Monday, May 30, 2011

New Home

Nah, we still haven't closed on the house, but we've got new virtual digs. Find us at www.reluctantrenovator.com.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wii Games Wii Won't be Playing in our new Home

Is this why my boys want PS3?


Oh wait, they're not real.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Geek House: One Book, One Idea

As we're thinking about renovation, design and decor, we're perusing a lot of books. We don't have time for full reports on all of them, but we're trying to share at least one stand-out idea per book. This week, we're looking a Geek House: 10 Hardwares hacking projects for around the home by Barry and Marcia Press. Written in 2005, which is to say it's hopelessly out of date, the book provides tips on DIY tech projects for nearly every room in the house.

I'd love instructions for hacking a 1950's phonograph/radio console combo to play MP3s. How cool would that be. Hmmm. And then we could get our 1928 player piano to do the same (though unlike the console, it lacks speakers, so maybe not?)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Groupon for Home and Garden

Daily deals are all the rage right now and the trend is growing. This morning I learned about Groupon's new Chicago Home and Garden Deals. Score! I look forward to seeing what great deals come along through this. That said, before committing to anything, I'd want to check out the service provider on Angie's List or even Yelp.

I use an deal aggregator, called Deal Radar Chicago, that sends me a single daily email featuring dozens of Chicago's best deals. It's so much more convenient than having various emails from different deal sites fill my already overstuffed inbox.

After checking the day's features I head to the home products and services section, (though I may stop at the food section. Hubs and I enjoyed a lovely, filling and inexpensive meal at the Himalayan last weekend thanks to Groupon).

As noted above, I'm a bit suspicious about some of the offers given lack of information about the provider's background and the sense that for some types of jobs, it could be easy to pull a bait and switch. I feel most confident of the deals that come through Angie's List (these are included in my Deal Radar emails), because these come with ratings attached. You needn't be members of Angie's List to buy these offers, but List members receive a deeper discount.

What's your favorite service? (She asks despite the fact that this blog has not yet launched and she's talking into the wind.)

Rain, Rain Go Away

Mother Nature's initial housewarming was a cold, windy and rainy day for our house inspection. That made it difficult to get the best look around the outside areas including the roof, but we learned a few things from the inclement weather. Enough to give me bad dreams about the vacant house each time it rains.*

And it's been raining just about every other day


*For example, a neighbor's house is just a few feet away and has their gutter downspouts aimed directly at the foundation of "our" house. I wonder how they will react if we buy them a housewarming gift--rain barrels.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spouse Vs. House: Would You Let Your Significant Other Decorate Without You?

When I first heard about TLC's new show, Spouse vs. House, I thought it was going to be like that show Me or the Dog. You know, either he finishes everything on his "honey-do" list or he gets booted. But no, it's even crazier.

Spouse vs. House is a home makeover show with a twist. In a nutshell:
  • Couple wants to update their house.
  • TLC give couple a chunk of money to remodel or redecorate.
  • The money comes with strings attached. One member of the couple must move out for three weeks, during which time they are not supposed to have contact with each other.
  • The person who stays home with the money gets to make all of the decorating choices.

Would you do this?

I would not.

Not ever.

Not even for $25,000, which seems to be the going rate on the show.

You?

Mortgage Approved!

The number of road bumps on what's been a long and winding road to home ownership is getting smaller. Last week we learned the house appraised for more than our purchase value (phew!) and our mortgage loan was approved! We've also secured homeowner's insurance

All that's left on the to-do list is the staked property survey and the final walk-through. Well, that and the actual closing, which is still a few weeks away.

Also, maybe a prescription for Xanax for me.

DH has been busy drawing up plans and we're checking out the house again this week with a contractor in tow. As with unmarried couples in days of yore, our visit will  supervised, natch.

Read more about our mortgage adventures at Hormone-colored Days.