Thursday, June 20, 2013

Before and After

Well, it took exactly one month and my little project house is finally finished and back on the market. It went over budget by A LOT, but  I chose a house with a huge profit margin so it would be okay if that happened. I originally planned to put $20k into it in renovations, and the final total was $32k, but that still leaves a profit margin of $30k if we get asking price. So- for a month of supervising contractors, I'd say that is a pretty good deal. Ready for the comparison photos? I am! Check this out.




1 car garage with odd storage rooms
2 car garage!

Laundry Room
Pardon the bad lighting, it still needs new bulbs.


So? Are you as excited about it as I am? I can't wait to meet the family that wants to move in. That will be the best part of the whole process; finding a family that loves this little house. Hopefully it sells quickly, because as soon as we are under contract and past the inspections phase I will be looking for project number 2!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

50 Shades of Beige. (and Red)

My husband often says I am color blind. I used to laugh at him and remind him that I am an artist- obviously I can see colors properly. But then I have to choose colors for a room, and I begin to think that maybe he is a little bit right.

I. Hate. Picking. Paint. Colors.

It is the single worst part of decorating. I have vision for what I want a space to look like, and I spend hours looking at all of the swatches and paint giant sample spots on the wall and when I FINALLY decide on one and paint the space, I hate it. That happened with my red front door today. I very carefully chose a red called HeartThrob- and well.. Look for yourself.

Agh! Horrible! I bought a new color today.. hopefully it works better. But check out the black shutters!! And did you notice the branch that was covering half the house is gone? 

Things are coming together. The new light fixtures are in, the drywall is finished, ceilings are patched, and the walls are painted- all except the basement.  

The cabinets come tomorrow, and the appliances are sitting in the living room waiting to be installed. The wood flooring should go in tomorrow as well. My contractor plans to be totally finished by saturday.. we shall see. 

We are getting close- very exciting. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fort Campbell Flip, Week 1 Update

A lot has happened in the short time since we closed on the house but most of it isn't very exciting. We are now mold free, and the house is all but empty. The doorway between the living room and kitchen has been widened, creating a much more open feeling in what was a very closed off space. Many minor plumbing issues have been corrected as well as the new water line installed for the fridge to be moved, not photo worthy but a very important step. All the flooring has been purchased as well as all new light fixtures and fans. I scored some incredible 6" dark walnut laminate planks for $1/sq ft, which is a huge savings from the $1.60- $1.80 I had seen everywhere else. The carpet will also be $1/sq ft. Have you looked at laminate lately? That junky plastic roll out sheet flooring? Well- it has come a long way since I last saw it new. It's crazy nice! I am only using it in the basement laundry room but it is very nice stuff!

The almost empty kitchen- Cabinets and appliances will be in next week. 

This was a regular sized door that closed, it feels much better now!

New roof! These guys removed two old layers of roofing, replaced three sheets of rotted plywood and re-roofed the whole house in about 7 hours. Roofers are amazing. And I LOVE the change!

When I left this afternoon the contractors were about to pressure wash everything from sidewalks to gutters, some damaged wood panelling was coming down in the kitchen, and they were planning to begin painting, though I doubt that happened today. The carport was being removed, but we hit our first bump in the road there. It should have been an easy removal, but the previous owners poured the new concrete parking pad around the existing carport, meaning that removing the bottom support rail will leave a 20' long 2" wide hole in the pad. I'll have to have someone patch the concrete, which was not an expected expense. But we didn't find any rotted joists in the ceiling, so we should still be on budget. 

So- while the progress doesn't make for a very exciting blog post, things are moving smoothly and for the most part on time. The contractor goes on vacation on the 15th and the plan is for everything to be complete by then. Fingers crossed! 

Do you have questions or want me to elaborate on something? I'd be happy to answer, just let me know.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Return of the Mom

It has been over a year since I posted, and we've had several big life changes since then. My latest adventures are drawing quite a bit of attention and I have had several requests for a blog documenting the details for your entertainment. So... I'm back!

Quick update for anyone who doesn't know.. which is who?? I'm not sure. But- for the sake of the blog world, here it is. We live in Tennessee now, thanks to the Army, and could not be happier. We purchased our second home in Adams, another fixer-upper, but the 2.7 acres and stunning hill country views stole our hearts so the house could have been a shack for all we cared. Since we moved in I've done some painting and totally renovated the kitchen, but most of my time has been spent outside. I also got my real estate license and added three hens and two pekin ducks to the family.

