June 07, 2011

Back from wherever ...

Photos of the house when we first saw it.

Well, maybe you're wondering where I've been ... or maybe not ... but I've been taking a little break from blogging, and now I seem to be having more than a little trouble getting back into it. You know, I think the problem actually started back with VeganMofo, when I went a little beyond my personal blogging capacity, and instead of being inspired, I kind of slowly burned out. Then, in March, my husband and I decided to buy a small home in Seattle, where we'd been renting for the past two years, and I became totally involved in the process.

A wall of windows in the dining room and a remodeled kitchen

Blame it on my Libra makeup, where I agonize over every detail, analyzing both sides of each issue until making a clear decision becomes nearly impossible, but buying this house (or investing in property as I prefer to think of it) was a trying ordeal. Houses are way overpriced in Seattle, making a tough decision even harder for a cheapskate like me. My husband and I made a decision to downsize, and live a simpler life, choosing a smaller house than we probably would have in a more reasonably priced area. We ended up with a 1200 square foot two bedroom one bath house with a small "bonus room" upstairs. It's a nice house in a great neighborhood, but it's pretty small. It's amazing how big the real estate photos make the house look.

I'm actually in Wisconsin now, living in our house here, that we can't bear to part with, and which we rent out to visiting faculty for most of the year. We got possession of the Seattle house on May 27 and haven't moved in yet, but my husband has to stay in Seattle until June 30 for work, so he's been moving things in and looking for furniture. Currently, I'm obsessed with two somewhat opposing forces — HGTV and Craig's List. If only HGTV would come and decorate my new house — or landscape it. Will they find me if I hang out at Home Depot or Lowes? Since most of what I see on HGTV is out of reach, I prowl Craig's List and send my husband out to look at, and potentially buy, my finds. So far he's purchased a dining table and chairs, and before I left we bought a bed frame, cabinet, and wicker chair. The mattress is coming from an actual store, and a sofa probably will, too.

The lazy person's quick meal — microwaved potato with leftover chili.

I have lots of food photos saved up and now that I've taken the plunge and finally posted something, I can start sharing. Just want to mention that I've been eating a very simple diet — delicious but pretty boring. I'll get to that later.

note: House photos stolen from the house listing.


  1. I am so excited to see that you're back! Yay! Welcome "home" (in more ways than one) :D . Your house looks lovely. A fireplace! Sigh. And I have to say that downsizing definitely appeals to me a lot of the time. Your potato/chili sounds yummy even if it *was* microwaved!

    Looking forward to more house pics and, of course, food.

    Libras Rule!

  2. ive been slow on blogging also, but i dont have a great excuse like you!! the house is so pretty!! it does look biger than 1200.its really really nice looking. try not to agonize to much:) i want you to have fun with your new nest!

    michelle from dirty duck

  3. i was just thinking of you yesterday, wondering where you'd been! that house looks wonderful. i love the room with the big windows--dining room? congratulations! what's the yard like? veggie garden potential?

  4. Welcome back, Andrea! I missed you, so thank you for the update. Your new house looks really gorgeous.

  5. Ricki,
    Downsizing is interesting — and hard — if you're an accumulator like I am. There's really no place to put anything in the house, and the closets are tiny and few. I won't be living there until August so won't feel the impact until then. The fireplace has a wood stove insert, and I worry about air pollution, but it looks cool.

    I noticed that your blogging had slowed down a little. It's hard to keep up with it, don't you think? I can't imagine how people blog every day for years and don't get crazy. :)

    Yes, dining room, and maybe the nicest room! It has a whole wall of windows. The house has a nice open floor plan so it feels bigger than it is, at least initially. I haven't lived there yet so I don't know what it will be like, but I have high hopes! The backyard is small, but I'm hoping to put in a couple of raised beds.

    Thank you! I've missed the blog world, too, but I think I just needed a break.

  6. Great to see you posting again and congrats on your purchase! I'm currently renovating an old home & "overpriced" doesn't begin to cover any of it. Good luck :-)

  7. Abby,
    Would "money pit" be more accurate? I'd love to see photos of what you're doing. You should write about it on your blog. I imagine your house is probably bigger than mine, but maybe not older. My house was built in 1912.

  8. Oh boy Seattle market is crazy. We planned on buying something at some point out here but it didn't work out due to the bubble and then bust. This is a good time to buy! I hope it's a good fit for you. it must be hard to have to relocate...we get it. :-)

  9. I was wondering if everything was okay and was considering e-mailing you...I am glad to hear you are okay and hope you will get back to blogging soon! Although I can't imagine how overwhelmed you must be right now with buying a new house etc. and now not even being there to move in. Try to enjoy your time at "home" in WI and let me know if you will drive back through Minneapolis on your way to Seattle!!


