New Year, New Adventures

Well, hello there!  Yes, it's been forever.  Yes, it's been crazy busy.  But seriously how overused is that excuse?  So let's just acknowledge the truth of the matter.  I'm back, and ready to party.

So, the beginning of 2015 has been quite exciting thus far!  Most of you, my few and most treasured readers, are friends and family so you are somewhat privy to the goings-on in my life recently, but for those of you who aren't, or for those of you who'd like to follow along in more detail, I've decided to devote a large chunk of this space to explore the ins and outs of what moving to a mountain town, starting new jobs, a new life, in a new (super old) fixer upper is like!

So, let's jump right in, shall we?

At the end of 2014, we found out that we would be moving to Salida, CO, a quaint mountain town just southwest of Denver, nestled in between the breathtaking Collegiate Peaks and the Sangre de Cristo mountains, on the banks of the Arkansas River.  The picture above is on the road into town.  Once we had that little piece of knowledge locked down, we embarked on what would be the next step on this crazy relocation path called house hunting/selling.

We will not be moving until June, but since Salida is the size of my thumbnail, we were advised to start looking early.  The housing market there is understandably tiny and our price range is evidently one of the fastest moving so the idea was that if we found a house there that we loved, we would see about the possibility of selling our house here and renting it back from the buyers until we officially move to Salida.  If your head is starting to spin already, probably shouldn't continue reading.

Anyway, step 1: house hunt in Salida.  For the sake of time and the inevitability that the universe will probably end at some point in time and I would hate to risk the thought that it could end while you are drowning in an expansive eulogy on the ins and outs of searching and scouring and analyzing and picking apart real estate, I'll just jump to the part where we found "THE HOUSE" and have been in the process of negotiating purchasing price and inspection details with the current owners for a while now.  Our closing date in Salida is April 2 so this will go on for a while and the details are not fun.  But you know what is fun?  Dreaming about all the things we will do to redo the house once we move in!  That's it below in all it's cute green gabled arched snowy glory.  We love it so much.

As much as I want to just jump into that and skip step 2, I feel like it should be included because one day I'll look back on this and want to have some sort of record of this madness.  Maybe.  Anyway, step 2: sell our house here.  Again, for the sake of time and the universe's fragility, our house went on the market last Thursday and 4 days later, we sifted through 6 offers.  Yes, count 'em.  SIX.  I'll just say this:  if you live in the Denver area, SELL YOUR HOUSE.  Now's the time.  People want your house.  It is crazy.  So as of a week ago we are officially under contract on this home.  The buyer wants to close at the beginning of March, and will rent back to us until the end of June when we relocate to Salida, thus preventing us from having two mortgages, and therefore our downfall into the depths of endless swaths of debt and torture and hell and gloom.

So, fun part!  Let's chat about the house in Salida.  This home was built in 1899 and sits on a corner lot downtown.  According to our inspector (translation: this could be totally true/false), this home and the homes in our neighborhood were built by Italian immigrants that for some reason came and settled in Salida a million years ago and built all these homes with victorian-meets-mediterranian architecture and pizza ovens in the backyard.  Because, you know, Italians.  Anyway, the home had one owner for 40 years so this is the first time it's been on the market since the dark ages.  The house is in pristine 1950's condition meaning there are lots of modern finishes to boast, such as carpet in the bathrooms and kitchen, brown painted original wood moldings and trim, lovely floral wallpaper, and a dropped ceiling with fluorescent lights.  To name a few.  Wanna see?  (Please disregard the awful pictures.  These were from inspection day so we were a little preoccupied.  With terror.)

That beautiful green carpeted staircase leads to the wood panel sanctuary of the upstairs that also houses the legendary wood paneled and wallpapered bathroom seen directly below.  Under that brown paint and unfortunate green wig, there is an original 1899 staircase ready to shine.  We have so many plans for this house to bring it back to it's former glory, but most of those are on the "eventually" timeline.  In the immediate, we'll replace all this horrible brown paint with bright white and install a new neutral runner.  Nothing a little paint can't fix.

