Things I’m Looking Forward To

As I alluded to in a previous post, there are plenty of things I have to look forward to in the new house.  I mean, would we have purchased it if there weren’t some pros?

In addition to getting a single family home with a monthly payment several hundred dollars less than our current townhome (thank you, housing market!), the new house has all of this:

  • A nice-sized yard where the kids can run and play and build and dig relatively safely.  We have hopes to fence the yard this spring, depending on whether or not we can afford it.
  • Mature trees!  I love older neighborhoods for this very reason.  What is with the trees they plant nowadays that never seem to grow?  Sure, one of those trees landed on the garage of the new house during a storm a few years back (we’re told), so they come with risks, but they also provide shade and character and a place to build a tree house!
  • A place to garden.  Whether I build a raised bed or just dig out a plot, I am looking forward to having some perennials and annuals NOT in pots.  And maybe even some veggies if I get ambitious this year.  I long to teach the kids that what they eat comes from plants we can grow, not just from the produce shelves at the store or the CSA.
  • A lake within walking distance.  Yep!  Our current place has a man-made pond nearby (where people actually swim…gross…), but the new place is near to one of the better lakes in the Twin Cities area.  I look forward to some beach trips this summer!
  • A nice park and ice rink also within walking distance.
  • Four bedrooms.  Hooray!  While the kids will still share one for now, there is room to each have their own someday (or potentially share…ahem, Husband, ahem…).  And one will be my designated office/guest room.  No more taking over the dining table with piles of work!  And actually, since there isn’t a dining room, it’s especially important that I leave our table alone.  We need to eat there all the time.
  • Storage.  Not only do we have an under-stairs closet, but the laundry room is big enough that we should be able to keep most of our off-season clothes and some decorative items there.  We got our Rubbermaid tubs out of our rented storage unit in December–one less thing to pay for is great!
  • A shed!  I have big plans for that shed, if Husband lets me have my way with it.  🙂
  • A generously-sized entry with a walk-in coat closet.  Guests, no more bumping into each other as you hop around on one foot trying to put on your boots while tripping over our family’s shoes.  I hope to have a chair where you can sit comfortably and a place to store our shoes.

I’m sure there are tons more, but this post is getting too long as it is.  So much to look forward to!  I’m a planner, by nature, so I would be lying if I said I haven’t spent hours and hours planning details of the new place.  I want it to be a great little haven where we can relax, enjoy each other, and entertain guests.


The Visual Things

An accompaniment to my recent post.  I snapped a few quick pics one night of things I’ll miss.

My boy riding his little “car” down the hallway, running it into this bench, then getting off and walking along the bench.

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My quirky fridge with all its artwork (though obviously I hope to keep my new fridge covered with it, too).

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My giant clock, since I can’t think of a single child-friendly place to hang it in the new house. I envision broken glass.

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Another photo here.  I feel kind of dumb for posting all these here, but since I’ve told y’all it acts as my virtual scrapbook, I hope you don’t mind.  🙂

House Progress (Again)

Not a lot has happened that is apparent to the naked eye since my last post about the new house.

The kitchen is still all taped up, waiting for more paint. The appliances have been moved because my father-in-law, bless his heart, is re-wiring most of the kitchen for us. Turns out there was some definite damage to the wiring in the kitchen – so much so that he can’t believe the house is still standing (should have burnt down). We are so grateful for all his work up in the attic, making it so we can turn on lights again without risk of fire! You can see the existing color on the wall below the cabinets (beige) and the color the walls will be (a muted green) on the panel above the cupboards. I’m liking it so far!


Husband and f-i-l also laid engineered wood floors in the master bedroom. Again, not completed, but you get the idea.


Our kind friend who has been helping with the drywall came back and finished up the mudding this past week, and Husband finished the sanding, so we should have walls that look more normal once they’re painted. Hooray!


The kids and I hung out at the house on Friday while we waited for this beauty to be delivered. I loooooove the new couch!


However, I am very glad we haven’t been able to paint the living room, because the color I have picked out (and two gallons of it purchased!), Wythe Blue (top center), looks awful with the couch! Back to square one with that! I still love Wythe Blue; it will just have to go in another room. Don’t want to waste all that expensive no-VOC paint!

Here’s a close-up of the couch cushion with Wythe Blue. The couch is coming across more gray in the photos than it is. The fabric is actually a very tight weave of light blue and taupe.


Here is the cushion with another sample we have painted. Can’t even remember what color it is (sad!), but I definitely like it better.


Things I Will Miss…

Even though we haven’t moved yet, I have started “missing” certain things about this home already.  We have lived here almost five years.  Both our kids were born while we lived in this house; it was their first home.

