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Bedroom Refresh

House By April 12, 2016 2 Comments

After ripping up carpet on the main level, hauling out the fountain in the backyard, swapping out doors with new locks, replacing a leaky toilet with a new wax seal and installing all new appliances, Josh and I finally decided to actually settle into our new home. But the dust never really fully settled for the following 6-8 months. One of the first (and probably most important) rooms we decided to tackle was the bedroom. We figured it was the one room we could find to rest our heads after the long nights and weekends of work we had ahead of us. And thankfully, the bedroom was mostly cosmetic fixes.



The first thing we started with was removing wallpaper. A lot of people complain about this part, and yah it’s kind of a bitch, but in the grand scheme of things, the right products and tools can make all the difference! We used a wallpaper remover and a scraping knife and some other random drywall knives. The previous home owners had a real love for textured wallpaper which in some instances (like on our kitchen ceiling) is pretty rad, but the bedroom paper just had to go. The following weekend we sanded down the pine woodwork, removed window sashes (also sanded) took off doors, patched holes and gouges with drywall mud and gave everything a final prep for some fresh paint.






One of the bigger challenges we faced with this project was finding the right primer for the trim which Josh will talk more about in a follow-up post. We decided to spray the trim with a sprayer we borrowed from Josh’s boss. Spraying was kind of a no brainer for us since Josh has the experience and I really love the crisp finish sprayed paint can achieve. The room already had a chair rail, so we decided to roll with it and paint the walls with two colors. Olympus White by Sherwin Williams on the top and Naval also by Sherwin Williams on the bottom. We don’t get a ton of light in our bedroom which is why Naval practically looks like black (which was the intention).



Things I’d do differently next time:

1. Pick a different primer. (we’re currently experiencing some bleed through).

2. I would also be WAY more careful when handling window sashes. Unfortunately, I leaned all the sashes against our fence on a really windy day and the wind knocked a sash over and it shattered (not something you want to spend an extra $300.00 on amidst a budgeted project).

But overall, we’re really happy with the results. Following our quick 3 day bedroom makeover, we made a trip to IKEA and completely reorganized our closet shelving unit which we’ll chat about down the road. Stay tuned for a follow-up post where Josh talks all things paint.


Move In Weekend

House, Outdoor By March 28, 2016 No Comments


Move In Helper Donna

Thanks for the help with the hostas, Donna (Lindsey’s mom)!

We left off here when we wearily walked through the door of our new house after the exhausting process of buying a foreclosure. Exhausting, yet rewarding nonetheless. We mentioned a few of our first impressions of the place here, and now it’s time to talk about how silly and crazy our goals really were for that first weekend. First, remember we had all of our possessions sitting either in a truck owned by my work (which had to be used the next day) or in the garage of our previous apartment. Lindsey’s parents were around and willing/eager to help, but that was only four of us, and considering this list below, you’re totally forgiven if you laugh your ass off at what we thought we could get done…

Move In Weekend Goals:

  1. Remove carpet from bedroom, make it a livable space
  2. Remove carpet from living room, ditto above
  3. Clean up the back yard, overgrown with 7-foot weeds in some places
  4. Get new appliances installed (Fridge, stove, washer/dryer)
  5. Remove upper kitchen cabinets
  6. Remove kitchen tile backsplash
  7. Paint upper kitchen cabinets in the garage
  8. Reinstall cabinets 6 or 9″ lower, as they were initially installed with giants in mind (Lindsey is 5′ 2″)
  9. Move ALL OF OUR STUFF in, and find a place to put it that didn’t interfere with any of the aforementioned
  10. Read Tolstoy’s War and Peace cover to cover

Ok, so #10 is obviously a joke, but still. Cute idea with the kitchen cabinets and backsplash, right? As you’ll see later on, the cabinets alone took us four or five days when we finally got around to that project, so silly us. But can you blame us for wanting to take care of that? Those things are sooooo high up, like a full 30″ or more above the countertop.

Move In Weekend Kitchen Goals

Anyway, just about all the rest of the stuff on the list we managed to accomplish. The yard ended up being a crazy amount of work – weeds tend to reign supreme after a year of not being tended at all. Our neighbors have some vines on their fence that had slowly crept across the lot, grown into cracks in the cement, and worked their way into the walk-out exit of our basement. All told, that weekend we ended up filling 58 30-gallon lawn bags from Home Depot. NBD. Also, a friggin’ fountain in the back yard? In Minnesota? Nope. We tore that mosquito breeding ground out as fast as possible, and we were delighted to find a giant wasp nest underneath. We were glad it was only 35 degrees outside and the things were…hibernating? Do wasps do that? Whatever. Bye fountain!

