Tuesday, January 9, 2018

North Church Takeover

I remember the day that we looked at our little house on Fourth Avenue. It was a HUD foreclosure. It stunk. Literally everything was disgusting. Pretty sure my mom shed a few tears when she came into it the first time before we did any renovations. I will admit, it was a total disgust-fest. But, I saw the diamond underneath. This was not the first, third or even fifth house we had bought, but it would definitely be the biggest renovation to date. Still, my excitement was overwhelming.

When we were fixing up that house, our dream was to buy as many of the houses on the street as we could and fix them up, too. I could just imagine the neighborhood sprinkled with these cute cottages we had put our touch on. We earnestly tried to get as many houses as we could. We mailed letters. We asked homeowners face to face. Every time a "for rent" sign went up, we would call the owners and ask if they would let us buy it. We really wanted this.

<Although we did end up buying ONE house and renovating it, it was far cry from what we had hoped for.>

Shortly after we finished the Fourth Avenue house, a vacant lot came open on North Church Street, right off the square. We bought it with the dream to build our home. (Our current home, so yay.) One month later, a house went up for rent across the street, which we sweet-talked the owner into letting us buy. (The white house we finished about 16 months ago.)

Wait, this is starting to sound like what I hope its starting to sound like...

A few months later, we got the opportunity to buy the house next door. (Which we are in the thick of renovating now and is our biggest project to date)  Then, just a couple of weeks ago an opportunity came up to buy the house one block down.

Okay, its really happening.

That means, *drumroll* that we are currently on our FOURTH house not only on North Church Street, but within two blocks.

Our little renovated downtown dreamland is finally coming to fruition and its such an exciting time. 

We love North Church. We have been on this street in some capacity for two years now. We know every neighbor. Most of them have our cell phone numbers.  My brother and sister-in-law live on North Church. Two of my old co-workers live on North Church. They bring us goodies. They wave at us when they walk their dogs. It really is the greatest place we have ever lived and helping it improve even more is just such a labor of love.

Without further ado, I am SO excited to show some nasty before pictures of the most recent home we are working on at 900 North Church. 

We are going to replace the windows, paint the brick, new landscaping, new column, shutters, new front door and put some cool hardi siding to replace and update the vinyl.

This is such a large living room for an old home! New windows, redone hardwoods, paint throughout and new lighting is going to really amp this room up.

I am proud to announce that after a long weekend with lots of blood blisters, this kitchen is already gone. It will have all new cabinets, appliances and hardwoods. Luckily, we discovered the original hardwoods under FOUR layers of other flooring. Yay. We really think they can be saved, which is super exciting!

This is a flex space off the back of the house. We will be relocating the back door to go out onto a concrete patio, new flooring, new lighting, new paint, etc.

The bathroom was quite the bear to demo, but Im even prouder to announce that its fully demoed at this point. Yehaw. New tile, vanity, lighting, shower, the works.

Two bedrooms that will both get a face-lift with new lighting, flooring windows, paint, etc.

900 N Church Street is going to be such a cutie. I am super excited about it.  We are shooting to have it done in early April and can guarantee it will be a showstopper. I cant wait to keep you guys updated!

Cheers to an exciting 2018.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Oh hey. It's me, Anna.
I bet you forgot I had a blog, huh?

Remember all those times I promised you progress pictures of the new construction? Remember ?

Maybe I can make it up to you with some "mostly-finished-and-moved-in-pics"? Maybe?

I've been a slacker. I haven't posted in a while. Five months, if we are being technical. But, life has slowed down a tinnnnnny amount, so what better time to update my blog? I contemplated taking and posting these pictures because I do still feel like a lot of things are "in progress",  but there is so much fun in the mess of things, so who gives a rip, right?

Disclaimer Notice: I never claimed to be a photographer or even remotely good at taking pictures. In fact, my skills are a little on the bad side, so gimme a little grace here.

Whether you love it or hate it, this house truly has been such an investment of our time and hearts. We literally drew these plans(unofficially), researched every detail to be historically accurate and fit into the neighborhood, researched the best window size, bracket size, materials and every detail down to the bulbs in the undermounted lighting.  

