I bought this property in November 2008, a joint venture investment with my parents. It’s a half-plex which is a home style that dominates in my small town. While these homes are typically valued less than single family homes I love that my gas & electric bill is between $20-$60/month and I’ve never had problems with privacy as the common wall is thick.
The Photo Tour
The property was empty for about a year so with no water running the lawn was pretty dry by the time I closed in mid-November. Thankfully the grass has come back and thanks to a free lawn mower from the grandparents I keep it trimmed. There are 6 rose bushes lining the garage that bloom constantly.
However, long dead from lack of water, the willow tree in the foreground has been cut down to the stump (I’ll take the whole thing out eventually, check out my upcoming projects). The sugar maple tree closer to the front door is still thriving and produces the most beautiful leaves year round.
The front walkway hasn’t changed much except that I keep the roses trimmed back so you don’t get attacked walking up to the front door. Soon I’ll attempt to remove one of the rose plants that hasn’t produced in three years to make more room for these guys:
In some spots I created a layer of rocks for the water hose (see all of my pending projects here.)
The sugar maple tree is thriving and while we trimmed some of the limbs it will need a little more work soon. It’s pretty low maintenance so I can focus more on keeping the flowers blooming year round. Check out my favorite garden pics and names of the flowers on this page.
A little water every day helps these flowers alive and blooming. The mint I planted is threatening to take over the planter box so I might transplant it into the smaller patch of dirt under the kitchen bay window.
Directly behind the maple and planter box is my front porch which is a space I completely overlooked when buying this place but is now a favorite spot of mine.
I moved in this swinging bench from my maternal grandparent’s home (wrote about it here) in 2009:
and decorated the area with these affordable pillows from Home Depot, a square planter box and this open shelf from Goodwill. I’ll be replacing the wood slats on the bench soon and touching up the paint.
The rug here is from Ikea and a great outdoor option – it’s also easy to toss over the fence and beat until the dust is gone.
Wilson loves the bench too:
The screen door has a lock but more importantly, a metal grate over the screen. The dogs love sitting on the tile and watching the front yard and that grate keeps them from knocking through the screen.
While I don’t have a formal dining room, I have just as much space as I need in my small dining nook. I bought this tall bar table and six chairs which I love. The red rug came from Ikea for $40 (former display piece) and was easy enough to clean up with a steam vacuum.
The white china cabinet came from the Library Sale and I painted it white (approximately 7 coats), replaced the knobs and filled it with china and kitchen goods.
This great display piece that I picked up for $10 and had no idea what I was going to do with it. Now it holds my favorite recipe cards and things I want to try. I might replace with holiday cards come December:
Mom and I primed and painted, including a new coat of white for the window sills and carrying the red into the window so it’s more cohesive. Plus getting rid of that green made it less ‘Christmas in the kitchen’ year round.
Aside from the new dishwasher I haven’t done much in here. Next to the stove I added shelves and took out the paper towel holder and around the sink I added some artwork including two coordinating frames like this:
There is no mat, just glass so the wall color shines through and makes it look coordinated. I picked these up way back in 2002 for my room at my parent’s home. This one is above the large window and came from the Salvation Army:
Someday I’d like to replace the blinds with white roman shades and replace the door and drawer knobs. Also, the $40 garage sale fridge/freezer is dying, it’s less than energy efficient and a broken seal means ants can get in, die a cold deal and don’t come out. Ick.
But the stove and oven work perfectly and even the microwave doesn’t have any problems. We did replace the food disposal in the sink as it had rusted through and leaked but that was a simple, if smelly, job for Dad.
My favorite part of the kitchen right now is the storage for all those kitchen utensils. They tend to get dusty but it’s no trouble to rinse before using and I found all of these turquoise containers at thrift stores:
On the other side of the kitchen is the Garage and as you can see in the first pic on this page, the garage takes up the majority of the front of the house. There’s an access door between the kitchen and dining area and I’ve managed to squeeze a lot of utility into this two car garage.
The Laundry Area has my still-going-strong-freecycled-dryer (left) and newer washer on the right. The freecycled washer turned the garage into a whirlpool so I replaced it in December 2010. Still, two years out of a free appliance is pretty good.