Move In Weekend Back Yard

Overgrown Vines

Back inside, the carpet came up easily enough, although the living room pad was held down with double-sided adhesive strips, as opposed to staples (BOO!). Head lamp scraping/sanding took up plenty of time in the next week, and we eventually gave up and left the rest of the tape to come off down the road with a big drum sander when we refinished the floors. 🙂 And in the bedroom, even though our West Elm bedding from the previous post is greatly preferred, we at least got the bedroom to a spot where it’d be livable for the near term while all the rest of the dust settled!

Pulling Carpet In The Bedroom

Temporary bedroom setup


First impressions and a tour

House By February 1, 2016 No Comments


Hi again! Back for post #2? Glad you made it. Just joining us? Check out our little intro here, and a little about who we are here.

Before we dive right into the (foolishly long) list of stuff we tried to accomplish on our move-in weekend, we thought it’d make some sense to give you all a tour of the house. The moment we first stepped foot in this house, we saw a really clear vision for every space in it, and hopefully we can start to get this vision across here. It’ll also be kinda fun to talk a little about a few of the things that were just totally grody about the house, both as a result from some awful early 2000’s remodeling, plus from sitting vacant for a year. As an aside, pardon the poor quality photos here…it was a pretty bonkers weekend when we moved, so we didn’t have a ton of time at this early stage to document. For this post we’ve borrowed pretty heavily from the pics we saw on the original listing, so you’ll essentially have the same experience as us in seeing it for the first time.




First Floor

There were two things we noticed right away when we came into the house:

1) It was a REALLY well-built early-20th Century home. Any of you who’ve seen a home from this era can probably attest to the craftsmanship back in this day. These guys weren’t messing around. Homes like this were built to last, and last they have, despite electrical work that we consider today to be super primitive and dangerous as hell. Like all houses of this era, the craftsmanship is most evident in the woodwork. There’s a really neat built-in cabinet in the dining room, and throughout the main level it features wide trim, unlike new homes these days and their chintzy little golden oak casing.

2) The wall between the dining room and the kitchen (pictured bottom-right above) needed to come down ASAP. We love cooking, entertaining, and otherwise just hanging out in our kitchen, and the craftsman galley-style just wouldn’t do. Much, much more on this project later. 🙂

Aside from those two details, the main level was generally…drab and weird. Carpeted living room and bedroom (beige, of course), pastel paint colors, and some pretty poor craftsmanship undertaken in the early 2000’s in attempt at some updates. Underneath all this, though, were the bones that make this house great – beautiful maple hardwood floors, solid original construction, and a workable floor plan that offered room for some customization.



Basement & 1/2 Story Attic

Likely unfinished when the home was built, the basement of the house stood in contrast to all of the great qualities we saw at the core of the main level. There were no cool built-in pieces, no wide trim, and come to think of it, not really any straight walls either. Srsly the wall of closets on the floor plan below is nothing resembling straight in real life. The basement also had a little forest of vines growing into it through an unfinished section of the walk out area that had encroached from the neighbor’s fence, and an all-around musty quality to it. Not the greatest first impression of this level, but again we had ideas for projects flowing from the get-go on our first walk through of the space.

The half story attic was a bit of the same story as the basement, with a few more positives. There were some water stains that indicated a leaky roof. Bummer, but leaks can be sealed. Again there was some not so great remodeling that had been done, complete with a ridiculously heavy-handed drywall mud texture technique. More details on this later, but let’s just say for now that it didn’t work for us. On the plus side, there was a really great exposed brick chimney running straight up through the room. It offered a cool visual, and acted as a nice divider for what we immediately thought could be an eventual master suite. The real beauty of this space was that we peeled back carpet in a few of the corners and found hardwood floors underneath. In general we’re pretty anti-carpet, so this was more great news!


This was a bit of a lightning tour, but hopefully you can get a sense of what we were dealing with. There was definitely some poor taste in the past, but the house has good bones, and we intend to uncover them while adding a little of our own touch. Many more photos to come that will give more context of each individual space, plus more on what our goals for this great little house are!

