Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How Craigslist has helped me make a House into a Home

Thanks to Craigslist, we now have a home for all our books! 

In my last post, I mentioned how overwhelmed I was upon moving into our first home.  We weren't able to do any painting or renovating before Move-In Day, so the whole experience was rushed.  All we were able to do was some basic cleaning and pulling up some carpeting in what is currently being used as our bedroom.

Weeks after moving in, I was starting to get more comfortable, but there were still a couple of things preventing our house from feeling like a home to us.  One was that in a couple of rooms, there were still stacks of boxes that we couldn't unpack, because we didn't have anywhere to put their contents.  Specifically, boxes full of books and our China.

I quickly learned that buying a large bookcase brand new was going to cost a lot of money.  We weren't prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on a large piece of furniture just yet, so I started scouring Craigslist for something.  On a morning over Labor Day weekend, a listing popped up for a really nice, large, real wood bookcase.  They had it custom-built for their home, but when I measured the walls in our office, I saw that it would fit perfectly on one of the walls.  More importantly, they were only asking $50 for it!  They actually had two of them, but only one would fit in our office.  

After checking it out in person, we knew it'd be the perfect solution for our Boxes O'Books, so we scheduled a time to come back with a U-Haul to pick it up.  The U-Haul rental was actually more expensive than the bookcase itself, but we knew we needed to rent a truck at some point to go back to our old apartment to pick up some outdoor furniture we left in the garage and both locations were close to one another, so it was a good time to tackle that chore.

We came home and I immediately began unpacking all of those boxes and now you can see the floor in the office (I can see in this photo that the carpet needs to be shampoo'd)!

Other side of the room - with a cat in his tree

Another thing that was preventing our house from feeling like a home to me was not having anywhere to host guests.  We had a large dining table that we brought with us from my Husband's Grandparents, but we didn't have any chairs for it.  We wanted to be able to invite people over, so we started looking for dining chairs and almost fell over when we saw some of the prices.  I mean, $200 for a single chair that only gets sit on once a week (if that) seems exorbitant.  We needed 8-10 chairs (the table seats 10) and our max budget was $1,000 for all the chairs.  It became clear that this approach was not going to work.

I knew after a weekend of visiting different stores and coming up with nothing, that second-hand was going to be the way to go.  I checked both Craigslist and Ebay for a little over a week, when on my morning train ride to work, a posting popped up from someone in my area selling a beautiful cherry wood dining set.  It included a large dining table (with a leaf) with 8 matching chairs (two of which had arms), as well as a China cabinet, for $1200.  I had originally asked the seller if she'd consider selling us just the chairs, but then I realized that the chairs were too large/wide for the dining table we inherited from family and also, the chairs and table were meant to go together (we just didn't have room for the china cabinet).  We checked the table and chairs out in person and I offered her a little more than half ($650) for them and she accepted!  We borrowed a friend's truck and brought home our beautiful new dining table and chairs set for $650!  Way under our $1,000 budget, for chairs, alone.

Here they are in our Dining Room (sorry about the sun-squares):

A few scratches, but nothing terrible!
Just check out those legs!
Here is it without the leaf:

And there's one more thing Craigslist is responsible for in our house - our first piece of granite in our Kitchen!

Since we don't yet have a china cabinet, I had a ton of glasses that needed a place to stay.  I was so tired of pulling them out of their boxes every time I had company over.  I had this wall in the Kitchen on the Dinette side that had a small bookshelf there for a bit for extra storage, but I wound up moving it to the Living Room, since I needed storage there, too.  For a few weeks, this wall was blank and I had been searching for a Baker's Rack, because I knew it was the perfect place for one.  But holy moly are they expensive!  

Then, one morning on Craigslist, a beautiful granite and wrought iron Baker's Rack popped up with an even more beautiful price tag of $75.  Apparently, we were the first people to call about it and to come see it.  We borrowed my Father-In-Law's Van in case we liked it and sure enough, she came home with us and now lives in our Dinette, holding most of our beautiful wine glasses!  

The granite slab alone was probably 50 lbs.  It's such a nice addition to our Kitchen, especially since we looooove wine!

