Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Breaking even

Thanks to my fantastic and very aggressive real estate agent Gina, and my friend and lawyer Mike, my condo sold very quickly. Gina came in and gave me some quick advice on getting it ready for sale, and Mike made sure we dotted every I and crossed every T.

In the end I broke even. I put a lot of sweat into my home, but in the modern real estate market I was very happy to get my money back. So I purchased the home for $ 63,000 on September 26, 2008, and sold the home for $ 63,000 on September 27, 2011.

Here are some before and after shots, as well as the evolution of my decorating style. I guess you could say I was a little more "edgy" (tacky) a few years back. I realized while I got my place ready for showings that sometimes less really is more. I loved living without the clutter, and almost didn't want to leave once my condo went through it's final transformation. If only I could pick it up and move it!

I'll post more before and after photos later:

Here is the pantry before. I am all for beautiful woodwork, but this was not at all what I had in mind. Those sticky tiles had to go too!

Here is the pantry after. This is with two coats of Kilz primer, three coats of antique white paint, and some great satin nickel hardware from Target clearance. My friends also helped me paint the back splash a muted grey, since a whole new back splash was not in the budget. The wall was painted a beautiful yellow named Sparkling Cider, by Kilz. The floor is just sticky tile because the sub-flooring would not come up without pulling out all the cabinets, and again I was on a tight budget. The sink was polished with some stainless steel polish, and that was that!
All in all a total cost of less than $ 150.00 if you can believe it!
I just couldn't make up my mind when it came to my living room/dining room arrangements. I started off with the dining room at the front of the house, further from the kitchen. The walls were particularly difficult because they were horsehair plaster. I used a faux rag-rolling technique on the walls to cover up all the imperfections. I was never really happy with the outcome, but couldn't come up with any other options at the time.
This room eventually became the living room. The place seemed to flow a little better with this set up, and I loved sitting on the couch and peering out the window at all the city life happening outside.
In the end I rearranged some pieces, got rid of quite a bit of clutter, and hoped to attract buyers by showcasing the sparkling hardwood floors.
This was once the living room, and finally become  my dining room. The walls look great in these pictures, but up close they were just a big old mess. The wallpaper in these front rooms came down with just a tug, but the walls underneath were full of pits and uneven areas thanks to the horsehair plaster, which was original to this hundred year old building.
This is what I refer to as my Glam Rock phase. As you can see I'm a big fan of Prince, and the Rolling Stones also held a prominent place on my wall. I'm not sure what I was going for with this look. You can't see too much detail of the wall, other than where we stopped painting over by the window. This wall was painted so many times I'm not even sure I remember them all. First we tried a light shade of purple, then we went with a deeper grey. Next we decided that faux painting would have to be the way to go. We tried a silver, along with a white, and several different glazes. Over and over again we tried out these new techniques, but never got a look we were really happy with.
Finally this area became my dining area. It was very comfortable and a great room to walk into from the common area. It was laid back, with plenty of seating, and held quite a few parties for me quite nicely. Right before I put my house on the market Gina came over and recommended I paint the dark grey walls a bright white. I used primer, and then three coats of paint, and they still looked terrible. I blame this room for my hatred of painting. I finally decided to go to Home Depot and check out what they had for texture paint, since I had moderate success using it in another room. The woman at the paint counter must have been an angel, she told me about the magic of skim coating, and the ease of joint compound and I never looked back. The skim coating was so easy, it cost less than paint, went on quickly, and dried quickly, and cleaned up easily with water. I used a window squeegee to apply it, and it didn't take long for my room to go from that to this. I did a couple coats of white to seal the joint compound and my room never looked better! I may have to write a tutorial on skim coating soon because everyone has been asking me how I did it!

Well there is a sampling of my progress, do-it-yourself-wise and design-wise. I've learned so many things with my first beautiful home, I'm looking forward to getting it all right with my new home.

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