It’s nice to be back, friends! I have so much news to share. It’s been quite a month, here in Colorado. If you have kids back in school, I hope that transition has gone well and that everyone is healthy and safe. We’ve had an action-packed month since I last checked in with you. Here’s the scoop:
- We bought a new house!
- We moved to Boulder!
- Our kids started the year at a new school!
(That might not sound like huge news, but we moved for the schools – so we’re thrilled.)
4. I washed 45,832 loads of laundry and cleaned almost every inch of two houses! Well, that’s not true, but I did spend the better part of the last month cleaning. Plus, we caught COVID. I’m not going to get into that here, but just imagine that depth of cleaning added to the mix. Everyone is ok, FYI. After all that, I wish I could spend the next month lying around, eating bon bons, and watching YouTube pressure washing videos (I know, it’s still cleaning, but it’s strangely cathartic). But that’s not gonna happen.
So the past few weeks have been a rollercoaster. Phew! I’m thrilled to be on this side of it, to be honest. Are you ready to see photos of the new house? Eventually, this will turn into the “before” slideshow, but we won’t change a thing until we finish and sell our Denver house.
We Bought a New House!
First things first. The very exciting news is that we moved to Boulder. This is huge. Not just the news, but the actual size of our new home! I should have blog content FOR YEARS with this one. It’s nearly 5,000 sq ft and needs plenty of updating. Here’s a photo when the flowers were still in bloom.
The house was custom built in 1978 and we bought it from a lovely family that had lived here since 1980. Our family is not as large as theirs, but we are thrilled to enjoy all the space! This home is really well-built and has seen plenty of love and use over the years. We are so excited to make it ours. Here’s a tour with a few comments about our plans for future changes.
Welcome! This front door has an interesting custom carving in the center panel.
To the right is the living room with a large bay window.
We will probably open up this wall separating the living room from the dining/kitchen. We plan to have a mechanical engineer check it out and advise, because it might require a support beam along the ceiling if we lose the wall.
The kitchen has a ton of storage and cabinetry, which makes it easy to unpack now and rearrange later on. We are still dreaming up our reno plans for the kitchen and dining area. Stay tuned!
The main floor configuration is similar to our last house (Denver house #2), with a living room in front and a family room in the back, off the kitchen. The boys have already unpacked and tested alllll of their toys in the new space. #priorities
The laundry room is tucked away back here as well. As it turns out, I did not get great photos of this spot before we moved in. However, from this shot, you can see both the stairs to the basement and part of the laundry room.
Also, there is a bonus bedroom on the main level that I’m using as my office. It’s next to a 3/4 bathroom, so we call it “the grandparent suite.” Check out the sweet light fixture in the bedroom.
Hold on to your hats, folks, because this house has seven bedrooms. Yes, seven! Six are on the upper floor, with one more on the main floor, which you just saw. The size of this house is totally nuts, but it’s also glorious to send our kids down to play hockey in the basement while we unpack. (Do we need this much space? No. See my FAQ’s below if you want more info.)
Our plan is to occupy a few bedrooms while we fix up the others, and then switch. Currently, the upstairs rooms all have light green carpet, so it’s hard to tell them apart in photos. Here are a few.
Here is the main bathroom on the second floor. I love the little octagon window.
Eventually, we’re thinking of moving the laundry room to the upper floor, converting one of the bedrooms into that space. We might also split the large main bathroom into two, to create a second bedroom suite. (I’ve seen that called a “second master suite” but doesn’t that defeat the idea of a master? Maybe it should be called the VP suite? Lieutenant quarters?)
A laundry chute! We’re obsessed. The kids love to poke their heads in and watch clothes fall into the bin I placed below. The chute has access doors from both the hall and inside the bathroom.
The master bedroom has a ginormous closet and en suite bath. A master bathroom feels like such a luxury to me, and I don’t take it for granted! This bathroom is also the most recently updated room in the house, and it’s such an upgrade over our previous master bathroom that I will happily make do with beige tile for years. (It’s nicely done, just not my style.)
There’s not much to report on the basement at this point. It’s partially finished, and there is a bathroom and fireplace, plus a walk out exterior door. Someday, we hope to turn this into another family room and perhaps a second office for Wyatt to work remotely. He’s currently using one of the fifteen bedrooms upstairs for remote work.
The garage is particularly roomy. It might even be larger than our first apartment! It’s a spacious, deep, two-car garage, with extra storage on one side. We’re pretty sure we could squeeze three vehicles inside to avoid the next hail storm.
The backyard is huge, and the size sneaks up on you, due to the landscaping. At first glance, as you step out of the kitchen, the yard feels a bit shallow. But it is SO wide and stretches far around the corner of the house.
One side of the lot was carved out to allow for a walk-out basement, which is a great feature, and there is a covered patio under the deck.
We have inherited nine fruit trees! Seven apple trees and two pears, all of which were planted by the previous owners. Here they are, lining the back fence.
Apparently the lot had no trees back in 1980, and we’re thankful that they planted so many. I learned that at one time, there were apples, pears, plums, cherries, and even a peach tree that the owner had planted from the pit of a particularly delicious peach. The green apples taste like Granny Smith and are quite delicious. Such a delightful legacy!
