Saturday, April 26, 2008

Something besides the house...

While about 95% of our life right now is consumed with the house, we do still have a tiny life outside of house remodeling. :-)

We were sitting on the couch the other night, trying to eat quickly so we could finish a few projects. And we both realized that it's already May. I don't know how the last few months have FLOWN by so quickly, but summer is almost upon us. As we sat there and started to list out all the things we've got going on this summer, we couldn't believe it. We've both been avoiding thinking about it, but we made a list of all the flights we needed to book and were shocked (good thing even though we were avoiding thinking about it, we put a budget in place a long time ago for it all).

Trips we need to make to Southern California:
Jordan's Graduation
Colin's Graduation
Jen's Bridal Shower
Sara and Nate's Wedding
Jen and Brett's Wedding
Allison and Jack's Baby Shower (we're thinking ahead)

Trips I need to make to Vegas:
Sara's Bachelorette Party
Jen's Bachelorette Party

Visitors:
Kathe and Tim are coming to visit from Alabama this summer.

Vacations:
(1) We're going to France and Italy this summer with my family. We decided not to go to Norway and the others because of the economy right now. Instead we're doing 5 days in Paris, 4 in Venice, and 5 in Florence (which saves money in flights...instead we can just take trains and cars).
(2) We also need to plan a trip to Arizona. It's time to visit Grandpa and the family again!!!

Ahh to be 25. Everyone starts having babies and getting married. Perhaps thinking about remodeling the house is less overwhelming. ;-)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Project Number 2: Guest Bedroom Befores

When we arrived at our new house, we were horrified to find that the previous owners had seemingly lost their minds when they picked out the colors in what was originally "Jack's Room" (how do we know it was Jack's room? It said it on the wall). The wall that had the window was red with jean curtains, the wall to the right when you walked in was half navy/half sky blue, and the wall to the left was brown. The carpet was also horribly disgusting (with dog poop, stains, and sooo much more). We had our hands full between painting, ripping out carpet, and ripping off the wainscotting. Here are the before pictures:
Below: The Window Wall (red) and jean curtains
Below: The Half Navy/Half Sky Blue walls
Below: My lovely husband ripping out the carpet so we could paint!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Project Number 2: Guest Bedroom Afters

Now, it's a lot better. Goodbye Ugly Paint! We chose a very light blue for the walls. We're going to change the curtains, but we needed something on the wall in the meantime.

Below: Goodbye old carpet and hello new, soft, clean, yummy smelling brown carpet.
Below: we debated about the wainscotting. Mr. Howard tried to pull it off, but it was too much work. So we left it and painted it. We actually liked the way it turned out.
Below: here's the other wall: The one we'll put the bed against:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And now we've actually unpacked a little

We could NOT handle the half green/half yellow walls. So it was the first thing we worked on!
Before Paint and Before Furniture:
It looked a little dark and A LOT beige before we put stuff on the wall!
After Paint and Before Furniture:Now it feels like home, at last (cozy and warm)!!!!

After Paint and After Furniture:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Firsts

After spending our first day and night living in our new house, we experienced a few "firsts."

(1) Our First Sit Down Dinner (see photo)
(2) Our First Night's Sleep
(3) Our First Nap (we were TIRED)
(4) Our First Movie (Alvin & the Chipmunks)
(5) Our First Shower

And many more to come...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Success

With the help of my fabulous parents, Katie, and Colin - we successfully moved into our new house. Also thanks to my dad, we were able to rip out the ugly wood structure in one of the bedrooms. Stay tuned for before and after photos of that.

Check out our new neighborhood behind Luke's truck!! :-)

So excited and exhausted,
The Howards

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Before and AFTER!!!

I never thought the day would come when I could actually post some before and after photos. I thought for sure we'd be stuck in the before for years to come. But, happily - we have photos to show for our hours and hours of manual labor. :-)


Our Family Room Wall BEFORE (seen below)
Family Room Wall DURING (seen below)
Kitchenette Eating Area BEFORE (seen below)
Family Room AFTER (seen below)
Family Room Wall & Hallway AFTER (seen below)

Now we're working on the guest bedroom. Originally we were going to pull off the wainscoting off the walls (because we didn't have any paint to match it). But when we went to begin the process, we learned that the previous owner (who we've deducted was a total genius) GLUED it to the wall. No, he couldn't have used nails or any semi-normal material that we could get off. So, I guess we're stuck with it. I started painting over it last night and it's looking nice...so hopefully I'll have some pictures to show for that soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Day 3 & 4

Painting, Doggie Door, Carpet and Dad
As the title suggests, we continued to work on painting (three days and counting). Goodbye yellow and green...hello beautiful beige! The good news is that on Day 4 we were able to rid ourselves of the ugly yellow paint in the family room, kitchen, and hallway. We only have the entertainment center wall left to do in the beige paint. Then, we have to paint the guest bedroom (the previous owners painted one wall half dark blue/half light blue, one wall red, and one wall brown and then put a green forest border at the top!!!!!) before we put new carpet in there.

We had a guy come out and give us a quote for carpet. Why on Earth is carpet so darn expensive? Now I know why they charge an arm and a leg for an apartment in Irvine - they have to buy new carpet every one-three years. That alone would account for our entire rent. Well, it has to be done...so we don't have a choice.

