Demands from the Tiny Toomey

On the off-chance you are reading this and don’t really know us – we moved and are rehabbing this house with a 1.25 yr old. Yeah, our level of crazy just went up a few notches. We know people that wouldn’t even consider moving in general with tiny people, so to be tackling this project while chasing a toddler around is extra fun. But then again, we gutted our last kitchen while I was pregnant, so we’ve been known to keep things interesting around these parts.

Kitchen Demo
Watch out – pregnant girl with a sledgehammer.

Anyway, different house.

We knew we needed to get Peri’s room set up first to keep her from totally losing her shit being confused. And although the rooms have wood paneling, one of the rooms upstairs had enough cute details that we thought it would actually be fun for her room. We really haven’t done much else to the room besides the floors, so we moved all her belongings in and got her settled. We did need to make some new curtains with some help from my mom, which added some new fun colors to her room outside of the grey and purple theme that we had in the last house.

Peri's BedroomIgnore the chewed up crib. Homegirl is a Beaver apparently. Her dad is very proud. She did all that with only 6 teeth.

The shelves have been a lot of fun, and if she wasn’t so into everything they might be cutely arranged. But since she pulls everything off them on a daily basis, the bottom two shelves are free game for Peri’s little grasp.

Here’s a view of the whole room. Kinda cute, even with all that wood.

Full Room View - Peri's Room

The dirty secret left of this room is the light fixture… every light fixture in this house needs to be replaced. I can count 14 of them not including the basement. That is a lot of lights.

Peri's Bedroom Light Fixture

This is not really P’s style.

Overall, getting her set up with her things made the move pretty easy for her. And this quickly became a safe and clean place for her to play while we were finishing up projects like the hardwood floors on the main floor. So there you have it – the most complete room in the house!


Painting Things: Part 1 of 3267

That might be an exaggeration. But everything needs to be painted. On the main floor we had the hardwoods refinished, but in the bedrooms and upstairs hallway we needed a different strategy. The floors upstairs are fir which is a softer wood and doesn’t refinish as well. Plus the hallway upstairs had already been painted white. And really, we didn’t want to spend the money up there yet. So we decided the cheapest and best solution would be to paint all the wood floors upstairs. It was something we’d never done before but its all over pinterest, so it can’t be that hard right?!

And it really wasn’t. I used Benjamin Moore’s line of Oil-based primer and floor paint (we found an old gallon of floor paint in the basement, so we knew it was oil and needed to put more oil paint over it). We primed, which I was told wasn’t really necessary but seemed like the right idea based on how rough the floors were.

Upstairs Floors BeforeHere you can see the hallway – painted white, but dirty and not done well.

And here are two of the three bedrooms upstairs.

Upstairs Bedroom Floors Before

Master Bedroom Floors Before

Not pretty.

So on went the primer. The whole process went really fast outside of dry time because its like one big wall. You have to cut-in at the walls of course, but then I just put a roller on an extension handle and went to town.

Upstairs Bedroom Floors Primed

The floor color I chose is Benjamin Moore’s Mint Chocolate Chip – so yeah…its definitely a light green color. But its kind of refreshing and fun. I have plans in the hallway to add a 2-inch border in a a chocolate brown to really tie it all together, but we’ll see if that happens. I bought two gallons of the floor color to do 3 bedrooms and the hallway which was plenty, including two coats on all the floors.

Upstairs Bedroom After

So here’s the bedroom with the floors finished. They look almost white, but in reality they have some green to them.

Here’s the hallway which shows the color a little better.

Hallway floors


Basically, they are fresh and clean which is what needed to happen upstairs. And for about $150 and 3 nights (pre-moving in) it was a quick fix to ugly. The final coat took maybe an hour and a half to put on all the floors. Although, I’m also holding out on the fact that we haven’t done the master yet (the room above with the really funky blue walls happening). The only thing I didn’t like was having to use Oil-based paint because 1. it smells and 2. I’m really messy and that stuff is impossible to get off your skin. And painting a floor almost guarantees you’re going to get paint on your feet. Benjamin Moore does have their Floor & Porch paint in a Latex which I definitely would have used if there hadn’t already been oil paint on the floor.


