Saturday, January 11, 2014

• a bittersweet finale

We finally finished the Birdhouse. And then we sold it. Actually, we sold it and then put the absolute last finishing touch on it about five minutes before the gal came over to get the keys. It was bittersweet. 

When we bought the Birdhouse we thought we'd fix it up, live in it, and then rent it out while we kept it as an investment and bought another house. For a variety of reasons we decided just to sell. Looking back at all the photos and video I took over the four years we were there, I can't believe we did everything we did to that place. Wow! 

If you haven't been reading this blog from the beginning I'll give you a recap. We bought the foreclosed townhouse in July of 2009. Right away I nicknamed it the Birdhouse because it starts with the same letter as the street it's on, Bendix, (thanks alliteration!) and because it's much cuter than saying "townhouse" all the time. :)

Walking in the first time it looked the same as it probably did when the first owner walked in 30 years before. The entire place needed updating, including the kitchen and bathrooms, which were not usable at all. We had one month left on our apartment lease and spent the entire month of July fixing everything we could so we could actually move in and live there. 

After owning the place for just two days we had scraped the popcorn off all the downstairs ceilings and completely ripped out the kitchen. By day five all the bathrooms were gutted and we had to get my cousin's company to come haul away all the junk we had accumulated. After working 12-hour days for seventeen days straight, we did take a quick 2-day staycation at Hotel Valley Ho, where we were married, and then got back to work. A couple weeks later we finally moved in on August 1st! We did most of the backbreaking work that first month of ownership in order to move in, but thankfully we had lots of family members and some friends who enjoyed joining us in getting dirty! Over the next months and years we chose different projects to work on to get our Birdhouse beautiful. Four years later, just about every square inch of that place was lovingly worked on, updated, and fixed.

Fast forward to May of 2013. We found a new place about four miles away and beat out everyone else that submitted an offer! Yes! Once we bought the new place, we put the Birdhouse on the market, and within a day or two had a few offers. How's that for awesome timing? So, a month later our Birdhouse was going to belong to someone else. That meant in between trips abroad we had to get our stuff packed/moved and finish those couple of items that we just hadn't found time to do.

Now, months later I finally sat down and put together a montage video of our Birdhouse from start to finish with before, sometimes middle, and after photos. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

• ch - ch - ch - changes

Change is good, right?! It can be hard, but I really think change is a good thing. After almost 10 years of teaching at the same school I decided to make a change. No, not because I didn't like my school. No, not because I didn't like the administration. No, not because I didn't like the rest of the staff. I made a change because I wanted some new experiences in a new role, a new challenge. I really miss my "old" job, but I really feel great about the change I made! Instead of just working at one school with one group of teachers and students, I now work with four schools and all those teachers and students. I get to help masterful teachers integrate technology with what they're teaching! Yes, this change has been good to me!

My last few days at my school were hard, but there was a lot of great moments too. Including the cards from some of my first grade students. Here's a few you might enjoy! 

"You are the best teacher in the world. You are pretty. I like your glasses."

"You are best [love the spelling on this one!]. You are nice. I love you. Look on the back." (a cute picture was drawn on back)

"I'm hoping you have a great time at your new school." (The words "District Office" don't really compute with a first grader!)

• a few additions

We've made a few changes to our little birdhouse since I've last posted. Apparently my getting an iPhone last year means no more posting on our blog! Instagram and all my other apps make it so easy to just post a quick photo and move on. However, I have missed my little birdhouse blog. :)

Right after the new year we replaced our 5 remaining single-pane windows with new energy efficient ones. The only window we didn't have to replace was our kitchen window because we had that one installed before we moved in- day 10 of our crazy remodel to be exact! We brought Jeff Wright back to install these five windows since he did such a great job the first time. He started with the two downstairs windows first and they were a huge pain to get out. 

Look at the difference between the two! New on the left and old on the right!

