Thursday, August 23, 2012

House tour

I was thrilled when I saw Laura's post at Navigating the Mothership, inviting us all to participate in a house tour.  I love looking inside other people's houses.  And I was happy to take the opportunity to record for posterity the house we rented for three years in eastern North Carolina.  We have done a LOT of living here.  After two years here, we have added a lot of things to our list of must-haves for our eventual dream home, once Tim retires from the Marine Corps.  There are things we love about it, things we'd change if we owned it, and things we don't like at all.  Getting to live in so many places is helping us figure out what kind of house we really want.  This house in particular has been very helpful  since it is in many ways exactly what we want, and everything we need.  We have added lots of items to The List since moving in here.

These pictures will not be nearly as nice as some of the others', because I am using a six-year-old point-and-shoot camera that is on its last leg.  We've been saying that for awhile.  When we use the zoom lens it sounds like a wheezing old man, and it is slow.  But it does the job.
So here we are.  This house is 2300 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms.  There is a FROG (finished room over garage), which is what houses near the coast have instead of basements.  When tornadoes come -- and they have as recently as last spring -- we have to go in the bathtub.
This is the view from the entry/foyer.  My favorite thing about this house is how open, bright and airy it is.
The living room.  There is the corner fireplace with the giant cave over it meant to hold a mammoth TV.  Those niches were all the rage when this house was built in 2004, and I've seen several of them in friends' houses.  This is the biggest one I've seen.  If we owned the house, we'd drywall over it.  Out that door is the back porch.
Almost nothing about the kitchen is what we want in our dream home.  It looks nice enough, but there are many things that make it less than ideal (but fine for renting).  We're not a fan of the countertops or the floors.  Tim hates the whole "flow" of the kitchen, even though I have no problem with that.  

As a matter of fact he hates pretty much everything about this kitchen.  The knobs on the lower cabinets snag on his cargo shorts, and as much work as he does in the kitchen, I can't blame him for feeling that way.  That is actually on The List -- no knobs on kitchen cabinets.
I like how easy the flat electric range is to clean, but we'd both prefer gas.  You get two choices on this stove: off or boil.  Simmer is not a possibility.  The broiler is a joke, as Tim finds out when he tries to use it.  The exhaust fan is useless.  Whenever he tries to make anything with the cast iron skillet, the room fills with smoke, and it is not alleviated at all by the fan.  The cooking surface is very small, and if you have more than three things going simultaneously, the pots and pans are all vying for space, and things are getting cooked unevenly.  It is perfectly adequate for an underachieving cook like me; but if Tim wants a nice chef's kitchen to make my fancy dinners in, then one day he will have it.:)

Kitchen storage is sufficient for our purposes.  We are not big bargain-hunters and stockpilers.  If we were, we'd be in trouble.  There is no pantry, and the cabinets are full to bursting with what relatively little we have on hand.
Here's a quick look at the dining room, which we use as the office.  All those weird things hanging on the wall are actually awards Tim has received over the years.  When Tim was deployed, and I was going to bed by myself after watching Criminal Minds, I'd imagine myself grabbing my weapon of choice off this wall to beat off an unsub.  Tim built that desk himself. It also serves as a nice little tunnel for the kids.
Now we'll go back through the kitchen and take a left, to a small hallway, across which is the laundry room.  This is not my dream laundry room.  First of all, I'd like to be able to shut the door.  But even if Tim's pull-up bar wasn't hanging in the doorway, the door hits the washer and dryer.  The shelves are crammed full of stuff.  Believe it or not, it used to look a lot worse.  We reorganized it a few months ago.  We got the stackable containers for the kids' crafts, art supplies, puzzles and games.  That helped.  We also keep cleaning stuff in there.  There's a hamper in there, the pool bag that hangs on one side of the door, and the wet bag for diapers that hangs on the other side.  It is barely-controlled chaos.  On The List: Big laundry room.  It will have a utility tub, area for folding laundry, lots of storage space, and I will be able to shut the door.  Maybe it will pull double duty as a mudroom, but if not, we'll need that too.
To the left of the laundry room are the stairs leading up to the FROG.  It is lovely to have all this bonus space.  About two-thirds of it is the kids' playroom.  This is where the majority of the kids' books and toys go, allowing us to keep the downstairs mostly neat.  
You can see there's storage behind Delaney in the form of a closet and a crawl space. To the left, on the other side of the stairs, is another door that leads to a big storage space.  This house does not lack places to put things.  
On the right is where guests sleep.  I would love to spruce it up a little and make it more inviting, but I haven't found anything I like to put there.  We also keep the treadmill up here.  We love the FROG.  If there was a bathroom up there, it would be perfect.  On The List: a guest room with a bathroom close by.