The Good, the Bad and the Dirty

Because we managed to have a few weeks between closing on the new house and needing to be out of our old house, we thankfully could bribe friends and family to help us tackle some projects before we moved everything in. We spent Memorial Day weekend loading a dumpster full of yard debris and the leftover furnishings that were left with the house. Unfortunately, thats often part of the deal when purchasing a short sale. Beggars can’t be choosers.

You know who your real friends are when they just show up in work clothes and start scrubbing your house for you.

I’m looking at you Sam.

2014-05-24 14.27.09I mentioned the cats, but we’re also pretty sure that over the years various smokers lived here, and smoked in the house. And probably due to health issues, the house just hadn’t been kept up with. So saying it was dirty was really an understatement. It was gross. We scrubbed grease and smoke stains off every wall. Took down dusty, musty curtains that were just covered in cobwebs. The flies that have turned the outside of this house into their home is disgusting (and finally under control). There may be a mouse or two living in a bedroom and garage.

I’m not sure how many buckets of pine-sol we went through. That stuff is magic. Pure chemical magic. Oh, and we had the water turned off because as soon as we turned it on at the street there was water leaking from the main down the sidewalk. BECAUSE OF COURSE.

Fortunately, we have nice neighbors so we could fill up buckets with their hose outside.

This is what happened when we started washing down the crown molding. Look away if you are eating.

Crown Moldingmmm, smoke stains

There are still places that need good cleanings. Most of the ceilings need a scrub or coat of primer and paint. Guess what, scrubbing ceilings is not a fun job. So just don’t look up for now.

But its worlds better. We got the yard trimmed back as well. Just keep cleaning…

House Tour

Since that last post was a lot of words, here are a lot of pictures. Some of these are from before it was actually ours to give you the full picture of what we agreed to buy. The previous owner did a better job than we expected of cleaning stuff out of this place, but we still filled up a 30 yard dumpster in a weekend without even trying.

Front EntryHello fireplace! This is the view as soon as you walk in. This room is huge (wide – hard to get a good angle). Lovely mirror…and the house stinks like cats. Awful green wall colors. We’re sold.

Living Room RightView from the doorway to the right into the formal dining room swoon. Bad light fixtures abound. And pink/purple/flowery stained glass!

Living Room Left

And view to the left into the office. Matching ugly light fixture. This room is about 15×30, its huge. And hints of wood paneling to come!


Ah the office. The floors are in terrible shape (throughout). The built-ins are kind of cool, but dated. And the room is all wood paneling. What you can’t see behind me are the original french doors more swooning.

Office French Doors

There ya go – the doors. Plus lace curtains (ick). And the room is nice and sunny due to 3 large windows. Its kind of bay window-ish, but not really.

Dining Room

Alright, back over to the dining room on the other side. There is a funky little hallway area that lives between the den and living room, and also allows access to the kitchen, bathroom, a bedroom and the stairs to the basement and upstairs. Lets play ISpy…bad chandelier, bad stained glass, 80’s wallpaper…I couldn’t even tell you what all is in this room.


And from the dining room, into the Kitchen! The heart of a home! It does have some redeeming qualities. Its at least twice the size of the kitchen in our last house. It has a cute eat-in nook. The sink cabinet is actually a Youngstown piece which is kind of a cool retro thing upon further research, but its in rough shape.

Main Bedroom

And WHOA a bedroom! Were you blinded unexpectedly by that wallpaper? So this is the main floor bedroom which is off the hallway from the kitchen. Its a bad shot because its dark and full of stuff. And I might have been carrying a baby through all this. More sweet lights, huh.