My dad came over and lent a hand and his expertise in cutting drywall so that we could finish the last step of the doggie door. It is all finished, by way of cutting/sawing/and measuring. We just need an extendor which will go inside the door and then we'll finish that project.

Mr. Howard has yet to start the floors or edging in the master bedroom, hallway, and master bath. Hopefully we can start that soon!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 2

If I never see blue painter's tape, it will be too soon. Yesterday we worked for over 5 hours taping off all the rooms, painting the edges, and we began painting a few of the walls. WOW! I seem to always forget how much time you actually spend painting versus all the time GETTING READY to paint.

In addition to all the painting, we did our very first truly handy thing in our new house. And when I say "we," I mean my handy hubby did it and I took a video of it and prayed the whole time, "please don't mess up! Please don't mess up!" He cut a hole in our kitchen wall so that we can add a doggie door. More importantly, however, he cut the PERFECT hole for the doggie door and didn't do any irreversable damage!! :-)



We learned we have wonderful neighbors!! After living next to people we don't get along with, we were both concerned about finding neighbors we liked. Yesterday while we were painting, we had 3 sets of our neighbors come over and introduce themselves. They offered paint supplies, moving dollies, and anything else we needed. One set of the neighbors had three kids (one of which, was a nine week old baby girl), which they also brought over to introduce to us. How lucky are we!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Our First Day

Progress on the to-do list:

  1. Get carried across the "threshold" of the house - check!
  2. Vacuum bedrooms, kitchen, living room, family room, hallway - check!
  3. Clean out cabinets and drawers in kitchen, hallway, and bathroom - check!
  4. Change all the locks (front door and garage door) - check!
  5. Take out sliding doggie door - check!
  6. Take out forsale sign and take off MLS electronic key holder - check!
  7. Realize that we REALLY just bought a house - check!
  8. Tape off walls and floorboards to get ready to paint - halfcheck!
  9. Clean out weeds out of front of house - check!
  10. Turn on sprinklers and begin Operation Plant Revival- check!

Stay tuned for more progress and more photos!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's FINALLY official

We are first-time homebuyers. We signed all of our escrow paperwork today. Of course, it won't feel real until we get the keys...but it's all done on our end. They're hoping to have the title transfered into our name and recorded with the County Recording office tomorrow or Thursday! :-)

Now onto our never-ending To-Do List!!

Joyfully,
The Howards

Sunday, April 6, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!

Our dear friends Allison and Jack are having a baby!! It seems like just yesterday they were having their first dance as husband and wife! :-)

Allison and I met in September of 2001 at UC Irvine, when we both joined Tri Delta. We bonded over our Alpha Rho connection and I quickly became an admirer of hers. Having been a few years older than me, I watched in awe at how effortlessly she handled her academics (even graduating from UC Irvine with honors). While she may not know it, she is a good part of the reason I decided to pursue graduate school. There's a rule I steadfastly live by: "Always surround yourself with people who challenge you to do better." Allison is a shining example of that and she served and continues to serve as a role model for me. When Allison and Jack became engaged and later married in the summer of 2006, both Mr. Howard and I knew they were a couple that was going to last. We watched as they took their vows and partied the night away, knowing what special friends they were, both to each other and also to us! Now, as they enter into the world of first-time parents, we are just as in awe of them as I was when we met 7 years ago. And while we don't get to see each other as much as we'd hope, they will continue to be in our lives for a long time to come!

Allison, Jack, and Baby Robbins - we are soooo excited for you!!!
All our love,
The Howards

Never Say Never

It looks like we're going to close escrow next week! Everything finally got taken care of and we couldn't be more excited! Of course, I still never want to buy a house again! Ask me in five years, but I wouldn't mind doing this again in...say...30 years when the house is completely paid off. There is still much to be done on the house before we can move-in. Since we'll have the keys sometime next week, we're planning on going in and spending a good solid week getting it ready. Here's everything we still need to do before move-in:

  1. Paint living room, kitchen, and hallway (we already picked out the paint and bought it)
  2. Polish hardwood floors in the living room and dining room
  3. Rip out ugly wood loft/contraption in one of the kid's bedrooms
  4. Finish hardwood flooring in the office
  5. Finish hardwood floor edging in master bedroom, hallway, and bathroom
  6. Rip out carpet in guest bedroom and closet to replace with new carpet
  7. Clean, sweep, wash windows, etc.
  8. Change locks (it was a foreclosure and you can never be too careful)

Once everything is done, we'll be ready to move-in. This summer, in between weddings, graduation parties, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and European vacations, we're hoping to tile the second bathroom and laundry room (which has linoleum right now). At some point we'll also need to work on the landscaping in the front and back. Sometime before we have children, we'll also need to add some grass in the backyard - so that they have some place to play, other than rose bushes and concrete.

Now that I feel like it's pretty much a done-deal, here are some photos:

FRONT OF THE HOUSE (below)MASTER BATHROOM (below)
FAMILY ROOM (below)
KITCHEN (below)
BREAKFAST NOOK (below)

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