Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bon Voyage 20's

I'm turning 30 on the 30th somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean half way between the U.S. and Spain! I'm celebrating by taking a transatlantic cruise to Barcelona with my husband and three year old. Crazy, huh?

My 20's were good to me- they encompassed so much of my major life experiences:

  • Graduating college
  • Moving to Morocco for a year
  • Hiking the Sahara Desert and surviving a sandstorm 
  • Getting engaged in Paris
  • Getting married
  • Buying my first house
  • Selling my first house
  • Spending three months in Ethiopia
  • Having my first child
  • Opening a store
  • Pursuing a career in real estate
  • Conceiving my second child
  • and finally this trip! 
A few days ago I finally decided to sign on with Keller Williams Realty. I'm really excited to begin this new adventure in life, and to see what my 30's will hold. Bon voyage! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Real Estate Monday: Highland Park Rehab

Welcome back! Last week I announced that I passed my Realtor's exam, meaning all I have to do now is decide which realty company to work for and then I'm good to go. I've literally dealt with almost every major company here in Pittsburgh in some capacity, so I have my general ideas about companies, but really on the whole I have no clue which one to work for. Any suggestions?
 Anyways, this week I chose a house with very few pictures and it definitely needs work, but I'll give my reasons.
Highland Park/East Liberty are undergoing major renovations. I know Highland Park is already super nice, but there's a ton of new commercial stuff going into East Liberty. There's an adorable boutique hotel (Hotel Indigo) going in a block behind Penn on Highland, lots of new restaurants already (have you tried Union Pig and Chicken yet? We had brunch there one Sunday and it was delish), and some cute shops already trailblazing their way in. This should only make the prices go up, up, up.
So back to the house I chose. It's a super old, charming farm house on Wellesley Avenue, a short walking distance from all the action. It's currently set up as a multifamily house with two apartments, but I think it'd be worth it to turn this one back into a single family house. I bet it'd take quite a bit of money to get this baby back to its former glory, but after it'd be so worth it. I'm sure you could get triple the amount once rehabbed. (*Sidenote: this is all my opinion, obviously. I in no way know the future real estate market, I only make assumptions based on my own opinions).
Here's a couple pics I got from Zillow.

5710 Wellesley Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

I'm dreaming out loud here, but it'd be gorgeous to do a big, grand door and extend the porch to wrap around the side there.

The original staircase looks to be in tact still and once that carpet was ripped off I'm sure it'd be gorgeous. There are a few more pictures on the listing website, but really I'd buy this house to gut and redo it, not for its current state. What do you think? Good investment, or dud?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our New Modern Chandelier

I've been meaning to switch out our old pendant with a chandelier that had greater light coverage for our living room. Previously we had this drum shade pendant hanging over our table back when our living room was a dining room. Once we switched the two rooms, we had a super low pendant and never changed it. I'm sure no one else noticed, but it annoyed me that a. it was so small in diameter, b. didn't really match our furniture, and c. hung low as if being hung over a table-thus we had to keep our coffee table centered under it to prevent bumping your head.


I've been scouring craigslist, but I had something very specific in mind and couldn't find anything.
Today at Lowes while picking up some furniture wax for another project, I wandered into the lighting section. After having some really high-end lighting pieces at my store, I swore I'd never buy lights at Lowes or Home Depot again. Kinda snobby, I know, but the quality just isn't there. BUT this one chandelier's price was $97 and at that price, I couldn't pass it up. When I checked out, it actually rang up higher at $159, but I assured the guy that the sign where I got the box said $97 and took him back to show him. What a score, huh?

Last night when my husband came home we hung it. Why are these things always so much harder to install than you think it should be? In theory, it's connecting three wires and screwing in a nut, but no, it took us seasoned veterans a whole hour to get this baby in. I haven't had an arm work out this good in a year.
Anyways, here's the end result.

I have ceiling fan bulbs on it in the meantime while I find some cool Edison light bulbs to put in there. I'm thinking something like these might work.

or this one:
There's so many to choose from on this website, but I think I like these two best (they have to have a skinny base, so that limits my options).

Next week we get our new couch in. I'll probably put this leather couch on my website for sale. Also for sale: the lovely black and white drum shade pendant- currently still for sale at Lowes for $99. We're asking $60.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Embellishing Old Art

My husband and I participated as vendors in the Steel City Con show in Monroeville this past weekend. It was our second time selling there. He has a huge, vintage arcade collection and does pretty well at these things. I really enjoy going along for the ride. These shows are pure entertainment. I could sit and people watch for hours. In fact, that's just what I do. And sell arcade marquees/NES games on the side. 



Anyways, this year we sat in the artist gallery across from some pretty neat artists. Directly across from us was Drew Blank. His sign said, "Drew Blank; arter writist". I immediately looked him up to see if "Drew Blank" was in fact his real name because that seemed too good to be true. He has a great inventory of kitschy, graphic art "squares". Here are some favorites we came home with.

He had such a colorful booth to look at. I found new things every time I looked. 


