Our new pad – ready for some makeovers!

Well, the time has come!  It’s time to show off the new pad in California!  We are so excited to show you what it looks like all empty and ready for our mountains (literally) of furniture and belongings!  We feel so fortunate to have found a rental that not only has oodles of potential but also has everything we need and nothing that we don’t.  It’s a 3 bed, 1,800 square foot condo with a 2-car garage (oh, God bless you, garage!!).  The whole layout is spread over three floors with the garage and a bedroom on the first, bedroom/kitchen/living on the second and the master on the third.  There’s no yard, but Maggie is adjusting very well to having 4-5 walks/day and we could definitely use the extra exercise, so we’re not complaining!

Dr. J took a few pics with his phone so all apologies to the quality of the images and lack of views in certain areas.  Everything is much more clearly understood in the YouTube video which you can access by clicking here.  Enough chit-chat, let’s get this tour started!!:

First Floor

There’s one bedroom on the first floor and it’s going to be the “flex space” or “Room of Requirement”, used mostly as a man room, den and guest room when needed.  It also has a full bathroom attached to the room with a pretty sizable shower, which is perfect for guests when the room is not filled to the brim with boxes – haha!  You can get a better idea of the bathroom layout in the video tour.  We’re lovin’ the beautiful plantation shutters which are all throughout the house.  We may paint this room down the line, but the color will work with some of our furnishings so it’s not tops on our list to change right away.

So here are two views, one from the door looking towards the front of the house:

..and a view from the window wall looking toward the bathroom door (you can just barely make out the door handle from the hallway on the left of the photo)….

We didn’t get a lot of pictures of the downstairs hallway before it was overrun by boxes and belongings, so we covered the rest of it on the video tour.

Second Floor

You go up the stairs to the second floor (again, the layout is much clearer in the video) and you immediately are in the family room, below.  The colors are sort of a warm honey beige color which we may or may not paint.  It’s a big room that has a great layout and those plantation shutters give it so much architecture and personality.  There’s a small patio off of this room where we’ll set up our grill and cafe chairs for morning coffee and meals alfresco.  Gotta love California!

In the photo below, you can see the stairwell to go upstairs on the left and the opening on the right of the photo is the top of the stairs from the first floor and the hallway leads down to a powder room (just visible) and the office.  The alcove in the center is perfect for a TV (and potential Media Cabinet building project later on – WHOO!) and the floors are an engineered hand-scraped floor that *might* be Hickory or maybe Heart Pine?  Either way, they are absolutely GORGEOUS:

In this photo, you can see the hallway down towards the powder room and office on the left and the opening for the kitchen in the center, which is very, very red!


The kitchen is just off of the family room and is a decent size for one or two cooks.  We have just enough storage for what we need but clearing out some clutter on our parts will make this kitchen work for us in the long run.  Fortunately, the wine bar and pot rack practically doubles the storage and the counter top space, so that’s definitely a bonus and we’re so glad the landlord left it!  The floors are a beautiful rustic porcelain in sort of a taupe-y-gray tone which we are lovin’!  There’s lots of potential in this space and this may be our first makeover once we get unpacked!

Dining Area

We have significantly less dining space than the previous house since there’s no real breakfast bar, but our little dining table fits perfectly in here.  Oh, and those “stained glass” vinyl decals on the windows are already gone.  Haha!  Again, lots of plans for in here.  We can’t wait to get started!

Powder Room

This room is just off of the living room in the little hallway adjoining the living room to the office.  It’s a full bath with a tub/shower so it’s really much more than just a powder room.  This room is also going to get a fresh coat of paint to lighten/brighten the space since there are no windows and it’s a pretty small space.  That same beautiful porcelain taupe-y tile that is in the kitchen is also in here so it gives us lots of potential!


Just down the hallway from the living room/powder room is what we’ll be using as our office.  Since I work from home nearly every day and Dr. J works from home occasionally during the week, it’s vital for us to have a dedicated office space with two work stations so we’re already elbow deep in the building phase of setting it up.  The owners left those cute tic-tac-toe bookshelves which will come in handy.  It’s a pretty tight space so we’re going to have to get creative when it comes to storage and the walls were never painted in here so if we have the energy, this is a space I’d love to amp up a bit…

Upstairs Master Bedroom/Bath

The Master Bedroom and Bath are way up on the third floor and just over the office/kitchen area.  It’s so nice to have it be far away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets below and on the quieter side of the house.  It’s a big space too so our furniture has fit in pretty nicely!  We are going to need curtains for that window and possibly paint the walls, but it’s a great space that’s working out very well for us so far.

