The BEFORE pics.

You know those 10 days we had to get our long remodeling list done before moving? Yeah, that didn't happen.

We all knew it wouldn't. But my mantra of, "Paint and floors. Paint and floors. Just complete the paint and floors" continued. We had accepted that we would be moving into construction. Not the ideal way you want to move into a new house, but we had no other choice.

Thanks to the particulars of escrow and the mountains of paperwork required be completed in a timely manner, we closed a day later that we thought. This of course threw us into an instant panic. All of the contractors were scheduled to show up at the new house at 9AM on the 7th, the day after we had been set to close. The last thing we wanted to do was reschedule and, God forbid, lose a day or two on our already tight schedule. We had carefully orchestrated the contractors' schedules so that they would be working on top of each other in order for everything to be done on time.

"Rescheduling is not an option!" I screamed to no one in particular.

Contractors, I discovered, don't like having to work with other contractors. They like to come in, with only their crew, do their job, and leave. But we had too much to accomplish in a seriously small window of time to allow for that. Painters would have to be doing their prep work upstairs while other workers were busting up 2,000 square feet of tile downstairs. Workers would be doing demolition in the master bath while other workers were gutting the utility room. I don't think most HGTV shows even make their contractors deal with this kind of chaos.

(Almost all of the contractors and workers spoke both English and Spanish, and when they spoke to one another in Spanish I'm fairly certain they were cussing about me us and my our crazy ideas and demands.)

Luckily for us, the escrow gods smiled down on us and the papers were filed first thing in the morning, allowing us to move forward with our demo as scheduled. We raced over to the house as soon as we got the call, at 8:45AM, giving me 15 minutes to take before pics.

 the entry

downstairs, looking toward the utility room and guest bedroom


formal dining


family room off the kitchen

utility room

formal living room

guest bedroom (I was in such a hurry, this one's a little blurry.)

guest bathroom

upstairs, looking into the boys' bathroom

P's room

B's room


master bedroom fireplace (yes!)

master bedroom (the other direction)

master bathroom

The contractors were there at 9AM on the dot. Right on time. And before I knew it (and to give you a taste of posts to come) the master bathroom looked like this...

This was going to be fun!

HGTV should give us our own show.

We were excited to get our hands on our new house. We had plenty of time before closing to plan our remodel. Could we have moved straight in? Sure. Did it need a bunch of work. Not really. But, like I've said before, we like to make things our own. On Saturday mornings we watch "Kitchen Crashers" and "Bathroom Crashers" and "Yard Crashers" while we eat our waffles. The Property Brothers have nothing on us.

However, we aren't fans of living amongst construction like a lot of those people on those shows. So our plan was to get as much construction completed before we had to move in. The remodeling list included the following:
  • bust up all of the tile on the entire bottom floor of the house and replace with laminate, including the staircase.
  • new carpet upstairs.
  • paint both exterior and interior.
  • paint kitchen cabinets.
  • replace all can lights.
  • install new ceiling fans.
  • install new outdoor lighting.
  • hang new entry light fixture.
  • demolish and rebuild the family room fireplace.
  • gut the master bath and install new flooring, tub, lighting, fixtures, vanity, and shower.
  • remove unnecessary outdoor fencing.
  • gut the utility room.
Yes, it is quite a list. And this isn't even everything.

We closed on the new house on January 6th. Moving day was scheduled for January 18th. That gave us 12 days to remodel the entire house. There wasn't a corner or a crevasse that we weren't planning on touching. Actually we wouldn't get in to remodel until the morning of the 7th, and we needed as much done as possible before moving day, so we really had about 10 days (TEN!!!) to get all of the construction completed.

Noooooo problem. All of our contractors thought we had lost our minds.

"Can you do it?" we would ask.  And they would smile and nod while on the inside I'm sure they were thinking that we were nuts or smoking some kind of hallucinogenic medicinal weed.

As much as we wanted it to happen, we realized that our list wouldn't be completed in ten days. There was no way in hell that was ever going to happen. We were realistic...somewhat.

"I just need the floors and the interior paint done," I kept telling the Golfer. "If those two things happen, we'll be okay to move in," I would say followed by a big, deep breath.

Would we have to live in a little bit of chaos? Yes, definitely, but we would make it work. Yes, we had to make it work. Were we confident? Sure. Overly confident. But that's how you get when you are in the throws of planning an exciting new project: everything is possible.

Until it isn't.

