Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flipping a Flip

Hello Blogland! It's been a minute. 

We're only just over two weeks in and 2018 is already getting off to a very exciting start for us. As you know if you read this post, we bought a house a little over six months ago. We have had so much fun making it our own and even though it's only been a short amount of time, it is finally starting to feel like  it's "ours". Although honestly, it will probably take a few years for the whole concept to sink in when we don't have to look at rent increases or lease renewals down the line. 

You also probably know that the house we bought was a flip. Basically, anything in our budget in this market is either going to be really old, like 1940's old, or a flip. A flip is defined as a home that is bought and sold again within a 12 month period. And many flips are done within four to six weeks. So just like the shows on TV, there is no way that they can update the home that quickly and not take a few shortcuts. It's just how it goes. A lot of the homes we looked at while we were house hunting were flips and we knew they had a complicated/bad reputation but we didn't fully know what to expect. When we came to look at the house again after we put in our offer (and it was accepted), I think it set in that the house we were buying was 75 years old. To us, it looked brand new inside. We were never 100% fully sold on the exterior but we told ourselves that is something we could work on later. Since, you know, we sort of have all the time in the world since the inside was already updated. Plus, wouldn't you rather have everything look nice on the inside (where you spend 95%+ of your time)? That was my logic. While we don't hate the exterior, we do have a million ideas for how we can modernize it and make it more our style. But, that is a topic for another day. 

Today I want to bring you guys up to speed on our Master Bathroom or "MBA" as we abbreviate it.  Due to a few water leak issues we discovered soon after moving in, we decided to spend our money redoing this bathroom instead of spending it on repairs. Despite this little setback, we are still so excited about the house and actually it's been so fun picking out all of the finishes and fixtures.

Here is my "vision board/collage" that I created which includes all of the actual pieces we will be utilizing for the remodel. To say I am excited is the understatement of the year. This has been in the making for a LONG time!

(1) Wall Sconce / (2) White Subway Tile / (3) Towel Hooks / (4) Mirror / (5) Knobs and Pull / (6) Showerhead  / (7) Faucet  / (8) Shower Control Valve  / (9) Toilet Paper Holder / (10) Quartz Countertop  (11) Tile Flooring

My initial vision for the bathroom was black and white - totally minimalist with graphic bold cement floor tile. Once we learned more about finishes and costs, we decided to go in a slightly different direction. #youknowhowthatgoes The above is what we came up with after working with our contractor / designer and I couldn't be more excited. We ordered a few of the specialty things but our contractor is dealing with everything else - from permits to shower glass. The project is starting in a couple weeks and I cannot contain myself. I will do another post with some more sneak peeks including our drawings and what our design appointment was like (hint: it took 6 hours to pick out EVERYTHING).

Overall I feel like we are doing a really good job putting our "stamp" on the house and transforming it to a perfect urban oasis. As you know, I work from home 100% of the time. Jake does about 60-75% of the time, so our home has to feel cozy and warm and be cheery and bright. That sounded like a Christmas reference, but I think you know what I mean. 

So far, in the past six months we have:
  • Updated some minor electrical 
  • Had TV mounted above fireplace
  • Installed roller blinds on windows
  • Replaced Front Door
  • Replaced Kitchen Door
  • Updated plumbing connections 
  • Repaired/replaced sprinklers
  • Cleaned out attic (sort of)
  • Added attic air vent covers 
  • Had gas leak fixed by utility company

SPRING 2018:
  • MBA Remodel - early February 
  • Front Door to be painted - mid-late March
  • Kitchen Door to be painted - mid-late March
  • Planning front/backyard Landscaping - early Summer 
Have you ever worked on a remodeling project? Did you do it yourself? or hire out? What was your experience? I am so curious to hear how everything went as this will be our first rodeo dealing with, really, anything like this. Wish us luck!


Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 >>> 2018

Here we are, sitting at home on New Year's Eve. Starting Ozark (3rd episode in). There is not much I would rather be doing on NYE, to be honest. We are snuggling with Olive (our new pup who I need to write a blog post about ASAP), Jake is grading papers and I am picking out the last few fixtures for our impending bathroom remodel (more on that to follow soon). 

My #2017bestnine:

I have a lot to update the blog-o-sphere on, and I will in due time. Just wanted to pop on here and say that 2017 was one for the books. 

It was filled with so many FIRSTS: 

We celebrated our FIRST year in California. 
We traveled to Phoenix to watch Gonzaga play in my alma mater's FIRST Final Four NCAA Basketball Game. 
We visited Joshua Tree for the FIRST (& definitely not last) time. 
We saw the wildflowers bloom for the FIRST time in years in Southern California. 
We bought our FIRST home. 
We went to Catalina Island for the FIRST time. 
We visited the Rose Bowl Flea for the FIRST time. 
We rescued our FIRST dog.

So that about sums up the year in a few firsts. Onto more adventures and even more firsts in 2018. 

Happy New Year!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

home (noun): the place where one lives permanently

Well, it happened. Over three months went by without a new blog post from me. There are a lot of reasons for my hiatus, but one of them being... WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. Whoa, that still feels very foreign to say type. It all happened so fast but it was a few weeks after my last blog post that we were writing up an offer.  Where do I start? I guess at the beginning.

From the moment we arrived in SoCal, I knew this was the place for us. We had a bit of a rocky start getting adjusted to how things work here. But, it's California, you say and everything is so laid back and easy, right? Actually, not really. But, after a little over a year, I feel like we have figured things out at least a little. We are still rookies, but not the newest kids on the block by any means. 

We started thinking seriously about buying a house towards the end of last year and even though we weren't ready (I am not sure anyone is ever 100% ready), I was subscribed to daily emails from a local real estate company. Each morning I would anxiously await the daily digest email and get kind of depressed looking at how expensive everything was. 

One day in early Spring I suggested to Jake, "let's go to this open house". And he looked at me like he saw a ghost. I said, we aren't signing a contract that we are buying this house, we are just going to look and see what it's like. So, he agreed and we went. The house was a 'flip' and we were not impressed. We did get free subway sandwiches so they made it worth our while. That is when we realized that pictures online are not to be trusted. We went to a few more open houses on our own and then decided to get an agent. We had a meeting with her in April and decided to start going to open houses with her and start seriously looking for something. Our lease was ending in June so being the planner I am, I wanted to time it perfectly so we didn't have to end our lease early or have to figure out temporary housing. I was trying to make this as seamless as possible, but you know how that often turns out... 

We went to open houses a few times with her, but little did we know that on our first day of looking we would find our home. She brought us to an open house for a property that was already under contract so she could get a feel for what we like. We loved the inside but didn't love the outside as much (it wasn't modern enough), I think we rated it 8/10 so in our minds we really liked it, but we knew it wasn't available so we didn't even think twice about it. A few weeks later it fell out of escrow (which is fairly common, I am told). It was still out of our price range so we waited (some days patiently, others not so patiently).  We kept looking at other houses but nothing ever came close to this house. Nearly a month later, they lowered the price into our price range (we put in an offer that day -- we were also traveling to Seattle the same day so it was kind of hectic and we didn't have time to write a love letter). We knew it was a flip owned by investors, so we didn't think they would care too much about a love letter anyway...or at least that is what we hoped. The next day, we found out that there were two other offers higher than ours, so the owners did a multiple counter offer back to all three parties. We agreed on their price and signed the papers and waited to hear back. We were not prepared to get into a bidding war so we decided that we had reached our max and would drop out if the price went up again.

The day we found out was a Sunday a few days before Jake's birthday and we were in downtown Seattle, walking right past the Four Seasons, oddly enough. Our finance guy texted me "Congratulations" out of the blue and I was like "Whaaat? Did we get the house?" And he was like, "I think so!" A few minutes later our agent called with the good news. We were kind of in shock because we didn't really expect that they would accept our offer. We had heard how competitive things were and the SoCal market has been and still is on fire. Seattle is probably one of the only other places in the country that is this crazy to buy real estate in.

We went through all the usual steps, and had a super fast < 30 day close since Jake had a trip  pre-planned that he couldn't reschedule, we wanted to (1) move out of our rental, (2) close on the new house and (3) move into the new house by June 17th. Keep in mind our offer was accepted on May 21st. Somehow everything fell exactly into place. We did have to give notice on the rental by June 1st which was before our financing contingency was removed, but I just knew that everything would all come together. It was scary and nerve-wracking to say the least, but nothing could have prepared us for (how do I say this delicately)... some water issues that arose three days after we moved in. I will save that story for another day (if I ever tell it), but let's just say we made it to the "other side", got to know some of our neighbors really well, and are stronger now after going through it.

Here are a few sneak peeks of the house. I have been sharing a lot on Instagram (including Instastories) @thevintagemodern -- be sure to follow me in you aren't already.

