Archive for July, 2009

But, I’m just worn out and need a break. Even if a break means sticking to the computer chair while the vintage fan blows scorching hot air from outside into my face. Our inside thermometer reads 95. It’s misery and I get to load, pack, carry furniture and David’s Talentmaker  into a beat up U-Haul. Oh, and I get to singe my nose hairs with the vapors of bleach in hopes of getting a security deposit back. What a great day!

A perfect living room

A perfect living room

Anyways, enough of my whining over a miserable heatwave here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m from the Southeast. I’ve seen these temps before but never without the modern marvel of a/c. So, while I sweat out pounds and pounds of liquid, I would like to share a room that makes me happy. I love this vintage modern living room. When I think of all of the hard work that I am doing now and all of the misery of the renovation ahead of me, I think about how it will all be worth it in the end. (Geez, I hope so. Talk to me in 6 months and still see if I say this stuff.) I like this simple room. I love the architectural details, the robin’s egg blue walls, the not so frou-frou chandelier, the wide planked wood floors. This room would be lovely in the nude, but it really looks great with help of the mid-century modern furniture. The lines are simple, the colors muted. And it looks like what we already have in our possession. It’s a nice way to make our 40’s-60’s furniture work with our mid-30’s house. I really can’t wait until we get to transform the place. Rumor has it we close tomorrow, but we’ve heard this before so it is hard for me to trust anyone. Until then I’ll be working hard, working on developing the ugliest heat rash ever, and working on keeping it all together. We still don’t know officially where we will be living. That being said. If you don’t hear from us in a while we are either homeless sleeping on the park benches by the ferry terminal, hiding in a remote cabin around Mt. Baker, or in our new house working hard and waiting for it to be internet ready.



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This week is hell.  It’s 100 degrees outside and we have to move our stuff into the storage hooverville that smells like an outhouse.

Here’s the factors we are currently juggling in our sale:

1.  The underwriter is slow.  Once took 30 days to tell me that I botched a form.  Failed on promised closing date once already.

2. The broker has apparently never done this before and has not given the best advice.  Has told us we might close any day now for about 6 weeks.  No idea what is happening over there.

3.  The seller is about to get foreclosed out of the house for nonpayment of property tax for 5 years.

4.  We have no place to live after Friday because our current landlords are kicking us out to try and find a leasing renter.

5. The seller had to get all of his stuff out of his house as a condition of the sale, now lives in a completely empty house.

6.  The seller has no money and is getting chased by collections people.  He needs the money to pay them off or run away to Canada.  Oh and he lost his job, and his cat won’t eat, etc etc.

7.  The seller appears to be borrowing money from the selling agent.  This could get ugly.

8.  No news on where we are with the underwriter.  All documents were delivered this morning, and the file has now been in their hands 30 days.

9.  It’s a rehab house, and not especially livable until we get a plumbing in there at LEAST.

10.  It’s super hot, and no one here in the Pacific Northwest has air conditioning.

11.  We’re not especially getting along with our brokerage or our seller right now.  The brokerage is angry because I called the lender directly and got told my loan didn’t exist, then freaked out on them.  I’m mad at the brokerage because they accused me of fraud for screwing up a sheet that they told me to do (that I was not even supposed to be handling in the first place.)

Storage is $200/month.  The hotel we’ll have to get as of  Saturday is at least $89/night.  So in other words, if the lender can’t get this together by Monday of next week, this deal is completely and totally flushed- after 90+ days of hard, hard work.  We cannot believe we got into this stupid situation.  We were prequal’d for double the purchase price of this house, the seller wants to sell it to us, we want to buy it, everybody wants it to happen fast.  Except the bank- that being the entity that stands to make 100 times the money off of the deal that everyone else does.

So it’s gonna be a tense week, and the blog might be offline for a short while during the transition.  It might also end entirely because we don’t get the house, Victoria gives up, and forces me to go rent again.

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Who doesn’t love an all white bathroom? It’s screams cleanliness and looks like it would simplify your life. It’s crisp and it has never been out of style. If you want to add color, than do it with accessories, towels and stuff like that. I’m thinking of doing the upstairs bathroom in an all white color palette. I hope to put up my vintage Brocade Home styled mirror, have shiny fixtures, white tile (a pain in the arse to clean), and walls that are a shade of white with the faintest tinge of gray. This has been my plan, if we ever get into that house to start remodeling. Anyways, I am trying my damnest to stay positive and thinking about French bulldog puppies, humid florals, carnival glass, and decorating. This makes me happy.


