This is the view into what is supposed to be the formal living room from the foyer (I don't have a picture of the foyer. It is a very standard foyer. Fortunately, the stairs do not line up directly with the front door, because I have learned from House Hunters that that's really bad feng shui....all the chi will just flow right out the front door or something).
As I mentioned, the house had been empty for 2 years before we bought it, and, as you'll see, it had/has some...quirks that probably explain why other people were scared off and why we got such a deal on it. But it also had a lot going for it. Like, for example, hardwoods everywhere except the bedrooms. This was a pretty rare occurrence in our price range. I hate, hate, HATE carpet and am convinced that all the floors in hell are carpeted, so this was a big deal to me. Also note the not terrible paint color and the lack of wallpaper....again, a somewhat rare find in our price range (which consisted mostly of houses from the late 80's that needed cosmetic updating). This very neutral, beige-y, yellow-y, gold-y color was pretty much everywhere in the house (with some notable exceptions, which we'll get to soon). It is totally non-offensive, but we're rapidly painting over all of it anyway. You can also see in this picture that the house is nice and bright, which is totally new to us, coming from our little cape in the woods. And, finally, you can see the nice archway....there's also one going into the room from the foyer, and then on the other side of the foyer going into the dining room. Makes things a little less boxy!
We've done a lot of work on the living room, which is now our library/music room, lately. As soon as it stops raining and there's enough light to get some good pictures, I'll show you!
If you go right from the foyer, you'll hit the dining room, which we're using as a dining room/schoolroom. In our old house we had a big room that acted solely as a schoolroom/playroom. In this house, I'm hoping to keep the rooms a little more oriented towards the whole family instead of just kids. Particularly now that the kids (except for the one who's not born yet) are older. We'll see how that all works. Note the fancy light fixture. It is a little....formal for my tastes, but someone clearly spent a lot of money on it, and it's really nice, so it will probably be sticking around for awhile. Also, the dining room has shaped up to be fairly traditional so far, so it doesn't really feel out of place. The dining room is another "getting there" room, so pictures of it will be forthcoming as well.
If you walk through the dining room, you come to the kitchen. The kitchen was all redone at some point, with granite countertops and new cabinets and another fancy light fixture. It's all very nice and....not exactly what I would have picked. I grew very anti-granite countertops back when we were selling our old house and heard constantly how much everyone wanted them. Honestly, if I'd never heard of granite counters before and someone told me about them: "they're rock! But also countertops!" ...I would think they were an awesome idea. But since everyone else in the world wants them, I have to reject them. I am bratty like that. But truth be told, they've grown on me. Sometimes I just stare and them and get all mesmerized by how shiny and variegated they are. I wish the very nice cabinets were darker. I wish the backsplash were more exciting. But I also recognize that, again, a nicely updated kitchen is a rarity in the price range we were looking at, and I am lucky to have it, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Except for probably the appliances. They did not get updated with the rest of the kitchen. Other than the microwave, for reasons I'm sure I'll never know. The rest are all completely mismatched and pretty old, so I'm sure they'll be replaced out of necessity within the next few years. We've already had to have the dishwasher repaired once, and the refrigerator supply line leaked all over our basement when we hooked it up, so that needs to be tended to as well.
Through the kitchen, there's a hallway with a half bath off of it. When we moved in, there was no mirror in here. Remedying that is pretty much the only thing we've done. The walls are a kind of reddish, terra-cotta-ish color and have a textured, plaster finish.
Through the center hall, you come to the family room or den (we're going with den. My grandmother's house had a "den," and it sounds cozier than family room to me) and complete your circle through the grid of boxy rooms. Note the ostentatious mantle with a big ol' chip in it. Not sure what to do about that.
And here's the before picture that probably shows, better than anything else, why we got this house. What a lovely sunroom (at the back of the house; there's a doorway on one end into the kitchen, and at the other into the den)! Until you notice that torn up drywall over the door in the corner there. The day we first saw the house it was raining....right through the roof. We suspect this was a big turn-off to most of the people who looked; you immediately think leak=new roof. Turns out the culprit was a poorly installed skylight (the roof is actually only a few years old and in very good shape); we had it taken out and replaced with a plain old ceiling and the ceiling and wall repaired, all for $2500. Not too bad for something that looked pretty major at first glance. The sunroom (and screened porch and deck, which I don't have pictures of right now) are still a pretty big mess, though. They appear to have been someone's DIY project, and they aren't very....professional. You can see that a lot of those windows need to be replaced, for example. But other than the leak, nothing was an emergency. Eventually, I expect the sunroom to be a really great place to hang out. For now, it's enough that it doesn't leak.
That completes the downstairs tour! I'll do the upstairs in the next post.