Welcome to Melrose

The last time I wrote about the house I was announcing that we were homeowners. My intention was to post a front photo after closing and that didn’t happen. Today I have several photos of the front as we have made several changes since July 2012. Follow the progression through the pictures below!

Homewood, AL cottage

Here is the front in July 2012. Originally built in 1941, this is one of Homewood’s idyllic cottages. People don’t believe me when they ask for our address – it’s Melrose Place – yes, like the tv show.

Homewood, AL cottage

A closer look at the entry way from July 2012.

We knew immediately that we wanted to replace the screen door. As you can see above, the hardware was visible and the door hung at a diagonal. After living in the house for a short time we also figured out that the evergreen tree to the right grew like crazy! We were constantly trimming it and it blocked the view of half of the porch.

Homewood, AL cottage

In October we decided to cut the crazy evergreen down. When we did we found the exterior light and a mount for a flagpole. Since it was October I bought some mums and decorated the inside of the porch to get ready for trick-or-treaters.

Homewood, AL cottage

In December we decorated for Christmas by hanging globes inside the screened porch and draping lights over the two bushes which frame the walkway. I wanted to outline the roofline – a la Texas – but apparently Texas is the only place that really does that.

I love how Texas homes outline the roofline at Christmas. This is the classiest example I could find on Google Images.

I love how Texas homes outline the roofline at Christmas. This is the classiest example I could find on Google Images.

We found a carpenter who makes custom screen doors and window boxes in early December. I had planned to add window boxes since the day we bought the house and they were one of the best Christmas presents we could have received! This picture shows them empty because by the time we hung them it was too late to buy pansies and too early to plant anything else. You can also see the new screen door which hangs straight and is even with the lines of the porch. The hardware is now installed correctly (on the inside) and we added numbers in the cross bar.

Homewood, AL cottage

One of our best Christmas presents? Window boxes!

Now we have the window boxes planted and our azaleas bloomed for the first time. Spring is absolutely beautiful on our street!

Homewood, AL cottage

At the end of a full day working in the yard, I apparently couldn’t move the blower or my garden bucket for the picture. In fact, I could barely move my body…

That brings everyone up to speed on the front exterior! My lofty blogging goals include an update on each room and the backyard. W and I take so much pride on the front exterior because the other houses on the street care for theirs as well. I imagine the Rascal Flatts song “Mayberry” applies to Melrose Place in Homewood 🙂

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An Update and Big Plans

W and I are proud to announce that we are almost homeowners! Everything will be official soon, but until then I should probably explain how we have arrived at this point.

During the month of June, I traveled home to Texas for a family beach trip and some time in my hometown. The first week of my trip was on Mustang Island, which is outside of Corpus Christi, and is home to a small town named Port Aransas. Our week at the beach consisted of rest, relaxation, amazing food, and a surprise baby shower for my sister Elizabeth (I’m going to be an aunt!).

W stayed in Birmingham working and taking care of the pups. We had been working on preparations to look for and buy a house before I left and sure enough all of the puzzle pieces fell into place right as my vacation began. W spent a few evenings with our realtor looking at houses in Homewood and wasn’t very impressed. Come mid-week we received a new listing email from our realtor that featured a cottage in Homewood’s Edgewood neighborhood. The pictures were impressive so W and the realtor arrange a showing appointment as soon as possible. After the showing I received a call from our realtor who explained that W was ready to buy a house without me. (She wanted to play devil’s advocate since I hadn’t been there in person.)

I assured W that surely it could wait a few days – he just needed to cool his jets. However, let me say that two weekends prior every.single.house we had an interest in went under contract. The Homewood area is still so desirable that its real estate market is fast-paced. Great homes move quickly. After showing my entire family the listing photos and virtual tour at the beach, everyone took W’s side and agreed that this house will not last through the weekend.

W and I agree that he can put an offer on a house I haven’t even seen as long as it is contingent on the inspection. My family beach trip wraps up and we head to my hometown so I can have more time with sisters and my parents. During these few days, W keeps me updated on negotiations and schedules the inspection for the day after I fly back to Birmingham. After flight delays and a piece of luggage lost, I arrive home at midnight and I’m due to be at the house bright and early the next morning.

Inspection day is super hot. I arrive at the house with my own camera, iPhone, notepad, pen and a 25 ft tape measure. I was so nervous because what if I absolutely hated it?! Who lets their husband buy a house?! I was also excited because I thought it had potential from the photos and virtual tour.

You enter this cute Homewood cottage through a screen door that leads to a screened porch.

Homewood, AL screened porch

Not a bad start. I take measurements of the room and hope that I like everything else as much as the porch. Once I recorded my measurements, I entered into the living room.