  10. Andrea, so close! Mine was built in 1930 & has a lot of charm. Ok, well, I can see the charm beneath the layers of neglect & hope to bring it back to the forefront. We should be moving in around the same time; the main difference is that I've already been working for months and, judging by your pics, your house is gorgeous already (I'd be in if mine looked like yours!). Will post more when there are some "after" shots & I still owe you the matzoh ball recipe. Good to have you back online!

  11. Bitt,
    Yes, crazy. It took us a long time to adjust to the prices, coming from the Midwest, where the house we bought would have cost less than half of what we paid. The relocation part is still unresolved, that's why I refer to the new house as an investment. :)

    Thanks for thinking of me. I'm sorry not to be in Seattle to set up the house, but I still need my annual dose of Midwest living! We haven't been doing a Minneapolis route but I'll let you know if that changes.

    When we first bought our Madison home, the original features were all intact, though in need of revelation — "my mother wasn't into upkeep," said the owner's son, who was handling the sale. We worked on it for a couple of months before moving in, but it wasn't too bad. The current house was owned by a contractor who did "all" the inside work before putting the house on the market. Notice I said "inside work." (If you looked at lots of houses, you know that real estate pics can be very flattering.)

    And what's with that recipe already? :)

  12. Welcome back to the blogosphere! Happy to see you, and glad that you're moved and beginning to settle in again.

  13. Maybe they use a special lens to photograph those houses... one that makes everything look larger? It's beautiful though!

  14. Hannah,
    I'm settled in to my "beloved summer home" but a long way from settled into the new Seattle house. :) Hopefully it won't take too long to furnish it and put everything away once I return in August.

    I think they use a magnifying lens. I'm especially impressed with their kitchen-enlarging skills.

  15. I've been wondering where you've been, good to see you back. Congrats on the new house! It looks very cute! Love all the windows! I have lots and lots of lazy meals and I don't even have a good excuse like a new house. :-) Your potato looks yummy!

  16. Chow vegan,
    Thanks! The house is certainly not short on windows!

  17. It's a beautiful house! Thanks for sharing picts!

  18. Thanks, Lorraine. I hope you'll come out and visit one day!

  19. Dagnabbit, I am so late with this comment and I apologize! But my excitement for you over your new house is undiminished since I first saw this post! I love your sweet new bungalow! It looks so pretty and inviting, inside and out, and I'm sure you'll enjoy making it fully your own when you return to Seattle.

    I laughed at your "opposing forces" comment. :-) I know you've had great luck with Craig's List in the past (didn't you score a great deal on a piece of LeCreuset through them?), so you probably have no need of this but I'd thought about sending you a fun decorating blog I follow (she and her featured bloggers often do some very clever and frugal decorating), and when I found this post I figured that was the one to share in case it might be helpful...
    Emily A. Clark: How to Find the Best Deals on Craigslist

    We decided it's not a good idea to look at houses until we have a contract on this one, but if we could we'd go see a little cottage that's for sale in town right between my two favorite parks. It's a 1910 Sears catalog Craftsman cottage that's the same square footage as your new house! It too has 2 bedrooms, but 1.5 baths. It's cute as a button and would be interesting to experience such similar downsizing challenges, especially since you're going first. :-)

    I think your chili and baked tater meal isn't lazy, I think it's a very efficient use of time! :-) And it looks delicious!

    Happy New Home, Andrea!

  20. Laloofa,
    Why thank you. I like the new house too, as long as we're not living there. What I can't imagine is being there with all our "stuff," even a greatly reduced amount of stuff. With no closets to speak of, and precious little space, there's no place to hide. Should be interesting.

    The Le Creuset was actually from a thrift store but my son found an even better deal on Craig's list. Thank you for the link — I do everything she suggests except email an offer in advance, and I will try that.

    You should look at the Sears house anyway. You have to look at a LOT of houses before you'll be able to choose one. I think you have to see many to be able to compare and make a good decision - or maybe it just helps to be tired of looking. I can't wait to see what you end up doing.

  21. I've had a really hard time getting back into blogging, too, which is silly because once I start sort of corresponding with my vegan friends again, I kick myself for staying away so long. I'm not normally boiled over by a baked potato, but that one looks DELICIOUS.

  22. Jenny,
    I'm glad to see you're back! I think blogging is fun but really time consuming, and hard to maintain continuously without a break. Sometimes I just can't keep up with it.

    Putting avocado on a baked potato elevates it to another level — way better than I remember butter to have been.


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