Review: Nest Hello

With stars in our eyes as we admired a little red house that was in our budget — and in a safe, walkable neighborhood near public transit — we overlooked a lot of little issues and placed an offer.

Fast forward to living in the house and we noticed a small, nagging issue (one of those we overlooked): no doorbell.

I figured we'd just go to Home Depot and buy a regular shmegular doorbell but my husband declined this option. He's not a technophile or super into keeping with the Joneses or anything like that. In fact, as a woman working in technology teams, I've always been the tech nerd of this couple. However, when it came to the doorbell, he insisted we get a video doorbell. Essentially, with the blank slate of nothing existing to replace, let's go big or go home!

Continue reading "Review: Nest Hello"

5 Home Inspection Tips: get your mind in the gutter

Before we became homeowners, I used to think of gutters as the things that ruined my bowling game and where my mind sometimes goes. Now I'm acutely aware of the areas of our home that allow water to run off and not cause damage to the house. And thankfully, it's one less thing on the to do list! #homeowneringlikeaboss

Continue reading "5 Home Inspection Tips: get your mind in the gutter"

One Room at a Time, One Day at a Time

When you move into a house, everyone tells you “you have 30 years to figure xyz out!”

Apparently they weren’t kidding!

I have gained a whole ton of respect for shows that make this process appear to be quick and painless, especially with folks who do the bulk of the work themselves.

We revamped our dining room and, if I do say so myself, did a good job in there! We cleaned out all the junk that had been left behind in that space (unfortunate drapes + too dark blinds + all the junk we dug up from the basement) and then we made our own touches. For one, we painted the walls to match the color in the living room and the upstairs. Originally, I’d intended to be more selective about colors but, honestly, when you like a color and don’t have time to pick something else, you just go with it. Continue reading "One Room at a Time, One Day at a Time"

Little Victories: My New Mailbox

When we bought our house, the seller left behind a replacement mailbox. She said it was something she wanted to get around to fix and never did. One day, I decided to make that a reality. Well, take a step back actually, I decided to make that a reality because the existing mailbox's lid had come apart in my hand the last time I checked the mail!

Old, sad mailbox
Old, sad mailbox

I didn't like the new mailbox but decided to remove the old one that was attached to the siding of the house and replace it with the new one. At least it would be functional.

But, of course, that didn't work. Continue reading "Little Victories: My New Mailbox"

Bay Window Woes

Windows are great selling points for a house. They let in a lot of light, allow for ventilation and can afford you great views. But windows can also be a pain in the behind!

I speak for everyone when I say that windows are great from the inside-out; all the ways you can, on the inside of your house, enjoy windows. However, from the outside-in, there is the primary issue that windows can also let the outside in, which includes bugs (remind me to tell you the story about the bee in the new house!) and neighbor's wandering eyes.

I don't mind folks peeking into my house but I do worry about privacy as I don't always love to wear pants at home. Also, when I'm not home, despite the security system, I still want a level of privacy so I'm not inviting strangers with nefarious intent to push the envelope.

All this is to say that windows need some sort of window dressing for privacy, but also to look good. We are slowly but surely replacing all the existing blinds on the windows but we hadn't quite figured out what to do with the bay window until recently. Continue reading "Bay Window Woes"

More on Composting: Week 2

Week one of composting at home is in the books! On to week 2!

It's been a weird week because, while we did do some cooking, a lot of the compost came from prepared food that we had to chuck because they went bad. For example, leftovers of a squid dish are probably not best to eat after a number of weeks.

Empty Compost Bin
Empty Compost Bin

Continue reading "More on Composting: Week 2"

A Little Update

Homeownering is in full effect!

Things that keep me up at night:

  • Getting a ticket from the Department of Sanitation for not sorting trash correctly
  • Waking up to a swarm of locusts in my compost bin
  • Finding a trap door with MORE stuff the seller left behind
  • Weeds! #explosivevegetation

In all seriousness, we've been getting a lot done to the point where when people walk in they say, "Wow, it's like night and day in here!" compared to when we first moved in. I'd say that's progress. Also, I've learned so much, including that I'm not half bad at spackling (small) stuff. Dare I say it, this is starting to feel fun — even if there are still some big looming projects that we'll have to tackle eventually. Continue reading "A Little Update"

And I know sour, which allows me to appreciate sweet.

Moving stinks.

Well, let me re-phrase that: I'm thrilled we found our forever home so we probably won't need to move again for 30 years!

In all seriousness, things are going pretty well. The office is the next space to tackle as far as getting it somewhat together. I think the big elephant there (almost literally) is that the beautiful desk I bought off Etsy has not yet arrived.

And then there's the thing about our master closet. It's not great. It's a 2 foot x 5 foot reach in and that's not nearly enough space for both of our clothes let alone shoes and bags (most of which are mine but that's beside the point). We are using other closets in the house and have left the master one empty for the time being, but I think I've convinced dear husband to consider building a true walk-in by extending the footprint of the existing closet. This might be the first step toward building a true master bedroom suite with the attic space since I don't think we'll able to afford to do that for quite some time.

That's the real sour thing about all this.

Continue reading "And I know sour, which allows me to appreciate sweet."

That Feeling When you Almost Ended Up on House Hunters

The cat is finally out of the bag.

Husband and I found a house and moved out of the apartment we've called home for nine years. It's been a whirlwind of activity since we saw the house for the first time in late October. I thought wedding planning was hard. Buying a house takes the cake! Thankfully, we won't be looking to do this again anytime soon.

Now that we have the keys, we are doing some work to make it feel like home for us. We are posting photos over on Instagram as we make progress using the hashtag #merlardorenovation.

Last time I wrote anything was before we closed in January. We took our time and moved in late February. Now it's end of March and we've been living in the house for a month. Seeing as how it's been a while — and I'm now totally an experienced homeowner! — I can share the 5 things I've learned over the past few months. Continue reading "That Feeling When you Almost Ended Up on House Hunters"