The day was December 28th, 2017. After construction errors and delays, we finally reached our move-in day. It was negative 6 degrees outside as we began packing the UHaul at our apartment in Pittsburgh. The sun was shining, and nothing was stopping us from moving into our first home.
Meet the green gem, the B&B Abode, as she appeared when we moved in back in 2017:
The Funny Thing About Moving Into a New House…
There she is above, just a couple of weeks after we moved in, during our first snow. The strange thing about building a home is that you can go to closing, write the check, and still have things left for the builder to finish. One of the most obvious things from the outside included some decorative details at the top of each window. Without them, the windows just looked like someone shaved off their eyebrows.
While cosmetic details being unfinished is annoying, your build’s timing can force you to move into an unfinished space. For instance, because we didn’t close until December, we couldn’t get a driveway or front steps completed. We had a pile of dirt at the door and rocks under the snow to drive over for the entire winter season. We waited until late spring when it was warm enough to pour concrete. The mud became a part of life and quickly converted me into a shoes-off-in-the-house person.
The further past your closing date, the harder it can become to get your builder to come back and finish the job. It also means your project manager is likely not around to check in on the subcontractors hired to finish your punch list. As a result, we never really got proper topsoil, and establishing a lawn has been a chore. In a future post, we’ll share a whole rundown of what we learned about the building process.
The Evolution of Curb Appeal
Below are a few more images of the B&B Abode from the early years. You’ll see the garden and grass was added… not that they gave us topsoil for the grass to grow on. Nearly every year since, we’ve had to topdress and aerate. Lawn care has proven not to be my favorite task, though Bill takes to it fondly. If you follow us on Instagram, you would have seen we changed up the front garden about 2 years in, adding rhododendron and azaleas. I thought I would lose the azaleas but transplanted them to the side of our home instead and treated them for lace beetles. They’re thriving, finally. Gardening is not something I thought I would enjoy as much as I do as a homeowner, but after a day of working for others on the internet, it’s nice to step outside and turn the earth.
While there are pros and cons to a house that faces due east, we do get some spectacular sunsets behind us. We hit this week every year when the sunsets can be seen directly through our house. Like Manhattanhenge, only it’s just my house and not a whole city.
Moving In Takes Longer than Moving
As most young couples experience, we had a lot of empty rooms when we first moved in. We only had a small apartment’s worth of furniture to fill a 3-bedroom home. We wanted to take some time to figure out how we would use our new space. And we didn’t want to spend too much money all at once. We
The photo below is a great example of the little-at-a-time method of moving in. Our new home’s floor plan included this loft space that literally was the size of our apartment living room. But if all our apartment livingroom furniture went here, then what would we put into the living room? Here’s a shot of it shortly after we moved in.
This loft space, located at the top of our stairs, fits our Expedit bookcase, hemnes tv stand, coffee table, and our apartment’s couch. While that sounds like a lot, it ultimately gave the space a very cozy feeling. This did mean our actual living room was left mostly empty as we planned the space. Yes, that’s our ceremonial ‘first meal in the house’ pizza on propped on boxes in the photo below.
While we didn’t go all in on every option available when we were building our home, one thing we both agreed was a requirement was a gas fireplace. It’s centered on the wall in our living room, making the space cozy and surprisingly warm in winter. And there it was, basically the only thing in the room for about 2 months. We had dreams of flanking it with DIY shelves and decorating the mantle for the holidays…. but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
New House Means Naked Windows
Our home is TALL. The first floor has airy 9ft ceilings and gets beautiful sunsets through our back windows. Speaking of windows, another thing you likely don’t plan for when building a new home is that you’ll have to purchase and install blinds and drapery for every.single.window. When you’re the first homeowner, there’s no previous owner to leave any behind. As was the trend in 2017, we purchased some inexpensive bamboo blinds on Amazon and screwed them directly into the window frames. While the white drapes around them have changed slightly, these still filter the sunlight in our living room today.
We’ll be shedding more light on our home and some of our favorite builds and transformations as we work to catch you up on the last 5 years around here. This should be fun!