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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