Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year, New House!

Mike and I have been living in Bend, on and off while traveling, for 8 months now, and we know that this will be our home for the forseeable future. So, we bought a house! It is a great way to set the tone for this year, since it's a fixer upper.

Houses are much, much less expensive here in Bend than they are in Los Angeles. You can buy a home - like an actual house, with a yard - within the city limits for somewhere between $150K-$300K on the low end. It's close to the downtown area and there's lots of couples like us, families with dogs, and tons of Subarus. It was also the smallest home we could find; there seems to be a trend of huge homes here, like 2000 square feet and up! We wanted one the same size as our loft in Los Angeles - 900 square feet or less. We had to settle on this one, at 1200 square feet. 

Mike about to walk in to our new home!

I like small homes for the intimacy, and the fact that it keeps us from accumulating a bunch of junk. Also, they're more environmentally friendly because they take less to heat/cool and less to maintain. 

My favorite part about this house is that it has a yard and an apple tree! It's pretty gross right now because the former occupants used the yard as a dog run. But we'll get it cleaned up this spring/summer and post some pics. I can't wait to grow our own food.

The house was a rental for 20+ years and as you can imagine, it is used and abused. And it smells like dog pee. The first day after escrow closed, we went and bought floor sealant - we're ripping out all the wall-to-wall carpet and shellac-ing the floors, then putting in dark wood.

Mike standing in the stinky living room.

It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, so plenty of room for our guests and family. And like all homes I've lived in my whole life, it has vaulted ceilings, which I just love.

The house was built in the early 90s and I'm pretty sure not a thing has been changed since then. In fact, during escrow, the furnace finally died and the seller had to replace it. Lucky break for us!

The totally 90s kitchen with the original appliances.

Since I love to cook, I'll be installing a gas stove in the kitchen, among other things. And we'll be redoing the whole kitchen ourselves. I'll be sure to post about our successes and failures/learning experiences along the way, of which I imagine there will be many...I've never done a single remodel or construction project in my life, other than painting a wall. Thankfully, there's always Mike and Google.

Getting down and dirty, pulling off the baseboards.

The very first night, we were so excited, we started pulling off all the baseboards. I'm obsessed with getting rid of the floors (and the smell) ASAP. Luckily, we don't have to live here while we're renovating, assuming we can get it done in the next 7 weeks...HA.

One of my first projects today was to get rid of the disgusting texture on the walls. Seriously, who takes a perfectly good wall and then ruins it with texture?! It boggles my mind. 

This is known as "splatter knockdown," and it is horrid.

So you have 3 choices with textured walls -  remove the wall and get new drywall, live with it, or go through the awful, time consuming and labor intensive process of covering it up. We're going with option #3, after hours of watching YouTube videos like this and this.

Those videos weren't kidding because the process sucks. You're basically filling in the dents with plaster. This is the wall after 1 coat of joint compound. 2-3 more coats to go, then sanding...

Honestly, this is much improved. I have hopes for the next 2 coats!

There are lots of things that Mike and I do together, that could be considered really good relationship training. Obviously, there's travel and road trips, which will for sure test your communication and patience. And then there's remodeling. It's a whole other beast. We're learning that it's best if he works on one job, and I work on another. Then you can encourage each other and compliment a job well done...allowing each individual to get that job done however they want (and without supervising). In other words, just let a person do the damn thing. It's all the same at the end. That's my relationship advice, anyway.

So while I was finessing the textured walls, Mike was making a bunch of noise, blasting his music, and using his tools in the most manly way possible. Before and after shots of our master bath:

Removed the dated vanity, toilet, and all the fixtures.

We're completely gutting the bathroom. Yes, this is a very ambitious undertaking for two people with very little renovation experience. What can I say, we love learning new things!

Mike knocked down the wall in the bathroom to reclaim this weird, underused back space in the utility closet. That new space will be a larger, rectangular walk-in shower that extends to the vanity. The former shower space will be the toilet alcove.

got a little shot of his hair in the "after" photo, whoops!

Not a bad day's work! Now we just need to find a plumber...