We could tell right away how crappy our 30 year old windows really were once the first new one was installed. Feeling the window sill in front of the new window it was nice and cool. The sill in front of the old window - super hot! After Jeff finished installing all the windows we had a little work to do on the inside and outside of our place. Inside, we re-caulked to seal everything. After everything was dry on the inside we re-installed our blinds. On the outside David had to caulk and then paint the new trim pieces that Jeff installed on our upstairs windows. My job at that point was to throw things up to David on the tall ladder when we needed them- blue tape, rag, etc. So fun!

Mid-September we finally had our stair railing installed and replaced (for the only place it still existed). Funny thing- we took down the wall railing and upstairs piece 3 years ago! We intended to get this done long ago, but other things came up that we wanted/needed to do first. Wow, what a difference! 

The first picture shows the old white metal railing that was probably original to our place. This picture actually is from one of the first days we looked at our birdhouse before we decided to put in an offer! The second picture is the same old railing, but after we painted and installed new flooring (among other things!).

The day we had the new railings installed was a weekday so David worked from home and  I got to come home surprised! David was in charge of taking photos- yes, I reminded him of this before I left. :)

We still have a few things to do to finish up, but they're installed and only three years in the making! Next up is figuring out if we want to stain them (and how dark to go) or just do a clear coat (matte vs. gloss) instead. Decisions, decisions! 

And, actually these photos don't even show the 12 foot handrail that hangs the length of the stairs. Guess you'll have to either trust us that it's there or come over for a peek at the real deal!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

• 3 years!

Three years ago today I married my best friend. Enough said!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

• summer hustle & bustle

This summer has been relatively busy! David added another job to his plate - besides real estate, letterpress, and photobooth and I've been working on letterpress items (mostly). Our latest endeavor to help take on is the self-serve frozen yogurt business in Flagstaff. How might one go about opening up a business in Flag when living in Phoenix you ask? Okay, it's not actually us opening our own business; we've been helping David's brother Alan and his wife Jen open up. Only a couple more weeks and it's ready for customers! 

David has been instrumental in getting the items for the shop (lights, signage, machines, stereo items, etc.), buying items here and driving them up, and doing the behind-the-scenes things. I've helped a bit too- going up to Flag to work on the shop, helping set-up the facebook and twitter accounts, and working on the webpage.

Birdhouse update-- we've installed our toilet paper holders and towel rack upstairs! Hallelujah! I also bought a super cute print to hang on the wall somewhere here, but don't know where to hang it just yet. :) Maybe this year we'll get some other stuff on our walls. Currently we have 1 item up- in the whole house! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

• our new business - LittleOwl Letterpress

Our newest business endeavor we have decided to tackle is letterpress! What is it you ask? Think Johannes Gutenberg, yes the inventor of the 1440's printing press, but a bit updated! He's not really a cute guy, but quite the inventor huh?! Letterpress is one of the oldest forms of printing around -- very vintage!

We have a 1950's German press called a Heidelberg Windmill that we use to letterpress stationery, wedding invitations, business cards, etc.! Gina and I run our business out of our backyard studio (conveniently located at Gina's house).

Here's your homework:
• Check out our website
• Look for us on etsy
• Follow us on twitter and/or facebook

Here's a few of my fave pics!

Before the cropping begins!

A blind impression piece that is actually a "mess-up". We ran this piece of paper twice to line things up correctly. Sometimes the mistake pieces are my favorites!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

• falling down on the job

I realize I haven't done the best job these past few months with updating our blog. Sorry! Reason one- being so busy with our new company we've started. Reason two- I haven't made the blog a priority. I will try to work on that!

It seems like almost every weekend for the past few months have been filled with our newest business endeavor- letterpress! But, we have had a few spare moments to work on our medicine cabinets in the upstairs bathroom. Our master bathroom has been finished for a while - see older posts - but our second bathroom upstairs was a-waitin'!

Our second bathroom had some issues so it took a bit longer to finish. The hole where the old cabinet resided was too big for our newest piece so we had to patch the wall with a new drywall piece, spackle it, add texture, and paint it. As I type this it sounds like it would take, oh half-an-hour or so- not true! We had to use a ton of spackle so drying alone took about two days. But, man-oh-man does it look lovely!

Ta-da! A few more finishing touches in the bathrooms and we can call it a day! Yippee!