Alright – we have now traveled upstairs (sorry, didn’t have a great picture of the staircase, although we haven’t done anything there so I could go take a picture now…but well, no. See proof of hoarding + cats. Did I mention this house smells fantastic? But you may spy some amazing built-in storage. My husband tried telling me those needed to go at some point to remodel the bathroom, he was very mistaken. Those are another one of the little things that I love about this house. Its amazing and you can’t find them in new homes.

Left BedroomAnother bedroom upstairs (there are 3 upstairs + 1 on the main). Its filled with wood paneling and junk. Poorly caulked ceiling goo. BUT, right to the right of this photo is an amazing walk-in closet and surprise, all the bedrooms have more closet space than I have ever seen. Again, you couldn’t even find this in new homes. Its crazy how much closet space there is and I more often hear that old homes have no storage. This house has tons.

Right Bedroom

Here is the other smaller bedroom upstairs. All wood paneling, but this one with cutesy detailing. Another spoiler alert – we turned it into P’s room and is actually kind of cute. Please send help – apparently I am growing fond of wood paneling.


Are you freaked out yet? I also may have failed to mention that the previous owners were BIG fans of Halloween. So the dead people are fake. This is the master bedroom upstairs. The whole wall (with the blue…shower curtains) is 5 windows that open out. More wallpaper. Definitely a picture taken while holding a baby.

Upstairs Bathroom

And at the other end of the hallway (by the built-ins) is a bathroom. Which is huge. But only has a toilet and sink. But you could also put a twin size bed in there. The ceiling is sloped which creates some logistical challenges for a shower, but don’t worry, where there is a will there is a way. And we have plenty of will. These are like weird, plastic tiles stuck to the wall. They are in the shower on the main floor too, which I don’t have pictures of because its tiny.

Oh my gosh are you exhausted yet?! Did I mention this house is HUGE?


Here’s one quick shot of a small portion of the basement which they did a decent job on the surface of finishing. Except for the whole cat smell thing. And that the basement has been known to flood when it rains a lot and so all this needs to be ripped up and done to Dylan’s standards.

So thats the quick and dirty tour. I’ll be back with project specifics and side by side photos as we go along.






Buying A Short Sale

Otherwise known as – how we all took at least 10 years off our lives.

Also – my apologies for the emotional ugly cry I just took in front of all ya’ll. Selling your first house is hard (but spoiler alert – we did it)

The whole foundation of this blog is that we are moving. We’ve been in the process of buying a short sale home for MONTHS, and finally got close enough to the end line that we felt comfortable putting our home on the market. But it came down to the wire. And at the 11th hour and 58th minute it almost all fell apart. With that said, if you think you want to buy a short sale, assemble yourself the best team you can find. That is my number one piece of advice. To give you an example, here’s the approximate timelines and emotional rollercoaster we went through in purchasing a short sale.

• Early December, 2013. A house came up in RMLS listing that peeked our interest. You may have seen them, the descriptions say things like “great bones, needs work”. There is only one photo and its of the outside of the house. Yeah, those are the kind of listings we drool over. So we called our saint of a real estate agent and saw the house immediately. And despite that it had been previously owned by hoarders but now vacant of human life, we fell in love. We put in an offer the first day and were told they would review offers throughout the weekend and get back to us. So we waited.

• The next week rolls around and we’re told that someone had a higher, cash offer ahead of us that they had to take. But would we like to be in a backup position (informally).  We said yes, but tried to move on. It was the holidays, we had a million things going on with baby’s first Christmas, so on with life we went.

• January 13, 2014. The first deal fell through. The listing agent asked us if we still wanted in and we said YES! And jumped for joy! It had been over a month since we had been in the house, but we knew we had to go for it. So we became under contract officially. Now, here is where it starts to get tricky. See with a short sale, the home owners still accept the offer we made, but then it all gets turned over the bank for approval since the owners owe more than the house is worth. Thats what short sale means…the bank will come up short by selling it. Not that this will be a quick and easy process, quite the opposite actually.

