Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home part 4...

This post is about the bedroom in the Temple house.  The windows in the entire house had recently been replaced with wonderfully energy efficient models.  They are easy to open and clean, which was one of the selling points of this place.  Also, the woodwork in the back half of the house had already been painted white.  They just didn't paint the doors, which I found a bit odd.  That is on our future to-do list, but way at the bottom.  
When we moved in, the bedrooms of our house were startling contrasts.  Two of them were painted a stark white and had dated wallpaper borders.  The third bedroom must have been used as an office by the previous owners.  It had quite expensive wallpaper and a metallic paint on the walls.  That being said, it was the ugliest room in the house.  (By the way, Blogger has changed their tools to post pictures and so these ended up in the wrong order.  I haven't figured out how to rearrange them, so I am just leaving them as they are and adding a caption.)  

This picture is one side of the master bedroom.  I posted about the remodel of this room last year so I will refer readers to that post (I am not afraid of color.) instead of going into any details. 

And, this is a picture of the center of the master bedroom.  It is tiny, but I think the colors make it seem warm and cozy.

This is the guest room.  I didn't realize that I hadn't taken pictures with the bedding and curtains up.  

Here is a picture of Leslie and Seth during the painting stage in the guest room.

And to end with the before pictures.  Maybe I will figure out the new uploading by the next blog entry.

The ugly metallic wall and border in the third bedroom.... and below, the horrible wallpaper.  
The room has 2 doors and an abundance of light so it is perfect for out office/sewing room.  However, because the guest room has only been used twice since we moved in, I am planning on giving Scott the furniture in there and turning it into either Ron's office or my sewing room.  I don't share space very well.

And last but not least, the guest room before we started.  

We didn't replace the carpet in the bedrooms with tile for two reasons.  First, the carpet was practically new. And second, while it is incredibly ugly, we couldn't see replacing something that wasn't worn out or stained.  The previous owners did have carpet in all of the bathrooms, which I think is disgusting!  That we did rip out and replace with tile.
So there are the bedrooms, minus an after picture of the office/sewing room.  Just imagine a junky room filled with plunder.
The bathrooms haven't bee remodeled yet.  We just painted the walls and replaced the faucets and toilet seats.  They are dated, but everything is in such good shape.  Luckily, the people who built the home selected white fixtures, white ceramic tile for the walls, and off-white marble counter tops.  Eventually, we might remodel, but I doubt it.  I am finding comfort and meaning in Spencer W. Kimball's words, "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

So, that is our retirement home.  We love it here and look forward to many years within these walls.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home part 3...

In my previous post, I said there were two things that made me fall in love with this house. This post is about love at first sight.
One Saturday afternoon during my online search for a new house, Ron asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to go for a ride in Temple. I gave him directions to this house for a drive by. When we got here, we found that the house was vacant, so I had him pull into the driveway. As I said earlier, the house is rather ugly, so Ron said, "You like this house?" to which I replied, "Let's just take a look." The windows all had sheer curtains and mini blinds in them so we couldn't really see inside, but we decided to walk around to the back. These pictures are what we saw.

The lot is an over-sized lot that backs up onto a ravine with a creek that runs along the edge of the property. There are 2 grassy areas on each side of a sun porch and than a huge deck that juts out over the back yard. Walking into the back yard had such an impact on me. We had lived in rented homes, apartments, and government quarters before we built the house in the country. Moving into the city worried me in one way; I was afraid I couldn't get used to living so close to other people again. But the feeling we had when we walked into the back yard was amazing. It was like being at the edge of a forest and the sound of the creek was so relaxing. We just stood and listened.

We walked out onto the deck and gazed over the back property. Luckily, the deck has a staircase that goes down into the back yard. We both walked down and just stood saying goofy things like, "Wow! This is amazing! Can you believe this yard?" Well, by then we knew we needed to schedule a showing.

The deck needed some work, so when Scott was between semesters, I had him draw up some plans for remodeling. We needed to fence in what little grassy area there was between the house and the deck so that we could let the dogs and grandchildren play outside. He started the work, but got sent to Iraq, so Ron and Ryan finished up when Ryan graduated.

We removed all the tacky lattice and put up some wider boards to keep little bodies from going through the deck wall. We gave it a fresh coat of paint, repaired and painted the two huge picnic tables, fixed up the swing the previous owners left behind, removed some rotten flower boxes.

Eventually, I bought some planters and usually put a mixture of coleus, begonia, and impatients in them. We tried other things, but there is too much shade. Which brings me to the only thing I don't like about the back yard: a massive magnolia tree.

I always thought I would love to have one in my yard, but never got around to planting one at the Killeen house. I was so excited when I found one here. Boy, have I been disappointed! That thing does keep leaves all year; but, it also drops them all year long! The saving grace is the tremendous amount of shade that it provides.

We spend a lot of time out on the deck. It is a quiet place to sit and listen to the sounds that I loved in Killeen. Eventually, we know we will need to start replacing boards and keeping the trees trimmed will be an ongoing task. But, it beats digging up cactus, moving boulders, and chopping down cedar trees!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Home part 2...

