7th House on the Left


posted by Ashley  /  7 Comments

In honor of… well, today being Friday, we’re dubbing this “Flashback Friday”. Last week, I was surfing through the endless abyss that is my computer and stumbled on the very first images we saw of the inside of our house: the MLS photos! They’re a little blurry but you still get the gist of our first glimpse of the house and what we saw when we first came in for our first walk-through…

The photo of the exterior had us at hello. There are a lot of brick ranches in our neck of the woods, but this one was exactly what we were hoping for. Greg, being a bit of a math geek, liked how the number of windows were even on each side of the front door. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to get my hands on those shutters and a paint brush. A few short months later, we did.

This photo made us realize how spacious it was on the inside compared to the other houses we’d looked at. We seriously looked at about four other ranches, and this one was by far the most spacious of them all. That was one of the main reasons this house shot to the top of our list.

Most of the houses around here have fireplaces, but I particularly liked this one because it was floor-to-ceiling brick. We also noted (and loved) the variations in the hardwood floors (the light and dark planks) and the inset detailing around the fireplace. Even though we stained the floors much darker, you can still see the detailing.

Neither of us really needed or wanted a huge kitchen – we decided to save that for our “someday over the rainbow house”. (Though moving out of this house seems like something that’s never going to happen because we love it too much.) We liked this kitchen space because it was open to the living room, it was just the right amount of “kitchen” for us and we saw the hidden potential of a new layout.

Here’s a shot of the foyer. Now get this… the previous owner bought those lamps and the table from my parents’ at their yard sale about five years previous. Such a small world!

Coming from an apartment, we were totally stoked about having a real, honest-to-goodness patio. We also noticed the roof over the carport was already incorporated with the rest of the roof, which would make it ultra-easy to close it in later down the road for a bonus room or a one-car garage. That was the icing on the cake that made us make a bee-line for the phone to call the realtor. The rest is history!

It’s funny to look back at those and remember all of the excitement we felt and saying, “we could do this” and “how about this?”. Ahh, young love. 


posted by Greg  /  22 Comments

Today, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane to share where we hung our hats before we moved into 7th House on the Left. When Ashley and I got married, we rented a 1,159 sq ft two-bedroom apartment. At the time, it was absolutely everything we needed.  It was close to my job (so close that coming home for lunch was almost an everyday occurrence), in a nice area, had lots of convenient shops (Target, HomeGoods, Nordstrom and WholeFoods all within a 3 minute drive), and was pet-friendly. We were also halfway between Ashley’s parents and mine, which made visiting both sets of parents pretty hassle-free. We loved it.

The living room was small, but the fact that it was open to the entry area and the kitchen made it seem roomier. There was a good amount of seating when it was just Ashley, me and a few friends. But when her side of the family came over, it totaled to 12 people. We would pull in chars from the office and dining room but needless to say, it was pretty crowded.

The wall opposite the couch housed our entertainment unit and an ottoman for extra seating. Tucked in the corner was Bentley’s toy box. Before moving out of the apartment, we almost had him trained to put the toys away when we said “time to clean up!”. How cool is that?! Unfortunately, when we moved all of that training went out the window. With new surroundings, we’re now back at square one. Moving on…

When Christmas rolled around the corner, we took the left section of the entertainment unit and put it in our master closet to make room for the Christmas tree:

In the entry, we had what we called the “Information Station”. It housed a wipe off calendar, pin board, chalk board, cell phone charging station and Bentley’s leash (in the drawer). On the bottom shelf, we kept playing cards and small games in the stacked boxes.

This was a fun area to decorate for Christmas:

Just off of the living room was the dining room. It was a perfect size for the table — which has since been replaced with our current dining room table.

Like the living room, the openness of this area made it seem roomier:

Through the dining room was our tiny kitchen:

As is typical for apartments, it was small. It was also laid out so that, even if you didn’t mind working elbow-to-elbow, having 2 people in the kitchen was totally inconvenient. Nevertheless, we managed to cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well as host a few good parties here and there. It made us dream for a day when we would have enough room to entertain comfortably.