These are just a few reasons why I love me some Craigslist!

Happy Living!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Overwhelmed First Time Homeowner

It's been so long since I last wrote here.  I don't know what to say except that buying and moving into our first home was way more overwhelming than I ever imagined.

It's not that it's overwhelming in a bad way - it was just overwhelming in so many ways.

There are so many things we want to do... on top of all the things that absolutely had to be done.  I spent the first few weeks here walking around the house with a bottle of bleach in one hand and a roll of paper towels under my arm.  The guy who owned the home before us worked on cars (we hope) and his hands must have always been dirty.  We noticed that every switch plate and door and wall had black hand prints all over them.  I'm not a neat freak or anything, but it's just different when it's your dirt.

We finally got the house into a condition where we felt more comfortable.  After that, the unpacked boxes we still had were really beginning to bug me.  The boxes in the Office were filled with books and we didn't have a place to put all the books yet, so in boxes they stayed.

The problem was budgetary.  We had really depleted our savings to buy the house, plus we set aside an additional $10,000 to convert the house from oil heat to gas heat, since it's so much more cost and energy efficient.  We knew the gas conversion would pay for itself over the next decade or so, but spending an additional $10,000 after you've just bought a house is scary.

We set aside some additional money for furniture/decorating, but not much.  It was at this point that I started to feel overwhelmed.  I had always dreamed of buying a home and decorating it and making it look and feel exactly how we wanted it to.  But I'm not very skilled in it and I find myself second-guessing almost every purchase I'm about to make.  I didn't even want to look at furniture online anymore, because I knew we couldn't afford any of it right away.  We've only bought a few pieces of furniture since moving in and the majority of them were from Craigslist (I'll share those in a bit).  But all of this on top of not having any confidence in what I was doing (decorating-wise) really started to make me second-guess blogging.  I wanted it to be fun, but I was feeling so intimidated and clueless.  So, I just stopped for a while.

Recently, I stopped looking around the house and focusing on the things that have yet to be done and started really focusing on the things that we've already done.  These days, I'm feeling grateful and much less overwhelmed, as I'm enjoying being in our home so much more.

As soon as I started to feel better, I started to think about the blog again.  I still want to have fun and continue to interact with the other Home Decor bloggers and hopefully learn a lot.  So, I'll keep updating the blog as long as I have something to write about.  We're decorating at a snail's pace, but we'll be here for a really long time, so what's the rush anyway?

The room that I'd say is "most done" right now, is the living room.  Probably because this is where we spend most of our time.  We still have to paint this room (that lovely yellow/green came with the house) and I'm not exactly sure what color to go with yet.  I've got a brown and blue-gray thing going on, but I can't say it was entirely intentional.  We brought the brown sofas and coffee table with us from our apartment and really, that's all that came with us - everything else is new.  I fell in love with the gray carpet (and its price) and everything else just sort of came along for the ride.  I think I need a "pop" of color somewhere, but I'm not really sure yet which one I want to use.  Orange? Yellow? Purple? Pink?!

The sofas and coffee table are from Raymour and Flanigan (outlet), the rug is from, the pillows and lamps are from Homegoods, the mirror next to the entry is from TJ Maxx, the round end tables are from Joss & Main and the curtains are from Wayfair.

In total, I spent just under $500 on new items for this room (purchases outside of what we brought with us).  Good thing the budget was set for $500, HA! 

I have a bathroom update to share soon, as well as a few really great Craigslist finds that I can't wait to share.  

Happy Living! :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

All Moved In!

*I have to apologize for the impromptu hiatus these past couple of weeks.  Life hit us hard recently, between our full-time gigs, a cancelled flight home from a Wedding, last-minute packing, last-minute moving and everything in between, there just weren't enough minutes in the day.  Without further adieu, welcome to our new home!*

With the help of family and friends, we moved into our first home less than 48 hours ago and we're *almost* completely unpacked (shout-out to my mom for spending three hours with me on Friday attacking the grimy fridge).  The last few boxes contain things that need furniture that we don't yet own, or are decor items that we need to find places for in our new home.

