Thinking About My Home Buying Moment

It seems like we've been living here in Arizona for both a really long time and almost no time at all. But we're actually about eight months in now!

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While we used a realtor to help us buy our house, I did a lot of online research myself to find the homes we wanted to walk through. Trulia was an enormously helpful site in both searching for listings and for learning about areas in our new city, and I was really excited when they invited me to share some of our renovation journey as part of their Home Buying Moments series (see all the moments and their post cards here).


It was a fun exercise to think about how much things have changed around here in the past eight months, and what I would do differently if I could go back in time. So here's a little Q&A that I conducted with myself, because why pass up an opportunity to write in third person?  :)

So Jenny, the Scorpion Lair (aka the faux well) is still sitting in your front yard? And WHY haven't you removed any (ANY!) of the gingerbread trim on the exterior of the house? I thought you wanted these gone first thing?


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Oh, man, I really hate that the trim is still on our house and that that horrible well is still sitting out front! I wish I had all the time and money in the world so I could do all of the things and do them now. But the bottom line is home projects cost so, so much dumb money that we've had to pick and choose what we can tackle and when. I was really hoping that exterior projects would have happened this winter, but now I'm crossing my fingers for late spring. The benefit of having to wait to do all of the projects is I have time to really think about what I want to do.

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I'd love to paint everything at the same time that we do the tear-out, but it's looking like we'll need to replace all the window and door casings before painting, so the tally just keeps on rising!! It helps me to look back and think about all the things we HAVE finished though. We are making steady progress.

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Hey Jenny, remember how the whole roof needs to be replaced, too?

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(hi, Linus!)

Yeah, OUCH!! ($$$$$$)

The good news is we very much knew about the roof situation before we bought the house and we built that future cost into the final price, so that at least helps me feel a little better if nothing else. We also had the roof patched as part of our buying negotiations (the lighter shake shingles, which haven't weathered much yet), and the patch job earned us back another two or three years, if we want to take it. Our neighbors down the street had a shake roof just like ours and they got a new tile roof put on this month that is ceramic, but has texture like shake. Theirs is pretty and dark, like what I would want to do. I have so much research to do on this that it's nice that we have another year or two to figure it out and to set aside money.

Speaking of money, I know you've gone back and forth a lot about renovating the kitchen. What are your current plans for the space?


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Good question, self! I feel like there are three different options for the kitchen. First, keep everything pretty much as-is, just with a couple more coats of paint slapped on it all. I'm okay with this option, but it would definitely be a temporary fix.

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Second idea, spring for a huge reno and create the kitchen of my dreams by closing in most or all of the back porch. I'd be obviously SO excited about this option, but truly, I just don't think it's in the cards right now.

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And the third idea, which is the one I'm leaning toward this week, is do a mini-reno and update mostly just the things that will stay put or can still be used when we do end up doing the full-blown reno later. Those items: new gas range, new cabs and counters, new refrigerator. So it's still a whole new kitchen and a pretty big reno, but it would be all cosmetic. No moving of walls or plumbing, no new flooring. We'd save all that good stuff for later, for down the road a couple years.

Jenny, how do you like your new wood floors? Do you wish you had done something different here?


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I am not a sour grapes person, but it's true, if I could go back in time, I probably would have just sprung for the unfinished white oak and I would have stained it on site. I don't love that our floors have that factory finish to them and the stain is a little different than what I hoped for. I will say I think they are starting to look a little more broken in though, so I'm hopeful. And the good news is if I ever come across a sack of money and a month of free time, I could refinish my floors and do the gray oil stain/sealer look that I dreamt of in the beginning!

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What's been your favorite project in the house so far?

Tough call! I think it's a three-way tie between the fireplace, the laundry room and the new studio floors. I love what we were able to achieve with each of these with just some elbow grease and not a lot of money.

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What's something that you thought you hated about the house, but now you love?


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Our house is not really a square or rectangular shape, and there are lots of exterior doors because of it. It used to make me uncomfortable, but now I love it. It makes moving furniture around and taking projects in and out of the house a breeze. Now I wouldn't close off any of the doors even if I could! It's like this house was meant to be ours. :) And now that the studio and the playroom's up and running, it feels even better than ever.

