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Monday, February 12, 2018

1 Month in the New House

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restoring victorian house maine

I've spent the past month sore, exhausted, and overwhelmed. The house definitely isn't coming together as quickly as I had hoped and I feel a bit beaten down. House-related stress and winter blues don't mix well. Buuut I still see the potential, I know that eventually it will be great, and I am absolutely loving living in town and not in the middle of nowhere anymore.

What we've done in the new house since we moved in:

removing kitchen cabinets

• Knocked out a cabinet 
Our kitchen is small, the space isn't used wisely, and the storage is limited-- so I really didn't want to lose the cabinet above the fridge. However, I also wanted a fridge that wasn't older than me. The fridge that came with the house had seen better days, so we ordered a new one. We were very careful to get the width and depth right, but we totally forgot about the height. It turns out, the fridge that we ordered was two inches too tall (but the fridge we were replacing was also unusually short), and thus the cabinet had to go. We removed it then covered the gaping hole with gypsum board and put putty around the edges. It was a pretty quick little project and we're probably going to use the space above the fridge to hide plants from my cat.

• Got new appliances
Obviously, we got a new fridge. We also got a new range. I hate shopping for large appliances. It's so much pressure. I don't want to spend a ton of money on something that I need to use every day and then end up hating it. I also hate having to get used to new appliances, especially with some being so advanced and needlessly complicated these days (am I 25 or 85?).

We settled on probably the most basic fridge that the store had, and I'm so happy with it. There are no stupid fancy features-- it's just a fridge that isn't trying too hard, and that's exactly what I wanted. We also downsized a bit. When it comes to refrigerators, my mentality is usually "the bigger, the better," but we needed a smaller one. Space in our kitchen is limited and the old fridge really jutted out, so we opted for a counter-depth fridge instead of a deeper one, which gives us less space for food-- which sounds like a bad thing, but not really.

When we lived further away from essentially everything, I would go on huge grocery shopping trips once a week and stock up in the name of efficiency, but I ended up letting a lot of food go to waste. Now that we live in town, I'm just a couple minutes from the store so I can run out and get fresh produce whenever I need it, I don't need to stock up anymore. So here's to more walking space and less food waste!

• Installed Nest systems
We put in the Nest smoke & carbon monoxide alarm, thermostat, camera, and motion sensors. This stuff ain't cheap, but the peace of mind it gives me and the convenience is so worth it to me. The Nest app puts everything in one place and makes it all so easy to use. I live in a pretty safe neighborhood, but due to a past experience I am very concerned about intruders, so the camera is definitely my favorite of the Nest products and makes me feel so much more at ease knowing that I can monitor my whole property via the app. I'm so pleased with it all so far and can't recommend it enough.

google home mini broadcast intercom

• Became dependent on Google Home
When we purchased the Nest systems, there was a promotion going on and we got three Google Home Minis for free. My initial thought was that I didn't even want one, what the heck was I going to do with three?! Within a couple hours of setting the first one up, I was hooked. Mostly I use it as a speaker for my music, to set cooking timers, and telling it to add things to my shopping list (which I can access anywhere via the app), but my absolute favorite feature is Broadcast. Broadcast works as an intercom between multiple Google Homes in the house. This house is pretty big and is very soundproof, so this feature is incredibly helpful. I thought three was too many, but now I'm wondering if we should get more.

• Painting, painting, and more painting
You may have seen in the previous house post or on my Instagram stories that the walls in this house are uggggly. The two large living spaces downstairs were covered in wallpaper and the rest of the house is painted with flat white paint or maybe even just primer. Flat paint doesn't exactly clean easily and I can't put into words how dirty the walls were/are.

So far I've painted the downstairs bathroom, inside of the pantry, living room, dining room, our bedroom, and my office. I've primed the walls in the dining room (shown above) but so far I've been too pooped to finish. When I think about how much more I have to do, it seems like I've barely made a dent, and holy poop we've already spent so much money on paint. However, the rooms that I have painted are so much more welcoming now and it is definitely necessary to keep painting. The painted rooms have been transformed and I can't wait to get the rest of the house painted, though it's kicking my butt.

• Started piecing together my office
My desk had been in storage for the past couple years because we didn't have room for it, which meant I usually did my work from the kitchen table, which meant I was always surrounded by distractions. Now that we have plenty of space I can create my ideal workspace. The desk I have is from IKEA, it's not my favorite-- I would prefer some drawers. But it has such a large tabletop, there's plenty of room for working on some art or a few projects at once.

But I finally have my desk back, I finally have a space for my keyboard, and I made the room truly mine by painting it light pink. I still have a lot of work to do in there, but I already love spending time in there. 

• Discovered the vermin
It's not uncommon for older homes to have mice, so when I started hearing little sounds in the walls, I definitely wasn't happy but I also wasn't surprised. Then I started hearing bigger sounds in the attic which reminded me of a situation I dealt with a few years back-- a flying squirrel infestation. I had someone come out and they confirmed my suspicions. Flying squirrels chewed through the side of my house near the roof and into the attic, and apparently there are a lot entrance points from mice and/or red squirrels into the basement. Ya gotta be kidding me.

The thing that bothers me the most is that the previous owners definitely knew and didn't do anything. They left it to be our problem. Our very expensive problem. Flying squirrels aren't discreet, you know when they're in your house, and they can do a ton of damage. The pest control company said it's obvious that the squirrels have been here for a while and I'm flabbergasted that the previous owners didn't do anything about it, especially since they were living in this house. I'm a quiet, non-confrontational person, but I'm at the point where if I ever see them around town, I might not be able to bite my tongue.

But anyway, we're getting it taken care of. 

restoring victorian house new england fixer upper

Over the past month we've had a lot of WTF moments when discovering how dirty the previous owners left things, how they took a shortcut to "repair" something which made it more difficult for us to fix or replace, and the numerous things that they neglected. I was trying to keep my cool about it because I know these things happen when you buy a house, but the flying squirrel thing made me mad.

It's all so overwhelming. There have been many nights when I lay awake wondering if we rushed into buying this house, wondering if we chose the best home inspector in our area, or kicking myself for not looking closely enough while touring it. Now we're at the point where a lot of the excitement has worn off and we're trying to beat buyer's remorse away with a stick. Don't get me wrong-- I love this house, I'm thrilled that it's mine-- but within a week of buying it, we found so many things that we needed to fix that we didn't know about beforehand. But I mean, I watch HGTV, I should have expected this, right?

It all seems like so much right now but I know this is all part of buying a house, especially such an old one. I know that eventually this will be a great house. I just need to be persistent and patient.

You can see more behind the scenes stuff on my Instagram and follow the hashtag #thefawnhouse.
2 comments on "1 Month in the New House"
  1. I bought my first home at the end of last year and I've been amazed how much work I've ended up putting into it over the last few months - and I'm not even close to being finished! Best of luck with the rest of your renovations... and the squirrels!

    1. Congratulations on your house & thank you 🤗 Thankfully I think the flying squirrels are all out of the attic now 🤞


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