After two weeks of being in the house I’ve finally made it to the point where I can breathe a little at night and do something other than clean/unpack. I still have plenty of that to do, but it’s getting better slowly.  I’ve decided to do a bottom up review of the house so that has us starting with a tour of the basement! I’m sure some of you (ahem, Joan…) were starting to think I’d never actually get any pictures up! Without any further ado… our basement.  I’ll start with pictures from the day after we moved in and then show you the progress (even though its only a little) that we’ve made in the past two weeks.
The sellers left this glorious couch for us in the living room. I didn’t actually touch it or look at it closely and just told the boys to put it in the basement when we were moving our stuff in and figured we’d throw a sheet over it or something for a while.  Or not… we found a mouse trap in it.  And as you can see its pretty grody.  It only lasted 3 days down there.

One thing we really like about the basement is that there’s a finished area and an unfinished area. I actually am not a huge fan of the closets in the finished area just because I think they’re in strange places and they make the room more narrow. Getting rid of the closets on either side would give us another 4 feet or so of with on the room but we’ll see if we ever get around to moving them.

Montana found the weight system on Craigslist a few weeks before we moved and convinced the seller to keep it for us until we moved.  I gave Montana a hard time about the fact that it was the first thing to get set up in the house, but I have to give him credit for actually using it everyday since we’ve moved in. (He’s in love.)  We put our second TV down there so that I can use it for Wii Fit or my workout DVDs… I swear I’m going to actually use them. Also, I can watch my shows on the “main” TV in the living room while they boys do their video game thing in their playroom. 🙂

Our unfinished area has a good amount of space for storage and they left a bunch of plastic cabinets for organizing which is great. Unfortunately most of our stuff is still a mess but we’re working on it slowly. I love that we have a huge workbench down there already although eventually when we enclose the carport into a garage I can see us moving the workbench to the garage.

Samson is still getting used to the basement. He was a little afraid to go down there at first but now he comes down for a minute or two to say hi before racing back up the stairs to the safe kitchen.
Here’s our little bit of progress over the past two weeks.
Next up, main floor tour!

You know those Friday’s when you just can’t wait to get home because you have a whole weekend of productivity planned? Then everything falls apart and Sunday night you stand brushing your teeth looking in the mirror asking yourself if you accomplished anything over those 48 hours.  Sometimes not punching a wall is accomplishment enough, right?

The couple we bought our house from left us some awesome stuff including tools, fans, a chest freezer, some wooden desks and barstools.  Some of those things needed to be moved around a bit though so we could get the most use out of them.  For example, the deep freeze is in the storage shed at the back of our carport, and it was hard to reach more than the right 3rd of it because it was blocked by the wall. Our basement is huge and has a nice space in the unfinished area where the freezer would fit perfectly and then we could reach everything inside, as well as create a space in the shed for my bike to live.

I got home from work on Friday and Montana told me that he and David had a little more trouble moving the freezer than had anticipated. In fact they had to take it apart and still accidently knocked off the temperature regulator on the way down the basement stairs.  So now our incredibly heavy freezer was in the basement and broken. Nice. Oh well, these things happen.

Saturday I woke up planning to run a few errands and have the afternoon for cleaning and unpacking the house.  Two years ago my friend Jess gave us her papasan chair, which we decided to put in the basement where we needed 2 chairs(it’s the boy’s playroom).  It’s perfect because it’s easy to move around and super comfortable.   We had a cream cushion for it but after using it on the balcony at the condo it got moldy and we had to throw it away.  Easy enough, I figured I’d just buy another cushion for it from Pier 1. I found another papasan chair with a cream cushion like I wanted on craigslist for $60.  Not an amazing price, since they are about $150-$200 new, but they seemed to go pretty fast on craigslist and so I was just happy to be the first person to email about one. I was supposed to be in DC sometime after 1030 to pick up the chair.

