Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our Story

We are newlywed (well newish, anyway).  When we started looking for a house two years ago (about same time we got engaged) we were very particular on what we wanted- house with character, decent backyard, garage and lots of light, near to public transportation for easy commute to Manhattan (since I work in the city) and in a nice (safe and with trees) neighborhood…. all within our limited budget.   We decided since we were computer- savvy youngsters, we didn’t need an agent and will make do with online search engines such as Zillow.   But after we went to a few open houses, a few agents tagged onto us and offered to show us some of their listings, without success of course.  Many houses later, with a house taken from us by a cash offer within a few days before signing the contract, and an agent whom after hearing our must haves of backyard and garage, told us what we described was a house in a the suburbs!  But WE PROVED her WRONG! All we needed were patience and imagination.  Our house i would say met 90% of our wish list.  It is two blocks from Prospect Park/Botanical Gardens, on a tree-lined street, backyard AND front yard, detached two-car garage, walking distance to 7 subway lines (20 mins on train to work).  I love that it has a front porch and balcony, HOWEVER, they do block light coming into the house, so although the front faces South, the house is not that bright.  Also, since we had to do a gut renovation, we could not save any of the period details.
We actually looked at our house before, but after the house tour, we decided with the asking price and the amount of renovation needed, it was out of our price range.  HOWEVER, faith had it, one late night searching, I somehow ended up clicking on the link for the house again, and saw…….the the asking price had been significantly lowered!!!!  To a point where we could maybeee afford the gut renovation it needed!  We quickly put in an offer and after our offer was accepted we thought the hard part was over.  But it was half a year later until the keys were handed to us due to bank refusing our mortgage after they saw the state of the house and slowwwww sellers who needed weeks to complete every simple task!

And when we finally were in, within a month, the house was like this: 
Yes we didn’t waste no time, our wedding was in October and it was already July! I was really hoping to keep some of the details on the ceiling but was no luck, the only thing we left were the brick walls and roof.
What about the before photos you asked?
I didnt take any photos of the before because it was just reallllyyy bad.  And i am nice so i dont want to horrify you..well i am not THAT nice, so here are some from the appraisal, so you would appreciate the AFTER so much more :) 

Just imagine: garbage in the front and back yards, cracked windows, walls covered in mold, stains and peeling, collapsed and concaved floors, a basement full of JUNKS that took four.full.truck loads to empty out, the list went on.   YUPP,  we were no average first time home buyers (pat self on the back).  Gotta give it to our parents for sticking behind us too, they were probably overwhelmed but kept it to themselves mostly.
Now for some peeks of the AFTERs! the house is still a work in progress, we are only two people after all, there only so much we can do in our spare time.
Back yard was one of the first areas we completed.  Alot of sweat, cursing and some blood and aches but here is our oasis from the chaos inside!

We finished the yard mid-spring and these photos were taken early summer.  The grapes have reached the roof and crossing fingers for some grapes this year!

And this is where the masters crash sleep at night.
I started the stencil on the wall last spring and after a year, i finally got back on it to finish!
(A post on stencilling to come)

Well, this first post ended up being rather long, don't you think? thank you for STILL reading and please come back for more detailed posts on our renovation progress and DIY tips
(please bear with me while I try to figure this blog thing out)


  1. You've done an amazing job so far! Can't wait to see what else you do and welcome to blogging! It is really fun.


  2. The first home is such an exciting time! We just bought our first as well, and are moving in next week. Can't wait!! I think you did an amazing job with your garden and bedroom, I can't wait to follow the rest of the process.

    xox Linda

  3. Thank you for the encouraging words!
    There are indeed more projects to share!

  4. Love your style, and your projects are so inspiring! Added you to my blog list :)

  5. Really love the pergola you have put up! Could you provide more info on this please? Did you do this yourself? What is the color of the stain you used on the wood? Any tips and tricks?

  6. Hi Jo
    Yes, we built it ourselves. But I was involved more with the design part then the building part, so I have asked him to write down some specs for me...will do a tutorial sooN!

  7. Again, utter jaw dropping effort. U need to be doing a full house tour on TV!


I would love to hear your inputs!