KITCHEN IS DONE!!!!!!

This seemed like a long time coming but the kitchen in our condo is finally done! Hip-hip-horray!!!! Here is a before and two afters:

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The before picture doesn’t look that bad, right? Well, don’t let it fool you, it was a disaster. Cabinets so tiny, they are practically useless and the cabinets themselves felt like they had a cheap, plastic coating on them. And whoever thought is was a good idea to put a desk in an already microscopic kitchen?? The biggest changes we made were…well everything! Even though our kitchen is small, it lives large. We have even more space than we did in our Yorktown house.

Lets start from the beginning. Here are photos of the kitchen prior to the remodel.

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We completely demo-ed the kitchen.

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One of the biggest changes we made was opening up the side wall (unfortunately we couldn’t take it out completely unless we added a beam and that just didn’t make much sense). It was a minor change but ended up making such a difference.

Below: All of the pergo flooring is out and real hardwood is in!

Then it was time to put the cabinets together. There were so many cabinets!!

Installation time:

We originally bought a wine rack to go over our refrigerator but when we put it up it clearly didn’t fit. That was only the start of our problems. Here are the cabinets installed with the massive gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. Note: if your ceilings are taller than the standard 8 feet, 42 inch cabinets will not go to the ceiling.

Adam didn’t think the gap was that bad but I couldn’t stand it! As we debated what to do we moved forward with the countertops (below). The stone company kept pushing me towards marble looking countertops but I wanted the kitchen to have a bit of a modern edge and I was adamant about getting the light, speckled color. It’s so pretty and sparkles at the right angle. I am very happy with our selection!

Next up, backsplash install.

I am ecstatic with how the backsplash came out! We bought this tile on clearance and I have no idea why it didn’t sell out. It is such a cool, modern shape and that color…green, gray, blue. Is there a better color on the planet??!

So, back to our unresolved kitchen quagmire…the cabinet gap. We decided to build a soffit (props to Adam’s handiness) and cover the gap between the cabinets and the ceiling. Here is phase one: soffit painted and installed.

Phase two: molding

Phase three: crown molding

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I bought this really cool removable wallpaper and we installed it in the pantry. Holy F, that was an experience. Why is wallpaper back in favor?? It is so hard to install!

Finally, the moment you have been waiting for, the fully installed kitchen.

As you can see from the photos above I got pull-out drawers, a silverware organizer, a lazy susan, and a pull-out trash can. I highly recommend those extra features in a kitchen or if you decide to remodel your kitchen definitely add those features.

Another change we made was removing the microwave from above the stove and purchasing a drop-in range. Both of those changes were life changing. Having all of that extra space above your range, instead of a massive microwave that just collects grease and dirt, is totally worth it. We are going to move the microwave to the pantry.  The drop-in range was a little bit of a vanity purchase but once we had it installed, it made such a difference. It just completely streamlines the look of the space and we really like having all of the knobs and controls on the front of the range.

There is one thing left to purchase for my kitchen, a rug. I have been eyeing this rug from Ruggable – a line of washable rugs. Has anybody purchased a Ruggable?

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With the kitchen down, we are aggressively planning for our remodel of the bathroom. We bought our vanity today and I will purchase the faucets and shower accessories next. Stay tuned for more updates.

 

 

 

All is Calm, All is Bright

Adam and I just got back from visiting his family in Knoxville, Tennessee for Christmas. To make the trip feel more like a vacation, we made a few pit stops on our drive back home. We stopped at Devils Backbone Brewery for Adam and Luray Caverns for me. If you haven’t been to Luray (the caverns that is) I highly, highly recommend it. They were AMAZING…I mean A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

From Wikipedia: Luray Caverns was discovered on August 13, 1878 by five local men, including Andrew J. Campbell (a local tinsmith), his 13-year-old nephew Quint, and local photographer Benton Stebbins. Their attention had been attracted by a protruding limestone outcrop and by a nearby sinkhole noted to have cool air issuing from it. Seeking a cavern, the men started to dig and, about four hours later, a hole was created for the smallest men (Andrew and Quint) to squeeze through, slide down a rope and explore by candlelight. The first column they saw was named the Washington Column, in honor of the first United States President.