The first room we set up was the Living Room.  I had put the feet back on the sofas about three minutes after they were lugged into our Living Room off the truck and I had to pick a place for the TV fast, because the cable guy arrived while we were still unloading the boxes.  I quickly laid out the furniture in an L-Shape, with the back of the Love Seat facing the entry way when you walk in, so that I can buy we can place a console there.

I'm not quite sure yet if the furniture will stay like this.  We're living with it for a few days, but I did ask the cable guy (I should stop calling him that, his name is Lou!) to leave me some slack on the cable in case I changed my mind.  I'm already considering moving the TV to the left a little (centered on that back wall) with "built-ins" around it or to the wall on the left and flipping the Sofa and Love Seat to the walls opposite where they are now, to allow for additional seating.

So many other things about this room will be changing.  The paint color, the pillows, the lamp, the end table, the window dressings... much, much more will be changing.  The only things that will likely stay are the sofa, love seat and coffee table.

This. Kitchen.  The first time we saw the house, I apparently had my "This-Has-Potential" Goggles on, because even though I was enamored with the sheer size of it, it was GRIMY.  It might have been the dirtiest kitchen I'd ever laid eyes on, nevermind that I'd actually have to cook and eat in it.  *shudder*

It took us about three days to get the Kitchen to an inhabitable state.  I'm not joking.  There are still food stains on the wall next to the sink that NO cleaning product is capable of removing and since they're FAUX wood panels, I can't even paint over them.  We have to wait until we're ready to tear down the walls re-do the kitchen for those stains to be gone.  BUT, the Fridge was so disgusting that I wasn't even sure we could keep it.  It took SIX magic erasers and tons of soaking in bleach and warm water, but my mom and I got it sparkling again.  I actually don't have a "before" picture, because when I said I wanted to take one, my mom said, "Why would you EVER want to remember what this Fridge currently looks like?"  I wasn't thinking like a Blogger and I agreed with her.  Of course, I regret this, because you'd never in a million years guess it was the same Fridge and I was already a huge Magic Eraser fan, but now I'm a DIE-HARD Fan.  #MagicErasersSavedMyFridge

I love the little dinette side of the kitchen, because even though we have big plans to change the layout completely down the line, in the meantime, it's nice to have so much space.  We can easily both be in the kitchen at the same time and Hubby was doing some classwork at the table on his laptop while I was finishing up dinner.  We ate there for the first time tonight and I really enjoyed it!

Here's our little pass-through from the kitchen to the Living Room.  It's kind of nice, because while people are sitting in the living room, I can still communicate with them and see the TV them.  #TheresThatFridgeAgain

This room off the kitchen is where we're currently storing most of our boxes.  I think it will eventually be a formal dining room, although I'm still toying with the idea of adding more seating on the other side of this room with a little bar area.  I'm really excited about this spot, even though I'm not quite sure what we'll do with it.

The Pepto-Pink Bathroom is looking a little better than it did when we first saw it.  I think it's the white shower curtain, as opposed to the yellowed-white curtain that was hanging before.  I originally wanted to do gray and pink until we could afford to gut the bathroom and replace the pink fixtures, but I realized I had registered for brown towels when we were getting married, so pink and brown it is!  I think I will try to replace/paint the vanity and mirror for a quick update to tide us over.  One thing we will not be able to quickly address is the faux tile wall covering.  it's yellow with flowers and HAS to go, but I'm not sure how big of a job it will be to remove it all.

I'm not sure what I will tackle first, but I'm really anxious to paint and the only rooms that are ready for paint are the living room and formal dining room right now.  Every where else has some kind of weird wall covering that needs to be removed first.  I'm going to scope out some inspiration pictures to try to get ready to overhaul one of these rooms.  I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I've picked one!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Closing On Our First Home Was Like (and some updated pics!)

First of all, I apologize for not posting this sooner, but let's just say, "When it rains, it pours."  Not only did things start moving incredibly fast on the home buying front, but work really started picking up, too.  A project that I've been working on for the past couple of months got kicked into high gear with the due date pushed up to July 31st and the only day we have available on the calendar to move into our new home is Saturday, July 27th.  I've been trying to balance working overtime on the project and prepping the home for move-in day, so things have been a little nuts.

