Monday, February 4, 2013

Our New House

It's been a crazy couple of weeks around here, real estate wise.  But I'm happy to report that we have two contracts, one to buy and one to sell.

Today I'm sharing pictures of the house we're buying in West Virginia.  It's in the South Hills area of Charleston, which is just across the river from downtown.  Mr. E will have a ten-minute commute to his office, which will be a lovely change. 

The house is basically a center-hall Colonial, although "Colonial" is perhaps too charitable a word to describe the exterior.  (I'm not showing the exterior here, but imagine a bad late-70s Colonial adaptation with too-small windows and some poorly advised columns.)

Here's the view just inside the front door:

And here's the living room, which is just off the hall to the right:

This is the view from the living room into the dining room:

The hardwood floors and crown molding are great.  I'll miss the nine-foot ceilings in our current house though. 

This is the view from the dining room back into the living room:


The dining room is the room I'm most excited about because I'm going to use it as an office.  We wouldn't use a formal dining room very often, and we don't even own a dining room table.  But an office?  A place for my desk, my laptop, our family paperwork -- adjacent to both the living room AND the kitchen?  A place for me to sort the mail, to work on my grocery list, to wrap presents and pay bills? Sign. Me. Up.  That's a room I'll use every day. 

And of course it'll have to be super-cute, since I'll be spending so much time there.  Right now I'm thinking I'll paint it a deep blue, but I'll probably change my mind five times before I buy the paint.  Either way, I'm definitely on the lookout for some bold and beautiful fabric for a new window treatment.


More dining room office, looking into the living room and kitchen:

From the office into the kitchen:

The kitchen:

It's a very open L-shaped kitchen.  Here are the views from the kitchen into the eating area (left), and from the family room back into the eating area and kitchen (right).  (That door in the back of the left-hand picture leads to the garage.)

Since the house is thirty-five years old, I'm thinking a wall or two must have come down at some point to create all that modern openness.

The countertops are Corian or something similar.  The cabinets aren't in the greatest shape, but they'll do.  I'd love to paint the lower ones blue-gray, like this:


Or this:


Can you see it?  In a perfect world I'd knock those soffits down and install new cabinets and crown molding all the way up to the ceiling.  And of course, new stainless-steel appliances.   

Alas, my dreams are bigger than my budget.  But we'll leave the kitchen better than we found it, that's for sure. 

Moving on, this is the family room, viewed from the eating area.  The kids' toys will go here, along with our happy orange rug.  The brick fireplace isn't bad, but I'll have to paint the room a color that doesn't fight it.  The yellow isn't working for me.  In the back left corner of the room is a doorway to the foyer and stairs.

And this is the view from the kitchen back down the center hallway to the front door.  I'm picturing a pretty runner on the floor and a flush-mount crystal light fixture on the ceiling.  That coat closet on the left has been turned into a pantry, but I may try to reclaim it for coats.

Let's go upstairs, shall we?  As an aesthetic matter, I'm thrilled that the stairs aren't carpeted.  But we may need a runner to soften things up and muffle the noise.

This is the hallway at the top of the stairs, looking into the master bedroom:

Here's the master bedroom:

A walk-in closet will be a welcome change.  But we'll have to do something about that bare light bulb:

This is the kids'/guests' bathroom.  The green plaid wallpaper is actually in good shape and looks like it was professionally hung.  It might stay.  After all, emerald is the color of the year.

Oh, and the water was turned off when these photos were taken, which is why the toilet's all taped up like a freaky crime scene.

There are four bedrooms upstairs, including the master.

The non-master bedrooms are carpeted and the carpet will need to be replaced.  We're not going to do it before the move, because I'd like to use a local carpet shop instead of a big box store.  But it will be nice to get new carpet down.  Nothing makes a place feel like yours more than new flooring, I think.



Two of the three non-master bedrooms are quite large.  Dash and Tuck will each have their own initially, and one will be a guest room.  If we have a third child -- and I'm not saying that project's in the works, but we haven't ruled it out -- we'll put the boys in the same room and give the baby a nursery.

The upstairs windows are weirdly short.  The kids won't even be able to see out of them without standing on chairs.  On the plus side, it'll make furniture placement a snap, since pretty much any piece of furniture will be able to go on any wall.

Our tour concludes with the basement:

Thanks to the two windows, it's a nice bright space, with fuss-free laminate floors and plenty of room to play.

The pink area back there is a large laundry room:

The basement also has a potential fifth bedroom.  I'm not sure what we'll do with it.  It'll get new carpet and a new paint color, that's for sure.  Yellow-green is possibly my least favorite color in the world, so that's got to go.

The raspberry color in the laundry room, on the other hand, is rather nice.  It perks up a drab space and adds some warmth.

Outside the kitchen, we have a nice back deck:

Unfortunately, there isn't much of a back yard beyond the deck.  Probably the biggest surprise about house-hunting in West Virginia was how hilly most of the lots are.  I probably shouldn't have been so shocked about that, but when I heard that Charleston was in the Kanawah Valley, I pictured basic flatness, with maybe some rolling hills.  But yeah, it's still pretty mountainous.  ("West Virginia:  Even our valleys have mountains.")

We looked at a ton of houses with back yards that sloped dramatically down into steep ravines, so you could hurl yourself off your deck to your death if you wanted.  Maybe it's silly, but part of me felt like I wouldn't be able to sleep at night, worrying that our house was going to slide backwards down the mountain. 

The house we ended up with has a somewhat flat (though small) front yard and a flat side yard, with a slope UP in the back.  And that feels better, somehow.  At least I'll be able to let the kids play outside without worrying that they'll roll down a hill and never be heard from again.

So that's our new place.  We'll be there in about a month.  I can't wait to settle in and start changing some things!


  1. I am so excited to see what you do with your new place! We use our dining room as a sewing room/playroom because we have no use for a formal dining area. Have you thought about painting the brick fireplace? And I love the idea of painting the bottom cabinets.

  2. Lovely tour! I stumbled across your blog, because I had repinned your Paint Chip picture on Pinterest. Then I got a notice that it was the most popular pin this past week, so I "went exploring" and found your blog. Glad to learn that Emerald Green is the color of the year, as it is a favorite. Looking forward to seeing what you do with the new house.

  3. Good job on finding this house, Elle. I like the fact that you spent so much time into the details of your house and how you'd want it to be in the future. I feel you when you said that your dreams are getting bigger than your budget – you can't just spend a hefty amount in one go. Although it's good to hear that you intend to do something about it. I wish you luck in your new house, Elle!

    Houston.Churchill Mortgage

  4. Well, I have to say, it has a lot of potential for home decoration. That’s good, right? I would really like to see what you’ve done with it so far. Have fun designing your dream home! Cheers!