This upstairs bathroom is definitely on the "eventually" timeline because we have a perfectly fine bathroom downstairs that will get us through until we can gut the hell out of this space.  All the wood in the bathroom is real wood paneling which is odd because that's the only place they put it.  All the other wood paneling in the house is the real deal 70's fake plastic stuff.  And yes don't you worry, the real wood paneling extends into the bathtub and shower as well!  Yeah, that's got yuck written all over it.  So like I said, everything will be gutted eventually.  Shockingly enough, the toilet and vanity area are spick and span and completely useable so in the meantime, everything will again get a coat of fresh paint, the carpet will get ripped up and floors refinished or replaced, and we'll throw a shower curtain over that bathtub with a sign instructing visitors to not look or be doomed to hell for all eternity.

See that weird tchotchke built in nook in the dining room?  Yeah, that used to be huge beautiful window that someone ripped out and covered up because they preferred to look at weird glass shelves and little trinkets than outside onto the beautiful porch and out into the great blue yonder.  Eventually, we'll replace that window.  Underneath all the carpet in the house is original wood floor so all the carpet is being ripped up immediately.  Of course, paint paint paint bright bright white paint.  And see those glorious ceiling tiles?  Yeah, those are getting ripped out first thing too.  They cover the whole first floor of the house so we'll be ripping those babies out first thing and putting new real non-gross ceilings up.  I'll explain more later about why we can't just go back to the original ceilings but until then, just trust me.

Above is one of two adorable little bedrooms upstairs.  They are covered in carpet and fake wood paneling.  In their immediate future, these little jewel box bedrooms will get covered in paint and that carpet will be exterminated.  

These are the big beautiful windows in the dining room.  There are three almost identical windows in the living room as well.  The windows are all original but in pristine condition so immediately they are fine.  In the future, they'll need to be updated.  But for now, rip out all the weird curtain crap and show off the beautiful original moldings. 

Ahhh, weird layout kitchen.  Carpet--gone.  Ceiling tiles--gone.  Amazing 3-burner stove--gone.  Mismatched cabinets--gone.  This space will get a facelift with paint, new countertops, hardware, and sink, and we'll probably knock out a few random cabinets that were thrown on the walls and build some open shelving.  Eventually, a total redo, but immediately, some stop gap measures to make it usable and wonderful.  

The backyard is magical.  That is a huge apple tree and a wood-burning pizza oven!!!  Remember like I said above, from the Italians??  There's also a nice garden space that's already sectioned off and a ramshackle garage that has great space with an automatic garage door opener but is built with sticks and twigs so we'll see how long it last before it falls to the ground.  

This is the view from the front living room looking through the amazing original pocket door and into the dining room and through into the kitchen.  That pocket door is my favorite part of the whole house.  Is that weird? Original hardware (but yet we need to find a replacement key because that weird clothespin is just not cutting it) and all.  The bottom pic is into the front living room, the only place where the trim is original wood.  We're debating what to do about all this wood trim in the front since we'll be painting the trim in the rest of the house.  Eventually, we'd love to strip and refinish all the wood but that's not in our immediate future.  So in the meantime the question remains:  paint the woodwork in the rest of house to look cohesive and clean and bright, and leave the front room wood?  Or paint it all to keep it cohesive?  The wood in the front is by no means even close to perfect condition so I'm leaving to paint it to match the rest of the house and then when the time comes we'll tackle all the woodwork at once.  Anyone have any reason why we shouldn't go down that path?  

So, there you have it!  The next 78 years of our lives and the rest of our paychecks for forever!  All going into this little home on a little corner in a cute little town.  We are so excited.  Please please PLESAE come back and follow along as I will need all the help I can get!  We need advice!  Suggestions!  Second guesses!  Extra hands!  No seriously, if you wanna come help us work on this baby, you have a whole wood paneled carpeted upstairs floor waiting for you as your personal suite during your stay.


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