Sam Buracker of Luray owned the land on which the cavern entrance was found. Because of uncollected debts, a court-ordered auction of all his land was held on September 14, 1878. Andrew Campbell, William Campbell, and Benton Stebbins purchased the cave tract, but kept their discovery secret until after the sale. Because the true value of the property was not realized until after the purchase, legal wrangling ensued for the next two years with attempts to prove fraud and decide rightful ownership. In April 1881, the Supreme Court of Virginia nullified the purchase by the cave discoverers.

I thought the history of Luray Caverns was fascinating, especially how the discoverers  completely missed out on their great find. The caverns are now owned by the Graves family (who apparently can’t stop fighting over their $20 million fortune). Enough about the background of the caverns, look at these pictures!!!!

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So cool, right???? In case you were wondering, our kitchen is still not finished. You will definitely know when it is!!!! In the meantime, I have moved on to the master bathroom. We spent over an hour at Floor and Decor trying to match up tiles for our bathroom and I am so excited of what we ended up with. It is going to look fabulous!

Here’s how our process works…

We pull out the different tiles and patterns we like and try to form a cohesive mix of materials. This is what we ended up with; the master bath floor will be 8×12 marble tiles, the shower floor will be marble looking (but really porcelain to keep the price down) hexagon tiles, the shower walls will be a very pale blue subway tile, and finally we will add a marble accent stripe to the shower tiles (bottom left in the photo below).

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My vision for the master bath is classic and luxurious. When I move on to the other bathroom, that will be my fun project. I already found the floor tile I want. Isn’t this the best (below)? I mean, I am in love with this…obsessed, fatal attraction, restraining order crazy about this.

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Speaking of obsessed…you know I collect female portraits. Well, my Christmas surprise was a new portrait to add to my collection and I only had to drive 2 miles to get it. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Lorraine. Isn’t she pretty? Look at her steely gaze. Wonder what she is thinking?

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Finally, I want to share with you some of my new purchases for the condo. I have been searching for rugs constantly, all day every day. It’s really hard to pick out a rug online and then hope it lives up to the pictures in person. I haven’t found anyplace locally with a good rug selection.

Originally, I bought this rug for the kitchen (umm, what was I thinking? It is wool and has alot of light colors in it). It is now living in my hallway and I love it.

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Here’s another online purchase I made. This was my Christmas present to myself, oh yeah! I am finally going to give in and allow a TV in my bedroom but the TV stand had to look fabulous and oh, boy does it! I have been eyeing this table for awhile. It had tons and tons of 5-star reviews so I went all in and I am really happy with this purchase.

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My new favorite home furnishings site is homary.com. I bought two lights from them, a pendant light and a wall sconce and they are both perfect.

So, the pendant light I bought is actually a West Elm light but somehow this website (homary) was selling it too for more than half off what West Elm was charging. It is so cool. Here is the light (below left) that was in the condo when we bought it (nothing wrong with it, just builder basic looking).

Here is my new West Elm light (below right). The actual pictures I took turned out terrible but this photo is a perfect representation.

I’m having so much fun remodeling and decorating our condo. Hoping to share more updates soon. One more update; in my last post I mentioned I was thinking about booking a trip to Turkey. Well, change of plans, we’re going to France. More details later. Au revoir!

Thanksgiving in London, why not?!

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday in London and had a blast. I have to start with the hotel we stayed at, Redchurch Townhouse. I loved it!! When we travel abroad I like to stay in boutique hotels. I booked this hotel based on a few photos and that’s it. Come to find out, we were staying in the artsy part of London – Shoreditch. It was awesome. We walked to dinner and bars every night and ate amazing food!