Is this house your forever house?

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I really, really love this house, but I don't even pretend to know what our future looks like! We recently were pretty sure that we were going to move back to NYC for Michael's job this year (can you even imagine!), but it's looking like his company would actually like us to stay here for a while longer, maybe forever.

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I've decided to treat it like my forever house, even if it ends up not being that. I'm trying to be extra careful with all of my choices, but I'm not doing things for resale value, etc. I want to make this home special for us, and if we happen to find ourselves in a place where we need to sell in the future, hopefully buyers will like our house as much as I am liking it these days. I feel equal parts grateful and hopeful about the house.

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So, friends, when you bought your house, what was your favorite Home Buying Moment? Do any of Trulia's postcards ring especially true for you? No. 48 was pretty much spot-on for me, with every house we looked at! :)

This post is sponsored by Trulia. The views expressed here are solely my own. To learn 
more click here, and as alway, thank you for supporting LGN sponsors!









33 comments:

Philly said...

What amazing things you've already achieved with your house. Thanks for continuing to make the time to blog about it so we can all see how it's going.

I've been renovating our own house and can tell you "What would Jenny do?" is always a thought close to my mind the whole way through ;-)

Dana Frieling said...

Don't you wish you could plant a money tree in your backyard to help cover the cost of your kitchen reno? It's crazy how even the 'little' projects add up so quickly. So fun to see how much progress you've made in such a short time, Jenny.

colleen said...

You have saved so much money with your own ingenuity and sweat from hard work... along with the mental anguish that accompanies anything worth doing. No matter where you end up you have made a not so attractice space stunning. Besides, when its done or if you move back to the East Coast you'll find another outlet for your creative instincts.

kate@willowinteriors said...

I can't believe what you've gotten done in 8 months! And I can't wait to see what you've got in store for the next 8! :)

Laurie from Laurie Jones Home said...

You have done so much in such a small amount of time. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!

KayceeParker said...

This has to be one of my favorite posts. It's nice to see your before/after projects in one place. Congratulations on how far you've come!

Unknown said...

Jenny, your comment about not doing things for resale but making your home special for your family really hit home. My husband and I are concerned (too much?) with resale so struggling with some of our future major remodeling choices. For example, we would love to replace our flooring on our upper level (bedrooms and office/studio) with white washed planks as you did, but worry the decision will hurt us in the future because it isn't common in my cookie-cutter, conservative area. Yet, I have always loved this look! Any suggestions (or maybe future post) about overcoming resale vs. remodeling for yourself anxiety?

Kim said...

I'm a big fan of Trulia. I used it to help my brother find the home he just bought in February and have been using it like mad the last couple weeks as my parents have been house hunting. I love the mobile app - we can drive through neighborhoods we like and it uses GPS to tell us what's for sale as we drive by so we can pull up detailed info, photos, etc. Moving is exciting but there's nothing like putting your own thumbprint on a home. I hope you get to stay here long enough to finish what you have started!

Alexis said...

Even though I've been following your rents all along and have seen all of these in separate pics, it was so nice to see them all recapped together! Everything you've done looks so good and is very inspiring....even for this renter ;)

Andrea said...

Jenny - you are so inspiring and so practical at the same time. thank you for this space! I am always so inspired....

Kates said...

I love learning about what you are doing with your house. I think your style, high/low design choices and your knowing when to save and splurge makes reading your blog really exciting! When I bought my house in November the sellers were not living there so I could see every inch of it as being mine. I also saw so much potential in the house that others were not seeing I think your 103 DIY projects sort of fits my house perfectly.

Shannon Latimer said...

I bought my home two years ago, and my favorite moment was the day I got my keys and got to see the house empty for the first time. I was glad to see that it did have good bones after all! (postcard #48 rang true for me, for sure) Thanks for all the inspiration your blog provides, Jenny!

Melissa H said...

It's great to hear where you stand on some of the future projects and how your feelings about certain things have changed. Your house is coming along beautifully. We settled just a smidge when buying our new house because we had sold our old home and needed to find something quickly but we really love it and are making it our own.

kylieschildt said...

