Rantings from Across the Street

A little of this…a little of that…you know how it goes!

Creating Storage for Small Spaces April 8, 2013

When we first looked at this house, in the kitchen there was a nook…cubby…cut-out? I don’t know what you call it, but there was this space cut into the wall between the studs. There were shelves within the space and the shelves were about 6” deep.  The kitchen is pretty small and lacks cabinet space, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what this space was used for. It’s rather long, so its use wasn’t strictly as a spice cabinet – what was its purpose? The cabinet, at the time we purchased the home, had no doors on it – just an open shelving unit. Maybe it was for knick-knacks?

Much to my delight, we discovered ‘kitchy’ robin-egg blue doors in the garage that fit perfectly over this space. Not only did the doors conceal it’s awkwardness, but its great at keeping little fingers out of the goods within. Not to mention, it’s a wonderful talking point because of it’s color.

Here’s what the space looks like now, and I have to say, I LOVE IT!

Cabinet exterior

We have everything in this cabinet from spices to salad dressing to PB & J. I can put stuff for the kiddos on the bottom shelves, and the more fragile items (jars of spaghetti sauce, etc.) higher up out of the reach of little hands. It’s really been a fantastic space, and helps to free up precious cabinet storage for the larger items in our larder.

Cabinet interior

If you’ve got a small living space (or just a small kitchen, like I do), I highly suggest giving this idea some thought. It’s simply a cut out between 2 studs that has been lined with wood and had some shelves added to it. You could make it as big or as small as you need – cabinet doors are optional.

I think you’re going to love it. If you give it a try, or if you have a space like this in your home, I’d love to see pictures! Oh, and if you have any ideas on how to make the most of your small kitchen, let me know. We could use all the help we can get!


Making Progress – Slowly But Surely April 4, 2013

If you’ve been following along, you know that almost two weeks ago my husband and I closed on a new house. While the house is in decent condition, it still needs some updating and repair work, and we’ve slowly but surely been making progress on our to-do list.  As is the case with home ownership, you often feel like you’re sinking more and more money into the house every time you blink. Our house isn’t any different. Thankfully, out of everything we’ve had to take care of, we only had one minor blip in the radar screen (click here to see more about our adventures in gas appliances).

I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve been making.  Three of the rooms have been repainted (more rooms to come in the near future), new light fixtures have been installed, we’ve cleaned and cleaned, and yesterday we replaced the nasty, faded and spotted carpet in the great room. I’m REALLY excited about the new carpet. I’ve replaced windows in every home I’ve owned, but I’ve never had brand new flooring. Check out the before and after photos!  The light fixture in the dining area is courtesy of my fabulous dad; the great paint job, courtesy of my mom. Couldn’t ask for more awesome parents!

Before picture. Ugly brown carpet and no fixture.

Before picture. Ugly brown carpet and no fixture.

New carpet and light fixture.

New carpet and light fixture.

Now that the flooring is in we can start moving in the big stuff – beds, dressers, buffet, etc. The kids will be (hopefully) at their grandparents house this weekend, so we can surprise them with new bedroom makeovers when they get back. We’ve been moving the little stuff (boxes, toys, books, and more) every day – a little bit here and there will make a big difference come moving day this Saturday –Thank you God for beautiful Spring weather this weekend!

Once everything is moved, then the real work begins – trying to figure out where everything is going to go. Our house is lacking in major storage areas for big things like the Christmas tree, or the nice day bed that we don’t have room for but aren’t ready to give up yet. We’re looking forward to those challenges though… I feel a blog post on creative storage spaces coming up soon!


It’s about time someone stepped up! March 27, 2013

Filed under: Home Ownership — kmcdonald @ 10:24 pm
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Our new home has a furnace and hot water heater run by a propane tank at the bottom of a pretty significant hill. Unfortunately, the previous owners of the house essentially let the tank run dry. According to the fella we begged to come and fill our tank this week, the lady who owned our house previously called them about a month ago and only put enough gas in the tank to ‘get by’ until the house sold. Mystery of all mysteries, the tank runs out of gas the day AFTER we buy it. Really?!?!

Talk about frustrating. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue except for the fact that it’s been snowing this week…at the end of March…the beginning of Spring…hello Mother Nature… Anyway, it’s been below freezing the past several nights, so the house has been pretty darn cold. Again, this wouldn’t have been a huge issue except that when the fella from the gas company came by to fill the tank, there was an issue with lighting the pilot lights on the appliances. Originally, we thought the issue was with the fact that the tank is sitting at the bottom of a hill a significant distance from the house. After about 30 min. of trying to move the gas up the hill to the appliances, our gas guy went to the regulator and bled the line from there. No problem. Wrong!

