Detailed New House Overview

Here is a room by room tour of our new house! It will be long and rambly and full of way too many details. 🙂

In general, we’ve been able to reuse things we already had instead of buying a bunch of new stuff. I’ve been purposeful in not wanting to buy tons of new, and trying to buy used whenever possible. With the exception of the fridge and washer dryer, of course.

Besides appliances, the other big new thing we added to the house is custom window shades! Only the living room had any window coverings when we bought the house. We bought Veneta shades from Home Depot, white partially opaque bottom-up, and we had Home Depot install them too. They are AWESOME and they make us very happy. 🙂

So let’s start in the living room. I’m extra happy with this room most recently because I finally got a new awesome rug! I really wanted a light-colored room; in our rental house the couch was dark brown and the rug(s) were dark green. This house has better light and I just crave light, so I needed the furnishings to help with that.

I bought a new white shag rug from Wayfair back in November…but oh my god the smell was so, so awful. We tried to let it air out in the garage, but it didn’t really work. We brought it back in the house for a couple days and opened all the doors and windows. The immediate smell sort of dissipated, but I spent an hour or so in there watching tv, and then my lungs started to hurt. We were about to have that birthday party and I was like, no way am I having people into this room where it just smells toxic. So we took it back out to the garage and brought in our stupid green rugs. I then began trolling the online marketplaces for the size and color/patterns that I was looking for. In February, I found this perfect gray one on Offer Up, it was 8×10, a few months old but in like-new condition, for only $110. (I got down on the ground to smell it up close to ensure there was no gross chemical smell!) It’s smaller than I wanted (ideally I wanted a 9×11 or so), but it works.

The couch is a used IKEA Vimle from Facebook. It ended up being dingier than advertised, but the covers all come off and are washable. I washed the cushion covers once early on but it didn’t help, so at some point I need to remove all the covers, soak them in Oxyclean, and wash them again. Alternatively we could buy a new set of covers from IKEA, which is still way less than a new sofa. Anyway, it’s a comfortable couch, I adore the chaise, and I REALLY love that it’s a storage chaise! The storage ottoman is awesome too. I have blankets and pillows stored in both. So convenient!

I’m very happy to have the Poang out and ready to use. It’s such a comfortable place to sit and read! I got the fake tree in the corner from a client, which fits and fills that space perfectly. Yes we still have our cozy fairylights up. 🙂 At some point I want to get nice midcentury lamps, but for now the cheap Target lamps that we already had do the job. We’re reusing the mirror and IKEA 2×2 expedit for a ‘console table.’ I found some cool midcentury ones but I’m wary of the space. And this way there’s still lots of storage. Maybe in the future we’ll be able to upgrade.

Next up, the kitchen! It connects to the living room through a pocket door. 🙂

It’s a big open space. It is very light in the daytime. The major downside is lack of counter space. We could put in an island but that would block all that open space. We have that little IKEA island over there to the right, but generally it’s covered with stuff, not usable for prepping food. We’ve got one large window, a glass sliding door, and a smaller window. We got some of the plain long white curtains for the big ones but haven’t gotten around to hanging curtains for the sink window. I also haven’t gotten around to washing/shrinking/hemming the curtains yet…

We still have our basic wooden IKEA table. In the corner by our whiteboard I added a plant stand for some gifted monsteras and the still-going pointsettias. The only thing you can’t really see is the pantry, and little built-in desk/storage in the right corner above. The desk area is full of crap, and the pantry isn’t super tidy, but oh man, I LOVE IT. I was also worried about having fewer cabinets than our old house, but these cabinets are larger. Especially that full-length double cabinet! Ooh, and we have that cool lower corner spinny cabinet! And again, pantry! We have our little extra stand next to the cabinets with the fruit bowl and compost bin. The trash can is large and unfortunate, but we don’t want to have only a tiny trash under the sink.

From the living room, you go up a half-staircase to the upstairs grown-up floor. There’s a large landing that isn’t a great use of space, but I’m proud of what I put together. Those prints we already had framed, the ‘rug’ is two of the small rugs we had in our old hallway, and the fake plant is new from IKEA. It’s perfect!