Back downstairs, in the rear of the house, past the laundry room, is the master suite.  I'm very happy with it.  It is very spacious and peaceful, separate from the rest of the house.  The color was already there, and we love it.*  Still, I think next place we live (as long as it's for longer than a year), I want to use different colors for bedding and curtains.  I've been getting different ideas from watching the DIY network.
To the right is a great big walk-in closet.
Below is the shower/throne room.  We walked through this house twice before deciding to rent it.  During the drive back to Virginia after signing the lease, we talked about how the only door we hadn't opened in the entire place was this one.  We joked that whatever was behind this door was the downfall of the whole place.  But no, it is just an ordinary linen closet.  No scary surprises.
Back through the kitchen, living room, right down a short little hallway, we come to the girls' room.  This is the room where Tim did the most work.  I love this room.  It's missing some stuff, but that's what happens when they make mischief after lights out.
The kids' bathroom.  It is tiny.  It is really frustrating to bathe and groom three little kids in here.
If we turn around and look at it from this angle, you see why.  The door bangs into the stepstool, which then bangs into the closet door.  Ugh.  If you want to close the door, you have to move the stool.  If you want to get into the linen closet, you've got to closet the door to the bathroom.  Another thing: it is the only other bathroom in the house, and it is a long way from the guest bed upstairs.  
Across the hall, this square-jawed guardian angel is hanging on the wall -- a gift from my mom several years ago.  No wimpy cherubs for us.
On the other end of the hallway, a safe distance from his sisters' shenanigans, is Timmy's room.
Now we've gone back down the hall, out through the living room to the back porch.  And who do we have here?
Mama deer and babies in the neighbor's yard.  Aw.. What were the chances I'd have my camera in hand when I spotted these three?
Looking at the little play house out there brings back memories of it tumbling end over end across the yard during the hurricane last summer.
The garage is called a two-car garage, but unless your other car is a Smart Car, it will not fit.  On The List: a no kidding two-car garage.  Make that a three-car garage -- I see that's what Tim put down.  I will say that I love having an attached garage, and that is on The List as well.
Tim uses this area for his projects.  When there are no current projects, it turns into a drop zone for  random things.
*We did not paint any rooms in this house except for the kids'.  We love all the colors that were already in here.

And that's our house -- at least for the next year or so.  It has treated us well.  I hope our next place is as nice.


  1. Like I said before, your house is so pretty. And the yard & screened in porch seem so wonderful. Plus deer! Idyllic! Will you guys be doing more short term houses in the near future given your husband's work? Curious what you would want in your dream home and where that would be.

    1. Thanks! There will definitely be at least a couple more places to live in our future, but we have no idea what's next. Hopefully we find out in the next month or two because we're moving this summer.

      We kind of know what we want in our dream home, but the where remains a huge question mark. We are from MA and Ohio, respectively, and we would like to settle down in one of those two places. It will be a tough choice, and it will depend on a lot of things. It might just boil down to wherever Tim can find the best job. We have a few more years before we really have to start thinking about it. We're staying in the Marine Corps until they show us the door!

  2. Wow, what a beautiful home. The exterior looks like a magazine home! Your girls' room looks adorable and your master looks super-relaxing. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your family's service to our country!

  3. We move around a lot too which leads to renting and so many electric ranges! When cooking I often dream about gas ranges!

    1. Yes, it will be so nice to own our own home -- our permanent home -- and have everything exactly the way we want it.

  4. I love what you've done with this house. The kid's bedrooms are so creative and I want that screened in porch!

    1. Thanks! It's even better now that we got some new furniture for it that we'd been looking at for 2 years. Just in time for the cooler weather too. I think a nice screened-in porch is always going to be on my must-have list.

  5. Love the kids bedrooms - they are amazing! I can relate to the kitchen issues... except we aren't renting, but there's not a lot we can do with the tiny space we have - BUT at least we have a gas stove!

    1. Thanks! We really enjoyed decorating the kids' rooms.

      One thing about the kitchen that does make us happy is that there is plenty of space. You can't always have everything, I guess.