Without further ado, here is our downtown, labor of love. 
In honor of ABC's Bachelorette season, I watered down the sidewalks and lawn so it would look all fresh and slimey for ya. Not really, I had just watered the sod.
A couple of things we did differently: The railing: Per historic standards, most modern day railings are just too high. They cover the windows too much, the enclose the porch too much, etc. The look we were going for was impossible to find. Literally. So, David made it! Im really happy with it because from the inside of the house, looking out the window, its alot less intrusive then taller railing.
Another thing we did was the rainchains. City codes requires gutters where you see those rain chains, but just think of how awkward big and bulky gutters would look floating in those spots. So we did the copper rain chains. They are alot of fun and work great!

Mom came in clutch on these ferns. Can I get some praise hands?

Living room, looking into the kitchen and dining room.  We chose a matte-like finish on the floors, which I felt like it was kinda weird at first. In fact, the first couple of weeks I didn't like them. BUT, now I love them because they look cleaner than the shiny ones and they dont collect Abe's cat hair. <It's the little things>

This picture is oddly lit, but you can see the detail of the beams and mantle. And lets not forget the airplane fan.  Now, some people have asked "Why didnt you stain the beams?" And my answer is this: "Back up off me." Jk. But really, I felt like the white beams were going to be more of a timeless look. Ive also gotten the question of why we went with the clean, polished ship lap instead of the standard, rough looking kind <which I love>? And again, I just felt like this material gave the same look, but with a more timeless feel. 

We really took "the kitchen is the heart of the home" seriously. I love this kitchen. I barely cook and i love this kitchen.  The dark island is my jam. And we sit at that thing more than anywhere else. Although they are currently empty, the upper cabinets that go to the ceiling are just a no- brainer in every house we do from here on out forever and ever, Amen. The marble is so clean feeling and doesn't stain like alot of people warned.  Overall, wouldnt change a thing in this bad boy.

This little nook has become one of my favorite spots. The bench opens up so you can pile it full of junk and contains AN ELECTRICAL OUTLET so you can charge your mini-Dyson. Genius, right?! <Pocket door going into the laundry is my fave. In fact, if I could go back, I would have put in AT LEAST two more pocket doors in this house.>

I love working from home, so getting a good office setup was important to me.  The window you see (you know, the one making the lighting in this picture super awkward) looks right out onto the street, which I love! 

Another shot of the office. I really struggled to find a mixed metal/wood shelving unit that was of good quality that went well with my style. My Dad and Stepmom got an extra set of hardware from one they bought and gave it to us, so David built this bad boy using the stain from our hardwoods so it would match. Again, the lighting here is just so awkward in a picture, so take my work for it. MMk?

Half bathroom off the front hallway. We chose the dark cabinets in this bathroom so the vanity would look more like a piece of furniture. You can't see it in the picture, but the cabinet has furniture legs to contribute to that look.

Guest bedroom. I never decorate with pinks, but a couple of my friends encouraged me to do this room a little different than I normally would and I just love the way it turned out. Again, the large window makes for an awkward lighting situation, but in real life, its fab.

Guest bathroom off the main hallway. I didnt capture the toilet/shower situation very well, but you get the jest of it. I contemplated putting the marble countertops on the white cabinets, but I really love it anyways!

Considering in our old house I could VERY EASILY run into a wall when going to the bathroom at night, this bedroom is my dream. I have room for so many activities! 

Master Bathroom. This tile is a 1920s craftsman reproduction. I selected the charcoal grout in hopes that it wouldnt show much dirt and would look nicer for longer. So far, Im happy with that decision. 
One thing to keep in mind when laying a patterned tile such as this, is to be sure your tile guys are skilled. These lines have to be perfectly straight or it all looks janky.

Two words: Soaker tub. I cant even. Guys, I am such a bath lover. I knew when we started planning this house that it had to have a soaker tub, but I had no idea the level of fabulousness it would bring to my life. My BFF introduced me to BATH BOMBS and the combination of the two is just unreal. 
<Can you see Abe's little tail on the shower mat?>

Literally could not get Abe out of the picture. He just kept finding his way in. Anyways, this is the master bathroom shower. Four shower heads-- two regular and two rain heads. I kind of thought, "is this excessive?" The answer is NO. Capital letters and all. Turn all four of those bad boys on and have the best steam shower.  We selected a matte black penny tile for the shower floor with a large infinity drain. The infinity drain makes all the difference when you have 2 or more shower heads going. It just wouldnt drain properly otherwise, so I highly suggest that. You cant see them in this picture but the shower has three frameless glass shelves inside, which I also highly recommend. The frameless design prevents mold or mildew that you would normally get on tile shelves.

