Monthly Archives: July 2016

Adventure is Out There

So we moved.


Allow me to introduce you to the R. A. Gray house. Mr. Gray was the longest-serving Secretary of State in Florida history, and he had this house built across the street from the Governor’s mansion in 1928. It was sold after his death and, in 1960, was moved to its present location on the northeast side of town.


Looks great, right?


We were initially outbid on this house, but the winning bidder ran for the hills after they got the inspection back. Every major system in the house needed to be updated – wiring, plumbing, roof, HVAC, foundation.

But on the other hand, the house had beautiful hardwoods, a grand foyer, cut-glass doorknobs, high ceilings, and character.

The house haunted me. We could save this house. We could make it amazing. We can fix this.

Jason, bless him, saw the fevered look in my eyes and agreed to embark on this adventure with me. So we submitted a much lower offer, sold our perfectly adequate, in-good-working-order house, and bought this fixer upper. Then we lit a pile of money on fire in the front yard.

The day after the closing, the electrician got to work. The house had a grand total of zero three-prong outlets, which meant that plugging in anything more powerful than a travel hair dryer was risky. Additionally, the breaker panel was located on the exterior of the house, which just seems like a terrible idea. The wiring they pulled out of our walls looked like it belonged to a nineteenth century electric chair.


But soon we will have an indoor breaker box, and it’s SHINY.


We will also have some drywall to patch.


Because the power has been off in the big house, we’ve been living in the guest house, which was not built in 1928 and which we thought was in good shape.


The sink leaked, the bedroom fan didn’t work, and yesterday water began bubbling up here:


There are many places where water is acceptable in a bathroom, but the base of the toilet is not one of them. Jason took the toilet up, which revealed a previously-broken flange and a poorly-done repair. This was beyond our capacity, tool-wise and knowledge-wise, so we’re calling in professionals.

That sums up our first week of home ownership.






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A (Farewell) House Tour, Part 3

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

It’s almost over.

The packing, the anxiety, the leaving. It’s almost done.

Here’s a picture of the master bedroom from the MLS listing:


And here’s what we did: replaced the carpet with laminate, and painted. We also added a decorative Boston Terrier.


Hollyn & Jensen’s room was a bit bland:


The addition of a cat helped tremendously:


Tyler’s room was a particularly vivid shade of lilac:


Now it’s…. well….. a 12-year-old boy lives there. What do you expect?


And finally, Hazel’s room – which was just a guest room when we moved in.


This is the only room that I get a little choked up about. This is where I rocked my little newborn Hazel to sleep so many nights, where I sang to her and read her stories. Where we got to know each other.


And that’s it. Five years of constant editing, re-arranging, and improving. It’s definitely been a learning experience.

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A (Farewell) House Tour, Part 2

Part 1 here.

Moving inside, because it’s hot as blazes out there.

Inside the house, we’ve replaced all the flooring (except in the bathrooms) and moved the HVAC from the crawlspace to the attic. We also painted. The sitting room is Behr Fashion Gray, and every other living space is Martha Stewart Sisal.

This is our foyer in 2011, before we moved in.


We removed the tile, changed out the front door and light fixture, and accessorized.


The living room circa 2011 was already starting to feel dated, with a high-contrast accent wall.


After using the living room as such for years, we recently flip-flopped our living and dining rooms, with great success. We also added can lights in the ceiling.


The old dining room was petite. Since the house doesn’t have an eat-in kitchen, we used the dining room frequently, and it just wasn’t practical for a family of six.


The old dining room is now a sitting room, home of the octopus chairs.


Next up: the kitchen.


We refinished the cabinets, changed out the counter tops and appliances, and added a tile backsplash and enough undercabinet lights to perform surgery in there.


The family room was perfectly inoffensive in the MLS pictures:


After the fire, we vaulted the ceiling, which made the room feel much bigger. Recently, we created a coffee station in the corner and added some antique furniture. We added the cat in 2013.


The previous owners used the sunroom as an office, which I don’t understand, as there was no AC to the sunroom when we moved in.


The biggest change we made (other than adding a proper roof with AC) was re-vamping the wet bar. I will be sad to leave it.


In the final installment of this series, we’ll check out the bedrooms. See you then!


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