This cheeky photo greeted us when we got off of the elevator.

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I am obsessed with our hotel room. It is exactly how I would’ve decorated a room. Look at that chandelier!

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Lighting is kinda my jam and that clear wall sconce is to die for.

Herringbone wood floors in our room, are you kidding me!!? And…terrazzo floors in the elevator. Are you serious?!!

A full bar in the room..ummm okkkkkkk!!!

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How fun is this, a retro inspired radio? Jazz music was waiting on us when entered the hotel room.

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And, finally the bathroom. I LOVE! Look at the warm wood cabinet with gorgeous marble countertops.

So, now that I have totally gone on a design geek-out I guess we can turn our attention to the main star, London.

First stop in London, the Tower Bridge. Yes, the same Tower Bridge where the terrorist attack happened; and yes, the same day. We toured the tower and visited the hydraulic room.

We went to an amazing bar the first night. I am so hesitant to order a cocktail because 9 times out of 10 I don’t like what I end up with but finally, a cocktail that tasted delicious. In case you were wondering, I ordered “The Littlest Hobo” (very apropos) which consists of Tanqueray gin, passionfruit, lemon, and Hawkes cider. It tasted like candy, so good!!

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I was always hesitant to visit London because I heard the food was so bad but we enjoyed everything we had. Of course we avoided traditional British pub food. Our first night we ate at an asian fusion restaurant – Yuu Kitchen. It was sooooo delicious! Here are the chicken wings, gyoza, and the best cauliflower I have ever had in my life!!! Words cannot describe.

As I mentioned, our hotel was in the artsy part of town. Lots of street art and they have a really neat mall made entirely out of shipping containers, but my favorite part was the tinsel walkway, so fabulous.

The second day in London we went to Windsor Castle. I really, really wanted to go to Buckingham Palace but they aren’t open to the public in November, whaaaaa. But, Windsor Castle was beautiful. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside but you can outside! The photo below of me standing next to a small, red door is actually a London Post Office box. Of course I had to get a pic with one of those. We rode a high speed train for the first time on our way back to London. One of the employees told me this train goes really slow (110 mph) compared to other trains in Europe (over 200 mph). Hey, based on what we have in the states this was pretty impressive.

The second night for dinner we went to a steak place, Flat Iron. They have a disclaimer on their menu to not steal the cool cups the drinks come in and the knives, lol. You know we had to get a picture.

The third day in London we did a “Secret London”tour.

This is the smallest police station in the world as far as they know. It is no longer used as a police station though.

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This street is supposedly one of the inspirations for Harry Potter. It was a cute, little alleyway.

 

 

An artist who was concerned when cameras were posted throughout London,  decided to critique “Big Brother” by putting plaster noses throughout London in random places.

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This gas light is one of the few remaining in London which was actually lit by human gas/waste back in the day. Ewww

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We toured the National Gallery, Portrait Gallery, and my favorite the Tower of London. This is where the Queen’s jewels are stored. You can’t take pictures but her crown has a 100 carat diamond in it, spectacular! There were multiple crowns and scepters, so stunning. Additionally, they have medieval towers, circa 1060.

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The last day in London we went to see a show, The Lion King. The costumes were amazing, a visual astonishment. The story is ok, I mean, it is based off of a Disney movie.

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The last night in London we ate at a delicious Italian restaurant, Gloria. It was the one place I wanted to eat while we were in London and OMG I think I might have had the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life!!! And the restaurant was so cute!

Overall, I liked London and definitely want to go back again. There is so much we still haven’t seen. I don’t think Adam was as crazy about London – it was like any other big city except the buildings are older and the people talk different. I guess it wasn’t exotic enough :-/ The one thing I really disliked about London was the smoking. Everybody smoked and I guess I am spoiled living in DC, for a large city not that many people smoke.

I’m thinking about booking a trip to Turkey for our next adventure. Hey, I gotta have something to look forward to.

