Thursday, February 28, 2013


As each day passed and more work was being done, I found myself feeling a bit more at home in our new house. Initially, I had told Dave, "It doesn't feel like home because it's barren of our stuff and yet it doesn't feel like a motel room either". It did take a few days to adjust to all of the noises that a house makes as well as the outside noises. Eventually, I moved my air mattress upstairs into the Master Bedroom. There were a couple of times where I awoke in the middle of the night and stepped out onto the balcony wondering if I would catch the Northern Lights. Although I didn't see them, I did get to witness an endless night sky with the Milky Way right over my head! Talk about feeling insignificant and overwhelmed, both at the same time!

Our furniture was scheduled to come in two separate deliveries. The TV stand, made by Montana Woodworks was made locally, so it came first. I wasn't expecting a pick up truck to pull up in the driveway with two women inside. I had to laugh but between the three of us gals, we managed to unload it! I was really pleased with it and after I wiped it down really well, I wrangled it into the downstairs guest bedroom. I decided to put it in there since our contractor would be starting the remodeling project in the Family Room over the winter. I didn't want him to have to work around it or move it out of the way. By this time I had already painted the guest bedroom walls and ceiling...

(The TV all set up in the downstairs guest bedroom.)

(One of the things I like about the guest bedroom is the built in closets and the window seat that frames the window. The hideous carpet will be replaced with wood flooring and the cheap ceiling fan will be replaced as well.)

(We need to have crown molding and some trim added to the downstairs guest bedroom.)

(Looking towards the office area and the stairs. And yes, we are missing a door...)

(The guest bedroom wall at one time had an arched doorway that led to the Living Room on the opposite side. It was enclosed but the owners didn't transition it well, leaving the outline of where it used to be. We will have the contractor fix this, both the bedroom side and the living room side down the road.)

I filled my days painting the living room, the hallway and the downstairs bathroom.

(There's that wall that the contractor will transition for us where the old arched doorway used to be.)

The Before and After of the living room. The walls throughout the downstairs were a stark white and I added some warmth with a nice neutral color!

(We are planning to have wood planking added to the ceiling to match the adjacent kitchen and dining room area and adding some trim work.)

(Standing in the unpainted hallway, looking towards the family room, needing some trim too.)

(Standing in the hallway, paint job in progress, looking towards the living room.)

(The downstairs bathroom with Jacuzzi tub before painting. Eventually, I would like to replace the wall board too.)

(The downstairs bathroom after being painted. We are having a Plumber do some upgrades for us in March, one of them will be replacing the water heater.)

I was anxious for the rest of our furniture order to be delivered, a dining room set and a glider rocker with an ottoman. Until then I had to improvise!

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My second full day at the house I awaited the delivery of our new TV. I had brought my portable DVD player as a back up as well as to occupy myself on the plane. The new DVD player had arrived before I got there and our Realtor had went to the house, secured it and kept it in his office until I got the keys from him. I was still waiting for furniture so I set the TV up in the downstairs guest bedroom since that was where I was sleeping. I got a lot of mileage out of that little red camping chair!

I also began my painting. I had made my color choices back in Texas but when I held up the sample card against all of the wood, I knew I needed to go a touch lighter. By days end, I had gotten the entire kitchen painted and all of the woodwork scrubbed.

(My before and after comparison of scrubbing the woodwork!)

My third day at the house I awaited the delivery of the new appliances. We had ordered a new refrigerator, dishwasher and electric range. The existing electric stove was flat out NASTY! The previous owners had done a red neck wiring job so I told the delivery people not to set it up because I wanted the electrician to fix it!

When I purchased the appliances locally at SEARS, I was quoted an outrageous dishwasher installation price for Montana. I made the decision to have our contractor install it instead. I thought that SEARS would haul off the old one along with the old electric stove (which I had paid for) but the delivery guys told me that they only haul away the old dishwasher, if they were installing the new one.

(The new dishwasher sits off to the side.)

The new range. I got the exact same model as I have here in Texas (which is gas.) I wanted the 2 ovens which is something I use a lot!

I like how the kitchen is coming together. We are getting ready to start the remodeling project in March! We are having new granite countertops installed and the ugly, white ceramic tile backsplash and it's goofy fruit border are being torn out. In it's place we are having black tin panels installed. I have requested the island in the kitchen be made into a multi-level so it will hide the raised back area of the new electric range. I will have the Electrician add two outlets, one on each side of the stove, in the new raised backsplash area. Rather than having bar stools on the back side which is common, I will have the contractor build me shelves so I can store cookbooks and some of my kitchen antiques. That will be down the road when he does some bookcases for us in the office.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


At the end of September I flew up for two weeks to do some work and to receive our first furniture delivery. I had enough advanced notice that I was able to fly into the Kalispell airport which is about twenty minutes from the house, rather than the Missoula airport which is two and a half hours away. I got my rental car, a Toyota Rav 4, drove to our Realtor's office in Whitefish where I picked up the keys to our new home. Being later in the afternoon, I had planned to drop off my stuff, drive back to Kalispell and start doing some shopping. I needed to buy some groceries and other household items, including an air mattress and a small electric heater since there wasn't propane in the tank to run the furnace. I walked in the door and along with the excitement I felt, I wondered about the smell that greeted me. I chalked it up to the fact that the house had been empty for quite some time and needed a good airing out. I went to the kitchen sink, turned the faucet handle and nothing... there was no water. I went to the breaker box and flipped all of the switches but nothing happened. Suddenly feeling very overwhelmed (along with chilled) and wondering what I had gotten myself into, I immediately called our contractor. He was just getting back from elk hunting and told me he would be there in about two hours to try and figure out what was wrong.

