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The Real Estate of Things

This category features a few home lovin’ habits that Sarah and Betsy can’t shake. From cruising through town for a little game of “Know Your Neighborhood,” you know, the one where you roll slowly past and soak in as much detail about the trim and paint colors as is possible without pulling into the drive and totally freaking out your neighbors… to lusting after attractive real estate opportunities via “Estate Envy” to the occasional “House Hunting” diary that accompanies the search before a big move. Fellow home lovers should follow along for a look into the latest lust worthy homes that these girls are unearthing.

House Hunting: It’s DONE Y’all

Now that the house purchase is complete, we will happily be bringing the HOUSE HUNTING series to a close.
(… until Sarah decides to move again, which could happen any minute knowing her crew.)

But as for us, let’s have a cheer since we are donezo! I’ve never been more grateful.

The news came in last Friday that we officially closed (10 days and ten thousand headaches beyond our contract close date.) We were pulled through the mire a bit on the nuances of lending protocol, so it was hard to feel anything more than mere relief. The champagne is still chillin’ in the fridge.

Thank God for our real estate agent, Joyce Gottlieb though, who I can’t recommend enough. She was super savvy and tough as nails on hard core sellers and less than stellar funding agents. God bless her! I wish I could buy 50 more houses with her.

So, here we are! We own a home, and it’s literally a fairytale of an entrance. It’s like the Southern California version of the little cottage in the woods that lured Hansel and Gretel. Though I promise I won’t be tossing any children into cauldrons up in here.

storybook front entry

In slightly anti-climatic news, we agreed to allow the sellers to remain in the home for an expressed 30 day period after the closing. We heard that we may have access as soon as next Friday. Fingers are crossed for that, since I’m chomping at the bit to get inside and I’ve already purchased a gigantic piece of rattan furniture (a total wacko thrift store score cause that’s how I roll) for some of the SoCal style that this home calls for.

I can’t wait to style the newest batch of TEOT Pillows on it.

Until then, I have upwards of 200 cellphone photos to pour through, but I cannot WAIT to get inside the emptied out version of our new home, devoid of the Safari-luxe style of the sellers, and onto a blank canvas. I’m starting to brainstorm a bit, and so far my fantasies are a bit unbridled. Dude already said no to a swinging hammock in the Sunroom. Please let his mind be changed.

This is the future hammock room. Upon close inspection, I realized that this room has been sponge painted… and it made me laugh because it’s hideous and horrible and just weeks ago I was trying to convince everyone that this faux finish deserved a new reputation. I still believe it needs a new approach.

Sunroom at shaniqua

Sunroom at shaniqua 2

But for this room, I’m contemplating paying some homage to my southern roots, and painting that beadboard ceiling a plantation porch blue, as seen here.

Of course, I don’t even know what we will put in this room if not a hammock. It will take some living in this house for sure, to see how we spread into these spaces. We clearly do not need multiple dining tables as the current homeowners have. Boy, I can’t wait to open all of those windows and capture the ocean breeze as it creeps up the canyon! We’re only 3 blocks from the Pacific Ocean!

Another space that I’m all geeked about, besides the dudebar that I shared with you last week, is the art studio. I’m not sure how this coin landed on heads, but Heffe volunteers up this extra space that was carved out behind the garage to me and his sweet daughter, my right hand / partner in artistic crime, for our studio. Again, once we start living, we’ll see what the living brings… but I’m thinking this is TEOT headquarters for sure, especially since the demand for more pillow inventory is upon us. Can’t wait to build out some storage shelving, a little spot for photography and of course a desk and inspiration board to tack up all my fancies. One day, we’ may even carve out a spot for a pottery wheel. #dreamsarefree

shaniqua art studio

art studio 1

Maybe we’ll get adventurous and take a sledgehammer to that bathroom too!

The short story version of this home, and how we were able to snag it in this redonk market is that it has some structural issues that were scaring buyers away left and right. The sellers had been under contract more than a handful of times and each time the deal got away from them when the buyers discovered undisclosed information about some settling that has occurred over the past 50 years.

By the time we came along, the seller’s agent was shoving engineer’s reports and buyer inspections into our hands at the mere mention of possibility. You may recall that I started swooning and acting like a maniac over this home back in Feb. I practically tricked Jeff into going to see it since it was listed as a 2br and we needed no less than 3 for our fam situation.

Between the fact that the home was falling down a hill and its lack of legit bedrooms (despite its rather large footprint) we wrote it off.

But we just kept coming back to it, and as born witness on this very blog, we had a heck of a time competing with all cash buyers on every other house that we put a bid in on. So, along with our genius agent, we submitted an intent to purchase at a price that we felt accommodated the worth of the home taking into account the massive repairs it warranted. So basically, we got what we felt like was a deal, and they finally got to sell their house, albeit not for what they thought it was worth. We had several consultations with structural and geological engineers, and all of the reports were studied until we found some peace in the risk of buying a home that is settling into the ground. And we went for it.

Anywhozitz, that is behind us! YAY.

Here is a look from the master into what was once a third bedroom. The seller had converted it into the mister’s dressing room and office by opening the wall with an arch. We feel that we can easily close this up and bring the hallway door towards us to reclaim that space for one of Heffe’s youngins. Word on the street is that this will be an Xbox dungeon for gamers only. I can’t wait to find out if I’m going to have to walk by closed doors, or if we will be able to satisfy the carnal need for Call of Duty decor without compromising aesthetic palpability. We shall see.

rustic-midcentury-renovation

There will also be a struggle with the built-ins, and I would love to hear your opinion. Part of me wants to remove them completely. They are uber traditional in stature , and they are taking up the only good portion of wall that we have in the whole living room. Meanwhile, our only choice for mounting the largest tv of all time is either within the shelves of this monster, on the fireplace (where there is currently no mantle) orrrrr we have discussed a hidden screen/projector combo.

built ins at shaniqua

This is the room it sits in.

living room silver spring

shaniqua-living-room-bookshelves

This post has grown so long, I won’t launch into the landscaping and my dire hopes to claim some access from the garage into the foyer, nor will I bore you just yet with manometer readings and what a settling house on the terraces of the Pacific Palisades really means for the structural stability of this home if we indeed ever get rain again here in Southern California. We’ll talk about that another day, I’m sure!

But thank you so much for bearing with me and for allowing me to relish in this excitement. It’s truly an unbelievable house and I’m so excited to see how the dude, the homies and I turn it into our home! <3

For more pics of the home, see SILVER SPRING & DON’T JINX IT.

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House Hunting: Don’t Jinx It

storybook front entry

I’ve gone a little silent on the House Hunting front for a bit. I think that the dude wants me to keep quiet about it, in case something terrible happens, but WE ARE IN ESCROW.

My fantasy home with the blue window panes is our home!

Holy crap, I can’t believe it. I will be sure to do some storytelling as we get settled, but this is where we ended up! We’re pushing paper and giving the homeowners time to get packed up and moved out!

It’s so close that I can taste it.

gate and birds of paradise

perfectly framed bonus space in kitchen

patio

love the blue windows

living room silver spring

 

UPDATE: This House Hunt DONE Y’all.

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Before & After: A Split-level Remodel

Some neighborhood friends recently put their sweet split-level home on the market. It’s not everyday that people put “sweet” and “split-level” together in a sentence but that’s just one of the words you could use to describe Sean and Claire’s renovation of their house in downtown Southern Pines.

Built in 1962, the house was dated and unkept with zero curb appeal. Sean and Claire painted the exterior, added outdoor living spaces, upgraded the landscape and gave the house a fresh, modern look.

Splitlevel Remodel Before & After

Sean has a little bit of a leg up on the yard improvements because he runs his own landscaping company Butler Constructs.
splitlevel path

 

Although Sean is the landscaper by profession, the planting beds were a labor of love for his wife Claire. Claire also put the planters together combining ferns, caladium and white impatiens to maximize curb appeal and make the entries more inviting.