Next time, check out some of our hilariously over-ambitious goals of what we wanted to accomplish on just our first weekend alone. We still get to have a giggle about how crazy our ideas were for these first two days. Anyway, until next time!


Welcome to High Five House!

House By January 23, 2016 No Comments

Hi everyone! We purchased our first home in Northeast Minneapolis back in November of 2013, and have been documenting our progress on it ever since. Now that this blog is up and we have a landing place for our thoughts and images, we thought it made sense to start by sharing the story of how we ended up here in the first place. As this is our first post, you may find yourself asking “Who are these people anyway?” We’re still trying to figure that out ourselves, but what we know so far can be read here.

We’d been house hunting for about two months when we first saw this foreclosure pop up on our real estate app. It looked pretty rough around the edges, but really promising so we scheduled a showing the next day. We were both instantly sold on it, wrote an offer the day after the showing and began mentally moving in soon after. Sadly, national bank chains aren’t exactly quick to respond, and days turned to weeks without a word on whether our offer had been accepted. Thankfully our realtor put up with us asking countless times if he’d heard anything new, each time with the same answer of “No.” Finally after two months of no news, we got the best kind – our offer was accepted! A rushed inspection period followed, during which time we found loads of problems resulting from the house sitting vacant for over a year. We negotiated the price down with the bank to allow for the major issues to get fixed, and simultaneously made arrangements with our landlord to move out at the end of the month. Everything was lining up nicely until three days before the closing date, when we got a call from our realtor to notify us that the bank wasn’t ready to close.

With our new closing set for ten days after the original, we were temporarily homeless. We have some really great friends who offered us the spare bedroom in their basement, and we gladly accepted (Thanks, Nick & Angie Hoople!).  We left half of our stuff in a box truck borrowed from my work outside Nick & Angie’s house, and the other half in the garage of the duplex we’d just moved out of. Not really ideal, but what could we do? We made the best of it by having a great week with the Hooples, cooking meals for each other, and pretending like we were in college again. Before we knew it the next (and final) closing date had arrived!

We arrived at the title company’s office for our 8:00 am closing on a Friday, and the bank’s representatives didn’t show (which we learned was pretty normal). However, it meant that after handing over our down payment check and effectively signing a 30-year lease, we still weren’t officially homeowners. We were…peeved. The title company assured us that they’d fax the documents over to the bank and that as soon as the bank had signed them, we could get the keys and start moving in. We left the title company’s office with the key code to the lock box after promising to not go in until we heard the papers were signed. In the meantime, we went back to our hosts’ house and got ready to reload the truck so we’d be ready to move right when we got the word.

Conveniently, right as I was getting the truck ready to go, the cable that supported the lift gate broke and the whole thing crashed to the street, nearly crushing my feet under 300 pounds of steel. We called my boss, who brought our company’s other truck to the rescue, and right when he arrived, our dog Taco decided to make a daring escape into the neighborhood. So there we were, two trucks parked end to end in the street, broken lift gate on the ground, and all three of us diving to the ground to snatch up Taco across a city block of front yards. Anyone who happened to be watching out their window was likely playing this as a soundtrack to the whole thing. Ten minutes of fast-motion Benny Hill zaniness later and Taco was safe inside the house again, and thank goodness too, cause she’s REALLY cute.


That head tilt: OMG <3 <3!

Anyway, after the chase we were all incredibly tired, but we still had to move everything from one truck to another so we could have a functional lift gate. In the process of shuffling everything to the second truck, Lindsey caught the buckle of a falling ratchet strap to the head, saw stars, and she somehow kept on going after what had already been a very stressful day. She would later require an ER visit for some dizzy spells as a result of the head bump, but maybe that story’s better for another day.

After we got the second truck loaded and all our stuff secured again, the stars finally aligned. Lindsey’s parents, who were coming to help us move, were about to arrive and we finally got the call that we could get into the house. A short drive later and we were breathing quasi-tearful sighs of relief, hugging Lindsey’s parents, and walking in the front door of our new house!

What followed that day and in the coming weeks/months/years will be documented with love hereafter. Our first home purchase was plenty bumpy, but we’re here now, and we’ve survived this far. We can’t wait to share our progress and learn new things both from the process and any readers who care to share their experiences with us. Thanks for joining us!

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