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October 23

I’ve Got Some Big News

It’s gettin’ real peeps!  It seems everything has aligned and in one week’s time I will officially be a homeowner – a first time homeowner to boot!

Felix and I have been keeping house chat on the down low since there were many ways the deal could have fallen through from when we had our offer accepted.  But we’ve gotten the clear to close from all parties and per my Realtor when I asked him what would prevent us from closing at this point he responded back with:

Things that would prevent close:

Nuclear attack
Tsunami (south side only)
Left wing radical arson at property

If you clear the financing, and the bank gives you the “clear to close”, the scenarios are too seldom to even get into. Just don’t lose your job this month or make any major purchases.

So as long as I don’t quit my job or buy a Porsche with my credit card… I should be all good.

Here’s the 1885 Hyde Park house we’re purchasing (pending south side Tsunami) in one week’s time:

It doesn’t look like the prettiest house on the block, but I’m hoping that with time (and money allowing) we can get it looking back like it once did when it was built:

Why yes, I did manage to find an original line drawing of the house from 1885!  heh  I’m a clever researcher that way…

Isn’t that original drawing so much better than what it currently looks like?!  I think so.

Felix and I are headed to home-remodel territory in such a short time.  I don’t think I talk about my history very much on here but I grew up in a constant work-in-progress house that was built in 1910.  I never had air conditioning and I never had a shower growing up.  It’s an amazing house though:

I couldn’t find any recent images of the exterior, but this was taken a few Christmases ago.

I’m no stranger to brushing my teeth at the kitchen sink or doing dishes in the bathroom sink.  But I’m fairly certain this is going to be a whole new deal actually being the homeowner since it’s been a good 10 years since I’ve acclimated myself to renting & not having to fix anything, ever.

I officially started packing up stuff this past weekend too.

So much is happening so fast….

In short, this news will impact so many things, both on the blog and off!  I want to say we know what we’re doing – but we such newbies that it’s most likely a very naive statement so let’s just say: I don’t think we fully comprehend what we’re getting ourselves into but we’ll learn.  heh

We do know the first thing we’re going to tackle (and by us I mean trained professionals) is the electrical, some plumbing, and the furnace – so that things are livable.  After that we’ll be seeing how much $$$ we have left over and then do things accordingly.

I’m going to be working on my knitting projects, like always, and for the next month I’m hoping to find time between packing boxes to wrap up some of my WIP sewing projects – but we’ll see how that goes.

Once we officially move – things are going to be spotty on the site since I don’t know if I’ll have a computer or internet or even my sewing machine.  Not to mention – all I’ll probably have time for is working on – thinking about – dreaming about house remodeling.

I’m sad to move out of Logan Square – my home for nearly 6 years.  But I’m also excited/nervous to start this new chapter aka adventure with Felix.

Any good advice for a newbie homeowner???

I’ve read though all of your great-wonderful-happy comments & THANK YOU so sooo much!  Felix went and read them all too, bwt.  The one thing I kept reading over and over is not to rush.  This one piece of advice was the thing I took to heart most.

You see, when we were last walking through the house with my dad (hvac genius), he was asking about all sorts of things we hadn’t though about yet, such as knocking down walls, placement of such and such… This left Felix and I were feeling like we had to have all the answers immediately and we felt a great amount of pressure to make these decisions.  We don’t know what we want quite yet and after reading through what you guys had to say – I now feel alright about this.  Felix and I are going to take it down a notch and let the house tell us what it wants/needs!

We’re now planning on NOT making any major decisions until we move in since we don’t want to be in such haste that we regret major changes later down the line.

Thank you so much; you guys truly rock!  :)

  1. Shannon / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations to you both! The house looks adorable.

  2. Anthea / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats! The house is lovely!

  3. Michelle / Oct 23 2013

    HOORAY! This is wonderful news! The house is GORGEOUS! I can picture it in its glory. It’s going to be really outstanding with a little (or a lot) of elbow grease and love!