The ducks are George and Jemima PuddleDuck and the hens
are Birdie (brown Araucana), Buttercup (Black/white Araucana), and Raven (Black Silver-laced Wyandotte).

Since we sold our first home for a decent profit I've wanted to do it again. We considered flipping the house we are living in, because it does have the right profit margin, but we just love it too much to let it go. So last week, we closed on our first nothing but investment property. I am blessed to have an incredible husband and in-laws who trust me with their money. I looked at more houses than I can count before we closed on this one. Most were wrong for various reasons, one I lost to a bidding war, another I lost to agent errors on the listing side and a stubborn property manager. By the time we had this one under contract I was so jaded I honestly didn't think we would get it- but we did!

She isn't pretty right now. Actually- she's really rough. 1780 sqft, 3 bed/1.5 bath, a full finished basement and a two car garage. But the kitchen and basement are full of mold and the roof is it horrible condition. I see what a house could be when I walk through, and this little lady is a gem. I paid $61,500 and hope to put it back on the market in late June for $129,900. Since I am a Realtor now I only have to count on 6% closing costs, plus the $~20k we are investing to renovate it. If everything goes smoothly we should have a very nice profit at the end and a beautifully renovated happy little house. We closed last Friday, and the mold crew came in Saturday to start demolition and remediation. I ordered cabinets, countertops, and appliances Friday afternoon.

The carport will go, and the second garage will be converted back into a functional garage.

Fresh carpet, primed and painted panelling, and serious mold removal should leave a great bonus room.

This doesn't look terrible, but closer inspection shows water
damage and mold throughout.

That's a lot of mold. But for the age of the house it will be an amazing laundry area!

The house will get a new roof, new paint and flooring, all new cabinets and appliances, new fixtures, and landscaping. This is my quick ipad sketch of what I expect it to look like when we are finished.  I should have pictures with the new roof tomorrow!


Until next time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

When I grow up.

I have a problem. One that has plagued me since about my sophomore year in high school and is one of the major reasons I still do not have a degree despite having enough credits for more than 2 full bachelors. I find passion in almost every aspect of life.

The summer before my senior year I applied for a summer program at an art college in Atlanta, largely to be near my boyfriend who would be spending his summer there. The choices were obscure and didn't suit my interests so I semi-randomly opted for the animation program. As it turned out- I was pretty good at it and the six weeks there won me a scholarship. I fell in love and could imagine nothing better than devoting my life to cartoons- and my dream quickly became Pixar.

Things happened, my art school closed, and I changed schools and majors and eventually quit completely out of frustration.

Then I baked my first pie. It was pumpkin. And it was to die for. Within a matter of months I built a repertoire of wonderful pies, an idea for an all pie restaurant, and a business plan.  I had an investor and a website and was literally days from signing on the building that would be converted into PIE (a late night pie and martini bar). And then my investor backed out and my pie dreams died as quickly as they had been born. Although, someone else has since opened a restaurant in the same area the specializes in exactly the same thing.

My next love was education. I went back to school and yet another place and could think of nothing better than teaching elementary school children. And after a couple of semesters another series of events stopped that also- specifically marrying my army husband and moving to a new state.

Now I am a stay at home mom (by choice) and find myself seized by waves of old aspirations and new ones at least weekly. This week I have seriously considered selling Mary Kay (??) and lusted over a letter from the editor in my lastest edition of Martha. I think I would love working for a magazine- especially Real Simple or Martha. The glossy pages and heavenly weight of each issue fill me with something I cannot begin to explain- something that makes me feel like I belong within them. But other things give me the very same feeling.  Last year my husband and I renovated and sold our first home, and now I pine for the sad soul of every abandoned house I pass. And there have been many more, some long lived and some fleeting, but they all invoke an overwhelming love in the depths of my soul.

I feel like most people try a number of things and eventually find one that moves them and stick with it. But I am different. Broken somehow. Doomed to spend a lifetime trying to decide which wonderful thing I should spend my life doing. For the time being I am quite content to spend my days with my little daughter, but there will come a time when she is in school and my hours are quiet. And what then? What then, my friends??

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Every fourth of July my husbands family rents a condo at the beach for all of us. It used to be Destin, but since we moved to NC, Destin is about a twelve hour drive for us so the trip has been moved to Myrtle Beach. Last year I sat under the tent watching the ocean, feeling extremely self conscious of my (not actually very visible) baby belly, and daydreaming about the baby that would be just old enough to sit up and play in the sand the next time we were there. This year that baby WAS just old enough to sit up and play in the sand, and she completely changed the dynamic of the trip. It was different, and wonderful. And she loved it. Pictures tomorrow!