Homewood, AL living room with hardwood floors

Can you even believe the hardwood floors? Again I was really happy with what I had seen so far!

I walked through every room, one-by-one, taking measurements and recording them for my future reference. Heck if this was the house I was going to have a lot of planning to do!

Needless to say every room had its perks and I understood why W had to act without me. 🙂 The inspector was very thorough and helpful. He gave us a few things to consider/negotiate and we decided that we would negotiate since we loved the house. I should explain at this point that I have a history working in real estate and I am licensed in Georgia. Our thoughts at this point were: Should we negotiate on the sale price? Negotiate on closing costs? Or negotiate that the sellers’ must fix it or we walk?

The answer to that question depends on your personal situation. We decided that if the sellers’ could cover closing costs, then we could use our funds to make the appropriate repairs.

After more successful negotiations, we were under contract! Since that day I have been making big plans for every room on Pinterest. You can follow me here or follow our house board here. Once the closing is complete, I will show everyone the facade. I can’t wait!

The Latest: We Are Still Alive and Well

I started this blog with the intention of recording memories of our first year of wedded bliss. Even though I had the best of intentions that hasn’t happened. Heck I can’t even stick to once-a-month updates. Every time I sit down to update there are just so many things to note. Thinking back on everything that has happened since my New Year’s post is overwhelming and just isn’t going to happen.

Instead I am going to include the most major changes since mid-January:

1. At the end of January, we had an addition to the family. W finally decided it was time to get his man dog. Hence this precious face:

Shug, our new addition

Shug, our new addition

2. February is a complete blur – probably because we were consumed with raising a rambunctious puppy. We managed to save many shoes but ended up with a lot of ruined socks. Sophie hated us for this entire month because of the daily attacks. However, one afternoon in a state of sheer exhaustion this happened:

spooning puppies

Sophie & Shug - quality time spooning

3. March. March was busy and brought drastic change to our lives. W spent the beginning of the month considering some career options and decided it was time to look for something new. Mid-March he lined up some interviews in the big city (Atlanta) and a slightly smaller but bustling city (Birmingham, AL). Our time in the Palmetto state was complete. He accepted an offer in Birmingham so we started to pack and arrange an interstate move – all while we were still training the puppy.

Packing & Preparing for a Move

I labeled boxes on our patio in order to avoid a high from this Sharpie magnum. I love any and all Sharpies - Fine Point, Regular, Sharpie pens, and this giant.

4. Last week during the first week of April the move was made and now we are settling in. We are excited to be back in Alabama, home of our Auburn Tigers. The pups both enjoy our new apartment and the sprawling lawns between the buildings. W starts work on Monday and I am happy I can continue working from home.

Hopefully we will have exciting updates to share as we explore this new city!

A New Post… About our New Year Celebration

Naturally this is a catch up post on our married life, as maintaining my personal blog is difficult after a long day of blogging elsewhere…

Anywho, W and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first 10 days of the new year. We began with a new years eve celebration at home. This may sound boring but we had a fun filled evening preparing a feast and consuming a bottle of wine and champagne. 🙂 Our menu consisted of the following recipes:

Both Barefoot Contessa recipes were perfection. I actually compared Paula’s red velvet recipe with that of my Nana’s and made a few adjustments accordingly. I was so confident that I didn’t need a whoopie pie pan according to Paula’s instructions. Well that was false – her instructions did not work out, as the batter would spread so thin and combine to make a large pancake-like creation. I did cut that large pancake into circles in order to make whoopie pies, but I also saved enough cake batter to make a small round cake. Maybe next time I might pour a small amount of batter into a cupcake pan so that the teaspoons cannot spread….

While we prepared this feast, we had the Auburn bowl game on. We were happy with the outcome, although we didn’t feel very confident until the second half. I should also mention that this day I was a crazy person. I told Andy I wanted to start the new year with a clean house, but I did not mean a little vaccuming and tidying would do. No. I meant that every surface needed to be cleared, pledged, and put back together. I also meant that every fan needed dusting, baseboards needed a wipe down, and so did the chair rail that runs through our entire apartment…

Needless to say by January 1, I had nearly killed both of us and we could barely move. We decided to watch Mad Men on the Roku all. day. long. We have never caught the Mad Men fever but that changed after watching 2.5 seasons back-to-back. Now that is our nightly show so that we can finish season four before season five begins this spring.

Since I didn’t take any photos of our feast, I leave you with a picture of baby Sophie in her holiday pajamas.

Holiday Pajamas

So sleepy!

Christmas Time is Here…

I mentioned in my previous post that W and I were in Vegas and once we returned to Columbia we had company visiting the following weekend. Well in these few days, I was bound and determined to clean the house, put up all the Christmas decorations, and catch up on some work that I should have finished before Vegas. Somehow I did it!