Back through the living room, to the left of the entry area was the master bedroom:

The room wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t too small either. When we purchased the furniture, we were really nervous about it fitting in the space. When the delivery guys were bringing it in, we were still holding our breath. Much to our surprise, it fit! But with no room to spare. We did, however, have just enough room to put a chair in the corner next to the doors to the patio.

When we first started the apartment search, we weren’t expecting to find a master bathroom this size. It even had a really large garden tub. Our apartment’s second bathroom looked identical to this one — just a bit smaller and had a different layout.

For some reason, it never dawned on me to take a photo of the closets — or the office for that matter. The closets in the apartment were abnormally large. Our friends always gawked over them and couldn’t believe we had such large closets in an apartment. As far as the office, it wasn’t as big as the master bedroom but was just the right size for two desks, a love seat and a small bookshelf. The only picture I have of that room is the one of Bentley decked out in his reindeer antlers for Christmas, just before we moved…

You can catch a glimpse of the bookshelf and the closet doorway to the left. You can also get an idea of how deep the closet was (it wasn’t nearly has big as the one in the master bedroom).

As we went through the photos of our first place, Ash and I have realized that our design style has since changed. The furniture you’ve seen has found its new home in the 7th House on the Left. But now the surroundings are completely different with dark hardwood floors, modern gray walls and bright white trim.

The main factor that made us want to move on, aside from the excitement of home ownership, was privacy. Though we had a really good sized patio outside our living room and bedroom doors, we didn’t use it much because we were on the first floor, facing the parking lot. It was nice to sit outside and enjoy coffee but it was relatively awkward when our neighbors pulled up in their car and started unloading their groceries. We also had a few noisy upstairs neighbors with really rambunctious kids. I know kids will be kids but when you have pictures falling off your walls at 7am on a Saturday morning because of the wrestling match upstairs, it really makes you consider finding another place to live.

All in all, we loved our first place. We stayed there for two years, three months and ten days. Some tears were shed when we closed the door on our first place that we shared together. But the moment we stepped into our new-to-us house, Ash looked at me and said, “What apartment?” Even though the work ahead of us seemed quite daunting, the fact that we could do anything to OUR house was incredibly exciting. And it has proved to be just that.


posted by Ashley  /  29 Comments

Moving in is taking a little longer than we expected.  We knew that unpacking would be one of the most daunting tasks involved in moving into our new home, but I think I underestimated the amount of time it would take.  Greg, the eternal realist, has to keep telling me, “It’s a process, sweetheart.”  We’re a good pair, aren’t we?  Anyway, the reason we’re taking a bit longer in this “process” is that we want to have a place for each thing we take out of a box.  The problem with that is, with a brand new house, there are a lot of organizational products to find, buy, install, etc.

We’ve spent the last two weeks unpacking boxes, putting together office furniture and finding places for everything, and we’re still not quite done, but we wanted to give you all an update on how everything is going.  So here’s the current state of affairs at the 7th House on the Left, picture book style!

Let’s start in the most lived in room in the house these days, the living room. Our couch and love seat got all squished while they were in storage. They used to be all taught and clean lined. After 8 months in storage, they are now wrinkled and frumpy. So, we’re planning on having new cushions cut to give it back it’s shape. Or then there’s the option of buying a new sofa and love seat (that’s my vote anyway!).

As we unpack decorative accessories, we’ve been putting them on the buffet in the dining room so when we are finished unpacking, we can use that area as our own little “accessories shop”. The dining table used to be the perfect size for our cozy apartment. Now with a much larger dining area, the table seems kind of small. So we definitely have room to grow… Bentley thinks so too.

My office space (which was originally the dining room) is barely functional at this point and not even close to being complete. This is mainly because I can’t seem to decide on what I want to do with the space. I have a few ideas (read more about those here), so we shall see what happens in the next few weeks.