Some things I will miss:

  • The southern exposure.  Half of our windows here face the south.  We get tons of warm, beautiful sunshine streaming in, which sure makes winter more bearable.
  • The pool.  It has been really convenient to spend hot summer mornings there.  Only residents are allowed, and in the mornings it is almost always deserted.  So it was like having our own private pool.
  • The sewing corner.  Though I have used it quite infrequently, I love that it is surrounded by windows.
  • My ginormous kitchen.  The new kitchen is what I call a “one butt kitchen.”  No room for helpers, no room for an additional table where my kids can sit right nearby while I cook and clean up.  I will miss the giant pantry, the cupboard space that can fit virtually all my kitchen gear plus some decorating items, and an entire cupboard shelf dedicated to cookbooks.  My cupboard space will be slashed by about half, my counter much smaller, and I will have to walk into the dining area to feed the kids.
  • My appliances.  Our washer/dryer were the first appliance purchase we’ve ever made, and we’ve had them since we lived in our second apartment in Fargo.  I am so used to how they operate, and though I know we will get used to the new ones, too, it will take some adjusting.  Also, our kitchen appliances have their quirks (the icemaker that shoots ice all over the floor, the dishwasher that has been fixed with duct tape numerous times, the oven that is perpetually crooked due to funny “feet”), but again, we’ve grown accustomed to their idiosyncrasies.
  • The layout.  While sometimes I loathe having to go all the way down a long hall to get to the kids’ room or the office, there is something to be said for privacy.  Along with that…
  • The master bath and walk-in closet.  The master suite here is ginormous.  In fact, I kind of feel that we are giving up a lot of modern luxuries simply for the convenience of a family room and a little extra storage.  Hopefully it’s worth the trade-off!
  • The warmth.  Though our entry is always cold, the upstairs is toasty most of the time, with the exception of the kids’ room, which is over the garage.  I’ve spent a cold afternoon or two at the new house, and when it’s set at the same temperature it feels much cooler than here.  I guess the ’70s wall construction and insulation isn’t quite as good as this decade’s.  Hm.

Now don’t worry–I’m not such a sourpuss that I’m only going to post things I’ll miss.  Next week: things I’m looking forward to in the new house!

A Fridge Decision

Thank you all so much for your input on stainless steel appliances.  You helped more than you know!

I was also able to find a kitchen that has virtually the same colors (cream cupboards, beige countertops, the same green we’re using on the walls in an adjacent room) and stainless steel appliances, and I liked how they looked.

Unfortunately, the space for the fridge is very small, and we are limited as to what will fit there.  I have found two stainless steel fridges that I think will fit the space (this or this), but I can’t tell if either of them is brushed stainless (the only option I’m willing to deal with if we do stainless, since I can’t abide the thought of the constant. fingerprint. wiping.).  Would they say “brushed” next to finish if they were?  Both of them say “smooth.”

Stainless Steel for 2011?

So.  We are in the market for a new refrigerator, since the one in our new home has issues.

As you can seen in this post, we have cream cabinets, a white microwave, a black stove, and across from the stove, a black dishwasher.  Talk about a mish-mash.  The fridge is the first thing we’re replacing in the kitchen, and I don’t want to get stainless steel unless we plan to eventually buy all stainless steel appliances.  Here are my reservations:

1. I don’t know that it will go that well with cream.  Most of the colors we’re using on the main floor are softened blues and greens that go well with cream.  To me, stainless doesn’t seem like it would go well.  But…I don’t know that white would, either, and “bisque” varies so much from company to company that unless we buy all one brand at one time (which we don’t need to and can’t afford), our appliances could be very mis-matched. Here is an example of a kitchen where I think the stainless doesn’t fit successfully:



2. My style is not modern.  I love the look of stainless steel in a sleek, modern kitchen with black or white cupboards.




But we are more “casual farmhouse” than “urban industrial,” and I don’t want something completely incongruous.  Here is one kitchen in my style that I think pulls it off successfully (though the cabinets are white, not cream):



3. Stainless steel has been “in” since the early 2000s, and usually decor trends that have been around that long (chocolate brown, anyone?) are soon “out.”  I’m not that concerned about other pieces of our home, like wall paint and carpet, because they get changed more often (at least, I sure hope!) than something like a refrigerator.  When we were house searching, my husband was definitely drawn to kitchens that had stainless appliances, but I think that’s usually because they were all newer homes, or had recently had the kitchens fully-renovated.  But will stainless steel’s appeal fade over the next few years?  Would we be safer going with a more timeless color, like white?

4. I realize that every Tom, Dick and Harry on HGTV is still using stainless steel (and I think that’s partially what has made it so popular), but how much longer will that last?