:: This little monument sits near the California Oak in the middle of our cul-de-sac. I think it brings good vibes to the neighborhood. ::

I HEART Seattle.

It's Take a Trip Tuesday!

I just made that up. It's not a real thing.

We've been blessed to be able to take some great trips, and before every vacation I am on my computer for hours doing research. Other blogs, Pinterest, I'm all over it because I am a planner. I like a good plan. I want to hit the ground running, and I want to know exactly where I am running to. Spontaneous is not a word in my vocabulary and never will be. What I like the best while researching is reading about real people, on real budgets, taking real trips and that's what we are.

Receiving an invitation for a wedding in Seattle from one of the Golfer's past players made for the perfect excuse for a fast weekend getaway. Most of our trips usually involve the boys and are in some way attached to one of the Golfer's tournaments. But sometimes I get lucky and we get to take a vaca for fun.

Where we stayed:

I am a huge fan of small boutique hotels and this one didn't disappoint. The Alexis Hotel (a Kimpton Hotel if that means something to you) had me the moment we walked in. The small lobby was full of people enjoying their nightly free wine tasting. Things got even better when we discovered the fireplace in our cozy room overlooking all of the action on 1st street.

Where we ate:

There's nothing I hate more than going on a trip and eating at a crappy restaurant. To me, vacation food is just about the most important part of a trip. If the food sucks, then you will be grumpy and bummed about everything else on the trip.

We ate at many great restaurants in Seattle. One of our favorites was a place called Local 360. The food was great and didn't disappoint, but that's not why I loved it so much. All of the food served in the restaurant is sourced from a 360 mile radius of Seattle. Hence the name. As their website will tell you, they believe in sustainability "not as an abstract concept, but a daily choice." They even have sourcing guidelines that they follow. Even the "diet coke" that the Golfer ordered was made locally.

Of course I drank lots and lots of coffee while I was there. It would seem sacrilegious to go to Seattle and drink my weight in coffee. I spent the whole trip walking the city with a Starbucks in my hand.

But the best thing I ate while in Seattle (and there's was lots of tasty things) was a cupcake from Cupcake Royale. While shopping around the Capitol Hill area, visiting our favorite bookstore The Elliot Bay Book Company, I stumbled into this cupcake shop "just to look." Ten minutes later I was walking out with my Starbucks in one hand and this cute pink box in the other.

The Golfer enjoyed their Dance Party cupcake while I devoured their seasonal Pumpkin cupcake. Along with the insane amount of enjoyment this bit of deliciousness gave me, I also enjoyed the story about the Random Act of Cupcakes on the side of the box.

What we did:

We read a lot of books. Adjacent to our hotel was a bar called The Bookstore. Books and alcohol everywhere. We were there everyday.

The Golfer had one request: the Seattle Aquarium. He digs looking at marine life in huge tanks. I could take it or leave it, but this aquarium was very nice and small. And I will admit, watching them feed the otters was very entertaining.

Pikes Place Market. Enough said.

The flowers alone are worth enduring the crowd at the Market. I want to buy them all.

But the Piroshky Bakery is why we really went. We discovered it a couple of years ago when we took the boys and we knew we had to go back. They are worth every calorie. I promise.

And yes, that is a Starbucks cup. Not from the "original" Starbucks located in the market, but from the one directly across the street. People joke about their being a Starbucks every five feet in Seattle, but it's real. And I went to most of them.

Chihuly Garden and Glass. For the California Freemans there is an unwritten rule when it comes to vacation: always visit a museum. Museums are there for a reason, and usually that reason is for you to learn something or experience something that you never have before. Chihuly Garden and Glass didn't disappoint. Everything about it was so unique and beautiful.

The garden, in my opinion, was the best part. Unlike anything I had seen before. If I said it once I said it a million times while walking through, "What about hail? I mean, what do they do in bad weather? This kind of garden would never work in Oklahoma!"

This was the closest we got to the Space Needle. That was close enough.

Yes, we love Seattle. It's our kind of cool city. Even the graffiti is beautiful.

Yes, we plan on returning to Seattle again. There's more places to see and coffee to drink.

Why move?

"Why on earth would you move when you have a perfectly fine house that you've worked so hard on?"
That was a question that we were asked over and over again when we announced that we were moving. It wasn't always in those exact words, but some variation of "Are you crazy?" Truthfully, we weren't looking to move. The house we were living in was great, but we knew that it wasn't our forever home (and by forever I of course mean our home until both of the boys graduate from college and we can retire and move to the beach.)

