24 April 2012

Working on the House

So, we've been busy the last few weeks with touching up all the paint, doing lots of little projects, packing, decorating, and cleaning the house.  We met on Saturday with our realtor, and he was really impressed with how nice the house works.  He said it's too bad we're moving, or we could teach classes on staging houses.  :)  And he seemed pretty confident that the house should sell for a price that we need it to sell at, so that was a huge relief.  Anyway, now we've just got a few little things left to do on the house before it's totally ready.  We were ready to tell the realtor we could list the house right away, but he said it would be best to wait until May 1st, because it's better to list it at the beginning of a month rather than the end.  So, about 1 more week to keep the house totally clean and finish up the last little things, then we'll get it on the market.

Just wanted to share some pictures of all the stuff we've been doing lately:

This is the study before I started "de-cluttering" the house.  

It looked like a lot more books after everything came off the shelves.

And after boxing up most of the books and taking the boxes out to the garage, removing two of the bookshelves from the study, and getting a few decorative items for the shelves, I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

We took the hanging airplanes down from the ceiling in the blue bedroom, but I found room for one of the airplanes on a shelf.  It goes pretty well with the jar of marbles and the children's book.

The upstairs bathroom got new towels, hand soap, and a little plant.

It's amazing what polishing the table and adding some flowers will do for a dining room.

And it feels nice to have the linen closet all organized.

The master closet took some work -- Michael had already spent quite a while organizing everything in there while we were out of town, and then the boys helped me removed everything and I painted, sorted through all the clothes, and packed up most everything.  And when we took down the shelf and those two flower pictures from above our bed later, I just set the flower pictures on the shelf in the closet and I think they look pretty cute there.  When our realtor walked in, he asked where all of our clothes were.  :)

Our realtor suggested we remove the china cabinet in our kitchen nook area, and add a little table with four chairs so that the house could be advertised as having an eat-in kitchen.  We searched all over for an inexpensive, but cute, little table and chairs, and came up short until we came across this one on craigslist.  Michael had to drive quite a ways to go pick it up, but it was by far the cutest set we found for just over $100.  And although our family doesn't really have a need for a kitchen table that seats 4, Michael and I have both remarked that it really makes the nook seam like a separate room with a purpose.  (Plus, the table is cute and came with a leaf, so I think we should be able to use it somewhere in our future house).
Pillows: This part of the decorating was rather fun, but it took a lot of time searching through a number of stores for affordable throw pillows and throws for the couches and our bed.  But I can't tell you how much they make each room look updated and nice.  Plus, it's something that we get to take with us after we move.    Here are all the pillows I got (before we decided which ones to keep, and which ones we ended up returning).

The living room:  The only new things in here are the white throw (so soft, and machine washable!), the brown pillow, and a $12 door mirror turned horizontal to go over the couch.  The other pillows are ones that we already had.

The family room

These throws are so soft -- I can't wait until after we sell our house and we can actually use them and wrap up in them.  For now we're just trying to keep the kids away from everything.

This red pillow is one of my favorite ones.

And I thought these big leathery-looking pillows were pretty cool looking
(especially for being from Wal Mart).

In the kitchen we just made sure everything was totally clean, and added a plant and a bowl of apples.  (I wanted pomegranates, but found out they're out of season here).

The de-cluttered basement storage rooms:

The deck before we power washed and stained it:

What an improvement!

And the driveway looks so nice since it was sealed:

The downstairs coat closet all de-cluttered:

And a cute picture for the hallway as you come up the stairs:

And we decided to get some hanging baskets instead of planting flowers in the yard so we could bring them in at night and not risk them getting too cold and dying.  It's a good thing we did, since it snowed yesterday, a lot.  But I couldn't find any decent looking hanging baskets at the two stores I looked at (even the way expensive $30 ones weren't all that cute).  So I decided to make my own.  I was going for bright, attention grabbing flowers that were still pretty looking.  I think they turned out pretty cute.

And we've discovered that we are house plant people after all.  We especially like this big floor plants that we got for the family room, living room, and master bedroom.

Last week our neighbor, who is a landscaper, offered to spray for the dandelions in our yard, which was so nice of him.  And on Saturday morning Michael went out and mowed the lawn, even though it was pouring rain.  It sure looked great for the pictures!

We picked up another little plant for on top the entertainment center, and a nice painting for the family room (the one that was there before got relocated to over the couch in the basement).  There's a store out in Henrietta called The Christmastree Shop (random name, since it's not a holiday store), where you can sometimes find nice things for pretty darn cheap -- we ended up getting this painting and a couple of mirrors there.  

I also decorated the shelves of the entertainment center.  I already had everything, except the star and the little jug.  

My favorite thing on those shelves would have to be the picture of the berries -- I just went online and searched until I found a picture I liked that tied into the colors in the room, printed it, and stuck it in a frame that I already had.

And a few candles.  I moved the lamp from this spot to our bedroom dresser, and this lamp to the top of the computer armoire from the entertainment center.

The downstairs bathroom before and after: nothing too big here, but pulling out the old mirror and replacing it with one that we had hanging in the other room made a big difference.  And another plant, some new hand soap, and a new towel make it look nice and clean.

Oh, and while I was power washing the deck, I also did the slides and swings, the cement patio, the picnic table and benches, the lawn chairs, the sidewalk and porch in front, and the front and back of the house.  I'm sold -- I definitely want a power washer someday!

Our de-cluttered "pantry" (aka, coat closet next to the garage door) -- hard to tell in this photo that it's de-cluttered (can't really just pack up the food and save it for after the move), but the shelves are organized, and the other half of the closet next to the shelf is totally empty.

The basement seating area:  An indoor/outdoor rug that we should be able to use again, a couple of old slip covers from our Milwaukee apartment days (glad I didn't get rid of those, even though they are kind of in hard shape -- they're definitely better than the ugly floral garage sale couches underneath).  Add the picture that I made several months ago with a canvas, poster, and mod podge, and an old chair I found on the curb a year or so ago, and a throw we got for our wedding (to strategically cover up a spot or two on the old chair), a couple of old pillows that we already had, and a few new pillows, and it really looks like a nice little sitting area.

And I didn't really get more throw pillows for the boys' bedrooms, just borrowed some of the pillows from the couches for the photos for the house listing:
And look at those beautiful floors -- Michael spent all afternoon Saturday mopping/shining the floors throughout the house.  They're nice and clean, and if we can keep things up like we have been so far, then we'll only need to do a quick polish of the floors in the kitchen and by the front door again when it's time to list the house).
And the master bedroom:

This little off-white pillow is probably my favorite one:

And I think adding the mirror over the bead (in leau of a headboard) turned out quite nice.

A dark brown slip cover from Big Lots really helped in the study (the floral patterned couch just wasn't doing it for us), and one more pillow and another soft throw pull it all together.

(We did a lot more projects -- we touched up the paint in the whole house, Michael repaired the dry wall hole in the garage, Michael installed GFI outlets, we trimmed the bushes and trees, washed the windows, added trim around the backsplash on the kitchen counters, took apart and packed the top bunk of the bunk beds and gave away the toddler bed, weeded the garden, and and I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of right now -- but these are the recent projects that we have photos of).  

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