From this vantage (which is taken in the opposite corner to the photo above), you can probably pick out my biggest pet peeve of this space, which is that the bathroom has no door except for the water closet.  This is kind of a pain since we both wake up at different times in the morning so when Dr. J is showering and singing at the top of his lungs (haha!), then I am desperately burying myself in the pillows to go back to sleep.  We may have to address that issue, especially when the dark days of winter are fully upon us, but for right now we’re just living with it until we decide otherwise:

Overall, the master bath is a great size and the shower is deceptively large, which we are loving!  We have a frosted window in the shower that gives us plenty of California sunshine and ventilation, two sinks and lots of storage.  We have a few plans up our sleeves to make this space slightly more functional for us, but overall, it’s really perfect for our needs.

So that’s the house!  We also have a video tour, here!  Dr. J took this with his phone before we officially moved in and before I physically saw it so his dialogue was really directly addressed to me and the quality isn’t awesome, but it should give you a rough idea of the layout.

Believe it or not, I never saw this place until the night before the moving truck showed up (!!).  With Dr. J and I both working full time and needing to wrap up our house in Portland before moving down, there just wasn’t enough time for me to run down to California and take a look at it.  Also, we’ve found out that real estate in California is hot, hot, HOT!  So if you don’t jump as soon as possible, then you’re probably going to miss out.  We learned that lesson from previous experience so Dr. J jumped on this place as soon as he heard about it.  Also, I actually kind of trust my hubby, so that helps too :-).

So I’ll bet you’re wondering what changes we’re going to tackle first?  Well, we do have a few small plans that we’d like to tackle – most of them involve just getting unpacked enough so that we can move around our space without tripping over boxes and debris – haha!  And since I just saw this place for the first time a few weeks ago, I’m still in the “live with it first before tackling any projects” phase, though I do have a few changes in mind, as always.  Honestly, I’m most looking forward to just painting a room or two.  We haven’t painted anything seriously since we painted the master bath in our first house a whopping year and a half ago (!!).  So to say that I’m itchin’ to get behind a paint brush again would be the understatement of the century.  We are also still trying to figure out the whole “function” thing in terms of making things work for us, which is part of the fun of moving into a new house!

So there ya have it!  Lots to do to get the house even remotely put together enough to actually show a home tour with it furnished.  Every day it’s a little bit better, though.  Hopefully we can get things roughly in shape by about the 1-month standpoint so stay tuned for that!


It’s time for another (video) house tour!

The last time I did a video house tour, it was back before we renovated the bathroom and finished up the Room of Requirement – i.e. it was well over a year and a half ago!  And since we’re planning a pretty massive move down to California, I thought now would be a good time to update the latest video tour.  Because…le sigh…it might be the last time to really photograph the house before it gets all “torn up” before we move.  So here goes nothin’!


Oh, and if you’re curious what the last house tour was like, then you can click here for the one we took in January 2011.  It’s kind of funny to watch them one after the other just to spot the changes.  Dr. J and I recently watched the one from 2011 and it’s amazing to see the old master bathroom and how much of an upgrade we gave that sucker.

Here are some fun things to point out in the 2012 tour:

  • Maggie, the Mascot Mutt – she kept following me around upstairs (as she always does) and made some cute cameos :-).
  • My “technical difficulties” with the camera – I just couldn’t win (story below)
  • The completed office, Room of Requirement and Master Bath!
  • I was still wearing my Pajamas when I made this tour so notice how I slyly avoid looking in mirrors throughout the tour – haha!  there are a few peeks, though – don’t worry, it wasn’t anything too risque!
  • Apparently I say “Love it! Love it! Love it!” a few times throughout.  I don’t notice it, but Dr. J did…haha!

So that’s the video house tour 2012.  Hopefully it should come in handy for our future renters-to-be??  Who knows?  Also, I just couldn’t seem to “win” the day I shot this.  I went to use the Flip cam, realized it was out of battery and switched to my point-and-shoot camera which has video capability.  I shot the downstairs with no problems, then when I went upstairs I accidentally shot myself directly in the mirror wearing my pajamas and my hair all a wreck (classy!).  So I had to do another take and then my camera ran out of battery (gah!), so I had to do a quick charge and rush through the last half of the tour – hah!  It was funny :-).  Like I said, I just couldn’t seem to win!

Let me know what you think.  You’ll have to head on over to YouTube to watch the video but it should give you a pretty good idea of the layout of our house and all the changes we’ve made since the last tour.  Enjoy!

The tile floor is in!!! And another video update…

I pretty much spent all of last weekend looking at backs and butts (of Dr. J and his dad).  They were on their hands and knees in the bathroom all weekend and LOOK at all they got done:

  • Constructed the shower pan, including laying the cement, water barrier and another layer of cement.  It’s a cement sandwich!!!  YUMmmmmmm….