After bleeding the line, he still couldn’t get any gas to the furnace or the water heater. He worked on it and worked on it to no avail. After about 2 hours of trying to get gas to the appliances, he deems the issue NOT their problem, and suggested that I call someone to come and repair the line. The assumption was water had gotten in the line and frozen. I asked who I should call, to which I received “I don’t know.” Umm…again, Really?!?! Thank heaven for my dad and his infinite knowledge of everything! I’m not sure who I would have called for a gas line issue. Certainly wouldn’t have thought to call a plumber.

I called several people of varying knowledge levels around propane gas lines. We finally settled on the guy who installed the furnace (thank God he left his contact information on the outside of the furnace). Two and a half hours later, Bob (the furnace guy) came by and checked out the line and tried to start the furnace and water heater. No luck there either. He tells us that we need to call the propane company back again. Grrr…come on guys, someone just fix it already!

By this time it was 8:30 p.m. and there was no way we would be able to get someone out to the house in the dark and cold and wet to work on the gas line at that time of night. My husband opted to turn the water off and drain the pipes so nothing would freeze (by this time, we were out of heat for 2 below-freezing nights and counting). The next morning, my fabulous hubby called the gas company again and requested someone come out to the house. While he had to go hang out in a cold house for several hours before someone came by, a repair person did finally show up. He again checked the regulator and determined that the issue was not with their part of the gas line. However, this man took pity on us and continued his investigation finally determining that there was indeed water in the line somewhere between the regulator and the appliances in the house – technically the plumbers problem. BUT, instead of telling us to yet again call a plumber to correct the issue, this wonderful person took it upon himself to help us out. He blew out the line, and we now have … wait for it…hot water AND heat. Yay!!

Anyway, all this was to say PLEASE, if you’ve been called to help someone out, please make a little extra effort to try to remedy what you can. In this situation, there was no reason to have had to go back to the gas company again, when they could have resolved the problem to begin with.


Gas, Electric, Water, Oh My! March 21, 2013

Today was utility day. Before you move, you have to call all the utility companies and have the gas, electric, water, etc. all moved into your name (always good to do this at least 2 days before closing day, if not more). Historically, moving utilities has been a simple task – call the utility company, tell them you want the bill switched over and Voila! Instant resources!

Now, post 9-11 (I’m assuming, anyway), you have to provide your blood type, DNA sample, and an agreement to give your first-born up before you can switch anything over. While all of the companies I called were more than helpful, this gal was just a tad frustrated. Credit checks were run, deposits put into place, and emergency contacts given, we now have everything but Water ready for us when we close on Friday. Tomorrow, I have to run to the water company and drop off my application for water, a deposit, AND a fee just for them to set up a new account for me. I don’t recall ever having to fill out an application in order to get my water turned on in the past?? Is this normal?

Next step – call the trash, cable/internet, and phone company so we can cover the disposal and entertainment side of things.

Ah, the joys of a new home…

Aside from the utilities, my lovely husband and I visited a flooring company during our lunch break today to see what the possibility of getting replacement flooring for the great room would be. I was hoping and praying for a nice hardwood floor, but it looks like carpet is going to win out at 1/2 the price of new hardwood flooring…oh well.  We’re looking forward to new carpet though, this will be the first house we’ve put new flooring into. We’ve replaced windows in both houses (and I’m sure this house will be the same), but never flooring.

If you’re in the market for new floors, and you’re in the Louisville area, I highly recommend Bluegrass Floorcovering. They are a locally owned company, and they are great, no pressure people. We’re looking to buy carpet that’s currently in stock, so we’re saving a few pennies, but they seem to be very reasonably priced if you have to order flooring as well.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring…


Adventures in Home Ownership March 19, 2013

Filed under: Home Ownership — kmcdonald @ 10:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This Friday, my husband and I are buying our 3rd house. We’re pretty excited about it, but who wouldn’t be?  The house is pretty cool, kind of rustic looking with a gorgeous wrap around deck.

Our House

Pretty cool, huh?

We have a lot of plans for our new house. In fact, out of the three we will have owned, this one has the biggest “honey do” list we’ve ever had. Here are a few of the items we have on our list:

New flooring (I’m hoping for hardwood, but at this point anything new would be better than what’s in there.
Turn Around in the driveway
Chickens (dying to raise some!)
New Windows
Fresh Paint

It doesn’t look impressive, but if I listed out everything, you’d feel as overwhelmed as we do! Don’t worry, we’re going to do it over time, and really try to enjoy this house with our beautiful children. The potential here is amazing, and I see us here for a good 5 years (inside joke – we’ll be here longer than that – I’m just known for getting the moving ‘bug’ about every 5 years. I’ve been told I’m not allowed to move for a good 10 years though). Shouldn’t be a problem!

I hope you’ll stick with me through some of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that we’ll have over the next few years. If you’re a fellow Pinterest-er, you can follow me there too. I’ve pinned a ton of ideas for the new house, along with a plethora of other things too. Come on over! You can find me at http://www.pinterest.com/azapolya.


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