I’ll leave you with some selfies – this is mainly for the parents.

 

 

Design Dilemma

Sooooooooooooooo, I’m living through a renovation right now. Don’t ask me how I feel about that!!! But,  floors are 99.8% done. Now, we are focused on the kitchen. I thought we had everything planned out but we have run into a design dilemma. So, here is the deal-ee-o.

Our kitchen has 9 foot ceilings. We bought 42 inch cabinets. In a normal height kitchen 42 inches goes all the way to the ceiling; with a 9 foot tall ceiling, not so much. Now, we have about an 8 inch gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. Here’s a couple photos of what I am talking about.

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I’m so frustrated we didn’t properly plan for the 9 foot ceilings but this is a great lesson for future remodels. How do we resolve this huge, horrific problem (yes, I’m being over the top but I can’t stand the gap)?? Two options stand out as a resolution. We can rip all of the upper cabinets out and buy two sets of cabinets (two short ones) to stack on top of each other to get the cabinets to go to the ceiling. See photo options below.

Second option is to build a soffit and frame with fancy crown molding. See photos below.

Which option would you choose? Due to costs we are going to build the soffit and add nice crown molding to address the gap. I think the end product will look nice but it is another project we weren’t anticipating and it puts us further behind schedule, UGH.

Hopefully, my next post will be a finished kitchen. On a side note, one of my favorite things about moving besides the short commute and not having to rake leaves this fall is the decorating I’m getting to do. I am redoing the dining room and both bedrooms. I’m so excited!! Bye until next time.

Kitchen Remodeling Time

The kitchen!!! Here are before photos of our condo kitchen. I think moving forward I’ll refer to the condo as Stonegate. So, we have Spotswood House (our country home), Yorktown (the house we just sold but are still living in for a few more weeks), and Stonegate, the condo.

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So, the kitchen doesn’t look that bad right? From a distance, no, but up close it is pretty bad. As you can tell from the photos, it is pretty small. But we are going to open it up and put much nicer cabinetry in.

Here’s what the kitchen looks like right now.

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We spent two days putting the kitchen cabinets together. Geesh, we bought a lot of cabinets! But, I had to have a lazy susan, pull out drawers, and a trash can cabinet (I will never not have a trash can cabinet again. It is my absolute must in a kitchen). Gotta give Adam his propers!

After two days of cabinet building, here’s what we have…cabinets galore, overtaking every inch of the space.

There are still so many things we need to consider for our kitchen remodel. I still haven’t chosen the sink, we decided to buy a stove in addition to a new refrigerator but we haven’t purchased either yet. I still have to pick out countertops. But, I have started an inspiration board of some of the things we are working through. Here it is:

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Isn’t that removable wallpaper to die for?! We’re going to take baby steps and put it in the pantry. I also LOVE the backsplash. We bought it months ago just because…you never know when you’re going to need backsplash tile, LOL. It is going to look perfect in this space and it is my favorite color – blue, green, gray. And, yes, I am going to succumb to gold hardware. Hope I don’t regret it a year or two from now. Stay tuned for more updates. Lots happening between now and mid-October.

Quirky Portraits and More

While we are in the middle of trying to renovate our condo, we decided that a very quick weekend trip was in order. As I have mentioned in prior postings, I collect portraits. I found two I wanted – or absolutely had to have in Connecticut and NYC so we made the trek last weekend to pick them up. In less than 24 hours we came home with three new portraits, LOL.

We started our trip on Friday night after work; drove to New Jersey, stayed the night, and then on to Danbury, Connecticut. Quick side note, tolls are insane! I think we spent $40 on tolls. Thank god we have an E-Z Pass, otherwise the tolls would’ve been even higher.

Ok, so here is what all of the fuss was about.

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Meet Priscilla. I found her on Marketplace about a month ago. I asked the seller if she would ship the portrait but it is quite large and probably would’ve been cost prohibitive. So, I checked everyday to see if the painting had sold. Finally, Adam and I decided to make the trip and get her and we are so happy we did. I absolutely love, love, love this portrait.

