The Suburban Years: Move-in Ready

Move-in ready

Before moving in to our new place, I insisted on making it “move-in ready.” While one could have argued, quite strongly I’ll admit, that the house was already good to go, I maintained that a few elements required a refresh before settling in.

Demolition began soon after we received the keys. Tiles were lifted from the kitchen floor, carpet was ripped up from the bedrooms, laminate floors were pulled up plank by plank, and dated lighting fixtures were taken down.

And though it was absolutely horrifying to see our Forever House in extreme disarray for nearly a month, when all was said and done, I was thrilled with the upgrades. Based on our budget and preferences, we prioritized the following renovations before moving in. These fixes not only offered the most bang for our limited bucks, but most importantly, made the place start to feel like our own:

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The Suburban Years: Lessons Learned in Home Buying

Christmas Tree Lane

You should have seen us with our Zillow apps. Every night after June went to bed, we’d get on our phones and scroll through the day’s newly listed homes until our eyelids began to droop. The desire to find our Forever House was intense and wholly consuming. June would grow up in this imagined house. The Astronomer and I would grow old in this imagined house. It had to be just right.

Ironically, I had zero desire to own a home until June came into our lives. I relished the freedom of renting, not having to deal with unpleasantries like clogged pipes and leaky roofs. I also loved how theoretically I could jet off and live abroad again without too much “stuff” holding me back.

A two bedroom apartment held up pretty well until about six months ago, when June’s worldly possessions took over the entire place. It was a claustrophobia-inducing situation that needed to be remedied. And so we scrolled…

916 atchison

The first house we seriously considered and even put an offer on was a recently flipped Spanish-style in Pasadena. The house was situated on a very busy street and the bedrooms were on the small side, but the abundant natural light, new fixtures, and unique architecture had us smitten. Also, the house had been sitting on the market for a while because it was initially overpriced, so the timing was ripe to pounce on a good deal.

We didn’t have a real estate agent at this point in the process, so we took a chance on the random guy showing the place at the open house, which ended up being a big mistake.

Lesson #1: Find a real estate agent you can trust.

Even though our offer was accepted and we even went through with inspections, we walked away from the deal due to a lack of trust between the agent and us. I mean, he tried to tell me that an Ikea-made farmhouse sink was “top of the line.” When there’s this much money on the line, clear communication and trust is paramount.

The Astronomer and I were pretty gun-shy following the Atchison debacle and didn’t make any moves for a few weeks. It wasn’t until we saw an adorable home on Glen Avenue that we were ready to get back in the game.

1805 glen ave

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Welcome to the Suburban Years

moving day - 9.25.16

For the past two weeks, I’ve been struggling with which restaurant to write up next on Gastronomy. I have a substantial queue of eateries to select from, but I can’t seem to focus on anything other than matters of the home. You see, we closed on our first house in late August, and since then, I’ve been positively consumed with renovations and decor.

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Chim! Thai Street Food – Pasadena

Chim! Thai Street Food - Pasadena

The Astronomer, June, and I had a terrific dinner at Chim! a few Fridays ago. We took advantage of the mild summer weather and strolled to the restaurant, arriving properly hungry, on the verge of hangry.

Chim! Thai Street Food - Pasadena

We opted to dine al fresco because June adores fresh air. The view of the parking lot wasn’t remarkable, but a content baby makes for a peaceful meal.

Chim! Thai Street Food - Pasadena

The restaurant is currently offering complimentary fish balls, one skewer per person, on Friday and Saturday nights. They were a pleasant surprise to receive and a big hit with June (minus the spicy sauce).

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