Monday, March 26, 2012

Saying Goodbye to My Property Virginity

It is with great trepidation and overwhelming excitement that I announce to you that today I will officially become a home owner. I have been bursting at the seams to share this news with you for over a month now, but an extreme fear of jinxing the deal kept me quiet.  Even as I write this, I am nervous that somehow the whole thing will fall apart (we don't sign the paperwork until 4 pm) and the house will never become mine.  After all, it has seemed too good to be true from the get-go. But, in all likelihood those keys, with their infinite amounts of symbolic value, will be in my hands sometime this evening.  The hours between now and then are destined to feel like an eternity.

Downstairs. The bad: wall to wall carpeting and wood paneling.  The good: built in shelves, fire place, French doors.
Enough about my irrational fears! Let's talk about the house! It's a definite fixer-upper and Dan and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.  I don't think a house can be called a home until you've added your personal touch and this house will certainly give us plenty of opportunities to do just that.  Yes, the decor is outdated, but the home has been lovingly maintained by the same couple for 56 years.  I know I must sound crazy to some of you, but I swear you can feel that love when you walk through the door.  

Awesome wallpaper in each bathroom.  I especially love the shells - so relevant in Kansas City!
Many "property virgins" search for months and months without finding the perfect place to call home, we looked for one day.  Granted we probably looked at 12-15 houses in that day, but there was just something about this one that spoke to us, that we couldn't bear to pass by.  Truth be told, this house was my least favorite when viewed solely online, but once I got inside it won me over almost instantaneously. I immediately pictured all of the fun (yes, fun!) renovations, the colors that could go on the walls, the way the floors will look (fingers crossed) when we rip up that awful wall-to-wall carpeting...especially the wall-to-wall carpeting in the bathroom.  (Sigh.)

Upstairs - the sleeping porch and unfinished area just begging to be turned into an amazing master suite. (Check out all of those carpet scraps, too.)  Basement - no 70s basement would be complete without knotty pine wall paneling.  Ours comes complete with a bar!
We have hit a few minor bumps along the way with all of the bureaucratic mess that is implicit in purchasing a home, but I am told by experienced homeowners that, all things considered, the process has gone extremely smoothly. There's just that one final hurdle called closing that we face today, and then it's ours! I still can't believe it! It feels so surreal, like some wonderful dream.  I keep thinking I'll wake up to the disappointing realization that it's just that, a dream.  Assuming this doesn't happen, I hope you don't mind if I turn this space into a bit of a forum.  I'd love to get your advice on renovation and decor decisions (while I daydream about this stuff all the time, it somehow becomes a much more intimidating process when it's actually happening) and general home ownership decisions.  Like right now I'm wondering what to do when I move in. When do I introduce myself to my neighbors? Am I really supposed to bake cookies?

Friday, March 23, 2012

sugarloafer since birth

We spent the weekend at Sugarloaf.  I hadn't been skiing there since the winter before I moved to Vail, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It felt bigger and steeper than I had expected it to after spending 3 winters in the Rockies.  We totally lucked out with snow, too.  The day before we arrived, it had been just warm enough to warm up the "bullet proof ice" (my dad is especially fond of that expression), so it was relatively easy to carve turns. And it stayed pretty warm on Saturday too. My dad and I kept saying we actually wished it would be worse conditions, because we wanted Dan to see how bad "real" eastern skiing can be.  

Sunday, on the other hand, was a different story.  Temperatures plummeted to below zero with the windchill.  In the picture above you can see the thermometer reading 8 degrees at around 10 am with no windchill included. Scroll a bit farther down and you'll see just how windy it was.  Anyway, my dad, ever the ridiculously hardcore skier, left us to take a few runs before lunch, while the rest of us lounged around by the wood stove, sipping coffee and eating bagels from Scratch Baking Co.  (yum!).

The main room of our camp is filled with pine paneling.  And that little wood stove up there? It might look unassuming, but it can heat our camp up from sub-zero temps to the 90s in no time at all.  My dad read a book about moonshine in Appalachia and had to buy a bottle to try it.  It was strong, to say the least.

Flannel shirts, my old purple LL Bean backpack (that trusty thing stayed with me from 3rd grade until I graduated from high school), and my brand new 100 Anniversary Bean Boots!!! Happy Birthday to me!! Thanks again, Mom!

Every Sunday for as long as I can remember, The Bag (one of the few restaurants at Sugarloaf and arguably the best), has been serving cheeseburger soup.  As soon as I figured this out, I lived for Sundays.  The thought of this absurdly delicious (and absurdly unhealthy) soup got me through many frigid days on the slopes.

Above you can see a few views of Sugarloaf.  Look at how the wind blows the snow off the top of the mountain! I wasn't lying about that windchill!

Sugarloaf has this great ad campaign, "Sugarloafer since..."  You're a Sugarloafer if you ski at Sugarloaf, obviously.  The poster of the guy above states, "I've gone from wearing corduroy to skiing it."  The other photo is of my dad and me leaving the mountain.  I told you he's hardcore.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

maine: an afternoon with lynsey

Dan and I were so excited to kick off our weekend in Maine by spending Friday afternoon with Lynsey.  We got to stop by her apartment, originally seen here.  It's even more beautiful in person than it is in the pictures.  The sunlight she gets is incredible.  She is moving out soon (right, Lyns?), and I'm almost tempted to move to Portland just so that apartment doesn't escape me.

After a lunch of fresh seafood at Becky's Diner, a walk around the Old Port, and a visit to Lynsey's apartment, we headed to Portland Architectural Salvage where we sorted through dusty bins and were mesmerized by the way the sunlight filtered through the stained glass. 

It was so much fun being back in Portland! I've found that when I return home now, I even relish the sound of seagulls. It's true what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Little Lake House

This lake house is more aptly described as a lake room.  But what it's lacking in size, it certainly makes up for in charm:

Don't you just love this teeny little lake cottage? Tereasa Surratt and her husband lovingly restored the 11x11 foot building, which has served as everything from a motor court cabin to a hunting lodge, to its original state.  The amazing end result just goes to prove that size really isn't everything. 

found: here
photography: Aimee Herring
styling: Barri Leiner

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

unseasonably warm

This winter in Kansas has been unseasonably warm, or so they tell me, as I have nothing to compare it to.  At first, I was frustrated by the lack of snow and the (in my mind) disturbingly warm December temps.  I wanted cold. I wanted Christmas. I wanted what I know.  But as this "winter" has stretched out, I have taken on a new outlook.  I'm happy to have had this nice weather and must try not to take it for granted.  It has certainly provided for many lovely walks in the different parks around Kansas City, giving me the opportunity to get to know the city better, especially its outdoor spaces. 

These photographs are from December 31st.  If I remember correctly, it was one of the warmest days we've had all winter at about 70 degrees.  I don't want to give you the wrong impression, much of this winter has hovered in the 40s.  This day was especially warm.  That sweater and scarf I'm wearing in one of the pictures? Yeah those came off shortly after that photo was taken.  This was definitely a t-shirt weather day. 

I love the colors of the landscape in the winter.  They're so monochromatic and calm.  Don't get me wrong - I'm excited for the vibrant hues of spring, but looking at these images fills me with a sense of serenity, of a slower pace of life, when you have time to stop and notice little details like fungus growing on a tree or the way grasses become almost translucent in the sunlight.  Anyway, I wanted to share these pictures with you before spring is upon us in full force and they no longer feel relevant.  I hope you like them as much as I do.