Tag Archives: Apartment Therapy

All of the “before” pics.

This past Saturday, April 23, marked the 3-year anniversary of me being a homeowner. April 23, 2008 was my closing day with the bank. I was a single, naive, just-turned-24-year old and I thought I had it all figured out. I’m not sure why I even decided to be a homeowner – it wasn’t about the “numbers” or that I needed a place to settle down. At the time, it was all about attaining that feeling of independence. What’s more independent than a single, young, professional woman buying real estate in a state she’s never lived? I also had a few “pushers” like Louise from work who purchased a house young, and from my perspective, it worked out great for her. Honestly, it was 80% an impulse buy, which defines most of my life decisions (ask to see some of my tattoos, for example).

I think I had $700 to my name when I decided to make an offer on my house, most of which was used for a good faith payment, an appraisal and some lawyer fees. It is scary to recall that – I was such a dope. The City of Covington (Housing Authority) put the down payment on my house for me, for which I’ve always been so thankful, as a part of their Community Development program. See, they want people like me to move in and help make things a little nicer and attractive to other interested buyers, and they’re willing to “show you the money” in the form of a small grant to achieve that situation. I’m not sure if the city still has the program, but it was great. I really could not have done it without the City of Covington. They even provided me with a “closing coach” whom I met with prior to the closing date and helped me navigate the process and read any warning signs. (If anyone needs information on the program, I am happy to help and provide info.) And then of course because my house was purchased in the correct time frame, I also got the big fancy “first time home buyer” check from the government, which I am happy to say I still have in the bank (a miracle in itself).

I guess in 300+ words what I’m trying to say is I really, really like being a homeowner and overall, it has worked out pretty well for me. It has forced me to learn things I otherwise would not have bothered with (like how to correctly clean a dryer vent, or how to attach things to plaster vs. dry wall) and most importantly, it has allowed me to be creative. Before, I would paint a wall black (I used to live in these horrid apartments out in Eastgate where I decorated my bedroom with black walls, pink comforter and a John Cena poster… swear) and then 12 months later the situation would change and I’d have to prime the walls for the next renter. And by I, I mean my Dad would come do it while I was at work… I am so thankful for him and Kilz.

I will stop yapping. Here is what my house looked like in those first few days of home ownership – it was so vanilla at the time. It was a blank slate and it had that good mix of old home (built in 1914) features with the finish of a builder home. Most of the other homes I toured (22 to be exact) had that Picasso effect (analogy stolen from Clueless) – beautiful from far away but a big ‘ole mess up close. And yes, I did have the feeling that this one was “the one.”

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Living Room… now the “White Room”:

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Bathroom:

Emily Snuffer

Bedroom:

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Kitchen, looking from “Black Room” to back door:

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Laundry Room:

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Eventually, these will go under the “Tour My House” page on my blog, next to the “progress” photos to show you the evolution of each space. Honestly, it’s fun to document even for my own memory.

Also, if you’re dying to see some “afters” you could either browse my other pages OR head to ApartmentTherapy.com and vote for my house. The contest is still on and my photos are here. Update: the contest is over! But you can still click to see the pics. I did pretty well for my first contest.

- emily

Update: Yes, City of Covington’s Community Development Department still has the program, thanks to funds continued to be provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). To learn more, go to MakeCovingtonHome.com. While you’re on the site, check out the Covington homes they’ve recently rehabbed / reconstructed. Jeremy Wallace is my hero (and also the one who helped me get funds for my home).

These are my confessions.

To the tune of Usher’s “Confessions”… I have a confession to make. I know those Apartment Therapy photos look pretty snazzy, but here’s the real deal. The white room is kind of a mess. It’s also technically under construction. I’m not sure if you guys noticed this, but there was a strange piece of something hanging across my white room.

Emily Snuffer

See that little strip of white perched close to the ceiling? That’s toe mold waiting to be installed in the white room, following the flooring that went in two months ago. It’s up on the ceiling because it’s the only Suge-free zone in the house. I must say it made a decent clothes rack.

Emily Snuffer

Another thing I want to point out is the sofa cover – you see how loosey goosey it is? That’s because the sofa is covered in sheets. Yes, I didn’t even bother to remove (or straighten out, apparently) the sheets during the photo session. Why do I have sheets on the sofa? My first answer is that I’ll do anything to keep a white couch white in a house with two dogs. The honest answer is that it’s way easier to toss two sheets in the wash with some bleach than remove the Karlstad cover (and then air dry it, iron it). Yep, you got it, I’m lazy.