Interesting side note: while researching what to do with these apples, I stumbled across the Boulder Apple Tree Project, run by researchers at the University of Colorado. In the late 1800’s, orchards covered Boulder for fruit production. Despite development, some of these heirloom trees survived, and the project attempts to document and preserve the distinct varietals. Isn’t that interesting? Do you have any heirloom plants that have survived the past century, despite the odds?
Here’s my first apple crisp, in progress. I peeled 18 small apples to get here… there must be a better way to do this. Any tips for me, bakers?
New House Priorities – What to Expect on the Blog
I’m laughing at myself for even typing that headline. I don’t even know what to expect on the blog in the next 12 months! We are still shell-shocked that we even bought a new house, after searching for years; I imagine it will take a few more weeks to adjust, settle in, and make plans. Oh and there’s the small issue of our other house in Denver… which still needs quite a bit of work! SO. You’ll see content from two houses for the next six months; here’s our rough game plan:
- Finish projects at Denver house before next spring (laundry room, family room, basement, bathrooms).
- Start planning renovation strategy at Boulder house.
- Research professionals to reconfigure structural, plumbing, and any safety concerns.
- Make easy, temporary updates at Boulder house (deep cleaning, paint, organization)
- Join all the Buy Nothing Facebook groups that will have me #kiddingnotkidding
How We Moved for $600
This is worth mentioning. We tried a new system of slowly moving in a mobile storage unit. Like PODS, but we tried Go Minis, because the quote was significantly less (almost half!). So far it’s been a great experience and I can highly recommend Go Minis.
Moving with a mobile storage unit isn’t for everyone. However, if you can handle packing and loading, and you want more time to move everything, it might be great for you. We didn’t have the budget to hire movers, and without a contingent home sale, we have time to transfer our junk from Denver to Boulder over the next few months. A mobile storage unit is the compromise between renting a truck to squeeze our move into one weekend (most affordable but hardest labor) and paying for a moving company to handle it all at a premium.
It turns out that a mobile storage unit is the perfect solution for our move. It’s a metal box that you rent for one month (or more) and schedule with the company when you’re ready to have it moved from one address to the next. We scheduled our unit so that we’d have a week to work on packing it up and three weeks to unpack. We had it picked up and delivered to the new address on the same day. (Some companies will not pick up/move units on the same day, but Go Minis made it happen.) Compared to renting a moving truck for 2 days, that took a ton of pressure off our moving timeline. And our backs! We’re not 23 anymore.
FAQ’s About Our Move
Why did you move to Boulder?
We love Boulder. It’s gorgeous and outdoorsy. The school district is one of the best in the state, which is a priority for us. Plus, Wyatt went to CU – University of Colorado – for undergrad and it’s fun to cheer for the Buffaloes in person. Boulder has changed a lot in recent decades, but it has retained its independent, quirky spirit and is a great fit for us.
Just as an example, I spotted an informal Westfalia convention in the grocery store parking lot on Sunday morning. Some towns have classic car shows. Boulder loves a good camper van.
Do you really need a 5,000 sq ft house?
No. We really don’t need so much space, but this house is a great investment for us. We think we’ll be able to add a ton of value through our sweat equity, and if we want to move in a few years or twenty, it will pay off.
How did you pull off buying a house in this crazy market?
Patience. The past few years in real estate have felt like Supermarket Sweep. Did you ever watch that show? Contestants race around and try to put the highest dollar items in their cart before the buzzer. Well, in our version, as soon as a house was listed that met our criteria, we zipped up to Boulder to see it and then frantically debated how much money to throw at it before the offer deadline. I’ve lost track of the number of houses we’ve toured, and I wrote 10 offers in 2021 alone. We got close a few times, but this house was finally the winner and it was mostly luck, after all that.
By the way, if you’re new here and haven’t already guessed, I have a real estate license. Here’s my closing day selfie!
What’s the Deal With Your Denver House?
We have always planned to sell the house we own in Denver. That’s why all of my design choices there have skewed neutral and timeless. The main floor of that house is almost finished, but we still have some big projects to tackle. Look for future posts on these remodels: laundry room, family room, basement, stairs (for fun), and the en suite bathroom. I started this blog to document our updates in that home, and I have loved sharing our projects and tips with you! I’m so glad you’re here.
We hope to sell the Denver house next spring. I’m writing that here to hold our feet to the fire. Although, we’re definitely ready to unload it and focus on new projects!
That was a loooong post to share that we bought a new house. Thanks for sticking with me. If you’re looking forward to more DIY home improvement ideas, you’re in the right place because I’ll have plenty of content here! Once we sell our other house, what do you hope to see us tackle first? Which projects would you schedule early on in a home like this? Which would you skip or postpone? Chime in!
Up Next Week: Cheap Ideas to Spruce up Old Cabinets
I’ll be back next week with some tips on cleaning up old kitchen cabinets. Can you guess what I’ve been up to at the new house?? Have a great week, everyone!