...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Not sure why, but some people are anxiously awaiting pics of our apartment.  In case you missed it, here’s the floor plan…

With tons of help from some family and friends {thank you!}, this past weekend we were able to move almost all of our stuff that is making the move to the apartment.  I’m so lucky to have ties to a few strong men!  After moving a laundry washer and dryer {not to mention a bunch of other stuff} up THREE flights of stairs, those men can bring me their dirty laundry any time and I’ll wash it up for free.  We were also able to unload a bunch of furniture that’s not making the apartment/Underdog cut via Craigslist.  I had every intention of linking to our items for sale here on House*Tweaking but nearly 90% of it was gone in less than 24 hours!  I am relieved to have this whole moving process underway and am starting to see the light {although it may be fluorescent thanks to our interim housing} at the end of this whole for-sale-by-owner/moving-to-an-apartment-for-a-few-months escapade.  I’m living day to day for the next couple of weeks then hopefully we’ll have settled into a new place and new routine.

And here’s the new place where the new routine will be happening…

This is the view into the living room from the front door.  As you can see, it has vaulted ceilings and sliders leading to a balcony.  I’ve got to find some way of making those sliders childproof because I wouldn’t trust my kiddos out there for one second.  If anyone has an idea please share!

Here’s a view of the dining area and breakfast bar looking in from a corner of the living room.  We moved a pair of counter stools from our current home to the apartment just for that breakfast bar HOWEVER I should have measured first.  The stools are waaaay too low for the bar.  Oh well.  At least they weren’t heavy.  And we’ll have adequate dining space for special visitors with extremely long torsos!  Hehe.  I’m already trying to figure out an inexpensive way to improve the look of the gold dining chandy {that is hung too high} without permanently changing it.

That, my folks, is the kitchen.  The folding doors lead to the laundry room.  It may look like those floors are wood but in actuality they’re vinyl.  They look worse in real life.  I like the globe lights.

The hall leads back to the 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  Layne says it’s the perfect hall to run his monster truck down.  Shall I dare tell him I donated said monster truck that he hadn’t played with for months to Goodwill just last week?

Here is one of the two full bathrooms.  Again, vinyl wood lookalike flooring.  I only took a picture of one of the bathrooms because 1) they are twins and 2) the aforementioned strong guys were waiting to start carrying stuff in while I was snapping away.  Handy Hubby is pretty happy we were able to find an affordable apartment with 2 full baths.  He doesn’t want to share with the kids.  I could care less.  Guess who cleans the bathrooms in our family!

This is where Layne and Everett will either become close and loving brothers OR fight to the death. I appreciate everyone’s comments about their children whose bedroom sharing experiences brought them closer together.  There is hope!

And this is where you’ll find Handy Hubby and me passing out at the end of long renovation days.  There is a full bathroom en suite and a walk-in closet for plenty of storage.

So ends our apartment tour.  It’s nothing over the top but it will definitely work.  The finishes are dated but the place is clean and has good natural light.  I would like to try my hand at a few budget-friendly, temporary cosmetic improvements while we’re living in the apartment.  I mentioned something to HH about painting a few walls and he said I’m crazy.  I didn’t disagree.  I just don’t see the harm in making the place you’re living in feel a little happier with a few cheap tricks.  I also surprisingly discovered that we won’t be responsible for patching any holes smaller than a dime; we only have to prime over any walls we {I} may paint.  Hanging stuff on the walls?!  Game on.

Have you ever used budget-friendly decor or DIY to freshen up a living space even if it was temporary?  Anyone guilty of the ol’ toothpaste spackling trick to disguise holes in the walls of dorm rooms?  Me…guilty as charged.

images:  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.28.11 / Boxed In

Boxes are slowly but surely beginning to take over corners and rooms of our house.  I’ve been tackling packing in my own way going room to room, starting with the least used areas {i.e. guest room} first.  I haven’t been numbering boxes and then detailing specific items according to box number on a separate sheet of paper like so many people do.  Instead, I’ve just been writing a general one word description on the box like ‘decor’ and then listing each item in the box under the description word. For me, keeping track of a separate piece of paper with our entire home’s inventory seems daunting.   And when it comes to unpacking and looking for specific items, I’d rather just go straight to the boxes and find what I need.  But that’s just me.  There are probably a million different ways to pack for a move.  I’m just doing what feels comfortable and what I’ve done in the past.  This is my second time packing up our family and it worked well the first go around.

We bought our moving boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper off Craigslist from a family who had recently moved.  We have plenty – maybe even more than we’ll need – and they only cost us $25. I fully plan on reselling them once we’re all unpacked after moving into the Underdog in a few months.  I think we can make our money back.