To the left of the landing are the small bedrooms that we’re using as offices. These aren’t quite as finished yet. Here’s A’s office which is also the guest bedroom. He always works from home but usually works at the kitchen table when the boys are at school. We haven’t gotten any artwork up on the walls; it’s all in a pile on the floor/shelf. I did get a used bedframe from FB marketplace to replace the heavy metal folding couch frame that we’d had before. And there’s another new fake plant in here. That’s the only new thing in the room! Everything else was in our previous office/guest room.

My office is the tiny, weird-shaped room. But that’s fine. This picture actually looks pretty nice; it was right after I did some work with a helper to unpack things and start filling in/organizing the new shelf I bought. (I had a 1×4 already and ended up buying a 3×4 to put next to it.) I got rid of my giant desk and switched to this small table (found used on FB). The blue rug is the third hallway rug from the old house. I have a lot of things waiting to go up on the walls leaning in a pile in the lower right corner. I have a deep closet that’s full of two small cabinets, several bins, and my little boxes of loose prints. Currently the floor is littered with piles of magazines, a bin, miscellaneous camera things, and addition shelves and frames. I have a picture of the current mess but I’m not going to show it to you. 🙂

Part of the issue is that in our old room, we had two large shelves that held a lot of stuff (books and crafts and things). In our current room, there is no room for any shelves, so all that stuff needs to find a new home. We put one of the bookshelves in the living room, but it’s got more general and family related stuff now. So the shelf in my office holds some of it (in addition to the business and photography books I’d already had in my office space), and some is now in the basement.

The nicer bathroom is up there too. Double vanity!! A storage closet IN the bathroom!! Plus a huge vanity–it’s got six drawers in addition to the under-sink open space. It’s so much brighter than our old main bathroom too.

Right outside the bathroom is a linen closet. Hurray for more storage! This one is actually not super full.

Here is our room! Like I mentioned in the previous post, it’s a much smaller master than we’ve ever had. It works fine, though. Our king bed fits in there, but we had to turn it this way to be able to have walking space to the closet. Unfortunately it sits over/blocks the only vent–however, we hacked that by getting some vent covers and turning them sideways to aim the air out the sides instead of straight up into the bedframe.

There’s the other side, where you can see the walkway area and the walk-in closet. It’s smaller than M’s but it’s big enough to fit our hanging clothes and the dresser that we have. We got stuff up on the walls pretty quick–except the mirror and there’s also a companion family photo that’s been leaning against the wall in its box for months now.

Off the kitchen there’s a half-staircase going down to the kids’ level. (To the left you see the pocket door and stairs going up.) Look, it has a door! I love all the doors in this house. I am anti-open-concept. 🙂

There’s a large closet, the second bathroom (which isn’t cute, so I won’t show you), and two more bedrooms. Both boys were very adamant that they were NOT going to share a room anymore. Here is M’s room. For both rooms, we exchanged the side dressers we’d had in our room with theirs, and repurposed 2×4 IKEA shelves. M has a large window but it doesn’t get much light. It does have an extra-deep sill and the boys sit up there sometimes. 🙂 He has a huge walk-in closet that has a table and chair plus some of their art supplies. And a bunch of my craft supplies (obviously not shown in this older photo).

Here’s E’s room. He has two small regular closets next to each other, and that huge window gets a ton of light. We don’t hang clothes in any of the boys’ closets, by the way. Someday maybe.

E made a ‘studio’ in one of his closets too.

Then, across from that downstairs closet, is another door that goes to the finished basement. We have a playroom! This has been the dream for years. Our old couch is here, plus our old coffee table. The 4×4 shelf used to be in our living room. The dark bookshelf was in the garage. We will at some point get another 4×4 to not only match and provide some nice symmetry, but to add storage for all the things that are on the floor still. We have our second tv down here but we haven’t really used it thus far. The boys don’t use this room a ton yet. But I think eventually they will, and in general I’m just so happy to have extra space for storage and playspace. (And eventually music practice.)

The piano from the former owners is still here! We finally got it looked at recently and turns out it’s a birdcage piano, which are hard and expensive to tune and repair. So we probably will have to get rid of it. We haven’t gotten any artwork up on the walls but we have plenty.

