The battle to get to market in the storm

Sounds like a great title for something pertaining to business.  It is business, just personal business.  We met with the realtor and setup a meeting with the stager.  The stager doesn’t actually decorate your home for sale, their job is to let you know what will help sell your home.

Candy came over and spent just over an hour with me.  I took notes!  She started with the outside and mentioned that curb appeal will get buyers in.  Our yard is a bit over grown so she suggested removing anything dead, trim and mulch.  She also recommended power washing the walkway to the door and polishing/painting around the door jam.  ( Might need a new door mat too).

Next she mentioned something about a 10 second rule.  Once a buyer walks in the door they decide within 10 seconds whether they love it or hate it.  Wow!  So, standing at the doorway she looks and smells.  I’m looking at her intently with a puzzled look.

ten seconds

She says immediately that she wants to see through to the living room.  I’ve always wanted that room out of view from the front door, but she says no.  She is the expert.  We spent a lot of time in the living room.  She took out a runner, removed a large side table, a love seat, couch table and re-arraned another table and few decorative pieces.  Now I can only sit 4 instead of  6 in my living room.  Ok, if it sells fine.  She suggested to remove personal stuff, pictures, anything with our name on it, anything that would point to a religion or ethnicity.  My husband’s office decor screams a very in your face sports fan. So I removed his prized framed jerseys and borrowed a globe picture from my neighbor.


Candy suggested that we add some kind of room sent like vanilla or clean linen near the front door.  We went room by room noting changes that needed to be made.  For the bedrooms she asked for a couple of pieces of furniture be removed.  In the master closet, she asked for everything to be off the floor and moved up.  In the bathrooms all personal stuff, tooth brushes, etc. be placed out of sight.  Same thing with the kitchen, bare countertops.  And everything in the pantry off the floor.



I need to fix a cabinet that separated from the wall in the kitchen.  Some one came out and said I have to have the whole thing brought down, repaired and put back up.  Ugh! I’ve spent the week painting (touching up) and scrubbing.  (I’ve actually washed the doors).  We had the carpets cleaned and now my house is as pristine as it’s going to get.


Hurricane Harvey is hitting to the south of us.  My plans for mulching and taking care of the outside stalled.  The one good thing about the rain is that once the ground is saturated, it will be easier to remove weeds.  I already removed an entire outside trash can full of weeds behind the garage.  And around some equipment I need to wait for the 20 or so inches that are forecasted to fall, then those bad boy weeds will come out.  So the weekend will be spent inside.  I’m trying my best to look on the bright side.  There are so many people that will need to make repairs after this storm.  I hope we don’t have more to repair.  That budget keeps me awake at night.  I spent $80 on paint and $325 for carpet cleaning so far.

The battle to get to market in the storm

Want to test your marriage? Build a house together.

Continuing on this journey of moving on, we are moving through the process of building our new house.  The choices of neighborhood and house plan design seemed like easy choices at this point.  And it was not!   The harder part is when you come to choices and budget.  I used to love watching TV shows on this.  It is not as fun when it’s your money.

We selected a one story mediterranean style house and a builder (Toll Brothers).  Some of the simplier choices were how many rooms and a bathroom upgrade.   Even a kitchen upgrade to include a massive island counter.  The more difficult parts have included how to design the living room with furniture and a fire place.   In this plan we have a 12 foot 4 inch wall with the fireplace in the middle on one side of the room.  A wall of windows on the back side, a blank wall opposite facing the fireplace and the kitchen looking into this room.  I am not a fan of placing the TV above the fireplace because of the height.  And I don’t want opposite walls with competing focal points.  (you can’t set your couch in front of one or the other and I don’t want to turn my head).  I found a really cool design on the internet that I hope works.  The builder is going to let us know if they can move the fireplace so that it is not center, if so, I can place my TV next to it like this…(here is the design and here is an example of what you get in the house).  The extended stacked stone is an upgrade, I love it!


Another issue will be the fact that we are going to have maybe 9 inches of depth.  We are going to have 5.1 surround sound so we need to figure out a small form factor subwoofer.


I am not doing the extended fireplace hearth into the room.  The fireplace will just go to the floor (it’s gas).

Next is the vanity in the master bath.  So here is a picture of the bathroom as it comes. There is no vanity for doing make up.  Who came up with this plan?  Obviously not a female!  So I am adding a vanity niche (like the photo beneath it).  We are removing the linen closet and putting in the vanity niche.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out aesthetic wise, but functionally it will be better.  Usually people that try to do their own thing fail miserably, especially when they don’t have the education on design, porportion, etc.  However the two things I mentioned, how to set the furniture in the living room and a place to get ready for me are super important.


niche bath

Another challenge will be how to re-purpose a room that is currently considered the breakfast room.  With a massive island that will have bar stools and a separate dining room, I don’t need a third area for eating.  Yet there is one.  This room, called the breakfast room opens up to a small patio outside.  I am going to try and use the room as some kind of lounge.  Whether it be for coffee or a small sitting area, I’m not sure.  I’m hoping to get a designer involved to help make this space purposeful.  With the two of us, there is no need for a breakfast room, dining room and the sit in bar area.