As I was grabbing my coffee to leave, the tree service that we had briefly talked to the weekend we were moving in (they were doing work in our neighbor’s yard) stopped by to talk to us about the trees we wanted removed.  We spent about a half an hour with the woman talking about what we wanted removed and she gave us an estimate that was significant to say the least.  I knew it would be a lot but it was a few thousand more than the “alot” that I was already figuring it was going to cost.  Kind of a bummer.

As we finally were saying goodbye to her Sleep Number showed up with our new mattress. Yay! I left them with Montana to set it up and headed to get the chair. (More on this to come.)

Now normally I am a research, research, research person before I buy anything.   After I picked up our “new” old papasan with the cream cushion, I found out that neither Pier 1 or World Market, or anyone that I can find sells them anymore in cream canvas. Major Fail. (Apparently you can special order the cushions online for $99. boo)  All I could find in a store was fuzzy bright colors. Hello! It’s SUMMER. Who wants to buy a fuzzy cushion? This is still something I haven’t quite solved. Mom, if you’re reading this you might be getting a request soon to sew me a cover for a cushion. 🙂

When I got home to unload the chair and pick up extra uhaul boxes to return, Montana informed me that our printer wasn’t working and he needed to print stuff for school before Monday.  I troubleshot it for a few minutes before giving up and just telling him I would go buy a new one since spending time on a printer wasn’t high on my priority list.

The first uhaul I went to was apparently a dealer not a “center” so they didn’t take back boxes. Lame. I had to drive another 7 miles away (that’s really far when it’s through town) to find the only “center” in our area. Then I realized that the only office supply store (we prefer Staples) was all the way in Springfield unless I wanted to backtrack to the house and a few miles past again. UGH!!!!  Thankfully the new printer I picked out, an Epson Artisan 837, was on sale. After I finally got home and we had some dinner Montana realized he needed batteries for his graphing calculator.  Lets just say that I spent WAY more time in my car than I wanted to on Saturday.

Sunday, Montana thought he had halfway solved the problem with our old printer so I spent 6 hours trying to get it to work. After I finally gave up again Montana spent an hour trying to hook it up through his computer. (He has this theory that PC does everything better than Apple. LOL. I have the opposite theory.)  By 9pm Sunday we still couldn’t get it to work so I plugged in the new printer.  When you consider the value of our time we paid for the more than twice the “cost” of the new printer. Bollocks.

Samson had a bummer weekend too because it rained all day Sunday and he had to stay inside. Sad puppy.

Sad Samson

Don’t worry! It’s not all doom and gloom around here. Things were looking up this week with some exciting new additions to the house! More on that soon!

Move-In weekend I dutifully took pictures of every room of the house along with the front and back yard. I figured since we were able to finish moving in on Saturday (two whole days earlier than planned!), we’d finish cleaning the carpet at the old condo on Sunday and start unpacking. And, since I’d planned to take off Monday already, we’d have a whole extra day in which we were sure to be mostly unpacked.

Then we realized we had poison ivy in the yard, so off to Lowes we went to get round-up.  Of course while we were there we also needed to get a lawnmower and weed-eater (there must be a technical name for that…) since the previous owners hadn’t kept the yard up since we put in our offer and we didn’t want to be “those people” on the block even if we had just moved in.  The boys ended up spending afternoon Sunday and all day Monday spraying the ivy and moving the lawn/weeds in the rest of the yard.  Samson played in his pool.

Men at Work: Montana & David

I decided to tackle the kitchen unpacking first. Too bad the kitchen needed a few hours of scrubbing grease off the cabinets and vacuuming crumbs and wiping down the inside of drawers. Did I say hours? My bad, what I meant was that I spent a good 8 hours on Monday, then every night Tuesday-Thursday as soon as I got home from work until Midnight scrubbing the kitchen. The grout was no joke black when I started.

Grout Before

First, I tried dish soap, baking soda and warm water, then 409, then bleach which I let sit for about a half hour. It’s no longer black, and I know its “clean” but it’s still not pretty or cream-colored like its supposed to be.

