Two Weeks

We’ve now owned our new house for two weeks. I’m starting to get a feel for which house quirks I can live with and which need to be fixed.

Things I Like:

  • The back yard is fabulious. It needs a lot of work. Jaeger has compared it to The Secret Garden’s garden. Someone obviously loved it at some point and landscaped it beautifully but the last couple of homeowners must not have had the time to deal with it. However, it’s fully fenced so Calvin can wander in and out at will without me worrying about him ending up on a busy road. There’s a door from both the diningroom and family room to the outside so Calvin can wander around the house and outdoors in a circle.
  • There are two beautiful windows in the kitchen that let in a lot of light.
  • I now have a convection oven. At the moment, I’m mainly using the conventional heating part of the oven but when I have more time I want to experiment with the convection aspect. I’m really liking that part. I’m not as excited by my stove. It’s a glass top which is incompatible with my cast iron skillet (which I love). I’ve heard rumors that it’ll work ok if I buy a heat diffuser so I’m going to try that. However, the main problem is I haven’t figured out how to get the burners hot enough without being too hot. It seems like I either can’t get hot enough to saute or I burn my onions. I think a little more familiarity will smooth out some of the worst of it but my last stove didn’t have a learning curve, it just worked. The oven also has a warming drawer which I haven’t used but like the idea of. All-in-all, I really like the oven and will learn to live with the stove top.
  • The kitchen is smaller than my old kitchen but even with more windows, I somehow end up with more cabinet space. I still can’t figure out how this happened. So, in general, I think the kitchen is a win.
  • My piano sounds fantastic in the livingroom with the vaulted ceiling.
  • Our old house had one “livingroom” that was large and a little awkwardly shaped for anyone that didn’t have a piano to take up half of it. Our new house has a family room and livingroom. The family room has a corner fireplace which makes positioning furniture really hard. Google Sketch-up saved me an immense amount of time by letting me figure out where to place the furniture ahead of time. (Jaeger posted my sketch-up models on his site.) I was really excited when I walked in after all the furniture had been moved to see that it worked out exactly like I had envisioned. At the moment, I’m envisioning the family room as the place where Calvin has his toys and art supplies. It’s down a half-level from the dining room and is positioned so that the mess is largly obscured by the viewing angles. I’m planning the livingroom to be an adult reading area. I shelved our fiction books last night in the living room and immediately felt the general relaxation effect that many books have on me (every so often I get light headed walking through libraries, the book ambience is so pronounced). The biggest obstacle at the moment is getting reading seats that will fit. My piano is taking up a disproportionate amount of the floor space and there’s a large, but awkwardly placed, window and heating vent that is making this a challenge.
  • The kitchen and dining room has hard wood-like flooring. This means that any eating messes Calvin makes, such as the mountain of scone crumbs he just left, can be easily cleaned up.
  • Both the windows and the blinds are very spiffy. The windows open both directions. As in, the vertical windows can open from the top or the bottom and the horizontal windows can open from either side. The blinds are cordless and work very well. You just push the blinds up and they stay up. All the bedroom blinds are equipped to either slide up or down.

Things I Dislike:

  • All the interior walls needed a paint refresh. The colors weren’t what we prefer and there was some really weird trim coloring. However, even if the colors had been fine, the walls appear to have not been painted for years and were really dirty. A previous owner had obvious tried to do spot painting to cover up some blemishes but just made it more apparent because the walls were dirty enough the paint ended up a different color. We spent the entire last week getting our house painted. It was really annoying to try to live with our furniture and boxes piled up in the middle of each room but it was worth it. The house looks so much better.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with our master bath. On one end, I love the tub. It’s nice and deep and will be perfect for winter baths. However, the general layout is awkward and the walls and trim are weird. Our painter took one look at the trim and said it’d cost more to repaint it than to replace it so the master bath is the only room in the main house area that wasn’t painted.
  • I’m use to people not putting in overhead lights and most of the time this can be fixed with floor lamps. However, I can’t live without decent light in the kitchen. This needs to be fixed but I’m not quite sure how yet. I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve an electrician though.
  • The half bath in the family room is waaaay too small. It’s hard for me to manouver in much less anyone larger than me. I think some of this may be fixed if we change the door to swing out instead of in. However, that’s a pretty low priority project for the moment.
  • The current refrigerator is a very small top-door freezer. I want to get it replaced but first Jaeger has to see if it’s possible to shave a 1/2″ off the top cabinet. We have 39″ in width so that shouldn’t be a problem but almost ever fridge I’ve looked at has been at least 68 5/8″ in height and I have exactly 68 1/2″ inches to work with at the moment.
  • The shower heads all seem low to me. It works fine for us but I’m afraid they’ll be awkward for some of our taller guests.
  • I think I’ve counted 5 differently colored outlets. We have white, beige, black, metallic, and western. I would like to standardize these all to be white. However, the outlets themselves alternate between white and beige for reasons I don’t understand.
  • The furnace needs to be replaced (we got a seller concession for it) and the air conditioner needs to be serviced.
  • The kitchen has solid-stone tile counter top. It looks nice but it’s not particularly good for baking as when I roll out dough it consistently gets stuck in the grout lines.

I’m sure I’ll find more likes and dislikes the longer we live here but the list is a good start :-)

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