  • Laid all of the cement backerboard for the flooring and also on the “berm” of the shower pan.
  • Laid all of the floor tile – although we broke on this weekend by dropping our drill – fortunately we haven’t grouted yet, so hopefully we can just pop the tile out and replace and move on…*fingers crossed*…

Dr. J and his dad worked their butts off last weekend.  Here’s a pic of them, obviously looking tired and proud – and my Father in law all classy-like, wearing a trash bag.  Yes, we’re those people (excuse the iPhone pic):

My job was really just to make sure they were fed and “watered” – usually involving alcohol and copious amounts of proteins (not in the same glass, however).  I did manage to get some work done on the pirate chest (more on that later) and cleaned up the house a wee bit.  Although, really….when you’re renovating, trying to clean up is such a joke.

Normally I would insert pics of the finished product here, but our camera battery died and the work has to go on whether or not the camera is working – *gasp*!  And since the renovation has a tendency to move at a snail’s pace (hey, we’re not machines over here!), we thought we’d go ahead and update with another weekly video.  It’s so much easier to explain these things in 3-D and there are some cramped quarters in our bathroom that make it hard to get a camera in there (even one with a wide-angle lens!).  So click here to see our video update! Oh, and I should add that now it’s L-blogger’s turn to feel self-conscious being on camera….do I really LOOK like that?  Sheeesh….sorry, peeps.  I’m definitely no Angelina…

As for this weekend?  Well, we’re working on buttoning up the drywall and getting ready to lay those tiles on the tub deck.  Here are a few sneak peak photos – now that the battery is all charged :-):


The tiles, dry-fit to the deck and the greenboard all buttoned up.
Starting to come together finally!

Compare that last pic to the one at the top with Dr. J and his dad mixing the cement and you start to see just how much work is involved in this process and how slowly it can progress.  And also how fast!  Admittedly, we’re a little behind schedule, but we’re plugging away and if we can get the grouting/painting done, then we’re ready to put in the loo and the cabinets….then it’ll REALLY start to feel like a bathroom again…phew!

For your viewing pleasure…a bathroom update!

Rather than typing a whole update on the plumbing and electrical, we thought it’d be easier to have Dr. J give you an overview on camera….’cause let’s face it….typing’s hard…

So click here to see the video, which will take you to YouTube.  We still can’t do embedded videos yet – that takes money and all of our money is wrapped up in our loo at the moment.

So if you’re at work and can’t watch, here are a few highlights:

  • The bathroom is completely torn down to the worst possible place it can be.  It’s got to get uglier before it can get prettier…
  • Maggie saying hi.  Ooohhh….she’s so cute!
  • Dr. J explaining the various wires and doodads hanging from the walls.
  • Dr. J showing you our new sconce holes – they’ll be prettier once they have actual SCONCES in them.  To be determined…

So there ya go.  Now the full disclosure part.  We shot this video about a week ago and this weekend Dr. J’s dad is in town helping us “button up” the room.  We may even get to tiling the floor later today….ooh…..stay tuned….

Smile! Your house is on Candid Camera!

…well, not really.  But thanks to our snazzy new Christmas Present, The Flip video camera, our house actually *will* be on camera from time to time!  And since it’s been sooooo long since we’ve done any renos and/or updates on the blog, we figured it would be a great way to bring in the New Year by giving you our very first tour of the home – in 3-D and stuff!  All apologies for my grating voice, shaky camera skills and general goofiness.  Here goes nothing….let the cringing begin!

Click here to watch the video – we can’t do embedded videos yet!

So if you can’t watch (at work, baby sleeping, what have you…), then here are a few highlights:

  • My super shaky camera skills – might wanna take some Dramamine before watching…
  • We rearranged our family room to be more “TV friendly”
  • Our downstairs powder room’s subtle “inspiration”
  • Our laundry room with our new washer and dryer – yes, it’s upstairs!!
  • We finally show you the last two rooms that have yet to be painted (I know, only TWO – can you believe it?!?  Once we paint them we’re gonna have to start repainting everything just to have something to do!).
  • …and listen closely for a few tidbits of projects we have to work on to get a feel for what is on tap for the year!

So that’s all she wrote!  Thanks for watching it!  We promise to incorporate a few more videos from time to time (and hopefully you won’t have to see our ugly mugs while we’re at it – we’ll try to keep that eye candy to a minimum).

PS  Dr. J was in the process of loading the Magsters and luggage into our car for a weekend trip, so the house was insanely quiet with no dog and no hubby…le sigh…