5. I’m not sure I like the clean-up that goes along with it. I hear many stories of constantly having to wipe fingerprints, and one more thing to spot-clean doesn’t sound great to me.


What is your experience with stainless steel?  What are your predictions regarding its fate?


Side note:

Thanks to John and Sherry’s post about their washer and dryer purchase, I was able to score the same pair they purchased at 43% off.  I bought white ones.

House Progress

It’s been a long month with Husband working overtime and the holidays.  We’ve made some slow but sure progress on the house, thanks to the help of some friends!

First pic is the living room, which is in quite a state of disarray!  The walls to the right have been primed and mudded (is that a word?) by Husband and a kind friend.  They were poorly done before, with some weird, unintentional texture and bubbling paint.  We’ll be glad to have them smooth again!

The kids’ room is painted, thanks to two other kind friends!  It is similar in color to their shared room here.  I heard somewhere that keeping color of walls and layout the same can help kids transition better.  I wasn’t completely happy with the wall color of their room here and was hoping for a more greenish-grayish blue this time around.  In the right light it is the color I wanted, and I think it will only look better once we get the trim up.

Husband removed the trim from most of the house, and he has also taken the carpet out of our bedroom in preparation for wood floors.  Buh-bye allergies (I hope!). 

Yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening painting the ceiling and starting the walls in the kitchen.  Husband got sick and went home, so we want to finish that up later this week. 

My first project yesterday was finalizing a paint color for the kitchen/dining (they adjoin).  So I ran to Hirshfield’s (for like the 5th time this month) and had them mix up some pint-sized samples of Benjamin Moore Sweet Caroline and Benjamin Moore Nantucket Breeze.  Sweet Caroline is on the middle of the wall facing us, and one the top over to the right of that same wall.  Nantucket Breeze is below SC on the right.  I ended up thinking both were too light and went with Benjamin Moore Dried Parsley, sight unseen.  From what I painted so far, I like it.  Not too minty, but the perfect spring green for a kitchen.  And it will hopefully coordinate well with Wythe Blue (the darker blue on the adjacent wall), which is what we’ve chosen for the living room.  And by “we,” I mean me.  🙂

Markus and Anja had to come with us yesterday, so we locked them each into a room downstairs for naps, then had Anja gated into their room (which she climbed over in about three minutes) and Markus stationed in his playpen.  Not the most fun evening for him, but we figure he won’t remember it when he’s older.  Ha! 

Here is the large section of the living room which Husband and friend patched with new drywall and mud.  Husband had never done that sort of work before, and it was so helpful to him to have a friend available to show him how.

We have high hopes for what we hope to complete in January, as we would like to move in by the end of the month or early February, Lord-willing.

Farmhouse Trim

Another thing on my “to do” list for the house is to figure out what kind of moulding we want in the entire house.  We are ripping out the current standard-for-the-midwest-in-the-1970s dark wood trim in favor of white trim.  All you southern folks who have white moulding as a standard don’t know how good you have it!  It’s becoming more popular here, but still less common than the builder’s standard orange-y wood.

I really want to have farmhouse style trim, but I have had a very tough time finding anywhere online that tells DIYers what size of lumber to buy and how to put it together.
farmhouse trim

Or, I could just pick out some stuff at Home Depot and call it “good enough.” But since we’re already taking the time to make our new home “ours” before we move in, doesn’t it seem that we should do what we want now, rather than later?

Soft Things Afoot

One of the things on my “to do” list for the new house is to find an area rug for underneath our bed.  Due to my dust mite allergy, we are putting wood flooring in the master bedroom.  But I still want something soft and warm for my feet to hit until they find my slippers.

The wall color we’ve chosen (and that has been sitting around for almost a month now…) is Benjamin Moore Polished Slate (see swatch below).

Our master bedroom faces north and west, so we wanted a wall color that was bold but not too warm that would also complement our oak bedroom furniture.

My inspiration came from this picture. (Side note: I love that ladder, too, and am contemplating using something like it in our room for clothes that have been worn but aren’t quite ready for the laundry pile.)

Back to the task at hand.  So I am trying to pick a rug that will go well with that color, with our maple floors and the orange-y oak bed.  I’ve found a few at Target in a large floral print that are pretty cool, but I couldn’t find them on their website to show you.  As for the ones I’ve found online, Option #1 is this hemp/white leather one:

Option #2 is this jute one:

Option #3 is an indoor/outdoor rug from Dash & Albert:

And there could be other options out there. I lean toward natural-looking rugs (hence the hemp and jute), but the easy-clean of Option #3 would be nice.

I don’t think we want to spend the $ on a rug big enough for the entire bed to sit on, so I was thinking an 8×10 so it sticks out both sides and some at the foot of the bed.

Have you ever had an area rug under your bed?  If so, what size did you get?