Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Get Me Wrong, I LOVE the Desert

I love living in the desert. I love all the sunshine. I love that when it snows it stays for about an hour. I love that it's only cold here for about 2 months, and even then it's not really cold. I love that rain is a novelty, and that my four year old wants to go out and play in it.

When Andrew was 6 months old we went Tunisia, and went on a little tour of the Sahara desert. The Sahara is truly amazing.


When Andrew was about 18 months old we took a little day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Edward had never been there, it was well worth the trip.

We frequently travel the 2 hours to visit my parents in their part of the desert. Southern Utah is so much prettier than Clark County.

There are some beautiful and interesting places within an hours drive of Vegas. The Eldorado gold mine, is not only interesting, it also has an amazing collection of old junk...

Like this big tube...

And this old plane...

Red Rock Canyon is another beautiful area not far out of town. We drove the loop and took some family pictures there when Juliette was only a few weeks old.
Our favorite vacation spot is in the desert.

In October we had family portraits (all 6 siblings, spouses, and children) in the desert near my sisters house.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shine Free Surfaces and No Brown Allowed

I'm trying to stay away from shiny surfaces. I want honed or leather finish granite in my kitchen, I don't want shiny floors.
I've been all around Las Vegas talking to different sales people, and each that I've told that I don't want my floor and counters to be shiny, look at me like I'm nuts.
I'm not the crazy one! Las Vegas is a very dusty city, everyone else who wants shiny surfaces to display their housekeeping failings are the crazy ones.
I'm also banning the color brown. There are parts of the desert that are pretty. Las Vegas is not in a pretty part. Las Vegas is in the brown brown desert.
There will be no brown in my house, well there might be a little bit (in the master bathroom), but for the most part, these colors aren't allowed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Waste of Time?

One day a couple weeks ago I stumbled upon, and this is roughly what our house looks like from above.

All the Potential

The first time we walked thru this house... Well first off it smelled... Like cat urine and cigarettes. I honestly didn't get a very good look because I was so focused on the stench and all the bugs and ucky guck. Actually it terrified me. I thought I was prepared to see the "before pictures" in real life. I was not.
Before we even went out to go thru the house we drove by it a couple times, at different times of the day, just to see what the neighborhood was like. I really didn't want to be disappointed again, and I didn't want to buy something that we couldn't handle. After the initial walk thru I told Edward that it was really up to him, since he'd be doing the majority of the work.
Luckily Edward is in the right industry for this sort of project. He works for a home improvement store. His boss, Matt, is my sisters husband and he's a general contractor. Matt came out and did a very thorough inspection and wrote a very detailed, extra padded, estimate for all the materials. After he gave us his opinion on the house (which was "buy it"), I felt much calmer. Now I could see past all the flaws and really see all the potential that the house, lot, and garage possess. Which is a good thing because the only thing the house possesses is potential.
It's potential for awesomeness is great, but that also means that it could be a money pit. So far we haven't encountered anything really awful and budget breaking. This blog isn't nearly as far along as our progress is.
So lets take a little "Potential Tour"

Isn't this tree awesome? And there is a really cool glass light fixture that we hope can be salvaged.
I imagine green grass and a high hedge with an iron fence surrounding the front yard. And a different color on the house. Something more desert toned and not that hideous blue-green trim. Under those garage windows are three rose bushes. I'm hoping that I have enough of a green thumb to help them.

Doesn't this just scream "WELCOME!"
When the iron fence goes up, this hideous white security gate will disappear, and a new gate will go across the walkway right about where this picture was taken from.
The entryway, complete with really ugly pink tile, and the front door swings into a closet. The pink tile and closet are going to die a demolition death.

Immediately to the right of the front door is another door, the pocket variety. I am a fan of pocket doors, but I don't think this one is going to remain. My grandparents have three pocket doors in their home in California, they also had this same exact wall oven! They replaced theirs a few years ago, and ours is also going to be replaced, not by a new wall oven, by a pantry! The pink tile back splash, pink laminate countertop, and really, everything in the kitchen is going to end up in the dumpster in the driveway.

The view from the dining area into the kitchen.

The previous owners converted the garage... Poorly. We will be unconverting most of it. The washer and dryer hookups are out there, so we will be taking up about 1/4 of the depth to create a service porch. The garage is huge and wide, so there will still be room to park two cars inside.

This is the view from the living room back into the dining area. This wall is coming down to create a more open floor plan. And of course the pink carpet and ugly tile are also moving out.
The other side of the living room.

From the living area there is an "enclosed patio" which actually means, badly constructed addition done without permits. At some point, after all the other projects are finished, it will be re-done properly. It adds about 200 square feet, and will be a really useful space when we get around to rebuilding it, with the proper permits and a general contractors help.

Another view of the room that will soon be demolished.
The hallway. The corner that is on the left hand side is the closet that will cease to exist, and once that is gone, the space will feel a lot more open. Right now the front porch, door way and entry hall feel very tunnel-like, especially with all those closed doors and abrupt stops.
Here on the left side of the hallway is the main bathroom. I actually like the tile, too bad there is one missing right in the middle of the floor. This bathroom is also set to be gutted and completely re-done. The tub that is currently in there is large, I'm hoping that we will be able to get a really deep soaker tub/shower combo in the space, because the master bath will only have a shower.

On the right side of the hallway are two bedrooms. They're on the small side, but they are large enough. They're basically the same, so there is only one picture. I've had these two bedrooms decorated in my mind for over a year now, and since they really aren't getting anything new except flooring, baseboards, trim and windows, they'll probably be decorated first! I also already bought almost everything for both rooms.

Here is the master bedroom. It has awkward dimensions, and a wall of mirrors and a really gross bathroom, and a door out to the patio.

See the door on the left? The patio covering is already falling down, and the cement has gross carpet on it.

And here is the pool, it will someday be clean and sparkling. Hopefully before it hits 120 degrees out here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our First Home

One day in September 2009, I came home to find a foreclosure notice on the door of the house we had been renting for 2 years. I was about 16 weeks into a difficult pregnancy, so we negotiated with the bank and lived rent free for 5 months. We decided to save what we would normally pay in rent and work toward buying our first home.
We started looking at houses in November.
We found this house, a shortsale, and were disappointed a few months later when the bank foreclosed on the house.
So I started looking again, but instead of dragging my pregnant body around houses, I carried my newborn.
We were again disappointed when this house
I'm still sad about this house!
didn't work out either.

Offer after offer, disappointment after disappointment, year after year!
I became pretty good friends with our Realtor, Chuck, he got divorced and remarried during our home search, at closing he surprised us with the news that his new wife is pregnant, that will increase their combined number of children to 8.
Eddie became pretty good friends with our mortgage broker, Lance. Lance is actually storing some of our more valuable possessions.
We finally did close on a house. A real fixer upper.
I haven't managed to take a decent picture of the front of the house. This is from google maps.

It is miles outside of the area where we were initially looking, but it met all of our criteria, and then some.
We have a tight budget, and there is a lot of work that needs done.

It's going to be an adventure, or something like that.

About Us

We are the Pickup family.
Edward the Muscle and Chelsea the Task Master Established 2005

Andrew the Helper

Juliette the Spectator