I had my eye on another portrait in NYC. I have been watching it on Marketplace for about 6 months. I think it was fate because she was still available when we made our trip and I picked her up too. I don’t have a name for her yet. As you can see, there is a little bit of damage to the portrait but I think it adds character. And, we only paid $9 for it.

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We had some time to kill while we we were waiting to pickup our New York gal, so we parked …we found street parking right outside the apartment of where we picked up the New York portrait. We wandered around Hell’s Kitchen and stumbled upon a street market/garage sale/flea market and found another portrait! I move much slower than Adam when we go antiquing so he was way ahead of me. He spotted another female portrait. Long story short, we bought it too. I don’t have a name for her yet either.

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So, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy, and yes, that is probably true. But, i just can’t help myself.  I am up to 7 portraits; 6 female and 1 male.

Ok, enough about our wacky travels but I will admit, that was such a fun, exhilarating trip. We stopped in NYC at 10:30 am, picked up our portraits, ate lunch, and were home by 6 pm.

Here’s an update on our condo remodel. We thought we found the hardwood floor we wanted but the more we looked at it, the more orange it looked. Thus began our quest for non-orange floors. I posted a picture of the floor in a previous post but here is a refresh. This is Toffee Oak. It doesn’t look orange in the picture because the lighting is bad, but it definitely has an orange tint to it.

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We have been to multiple flooring stores now. This is just a sampling of the samples we have. Part of the problem is we have a tight deadline and most stores don’t keep hardwoods in stock. I think we are leaning towards the wood on the top right but don’t quote us!

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We have painted almost every room in our condo. I swear, we are constantly painting. I’ll give you a sneak peak of the guest bedroom (before photos below). The prior owner put some weird treatment on the wall. It looks like multiple paint colors and then the paint was scratched off to add depth. I had to take a sanding sponge and scrape everything off all of the walls  and then we had to prime the walls before we could paint. If you look closely, we were blessed with a stencil on the ceiling (yes, that was sarcasm). So, lucky us, we get to repaint the ceiling too.

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It’s hard to tell how dark the paint is in the pictures above because of the camera flash but with only one window in the guest room, we definitely had to brighten it up. We liked one of the colors we put in Spotswood so much we used it again in the condo. Of course, we’re still not done. Need to cover a few outlets, paint the ceiling, and the closet. I think I’m going to try removable wallpaper in one of the closets.

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We have been at the condo every night after work and all weekend long. I can’t wait until we finish round one of renovations (new kitchen, new hardwood floors). Stay tuned for more updates.

The Things we do for Love

Things have been hectic around here as we prepare to move and downsize. I couldn’t bear parting with our full size bedroom suite so we spent the weekend moving it from our Alexandria house to Spotswood. That meant we had to pull out the bedroom set at Spotswood, eesh! I’m going to try and sell the Spotswood bedroom set on Facebbok or Craigslist. I already sold the king box springs and made a profit, cha ching!!!

We close on our new condo this Thursday…feels so quick! In the meantime, we have been shopping for hardwood floors to put in the new condo (currently it has pergo and I just CAN’T). I think we have settled on these.

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Ok, let me provide some context. When we moved into our Alexandria house the floors needed to be refinished. I guess there was some miscommunication between me and the hardwood refinisher because I ended up with light colored floors, not what I wanted. But, I dealt with it. So, what you see installed above are the light colored floors in Alexandria and the two planks in the middle are the new floors we are going to install in our condo. I love the warmer shade. It is really hard to find a warm shade without an orange finish but I think these are going to be perfect! I can’t wait to get them installed…I mean help Adam install 🙂

Anytime we have a long weekend, Adam and I try to pop over to another city close by and do some exploring. Now, we have been to Richmond in the past and had a great time. I have recently started collecting oil portraits; not an easy feat. I mainly find things anywhere but the DC area. I have had my eye on a female portrait in Richmond for months!!!! I asked the seller if she would ship the item and I don’t blame her, she wasn’t interested. So, I kept my eye on the picture vowing to pick it up some time in the future. And it was waiting for me all this time like fate. I finally picked it up this weekend. Meet “Cassandra”.

