Owning the House

The day we signed the papers and took possession of our house was also the first day Steph saw the house.

So much purple ...

True story.  Honest.

Back in 2003, Steph and I were forced to live apart due to jobs and selling our old house in Cedar Rapids and I had the fun task of doing most the house searching in Decorah.  When I was able to, I sent some pictures back but it wasn’t until the day we signed the papers that we drove by and she got her first In Person look at the house.  She approved.

As some say, “There’s trust and then there’s trust.”

This house suits us.  It’s cozy (i.e. realtor speak for small) but it’s just the two of us plus the dog and cat.  We don’t entertain often but we’ve had parties with upwards of 30 people and everyone fit just fine.  We also don’t have a lot of worldly possessions and the size keeps us in close proximity.  In short, we like it.

That’s not to say it couldn’t be improved.  In the almost nine years we’ve lived here, we’ve made steady improvements.  Most of those were done out of need – the previous owner was a bit eccentric, to put it kindly.  A partial list of what’s been done:

Framework of a Porch
  • Replaced every window in the house (previous owner had glued them shut)
  • Replaced the roof (one layer of shingles, 30+ years old)
  • Painted the house (the neighbors actually thanked us for that)
  • Removed large back window with sliding French doors
  • Added air conditioning (previously had window A/C)
  • Painted counter tops (mix of paint plus 5 layers polyurethane)
  • Replaced front door
  • Added a sun porch
  • Sided the entire house
  • Added gutters
  • Replaced garage roof
  • Laid down a new driveway

All of this has made the house nicer but as I mentioned, most were done out of necessity.  However, in a couple of months we get to start the Big project, aka the Kitchen Remodel.  This is the one that we think will make us feel like we really own the place.

The new sofa. This will fit nicely in the kitchen.

On Friday, we’ll receive the first piece of the remodel – the new sofa.

Yes, I can hear you now – “Wait, didn’t you say Kitchen Remodel?  How the heck does a sofa fit into the kitchen?”

Well, it’s simple really – we started out with a simple remodeling of the kitchen.  It was all the stuff that Steph’s been dreaming of.  Quartz counter tops, new cabinets, a new sink, garbage disposal, dishwasher (I’ve washed dishes by hand for 8+ years, this is a big deal), a better stove, and under counter lights.

Then we decided on new flooring (bamboo, for the green factor) but due to the way the house is laid out, we discovered that doing just the kitchen would make the rest of the place look odd.  So we expanded out into the hallway and living room.  With that comes floor boards and the realization that none of our existing doors matched so all the doors in the house are being replaced.  And of course, the old sofa just didn’t look right with bamboo floors.  So it had to go out the door.

So you can see how these things spiral out of control.  Ironically, we have yet to pick out the new stove for the kitchen which you’d think would be the first thing we would have picked out.  But hey, whatever works.  Short of carpet in the bedroom and office and the floor in the bathroom, nothing in the house will be original following this remodel. It might have taken a while, but it’ll be nice to make this house a home.

There's snow place like home.