Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nothing But Time to Design Our Mid-Century Modern Dream House

Well, we have been official homeowners for the past four months.  One of the most surprising things about our home, which was built in 1959, is that – according to city documents – nothing has been done to our home since 1959.

One of the reasons that Jason and I totally fell for our house (when it was a rental) was the authentic retro quality.  Us Maussers have always been fans of anything vintage. http://allthingsfashionating.blogspot.com/2011/08/vintage-love-affair-first-time-around.html 

Our kitchen has most of the original appliances and I have to admit, they work better than the cut-rate, newer ones we had in our last rental.  Also, the absolute 1950s pink and yellow tiles in the bathrooms were endearing to us as well.
Mostly, it was the ocean views, four bedrooms and my walk-in closet that really made this dinosaur a gem to us. So, when we were able to buy this home from the estate of the first and only owner when she passed away earlier this summer, we were thrilled.
Now, as first-time home buyers, we are acclimating to a mortgage payment as well as property taxes and all those other miscellaneous charges that come with being a home owner.

When we were just renting, both Jason and I could come up with a multitude of home improvement projects that we wanted to do IF this were our house – to make it our own. Well, you know what they say; it doesn’t cost anything to dream. But now that we are owners, our notions aren’t free.
Many years ago, Jason and I started a book called “Our Dream House.”  Whenever we found ideas, furniture, fixtures that we liked for the house that we knew we would own one day, we put them in our book.  Today, it is jam packed with our ideas from landscaping to chandeliers to façade.

But we have been very hesitant to start implementing too many of these changes.  And now that our home is ours, I look around and am overwhelmed by all of the things that need to be done around the house and it is apparent that nothing has been done since 1959.

The first thing that we felt had to be done pronto was pull out all the gross carpeting and refinish the original hardwood floors.  Since we had to move every single piece of furniture and pack away everything due to the dust, this was a much bigger endeavor than we had anticipated. Yet, it was well worth the hassle and made a huge difference right away.

But then, with the floors gleaming so beautiful, it was apparent that our walls needed to be painted.
We had the painter booked but then, as fate would have it, my car broke down and we had to pay more than $1,000 to get it running again.

Buh-bye paint job.
Jason – being the smart man that he is – suggested that we put any other big projects on the backburner.  He proposed that we accumulate a slush fund for any future renovations so we have a buffer and that is what we are doing right now.

But, even if we had carte blanche to do whatever we wanted right now, I honestly don’t even really know where I would want to start.  I personally feel so overwhelmed with the prospect of actually redesigning our home.
I think what seems the most overwhelming to me is to keep the authentic feel of the late 1950s and early 1960s but being able to incorporate some modern design aesthetics.

My mom – who is a huge fan of Mid-Century Modern – literally bought us every book that was out there about MCM.  These books are amazing and, in addition to “Our Dream House” resources, we have been provided with a plethora of ideas; But, to me, almost too many.
When I start actually thinking about every little thing that we need to do, I start having a panic attack.  I am not a very patient person and I always want everything to be done as soon as possible. My head truly starts to spin when I think of everything that we need to do to make our home perfect.
Just last week, I picked up a new spiral notebook and listed each page as a room in our house.  I went through and just brain-stormed everything I would do in each room if I had the clearance to go full speed ahead.

When it was all said and done, I didn’t have too many things listed on each page. 

The big money projects: new kitchen, new deck and revitalized façade our going to take place a bit down the road.

But mostly, I realized that with just a few aesthetic changes, we can make the upstairs/living area complete, and that would make all the difference in the world.
So now, I’m just looking at our house in a smaller compartmentalized view:  I know that we won’t be using a designer, so my little notebook helps me look at the smaller picture and brainstorm ideas without getting completely overwhelmed.

I have come to realize that, now we own our house, so we’ve got nothing but time.

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