Bullock and I closed on our new house on November 30 and got possession on December 5, but we still haven’t moved into it because we’re totally re-doing the 1980s white melamine kitchen. (Don’t worry — we’ll either recycle the exisiting cabinets as garage or shop cabinets or donate them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.) We’d hoped that that project would have started the construction phase by now, but we’re finally going to get a cost quote from the designer we’re working with on Saturday. Fingers crossed that it fits in our projected budget.
Anyway, though we’re still living in the old house, a lot of our life is now over in the new house in the form of small pieces of furniture and boxes galore, because we’re using the new house to de-clutter the old house to put it on the market. (Yes, that means we currently have two mortgages. How do we afford this? It’s Rust Belt; here two mortgages still don’t add up to one big city mortgage. I kid you not. The dirt cheap real estate was one of the things that attracted me to Rust Belt when I took this job. If there were jobs for you all here, I’d encourage you to move forthwith!) Most of the stuff over at the new house is not stuff that I need right now — for instance, sandals and summer clothes — and I’m starting to think I could do with a lot less stuff in general. At any rate, a de-cluttered house is a pleasant thing. Everything is so neat and tidy!
But we do go over to the new house pretty regularly to check on things or to get some pre-move maintenance accomplished (for example, getting the carpets cleaned). And occasionally I take Pippi over there, to get her used to the house, yard, and neighborhood, so she feels like it’s part of her extended territory, the way she feels about Bullock’s mom’s house. It seems to have worked — she’s pretty chill when we take her over there now.
But it’s weird to inhabit two places at once. I’m eager to move to and *settle* in our new house, but it looks like that won’t happen until *April* now. I feel temporary in the current neighborhood now, but not yet quite part of the new neighborhood. It’s bit like how I felt those last 3-4 months in LA between accepting the job here and leaving LA. And believe me, moving across town here in Rust Belt will almost be as big of a lifestyle change as LA to Rust Belt was, although in the opposite direction. Although our immediate neighborhood of our current house is nice and tidy, there’s a lot around us that’s a bit depressing and a little run-down. The new neighborhood is shinier and spiffier and a whole lot newer — a lot of it didn’t develop until the 1990s. I’m eager to start my life over there, darnit!
Speaking of shinier and spiffier and newer, Bullock and I (well, mostly Bullock) have been updating some things in our current house. Some things we did over last summer for ourselves as much as for any prospective buyers, but a few things were spurred mainly by getting it ready for the market. Of the things we did for ourselves, we finally tore out the god-awful bathroom counter and cabinets in the second floor “guest” bathroom that the previous owners had installed. The damn thing took up fully half of the tiny 1930s bathroom. We replaced it with a scale-appropriate cabinet and sink, painted the walls a pretty gray (they were boring white) to make the 1930s yellow and black trim tiles pop, replaced the lighting fixtures, and painted the oak-framed mirror white to match the window and door trim (and the tiles). We encountered some surprises in tearing out the old cabinets — and as a result had to come up with some unique solutions — but I think the results are great. Here, I’ll show you what I mean with a series of pictures.
We tore all of that sucker out, pretty much all in one piece. Here, take a look:
We were a little less than happy with what we discovered when we tore it all out. We didn’t realized that the plumbing didn’t go through the wall behind the sink or the floor underneath it, as expected. Instead, when the former residents replaced the old pipes with copper pipes, they decided, for some unfathomable reason, to take the pipes to the wall between the bathroom and the hallway, and to punch a giant hole in the wall in the process. Here, let me show you what I mean:
Since we’d bought a small, single cabinet/sink unit, assuming that the pipes went into the floor or maybe the wall behind the sink, this threw a spanner in our works. But Bullock ultimately solved the problem. Pictures will show you more clearly how.
Here’s another view of the solution:
And here are a few more pictures of the finished bathroom, with more views of the gray paint (see, it really makes the yellow pop, don’t you think?), the new fixtures, etc.
I think all together this “remodel” cost under $400 (we got the sink and cabinet all in one at Loews — it’s not the highest end piece of cabinetry ever, of course, but I like its look) but it makes such a difference. I used to *hate* that bathroom, and now I think it’s adorable! And we don’t miss the cabinet/counter space. Despite the size of the old cabinet, there wasn’t that much storage space, and we just decluttered and reorganized the large closet behind the
bathroom bath tub to put stuff there that used to be in the cabinet between the sink and the door.
Our guest bathroom in the new house isn’t as awful as this bathroom once was, but it’s not as cute as our remodel — I’m going to have to do something about that one of these days. I’ll miss this bathroom when we move.