I was worried about her being uncomfortable with sand all over her- and I read in Real Simple (my favorite magazine of all time, maybe second to Martha) that baby powder makes sand fall off your skin. But pouring and rubbing just wasn't working. So, M and I came up with the idea to make a fabric pouch to fill with powder. Turns out, someone else did too, because there is an entire website devoted to powder pouches. But I made my own, and they worked perfectly!!

Just a rectangular piece of fabric, a piece of Velcro, a little stitching, and POOF! Super great washable, reusable, sand removing powder pouch!
I liked it so much I made one for my mother in law!

I was able to let the baby play in the sand and water, dry her off, and put her in clean clothes (without sand stuck everywhere) all without leaving the beach. Otherwise I would have had to keep her on the blanket until just before we were ready to leave so that she wouldn't have to be all sandy. In case you don't know, sand on a baby anywhere very quickly leads to sand in eyes and lots of crying. But it works great for everyone else too. Keep it in a ziploc bag and leave it in your beach bag until you need it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fresh from the Garden

Well, not my garden, because the last time Hubs and I tried to make a garden I killed every single thing. I don't know how, because I watered and fertilized and everything else I thought would make for a wonderful abundance of fresh veggies, but it was an epic failure. The tomatoes looked like knarly heirlooms (they were BetterBoy- a variety my Nana swears by) and were completely hard and inedible. I had no idea both the broccoli and lettuce were ready for harvest, so I let them get way overgrown, and thus inedible. Cabbage Loopers ate my brussel sprouts and beans. And that was that. Waste of a lot of time an effort and I got nothing.

BUT, yesterday I stopped by a friends house and was gifted with a bag of zucchini, sweet banana peppers, and green tomatoes. Her garden is magnificent. So big and healthy that you have to move giant branches around and hunt for the huge produce. I was amazed, and confused and jealous too. I gave my plants tons of space and tons of support in a fancy raised bed and got terrible results. Her garden is pretty natural- in the ground and growing all over itself and the ground, and absolutely thriving! Now I know.

Anyway, between her amazing veggies and the sandwich loaves I got from the super awesome Sunbeam Outlet (which you can read about here if you missed out), our dinner tonight was almost free! And miiiighty delish!

We had Zucchini Parmesan Subs.  Might not sound so great, but it was. Even my vegetable-hating, meat loving hubs liked them. Sorry the picture quality is absolutely terrible! It was taken to send to my friend as a thank you- but then I ate mine and realized it was wonderful enough to blog about!

So- recipe..sort of. I made it up as I went so it will be lacking in precise measurements. But it's the sort of thing that is up to your tastes anyway.

Cut three zucchini in nice sized strips and toss in a hot skillet with a little oil. You want them to be big enough to feel sort of meaty in the sandwich. I added two small banana peppers, seeded and diced, as well as a little garlic powder, onion powder, and a (very small) dash of cayenne. (Onion powder rocks, btw. I hate chopping onions) When the zucchini starts to get soft, add a tiny can of tomato paste (or pasta sauce if you happen to have a jar open) and some hot sauce. We use Texas Pete, because while I don't really like spicy food, I loooove the flavor it adds and the slight kick if you add just the right amount. You don't want the mixture to be super saucy, just coated well. When it's all coated and the zucchini are the texture you like, scoop a hefty amount into split mini loaves and top with shredded cheese. I used both chedder for sharpness and mozzarella for...because I like it. :)   Wrap them individually in foil and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. The foil wrapper keeps the bread from crisping up too much and makes for really great gooey hot sub. Yum Yum.

Don't cut your loaves all the way through- you want to fill them like a taco shell and keep them open side up to keep everything from falling out. It makes the whole process much easier. Don't cook the zucchini too long. You want them not quite crunchy, but if you over do it they turn to mush and you will have bread full of mush. No good.

Tomato paste is greatly under appreciated I think- I never use a whole can at once so I keep it in a baby food jar in the fridge and find myself tossing a spoonful into all kinds of things. The same with onion powder. Onions add wonderful flavor to almost everything, but chopping them sucks, and so does remembering to use them before they go bad. So- keep a jar of onion powder around for the times when you just don't feel like crying.

Enjoy loves- We sure did!!