I can’t do much about the sofa (I actually might RIT dye the Karlstad covers eventually using this tutorial) but I can get the trim installed. My parents were here on Friday to help.

Here’s what the floors of my white room looked like when we started:

Emily Snuffer

And now for the action shots:

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Yep, that’s me using my first power tool. *Insert the Tim Allen in Home Improvement roar here* Power tools are generally very intimidating, but I’m slowly getting my feet wet and really liking it.

And now the afters…

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

It looks so much better, especially with a bead of caulk between the new trim and the base board. I’m new to this construction stuff, and I’m sure most of you knew this already, but holy moley caulk is amazing. I went on a caulking spree and fixed all the little holes that had been bothering me around the house. My dad’s trick to perfect caulking: Cut a small, ANGLED hole at the top of your caulk tube. Apply it, then smooth it with a wet finger. You’ll might get a taste of caulk in your mouth (wow…) but it’s worth the aesthetic outcome. This is one I can certainly do on my own now, thanks to my parents. I’m trying to learn from them as much as possible.

Happy Easter weekend. Today is actually the 3-year anniversary of me closing on this house. I’ll be celebrating on Monday by posting all the gruesome “before’s” from a realtor visit prior to the purchase, so be sure to check back.

And pssstt…go see my home on ApartmentTherapy.com and “favorite” me in the Small Cool 2011 contest¬†here

Pictures entered (update: I’m in!).

Update: I made it into the first round. Holy crap. Check out my page on ApartmentTherapy.com here. Please vote for me. I think voting is open until early May. (I promise I won’t turn into one of those super annoying¬†persistent people begging asking for votes.)

Apartment Therapy’s Annual Small Cool 2011 contest call for entries ended today. For those of you unfamiliar with the contest, ApartmentTherapy.com (one of the best resources for interior design solutions, in my opinion) holds a national contest every year to celebrate the smallest, coolest homes and apartments. And by small, they have to be under 1000 square feet. Mine is only 900 sf so I figured I would give it a go. The contest calls for 5 photos as well as a floor plan of your home. My home would qualify for the Small category (there is also “Teeny-Tiny,” “Tiny,” etc.) since it is under 1000 sf but over 800 sf.

I must say entering the contest was a little premature considering the bathroom was not done, the bedroom hasn’t been touched and the black room is still having growing pains but what the hell, there’s no harm in trying right?

Here are the photos I entered. I should have done some behind the scene shots, because trust me, my house wasn’t as clean as these pictures lead you to believe. What you can’t see are the dirty clothes, dog toys, dusty sideboards, Ikea packaging remains and horrid ceiling fans. Ah, photo magic. Stay tuned after the photos – I’ll list some advantages and disadvantages of my entry and my thoughts on how it stacks up to the competition.

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Let’s start with the negative and end with the positive:

Disadvantages:

  • Chevron rug in living room – everyone on the planet has one of those rugs, including several of the homes in my division
  • Everything’s still rough around the edges – lighting is missing (in kitchen and in black room)
  • It looks like no one lives there because of the starkness of the surfaces (I tried to fix that with the awesomely-placed book (sigh) in the living room)
  • Lack of interesting furniture and furniture overall – I’m working on it but it’s a slow process because I want lovely, timeless pieces (read: not Ikea) for chairs and side tables but that stuff takes time and resources
Advantages:
  • The style of my home is unique to the group – most are lofts or newer homes
  • The “Small” group overall is underrepresented (a house or apartment under 1000 sf but over 800 sf is unique in general) meaning I have a better chance
  • I’ve got that rockin’ chalk wall (which has yet to make an appearance in the contest, which surprises me)
  • I live in Kentucky (most of the homes are from Brooklyn, East Coast, West Coast or International… maybe they are yearning for a Midwestern representation..right? RIGHT?)
I have no clue if I’ll even be picked to be posted or how I’ll know when that happens. On the flip side, I did get some pretty neat pictures of my home out of the deal. If you’re looking for my floor plan, it’s on the “Tour My Home” page at the top of this blog, which I’ve also been working on. You haven’t even seen some of my space yet!
Enjoy. Now I am off to Cirque du Soleil thanks to my good friend Lyndsey. I wonder if I’ll bawl my eyes out like I did at Beatles Love Show (which I tried to hide from my client who was attending with me). Sigh…
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