I recently just purchased a home last week and I really want to dive in and make it my own. I am super jealous though that your new home has the potential of being your forever home. Only being 21, I am sure I am not in my forever home so I have to make the resale value choices for everything. The basement came unfinished though so it is exciting getting to choose a layout and also getting to choose how big my closet is going to be (dilemma of a lifetime!). Your blog is a great source for inspiration - keep up the good work!

Robert Parker said...

I like the idea that you share here and I hope there is a fresh idea that can be shared in the future
If later there was a chance I would like to exchange thoughts with you
Thank you very much for sharing interesting things here
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Robert Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D+I+A said...

This post is a great recap for all you've done with this house. Truly, what you've managed to accomplish in this amount of time is nothing short of miraculous.

We just bought our first house last fall, and you've been a real inspiration, not just in terms of style or decor, but your DIY spirit. I've done some projects I would not have anticipated doing myself, and while they don't always match the original image in my head, they really makes the house feel more ours. And I owe that in large part to you--thanks!

Kimberlee Martin said...

We used Trulia in the same way when searching for our home. It was a very valuable tool in helping us assess the neighborhoods, schools, proximity to stores, etc. As soon as we got those keys, the level of excitement could not be contained! Then, we realized how much DIY work was ahead of us :(. It's been about 3.5 years since we've been here and the updating has been a slow process, but I wouldn't change that experience for anything.

Crystal @ 29 Rue House said...

Hi Jenny! I need your help. I'm about to make 30 buttons for a velvet tufted headboard and I can't even get one done. Any suggestions? It seems like the velvet is to thick to fit in the button mold (just the kits picked up from JoAnn's.

Thanks! And love your home and how much you've accomplished!

Where are my Mary Jane's? said...

Jenny, I love this post. You have already done amazing things at your home and I really can't tell you how often your name comes up when we discuss house projects and design, big or small. You have helped shape my style and taste and I am so grateful. I just helped a friend hang up a gallery wall in her house and she's so excited about it; wouldn't have known how to do that without you and your beautiful blog.

Amanda Rapp Design said...

Jenny- You've made so many amazing changes in your house in just a short time! It's good to remember all the work accomplished when I feel like we still have so far to go on our house too. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder! Xoxo

matt & kaylea said...

Hi Jenny-- Love your home, was wondering if you would share where you found your exterior door hardware, we are building a new home and I just love the look of that hardware! Thanks!

Kristie J said...

My husband and I are in the process of moving out of our Dream Home and relocating to a new home in the Bay Area. We made the mistake of putting off major improvements to our old house because we thought we had all the time in the world. It was a very beautiful home nonetheless but it could have been upgraded in some very simple ways. As we prepare to move to our new home, projects are already in full swing. Beautiful floors, wainscoting, and moldings are being installed. I don't know how long we will be in our new home, but like you, I want to design it as if it will be our forever home. I enjoy your blog a great deal. You inspire me in so many ways.

kashmala tariq said...

nice inspiration for me www.geokahanilive.blogspot.com similar like this page

Linenqueen said...

Regarding your roof choice. I live in Tucson where it is a tiny bit cooler than Phoenix but not much. We did a white roof and stuck a thermometer to the ceiling before and after and kept track of indoor and out door readings. The ceiling was a 12 degree cooler with the white roof than the darker roof. Twelve degrees means that my house is more comfortable and I am saving money on air conditioning.

Love your choices on the things you have done with your house. If it were me I would get a hammer and a ladder and that would be the end of the ginger bread.

Ann

Lillie said...

Hi Jenny! So I've been dying over your chevron floors since I saw them. And have been searching for a way to make it happen in our home since. We're in the Palm Springs area... obviously concrete subfloors as well etc.... I learned so much from your posts! But I have a few more questions I'm desperately hoping you can help me with!