The second thing we came home with was something we thought was pretty clever: using old art as a new medium. I saw this old sailboat painting at a flea market the other weekend, and I was just thinking it'd be cool to repaint it with new colors and add some flare. This is what Audra did with her "Observers" painting. It was previously just a boring landscape picture, I'm sure she found laying in a pile at a local thrift store. It's nicely framed, but otherwise nothing special. She found three of these landscape paintings and proceeded to add her own flare in the form of robots (You can visit her facebook page to see the other two in the series). I'm not so much a fan of sci-fi, but I appreciate her creativity. My husband, on the other hand, was slightly obsessed, and thus, it's now hanging in our dining room (for now, at least). I think it's kind of unexpected. At first glance, you're like, "Oh, a landscape". And then, "Oh, robot explorers in a dining room". See what I mean? Not normal, huh? I could see where it almost might be offensive. Artists painting on other artist's work. But there's still something I really like about the idea. Think of all the old, boring art that might just get thrown out. It's recycling at its finest.


What do you think? Does it make you want to run out and try something with an old painting? That's what I want to do now. Thanks for the great art and a fabulous weekend, Steel City Con, we'll be back in August.

She went from this to this in 5 minutes flat. Oh the drama!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Real Estate Monday: Greenfield

I promise I've been scouring the internet for new homes, but until now, I hadn't found any "worthy" to post on. At least not that I considered "affordable". Today, I'm posting a house in Greenfield. It's located right across a bridge (of sorts) from Squirrel Hill. It's easily walkable, accessible, and all around a pretty great location if you ask me, without the sticker shock of Sq. Hill.
This house has the most incredible floors I've seen in Pittsburgh. Seriously. I'd like to interview the owners, they're so amazing. If you happen to read this, owners, please contact me, and do share how you did them. Anyways, this pretty much goes without saying, the floors are why I chose to showcase this house. You'll see what I mean.
306 Kaercher St., Pittsburgh, Pa 15207 listed for $195,000, it has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths.
 If I walked into this house and saw these floors, I think I'd buy it right then and there. I'm a sucker. I know.  This layout is very typical of any old, Pittsburgh home, but the floors make it flow oh-so-nice and really step it up a notch.
 They clearly remodeled the kitchen, adding a nice breakfast nook.
 I love the sliding doors off the dining room. You could open those up and really expand your living space once the weather warms up. Also, how beautiful is that mission style cabinet? I like that the color palate is neutral, too. It really allows the space to feel fresh and clean.
There's that bay window you see from the front with some wonderful built-ins.
 The floors on the second floor are beautiful as well. And look at that nice, big hallway.
 They've chosen to use the space on the third floor as a family room, but I'd imagine it could also be a pretty awesome master suite, as well. I'm sure there's hardwood under that carpet, too, but I like carpet in bedrooms. It makes it a little cozier under your feet.
I don't think this house will be on the market long. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life Lately (in pictures)

 It's been a long time since I blogged last. Let me catch you's been a busy season of life. And please excuse the iPhone pics. A couple of weeks ago we decided to repaint our house. It's a craftsman style bungalow, which is beautiful, but it's really boring. The siding is dirty and off white, the columns on the front porch are brown. The brick is sort of this ugly red, orange. Nothing really highlights the architectural features of this house. So we're painting.
Here's the inspiration photo below. Granted this is a different house, I feel like I can still pull inspiration from it. Isn't it gorgeous? Maybe I'd finally feel ok with chopping down the bushes that hide our front if it looked like this.

Here are two colors I tested below. I'm going with the bottom one. It's Downing Stone from Sherwin Williams.

 I painted that on the one day two weeks ago that we had nice weather. The next day it snowed and I booked a last minute flight to see my parents in Florida. It was 80 degrees and sunny all week.

I decided it was the perfect time to announce to the world we're expecting baby #2.

 The baby "bump" appears much faster second time around! Here we were at my favorite Cuban restaurant, Columbia, in St. Augustine.

 I love beach décor, and my mom decorates with cute starfish throughout her house. I think I'm going to try to incorporate some into my décor. Maybe it'll make me feel like I'm back in Florida.

Here's my mom "matsa" and Taliila at our favorite beach café, Lillie's.
What a wonderful week! I was supposed to be studying for my real estate exam, but that was so hard to do when I wanted to be out and soak up as much sun as possible.
When we got back home here in Pittsburgh it was a chilly 45 degrees! Welcome home, I guess.
Taliila and I drowned our sorrows in some retail therapy.  
 We scoured thrift stores (and craigslist) for a love seat for our ever-changing playroom. I swear I've rearranged this room a bajillion times. I found nothing of the sort. But I did find this awesome four-piece French provincial bedroom set. This would look awesome refinished. Too bad I'm pregnant and lifting/repainting four heavy pieces isn't really going to happen right now. So I thought I'd at least share the find. It's at St. Vincent de Paul's in Murrysville (there's a tall chest not pictured).
We ended up getting a cheapo Ikea love seat since we had such tight space requirements. I took our desk out and replaced it with our old tv console that was more narrow. The desk is now for sale on my website. $60 (approx. 40" wide).
Here's the new couch in the space. So much more room now, and there's actually a comfy place to sit while T plays.
Now you're officially caught up. I have my national exam coming up next week that once I pass I will be an official Realtor. Whohoo! We'll see if I actually like it as much as I think I will. Time will tell.
In the mean time, I've been keeping an eye on some items in the newest auction to redo. Soon I'll be decorating another nursery. Fun. Fun. Fun.




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