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A year ago….

A year ago last month, the contractor and I were walking to the neighborhood grocery store from the rental home he was living in at the time.  We came across a For Sale by Owner sign and couldn’t resist jotting down the number and making an appointment to see the house.

We toured the house and of course fell in love.  It needed some TLC but it had great bones like many nearly 100 year old craftsman homes do.  Unfortunately, the house was out of what the contractor ended up being pre approved for.  We did what any sane couple would do. We nicknamed the house “Barbie’s dream house” and compared all the things we liked about it to the other homes on the market to identify a list of must haves.

So began the house search.  As I was living in Bellingham, WA at the time while he was in Portland, I would spend countless hours on the internet searching Redfin and other real estate listings and sending him all the ones I thought he might want to take a look at.  He got a realtor and looked at quite a few.  He would put offers on a house only to be outbid by other prospective buyers.  He had an offer accepted on a foreclosure but as many of you probably know, that process can take considerable time.  I would receive a phone call on an occasion or two about how hard this whole house buying process is and maybe it’s just not meant to be right now.  I would do my best to reassure him and get right back on the internet to look at more homes.

Fast forward to June 2012.  I had just arrived in Portland as I had a job interview the next morning.  I had called the contractor to let him know I was getting close and he asked that I pick him up at the neighborhood grocery store as he had been helping a friend move all day and needed a bite to eat.  On our way home, he asked if I wanted to drive by Barbie’s dream home.  All this time I had been keeping a watchful eye on Barbie’s dream home and knew that it had been sale pending for awhile so no, I did not want to drive by Barbie’s dream home and know that it had become someone else’s home.  The contractor was very understanding.  As we neared the house he had been renting, he asked me to turn onto a particular street as his realtor had the “in” on a house that wasn’t even on the market yet and he wanted to show it to me as we had an appointment to go see it after my interview the following day.  I followed his directions and wouldn’t you know it, we end up on the same street as Barbie’s dream house.  We roll by slowly and I keep my eyes straight ahead.  The contractor asks me to stop and look.  I’m a bit annoyed at this point. It’s late, I’ve been driving for nearly 5 hours, I’m hungry, I could use a bathroom break, and I still need to prepare for my interview so that I can move to this city!!! But I humor him.  He points to the light going on and off in Barbie’s dream house like a little kid is constantly toggling the light switch on and off and asks, “don’t you think that’s weird?”  “Sure, it’s weird, but it’s someone else’s problem” I reply snarkily and start to move the car forward.  “STOP!” I slam to stop to which the contractor turns to me and says, “Maybe this is why” and shows me a remote for an overhead fan/light.  I still don’t get it.  Then he dangles some keys and encourages me to try them.  It begins to sink in so I throw the car in park in the middle of the street at close to midnight and start squeeling with glee and exclaiming over and over “You bought Barbie’s dream house?!?!?!” as I clamor up the front steps.

He’d never looked at another house.

I didn’t sleep a wink that night as I was too wound up with excitement, but luckily the job interview went well and I moved to Portland and into Barbie’s dream house a month later.

Let’s take a look at where Barbie’s dream house started before the contractor moved in. Challenge: how many different paint colors can you find?


 View from the street

securedownloadLiving roomsecuredownloadLiving room to bonus room.
Bonus room

securedownloadDining room

securedownloadTwo shades of yellow (and orange counters on the opposite wall) kitchen
securedownload Bedroom #1securedownload Bedroom #1securedownload



Bedroom #2 (who doesn’t love more yellow paint especially when it fades to peach, orange and finally red?)


View of the back of the house


Backyard and shed

Not pictured – basement and upstairs room.

We have done quite a bit of work to the house since last summer, both inside and out.  Stay tuned for those room by room updates.

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