Grout After

Anyone have an amazing secret for cleaning grout that I haven’t tried?


This weekend was insane. I actually started writing all about it but along with the theme of the weekend “everything that can go wrong will” the page refreshed before I had saved it and its gone. Bwah. I’ll rewrite it soon!

…Unless you’re a stranger/wierdo/crazy in which case we’ll have a great door lock to keep you out. While we plan on changing out all the knobs throughout the house eventually we’re starting with the essentials first, the front door and carport door. Who knows how many randos have keys to our current locks? We considered calling a locksmith to just re-key the locks for us, but why pay for new keys when your hardware looks like this:


Old Front Door Lock


Old Carport Lock

Picking out locks turned out a bit harder than expected. Based on recent reviews by some of my fav bloggers such as Katie (Bower Power) and Michelle (Decor and the Dog) I was ready to walk into home depot, pick out some oil rubbed bronze Kwickset locks and be on my way.

We knew we needed a handleset for the front door and we planned on getting one of those fancy schmancy keypad deadbolts for the carport door. Keypad deadbolts are a bit more (around $50 – $80 more than a standard deadbolt) but its soooo nice to not have to take keys with you running or to be able to type your pin in when you forget your keys inside. When I bought my car 2 years ago I thought the keypad lock was a cute feature but have come to LOVE the extra convenience of being able to just punch my pin in the door when I can’t find my keys in the bottom of my slightly too large purse.

The first bump in the road came when the dear hubs voiced his distaste for the ORB finish. Say what? Apparently he prefers satin nickel. After spending a good half hour looking at Kwikset, Baldwin and Schlage locks I noticed that the ORB finish on the hardware across all brands seemed a little more expensive and there was an inconsistent finish across different types of knobs/levers that we will need to buy later on for the house. Satin Nickel wins.

The second bump was a bigger bummer. Although I really liked that you can easily re-key your own Kwikset locks, the inside half of their keypad deadbolt is…wait for it…. PLASTIC. What the heck???? No thank you! So instead of the slightly cheaper Kwikset deadbolt we decided to go with the Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt. This lock is solid metal and weighs over 5 pounds. Oh, did I mention it’s also a Consumer’s Digest Best Buy?

Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt

While the rest of the Kwikset locks and knobs looked like they were good quality, Schlage keys are bigger so the only way to have a single set of keys was to go with another Schlage lock for the front door. We settled on the Schlage Camelot Handleset for the outside.

Schlage Camelot Handleset

For the inside of the door (and eventually the rest of the house) we like the Schlage Flair Lever.


Schlage Flair Interior Handleset

Now we just have to wait for them to arrive!

I’m Anne! You know that friend we all have who can’t stop talking about their new crush or how much they hate their job? Well, I can be equally obsessive about everything regarding real estate and DIY home improvement. This blog will hopefully be a fulfilling creative outlet and place for me to generally “channel my crazy.” Let me explain.

In March of 2011, one of my best friends set me the following email:

From: Shira
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 1:10 PM
Subject: This will be your new favorite site
To: Anne

New favorite site? Understatement of the year! I had no idea people blogged about home improvement and home decor! Of course reading a blog is like pulling the thread on a sweater, you just keep finding more and more to read.

For the past year I’ve been loyally following over 100 decor blogs via google reader (yes, I know I have a problem). However, my hubs, Montana, and I have been renting a one bedroom condo that we share our baby pup and bun buns. It’s just a weeee bit crowded, so I’ve been squirreling away all that inspiration from blogs to my pinterest waiting for the magical day when we would finally save enough money to buy our own home with space! We finally did it! My crazy is about to be unleashed!

Montana and I just bought our first home, a 40 year old Colonial in Alexandria, Virginia. After over a year of religiously checking online listings in our price range that fit our list of “must-haves,” we found a house that more than exceeded our wildest dreams. There’s still PLENTY that I already want to change about it, but it has a great layout and tons of potential.

We’re moving in April 16th!