Country Living bathroom

The first bathroom is from Country Living Magazine. I like it because when I started searching for bathrooms online all you get are these humongous, monster bathrooms that are at least 1000+ square feet. My life will not have the jumbo bathroom complete with hot tub and an entire sitting room furniture set and a flat screen TV and wine bar. I will have a 30’s bathroom, tiny, efficient, but it can still be cute. I was happy to find a small, cute bathroom. It isn’t completely white but it is almost. I am attracted to this one because in my little mind I thought the tiles upstairs where white hexagon under the awful linoleum. When we walked back through, it isn’t. It is more like this tile. I was heartbroken. I wanted white tile with white subway tile. I wanted it to be the “original”. But, when I found this and saw how they kept that clean and neutral vibe, it made me happy. Maybe I can use that floor. It’s a tiny bath that is still cute and very functional. I love the gray shade add a few more squirts of white and I’ve got my ideal shade for my bathroom. It’s a cute and simple bathroom.


My "dream" bath

Sorry HGTV but I have never fallen for the colossal master bath bull hockey. I do not want to bust out A Picture of Dorian Gray and relax on a plum velvet chaise lounge, well, at least not in my bathroom. Bathrooms are for hygiene. Not as an oasis, go to a freaking spa for that. I want to go in with Ghost Busters attire and be able to bleach blast everything in sight. And I’d rather spend my dough on making a living space more efficient, investing in a studio, something that doesn’t get doo-dooed in. Plus, I have no desire to clean these fairytale bathrooms. If I had one I would pay somebody to clean the floor to ceiling tile and all those extra showers. I would rather have actual living space. My bathroom is a room that is necessary, not a room to make me feel rich or pampered. If I can’t have the solid black marble Valentino bathroom (or the mansion), then I’ll have my little functional white bath. This other bathroom is my “dream” bathroom. It’s large but still realistic. I love the tile, the tub, the little Saarinen side table. This is my “oasis” bathroom. But, the house we are supposed to be closing on someday, does not have clawfoot tubs. It was more of a “modern” home at the time with “modern” fixtures. The bathrooms aren’t really designed for clawfoots and I really don’t want to do a huge bathroom renovation. Not now. I just want a place to live.


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Seattles Hooverville 1937

Seattle's Hooverville 1937

Since we have no idea where we will be living as of Friday due to this insane mortgage business, we have decided to put our things in storage. This keeps it all together in case we have to rent a vacation home or a tiny month-to-month apartment. Also if/when we get into the house, it will keep our things from getting messed up during the rehab work and out of our way. I don’t need piles of lead paint and fuzz collecting on my boxes labeled “really cute and special dishes” or “clothes that are awesome but I can’t wear right now because my life totally sucks and all I’ll be doing this summer is sweating and peeling wallpaper”. Plus, the stuff has to be out of the current rental. We just need to put it somewhere. I have never rented a storage unit before. I know very little about them. After 3 days of hauling most of my belongings to this little rented garage area in the heatwave of the Pacific Northwest, I have learned much about the Storage Unit a.k.a today’s Hoovervilles. I guess I always thought storage units were for storing your possessions. Maybe you’ve been deployed or must leave town for temporary work. Maybe you’re recently divorced or your living situation has changed temporarily. Maybe you are in between houses, like our situation. Heck, maybe you just have too much stuff and you use this as your walk-in closet to store 300 pairs of designer jeans that you bought with your student loans. I don’t know and I didn’t care. I haven’t thought of it. Maybe you use this building as your meth lab since your neighbors have grown sick of the chemical and cat piss odors emitting from your garage. But, I didn’t think people actually lived in them. Well, I’m pretty sure that they do. Talk about off the radar or in hiding. We have a few “neighbors” at the unit. They park their bikes in the unit, eat fast food, relax on piles of sleeping bags, and read or as one gent likes to do, rip paper into shreds like that one creep from Stephen King’s The Langoliers but a bit more Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. I try not to think about them living there. It’s sad. There’s no restroom and the area does smell like dookie. It’s hot as hell. But, when you are unloading boxes of women’s studies books that you should probably be giving away to a thrift store anyways and you hear coughing fits in the unit a few “doors” down at 8:00 in the evening and there are no doors open or cars, it’s a bit freaky. I didn’t realize what little Hoovervilles these places are. They are much nicer than the originals. At least it is protected from the elements, there is a light and one electrical outlet so you can use your laptop like some of the residents. The concrete floors are icy cool when it is 90+ out. So, I wouldn’t say that it is as bad as the original shanty towns that popped up on private land in the 1930’s. I’m sure they are actually paying rent of some sort. It’s just weird and a sign of the times. I think did they lose their job and mess up their credit? Are they a sex offender that can’t get a job or housing? Are they running from bill collectors or the law? I should really stop asking questions and get to boxing up the odds and the ends that are left so I can go visit this little modern Hooverville in my neighborhood.