• MONTHS go by, the sellers have to give documents to the bank (which, bless their hearts, they have to find). Also, the wife who had lived in the house passes away. Sadly, we knew she was ill and part of their financial hardships had to do with her medical bills. The silver-lining was that the man who owned the house was really glad that a young family was moving into this place.

• March 12, 2014. We get approval from the bank, saying we are good to close by May 9th! Hooray! Moving forward.

• Early April – we find out there is a tax lean that we have to pay now on top of our original offer instead of just out of the offer we made. We decide we’re willing to do that, its still a good enough buy. Figure out where to get more money. More addendums need to be signed by everyone.

• April 25, 2014. Our home goes on the market. PANIC!

• April 29, 2014. Accept an offer on our house. We have until June 10th and then we don’t have a house anymore.

• April 30, 2014. Appraisal for the new home happens. We can’t get a loan until the roof is inspected and cleaned and the leaking basement is addressed in some fashion. Find more money. Do the things. Move forward…clock is ticking.

• May 6, 2014 (3 days from closing). We aren’t ready to close for a variety of reasons. Sign more addendums. Send an extension request to the bank and hope for the best. Never hear back from the bank. We asked to push closing until May 23rd. Crickets. But we get all our financing in place, inspections finished for the loans etc. We’re ready to close.

• May 19, 2014 (5 days from closing part 2). Crickets. Hello bank. We are ready to sign…were you cool to accept that extension because we’re already past it and umm, ya know, want to buy this house. We find out we can’t sign anything until the bank signs this silly piece of paper. Begin to stress out at abnormally high levels.

• May 21, 2014. We get approval from the bank on the extension, but now they are only giving us until tomorrow (its Noon on Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend) PANIC.  Also, Dylan’s parents were on this loan with us, which allowed us to buy this house before closing on the house we were living in. But that also meant they had to sign docs immediately in Bend. Awesome. Love you guys!

• Still May 21. By a miracle of miracles, the Bend folks sign. MIL agrees to leave Bend the next morning at 5am to drive all the loan docs to Portland by 8am so we can sign by 9am and fund the loan by end of day.

• May 22nd. Loan closes. We went from waiting on approval to signing docs, and funding a loan in less than 24 hours. It can be done, but I don’t recommend it. This was the part that would have completely fallen through without awesome real estate folks, loan folks and title people. And organized financial documents. But we walked away with the keys – and then the fun really began.


When the beginning starts at the end

Hi there. I have resurrected my writing ambitions in order to document the act of love that will be the new short sale home we are buying. It’s finally far enough along in the process that we are certain now it will be our next home. And project. For a long while. But to begin this next chapter, we have to close the door on the last one . A lifetime ago Dylan and I were desperate to move out of a lame apartment in the Portland suburbs. We had a tiny down payment. And after months of looking, we found an ugly duckling of a house in an area of the city that seemed like it had some potential. This was 5 1/2 years ago. We said it would be a 5 year house from the beginning. We could put our blood, sweat, tears and a little bit of money into it and then move onto bigger and better. And that’s exactly what we did.
At times we were without heat. Water. A shower. A kitchen. never a toilet, thank goodness. I sat awake the night before our wedding in that house, alone. Watching tv in the basement when I couldn’t sleep. We brought our daughter home 5 years later. I’ve painted too many walls too many times to keep track of. Those walls have seen more parties than I can count. More drinks spilled, glasses broken, and friends and families voices and laughter. We grew up in this home and became a family.
So I had to get this out. To say goodbye. Because my reality is that I’m writing this on an airplane and when I pull up to my house this afternoon, there will be a for sale sign in the front yard. And the weekend will be filled with strangers wandering those halls, envisioning what their life will look like there. So while I have wandered the halls of our next home with excitement and a mind bustling with ideas to make it our own, I now have to let others do the same to the place we have called home for so long. And it makes my heart hurt a little to let that go.
or maybe a lot.
But deep down I know we will always have those memories and stories, even as we head east 13 blocks.