 

splitlevel front door

Sean added some smaller architectural features that collectively make a big impact like the trellis over the lower level entry, new doors, added windows. The couple also made a lot of improvement to  the deck and screened porch area on the right side of the house including adding horizontal boards and wire railing to keep consistent with a modern, updated look.

 

splitlevel basement door2

 

A simple arrangement of Oleander and moss is planted in a terra cotta bowl outside the downstairs entry.

splitlevel basement door

 

Love the look of Sean and Claire’s updated split-level, here’s how to get it,

Get the Look Updated splitlevel

 

Industrial outdoor wall light / Green glazed planters / Wood Craftsman Exterior Door / Emtek Baden Handleset/ Avalon House Numbers

 

 

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House Hunting: The Renovation that Never Shall Be

Are we all getting bored of this house hunt yet? Lord knows I am.

The last offer was void of the normal adrenaline rush. I mean, it’s always a roller coaster, and believe me — when the news came in that we had lost, again (to all cash offers, again) there was a reaction that bordered on intense…

Suffice to say, we’re over it. With this home on el Hito, we wanted the house hunt to be done. With each offer – we feel less and less emotion about the actual house and more and more emotion about the damn pursuit just being over, so that we can get to the part where we are living, cooking,  training a puppy, organizing a garage, and setting up our play areas.

So, we didn’t get it and there was some frustration, but then we immediately bounced back and moved along, and we just keep going back to the faith that what is meant to be will be. Perhaps there is still hope for my blue paned fantasy home.

At any rate, during the time between when we put in our offer and when we found out that we didn’t get the home – I started to brainstorm the renovation that would be needed. Here is the inspiration board that came together.

El-Hito-Renovation-Inspiration

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The New Girl pumps and dumps our beloved Ruffalo Home

If you are new to these parts let me tell ya’ that Sarah and I blog about a particular home that actor Mark Ruffalo once owned. It was wickedly appointed with a timeless mix of boho eclectables layered upon a strong platform built with traditional pieces. We would later come to understand the broad strokes by design house and retailer Nickey Kehoe. The home has been a continued source of inspiration and a reference for my living room and Sarah’s girls rooms.

Anywayz. We learned through our friend and spirited supporter Heather that the ever twee mother of mass man hipsterdom, Zoey Deschanel is selling her Hollywood estate and lo and behold it’s the Ruffalo Casita.

It is really fun to see the same bones but with bad decor choices. If that sounds like something you’d be into, have a looksee here

ruffalo kitchen comparison

Sarah and I had a spirited text convo about the kitchen renovation.

I think we agreed it was architecturally sound, but maybe the use of color was of questionable taste, here and in the sitting room. While navy is most definitely a good thing right now, those navy cabinets are fleeting and too strong for that sunny CA kitchen.

I was very firmly against the choice of rugs – but then we wondered if Zooey was all moved out and it was likely just poorly staged.

ruffalo living comparison

Besides the kitchen our favorite comparison has got to be the master bedroom, Nickey Kehoe’s design is far superior to this overly feminine, yellow and grey business complete with accent wall.

ruffalo bedroom comparison

 

That house is situated in the heat of Hollywood residential. It’s not a neighborhood that the dude and I are interested in living in, Sarah really wanted us to consider. But I’d LOVE that half acre with its guest house, it looks really inviting and private.

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House Hunting: It Goes On and On and On

Remember that house I said we could flip… the one that I said I felt little emotion over. I could live there or not… 

Well, we threw our hat into the ring with an offer. It’s not very much unlike the other home on the same street that we recently put an offer in on. It’s missing a few features, namely the larger corner lot – but it also has a few characteristics that we prefer.

Interestingly, despite the similarities, this home scored pretty low on our scoresheet system. Transitioning from “meh” to brainstorm mode has been interesting. I went to view the home a second time and it was great to get a bit more time inside to wrap my head around the space. The homeowner has lived there since the home was built over 40 years ago. It’s in pristine shape but her touches from 90s are a little distracting.

The upside in all of this is that we’ll have a fun renovation to follow here on the blog if we can land the deal. So, here we go again, with fingers crossed.

Here is what she looks like.

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