Thursday, September 3, 2015

House Hunting

I went hunting this spring. It was grueling, hard work, and kind of traumatic.

Photograph by Hillary Maybery, Source

No, not this kind of hunting (although isn't that a gorgeous picture of girl power and horses?). My hubby, the Chef, and I went house hunting. Our first little Love Nest sold within days of putting it on the market. And while we included a contingency provision in the contract, that we could possibly stay in our old house longer if we couldn't find a new house, we were determined to move as soon as possible. 

If you live in Colorado, or have heard any of the reports about the housing market in Denver this year, its been insane, and has hit record highs. Denver was the hottest market in the nation this summer, with Boulder ranked 13th..
The market in Colorado story shows the resilience and diversified nature of the states’ economies despite the declines in oil... Denver is experiencing substantial economic growth, and the tight supply of housing is resulting in the fastest-moving inventory in the country. (source)
An insanely hot market was awesome to sell in. A bit more challenging to buy in. 

To say the least. 

But since we weren't looking in Denver proper, but in some of the northern suburbs, I figured we'd be ok. And in a naive way, I thought since our price point for houses was larger than that of general first time home buyers we wouldn't have the competition.

I was wrong on both counts. 

Numerous houses we looked at were sold the first day they were listed. In fact one house I was trying to convince myself to like since it was in a great location went under contract while we were still in the garage debating the merits. 

This was the first house we put an official offer on, the Indian Paintbrush House:
It was so pretty. It was decorated like a beach cottage and had incredible views of the Front Range from the walk out basement. It was next to a golf course. It was stunning. The kitchen needed work, but the 5 bedrooms, finished basement, and the play area made up for it.

It was a bit over priced and a touch out of our budget, and since it had been on the market since the first of February, we made the best offer we could and hoped that they would come down a bit. The realtor and/or the sellers kind of jerked us around about the price for a while, before ultimately rejecting our offer. The reason they gave? It wasn't enough for them to build a new house in Boulder with. I'm sorry, building a new house in Boulder will cost upwards of $1 mill... way more than what they were selling this house for. The 20K difference between our offer and their asking price would not keep them from building.

I'm petty enough to take joy in the fact that they never sold the house and ultimately took it off the market. I'm sorry, but there it is. Pettiness, thy name is Amy.

Losing that Indian Paintbrush House was a tough pill to swallow, but we were determined, so we kept looking at houses.

This was the second house we fell in love with and put an offer on, the Ranch House:
This ranch had a full finished basement with a kitchen, two bedrooms, sewing room, and huge pantry -- in the basement! My husband fell in love with the idea of two kitchens. I fell in love with the idea of having an office upstairs and my own sewing room downstairs.

This house too was a bit over priced, but we offered all that we could for it. The sellers accepted another offer that was $500 over ours. Ouch. But despite my sadness, I was happy I wouldn't have to live with the oak cupboards a grandma installed in the kitchen.

Just hours after losing the large ranch house above, we went to look at this house, the Red House:
This house was smaller, but in the neighborhood we wanted, closer to Boulder and Louisville. An awesome preschool was in the neighborhood, and the subdivision was surrounded by farms. The house was listed that morning, and we offered $20K over asking price, and added an escalating clause stating we would beat the best offer by $2K. The seller rejected our offer, as he accepted a different offer (a cash offer). Who can buy a house like this for cash? It was crazy.

A bit defeated at this point, we went looking for houses again. Two more were listed Thursday night, and we were determined to look at them before they sold. This house, below, was on the same street as House #2 above, so we already knew we liked the neighborhood.

Sad House
The house description said:
Beautiful Floor Plan With 4 Beds And 4 Baths. Grand Entrance With Curved Staircase. Main Floor Office With French Doors. The Kitchen Features A Double Oven, Center Island, An Abundance Of Cabinets, Walk In Pantry And Stainless Appliance. The Family Room Is Off The Kitchen And Features A Gas Fireplace. The Master Suite Has A 5 Piece Bath And Walk In Closet. En Suite Secondary Bedroom With Large Closet. Covered Patio And Sprinkler System. There Is Plenty Of Room In This Home For Family And Entertaining.
But it didn't say: This house was built in 2009 and is very sad. 4 bedrooms, but only one person lives here full time. The owner sleeps in a small bedroom without furniture, and her daughter looks like she just moved in out of her dorm room. Two or three cats and a large dog had made their mark on the house-- the pets seemed to be the only ones living in this house.

Barren walls, no furniture-- this house didn't look staged, it looked sad.

The house went on the market at midnight. We put in an offer at 5 p.m. The owner accepted our offer at 11:00 p.m. that night.

The sad house is now our dream house... and we just need a bit of elbow grease and love to make it our dream home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Life ain't easy

I saw this and thought I'd share it.

In so many ways I'm learning more and more about faith right now. Faith that God is working everything out for the good. In so many ways I just need to trust Him with my career, my family, my finances, my marriage... the list could keep going on and on.

I've been struggling with the idea that my family may just consist of the three of us- my husband, son and I. I'd love to expand our family and have more children, but my timing does not seem to be God's timing.

In what areas of your life are you needing more faith right now? 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Selling the Nest (hold on while I sob)

If you occasionally read or stop by my website you'll notice its been pretty silent recently. I've been struggling to figure out a balance between lawyer and blogger. I don't want to write about my work. But, the same way, so much of my life revolves around my career as an attorney. My blog used to be dedicated to the whole struggling law student / full time mom life, but I'm not in law school anymore. Anyway, my blog has been languishing, and I love it so much I don't want to let it go. 

So, I'm throwing my hat backing to the blogging world. Hello!

This March we decided to put our house, our Nest, up on the market and see what happened. Well, we staged the house, packed a lot of things up and put them into storage. We went out of town to see my parents, and listed it on Thursday morning, stating we wouldn't accept offers until Monday at noon. 

Well, over the long weekend we had over 80 showings.


By Monday we had numerous offers. We accepted one, for $15K over our asking price. Crazy. 
That offer eventually fell through, so we accepted on for $20K over our asking price. Pinch me. It wasn't all smooth sailing, the buyer had a VA loan so we ended up having to come down a bit, but still, God blessed us immeasurably as we lived in this house for 6 1/2 years and made a great deal of equity on the our first home. 

This is  was our home. We bought the Nest in 2008 (see before pictures here). This was our first home, and I love, love, loved it. 
We repainted the house, outside before and after pictures here.

 The kitchen in the Nest was tiny, and because we bought the biggest dining table known to man, we had this little nook, which should have been the breakfast nook, by the kitchen. These pictures are all staging pictures, so we took out the comfy sofa and bookshelf, as this nook really became the lounge where I (and all guests) would sit and drink wine while we watched the chef cook.

 Before and after pictures of the kitchen paint colors are here, and here.  These pictures of the kitchen are so gleaming and sparkly, but I'm not sure they convey how TINY this kitchen is. And I'm married to a Chef. We have every kitchen appliance/gismo/thingy known to man, plus 4 sets of dishes! I can't say I'll miss the kitchen very much.

 The living room, with the fabulous blue walls that I love. I didn't paint these walls, and miss the color now that we don't live here any longer.
 But notice how open, bright and sunny the house is? And clean! It literally was sparkling. It, of course, never looked quite that good while we were living there.
 The powder bath on the main level
I did major landscaping. Thank you Grandma Marge for teaching me about gardening! And with my ranch girl upbringing I didn't hesitate to think I shouldn't dig up the front yard with a shovel and rake in order to put in a lawn. Thankfully, my husband took pity on my and bought me a tiller to work up the rest of the lawn. Here is a post with before and after pictures of the house; and here

 My blackberry patch was starting to produce, as well as my asparagus patch and rhubarb plants. Sniff... ok, I'm starting to miss the house more as I type this. I'm not going to even mention my roses.
 A picture of my HUGE garden space.
 And a view from the back of our house looking at the greenbelt leading to the park to the east.
 And a view of the mountains from our backyard. I'm starting to get a little weepy here, so I'll just put the rest of the pictures of the house up too... no more running commentary.

 Below is our reading nook in the master bedroom.

 Our TINY master bathroom. Ok, I don't miss this at all.

Wow, that's a lot of pictures, isn't it!? 

So we sold our house in one weekend, but then realized we were living in the hottest real estate market in the country, now all we had to do is find another house to buy. Easy peasy, right? 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Busy busy busy

Its March 2015, which means exactly a year ago I was still recovering from taking the Colorado Bar Exam. I survived it, and passed it, and have been gainfully employed as an attorney since July. Somehow, back then, I imagined that just working full time as a lawyer would be less insanely busy than working full time and going to law school at night. How foolish I was. 

My creative side hasn't been sitting quiet though, and I am thrilled when I can sneak away from my four year old Baby Buckaroo and go sew.

Stay tuned, new baby quilts hitting my Etsy store soon! I'm finishing up descriptions and will post photos soon!

Friday, January 16, 2015

One Block Wonder

I love fabric.
I love creating beauty. 

This quilt is hands down my favorite quilt I've ever done. 

The One Block Wonder is made of tiny triangles of fabric. It looks so intimidating, but Maxine Rosenthal, who designed this quilt, makes the process so enjoyable. 

Cutting was fun, (link to blog post with more pics) but I love eating my breakfast and looking up at this quilt hanging over our dining and just feel so satisfied and thrilled that it came out the way it did. 

I saw a sample one block wonder quilt hanging on the wall in a quilt store and was so intrigued by the pattern and the visual effect that I called in sick to work in order to take the 6 hour workshop to make this. Yes, I'll admit it, I played hooky. 

It took just one day to cut out all of the fabric and start making it. One day, but hours and hours afterwards to sew the little hexagons and arrange them to make this pattern. I still think that the time was worth it. 

Ok, here is where I ask for some interaction. 

What was your favorite quilt/project you've ever done? 


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