Sunday, June 14, 2009

A letter to the new owner

Dear new owner,

Welcome to your new home. I hope that you find as much love and happiness as we have found in this sweet little house. She is solidly built: we have opened up a couple of walls and all the studs are dimensional 2x6 heartwood. Not to sound cliche, but they do not build them like this anymore.

My favorite room in this house has to be the back yard and it is the hardest thing to leave. It is truly a slice of paradise in your own backyard. There is no better way to start a day than to sip a cup of coffee and watch all the birds feeing in the morning. You know you've already had wonderful moments in your day.

Being so close to the Chickahominy River, we get a ton of different types of birds. This year we had down woodpeckers, a red headed flicker woodpecker at our feeders regularly. In addition we've had chickadees, sparrows, wrens, mockingbirds, robins, cardinals, blue birds, tufted titmice, and even more I don't know the names of. We have even seen hawks and eagles and have had herons stalking the goldfish in the pond. I hope you get a good backyard bird book. We've had lots and lots of fun watching them. Please, feed them. I have left the feeders and the sunflower seeds.

The veggie and herb gardens are also lots of fun and full of satisfaction. Nothing is cooler than cooking up veggies you grew yourself. I didn't plant a whole lot this year as I knew we were moving. You should be able to harvest tomatoes upon moving in. You also have eight pepper plants (four jalepeno and four habanero), and two crookneck squash. I planted those late so the should be producing by the time you move in.

The two trees to the east of the garden, by the shed are a cherry tree and an apricot. Last year Bobby (your new next door neighbor) and I stood around that tree and ate cherries right off of it. This year however, the mockingbird got all of them. Last year, I was all set for a bumper crop of apricots, but the squirrels got every one of them. Oh well, that what happens when you share your yard with critters.

In the herb garden, you have a monster rosemary (cut large chunks off and use for skewering shrimp on the BBQ, yum!), tons of oregano, lemonbalm, mint, parsley, and thyme. That rosemary was given to be as a cutting in a four inch pot from a friend's garden. Now, it's a monster, but I love the smell.

The best place to get away in your own back yard is the hammock beyond the garden. I love to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon with a book and rock myself to sleep.

This is a great party yard too. We've hosted tons of parties back here. Sunday BBQs, pumpkin carving parties, birthday parties, and whatever else we can think of. The firepit has been a wonderful part of that entertaining tradition. We use is so much in the spring, fall and even into the winter. We've had crowds of people bundled up in twenty degree weather roasting marshmallows and talking long into the night.

I guess my favorite part of the backyard however is how it changes over the seasons. So many gorgeous flowers in the spring and all through the summer, the rich colors in the fall, the different birds in the winter, and then new growth in the spring.

In the end, I just hope you love this house and it loves you back in the same way that it has for us. It is a great house and I know you'll be happy here.

Best of luck to you and yours.


The former caretakers of 137 Lee Ave.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Talk about nesting!

We've had a bumper crop of babies around here. We've had three different nests that we can take pictures of, sparrows, robins, and wrens. It has been big fun to document their progress.

The sparrow's nest in the front topiary

A sparrow in the birdhouse that Penny built several years ago. We get babies here every year. Then they fly down to the fence near the bird feeder and the babies flutter and fluff up while waiting to be fed by the parents. So cute!

The wren's nest inside a plastic storage bin inside the tool shed.

Newborn baby robins. Nest was near the pond on the trellis.

Hungry baby robins.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Houses, I'm thinking about houses.

All the time. It's all I think about. Wishing my house would sell, hoping the house I want will still be available when mine finally does sell, demoing, remodeling, and decorating the new house, wondering what I can do to make my house more attractive to buyers, etc. You get the picture. It's annoying and makes me boring. I'm ready to stop thinking, wishing, and dreaming and start doing.

I am also tired of falling in love with a house, crunching numbers, mentally renovating and decorating, picking colors, painting, wallpapering, furnishing and then imagining throwing the first open house/house warming party, only to find out that the house has been sold and I was dreaming about someone else's house. :::le sigh:: Yes, the court yard house, the elvis fabulous house, the harvest gold extravaganza house has been sold to a contractor and his fiancee. I'm sure they are a lovely couple, but I have trouble being gracious right now. Actually, I've already grieved it, cried over it, stomped my feet, and have moved on. I've found another house, far less expensive, two blocks away, that I could fall in love with. It's only been on the market a few days, but now it seems to have disappeared from the MLS service. Could it have sold in only five days? Really? How is that fair? I know, life is not fair. I need to get over it. Patience isn't my strong suit. Houses are taking four to six months in this market in this area to sell, I tell myself. I try to console myself with all the positive feedback we have received. Everyone loves our house. It's beautiful they say. The layout is great, they say. You can seat six in the dining room with room to spare, they say. They love the color scheme, they say. The love the vast amount of storage, they say. Then they notice that it only has one bathroom. ARGH!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Even Better Picture

Taken once the sun was shining. Do you see how beautifully I shoveled that driveway?

And to think that this weekend was near 80 degrees and I planted violas by the stairs to the front door!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Blizzard of 2009

We had 8 -10 inches around here and it has been quite lovely. It's doubly nice since school was closed today and I don't have to go out in it. We picked up a 1000 piece puzzle and I am busying myself with that this afternoon.

The downside is that two trees each lost a very large limb and we have to figure out how to clean them up. The limb in the front is blocking my neighbor's drive, so that one is of greater urgency. The other issue is that we are supposed to have another open house next weekend and we would like to get it cleaned up by then.

The other tree is in the back yard but is too high up to tackle ourselves, we think.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

I think I'm in love...

...but as with all love, there are problems.

We went and looked at this gem on Wednesday. It is located on this charming cul de sac in the city, right near Byrd Park, a local institution. Look at that wonderful center fountain!

Penny even found a wonderful old post card of the park:

It is in our price range (sort of) and the location cannot be beat. A fabulous park just beyond the front door, restaurants and shops within walking distance, that lovely cul de sac filled with unique architectural jems, what's not to love?

Then, we went inside. Not only is every inch of this place covered in paneling circa 1963, most of it is harvest gold. All of the woodwork is painted harvest gold as well. Take a look:
The Entry
I adore this small window in the entry.

The entry opens up to the staircase.
The living room is off to the left with a fireplace.
Off to the right is the dining room, kitchen, and closed in back porch.Get a load of the cornice boards.

And the kitchen is advertised as having stainless steel appliances. The door leads to the back yard. That plaid is spectacular.

Let's go upstairs and look at the bedrooms and bathrooms. First we'll pass this pristine piece of vintage lighting:

Into the master bedroom, the harvest yellow finally relents to another color scheme: Yes. That is pickled green paneling combined with a green faux toile papered paneling. Up close:
The master bath has some repair issues, but isn't totally horrible. I actually really like the old hex tiles.

The second bath is swathed in harvest gold. Wondering who thought a yellow toilet was a brilliant design decision makes me wonder. But what really keeps me up at night is that thousands of people bought into this idea and installed them!

The second bedroom's best feature is that it leads out to the fabulous rooftop deck. Running a close second is the delightful shag carpeting and the BLUE pickled paneling. Who knew they pickled paneling blue? There are two more smaller bedrooms, but I did not get good pics of those.

The basement might have been a bit scary, but had been cleaned up pretty well. The plaster ceiling is damaged and needs to be pulled down.

So, what's to love about this house. She has great bones, good flow, and a spectacular location. It needs a lot of love to bring it back from the brink. I love the challenge of it and I think it would be a great investment as well. Who's up for a 70s party and then a demo party?