Our closing was on Monday at 10:00 am and our final walk through was just prior to that at 9:00 am.  By Noon, we were back at the home for the first time as homeowners and had our first visitors when my in-laws came to see it for the first time.  I was way too excited to hear our doorbell ring!

Final Walk-Through

At 9 AM, we got to the house before our Agent did.  This gave us a chance to take a few exterior pictures and do a walk around the outside of the home, which I think is pretty important since we hadn't seen it in a couple of months (since our inspection): 

Since our home is "north-facing," it typically accumulates some moss on the siding, which a yearly washing is supposed to keep away.  I can't wait to give our new home a nice, sudsy bath!

Next, we walked around the backyard and checked out the lower deck, which was now cleaned of all the previous owner's belongings:

The split-rail fencing around the perimeter of the deck will likely be removed.  It also needs to be washed really well and a couple of loose boards will have to be re-secured.  

Next, we checked out the upper level of the deck:

You can see our shed in the background here and the upper deck itself looks pretty good!  I think this will make a great outdoor hangout area and I can't wait to spruce it up!

Here's the opposite angle:

But here is where it really got interesting.  We were told that the seller had already moved to Arizona (his mother attended closing in his place) and when we checked out the rest of the yard, we noticed...

He left us some fishy friends!

The terrible thing is that he didn't leave us any fishy food and we can't even move in for a couple of weeks anyway.  I'm going to send my brother to the house to take care of them and he's sort of a fish-tank expert, so I'm hoping he'll be able to help us clean it up a little, too.  My next task would be convincing my Husband to keep the Koi Pond, since he's not a big fan.  He'd rather have plush, green lawn, which I understand.  BUT... FISH!

At this point, our Agent arrived and we were able to go inside.  I don't know why, but I was kind of nervous.  I guess I was worried I wouldn't love it anymore or something, which is silly.  

I definitely still loved it, but I will say that the change in seasons made a difference.  The trees/landscaping were more bare less overgrown when we last saw the home and let's not forget how a humid heat wave in NY can impact a vacant home in terms of the types of odors it brings out.  

When we first walked in, it smelled kind of musty to me.  I think the home just needs a good cleaning and to be aired out, but it was a little off-putting (I have a sensitive sniffer), but then I noticed these stains on the hardwood floors in the Living Room:

I'm 90% sure those are pet urine stains (if this were smell-o-vision, you'd probably agree) and while we saw a couple of them during our first tour of the home, there were far more that were visible once the furniture was removed.  You can see it worse in this photo (allow my Husband's hairy arm to point them out to you):

We'll likely need to have these re-finished down the line.  Until then, we'll just cover them up decorate with a nice area rug.  

Next, we checked out the Kitchen.  Something about this house is that it currently has really cheap finishes.  I don't mind it so much, because I know we can change them over time and make it better, but on our short list is replacing the Microwave, Oven, Dishwasher and Refrigerator.  We're planning on going with stainless steel and I think a really easy but impactful change would be the hardware on the cabinets!  I can't wait to replace them with some pretty brushed nickel knobs! *swoon*

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that someone laid linoleum tile over the hardwood floors in this Kitchen.  After we've had the chance to live in the house for a little while, we're planning to renovate it and I'll likely use that as an opportunity to reveal the original hardwood floors.  

Here is the extension that was added onto the Kitchen and was listed as a Formal Dining Room.  I'd like to replace the carpet with some hardwood flooring to try to match what exists in the Living Room and Kitchen (beneath the linoleum).  And let's not even talk about those window dressings:

If we make our way down the hallway off the Kitchen, it takes us to where the bedrooms and bathroom are on the lower level.  Take a peek at our pinky-paneled bathroom:
We have some big plans to completely renovate this bathroom, but I have to say, despite how old and outdated it is, it's in pretty good condition!