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So, what do you think? Pretty quirky, huh?! Hey, for $8 I could not be happier!

I’ll end with this; Bali. So, next year is a milestone birthday for me and I think we are going to take the plunge and go to Asia. We’re looking at Singapore, Bangkok, and Bali. Anyone been? Any suggestions? I’m having so much fun looking at Airbnb’s in Bali. These places are amazing, no?! Planning this trip is going to bring me so much joy! It definitely will help take my mind off all of the remodeling and house moving. Cheers until next time.

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Buffalo Wings in Buffalo New York

e recently took a quick getaway to Buffalo New York. Why of all place Buffalo, you might ask?! Most people are going to tropical destinations during the summer months but we are not most people. Niagara Falls has been on our to-do list for ever and we finally made it happen.

We thought we were slick and booked a late night flight on a Thursday with a very early flight back home on a Monday morning. Well, things did not go to plan and we were delayed into Buffalo. We ended up arriving at 2:40 am on Friday morning. On top of that, the rental car companies were closed. So, we had to get a cab, then we took a Lyft the next morning to get our rental…UGHHHH!!! But, they ended up upgrading our rental and gave us a Volvo V60 Cross Country. OMG, I loved it!!!! So, it’s not an SUV, more like a station wagon but it was so lovely. I don’t need a new car right now but I was totally digging this. The interior had two-tone leather, so perfecto.

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The highlight of Buffalo for most people is Niagara Falls but not for me. It was all about the chicken wing. So, yes, Buffalo wings were invented in Buffalo and I could not wait to try the original, Anchor Bar.

Story has it, in 1964 Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the now famous Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, NY. Late that evening, a group of Dominic’s friends arrived at the bar with ravenous appetites. Dominic asked his mother, Teressa, to prepare something for his friends to eat. They looked like chicken wings, a part of the chicken that usually went into the stock pot for soup. Teressa had deep fried the wings and flavored them with a secret sauce. The wings were an instant hit and it didn’t take long for people to flock to the bar to experience this new taste sensation. From that evening on, Buffalo Wings became a regular part of the menu at the Anchor Bar. The phenomenon created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo has spread across the globe.

Curious to know the verdict??? Adam really did not like the wings. I though they were fine. Anytime you go to a place famously known for something, you run the risk of being disappointed. The main issue with the wings was the sauce; it was just too vinegary. But, we absolutely loved Duff’s wings, another popular Buffalo spot. I don’t like jumbo wings, I like smaller crispier wings and these hit the mark. And, they were so saucy…so good! It’s really hard to find a good chicken wing and there is nothing more disappointing when you have just an okay one. We highly recommend you try Duff’s Wings, so good!!!

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Ok fine, we’ll switch topics and cover our trip to Niagara Falls. It was AMAZING!!! We saw if from both the US and Canadian side. I thought it might be a little bit cooler, considering Buffalo gets extremely cold in the winter but its pretty much hot anywhere in the US right now. And, I did not dress for the heat, LOL.

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Ok, I included this photo because the little yellow people below are crazy! They put on rain ponchos and pay to go to the bottom of the falls only to get absolutely drenched.

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Doesn’t the photo below remind you of the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve? I told Adam to jump over the railing and reenact the scene so we could see if Superman would come rescue him.

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Look at the photo below and above. Notice the little boat? Who in their right mind thought that was a good idea? Actually, I talked to one of my friends from New York and she said we should’ve done it because you don’t get wet, it’s only mist and the boast takes you behind the falls…DARN! Guess we missed out on that one.IMG_0825

The pictures above are from the US side. Here are the photos from the Canadian side.

