Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Here's a fun fact about our house.  You know that moment where you're all cramped in a tiny room around conference tables signing away the next 30 years of your life to a mortgage payment, and then after your hand is cramped and your signature no longer looks like your signature, the mortgage broker and realtor finally say "Alright, here are the keys to your new house!"  ??  Yeah, that didn't happen with us.  We finished signing everything and were waiting for that moment and everyone kind of sat there like "Now what?"  So I finally asked, after an awkward moment of silence, if we could have the keys to our new house, and everyone kind of looked around at each other like everyone else should have the keys.  No one had the keys to our house!  So in a not so Hollywood moment, we had to call "Al," the now previous owner of our house, and ask him if we could have the keys so we could get in to our house.  Classic.

Our house was purchased by "Al" in the 80's, and he had been renting it out since the early 90's, so for the last 20 + years, people have been in and out of our house, and who knows who still had keys or access to it.  We considered calling a locksmith and having the whole house re-keyed, but after a few estimates and some time spent weighing our options, we decided to just install new door handles and locks.  The existing door knobs were shiny gold and none of them matched, and there were different keys needed for the front and back doors.  In order to play it safe, we just splurged and bought all new door handles and locks for the 3 exterior doors in our house.  We spent the extra money and bought the Schlage re-keyable door handles (from Lowes) so that all the doors could be matched to the same key, and if we ever need to re-key the house, it's super easy to re-do ourselves, without having to call a locksmith, which would cost anywhere from $80-$150.

I have to say, neither Brian nor I have any experience installing a new door knob, and he was able to do this first one in a little over an hour.  The directions were pretty straightforward and everything matched up, which made things easy.
We were warned in the store by another customer that the aged bronze finish scratches easily with keys and such, and she was very adamant that we should go in a different direction, but there weren't really many options and we didn't have time/patience to order something different off the internet, so we went against her advice and purchased them anyways.  They come with a lifetime warranty so we figured if anything went really wrong we could try to exchange them through that, but so far we haven't had any issues. 
They also have only 1 star in the ratings on the Lowe's website, but my only complaint about them is that sometimes the finishes are a little different.  I had to try to match them up in the boxes to make sure I was getting 3 handles that looked alike, and even then one of our knobs is more of a matte finish than the other shiny ones, but not so much that anyone would notice but me.
After Brian got the first one installed it was too late to start the other 2 doors, but we were feeling pretty confident that we could have this project finished in no time.  As you can see from the picture above, we need to sand/repaint our door, but I'm holding out until we paint the exterior of the house.  We have 2 front doors, both of which you can see from the road.  There's the most exterior one which leads to the porch, and then there's the door in the porch that leads to the living room.  I can't decide if I want to paint them both the same color or if I'm going to leave the more interior one white.
You can really see the subtle copper undertones in this picture, which I love, and even though you can see finger prints, the finish really masks them in person, so I'm not constantly having to rub finger prints out.
I was busy doing other things while Brian was installing the locks, but from my understanding, I'm pretty sure you unscrew and separate the old handle, and then put all the new parts in place and then screw the new handle together.  Easy as that.  Except for that the other 2 handles didn't match up perfectly.  We just got lucky on the first one.  Mr. H had to come over and help drill and screw some things into place in order to get the other 2 locks to work, but everything worked out in the end and we no longer have to worry about who has a key to our house!  And the best part?  We just have 1 key for the whole house!!

I know it's not the most exciting post but it's essential to a new homeowner, so that's why I'm sharing.  However, living room paint pictures are coming soon, and that IS exciting, so be sure to check back!  

LoL  :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Beverly Hillbillies are Moving In

The original plan upon signing the papers and getting the keys to our house was that we were going to get in and clean, paint, and re-do all of the things that needed to be addressed immediately before actually moving in.  Welllllllllllllll...Brian was a little more than excited about our new adventure, and consequently ended up like this on the very first night:

Let me break this picture down for you.  That is a corduroy bean bag unfolded into a giant bed cushion with a jacket as a pillow and a c.d. player for noise, because sleeping alone in an empty house is scary even for the toughest of us.  

