Come on in, and welcome to our new home!
I’m super excited about this post because I’ve long dreamed of owning a home with an open floor plan and updated fixtures, let alone a big yard and deck! And it wasn’t 6 months ago that I thought this dream was far out of my reach.
We were in the throughs of pregnancy and bracing for baby #2 to be squeezed into our two-bedroom condo. We’d tried (and failed) at renting a home in Springfield, which was a real disappointment at the time. We’d even listed our condo on Zillow and started interviews tenants with the thought we should rent it to move; all while longing so deeply to get into something bigger for our growing family!
THEN! Suddenly, the ball started rolling and guys, it didn’t stop! Some friends referred a realtor and we setup a meeting. They asked if we wanted to sell before we had the baby, and looking at each-other (me, pregnant AF at the time), we shrugged and thought, “yeah, if that’s possible!” (Thinking in our minds it was impossible!)
Nevertheless, we pressed on, full steam ahead, at almost 37 weeks pregnant: packing up and decluttering; moving items into storage and cleaning like we’d never cleared before. We set a date to list our place (we did a coming soon posting to build anticipation) and made plans for an open house. We went for it, and spent all our waking hours otherwise looking for where we’d go!
I’ll be totally honest here and tell you that RIGHT BEFORE we listed the condo for sale we talked about pulling the plug on the whole thing. We hated every house we’d looked at, which was making our tiny condo and staying put seem more appealing! We finally decided to stop looking and focus on listing our place first (First things first), and boom — would you believe we got a contact within FOUR FREAKIN DAYS!? It was crazy! Other units in our neighborhood had sat on the market for months.
Well, what do you do when you get an offer? Go find where you’re moving to! It felt like just as soon as we tried to step away from house hunting we got pulled back into it. We’d been going every weekend – huffing it to Springfield, Alexandria, even Stafford to find the right home for us. As I said, nothing we saw enticed us – all the homes were box-y and small; too small for our son, who would likely be moving about the house in a power wheelchair at some point. They were so far out of our price range, too. Even the fixer-uppers with caved in walls and floors were too expensive for us. We were losing hope! BUT THEN.
On a late Friday afternoon, I met Aaron at a fixer-upper in Arlington. It was a beautiful historic home but it was way out of our price range (at listing price) and BOY, did it need work! I could see Aaron’s vision, but at 38 weeks pregnant I was over this idea of DIY job. I whipped out my phone and checked my favorites on Zillow. This home had just dropped in price and seeing the updated, open layout, it grabbed my attention.
We texted our realtor on a whim to see if she’d meet us there (this was past 4 on the Friday before Easter) and bless her heart, she was available! When we pulled up I said something to the effect of “well, the outside is ugly,” LOL. But when we walked in, literally all of us said, “WOW.” And the rest, ya’ll is history.
The kitchen has so much more counter space and a million more cabinets than we had before. We also have a huge pantry (you can step into) on the left backside of this photo which is LIFE, ya’ll. I freggin’ love the pantry!
And yes, our microwave is *in* the wall.
It’s kind of wacky but kind of awesome at the same time!
We made some compromises on this house: primarily, on the bedrooms — it’s still just two! But we loved the fact that both bedrooms were on the main level. We also saw an opportunity to build an additional bedroom in an unfinished portion of the basement. And, there’s room to add onto the property later on if we decide to build out (or like many of our neighbors, build up)!
The front of house doesn’t have much curb appeal but we love the neighborhood and the backyard makes up for it in its size and privacy! We also loooooooove the barn in the back. True story: we walked into the barn and both of us immediately lifted are arms up (mimicking the motion of a push press) and got GIDDY realizing, high ceilings; THIS IS IT! This is our dream home gym! More to come on that soon.
What we gained with this house was tremendous: an open concept that faciliatates eating together at the dining room table a lot more often. A yard, as a said, for personalized play areas for JR: we’re putting up a swing set and we have a garden back there. We also felt like the renovations were a major win- we don’t have to do a signle thing to the main living area; it’s done. It’s beautiful. Volia! Perfect for a mom of two, who doesn’t have time or bandwidth for a full-on reno. BUT, the basement on the other hand, has been the perfect-size DIY for us (probably a little MORE than we were prepared for [definitely glad we didn’t go with that historic home – I can’t imagine] but just the right size challenge! Aaron’s been working on this by removing all the paneling, dry walling, wiring lights and cable, and installing recessed lighting. We plan to paint and add new flooring. It’s been a fun (and interesting/humbling) experience thus far. I know in the end, we’ll be beaming with pride AND, how exciting that 6 months or so after moving into this home [the first level], we’ll get to “move in” to a whole other part of it [the basement].
There’s some other small projects we want to do: we plan to install a ramp for JR. We plan to likely tear down the water feature. We want to replace the tile around the upstairs fireplace, and maybe build a pergola over the deck, or make it a screened in deck!
Water Feature / Living Room
Yes, I wrote water feature. We have a massive water fall in our living room! We’ve actually never turned it on, which is weird… we need to try it! But the whole thing is pretty comical. I have no idea what persuaded the previous owners to install such a thing, but they did. It’s very eye-catching when you walk in the front door because you see straight through the kitchen to it, but in my opinion, it takes up a ton of room in the living room, and it’s not very safe for the kids to be around. So! Perhaps one day we’ll demolish it. I’m not sure. For now, this is bottom of the totem pole, we don’t hate it yet. 🙂
I’m pretty stoked and can’t wait to share some house projects! Stay tuned!