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Haha! My hair is wrecked from the humidity. Let me tell you a quick story about Adam’s picture taking skills. He’ll tell me to smile and two minutes later he takes the photo so 9 times out of 10 my eyes are squinting or completely closed due to the direct sunlight I’m looking into. img_0906

There were so many cute little gardens near the falls in Canada.

We also hit up a Botanical Garden in Canada. They had a butterfly conservatory, so fun.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was touring the Darwin D. Martin Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) House. I absolutely love architecture and this is the third FLW house we have toured. The story behind this house really hit home for me and highlights what is so great about our country; the ability for anybody to attain the American Dream. So, here is the story behind the house.

Darwin D. Wright suffered tragedy early in his life with the death of his mother at 6 years old. He and his siblings were separated and he longed for the rest of his life to reunite him and his siblings. In the meantime, Martin began selling soap in New York City. Practically penniless, Martin came by himself to Buffalo to work for the Larkin Company as the first, and at that time the only, hired office-worker.  Martin worked ferociously, putting in 361 workdays a year. His efforts enabled the company to expand and rival Sears. One of Martin’s assignments was to find an architect to design a new administrative building for the expanding company. His brother, William Martin, who was living in Chicago, recommended a young architect named Frank Lloyd Wright. By this time, Martin was a millionaire. He formed a friendship with FLW and gave FLW cart blanche to design a home for Martin. This is one of FLW’s favorite masterpieces. He considered it the “opus” of his career. The foresight he had is pretty amazing; he designed an open concept house 90 years before his time.

Another cool thing we did in Buffalo was visit the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural site. In 1901, Buffalo hosted the Pan-American Exposition. President William McKinley was the guest of honor. A crazed attendee shot him and he ended up in the hospital. Teddy Roosevelt, Vice President, was on vacation with his family at the time and rushed to Buffalo to see the President. It looked like the President’s condition was improving so Teddy rejoined his family on vacation in the Adirondacks. Well, the President took a turn for the worse and Teddy rushed back to Buffalo. McKinley died and Roosevelt was inaugurated as President in his friend, Ansley Wilcox’s (attorney and political insider) home. This is his home. Look at that original green fireplace surround, the desk was Teddy Roosevelt’s, and that molding on the ceiling in the keeping room is everything!!!

 

President Lindsey Taylor. I can handle that! Look at the first husband 🙂

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Apparently, Buffalo is very poplar with the 30 something crowd. I’m guessing because the cost of living is low and housing is cheap. Lots and lots of tattoos…hey, I don’t mind tattoos but when you are tattooing your entire body, have you thought about what that will look like in 50 years?? Here’s some cool street art we found.

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Weekend getaway done. Now back to real life. We close on our condo on September 9th. We have kitchen cabinets picked out, backsplash bought, guest bath tiles picked out, and wood floors chosen. Then, we get to install everything. So, we’ll be busy, busy, busy the next few months. Oh, and we have to pack our house to move…arrrggghhhh. I guess I need to focus on our next trip to keep me positive and pushing forward. London here we come.

 

 

Certifiably Insane!

This week we sign our paperwork to close on our house in Alexandria. In the meantime, we have been searching for a place to buy. We found a condo we really liked a couple weeks ago but we weren’t in a position to make an offer without doing a bridge loan (that was not an option) since things weren’t finalized with our house. But, we added the complex to our list and kept our eyes peeled for something to post. The only thing that has come up since we started looking is a 2 bed/2 bath condo which…..wait for it….is a fixer upper. Seriously????!!!!! Is this our life now?

So, yeah…I guess we are going to be in a renovation status for the foreseeable future. The good news, we got a good price. We ended up doing a 15-year mortgage and we’re lowering our mortgage rate from what we were paying at our Alexandria house. Anither plus, we can make the condo exactly what we want it to be. I cannot wait for low maintenance living! Here’s what is on our remodel list; replace pergo floors with wood floors throughout, redo the guest bathroom, redo the master bathroom, redo the kitchen, and paint every single room. LOLOLOL!