To the left of the dryer is a collapsible air dryer that I picked up for $1 at a thrift store. I like to keep several clothes baskets handy and a fan provides some air circulation. The black curtains were a perfect $5 find to block out the heat of the sun.
Food Storage outside is really nice because my inside cabinets are not overcrowded. I have a small chest freezer and the top cabinet has all my booze.
Pantry added here by dear old dad, my little overachiever, who took my sketch and created a custom pantry with adjustable shelves. The only thing I vetoed was doors as it would take up too much room.
Storage is all over the place in this room – you can see these gorgeous cabinets with glass fronts installed by Dad. He “saved” them from the dumpster at work and they came out of chem lab at a school undergoing renovation. My brother and Dad have the same cabinets in their garages too!
You can see these small glass jars are a great storage solution, I found them thrifting for 16 cents each and they hold all of my nuts, bolts, screws and nails.
On the other side we have these handy tool hangers so I can keep my cleaning and garden tools organized. We added some hooks for the extension cords (electric lawn mower, leaf blower and string trimmer remember) and since the ground is mostly dead space, hung my bike from the ceiling.
The middle of the garage will soon have a 1970 Cadillac (once I finish payments) but until then I’ve got a couch for the dogs, an old Ikea chair and a make shift work station for painting baseboards (propped up on containers full of Christmas decorations)
Hallways are boring, I admit. Right now my number one pending project is to scrape the popcorn like ceiling when I have a long weekend free. I’ve decorated a bit with two bright prints from Freecycle and collage frames with some of my favorite prints.
While I’ve been working on painting the doors throughout the hallway, I also spray painted the door knobs, since I like the look of white doors and dark hardware. The knobs are pretty unique so if I had to buy something else not boring it would run me $30-40 each door. And I have six doors so it was a win all around
Finally we’re to the back of the house and therefore the Backyard. It’s definitely the worst space “in” the house, simply because I have destructive dogs who like to play. And when they run and play on sod it gets torn up. So while I’m constantly seeding, fertilizing and mowing, it looks pretty sad.
Thankfully Dad just fixed the wiring and we programmed the sprinklers so they go off every morning at 6am, keeping the grass that has survived this long from shriveling up in the summer heat. Now if I can just keep enough moisture OUT that I don’t get a colony of mushrooms I’d be oh so happy.
Right outside the master bedroom there’s this narrow patch of patio, I’ve considered setting up a small table and chair here, maybe I’ll find one at an end of summer clearance one year. But right now there’s not much to look at.
The roses that surround the yard here are decently healthy, I only have two that don’t produce unless threatened and another that seems to be diseased. If I dig them out it’ll certainly make more room for the dogs to lie in the dirt.
Finally the strip of grass under the guest room window has plants (detailed here) and they are thriving with the now consistent watering! I’m hoping they’ll fill in a bit more over time.
The Side Yard is divided by a dog gate that Dad installed, it’s been helpful when I’m moving stuff in and out of the yard but since the dogs have to cross the lawn to get to the side it hasn’t helped the grass much.
The side yard is horrible. I have a lot of projects to finish and things to clean up here. You can see the pile of rocks I’m separating so that I can add sod or a bunch of flowers in pots and containers.
I did assemble my new compost barrel from Amazon which was FREE after rebate from my city. So far I’ve been throwing in dirt, leaves and kitchen scraps. The flies are flocking to it which annoys me but oh well. It’s really fun to spin.
I have a dog igloo back here but considering that my dogs never use it will probably donate or offload in a garage sale. And the grill from my Grandparents sits patiently for the day I finally dust off the cobwebs, refill the propane tank and fire ‘er up. Someday…
I’m still debating this though and think that it would provide great shade to the east side of the house, add some interest to the side yard, the trees have slim trunks so they won’t knock out the fence and it makes the backyard more colorful.
Only trouble I’m seeing is the watering scenario (no sprinklers on that side yard) and if the soil is good enough. But that’s a project for another day!
Now we’re back through the gate to the front porch! I don’t know about you but I’m tired. That only took me a month to photograph, link, write and post! Sit down, enjoy some passion tea and thanks for visiting!
Other pages for rooms in the house: