Round 1: Nielsen Homestead, circa 1897Round 2: Nielsen Homestead, circa 1996
What a difference almost 100 years makes. We've been in the new house for four and a half weeks now and I have to say, we're really enjoying ourselves. Like I've said before, I love old character that comes along with old homes, however, we feel like we're living in luxury compared to the last place, simply because the new place has amenities that most old homes don't have. You'll see a few photos throughout this post, with a few of my comments.. the good, the bad and the ugly. The designer in me couldn't help but want to draw all over the plain-ness, or should I say, "my new blank canvas."
What we love -
- We're situated on a 1/2 acre, in a subdivision, on a quiet culdesac = score! Here she is... now introducing the new homestead! This photo is a little deceiving... the house's plan is a very spread-out traditional ranch (2,025 square feet + a fully finished basement). We were used to a good amount of space like this, but this time around we're keeping watch that we don't fill it up with too much furniture, junk, etc, just because we have the space. We're all about giving away or selling items we don't need or use.
- Love that big front porch!
- The town is charming, offers authentic food, has a great downtown square, and has everything we need (except Target... but that's only 15 minutes away!). Plus, Danny's commute to work is a quick 2 miles.
- Our neighbors are wonderful, + we already had some friends here and it was great to reunite with them!
- We have a basement = score! (I've mentioned in a previous post that the bedrock in this area is ultra thick and basements are a rare find). The basement was finished in 2011. The space deserves its own future post, but I will say that watching movies will be quite a treat down there.
- No more cast iron plumbing or knob-and-tube wiring... in other words, we're safe here (in the eyes of the resident electrical engineer) and the place is efficient. There are also outlets all over the place, something we didn't know in the last place. The furnace and AC unit was replaced in 2011, as well as a new roof in 2007. At the old place we were constantly monitoring the AC and furnace, and the fireplace wasn't functional, due to needing a new liner. Oh, hopefully there won't be any plumbing lessons needed here either. Cause baby, I got a garbage disposal here too, but this time we have 4" pipes, not 2".
- We now have a dishwasher... *happy dance, cartwheel, fist pump*... the thing makes me beam with joy.
- I got Danny his first grill for our one year anniversary and we really love to grill out. The large rear deck was just refinished shortly before we moved in and there's a covered portion that keeps the grill covered from the elements when not in use. There are also four sets of French doors that lead out to the back patio. Maybe a little excessive, but they do fill the home with great natural light.
- We have four bedrooms and three full bathrooms, including an on-suite with the master. Last home: four bedrooms with 1.5 baths. Having guests over is such a relief now because they have their own space to shower and get ready, and so do we.
- And then there's the formal dining room... for two people who aren't exactly the most formal. Guys, this room is a good example of the rest of the rooms in the home... so dang boring it's not even funny... ... and I could not help but draw all over it for you to get a little slice of what's going on my brain. Bring on the charm! Gimme some o' that wainscot! Crown moulding, get your fine rear in my dining room! It needs so much love and attention. Design plans like this (and more!) are what I plan to continue to share on the blog per room, or whatever the current project is.
- We have an attached garage. Our old garage was detached (as well as a good distance from the house) and grocery unloading was probably the most entertaining part of our neighbors' day. It was like a relay race, and when it was raining or snowing, it was even more of a dash-for-cover kind of relay operation.
- There's a nifty screen apparatus in the garage. To explain it best, it hangs parallel to the floor, but underneath the garage door (when the garage door is open). With the garage open, you slide the screen down and it creates a "screened in garage," if you will. It even has a sliding door in it! It's not nearly as awesome as my grandparents' old screened in porch, but it's a neat feature and I foresee it coming in very handy when mini Nielsens are parading around this place one day. Here's a photo of it (and our garage in disarray after tearing up some carpet. I couldn't take it any longer! We really do park our cars in the garage.). See it up there hanging below the door?
- We're healthier here in two ways. In the most obvious way, we're healthier because we're not exposed to lead based paint, plaster dust, asbestos and the like. Second, we're taking much better care of ourselves here. We've both been able to get back to our regular workout schedules, something that just didn't happen at the old place.
- Last but absolutely not least, we feel safe here. We haven't had the slightest questionable experience and this is the most comforting feeling in the world. We pray it stays this way.
What we don't love -
- There's really not a whole lot to list that can't be changed with good planning and a little elbow grease. We're so thankful for that.
- The exterior architecture of the house is a little different, and has some elements that I really don't care for, but I think an overall sprucing up could go a long way. Something that can't be changed without construction work are the two strange dormers on the roof. There is an attic, but these dormers make it look like it's a second livable story up there... not! The dormers are so random, and when building a house, why be random? Design with good intent and purpose makes more sense, but hey, I assume at the time somebody thought they had a great idea going. Sometimes I imagine a rooster lives up in those dormers.
- The blue shutters and blue front door are so dated + the random ivory trim is wrong in a lot of ways. The exterior window frames and trim were painted this ivory color, meaning they painted right over the actual glossy window frame. For a newer home, I wasn't expecting this. It's a pretty simple fix, but could prove to be a tedious. The porch columns, spindels and trim are painted yet another color, so there are many elements here that need to be streamlined. I love a nice crisp black front door (plus a boxwood wreath!) paired with matching paneled black shutters. I plan to match the window/door trim to the color of the column paint. As you can see, the window and door trim is jumping out so much. The focus here should be the overall facade of the home, not the bright trim color. Trim should recede in perspective and blend with the rest of the home.
- The landscaping is also a little sparse and random. We're thinking we'll attack the exterior elements and landscaping next spring. I also can't wait to get my vintage half moon flags out to deck out that front porch for the Fourth of July.
- Interior design selections made by previous owners were really quite questionable. I've come to the conclusion that this house just hasn't had any personality or style of its own. There were a few attempts, but sadly, they were design fails. Just wait until you see a few of these light fixtures and the paint in the laundry room. It's like a metallic blue-black hole with a random beach house wallpaper border slapped on top at the ceiling. When I walk in there, this is what my face does. EVERY TIME.
This is not something we don't love, butttttt... we already made a paint drop-off to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore. There were 31 gallons + one 5 gallon of paint left in the basement and garage that we really have no interest in (lots of blue of course). I'm so thankful for the Restore being close and so helpful. I met some wonderful people and found a few treasures while there. The previous owner had to cut through drywall to get to shower plumbing in two places, but never covered the holes back up properly. I found two high-end cabinet doors + two pieces of hardware for a total of $9.10. I love it. So, we'll install these doors and always have access to the plumbing if needed, without tearing into drywall. Here's the paint. This looks way too familiar to what we hauled out of the last place. At least these cans were all labeled, versus random "homemade" fertilizer containers.
So that's just an overview of the new place. Lots of cosmetic adventures await us here, but hey, at least there's not a fruit wallpaper border and Longaberger baskets painted on the kitchen walls! I'm excited about the opportunities because there are lots of (easy) new projects for us to conquer to give this place some flavor of our own. The most important difference here is that we can work at our own pace since we know we'll be here awhile, all the while having a life outside of home renovation. Stay tuned for the project successes and even the big fails of our own. They're bound to happen and we'll learn along the way.
Ps. We had our first snow here already in October! It was kind of magical to wake up snow-covered for the first time here (like it is every first snow-fall no matter where you are), but it quickly melted after a few hours. Nonetheless, it was pretty!