 Abe. Just look at him.

Today marks one month in this house.  Everyone asks if this is a "forever home" and the answer is absolutely not. As much as I love it right now, we just move way too much for that right now. <That makes some people so sad and dissapointed for some reason.> This house is even more downtown than the last, which is probably my favorite. We can walk to the square, restaurants, farmers market, etc. Im a quarter mile from work. I can hop on Medical Center Parkway and be on the 24 in no time. The location is my absolute favorite part.

So, thats it, folks. The mostly-moved-in-work-in-progress pictures!

Stay tuned for more pictures in another five months! Just kidding. Its going to be better from now on. I promise. <wink, wink>

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Where The Road Takes Us.

It's funny what interests you that you don't even think will interest you. I have always been a lover of old house renovations. About 2 years ago, David and I bought a lot in Downtown Murfreesboro because it was a great deal and we thought that maybe someday we could resell it for a profit or build a house on it. Honestly, I really always thought that our "product" to the world was to renovate OLD homes, not building new ones. It's just not really my thing. I like the character of old homes. The older and weirder, the better. I like to walk into the space and feel it and make the changes in my mind, which is why renovation has always been a passion.

David, however, really wanted to build on this lot. We found/modified/drew house plans for a new construction home that would fit in with the historic neighborhood- a craftsman bungalow with lots of charm and detail. As fun as it sounded on paper, I just wasn't super excited about it- even though this was going to be a house that we potentially lived in, for a while at least. Because this is the industry we are in and we move alot, it is easy to kind of go with something even if its not your 100%-most-exciting-thing-ever kind of idea. Plus, David was excited about it, so there's always that.

We started construction in August as we were finishing up a renovation across the street. Starting was kinda fun, but not that fun. Pouring a footing, putting up block, kinda cool I guess. Then we started framing and that was fun because you could kind of see the actual rooms, but still I was just kinda "whatev". Thennnnnnn the magic happens. We started really designing the inside, picking the finishes, tile, trim, beams and the real design and function of it. THAT is when I really made the shift. My "new construction is not really my thing" quickly shifted to "new construction is definitely my thing." However,  that should be clarified: The exciting part of new construction to me is picking the plans, flow and finishes that really make it stand and make it unique. I don't want to build a standard house in a standard  subdivision with no character. I wanna build this funky house with borderline odd decisions that when it all comes together you're like....O...M....G.

 This picture was taken at night, so its obviously weird. This is a rough look of the outside of the house.  We are still lacking columns, steps, paint, you know... all the fun stuff.
 This is a picture of the main living area looking in to the kitchen area.  It's going to have some funky white beams going in the living area and a shiplap fireplace that goes up to the ceiling. #joannagaines
 This is a look from the kitchen area into the living area. Having an open main living area was really important because I wanted it to create an area of community. Having everyone in one main area really does that.

Here are two pictures of the master shower because it's probably my favorite part of the house. The funky black and white tile on the floor was a stretch, but its something that I think will really pop and make the house funky. The shower itself we designed ourselves- it will have four showerheads (including two rain heads) with no lip walking into the actual shower.  You will just step right in. There will be glass above the file half walls to shield any water from coming out.

This is the laundry room tile- I am so exited about this hex pattern. I just thought it was a great timeless color and design but with a little spunk.

We are both really enjoying this process and it's alot of fun to see David's creative juices flowing and coming alive in ways that I never saw before. I'm definitely seeing a different side to each of us throughout this process. We have truly designed every aspect of this house ourselves with a lot of research and heart. Whether it looks amazing or looks like crap, it's all "us". We joke all the time about how once we are finished we may just be like ......"oh gosh, what have we done, this looks terrible"- simply because we haven't really "seen" some of these things before, but we are putting them together in this house. Hopefully it will come together and be everything we pictures.

Either way, this new passion is an exciting one. It just goes to show that you truly have to be open to things in life that you may not have ever thought you would care about. Will we ever renovate old houses again? Yes, of course we will. In fact, we are looking at one right now. Will be build again? Absolutely and we hope to do another weirdo fun new construction this year. At this point, we are just gonna see where the road takes us. It's a fun road, full of potholes , flowers and detours. But its the only road I wanna be on.