  4. K-Line / Oct 23 2013

    I think the new house looks TERRIFIC! Just as cute as the original picture (OMG, how did you find that?!). My house was built in 1885 too! You are definitely in for a wild ride. Living through renos as a young person is, I suspect, quite different than undertaking (and paying for) them yourself :-) But I’ve no doubt you will enjoy your home for many years to come. Congrats.

  5. Elizabeth / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats, and it looks like a totally darling house! And oh, Hyde Park! I spent many happy years in that neighborhood, I hope you like it!

  6. Jane / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats – it is SO CUTE! Good luck with the move!

  7. Lynn / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats! Waht an adorable house! Love the tower! The best advice I could give, having owned both a brand new house and one that needed work when we bought it, is to remember it is not just a project, but your home as well!

    I would concentrate on making it comfy and cozy and feel like your home before deciding how to change or fix it. I understand the urge to fix it up right away (and some tasks may need immediate attention– our latest home needed a new roof ASAP) but don’t let that get in the way of becoming comfortable living there. Take the time to make a place for the bunnies, set up your sewing machine, stash your yarn. Make sure Felix takes the time to do the same with the things he cherishes and stuff he enjoys.

    May you have many happy years in your new home.

  8. Szarka / Oct 23 2013

    Treat moving and unpacking like a workout, and stretch after every stint. (Also use helpful lifting tools every chance you get!) Discipline your adrenaline like a wayward child, and keep sleep patterns, nutrition, etc where they should be.

    We moved three months ago, and I did most of the packing, schlepping boxes, and unpacking. I’m not a novice, but I’m also not as young as I was the last time. Despite being careful lifting, and deliberately training with weights for 6 months beforehand, I got very excited and forgot to keep stretching. I’ve spent the last month recovering from muscle strains, which is very frustrating!

    I also wish we’d gotten a home warranty, as things (that were inspected!) keep breaking.

  9. Kim Bever / Oct 23 2013

    You house is INCREDIBLE! Enjoy it and don’t stress out about things because everything will happen in due time. We moved into our house 3 years ago November and it is still not completely painted or unpacked. Life goes on, even in an unfinished state, and we love living here just the same. Congrats to you, Felix and the Buns!

  10. Bonnie / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats on the new home! It is adorable and I loooove that front porch.

    I’m about to be in the same boat and am excited/terrified. Moving from Logan Square (hi, neighbor) but going north into a “newer” early 1900s fixer-upper bungalow. While we also have a lot to do, I am looking forward to setting up my sewing room and hopefully getting some time to at least sew a curtain or two. Any home sewing projects in the queue?

  11. I’d make sure not to make any big design decisions for a while after moving in so you can get a proper feel for what will look right. Do the important things like making sure everything is safe; the rest can wait.
    In saying that we did a couple of things straight after we moved in to our place; we replaced the pink tafetta curtains in one room with something a little less grating (though second hand) and also replaced the plastic light shades with glass ones. Small things, but it made it possible to walk into those rooms without going “ick”.

  12. Maggie / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats! Super exciting :) don’t forget to take a deep breath once in a while…it will all get figured out!

  13. sewlittletime / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations! Your house is so cute!

  14. Veronica Darling / Oct 23 2013

    Great news! Congratulations and it’s just the SWEETEST looking place already, great buy! (It’s so fun how different houses look – ours looks so boring it’s 1935 with no real history behind it)

    LISTS: make lists and especially lists in order… it’s no good painting something and making it look sweet and then realising you should have pulled out the built in wardrobe first, because now you’ve got half the room painted lovely, and the other side with old wallpaper exposed and draughty floorboards! (our current bedroom!) so Step by Step lists…

    xoxoxo Have fun!

  15. Sarah C. / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations! This is such an exciting time for you, and I wish you all the best. The house is unbelievably charming now; I can only imagine how it will flourish in your loving care!