I knew I could always get a motel room for the night if I had to but I had planned to spend my first night at our new house! I decided to run into Kalispell and make a very abbreviated shopping trip. I got my air mattress, heater, a folding camping chair and a few grocery items and made it back to the house a few minutes before he got there.

(A few essentials to get me through that first night!)

I was so embarrassed when he walked to the OUTSIDE box that hides the main and flipped a switch underneath of it. UGH I felt SO stupid! Apparently the Well had been turned off a while back. It took several days of priming it before the water ran consistently.

I thanked him profusely for coming to my rescue and after he left, I went about the task of inflating my air mattress, unpacking my sleeping bag which I had brought up with me and enjoying the warmth of my little electric heater.

I was limited on what I could bring up with me since I had flown. I loaded 2 dufflebags in which I had used vacuum sealed bags to store bulkier stuff. I had compressed a pillow, sheets, bath towels and clothing. One of the bags had been searched, I'm sure because they were wondering why the x-ray machine revealed I was traveling with 20 pounds of flatware! Upon my return to Texas, I left most of my toiletries there and folded one of the dufflebags inside the other so I only had to check one bag.

I drove to Kalispell, had a bite of breakfast and started shopping!!

(Doing my part to stimulate Montana's economy!)

I spent that day cleaning and setting up the kitchen with a new microwave, coffeepot, glasses and so on.

(Twenty pounds of flatware never looked so good!)

I also had picked up paint so I could I start painting the kitchen areas before the new appliances were delivered.

(I painted the wall where the new refrigerator would be placed and scrubbed the floor until it shone!)

(The kitchen was desperate for new appliances!)

It was beginning to feel a bit like "home".

To be continued...

Monday, February 25, 2013


I still remember filling out the paperwork and making the offer on the house at the Realtor's office and then being told to "go play". I had done everything I could do on my end and we probably wouldn't hear anything until the next day. I decided to drive back to the house and even though I couldn't get inside, I wanted to walk the property and start to day dream. I was surprised to find a message on my voice mail from our Realtor saying that the bank had accepted our offer!! I called Dave immediately and he was just as surprised as I was!

When I had my initial showing with the Realtor he had arranged for a contractor to meet us at the house. From the inspection report, we were already aware of some of the work that the house needed to have done. Having the contractor on hand assured me that these issues were fixable and that they wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg! His expertise would also allow us to do some remodeling and upgrading on the house itself. We could have moved in almost immediately, once the electrical and plumbing issues were addressed. All we really needed to do was to upgrade the kitchen appliances.

I still remember seeing the house for the first time and all of its possibilities. We believe that the owners knew they were going to wind up losing the house so they didn't complete some of their projects. We will need the contractor to add trim work in many areas and in the case of the kitchen, I have asked him to rework the kitchen island.

Our first project was the exterior, since winter was just around the corner. The garage roof had a significant leak which needed immediate attention!

(The garage has a workshop upstairs and down the road, I would love to finish it out and make it into a scrapbooking and crafting studio.)

The Family Room was an addition and needed to be finished with extra insulation and exterior wood siding.



There is a well on the property and the "Well House" needed a little attention as well. The contractor insulated the Well House, finished the exterior siding and we had an Electrician hard wire a light fixture for us so we wouldn't have to use a flashlight. We will have a Plumber install an emergency shut off valve for the pump as well.

In this photo you can see the unfinished, exterior portion on the Well House. Additional work that the contractor did was to raise the door so we could close it all the way and attach some trim work that had fallen off.

The Well House is somewhat visible off in the distance. The pump for the well takes up about 1/2 to 2/3 of the Well House and I envision using the remainder for a Potting Shed down the road.

This area where the window is located would be my Potting Shed.

There is also a Playhouse on the property and we had him replace a broken window. Eventually we will need to have him check it out and see if it needs a little extra support, etc. for when the grand kiddos are visiting and want to play inside. Wouldn't want them to fall through the floor!!

(The Playhouse is to the right of the front porch.)

I am eager for my next trip which is only 5+ weeks off. I want to be able to take some more exterior pictures and do a comparison. We're discovering that "as is" doesn't have to necessarily be a bad thing. As the issues are addressed, we have the peace of mind that things have been done right!