Across from the pinky-paneled bathroom is the bedroom that we're planning to use as our Master for the time-being.  We're doing this to save on cooling/heating costs until our family expands.  As you can see, the carpet has got to go and I'm hoping to get rid of it before we even move in.  It looks like it might be older than I am.
 A few other things worth mentioning about this room are that the wall covering that looks like wall paper in this picture are actually wall paper PANELS.  I have no idea what's under them, but I noticed they had been nailed into the wall.  I'm hoping there's dry wall beneath them, but I guess we'll have to wait to find out!  Here's the same room from the opposite angle:

Finally, on the lower level is the smallest bedroom of the four in the house.  We think it'll make a great Nursery down the line and for the time being, we'd like to use it as a temporary Guest Room.  That is, as soon as we remove the carpet and that little corner shelf that I think no one besides my cat would really love.  Eventually, we'd like to make it a designated office.

Closing on the House

Closing was... interesting.  Basically, there was a weird issue where the previous owners thought we wanted to keep these big, black glass and metal shelving units that were in one of the upstairs bedrooms.  We don't know where this came from, but it came down to the fact that we didn't want them there (nor did we have the time to move them out ourselves) and they didn't want to remove them (especially since they thought we wanted to keep them).  There was some crazy misunderstanding, but it was a point of contention for a good 45 minutes where the lawyers actually walked away from the table, they threatened not to close - it was crazy.  Finally, it all got worked out and the pieces were supposedly removed from the home (we'll find out tomorrow when we go back to check it out).

Other than that, we signed a ton of papers, did a celebratory dance when they handed us the keys, said thank you and goodbye to our Agent and Lawyer and went back to the house to take some measurements!

I hope you'll stay tuned for our upcoming progress!

Friday, July 12, 2013

We're (Almost) Homeowners!!!!

I haven't written a blog post in the past few days, NOT because nothing has been going on, but because LOTS has been going on and I've just been so busy!  If you've been here before, you might know that we were in the process of purchasing our first home and had been anxiously-awaiting final loan approval, so that we could finally say this is Our Home:

Well, we received the "Clear-to-close" from our Bank on Wednesday, 7/10 and it's just been nothing but a total whirlwind since then.  However, I can finally report our official Closing and Move-in dates for you, which means lots more content for the blog is coming sooner than you think!  I can hardly contain my excitement!!!!

Our official Closing Date is

Monday, 7/15 at 10:00 am!

That morning, we will be doing our final walk-through at 9:00 am, which is when we get the opportunity to make sure that the house is in the same condition we agreed to purchase it in and that the items they agreed to fix have been.  Our Realtor is taking the keys from the final walk-through and bringing them straight to the closing table.  After the closing, those will be OUR KEYS!!!  During the walk-through (or right after closing - whichever allows us more time), I will finally be taking our own pictures of the (empty) house, so that you can see all the things the seller's photos don't show.  I'm talking FUN STUFF, like the huge bar in the basement, the second upstairs bedroom, the backyard, etc.  

As far as moving, we would have loved to have been able to move-in the next weekend, but we'll be away for our best friends' Wedding in Disney World, which we are SO excited for.  Instead, we've set our Move-In date for Saturday, July 27th!  In the weeks leading up to that date after closing, we will be trying to move a couple of boxes by car and I'd really like to take a couple of evenings to clean the house top-to-bottom before moving our stuff in, so we will have to try to make time for that.  

I know I sound like a little kid with how excited I am and all, but it's hard to describe what achieving this dream of home-ownership means to me.  It's a long story (that I'll save for a separate blog post), but it's something I'm so proud of.  Plus, it was getting a little insane how many times I'd "drive-by-stalk" our new house.  The next time we drive by it, we can actually go inside!  And we'll only be a few hours away from OWNING IT!!

I just wanted to say thank you to those who have stopped by the blog so far, as well as anyone who is new.  I hope you'll stick around while we practically decorate our entire first home! :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yay or Nay: TVs in the Bedroom

Inquiring minds (at least mine) want to know: Do you have a TV in the Master Bedroom? When we were house shopping with our Realtor, he kept commenting about where we could place a TV in each Bedroom we saw. We told him so many times that we don't have a TV in our Master Bedroom and never really intend to. We like to watch TV in the Living Room as a family and when it's time for bed, it's time for bed. Our Realtor would say, "Ahhhh, Newlyweds. Just you wait." Maybe this will change when we have kids? I don't know, neither me nor my Husband grew up with TVs in our bedrooms, so it's not really natural for us. But I suppose down the line I could see a benefit to it. So, I'm dying to know - do you have a TV in your bedroom? Do you WANT a TV in your room?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Buying Status Update!