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So after 90 days, I called my lender today.  Not my broker, my lender.  I wanted to see what my lender would say their average underwriting time is.  I fully expected to hear a generic response like “we don’t talk directly to borrowers.” or “14 days but sometimes a lot more.”  Something that useful.

Instead, I got connected to a really nice, helpful human being almost immediately.  I told him about our situation- we were going to be homeless and we desparately needed them to get the lead out and get this done.  He was really nice about it, and totally understanding about how real the threat of homelessness is.

Then he went to look up our loan, and couldn’t find it.  He was so sure he couldn’t find it that after double checking, he referred me to the WA Office of Financial Institution’s office.

At this stage, I came completely unglued.  I called my realtor and told her we were all the victims of fraud, and that this loan had been strung out for ages on complete lies.  My realtor called my broker and asked them about it- they denied it and called the lender to chew out whoever it was who told us that.

Then we got a letter in the mail from the title people disclosing a pending foreclosure against the house.

Then we got an email saying that we need to go to the office and sign two things that we signed as PDFs in Photoshop- the contractors are reinvolved, the consultant is reinvolved- this sucks.  Now I have to go wake my sleeping wife and rush to Belfair to sign something I have already signed.

It’s been a great day.  I wish I was dead.

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Robert Smith in a library looking living room.

I have decided to do the living room a little bit “stuffy” and the rest like a library. I still need for this to be a functional room. The built-ins will hold all of our books, surprisingly we have shed ourselves of many during this move. On the back wall I hope to put our 2 large Ikea Expedit bookshelves on the back wall to house records. This will be our “library”. Our place to relax in front of the fireplace, listening to exotica records and reading Pacific Northwest mushroom guides. I want it to be a cozy/functional but still very formal and put together space. I have found 2 sage green rooms that seem to pull this off. The first room is mainly a picture of Robert Smith. You could put anything in this room and it would look good (even Robert Smith) with all of that woodwork and trim. I do like the green color and it works nicely with the warm wood floors. I suck at arranging furniture in a room. This is my weakness mainly because I haven’t lived in a place long enough to acquire all the furniture needed for a room. The needs have been so different for each space we’ve rented. I kind of like the chair in front of the books like this. You just reach over and grab one and look through it. It is a cozy reading nook.

What is there not to love about this formal green living room/library. I’ve learned many valuable lessons on my path to first time home ownership. Many things have been stupid mistakes like “this mortgage broker is a d-bag and can’t do his job” or “maybe you shouldn’t purchase a home that is packed to the brim with some guy’s crap”. I have also learned much about design as a sort through pages and pages of decorating blogs. I have learned that rooms with 15 foot ceilings look awesome no matter what. greenlibrarySuch as this room. If could have anything in it and look awesome with all of those amazing structural details. I just really like this room. This green looks very nice with the dark accents and high contrast zebra rug. It’s a formal room but it is still really, really functional. There is a computer in there, a desk. They even have clutter out with a coffee mug and it still looks polished and elegant. It’s just a matter of having everything where you need it. Oh, and having a totally awesome house with tall ceilings and awesome trim. The house we are getting has simple, wide trim. It’s typically of the 30’s and I’m excited about it even if it isn’t as embellished as these rooms. I can make it that way. Millwork is not dead. You just don’t see it too much in modern hastily made cookie cutter homes. I know the addition of millwork isn’t a priority with a rehab home but I hope that one day we’ll at least finish one room with fancy trim like this.


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I thought this was cute. David says it is lame but that is why he isn’t getting his very own boudoir and I am. I was poking around marthastewart.com because I love her Frenchie babies and I have to support anybody that loves Frenchie babies, and I found this. Yeah, it isn’t the most functional jewelry storage option and I’m sure you’ll  hear the clinking of china every time you open the drawer, but I like it. I am looking for any reason/excuse to purchase fragile glass wear type items, a weakness of mine. I love little tea cups and saucers and this is a great way to utilize those nice mismatched ones that I find at thrift and antique stores. It is like a tea party everyday. Maybe I’ll use this in my very own boudoir.


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