We’ve been living at the new house for almost 17 months now. SEVENTEEN MONTHS. I had hoped to post about our experiences, projects, and life along the way. But life happens. It seems I’m always racing the clock to get a project finished, so blogging about it isn’t even on my mind. Until a year later. So I will walk you through the first year here in several parts, with a lot of pictures and some short captions. Make sure you check out all 5 parts for this 1st Year at the New House series!
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On July 10, 2019, we moved from the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama to Gadsden, Alabama. I posted about how much moving sucks (especially with 5 cats) on my blog last year not long after the move.
The previous owner had started feeding 2 feral kittens that wouldn’t let you get anywhere close, so we continued putting food out for them and wound up naming them Valiente & Zari by mid-August. You can read about what their names mean on my blog post here.
During the first 3 months of living here, I Googled all kinds of random things that I never thought I would have to look up. I am still looking up weird ‘how to’s’ for this house. 😆
I’m sure there were way more than the above, but those were the only ones that I took a screenshot of during that time. I have only applied my Google knowledge to just a couple of these so far. I’m thankful we have YouTube in this day and age where someone out there has done a video tutorial on just about anything you can imagine.
In the first 2 months, we went furniture shopping multiple times, both locally and out of town. I hate furniture shopping.
You go from store to store, with something specific in mind, but you never find it. Or if you do find it, it’s outrageously expensive and you just can’t bring yourself to pay that much for it. So we never bought anything. We did buy 2 patio chairs for our upper deck, but that was it. We were supposed to be getting a lot of furniture from Alex’s dad when he sold his house, so we decided to wait. So we went without a sofa and dining room table for almost a year. It’s a good thing we really don’t use those items. Our kitchen had a bar area with 4 stools, so we weren’t pressed for a dining table. And we did have a loveseat we brought from our other house that we kept downstairs.
Three weeks after living here, it was time to clear the backyard and get rid of some trees, which I wrote about and included a lot of before and after pictures.
I also got around to planting some flowers on the back patio and front porch areas with some of the flowers I’d started from seed that I brought with me. The pictures below look a little sad since the flowers don’t look like much. They stayed in their seed-starting pots for too long. One thing I hated about the house when we moved is there were no predesignated spots to plant flowers. No flower beds already in front of the house – nowhere. Nothing. With my gardening stuff, I was starting over from the very beginning, and it was overwhelming and discouraging. 😥
Not even a month after planting all of my flowers, when they were starting to fill in nicely and look good, something started eating a lot of them! On my Southern Gardener Instagram and Facebook page, there was a bet going as to what it was. I thought it might be a deer since the round gray planter with petunias is a little high for a rabbit, in my opinion.
So I set up a trail camera I got on Amazon. I soon discovered that whatever was eating my flowers was doing it in broad daylight. I was under the impression it was happening at night. So I set it up during the day and discovered this!
I had actually went outside to grab the trail camera that day to see if I’d gotten anything, when I looked up and saw it heading towards my mailbox. I just stood there with my mouth wide open for a few moments, picking up the trail camera to point it in that direction (I didn’t realize I had pictures and video snippets of the
little big turd eating the flowers). I will be honest. I had NO idea what it was at the time. I had to do some Googling (another crazy thing to add to the list of things I’ve Googled!) and discovered it was a groundhog. As a kid growing up, I lived on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and never in my life have I seen a groundhog. Last summer I learned that groundhogs really like petunias, moss rose purslane, and sweet potato vines. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t discriminating against wishbone flowers (torenia) too. 🙁 Its tunnel is somewhere under our front porch.
At the end of August, I decided it was time to start working on the craft room. I wanted to paint the OSB board (one of those Google searches). I know OSB isn’t desirable, but there is no way I am going to rip it all out and replace it with drywall. It’s a craft room, so OSB will be fine. This used to be a garage for our downstairs areas, but the previous owner closed it in and used it as a giant mud room before selling it. Last year I posted a little video tour of the future craft room if you’d like to check it out.
I honestly spend more time organizing and cleaning up the room than anything. It seems to be a catch-all room for everything we want out of sight. 😕 Every time I’m ready to start planning what to do with it, I have to clean it up again. To this day, 13 months after deciding on a color, I still haven’t painted the room. And now I think I’ve changed my mind about the color more than likely. 😆
After almost 2 months of living here and bribing the outdoor kitties with treats, they cautiously started eating treats from our hands and letting us get close. Valiente (the braver one) would finally crawl up into my lap to get the treat. Zari not so much. She was very shy and timid.
At the beginning of September, I was cleared to start exercising again. As I mentioned in my post regarding my last Zumba class I taught, March of last year, I discovered I had a stress fracture in my shin bone. While there is still a small-looking crack in the x-ray, the doctor said it appears to be in the callus part that formed to protect the fracture, so the shin bone area has healed to its normal thickness.
So I was cleared to start doing Zumba again, and if I felt any symptoms coming back, I was to stop doing it. I’ve only done Zumba a handful of times at home and once as a guest at a gym. I just can’t get back into the swing of things. One day…
Our house has an upstairs and downstairs. Each level has it’s own full kitchen, living room, and multiple bedrooms as the guy who built the house lived downstairs while his elderly parents lived upstairs. We use downstairs mainly for work-related things. Because of our photography stuff, we have a lot of clothing and footwear to use for various looks. We decided to convert this utility room into a glorified closet. The previous owner had a washer and dryer in here, along with a kitty litter box for his 2 cats. For the first 2 months, we kept our litter box in here while our 5 cats got used to being in a new home. Here is a ‘before’ picture to show what it looked like. The previous owner painted every room, including the garage, this color by Sherwin Williams: Sand Trap SW-6066, with almond-colored trim. Blah. You can’t tell in the picture I took, but it has a mauve/pink undertone to me.
Here’s another ‘before’ view of the room from the other side.
And the lighting in this room is terrible. The previous owner had one of those nipple lights in here, and it just looked so drab.
During the month of September, I took the shelving off the wall, patched that up, and prepped the room for painting. Alex and I painted the walls with Sherwin Williams Pure White SW 7005 in semi-gloss finish, and for the trim and doors, we used Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black SW 6258 in semi-gloss finish.
I realize semi-gloss finish isn’t used often for walls, and I was hesitant to go with it because I’d been reading up on the internet about how you should leave semi-gloss walls to the professionals. We decided to do it ourselves anyway because it was just a closet after all – not our main living area. I think it turned out pretty good!
We also took the ceiling tiles out and rolled on one coat of the Pure White SW 7005 semi-gloss paint to give them some more life, and we updated the lighting. We used two 2′ x 2′ LED panels we got from Amazon: 2×2 LED Panel Troffer Edge-Lit Flat Panels What a difference lighting makes!
We changed out all the light switches and electrical outlets to black, installed closet rods, and completed this project at the end of September. Here are a couple of completed pictures of the glorified closet!
Head over to part 2 to continue reading about our first year here!