Last month, I posted an extremely detailed timeline for how our home buying process has been moving along.  At the time of that post, we were awaiting our Final Loan Approval, so that we could go ahead and actually schedule our closing date.

Well, the bad news is that 12 days later, we're still waiting for Final Loan Approval, BUT the good news is that we're a lot closer to getting it, because our new Town finally produced the paperwork that our bank needed in order for us to be approved.

Today, at 4 pm, I received an email from our Attorney that the paperwork was received by the Title Search Company and that my Attorney had already sent it to the Bank's Attorney and our Loan Officer.  Our Bank told us that it typically only takes about 24 hours to receive Final Loan Approval once that paperwork is received, so I'll be calling the Loan Officer tomorrow morning to make sure she received the paperwork and to confirm when we can expect to receive final approval.

The reason I've been so under the gun is that our Interest Rate Lock expires on July 18th.  We have to close before then, or we'll have to pay a fee to extend our lock.  It's not the end of the world if we have to pay the fee, but with all the projects we have planned for the new house, we certainly don't want to spend any more money than we absolutely have to.

I'm hoping that the next time you hear from me, we'll be approved for our mortgage and we'll have a definite closing and move-in date to share with you! In the meantime, you can countdown with us!

Time remaining until our Interest Rate Lock expires:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What's In Your Purse?

Melanie over at Mailbox Journey wants to know what's in everyone's purse, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get a little more personal and show you what I carry around with me every day and hook up with others for a fun Link-Up Party.  Here we go!

1.  Coach Alexandra Purse - This was a gift to myself for my job promotion at work a few years ago.  I've used it every day since then - seems to be holding up well!
2.  Coach Alexandra Wallet - I bought it with the purse :) {matchy-matchy!}
3.  Make Up Pouch - This was a little pouch that I received as part of a promotion at Sephora and it was the perfect size for my every day make up
4.  My Brown Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses - I bought these on a work trip to California at a discount store and they have a huge scratch on the lens, but I love them so I wear them anyway.
5.  Pens - I can't be anywhere without a pen to jot something down.
6.  My Vera Bradley ID/Coin Purse - This is about 7 years old and I've always used it to hold my Metrocard and ID card for work.  It's also where I keep my ear buds.
7.  Sephora Mirror
8.  Revlon Lipbalm
9.  Blistex Medicated Lip Balm
10.  Sabon Hand Cream in Patchouli Lavender Vanilla - This is literally the best hand lotion I've ever used.
11.  A Thumb-Drive - I'm an IT Professional, so I need to keep a thumb drive with me at all times.
12.  Keys
13.  Nail File
14.  Tampons
15.  Checkbook - I find that while buying a home, I've had to write a lot more checks than I used to.
16.  Nail Polish Remover Pads - In case my polish is just too chippy and I need to go to a meeting or something.
17.  A retractable tape measure - You never know when you're going to find that perfect console table and will need to check measurements to see if it'll fit!
18.  Hair Tie - Because I will get hives if I don't have one on back-up/

Link Up!
Mailbox Journey

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why Listing Our Moving Sale On Craigslist Might Not Have Been the Best Idea I've Ever Had.

Melanie from Mailbox Journey recently posted about a hilarious Craigslist-related incident that happened to her recently and it reminded me of the near-heart-attack-inducing incident that Craigslist caused for us this weekend.

We had planned a Moving Sale for last Saturday and posted it on Craigslist.  I was watching the weather and basically the whole week was looking like this:

On Friday, I decided to call it and updated the Craigslist Ad to say that the Moving Sale would be postponed to the following Sunday due to the weather.