I started by setting out the nativity. I found this nativity last year at Miss Cayce’s Christmas Store after-Christmas sale in my hometown. Miss Cayce’s is the best Christmas store ever in existence! While I was putting this out, I listened to my most favorite Christmas song, “Baby Born to Die” by Bebo Norman. Do yourself a favor and watch this video to hear the song and read the lyrics alongside.

Christmas Decorations NativityNativity by Mark Roberts

After the nativity was in place, I decided to work on our mantle. Our apartment is so small that I didn’t want to worry about clearing off the mantle and then find a place to put everything away, so I decided to keep everything on display and hang our stockings in front. The stocking holders are from an after-Christmas sale at Target last year. The cute little wreaths have a Barboglio look to them so I bought 4 of them at 70% off.

I actually made the felt stockings years ago when I lived in Atlanta. First, I bought the already made felt stockings at Target for $0.99 each. Next I went to Hancock fabrics and bought felt sheets, ric-rac trim, and Fabritac fabric glue. This was a easy no-sew project! I cut the strips and circles out with fabric scissors and simply glued them to the stockings. I made a tree skirt as well. The red felt for the tree skirt was cut from a bolt, but the remaining felt I bought in the sheets.

Christmas Decorations Stockings and Stocking HoldersHomemade felt stockings hung with care
Christmas Decorations Homemade Felt Stockings and Tree SkirtHomemade Felt Stockings and Felt Tree Skirt

Finally I decided to put up the tree and hang the ornaments. I actually waited for W to come home from work so we could hang ornaments together. He told me he “didn’t know where to hang them” and he thought I should do them all by myself. The next day I did so while he was at work again. Our tree is a 4 ft. fake from Target that sits on a Lack side table from Ikea. I have had this tree and table setup for several years but it’s perfect for an apartment. By the way, we will always have fake trees and garlands, as I am allergic to the real thing. Anything real sends me into horrible asthma attacks, so no hating on the artificial here!

Christmas Decorations Christmas TreeOur Christmas Tree

Lastly, I hung our Christmas wreath on the front door. I bought this wreath years ago at Target (also artificial) and decorated the wreath with ornaments purchased that same year. I bought a plastic Rubbermaid wreath holder so I don’t have to take the ornaments off each year. Let me tell you the Rubbermaid wreath holder is worth the investment! I love taking my wreath out each year and hanging it as is – such a time saver!

Christmas Decorations Wreath

Finally I had finished the decorating! We have been in the Christmas spirit since the end of November, including Sophie…

Sophie sports her Christmas bow complete with gingerbread men!

Also, expect more holiday updates on the blog this week, including a look at our first Christmas card!

P.S. All of these married “firsts” are too much fun!

P.P.S.  As always, I apologize for the iPhone pictures – hopefully you get the idea…

Orange and Blue

You may remember when I mentioned W and I preparing for our Auburn friends visit to Cola, but I did not reveal another piece of my plans and preparations. In addition to our couch makeover, I wanted to have something hanging on the front door to display our team pride. After doing some research on Pinterest, I decided I wanted to make a ribbon wreath. Typically ribbon wreaths aren’t my style, as I think many of them can look messy, confused, or immature, but the picture below did not seem to be any of those things.

I was determined I could craft one very similar, except mine would be orange and navy blue without the F (as we are Gator haters). I began with the following supplies: a straw wreath form, scissors, floral pins, a glue gun, and ribbon cut into 4.5″ strips. Now I should have noticed that I needed many different types of ribbon, all with different yet corresponding patterns. I, however, did not take note of this and came home with only 5 different ribbons. I started creating my wreath by folding the ribbon strips and pinning them to the wreath form. After several days, I realized I either needed more ribbon or another plan.

Determined to be craftastic, I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and A.C. Moore for more types of ribbon. Sadly, I could not find any orange or navy ribbon that was different than what I already had. I considered returning everything that Hobby Lobby would possibly take back, when I thought I would look on Pinterest one more time for a different type of inspiration. I wanted this craft project to work! I found inspiration photo #2 below and decided to go for it. This idea looked easy and fast – which was great news because it was Friday morning and our guests would arrive that evening.

After wrapping the wreath form with navy ribbon and securing the ribbon with hot glue, I decided I would hang it from the door using a bow. This inspired me to use something different as my focal piece. Using the strips of orange ribbon, I looped them and hot glued them to a round piece of cardboard, creating a flower. The center of the flower I created with another piece of cardboard wrapped in the navy polka dot ribbon. After attaching the flower to the wreath with hot glue, the end result was good enough to hang on the door.

