It’s raining and cold out and my house has zero insulation. The cats and I are on a diet so until we all shed our extra weight we will be using it to keep each other warm. Currently one cat is sitting on my feet and the other is trying to distract me from writing. (He doesn’t know it’s a new year and I am determined) So like promised, a post about the house and garden.
First, I must address the things I always wish people would. The underlying questions of “how did she purchase a home in California” which leads to “her parents must have money” or “maybe her husband’s business is just really successful and she is a florist for fun.” lol no to the last one and if that is you, no shame here, just jealousy.
When Dan and I were first married we came back from our honeymoon to a one bedroom granny flat attached to the home of a family with several children. It was our only option at the time. To get to our bathroom we had to go through their laundry room and there were a couple times we narrowly escaped in towels back into our room before the 10 year old saw us. It was a rush. We were there for about two weeks until some empty nesters at our church offered us a more roomy living situation in their very spacious home. The rent was affordable enough for me to take risks with my new business. Because of their generosity I was soon able to leave my restaurant job and turn JSD into a full time job, but it was difficult not having our own place. I think at times it could feel demoralizing if we took our focus off of the opportunity, which toward the end of our 4 years there felt like a battle I lost regularly. Now the reasons we found and could afford our home are two fold. We could afford it because both of our businesses had a really profitable year in 2017, and because of Dan’s skillset we could buy a fixer upper without the worry of not affording professional services. We have estimated that from the work Dan has done (electrical, plumbing, kitchen, and bathroom) we would have had to spend about 3x what we have. I often thank him for these skills. I have contributed via complaining on the timeline of things. I am a lovely companion. So to answer the second of the three questions, neither of our parents have money or came from money, although both have helped tremendously where they could with their time and surprising us with food while out of a kitchen for several months. Bless.
Now to the house! It was built in 1930, Spanish style post war home. It is a box, actually a box. Below is the google earth image, it was before we moved in. We still have that 1968 Cadillac coupe de ville (behind the fence) from the previous owner. Selling it once we find the pink slip we lost whilst moving OR maybe it will be our Sunday Car
We have been so consumed with working on the basics of getting the home simply into a fully operational space inside that we are just now getting around to the exterior. Dan and I are committed to not taking out an additional loan for remodeling which just means a slower timeline. I am ok with that, we sleep better that way anyway. Our home sits on a 7,000 sq foot lot and you may be surprised to realize that is on the “larger” size for postwar lots in Southern California. Standard size is about 100 feet long by 50 wide. Ours is 140 long by 50 and that extra 2,000sq ft makes allll the difference. Our house is only 940sq ft and sits back quite a bit so we have a generous front yard to work with. I love the size of our quaint Spanish style bungalow. It was built in 1938 and has had zero additions or modifications to the original floor plan. Were people smaller back then? More about that in another post (about the home and remodeling, not about smaller people in the late 30s although I am curious).
Our plan in the next couple months is to work with a landscaper to install DG in the front. Our driveway is old and soo narrow, the DG will add more space on either side. Plus, we don’t want grass. Personally I think it is a waste of water when I want that to go towards flowers/perennials/trees plus I like the contrast of lush beds next to hardscaping. Above is an image of the DG layout, the backward C shape (sideways U? Horseshoe?) will be the beds. We already have some pittosporum in the front that are coming along nicely as well as nandina and abelia between us and the compound to the right. Why they have that white iron evades me but soon enough it will disappear into nothingness behind our lush foliage. I dont intend to use anything from the front to use as cuts so lots of perennials. I’ve started TONS of achillea, various holly hock, verbascum “southern charm” and sweet peas from seed that will be planted in the next month. Just transplanted them into larger containers.
Reading back over this before publishing and it seems like not much. I follow big interior designers who seem to have incredibly satisfying updates weekly on renovations, and maybe on our next house it will be that way. Once we have worked up some capital and are farther along in our businesses. But small steps my people! Small steps.
thanks and ttfn,