That same day, someone rang our doorbell, because they wanted to "preview" the items for sale.  
*I was totally and completely unprepared for this.  I had no idea that this might happen.  All of the stuff for sale was in my basement.  No way in HELL was I inviting someone into my home and INTO MY BASEMENT (where there is only one egress, I might add) to preview the junk I'm trying to get rid of.  I almost died.  Is this what people do?  What did they think I was selling that they needed to "preview" it?  But I digress.

I told him I was sorry, but we were postponing the sale to the following Sunday (and he acted like the new date was no good for him, but I mean, what am I supposed to do?!) and that I couldn't show him the items, because they were "in storage."  He proceeded to grill me about the items I was selling; "How old are the chairs?"  "What are they made of?" "What kind of wood?"  At one point, I couldn't believe I was still engaging in conversation with him about this.

Finally, I told him I had to get back to work and maybe I'd see him the following Sunday.

I decided I should lock my door and put up a sign on it in case any one else wanted a "preview" (I still can't believe this is a thing).  The sign was very clear and blatantly said, "Moving Sale Postponed to Sunday, 7/7, due to weather."

The next morning, which would have been the morning of the sale, we went grocery shopping and got back home around 10:30 am.  We were bringing bags into the house from the car and left our front door open (but the storm door was closed).  I was sitting on the living room sofa on my laptop with my feet up on the coffee table with my husband in the next room and I hear someone just open my front door and walk in.  

Now, we have a functioning doorbell.  Why this individual chose not to ring it or even use his hand to make a sound on the door (which people typically refer to as KNOCKING) I may never know.  We have a mirror hanging in the foyer, so I was basically able to watch him walking into my house from where I was sitting.  

Apparently, this is what came out of my mouth:
"Umm...what is going on right now?...Uh...omg, someone is...HELLO?...wait. NO, NO, NO, NO, get out of here... right now!"

In retrospect, at the point when I said, "Hello?" I think this individual thought I was inviting him into my Living Room.  I don't know.  Nothing about my expression or tone was welcoming.  But I also didn't get up off my butt, which is very interesting to me.  It basically means that I don't have a fight OR flight reaction.  I basically just become paralyzed with fear, where the only thing that works is my mouth.  Great.

So, this guy is standing in my Living Room and I'm still sitting on the sofa (with my feet up on the coffee table).  I did sit up straighter, like I was more alert, but I simply was frozen in place.  What's weird is, it never occurred to me, even for a second, that this guy was here for the sale.  The thoughts that ran through my head went something like this:
  1. Why is this man here?
  2. Why did this man walk into my house?
  3. Why is he ignoring everything I'm saying?
  4. Is he mentally ill?
  5. Does he think he lives here?
  6. Is he lost?
  7. Does he have a gun?
  8. Is he going to attack me?
Right in between mental questions #4 and #5, I started to panic internally a little.  I realized he wasn't responding to any of my comments - he was just kind of standing there in my entry way looking at me.  I was SO CONFUSED.  It wasn't until my Husband came out of the side room and said, very calmly and sternly, "Sorry, sale is postponed to next week," that I put two and two together.  Up until then, I really thought for some reason that we were the unfortunate subjects of a visit from the latest mental asylum escapee.  

I also kind of put together that maybe there was a language barrier issue.  I'm still not really sure on that, but I don't understand how anyone from any culture could just walk into someone's home without knocking or anything.  I mean, he walked into my living room and caught me completely off-guard.  I'm just glad I wasn't sitting there in my underwear (which I've been known to do).  If I were in his shoes, I would have been MORTIFIED.

Anyway, he seemed to understand what was happening when my husband was sort of directing him out of the house.  I guess the guy was confused by the fact that I never once got out of my seat.  This is actually the most concerning thing to me.  I still can't believe I just sat there.  

I also don't understand why he thought the sale was INSIDE our house?  Maybe because of the weather?  I don't know - so little of it makes any sense to me.

The guy turned out to be harmless and everything was okay, but we locked our door for the rest of the weekend.  

Moral of the story:  I will not be advertising my address on Craigslist again any time soon - which one would think I'd already know not to do.  I don't know why I ever thought this would be a good idea.  

Keeping It In the Family: A Furniture Restoration Project

I mentioned in my last post how much my Husband hates white furniture.  He's a "woodsy" kinda guy, which is fine by me.  But I knew I had to incorporate white furniture into at least one room in our new house.