    The one thing that I will add is to remember to take care of your marriage. A house, especially one that involves a bit of work, can be very consuming. Buying this home is certainly a major decision, but you & Felix have already made the most important decision that you will make in life, and that is marrying each other. Date nights at Home Depot and weekends spent covered in dust make for great memories & hopefully a lot of laughter, but particularly as the months & years go by, remember that you want to stay connected to each other, not just to the house.

    I adore our house (a comparatively young 90) and spend as much time here as possible, and yet I have long remembered something that Trudie Styler, Sting’s wife, said. I may not have the words exactly right, apologies, but the message was — “Sting is my home. The houses are where we have parties & such.” She is known to love their farm in the country, so she is not discounting the value of taking care of a place with passion, but whenever I am fretting about a house decision, I remember her words.

    The people & animals we get to spend our lives with, they make a house a home. Take care of each other, and the home will blossom.

  16. Marie / Oct 23 2013

    Your house is absolutely beautiful and I’m dying to see many more internal and external pictures please!!! As a very recent and first-time homeowner, my advice to you is to accept that things need fixing/decorating and that they take time to get done. If like us, you both work, then don’t try and do too much too soon, or you’ll feel burned out and unhappy…ask me how I know ;o) Just get settled in and take your time to figure out what you do and don’t like etc.

    Anyway, enough rambling…this is such exciting news!!!!

  17. Sarah / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations!! What a pretty, pretty house! I love the rounded windows on the first floor and the balcony on the second. Is that the Master?

    Advice: always get three quotes on any job you need done from three separate contractors.

  18. Shar / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats to you and Felix! The house looks great – so much charm. My advice (similar to what others have written) is to live in your house for a while before making major changes. We did all the renovations before moving in and while we made a lot of good decisions, there are some things I would have done differently if we had lived here first. That said, I love our house since we changed it to fit us and I’m sure you’ll have the same feelings about your house!

  19. Maddie / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations! Being a homeowner is a huge accomplishment!

  20. Stephanie / Oct 23 2013

    Congrats! In the process of moving myself so I know how you feel!

  21. Gail / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations, Liz! I’ve been wondering how this was going for you guys. So glad things have come together!

  22. Sarah / Oct 23 2013

    what a great house! especially for a girl who sews vintage clothes ;)

  23. Amy / Oct 23 2013

    Wahoo! Congrats! Is this the same house you showed photos of the interior a few weeks back? I think it’s so fun with its porches and awesome roofline. I hope you’ll keep us up to date on the home remodel progress! And, sorry, no advice here on owning a home – I’ve yet to cross over into that territory myself!

  24. Jen / Oct 23 2013

    Oh, is that cute! Congratulations!

  25. Rachel / Oct 23 2013

    Congratulations! It really is a cute cottage! I can’t wait to see what you do with it! How exciting!

  26. Gina / Oct 24 2013

    Oh my goodness, that house is gorgeous! You guys really found a gem!

    I think I mentioned briefly when we met that when I owned a house in Ohio, we put a roof on it ourselves. My biggest piece of advice would be don’t put a roof on a house yourself. Haha. We were up on the roof for like two months every night just chipping away at getting all those shingles down and working on flashing and God knows what else. I get sort of ill every time I think about it. I don’t think you guys will be foolish enough to put on your own roof, but my real advice is to put some money away for emergencies like needing a new roof out of the blue. What I discovered about home ownership is that even though you got the house inspected and things checked out, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to go kaput a few years down the road after you’ve already spent all your money fixing the things that were actually identified as problems and installing all new bamboo floors (ahem). So just be financially prepared as well as you can for surprises so you don’t end up on your roof all summer because you’re saving $2000 by not having a contractor do the work!

    And with all that being said, congrats!

  27. Jeri / Oct 24 2013

    So happy for this exciting time in your life. The one piece of advice I give to all “old” house homeowners is be prepared for your projects to take much more time and money than you originally thought and try to tackle one part of the house at a time so you don’t end up living in the bathroom while the rest of the house is in progress!

  28. Ginger / Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations!! That’s so exciting! The house looks absolutely lovely!