I've always wanted to have an entryway! ... This was so simple but so fun to style.

So I bought Jake a house for his birthday. And we celebrated signing our lives away with IN-N-OUT because, duh. #typical #californian

..Expect more updates on the house in the coming months including more pictures of our updates and changes we've made so far. We worked with Laurel & Wolf on redesigning and decorating our main living area and we are currently in the process of getting a new front door. So be on the lookout!

P.S. Gosh, I've missed blogging!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017


YOU GUYS... How is it already May?! And I haven't blogged in a minute. Well, life has been busy offline. We have been exploring this new state of ours and keeping busy despite not really having much of a social life here in Long Beach.  But, we are having fun in the meantime! I can't believe Jake is only weeks away from finishing his first year teaching. This year is truly flying by.

I am definitely in a groove in my work-from-home life but could improve my eating and workout habits (always room for improvement there). I find that the older I get, the more I want to focus on goals, improving my daily life and just being happy. Because -- to me, that is what life is all about.

So, what have we been up to?

In the first four months of 2017, we (I):

  • Explored Downtown Pasadena
  • Finally went to The Grove (fave shopping center in LA so far!)
  • Went to the Getty Villas
  • Purchased a wifi extender and now the internet works in our bedroom and outside. Best purchase of 2017 so far. 
  • Dropped a bookend on my foot from the 2nd highest shelf and possibly crushed a few bones. NBD. I am currently on ~2 weeks of R&R and I have been instructed to avoid unnecessary walking. And I just got back from a 4-day work trip to Nashville where we walked all over and also ziplined... oops. 
  • Got to see Gonzaga play at Pepperdine (reminded me of the OLD KENNEL!)
  • Went to Malibu Farm and ran into some Instagram models. 
  • Discovered Newport Beach and Corona Del Mar (The houses there are insane! Does anyone have a couple mil I can borrow?) 
  • Stumbled upon Lido Marina Village. Went back 3x since. 
  • Went to Palm Springs. Again. You know I love that place!
  • Got to experience Modernism Week in Palm Springs. Incredible! 
  • Discovered my favorite lunch spot - LEMONADE! Think: healthy foods, cafeteria style + a bunch of different kinds of lemonade 
  • Walked along Huntington Beach for 3 miles 
  • Had lunch and walked around the Promenade in Downtown Long Beach -- for the first time!
  • Headed down to San Diego for a conference over a long weekend  
  • Saw the Superbloom in Lake Elsinore 
  • Made a spontaneous trip to Phoenix to see the ZAGS in the Final Four. Didn't get to see the Championship game since Jake had to get back to teach a class. Educating the future generation is important, too. And it was for the best anyway since we all know how that turned out. 
  • Shopped at the Rose Bowl Flea -- you can bet we will be back! 
  • Had drinks at the wine bar in my new favorite grocery store -- Gelsons -- where have you been all my life? 
  • Flew out of LAX during rush hour traffic -- it took me 1.5 hours to get to the airport and I live 20 miles away. So I can officially consider myself a Californian now... I think. 
  • Ate In-N-Out too much -- we had set a new rule, only once a month from now on. Wish us luck! 
  • Have a few other exciting things up our sleeves which will reveal themselves in time... (#notpregnant though). 

Still on our list for 2017:

  • Go to Disneyland (Jake will probably veto this until someone comes to visit us) COME VISIT US! We only live 20 minutes away. 
  • Visit Catalina Island for my birthday weekend 
  • Try almond charcoal ice cream from Little Damage in LA 
  • Make a trip to Hawaii to see the fam (this is now an annual requirement in my book) 
  • Take a Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip (if that bridge near Big Sur will ever open again?!)
  • Drive up to Santa Barbara -- in the books for this summer! 
  • Try Open Sesame (Lebanese restaurant in Long Beach (LB)) 
  • Find a good nail salon (ongoing)
  • Find my favorite coffee shop in LB 
  • Explore Temecula -- in the books for this summer! 
  • More celeb sightings! I now keep a list in my iPhone notes to keep track of who we run into! Ha! And the funny part is that most of the sightings took place outside of LA (or Cali, for that matter). I do love flying in/out of LAX though cause two of my celeb sightings have been on a plane in First Class (one day I will be sitting up in First Class with them... one day)
  • This list could be never-ending... but I will stop now. 

As you can see, I have an ongoing list, so if you have any rec's, send them my way! And as you also know, I am always planning my next trip.




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