Finally, there’s a little utility room…that I use as a studio! Notice the giant furnace on the right; I just shoot straight ahead and it doesn’t show. The water heater is in the back left corner from this angle. It’s not a super high ceiling, but it’s not a short basement ceiling either. (Unfortunately the duct thing means I can’t put my backdrop up all the way.) It’s not a large space, but it’s way, way better than nothing! And it’s super awesome to have a place to keep all the stuff. So much stuff! Lighting, stands, props, all kinds of things. It all used to be either in one of the cars or in the garage. It’s MY space, and I love it. I would never buy a house just because it had a ‘studio space,’ but it was a HUGE plus. Both basement rooms plus the nice yard space are what elevated this house into, Wow, this checks all our boxes.

Things we bought used:
Double bed frame
Living room rug
Couch
Fake tree for the living room (free)
Small table for desk in my office

Things we bought brand-new:
Showerhead after the original broke within a week of moving in
Kitchen curtains
Bedroom curtains and one curtain rod (3 sets, only one is actually up)
Two fake plants
Five real plants: Three pointsettias, one pothos, one snake plant
Plant stand
Replaced one cheap lamp (with an identical cheap lamp)
One 2×3 IKEA shelf for my office
A few kitchen accessories, like small interior shelves and new measuring cups
Two small IKEA ledge shelves and two frames
Thick rug pad for living room
Thin rug mat for landing/bathroom rugs
One set of bath mats for upstairs bathroom
Small TV stand for basement
Two IKEA couch pillows & covers
Two posters from Society6 and frames from Joann

New House Overview Part 1

Welcome to our new house!!

It’s an unusual design–there are four levels, but they’re all half-levels. And there are lots of doors! No open concept anywhere–which I love! It’s five bedrooms, two bedrooms, attached garage, and nice yard. I think it’s 2400ish square feet. (I’m going to do a room-by-room tour in a separate post since this got long.)

This house was built in 1969 and one of the owners actually designed it. We are only the second owners! There are a lot of original elements but plenty has been updated. The kitchen has been totally redone, the basement seems fresh, new carpet downstairs, lots had been painted. They also had a brand-new furnace and water heater, and we split the cost of a new roof during our purchase of the home.

Here is a long video tour of the entire empty house.

Some of the upstairs floors are still original, I think. The bathrooms have their original fans and dials. (They also didn’t work when we moved in, but A worked hard and found a way to fix them!)  The garage has its original inspection sticker! The sliding door is installed backward. The front door is very original, as evidenced by the 70s yellow wavy glass and doorknob placement that is weirdly far from the edge. The rest of the windows and doors seem original too.

The whole house is painted fresh and white, and the kitchen is bright and white. I haaaate a brown kitchen and busy patterned dark countertops. [Obviously this wouldn’t be a dealbreaker in a house, but I am happy that I don’t have to hate my kitchen. 🙂 ] This kitchen has white cabinets, white marbled quartz counters, white backsplash, and lots of natural light. Ooh, and a pantry! I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough cabinet space because there are technically fewer than in our old house, but I didn’t realize that these cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling, so all the cabinets are actually bigger. Plus those tall, full length cabinets are fantastic and store a ton. And the pantry!! We added two shelves and it holds so much stuff–things that previously we’d stored on open shelves in our old house (which looked messy and unorganized). Things are still fairly messy and not well organized…but now it’s behind a door! (Sometime we’ll spend a few hours organizing it.)

The five bedrooms are all fairly small. The master bedroom is much smaller than our previous ones (our previous rental had a HUGE master bedroom, and our last apartment in Brooklyn also had a very large master). That is one of the main ‘sacrifices’  of this house. I think it’s worth it though. It does have a small walk in closet, which also holds our dresser. It’s not an ideal use of space, so someday we’ll do a whole closet renovation. But it works for now. The room downstairs that E is in is actually a bit bigger (it’s 12×12), and M’s room has a walk-in closet that’s bigger than ours.

We have two bathrooms, down from three before. More than one bathroom was an absolute necessity and most older Portland homes have only one! The upstairs one has a double vanity, which is a wonderful bonus. This bathroom was mostly updated–new counter and sinks and floors and maybe tile? Original lights and huge storage vanity. PLUS there’s a linen closet IN the bathroom, AND another one just outside the bathroom! The downstairs bathroom is not nearly as shiny. The counter and sink look new.