  29. TinaD / Oct 24 2013

    Great news! Your childhood sounds a lot like mine–I remember with startling clarity the December we didn’t have a bathroom floor when I was 7–getting up in the middle of the night for a pee was hazardous to the health. My advice is that, after you get the mechanical stuff done that you need to make the house warm and electrified and watertight and whatnot, STOP. Don’t do anything to the place for a year. Save your money and let the house tell you what it needs and what would suit it (and you) by way of renovation or decoration. I’ve owned more old houses than I care to count, and one of the biggest failings previous owners seem to have is the tendency to rush in and make big stylistic changes which are sometimes out of step with the age and style of the house. (Marble spa bathroom in a shotgun shack, anyone?) Not that you would do this–you seem to be a heck of a researcher–but the hiatus helps to avoid the “Martha Stewart did this great thing–let’s repaint” kind of impulse. Which can be hard on a marriage the second or third time around:)

  30. Tasha / Oct 24 2013

    Congrats on your clear to close! I’m very excited for you two. :) :)

  31. Kelly / Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations!!! That is such a neat old house. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  32. Congratulations!! Super exciting for you.

  33. Debbie / Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations! What a great house, and I love the original drawing.

  34. Rosie Wednesday / Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations! I bought a home a year and a half ago, and it has been so wonderful. Especially as a sewer because I finally had a space for it! It really helped me to take things one room at a time. I finished unpacking and setting up my living room first, and it was so nice to walk in there everytime I got stressed out with the volume of work to be done!

  35. Sandra / Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations. Lovely house. The only advice I have is that when packing get rid of items that you don’t want before moving. Once you are in your new home, it will be harder to get rid of them and you won’t want to.

    All the Best in your new home.

  36. Erin B / Oct 24 2013

    Congrats and welcome to the adventure. I bought a foreclosed house which was trashed by the previous owners and then sat vacant for two years. Life is always in a state of renovation. It took me over a year to unpack my sewing/art studio space. Hopefully it takes less for you! Don’t worry about us. We will be here when you make it back to the web.

  37. Liz / Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations, your house looks amazing, so much character!
    I too live in an older house that we are renovating, I think just remember that it doesn’t all have to be done immediately, make time to do things that are fun too. When it stops being fun, take a break and time out. Also, always make time for hobbies, i find they stop me becoming too obsessed. My final advice would be do it once, do it right – don’t spend money doing a job only to then have to re do it later down the track. If the better option costs more money, wait until you have the money.
    Enjoy!

  38. Stacie Davis / Oct 24 2013

    It’s beautiful! I’m so happy for you.

  39. Amanda / Oct 24 2013

    Liz, congratulations! You’re my hero for buying this old house and wanting to restore it. I’m an architectural historian when I’m not sewing and it truly warms my heart when I see stuff like this. I just know you and Felix are going to do an amazing job and I for one would love to see progress reports!

    Comparing the line drawing with the “today” photo it looks like the stone arches at the porch could still be there underneath that siding? Too bad the arches at the front were removed. And, seriously, how cute are those little pudgy porch columns?! I’m crossing my fingers that there’s original wood siding (maybe shingles?) underneath that replacement siding. Sorry, I’m writing a short novel here hehe. Best of luck with homeownership! :)

  40. Jill / Oct 25 2013

    That is a seriously adorable house, congratulations!! It’s interesting to see the difference between the drawing and the current state. I wonder why they got rid of the arches on the front porch.

    We bought a little over a year ago. Adding to all the wonderful advice in the comments, I would have to say, make sure to have some spare cash for repairs/updates, etc, that you didn’t plan for. When we activated our home owners insurance, they came back and made us add railing around our front porch (about 2 feet high off the ground, ugh), and up the steps to the front door. Very annoying and it cost us about $1000. It was an unexpected cost, but luckily we had put money away for such things.

    Good luck in your move and hopefully you can carve some knitting and sewing time out for yourself soon!

  41. Lauren / Oct 26 2013

    Congratulations!! So exciting, I can’t wait to see more pictures :D

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