Besides labeling each box by category or room with specific items listed beneath, I’m also writing ‘apt’ or ‘no apt’ on them. Since not everything that will eventually end up at the Underdog can fit into our interim apartment, we’ll have to store many boxes elsewhere.  I frequently find myself staring into the abyss contemplating ‘apartment or storage?’  I’m really trying to minimize what we take to the apartment just so I don’t have to turn around in 3 months or so and repack it all.  But I also want to make the apartment somewhat homey and familiar for the time that our family will be living there. So packing is taking longer than it would with a typical home to home move because I’m trying to decide what we will use or need at the apartment and what we can do without for a few months.

{How freaky does that reflection of a throw blanket look in the fireplace glass?  It looks like a sobbing tragedy mask.  Anybody else see it?  As you may also see, the kids aren’t stressed one bit by the whole packing thing.}

It’s amazing how quickly a home can go from show house conditions for selling purposes to complete and utter disarray for moving purposes in just a matter of weeks.  Our home is starting to look less like a home and more like a house.  Meaning it’s becoming more and more barren and sterile with each item I pack.  It makes me think of when we bought the house and how I saw this huge empty space that we could bring to life.  It’s been a kind house to us over the last 3.5 years. No major issues…just little cosmetic changes here and there that didn’t require permits {besides the man shed} or lead or asbestos testing before digging in. It’s been a good home for Handy Hubby to piddle around on acquiring more DIY know how along the way.  It’s been a good canvas for my design loving heart allowing me to experiment with interior design without hardly any construction dust. We’re very thankful that we got to live here and play around.

Thank you house!

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

The Underdog needs some major electrical upgrades.  When Handy Hubby discovered that fishing new wiring between the cinder block and plaster of the exterior walls was nearly impossible, the plaster came down to allow for easier access.  Since then, HH has been busy framing up all those naked block walls with 2″x2″ treated lumber.  Well, actually they are ripped 2″x4″s.  HH was appalled by the realization that 2″x2″s cost over $3 each while 2″x4″s were priced less than $2 each.  To save money {which usually means ‘to make more work and add time to the project’}, HH bought the 2″x4″s at the lesser cost and decided to rip them in half into 2″x2″s with his table saw. Essentially, he got two 2″x2″s from each 2″x4″ {after cutting them in half longways} bringing the cost of each 2″x2″ to 95¢ – well below the $3 off-the-shelf price tag.  Gotta love Handy Hubby.

So, he’s been putting in long hours measuring, cutting and framing the past few weeks.  Here’s his progress…

With a heat index over 100°F most days, HH was sweating his you-know-what’s off working in the unair-conditioned Underdog.  That is, until someone with a little more common sense {ahem, me} mentioned cranking up the A/C unit in the window left by the previous owner.

HH defended his decision not to turn the window unit by saying he was afraid of what nasty stuff might blow out of it.  But after talking to a neighbor, he learned that the unit hadn’t been run at all in the last few years.  Sure enough, when HH checked the filter it looked brand new.  And that’s pretty much the only ‘brand new’ thing we’ve found in the Underdog. Handy Hubby finally gave in and turned on the A/C.  Although it’s not powerful enough to really cool the entire house, HH was feeling more comfortable.  It was one of those, “See, I told you so” moments for me.

Anyhow, with framing underway, our cousin-in-law/electrician has started running new electric and cutting holes for overhead lighting…inside and outside.

In other news, the contractor we hired to manufacture and install the ridge beam that will support the roof above the vaulted ceilings in the great room started work this week.  Contractor?!  I know. That sounds professional.  I do feel a little hoity toity just typing it.  But creating and installing a major support beam is beyond our DIY skills and it would be very stupid and irresponsible of us to think otherwise.  That means HH has been home in the evenings this week for the first time in a long time.  The boys and I have really enjoyed eating dinner with him.

So, that’s the latest and greatest on the Underdog.  HH and I have been trying to nail down flooring {metaphorically speaking, not literally} for the house.  There are so many options that it’s difficult to choose just one or two!  But we’re having fun looking at all the different tiles, engineered wood, and concrete stains.  I’ll let you know what we decide!

images:  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.24.11 / Outsourced

The Inside Source is eBay’s digital style magazine.  It’s a curated collection of what’s hot in fashion, home and garden, and pop culture based on proprietary data provided by eBay.  In other words, they take all that stuff on eBay and show you how to use and enjoy it.

Imagine my surprise when one of the online magazine’s contributors asked me to participate in an article featuring items recycled and incorporated into interior design!  The article, Recycling: Not just for Empties, compiles a variety of reused items – from pallets to fish nets – and shows how they were reinterpreted as home decor.

{Love that pallet daybed!}

My church pew turned porch bench is featured in the article if you want to check it out…along with a bunch of other great ideas.  Words can’t describe how honored I am to be included in the round-up.  It has me itching to get back to DIY design after several months of focusing on the marketing and sale of our home by owner.  Handy Hubby and I just discussed a future DIY project that we have in store for the Underdog and I am super excited about it!  I’ll give you a hint…it involves the placement of our flatscreen TV.

Thanks for the mention, Marni!

images:  1-3) The Inside Source  4)  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking