some properties won’t accept VA home loans or those properties that do are not in the best of shape.  The other home we checked out around the same time was built in 1998 and while it provided more square footage had some features we were not exceptionally fond of including a bathroom off the kitchen (those make me cringe) and a shared driveway.  Her home, what most markets would call a starter home, fit so much of the criteria we were looking for in our first place and new neighborhood: a three bedroom, 2+ bathrooms, outdoor space, a two car garage, and a community pool.  Her home was in such good shape and two years newer than our current rental!  This home is the best resale in our budget we’ve ever seen and I must say I could not have envisioned how lucky we would be in being selected as the future owners.

The former owner, who is still currently serving our country, wrote us a wonderful “Welcome” letter for our new place which was tucked into a card and inside we found several gift cards to nearby restaurants.  I absolutely love the sentiments shared in her letter and please know the only reason I do not include a copy in this post is because I want to respect her personal privacy and the privacy of her family members.  I wish many others could have such a meaningful experience as they navigate the toughest purchase (or decision to sell) in their lives.  I hope her new home fits her just as much as I expect our new home to fit our family.

Below are some images of the new place:

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I love this entryway.

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I love our new kitchen. Soon enough we’ll have our own fridge in here.🙂

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Bedroom 2

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Sorry it’s not the best photo of the Master bedroom.

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View 2 of the Master Bedroom

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I love all the natural light in this home and the two windows over the staircase make this place so inviting.

Yesterday, we started testing out our paint samples.  We picked up a couple samples of Behr’s Broadway from Home Depot.  Behr Paint is one of the paint rebate offers for Memorial Day.  We quickly found out the color was a bit darker than we imagined.  However, our plans also include Ralph Lauren metallic paint and once I saw how dark the Broadway paint was I realized we could be a bit more bold with the metallic paint.  (We do know the color is too dark to do throughout the house.  We are now scouting around for a lighter gray for our main home color.)

 

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Avery is very much the kind of kid who jumps in.

My daughter likes the Monarchy (metallic color) and we’re planning on using a number of colors to brighten up her room plus we’ll also have her furniture and toys for punches of colors. My desire is to have a bunch of different size ‘stars’ stenciled on the walls and a bright white on the ceiling.

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Ralph Lauren Metallics Parlor Gold

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I can’t wait to make some stars for Avery with this Behr Marquee color.  It’s so playful.

Painting the rest of the home will be a slow process, but I want to ensure we have a finished room for Avery within a few weeks.  We have some Restoration Hardware paint samples (see below) to test out down the road so stay tuned!

~Cheryl

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Bottom Left paint dab is a better representation of the ‘Dusk’ color than the bottom right selection.

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Bottom left is the Restoration Hardware Flint color (one of our samples).

 

Moving Up in the World

Thank you for dealing with my conspicious absence from my blog.  It is quite hectic being a full time worker and being a graduate student.  As previously mentioned, I discussed the fact, we might end our home search for the time being.  Nothing has changed with that regard.  Financially, it is not in our best interest to buy at this time.  However, all is not lost.  We have a steady financial plan towards that eventual goal.  Currently though, we found a better rental situation (and one, I feel, could turn out to be the home we end up purchasing).  The reason why I feel this one is possible is the owner purchased the home in February and listed it in March to rent.  For the time being, we’ve secured it as a one-year rental.

It is a suitable arrangement for ourselves.  Our ASU family housing rental was just under 1,400 sq. feet and this home is just over 1,400 sq. feet.   Before, we lacked access to a garage, fenced in yard, and recently discovered ASU’s family housing now falls under the institution’s dry campus policy.  Sayonara, Family Housing!!!  I don’t drink much, but I’m 31 years old.  I will not give up my privilege to drink in the safety of my own home, in the company of friends and family.  It’s cheaper to hang out and drink in my residence than be charged $8 to $10 for a glass of wine at a restaurant.

Our new home is pleasantly modest throughout, mostly builder grade finishes with granite counters in the kitchen, 2″ wood blinds, and smelled of fresh paint when we initially walked through it.  I love the two young trees out back, the painted birdhouse, and substantial storage in the kitchen.  Storage elsewhere in the home is somewhat limited, but if we later purchase the home, we will make appropriate adjustments.

Speaking of home purchase, below are some ideas I have for the place:

-Replace the sliding glass patio doors with French doors;

-Paint the home in a warm gray (currently it’s a warm beige);

-Replace the carpet throughout with faux wood tile and cork flooring (in the bedrooms and on the stairs);

-Replace the white painted wood banister with a glass banister;

-Epoxy the garage floor;

-Update the garage door;

-Set up a shade sail out back;

-Decorate the front porch space; and

-Update the exterior paint color scheme.

Maybe someday down the road, we can see these dreams come to fruition.

For now, please enjoy the occasional update as we decorate and design the space with nonpermanent personalizations.

~Cheryl

The New Rental

The New Rental

It’s Been Awhile…Still Scouting for a Home

My apologies for my long departure from this site. My first semester of my Master’s was made more challenging by our short staffing at work. However, those extra concerns did not deter me from our dreams of homeownership. The biggest obstacle in our way is currently the VA. Their lending standards are more stringent than going the conventional route and so, the funding available to us is not sufficient to purchase in our desired area.

A good friend of mine was notified back in November about an interesting home opportunity in Chandler, Arizona. Homes on the Homefront receives donated homes and provides them mortgage-free to honorably discharged veterans. We applied for the 1,159 sq. foot home and are currently waiting to find out if we are the fortunate recipients.

We would still incur other expenses (HOA fees, property insurance, etc.) but the monthly payments would be a lot smaller than a mortgage!

And if this opportunity doesn’t work out, we will refocus our efforts on a better rental opportunity for the next couple of years. It’s been too challenging to get approved for a loan when only one of our incomes is fixed. Our GI bill house allowances and Thomas’ work study pay do not count as qualifying income. If we don’t get this home, it looks like we’re stuck waiting until Thomas brings home a lawyer’s paycheck.🙂