This has been super stressful, yet you would think it would be fun. Building will start in late September and completion will be in April.  To add to the stress, we are selling our current house.  I hope to have it on the market by end of August.  The plan here is to move into a short term lease…somewhere until our new house is ready and my son graduates high school.

Want to test your marriage? Build a house together.

Moving on

After raising two kids, life has impeccable timing of changing things up.  My husband’s workplace is moving far enough to make the commute too long.  Plenty of people make an hour commute and think nothing of it.  We have talked a while about moving into a home with a more efficient use of space, just couldn’t decide where.  The job narrowed the decision for us.   To me it’s stressful uprooting from one place to another.  The logistics of selling and buying makes it almost impossible to time both perfectly.  We have looked at homes for sale and decided it works better to build.  Maybe if we could get Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer upper or the Property Brothers to transform a home for us, that would work.  However, that is unlikely.

We sold our first house to move into our current one and found success in selling then moving into an apartment during the build of the new house.  So this is the plan once again.  Searching for communities was the first step.  Where would you start?  We have plenty experience with what we like and don’t like about living in a community.  My first thought is space!  We have 4 cars now with two adult kids and parking is painful right now.  To top that off our neighbor across from us has 8 cars in their single narrow driveway.  In Texas you can really stretch out.  Maybe too much.  We found some home sites that are away from it all and on septic tank systems for waste.  We’ve experienced that and any problem with a septic tank to me is too much!  We’ve never had a problem being on a sewer system.  Next, an affordable master planned community.  Living in one has it’s pros and cons.  For one if you have deed restrictions, your property values should stay up. Sure it’s annoying to get a letter about your weeds in your flower beds.  However you won’t have to live next to someone who let’s it go too far.   Lastly, surroundings,  we narrowed the search to a few communities and the real deciding factor came down to the surroundings of the community.  One was a community that was buried in other communities.  It felt like an endless drive through communities to get to it.  And the other had a long road to it, you know sometimes you just like it or don’t and we just didn’t like it.  Maybe because there was no real business amenities that you need to get things done (grocery stores, restaurants, medical facilities, mechanics, do – it – yourself places, nurseries, etc.).  We found a nice community.  I’m concerned about it being close to a freeway, however it will make it convenient to get to all of the places we need to get things done.  Once in the community, you wouldn’t know there is a freeway close by.

We have picked a plan and a lot.  It’s hard to get exactly what you want, hence the compromise.  We will make it into something great!   To new beginnings!


Moving on

Not too Shabby Chic

This week my daughter, going through a personal transformation, decided she needed to change things up.  She really wanted to start with her immediate surroundings.  I admire the fact that when you are at the beginning of your life, you just change things and go with it, even though I can see it can be distressing.   I can also definitely say I’m happy to see the hippie decor go!  Yeah!   Bye bye!  Changing bedding, curtains and some decor can make a difference (as she says, change the vibe).

We spent a lot on furniture for the kids and that investment was to last until they leave home.  While my daughter is one year behind on that move, she will be ready next year. We went to a local craft store that has home decor, Hobby Lobby.  There my daughter was looking for cheap inspiration.  And there she found it.  She was picking up white things that reminded me of the shabby chic look.  I started to see her idea and thought that would look great!  So that piece of furniture that she hasn’t been crazy about for years, now has a new vision.  It’s going from a light pinkish wood stain with floral details to white and the knobs will be replaced with acrylic.


On with a project!  This time, she will be painting and I will help!  A quick turn to the oracle…Google and YouTube,  and now we know what we need to create the shabby chic effect.  The key ingredient is white chalk paint, more like off white/vanilla, some sand paper and wax.  I was happy to find the supplies in Home Depot, we got lucky and got the last two cans.  I was a little surprised that they only sold it in about a quart size…seemed small.  But when you apply with a brush, the paint lasts.   And as it turns out for the dresser project I only needed one can.   You have to do two coats to cover it and the cool thing about shabby chic is that you really can’t make errors!  It’s suppose to look imperfect!  I was a little concerned that the brush made lines in the paint, however you sand the chalk paint and then sand harder in areas to make the wood show through (that’s the distressing).  So here we have a part of life she is going through that is distressing and we distressed her furniture. She probably doesn’t get the irony in that!


When this weekend started, I had no idea that we would be doing a room change and painting a piece of furniture.  Needless to say it was an extremly busy, fun and rewarding weekend!


We distressed the drawers and haven’t finished the rest, but here is a preview of the almost finished….


That was a pretty satisfying project.  The cost to change a room, about $300. That is pretty expensive.  We got the bedding, a throw, some decor, the painting supplies and the knobs. It’s still cheaper than purchasing new furniture.  I might have been able to shop online for cheaper, however the need for change was immediate and we were able to make that happen.  Painting makes me happy!   There is another piece of furniture in her room that needs to change and the perfect place to make that happen is Round Top!  (Mentioned in a previous post)  Looks like I will need to make that trip in October!  Currently she has a chest from the 60s but I just don’t see applying the shabby chic effect to it.

Not too Shabby Chic