Plants in the house! Dogs and cats living together! Anarchy!

I didn't have much luck with houseplants when I attempted to completely fail them as a naive early twentysomething. I managed to kill a pothos plant, which are, supposedly, impossible to kill. I also killed an adorable little succulent I got as a wedding favor by overwatering it - my love was just TOO MUCH.

However. We now own a house. We have a dog. Dogs smell bad sometimes (so do we). Plants supposedly help  purify the air in your house. And as such...

I've decided that it's GAME ON, HOUSEPLANTS.

I might have too many succulents.

I'll keep you updated on how this goes. They have a lovely south-facing window, and I only water them when their well-draining soil is dry two inches down. I'm trying really hard. I've had these for... four months?

We'll see how it goes.


I mentioned... six months ago... that we bought a house! IT'S AWESOME!

We had about a month on our apartment lease before moving into our house, which we used to slowly move in stuff (or... our entire kitchen at once, which isn't as genius as you might think - it's pretty hard to open soup cans or heat aforementioned soup without a can opener or pots), and paint where we wanted to. We painted all but two rooms (it wasn't as labor-intensive as it sounds, it's a small house, but we did need that entire month).

Here is some important info about our house: it was built in 1904, and has been meticulously taken care of since then. It's on the skinniest lot in our neighborhood, which was probably non-conforming when the house was built. It's a mystery how it was built in the first place (seriously). It's basically a row house without any houses on either side of it. It has three bedrooms and one bathroom. It is in walking distance to the best soccer bar in town and much of the best food in our city. We live within two miles of an embarrassingly awesome number of our best friends.

A couple before and afters:

Our house has three bedrooms, but this formerly orange bedroom is what we're using as the best den/Netflix/movie-watching room ever. This room is where we currently spend most of our time when we're home. It was the first room we painted (I couldn't handle the Chicago Bears-ness of the orange and blue), and it took the longest (look at those angles and those windows!), and it's my favorite. We did a pretty good job, as far as cozy movie-watching rooms go.

As you can see, the red couch stayed with the house! The previous owner felt terrible since the day after she accepted our offer, the built-in microwave blew. She offered us a bunch of furniture as compensation (I can not emphasize how much more amazing and ideal this transaction was than the first house we attempted to buy, which was, to put it mildly, a total nightmare) and since our enormous, heavy, pull-out-couch wouldn't have fit up our skinny, corner-y stairs, we were only too happy to keep the fantastic reclining sectional.

The second room we painted was the bathroom (yep, one bathroom. Upstairs. We're working on it).

One thing I dreamed of when I first started thinking about my dream house as a kid was a claw-foot tub. Our bathroom is at the very top of the stairs, and the day of the open house when we first saw this place (...four hours before submitting our offer...), the door was open and we walked up the stairs... to see... my claw-foot tub. It's as awesome as I hoped. Yes, the plumbing is 110 years old and it drains ridiculously slowly, but as a big fan of baths... this tub has lived up to my every expectation. It's deep, it's old-school, and really lovely.

I'm still debating painting the paneling white, which was my original plan until the painting took longer than we expected. A sort of pseudo-Greek-islands thing, I don't know. It's a little dark right now, but I like the dark walls better than the light blue they were. It's not like the paneling is amazing wood, right? We'll see. I painted them 80s Brewers blue while watching Major League.

The dining room is my favorite change, after the den/third bedroom.

The pink overhead light is possibly original to the house (it is definitely an antique which was converted from oil to electricity), and one of the other pieces of furniture left by the previous owner is the dining room table. The dining room table we had in our apartment is a family heirloom which we still have, but isn't entirely to our taste. While the light is pink, it's so insane and bright and awesome and perfect for our house, we will definitely keep it.

The paint color is called Bay Water. It's green. Ergo... Green Bay Water. Um.

That might be part of why I like it so much. The picture is dark, trust me that the room isn't.

In our apartment, we had posters from Milwaukee Irish Fest around the entire perimeter of our dining room on the plate rail. My sister and I have a tradition of going to Irish Fest. We've been every year since... 1999? 1998? A long time. They release a different poster every year, and I have one from every year I've attended. We don't have the same setup here, but I think having them on the chimney made our place feel more like home (we'll rotate them periodically, since I have about 20). The cabinet we inherited from John's grandfather, and was previously used in our bedroom for clothes. You can kind of see how narrow and steep our stairs are - at the top of the stairs is a 180-degree turn, and this massive, heavy wardrobe would never have made it up there. It's found a home down here as a home for our liquor, flags (I installed a flagpole outside all by myself!), dog toys, and other dining room stuff. Yes, flags and dog toys are dining room stuff in this house.