The attached garage was high on our wish list too. This one seems to be a two-car garage, but it is a tight fit and we have enough stuff to prevent a second car actually parking in there. That is not great. Our old house had a very large garage and a large unfinished basement, so we had a TON of storage. Which we didn’t need right at first, moving from a one bedroom apartment. But over the course of seven years, we added a lot of holiday decoration (we are up to like four bins of Christmas and two of Halloween), plus I took back all the things I’d been storage at each of my parent’s houses. Plus four bikes and a treadmill. So it was all a lot more than I realized! It took some time with help to organize everything and pare down a bit, but now it’s all pretty good. It’ll be a lot better once I get all the donation stuff out of there though. It’s been a huge pile on one side for over a month now…

We had to buy some new appliances since the house only came with a dishwasher, stove and microwave. We have never bought appliances before, and it was exciting but also daunting and stressful to try and choose. So many options and features and reviews! We ended up buying everything at Costco and were able to take advantage of October Columbus Day sales. The fridge is a GE french door and most notably has a water and ice dispenser! Also, we have really noticed a difference in how fresh things stay. I wasn’t expecting that! The washer/dryer are high-efficiency Samsung. The washer drum is HUGE (and no agitator) and holds a ton of clothes.

Here’s a funny note–all these new appliances sing! The fridge sings some notes when you press the function buttons. The washer and dryer both sing a few notes when you press the power on and off, and they each have a longer song when their cycle is complete.

A. spent a lot of time coordinating things in between signing our offer and moving in. (Thank goodness our new house is only five minutes away from our old house! He could pop by quickly and easily.) The inspection, the repairs, calling some additional repairs in, and delivery of the appliances. The refrigerator DID NOT FIT through the front door. It also did not fit through the back door! They took the doors off the fridge and it *still* did not fit. So A got a handyman to come out–on a whole different day–and help him take off the back door and then get the fridge actually in place. Many hours of work and worry went into that fridge! So worth it though.

Next up I’ll have pictures of each room!

The New Chapter Is About to Begin!

Tuesday we put in our move-out notice at our rented house. The closing date for our new, first home is set for next week. I booked movers for Weds Oct 30.

Oh my goodness, this is really happening! I have so many conflicting and simultaneous feelings.

There are two “biggest” ones. The first is a bittersweet, pre-nostalgia for this house. We’ve lived here for seven years! This has been our first home; we’ve built our life while here. We brought our babies home here and they have grown and changed and laughed and cried here. We’ve truly settled into this house. Expanding into the basement with our growing holiday decor, and my office space. Changing layouts in the living room several times. Little hardware additions in the bathroom. Bemoaning the jungle growth in the yard and periodically trying to work on it. Our family has inhabited every inch of this house, physically and emotionally. This house feels like it’s actually a member of the family. There’s no way we could stay here forever, so it’s been inevitable that we’d leave and move. But it feels hard and sad and emotional.

The next biggest feeling–maybe the biggest–is overwhelm. We moved here from a one-bedroom apartment. And now we have filled a house with three bedrooms plus garage and basement. There is SO MUCH STUFF. I look around and think, oh my god, how can we ever get all of this organized and packed?! I do want to do some purging too as we go. But that will also take time. We have under four weeks. This is simultaneously a long time and a very short time!

Yesterday I looked around social media for free boxes and picked up three different sets, plus I have one more big set to get today. This is one good discrete task to focus on now and work on, so that we’ll be ready to get started. But how soon should we actually get started? It’s very tempting to start now, just because we could and every little bit helps. But I also don’t want to live with piles of boxes everywhere for four weeks. Of course, at some point–two weeks maybe?–it’s inevitable that our life will become boxes. The boys are excited and eager to start packing (I think that might change though, when it becomes more frequent and necessary) and last night started going through some of their small toys. (It only lasted a few minutes before they got distracted by drawing (M) and writing (E).

We decided to do the big move with movers on a school day with after-school, so that they wouldn’t get bored, restless and whiny. That will be a long day and them being underfoot would make it tougher. It’s going to be a really strange day though, waking up in one house and having to return and go to bed in a different house! I wonder if we’ll really be able to get beds and necessities set up in so little time. And then the next day will be Halloween, to add to the chaos. The boys were concerned about that recently. They want to be able to give out candy at our current house. And sadly it doesn’t make sense to decorate our house this month–but maybe we should anyway? I don’t want to skip the whole Halloween spirit season–the boys always enjoy it.

We have SO MUCH WORK ahead of us! It’s going to be very exciting though–we’re buying a house!!