The story of the Bevery Hillbillies begins one evening when my parents were over at the house along with Brian's family, who were smart enough to bring their own chairs:
Yes, that's right folks.  I forewarned that the Beverly Hillbillies were moving in.  :)  

For some reason, on this particular evening, Brian and his parents were driving in separate cars back to our house, and they passed by a house on Summerlin with a moving truck out front and a whole pile of junk stuff out by the curb for the trash.  Both Brian and his parents simultaneously noticed this treasure at the curb and turned around back to the house so they could rescue it from the garbage.
Isn't she a beauty (said sarcastically)??  I can't imagine why anyone would get rid of such a priceless piece of art.  Her name is Fulga (what we thought was the artist's name which my sister later pointed out is actually "FulYa" but we still call it Fulga), and she currently resides in our living room to creep greet everyone who comes through our front door.  More on that later.

So to make this long story even longer, upon rescuing Fulga from the trash pile, Brian noticed a whole bunch of treasures that could be salvaged, and instead of just helping himself, he went to ask the homeowners if it was okay if they dig through their piles by the road.  The lady he spoke to was actually just a friend helping the homeowner move, who explained that the homeowner was 80-something years old and was moving up to North Carolina so her daughter could help care for her.  Her daughter didn't rent a big enough moving truck, and consequently, the poor lady was having to decide which of her belongings to take and which to leave behind.  They hadn't planned on this happening, and were leaving early the next morning to hit the road, so most of the "left behind" items were just being left at the curb.  Being the charmer that he is, the lady told Brian he could have any of the plants on the porch, all of the lawn furniture, and anything from the yard that he wanted, which, if anyone knows Brian, made him happier than a kid in a candy shop.  

Lucky for us, my dad and his 6-foot-long-truck-bed were back at the house, so we took a ride over there and piled the truck as high as we could.  Brian had to ride in the back and we literally looked like this while driving through downtown Thornton Park:
I'm sure our neighbors were shaking their heads or laughing at us, or both, but check out the loot we scored for ZERO dollars!!
A teak wood table and chairs for the front porch in almost mint condition, along with a teak bench that just needed a new cushion to be like-new again.
Several outdoor lanterns, an iron bird feeder, and an old iron fire bell.
I think my favorite free score of the night was all of these plants and ceramic pots.  Plants are ridiculously expensive from a nursery or home improvement store, and all of the plants and pots pictured here would probably cost around $350 if we were to purchase them. 
We also brought home this lovely outdoor settee, chair, and ottoman set, which fits perfectly on the back deck, and other than the cushions, is in perfect condition.  We stacked everything but the plants in the back of the truck and brought it all home in one trip.  Brian literally had to sit in the back on the way home to hold everything in so we didn't have any runaways along the way.  It was a good thing we didn't have far to go!
I eventually want to recover the cushions in something more cheerful and colorful, but they're in fine condition the way they are now.

On the other hand, the bench cushion was looking pretty raggedy, so I bought this fabric from JoAnn's along with a piece of foam cut to size so I could make my own.  I just sewed 4 box corners and closed up the stitch around the foam and I had a brand new cushion! Even someone with zero sewing skills could do this.

The chairs for the table didn't have any cushions at all, and they were a little uncomfortable without them, but I wasn't sure I wanted to buy the foam and fabric for all 4 chairs.  They were both pretty expensive and I used coupons when I bought them for the bench, but it would have been pricey even with discounts if I were to buy enough for the 4 chairs.  I lucked out, though, when I was shopping at Burlington Coat factory one day and stumbled across these yellow beauties for only $3 a piece!!  They fit perfectly and match our eventual yellow and blue color scheme for the exterior of the house.

Needless to say, we totally lucked out on our free finds and are extremely grateful for stumbling upon that lovely painting by the street one evening.  We actually went and bought a card and wrote a nice little note of thanks to the lady who was so generous to give us so many of her lovely belongings.  And, of course our house would never be the same without Fulga.

:) LoL