The other main room we painted was our front living room. This is the room we're the most confused about and aren't sure how we'll use.

For the first three months we lived here, it had only that recliner in it - we got the couch and the chair-and-a-half when The Husband's parents moved from his childhood home and gave us a bunch of furniture. It's very small!

It's a super room - it's got excellent light, our turntable, a fake fireplace, a comfy couch and a chair-and-a-half... but it's also overcrowded with AV equipment, an old recliner, a tiny TV, and we don't have a great place to put any of it because of our front door. At some point prior to the 1990s, someone changed the entry to our house from in that little alcove to where it currently is (where there was previously a bay window). I mean, great idea! But there's a heating vent right by the front door, and it makes arranging furniture really challenging. The first time we actually hung out with people in this room was this past Monday, during the Packer game. Which was actually really nice. I think during the winter we may get rid of the recliner. It was inherited by me from my childhood home when I got my first apartment in 2004 - the recliner itself was purchased in... 1989? It's one of those weird things that I know we dont' need, and is in fact in the way of a potentially great room, but... my sister stuffed Hershey Kiss wrappers between the cushions when she was three. It's hard to get rid of it.

My parents got rid of the matching recliner 10 years ago. I should probably get over it.

Moving on. We have plans for building bookshelves in the alcove above the TV to hold the receiver and stuff. It'll be cool. I'm sure I'll post pictures when that happens. We'd also like to build shelves next to the couch, so we can get some more night-time light in the room - believe it or not, the pink light fixture in the ceiling only provides enough light for a not-particularly-well-lit brothel in King's Landing. It might be original to the house, but it at least needs a brighter bulb. Or to be completely replaced.

Our kitchen is super weird. It's shaped like a U. The range is on the opposite side of the kitchen from the oven, which is very challenging when you have crappy old-ass oven mitts that burn you if you hold something hot for more than four seconds.

I might need new oven mitts.

It also has a sandy, 90's southwestern vibe that does not go with the rest of the house. It has silly (high-quality!) decorative tiles that had a weird tilde design thing on them that I was not a fan of, so in an attempt to embrace the southwestern vibe in a way I could handle, I covered those random tilde designed tiles with tile stickers from this Etsy store, which worked surprisingly well. They look good - the ones above the range have started peeling a little, but if you don't point it out to people, they don't notice. The ones that haven't been affected by the oven's heat look exactly like tiles and everyone is TOTALLY FOOLED. Seriously, tile stickers. They're great quality, look awesome, and cheap!

Despite the odd layout, I LOVE THIS KITCHEN. The oven on the opposite side of the wall from the range is the weirdest part about it, but if you'd seen our apartment kitchen, you know that this amount of counter space is a miracle. If you never saw our apartment kitchen, it had an enormous stove from, not kidding, 1952, and zero counter space. It was a nightmare to try to cook in (which I did, because I enjoy cooking), involving stacking cookie sheets with food on them on top of each other, or making only one dish at a time, or using the dining room table as prep space and serving space. It was the only thing about that apartment I didn't love.

Side note - that 1950s GE stove was pretty amazing, when it didn't blow fuses. When it did blow fuses, it was terrifying and smelled... I don't know how to describe the smell. Like ozone?

Besides the tile stickers, the only thing we did in the kitchen was paint one wall red. Let me tell you about painting a yellow wall red.


This wall... one little wall... took an entire gallon of paint. And it's still not covered to my satisfaction, but we've already devoted more paint to this wall than any of the rooms in this house, so it is what it is. I think it looks pretty good.

This is the weirdest part of our house. I feel like this space can be used more efficiently than a stove, our cabinet pantry, and the counter for our mail. It's the most awkward part of our home and it'll probably take us 20 years to figure it out, but it has a better use. It has to have a better use. Someone has to know how to use this space better. The problem is that it leads down to the basement, so it's hard to put, say, a bathroom there. Tricky.

I'm honestly open to suggestions. We have no pantry, so those cabinets are housing our dry and canned goods. I'd like to kick out the wall above the cabinets, but the can lights and associated electric make it a challenge. Basically I don't know what I'm doing.

We're still figuring out exactly how all the rooms will be used as we live in them, and partially because of this it took us three months to start putting stuff on our walls.

(Full disclosure: I wrote this post two months ago. I'm appalled at how dark our house looks in the "after" pictures - I promise, it's not that dark in person! I am apparently bad at camera-ing, is all. But yep, this is our house. We love it. Despite the fact that someone painted the woodwork at some point, for some insane reason.)