We settled for an engineered wood since doing the subfloor wasn't in the budget. So it's glue down... and I finally found someone willing to cut that wood (others had told me I'd have to order custom herringbone wood) and lay it in the chevron pattern in one room. I'm not gonna lie, he's probably never done anything like that and seemed a little thrown but then said he was up for it and within our budget! So I'm thrilled beyond belief and we're starting this TUESDAY! But suddenly I'm panicking. Am I crazy? Are a million things going to go wrong and he just doesn't know it? It just hit me that by cutting it at that 30 degree angle, we'll be cutting off the tongue and groove on the end, which will leave us with several whole long seams down the room that aren't actually connected in that way. And we're gluing these down. Is that crazy? What's the worst that happens? Do you think we'll have things popping up? Or just slight gapping that adds to the character? :) (I'm telling myself it's the latter.) Do you think I should give up chevron and do a herringbone pattern so at least some of the pieces could still have that tongue and grove at the ends?

He seems to think our 1522 square foot project (306 of which is the chevron room) should just take about 6 days after demo with four guys. He thought he'd just keep one guy working on the chevron room the whole time. Do you think that sounds possible? That they could really get it done in six days?

I'm sure your so busy. I'm just crossing my fingers you have a dull moment at your computer. You can respond in like ten words with no niceties for convenience and I'll still adore you! :) Love your floors... AND the color and finish... and think everything you touch turns to gold. Thanks!
lillie_biesinger@yahoo.com

Lillie said...

Hi Jenny! So I've been dying over your chevron floors since I saw them. And have been searching for a way to make it happen in our home since. We're in the Palm Springs area... obviously concrete subfloors as well etc.... I learned so much from your posts! But I have a few more questions I'm desperately hoping you can help me with!

We settled for an engineered wood since doing the subfloor wasn't in the budget. So it's glue down... and I finally found someone willing to cut that wood (others had told me I'd have to order custom herringbone wood) and lay it in the chevron pattern in one room. I'm not gonna lie, he's probably never done anything like that and seemed a little thrown but then said he was up for it and within our budget! So I'm thrilled beyond belief and we're starting this TUESDAY! But suddenly I'm panicking. Am I crazy? Are a million things going to go wrong and he just doesn't know it? It just hit me that by cutting it at that 30 degree angle, we'll be cutting off the tongue and groove on the end, which will leave us with several whole long seams down the room that aren't actually connected in that way. And we're gluing these down. Is that crazy? What's the worst that happens? Do you think we'll have things popping up? Or just slight gapping that adds to the character? :) (I'm telling myself it's the latter.) Do you think I should give up chevron and do a herringbone pattern so at least some of the pieces could still have that tongue and grove at the ends?

He seems to think our 1522 square foot project (306 of which is the chevron room) should just take about 6 days after demo with four guys. He thought he'd just keep one guy working on the chevron room the whole time. Do you think that sounds possible? That they could really get it done in six days?

I'm sure your so busy. I'm just crossing my fingers you have a dull moment at your computer. You can respond in like ten words with no niceties for convenience and I'll still adore you! :) Love your floors... AND the color and finish... and think everything you touch turns to gold. Thanks!
lillie_biesinger@yahoo.com

Lillie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexa said...

This is such a great post for me. We're in the process of looking for a home. It's tough out there. But this post is super inspiring. Thank you for sharing it Jenny!

Jenny at LGN said...

Hi Lillie!

If I were you, I would just do the herringbone pattern, It is so tricky to get the angles right - there ends up being a lot of waste. And I can't image trying to get these planks securely installed without using a nail gun. I think you'd have lots of pieces popping up with just the glue and without the tongue and groove.

I hope that helps a little! I think the herringbone will be beautiful and will look great!

xo

sarahsdaybook said...

Hi Jenny! I LOVE this post. Your front door gives me shivers. :)

I was wondering if you could have s home tour page? I'm sure that tons of people, like me, would love that!

Sarah

www.sarahsdaybook.wordpress.com

Lily L-M said...

You are SUCH an inspiration, and you can't for a moment be down on yourself -- you've done so much with this house so quickly!! and I think it's brilliant to treat it like your forever house. Good for the readers anyways :)

http://whilemyboyfriendsaway.blogspot.com/

Kelly M said...

I think this should be your forever home. :)

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