Then we have what we like to call our “camping kitchen”. It actually hasn’t been that bad. The fridge (which happens to be the same one I used in my dorm room in college) is big enough for a week’s worth of groceries and drinks, as long as we remember to think small at the store. Then we have our handy dandy crock pot, toaster and microwave. With those convenient small appliances and our charcoal grill (Yes, we grill even if there’s snow on the ground.), going without a kitchen hasn’t been as hard as we thought it would be. We miss baking cookies (after all, it is Christmas!), but our grocery store’s bakery has some that are as good as any we could make (maybe… my mom’s cookie recipe is beyond awesome). We’re very anxious to tackle the kitchen after the holidays!

Off to the left of the “camping kitchen”, we have the laundry/utility room complete with a half bathroom. This is probably the most neglected room at this point. All we’ve done in this space is paint and install new light fixtures. And we haven’t even touch the half bath! This shelf used to be in our apartment’s walk-in laundry room/pantry. Now it’s being used as our “catch all” for switch plates, cleaning supplies, etc. I’m dying to get everything in here organized but we wanted to live in the area for a while before we make any major changes. We have a few ideas up our sleeves but it will be a few months before we are ready to reveal them and make some progress.

Eventually, we plan on buying a front-load washer and dryer and installing a countertop for lots of folding room. But for now, this is working our just fine.

Back through the living room and into the foyer. Other than the addition of the double doors (there used to be a single door to the far left for the gigantic closet), we haven’t done much here.

We’re still in search for a perfect foyer table. For now, we just sat our big IKEA mirror against the wall. We aren’t quite sure where to put that yet.

As we go down the hall, the guest room is our first stop on the left. It’s still full of boxes and things that need to go in the attic, but it’s looking a lot better than it did two weeks ago. We can actually see the floor now! Well, sorta. We covered a lot of the floor with Tyvek to protect them from scratches, since we are often moving and sliding boxes around.

Next to the guest room, we have the hall bathroom which we have been updating you on as the project has progressed. For more on that, check out part one, two, three and four. Part five is coming as soon; our faucets are nearly done and the light fixtures are soon to follow!

Across the hall, we have Greg’s domain. Like many things around here, it’s still a work in progress. The shelf you see sitting on the floor in the corner is going to be mounted to the wall. The floor lamp is currently the room’s only source of light until we install a ceiling fixture. And his desk currently looks like Best Buy threw up on it. With much to do, we are armed with a plan. So that makes things easier on the brain.

At the end of the hall, we have the master suite. We are still searching for bedding. But we did manage to find a down comforter that we both agreed on (and love!). Now the search is on for a duvet cover, decorative pillows, etc.

Everything is kind of monocromanic and borderline bland at the moment. We can’t wait to punch it up with come much-needed color.

This chair used to be in our bedroom in our apartment but it’s a little tight for this space (we had an abnormally large bedroom for an apartment). So for now, it’s serving as the home of the TiVo and DVD player until we find a tall, shallow piece of furniture to go in its place. Once we find that, we’re going to run the wires in the wall so we don’t have to look at them. Do you like our blue Ethernet cable running from Greg’s office? We’re short one wireless adapter, so we’re using it to make sure the TiVo gets its programming. Yep, Klassy.

In the master bathroom, we are using a shower curtain until the glass is installed – which should be any day now. Again, Klassy. Yes, I’m being sarcastic 😉

Next door to the master bathroom is the closet. We have step one done: rods for hang up clothes. The total closet is 70″ x 70″ — not your biggest walk-in by any means but still not too bad. We’re planning on some more hang up space (for longer items) and shelves for jeans, sweats, etc and even some handbag storage. We’re going to have to get creative when it comes to maximizing the storage but we think we can make it work.

That’s it on the inside of the house. Since we haven’t really shared much of the back of the house yet, we thought now was a good time to do so. Here is the attached carport. The door on the far right is to a small storage shed where we stash our tools and miscellaneous maintenance stuff. The middle door leads to the laundry room while the door on the left goes directly in the living room (to the left of the fireplace). Our long-term plan includes closing this in and making it into either a one-car garage or maybe a bonus room / family room.

And there you have it!  We’re super-excited about our new home, and we love sharing it with all of you. We can’t wait to have at least one finished room. But as I keep having to remind myself, it’s a process. I’m sure the rooms will have a few versions before we land on something we love and are ready to stamp it as “finished”.

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