We’ll have a little over a month to work on our condo remodeling list before we have to move out of our house. I’m thinking we’ll knock the floors out first and paint simultaneously, then on to the kitchen. We can move in and then tackle the master bathroom. We’ll finish with the guest bathroom. That’s the plan but you know what they say about plans…

Here’s a shot of the exterior of the condo. I’ll share some interior photos next time.

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As you can imagine remodeling is on hold at Spotswood House while we focus on Alexandria. But here is the kicker; we are going to finish Spotswood and sell it. We have decided to find a lot in another town and build a house. I know, we are absolutely CRAZY!

So things are going to remain crazy around here for awhile. Luckily, we have a vacation coming up soon. We’re finally going to Niagara Falls. We’re going to fly into Buffalo and go to Anchor Bar, where chicken wings were invented. That is what I am most looking forward to, ha! Of course we’ll go see the falls both on the US side and Canada. Another bonus, Buffalo has some Frank Lloyd Wright houses we can tour, yippee. Bye for now.

How Did You Spend Your 4th of July?

For 4th of July we had a totally fun trip planned to visit my relatives in West Virginia, go to Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s MOST FAMOUS house, and then spend a couple days in Pittsburgh. Sounds fun, huh? Instead, we spent 4 days straight cleaning our house getting it ready to list, UGH!!!! Selling a house is the most un-fun thing ever! But good news, our house listed on Tuesday evening and we were under contract Wednesday evening for $25K over list along with some other lovely perks.

I’ll share with you some of our professional photographs.

First, we’ll start with the two guest bedrooms and bathroom.

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Next, we’ll move on to the living and dining room. The real estate agent and team came in like little elves and “decluttered/depersonalized” our house for pictures. One of my favorite features of the house is the vaulted ceiling in the living room.

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Now for the money maker, the kitchen. I don’t think I can ever go back to having a divided sink. I love having an undermount trough style sink.

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This is one of my favorite areas in the whole house, the mudroom. It is just so functional!

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I heard recently people are getting away from using the term “master” suite. Ok, well here are photos from the owners retreat. I am not wild about how the comforter photographed because there is too much blue. I usually have a bright yellow duvet on the bed but it is summer now and the duvet is hibernating.

We added the wood ceiling ourselves.

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I will be most sad to leave the walk in closet. We wont find this feature in a condo.

Ignore, the clutter on the floor. Don’t worry, this shot wasn’t used in the listing but I wanted to give you a sense of the size of the closet.

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Here is the on suite bathroom. I love having a shower with no tub.

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Last but certainly not least, the deck.

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So, we are lucky that it is a sellers market right now but we have to buy in this market too. As I mentioned, we have decided to downsize and move to a condo or townhouse. Unfortunately, we have chosen to move close to where Amazon’s second Headquarters will be located so pretty much everything is going over list. That is so frustrating but we’ll survive…first world problems, I know.

I’m going off on a tangent for a minute. While Adam and I were getting our passport photos (the photographer told me not to smile so I will basically look like a serial killer when I get my new passport) I noticed a new potato chip flavor, Ruffles extra crunchy buffalo wing flavor. Buying one of those bags was the worst mistake ever. We are so addicted and can kill a bag easily in one sitting. I am convinced they sprinkle crack on top. Stay away at all costs!!

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I am so relieved our house is under contract but we are in limbo until the buyers finalize the sale of their house. In the beginning of August we will be able to look at homes to purchase. One of the highlights of the contract we signed is the buyers of our house are giving us a 60 day rent back of our house for $1. So we basically have 90 days to find a house with two months free rent on our own house while we search for our “new” home. That is so awesome!

Talk to you soon. Can’t wait to share more homes with you that we are considering buying.