This post is the one I like to think of as the heart of the house. The floor plan is set up with the living and dining rooms in the center of the house. The kitchen, laundry room, half bath, and garage are on the east end of the house and the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are on the west side of the house. When we walked into the house for the first time, I kept telling myself "It has good bones, it has good bones..." because the decor was horrid! And, the layout of the living & dining rooms was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a place that Ron and I could live in comfortably and affordably, but was large enough to have the family over for dinner.
The previous owners had put up wallpaper in both rooms. The living room had a pink/mauve/gold splatter print and the dining room had coordinating colors. The dining room had a deep rose on the back wall and a burlap type paper on the end walls. We ended up stripping paper, ripping up carpet, and painting the paneling. Eventually, we would like to pull down the paneling, but for now we are very please with how things have turned out.

I will start the pictures with a few shots taken when we bought the house. The first is of the wallpaper in the living room and the ghastly spindles that separate the entry way from the living room...

then, a shot of the dining room from the living room. The wallpaper here had sort of a burlap feel. But, it did coordinate with the swirls in the kitchen and the splatters in the living room.

Next, a view of the fireplace & bookshelf in the living room.
Now for a few "during" pictures. Once again, when Rebecca discovered that the paper would come off so easily, we started peeling, and peeling, and peeling...
Even Seth helped out. Of course, his favorite part was spraying the wall to moisten the paper.
Once the paper was off, we primed the wall and were ready for paint.
And here is the final result. Looking into the dining room from the kitchen...
my wonderful table that seats everyone comfortably...
and finally, two pictures of the dining room from the far side of the living room
As you can see, we used the Tuscan accent paint on the walls and painted the paneling with the red over black treatment. We switched out the dark ceiling fans for some bright white ones, and replace the carpet with the large tile. I think it ended up feeling warm and inviting; is large enough for family gatherings, yet cozy when it is just the two of us here.

So, these two rooms are one of the 2 main reasons we bought this house. More to follow in the next post!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


As I prepare to have my blog printed and made into journals, I thought I would start to record some of the major changes that have taken place in our lives over the past few years. I decided to begin with our home.
When Ron retired after 20 years in the army, we looked all over the place for a house to buy. The houses we could afford were either small or in horrible neighborhoods. We owned a couple of acres just outside of the city, and my father suggested we look into building our own home there. Being the Jack-of-all-trades that he is, Dad guided us through the process. We ended up with a beautiful little yellow house in the middle of cactus, cedar, and rocks. We loved the house and had many wonderful years there.
However, as Ron and I grew older and the kids grew up, the house seemed to get smaller and the yard got larger. It seemed that every free hour was spent fighting the never ending war of cactus, cedar and rock. I started looking for a place to retire in that had little to no yard, and a large living area to accommodate a growing extended family.

(The picture below was taken during the last family gathering we had at the Killeen house. At that time, we had 1 son-in-law and 2 grandchildren that had joined our family.)
I started my search online and looked at homes in Killeen & Harker Heights. The prices were much higher than I wanted to pay, and the neighborhoods are not stable. Being a military town, people move in and out constantly. We have seen many neighborhoods start out as wonderful, owner filled places only to become rental property after 3-5 years. So, I extended my search to Belton and Temple. The house we decided on was in an older neighborhood; had been built in the late 70's, is very ugly from the outside, and was in need of MANY updates. After that description, someone might ask why I decided on this house. Hopefully, through the next few posts that question will be answered.
I will begin with the kitchen. I don't really like a galley kitchen, but the number of cabinets in this kitchen make it bearable. Besides, I don't cook enough to spend any amount of time in there. As I said, the house was very dated. The kitchen had butcher-block formica counter tops and back splash, a chipped and stained porcelain sink, and yellowed vinyl flooring. The few walls there are were covered with a mauve & pink swirled wallpaper. The cabinets are solid wood that were badly scarred and had horrendous knobs! It also had a gas range; which I hated.

(The next two pictures are of the kitchen before we remodeled. The decorative items were the realtor's.)

Having built the Killeen house, I knew there were things we could and could not do in the new place. We had discussed which chores we would do ourselves and peeling wallpaper was one we wanted to hire someone to do. However, Rebecca came over one day and started pulling at the paper. It came off surprisingly quickly so before we knew it, we had a wallpaper stripping day.
The walls under the paper were pretty rough. Evidently, the builder never prepared the walls for painting. The original homeowners just put paper up and just papered over it as their tastes changed. Once the paper was all off, I had to find a paint to cover the flaws. I ended up getting a paint from Lowe's that has a faux finish. It is called Tuscan Accents and has a rough, bumpy texture. It did a great job of covering the scars and gouges.
Ron refinished the cabinets and we removed the hardware. However, even after 2 years I haven't found anything I like. So, they remain handle-less. The floors were replaced with a large, neutral tile and we used a coordinating 2 inch tile on the back splash. We had Lowe's install the counter tops, because that was beyond our capabilities. I picked a light color because the cabinets are so very dark.
(The next 2 pictures are of the kitchen the way it looks now.)

Ron hired a handy-man to cap off the gas line so that I could move in my electric stove. Once again, we stayed with the light appliances due to the dark wood of the cabinets. The only thing I would still like to do is remove the paneling that is on the lower portion of all the walls. We just thought it wasn't a good idea after seeing how rough the walls were under the wallpaper. So, I made do and painted the paneling. I prepped the wood, then put a coat of black on it, and brushed on an overcoat of a deep red. The black shows through so it looks weathered. I really like the way it turned out so I can live with the paneling for a few more years.
So, that is the kitchen. Next post will be the dining & living room area.