When we moved into this house, there was some furniture left behind.  We gave away most of it, but we kept a Bassett solid cherry wood dresser and bureau.  We stored it in an empty bedroom that we intended to use as a Guest Room (but really only was used as such one time), and just kept our options open as to whether we'd eventually sell the set or bring it with us to our next place (depending where we would be living next).

Disclaimer:  I'm so sorry, but I completed this project pre-blog, so I only had a "Before" picture of the dresser and not the bureau.  In the future, I promise to be better about photographing everything for illustration purposes! :)

Since the place we're currently living in is my Husband's Grandparents' home (both have since passed on), I had a feeling that the dresser set left behind belonged to a relative (it could have been my Husband's Aunt, Uncle, Father, Parents or Grandfather) as they had lived in this home for a number of years at one point or another.  I confirmed that it belonged to my Husband's Grandparents, so I didn't want to get rid of it unless we had to.  I thought it would be so nice to re-use the furniture for a Guest Room (or future Nursery).

I thought this set would be the perfect way to try my hand at painting furniture (and I campaigned hard for painting them white).  My reasoning was actually quite practical:  We already know that when we move into the new house, one of the first big purchases we're making is a new Queen-sized bed, as we've been sleeping on an Ikea platform bed for the past three years and we long for a "real" mattress (no offense to those who are comfortable sleeping on Ikea mattresses).  The Ikea platform bed frame we currently use is a white one (I think it's been discontinued, but it looks just like this one):
IKEA Malm Bed Frame
We knew we'd be placing our current bed in a Guest Room when we upgrade to a new mattress, so the Guest Room was destined to have white furniture after all! :)

Side note:  I actually really wanted mirrored furniture in there, as I was inspired by this photo (below) from Pinterest, but I decided it was best to re-use what we already have and maybe I can splurge on a mirrored-nightstand for this room to achieve the look I love so much (plus, I don't know how the husband would feel about me sleeping in the Guest Room so often, since it'd basically be my dream room).

Due to the crazy amount of rain the East Coast has been receiving, I set up shop in my living room.  I laid a tarp out on the carpet and used it as my work station for a couple of weeks (bless my husband's and kitty's hearts for putting up with sharing the living room with me and my projects for so long) (PS- It may or may not have also been blocking the TV, due to size).

Here's the dresser (with drawers removed) on the tarp, with the coffee table pushed back (rendering the Love Seat pretty much un-usable):

Here are the steps I performed:
  1. Removed the hardware from the drawer fronts
  2. Cleaned each piece with Murphy's Oil Soap Wood Cleaner
  3. Filled all of the holes (and any damage) with Wood Filler and let dry for two hours
  4. Sanded the whole piece down with 60-grit and then again with 120 grit
  5. Wiped both pieces down with tack cloth
  6. Primed both pieces and drawer fronts with Kilz Latex 2 Primer, Sealer & Stainblocker (interior/exterior water-based)
  7. Let dry overnight
  8. Painted both pieces and drawer fronts with Clark + Kensington Paint + Primer In One, Semi-Gloss Enamel in 109A100 "Designer White."
  9. Let dry overnight, painted a second coat.
  10. Let dry overnight and then re-drilled new holes for the new hardware, which were:
GlideRite "Birdcage" 3.25-inch Cabinet Pulls from

GlideRite "Birdcage" 2-inch Oval Cabinet Knobs from

Here are the results!
Painted with Clark + Kensington Paint + Primer In One, in 109A100 - "Designer White"

Painted with Clark + Kensington Paint + Primer In One, in 109A100 - "Designer White"
As this was my first blog-able DIY project, so I figured I'd have some regrets or lessons learned.  In this case, there was only one:  I did the shorter dresser first and in retrospect, I wish I had installed the hardware differently for the top drawer (to match the top drawer of the Bureau).  I wish I had done two knobs for each drawer at the top (in the larger side panels), rather than one (in the smaller middle panel), but you live and you learn!

Before I bid you adieu, I will sum it all up with this final Before and After (because who doesn't like Before And After's?!):