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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

choosing tile

We're in the process of choosing tile for the master bath. We thought we knew what we wanted, but then realized that we were a little overambitious. The thing with choosing finishes is that, assuming you know you will eventually sell the house, you have to make sure that the things you pick are 'sellable'. While yes, this does mean that you probably shouldn't go with the lime green permanent tile or the bright blue carpet in the bathroom (our first house had this - bizarre), what a lot of people don't realize is that you should also think about your neighborhood.

Specifically, you should make sure that you don't overimprove your house for the area it's in, particularly if you want to recoup your costs. In some cases, it's fine to go big, especially if you know you're going to stay in the house for a while and will enjoy it - get the french door fridge, spring for the soaking tub. But for certain things, you have to think about the 'comps' - the nearby houses that will affect your eventual selling price.

Comps are a huge factor in house pricing - it's unfair, but that's the way it is. So if there isn't a single house in your neighborhood priced above $200K, good luck selling yours for $400K - it's not going to happen, no matter what luxuries you've stocked it with. It's just not that kind of neighborhood.

If our house were located about twenty minutes south, in Columbia or Ellicott City, it would be worth at least twice what it's worth here, and I'd have no compunctions about putting in luxe finishes and getting my money back. But it isn't. It's in a quiet neighborhood of old houses, most of which either haven't been updated or have been updated only to 'rental grade'. Our crowning glory is our huge property sizes and commuter-friendly location around here - not marble bathrooms.

So the travertine we wanted is out, and we're going with porcelain instead. It's exponentially cheaper, but we've found several options that mimic the look of stone without being tacky. And we're springing for one upgrade - we're putting river rock down as the floor of the walk-in shower. Just a few square feet isn't a huge splurge, it's an elegant touch, and it comes in neutral colors that won't alarm buyers. Now we just have to make a final decision on the tile that will go with it, and call our tiler!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

paint swatches

Now that the tile is up in the guest bathroom, I'm a little dubious about the color we had picked out - we picked it before we picked the tile and now I'm not sure it isn't a little too purple. So I picked up a bunch of paint swatches at Home Depot yesterday and we'll re-pick a color this weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

new table

Our new dining room table is finally here! It was delivered this morning and it is awesome. We finally have a table big enough to look like it belongs in our huge dining room! We decided to put one of the leaves in for 'everyday' use - given that we have at least eight people over nearly every weekend, it seems practical and fills the room nicely. There's still another leaf, too, so it can get even bigger. Be still, my heart.

The top is hand-scraped wood, and has been roughed up artistically so that nobody will notice when we mess it up (a very necessary feature of furniture around here, let me tell you). By far the coolest part, though, is that the entire table is ringed by a sturdy steel band - it looks very solid and practical and industrial while still being beautiful. We love it!

Now on to arguing about chairs and getting rid of our old dining room furniture...

Note: the table is from local furniture institution Shofers, and I'm happy to recommend them - super smooth, from showroom to delivery. And they're on Twitter!

Monday, March 14, 2011

two days

Saturday morning:

Sunday night:

Monday, March 07, 2011

true romance

While I was selling jewelry at a convention the weekend after Valentine's Day, Don twittered that he had arranged a 'present' for me that would 'take a while' to get here. I was mystified as to what it was until a few days later he finally came clean: he had arranged to get the guest bathroom tiled!

I feel like I'm on HGTV, being surprised by my husband with work getting done on the house! The tiler is coming this weekend (he was supposed to be here last weekend, but had to cancel - let's not mention The Curse). Tile is, as you can see, ready and waiting for him. I'm so excited!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

new furniture and not much else

We have wasted our hiatus, I'm afraid. The bathrooms aren't done, the window trim is stalled, the house is messy. Nothing doing. We enjoyed ourselves, though. The holidays were, as always, wonderful. We've been enjoying some hobbies - we are developing some games, I've been working on jewelry, and Don is into charcuterie these days (we made our own bratwurst a couple of weeks ago!). Plus, we're both working, and Don is again taking three graduate classes this semester so that he will get his Masters degree sooner. So it's not like life isn't full. But no, there has been no significant house improvement in the two months (!) since I last showed my internet face here.

We did buy some new furniture, though! Our new dining room table is being built and won't be here for another month or two, but we finally found something to go in the window nook of the living room - it was delivered this morning.

It's a long, low media unit that is sturdy enough to sit on (yes, we tested it in the store). So it will provide both seating and storage in the living room. Eventually, we're thinking about doing some fancy audio-visual wiring and moving all of our components into this unit, invisibly routed to the wall-mounted TV. But that's a ways off.

You may also notice our new(ish) rug, which I don't think I posted about here. It's lovely and soft and was a great deal even though all I intended to buy that day was a new ladle. This is why it is never a good idea to take Don shopping.