We had worked hard on that home. We lived there just shy of 6 years, and I feel like I never really stopped working on that house. Not that it needed a ton of work. It was perfectly fine the way it was when we bought it. But... that's just not the way we roll. Our two biggest projects involved gutting the kitchen (which you can read all about and see pics here and here and here and here) and building a fantastic back porch that was really more like an outdoor living room, fireplace, TV, couch, and all.

From simply painting a room to major construction, we had done it all. Just before finding our new house, I had just finished a quick, inexpensive bathroom remodel of the boys' bath.

Yes we hadn't planned on moving, but we've always been lookers. Lookers. The housing market had started to improve and we were...curious. Curious to see if there was anything out there that had something that our current home didn't have. We made conditions, criteria. We would only move if the house:
  • was in the boundaries of the high school we want the boys to attend. To explain, they are in a private school right now that only goes up to 8th grade. We were thinking ahead.
  • had a pool. We live in California. It seemed silly to be living without a pool that you can be in 365 days a year.
  • had bigger bedrooms for the boys. Their bedrooms were teeny tiny and seemed to be shrinking as the boys were growing.
  • was on a cul-de-sac. Because that's the American dream.
It was a very specific list and we did not expect to find a house that met all of the criteria. Never dreamed we'd find something that checked off all of the boxes.

But then we did.

We quickly made an offer. The seller accepted. We were thrilled. But the seller had a contingency that involved finding their "home of choice." Bascially, if they didn't find a home that met their needs to buy, they could back out of our deal.

We waited a month. We extended the contingency twice. The seller wasn't finding anything. They were also looking for something very specific. It seemed impossible. The waiting and wondering was driving me to drink so we graciously backed out of the deal.

"You know, our house is great," we told ourselves. "We are fine here. Sure, that house would have been perfect, but maybe God wants us to stay put. Maybe He had even bigger things planned for us and we need to be patient. Yeah, we're good. It's okay."

Two days after backing out, the seller's agent called. They still wanted to sell to us and were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. Did we still want to buy the house?

Why yes. Yes we did. We still wanted the house. It was the end of October and set the closing date for January 6th. Maybe this was God's plan after all.

We quickly put our house on the market. We were confident. Probably overconfident. We had put almost 6 years worth of work and money into that house. We expected it to sell the first day. It didn't. But within a couple of weeks, a young couple came along that appreciated all that we had done and wanted it as badly as we wanted to sell it to them. They made an offer. We requested a rent back to get us through the holidays without having to live in a extended stay hotel with two children a Golden Retriever and Santa. They agreed. We would close December 20th, rent back for a month, and move on January 18th.

It's so weird when the timing that you thought would be impossible to work out, works out.

But there was still some timing left to tackle. Timing the whole remodel.

And there was lots to do.

Old House Love

 :: Lola Lane ::

There's a blog I have followed for a while titled Young House Love. It's all about this young couple and their adventures in remodeling their homes themselves. The Golfer and I have been doing the exact same thing for the last 13 years. We just didn't blog all about it. Or get a book deal out of it. Or our own line of light fixtures because of it. But we totally could have. Or at least that's what I'm going to allow myself to believe.

I haven't written a thing since August because of some Old House Love. Since September we have been in the process of buying/selling/moving/remodeling into our new old home. Yes, it's been a nutty 6 months because along with buying/selling/moving/remodeling we also had school/flag football/Halloween/a long needed girl's trip/Thanksgiving/the Golfer's birthday/Christmas/my birthday/Monkey's birthday...and everything in between.

I'm worn out. But in a good way.

So many questions have been asked about our move. Mostly, why would we move within the same city? I have found it funny how many times I've gotten that question! And over the next several posts, I promise to answer and share the whole moving story because it's actually a good one. Well, I think so anyway.

I've posted a few "Before and After" pics on Instagram of our remodeling, and I've decided that it will be a lot more fun (and easier) to post them here for all of you to see. Because apparently A LOT of other people do it and end up creating whole new careers out of the deal.

The Golfer and I have a thing for remodeling. It started in 1999 with our first house in OKC. We like to make things...ours and over the years we've definitely developed our own tastes and styles. Our decorating tastes aren't for everyone, but they are perfect for us.

So check back over the next few weeks as I take you through all of the Before and the After of Lola Lane...and everything in between.