AU Ribbon Wreath

Clearly I need more craft projects and practice to reach my goal. Craftastic – here I come.

A Mini-Remodel

While I was home in Texas several weeks ago, my sister Kathleen and I decided to do a mini remodel in my parents’ kitchen. We felt confident after reading so many DIY blogs that we could pull it off. My mom collects iron pieces by Jan Barboglio and many of them are on display in the kitchen, however the cabinet hardware was dated and bronze. We knew the solution was ORB (oil rubbed bronze) spray paint for a coherent look.

Kathleen and I removed every piece of hardware and performed the following steps.

1. We sanded every single pull with high grit sandpaper.

High Grit Sandpaper

2. We then cleaned all of the sanded pulls with liquid deglosser. The fumes from this product are horrendous so definitely do this in a well-ventilated space (i.e. outside).

Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

3. After our deglosser had at least an hour to dry, we began spray painting the pulls. We stuck the screws through a cardboard box in order for them to “stand” so that we could spray from every angle. Thin, even coats are key here. Kathleen and I ended up doing two coats from each different angle.

Cabinet Pulls Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

Family Room Pulls Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

Once we had allowed the spray paint to dry for 24 hours, we started installing all of the pulls back onto the appropriate cabinet or drawer. We finally thought we had a job well done, but when we sat down to relax in the adjacent family room we noticed more bronze pulls. These were massive, ornate, and original to the house (meaning extremely dated and are actually those pictured above). We were back to work immediately, following the same steps. The next day Kathleen and I were set to leave early so I did not get a final picture of the pulls reinstalled. Instead I leave you with a picture of Buster, my parents’ new found mutt, who at times looks homeless but can also be very snuggly.

Weekend Wanderings

Since this blog is intended to document our life as newlyweds, I plan on using Mondays to post about our weekend happenings. I know that some weekends will be more interesting than others, but I figure it is the best way to keep a record of what the heck W and I are up to.

This weekend we returned to the big city. We stayed with W’s family, ate at some of our favorite spots, and celebrated the wedding of a close family friend. W and I realized that there are indeed things we miss about the city, but at the same time we really are happy and thankful to live where we are now (the Palmetto state). We had some of the good food that we both enjoy and miss, which included stops at Goldberg’s on West Paces and Houston’s. Deliciousness. We also took a quick trip to IKEA to get some white Ribba frames. I have plans for them in the dressing room that I’m hoping I can reveal later this week!

I have to say that so many things at the wedding triggered our favorite memories. After all, our wedding was only two months ago so the memories are fresh. Certain songs that the band played, the taste of champagne, and a beautiful cake that was strikingly similar to mine spurred conversations between W and I. All I can say now is a big thank you to both of our parents because our wedding weekend was absolutely perfect! I knew this already but it was reconfirmed this weekend so THANK YOU!!!

Also W brought these home on Thursday last week for our two month anniversary. They make me happy 🙂 And yes I know the iPhone quality isn’t ideal

Small Space Solution

As newlyweds in a new city and state, we are also renters finding our bearings and learning what we love and don’t love about this new place. Our apartment is in a location that we decided we LOVE. When we decide to buy, we definitely want to stay where we are. We also love our apartment because it is old and has a ton of charm including high ceilings, giant moldings, and architectural details galore.

If only this charm could make up for the interesting floor plan. Our living room is large and open to our dining room which isn’t so much. Our bedroom is nicely sized, but the second bedroom… I’m not even sure a daybed would fit!  Due to the lack of closets, we are actually using the second bedroom as my dressing room – i.e. a rolling rack, dresser, and small couch occupy this space.

The cherry on top is our kitchen, or lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, our kitchen will work for now. We are accomplishing our goal of cooking most meals at home. I have described our small kitchen to many people, but no one really believes me until they see it. Pocket doors lead to our small cube, which is only nice when we want to pretend it doesn’t exist. Here is a picture that my mom took while visiting and helping with the unpacking and organizing process (hence the mess surrounding me). While my parents were here we devised a solution for this small space.

The solution? A pot rack but we needed to find one that wouldn’t hang too far from the ceiling. We have 10′ ceilings but W and I didn’t want to be dodging pots and pans as we would walk through the small space. Luckily there was a bit of unused ceiling right inside the doorway and we found a pot rack intended for low ceilings, the Enclume Low Ceiling Bar pot rack. Now all of our pots and pans hang above our heads, leaving more cabinets to be filled with other kitchen tools and enough space for both of us to fit in here at once.  I will continue to share any other handy products that change the way we live!

Left Side of the Kitchen
Right Side of Kitchen
Enclume Low Ceiling Bar Pot Rack