A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

And by “Brooklyn,” I obviously mean our new living room. Let’s be honest, it was the selling feature for us, along with the orange electric fireplace.

INdoor Tree


Despite my rampant disbelief, this tree is, in fact, very real, very inside our home, and very much growing. Every. Single. Day. The panels above it are actually skylights (covered by plastic panels – why would you do that?!).

The house is almost 2,200 square feet, some of which is a 1980′s era addition on the front of the house, and a porch that was closed in at some point. It has four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a lot of baby lizards enjoying the luxury of an air-conditioned garden, and a distinct “old person” smell we are having a tough time eliminating. I think removal of the carpet and drapes will help tremendously with this issue, but of course we have grand renovation plans, so we aren’t diving on that just yet.


Guest Bathroom DSC_0010


DSC_0015 DSC_0016 DSC_0020

The house is in remarkably good shape considering it hasn’t been updated in decades. It was built before air conditioning was a standard feature, and it has a flat roof, so when it was retrofit for A/C there was no attic to hide the ductwork, which explains the drop ceilings (the ceiling tiles) in most of the house.  We want to remedy this by removing the flat roof and putting on a peaked roof, to give us high ceilings and an attic to re-run the ductwork through. As you might imagine, this is a huge undertaking, and needs to be done before we tackle any interior renovations. We are not only dealing with city code requirements, but FEMA restrictions as well.

Since we want to reconfigure the layout a bit (adios, load-bearing walls!) it is also a good opportunity to redistribute the weight of the roof in such a way to allow for this. The Boy was so kind as to draw the layout of the house on Google Sketch Up, and also create a drawing of the proposed future layout. The plan is to take two small bedrooms, a hallway, and a hall bath, and turn it into one large master suite, along with a few other minor tweaks.

This is the current layout:

Before overhead with labels

Before angledand the proposed new layout:

After overhead with labels

After angledOther items on the dream list include: a rooftop deck, moving A/C condenser to roof, solar tubes (skylights), and solar panels. We had two contractors come out last week, so now we are just waiting on bids to come in, as well as figuring out where we will live while the work is done and deciding how much demo we want to do ourselves.

P.S. We played the Florida Lotto this week. We didn’t win. I see a lot of demo in our futures.

The Finale – Before and After Pictures

This is the post I’ve been dying to write … yet somehow procrastinated on for many, many weeks. Here are pictures of the before, during, and after of our first renovation, which we sold in June. I hope the new owners love it as much as we did!

Kitchen Collage


Living Room Collage


Guest Bath Collage


Master Before


Master During


Master After

A few miscellaneous “after” pictures:


It was bittersweet packing up and leaving, but we are thrilled with our new house and can’t wait to start this adventure all over again, and on an even larger scale (with much more hiring of contractors!).

This is the home we adopted The Dog in, and she has gone from a starving, mangy mutt with no fur, to a fat, spoiled, happy little brat, so I wanted to document that transformation as well (the center picture was the first time we met her).

Dirty Dog Collage

 They grow up so fast …




And Then There Were None: House Edition

Hi. Remember us?

Master Bath  DSC_0004We received this picture, with the caption, "Happy Cinco de Mayo Mom and Dad. Can't wait to see you (don't worry, I only had one beer...)

As I mentioned in the last post, we are homeless. There’s nothing quite like a little unexpected homelessness to keep life interesting. I will do my best to make a long story short.

We found our next house. It is old, out-dated, has drop ceilings, a garage conversion, a 70′s era bright orange conical fireplace, and a LIVE TREE GROWING IN THE LIVING ROOM. I wish I were kidding about any of this. However, these “charming” features mean that we can buy a home in a neighborhood we assumed we could not afford until our (non-existent) kids were in college. So even though our master bath was far from completed, our garage looked like a storage unit, and my to-do list was still a mile and a half long, we listed our house, and scrambled to get everything done.

On Saturday morning, a few hours before the first people were scheduled to arrive for showings, I was in the garage looking something like this:


when strangers came walking up the driveway. They asked many confusing questions about how to contact the realtor, whether the house was available for showing, etc., until I finally said, “I’m the homeowner.” The skeptical look I got was priceless, these strangers wandered around our house WAY before it was fit for consumption, and I began questioning my decision-making skills and fashion choices.

After a long day of showings we had a few offers to choose from, one of which we accepted. Our buyers demanded a quick closing, so we went for it, knowing the owners of the house we are buying wanted to close as quickly as possible too. Except … not so much. They changed their minds, which is their prerogative, but very frustrating. In the interim, we are living in a 500 square foot garage apartment in a stranger’s backyard for 6 weeks.  With a 50 pound dog. OK – 56 pound dog (she is sensitive about her weight).

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Then add copious amounts of vodka.

Coming up as soon as I can locate the camera, download the pictures, find some wireless internet (this post currently coming to you from a courthouse cafeteria’s public wifi), I will put together a before and after pictures post.  We are pretty excited to see those.

Until then, 16 days of homelessness left, and counting …