we bought a zoo

Not really.

But we did buy a house!

For real.  And it’s amazing.  As in, God-totally-had-this-one-picked-out-a-year-ago-which-is-why-we-lost-the-other-two-and-why-we-haven’t-settled-for-anything-else-and-now-it’s-all-worth-it.

Whew.  That was a long one.

Well, here it is:

It’s completely charming and everything–no, more–than we’d prayed for.  It basically our dream house in the village, minus the 10 acres Andrew thinks he wants and the white cabinets I’ve always wanted.  Oh well, small price to pay!

It’s located smack-dab in the middle of the village, which means its walkable to EVERYTHING–both the cutesy “historic” north part of Main Street, as well as other things a little further south, like Charlie’s Diner and even Pasquale’s.  It’s just down the street from the Roycroft Campus and across the street from Hamlin Park.  When we left the home inspection yesterday, we could hear field day going on and see kiddos in brightly colored t-shirts running around.  Our hearts swelled.

It has a relatively large, private yard (giant by village standards), comes with a small deck, flagstone patio and hot tub.  It also has a two-car garage, but because we both have really large vehicles, one of our first projects will be moving some of the support beams (it has a second story storage loft) to make sure we can get them both in there before winter.

Before I get too far, I have to tell the story of how we came to find this house.  Actually, we didn’t find it at all.  It’s really a miracle, and I just can’t even stress that enough.  I know I speak for both of us when I say that we are feeling incredibly humbled and blessed beyond words.  God truly had this one for us and has orchestrated the process every step of the way.

In fact, the house wasn’t even on the market yet.  The current owners (who are AWESOME by the way–I feel like we could be friends!) found out they needed to move and decided to ‘test the waters’ by putting out one of those little plastic boxes with brochures with info and a couple exterior photos.  No ‘For Sale’ sign or anything.

Andrew’s dad happened to walk by on his way to the gym one night and grabbed a flyer for us.  But we didn’t even know what to do next; do we call our realtor or not?  Long story short: our realtor graciously offered to step aside and let us handle this on our own with the owners, we arranged a time to see the place and then waited.  Not anxiously at all; I didn’t have a chance to get excited since I hadn’t even seen any interior photos.  Seeing (and then falling in love with) this house has been the most peaceful experience yet.

That same afternoon, we called the owners back and chatted with them on the couch and basically told them we’d be buying the house straight-up; in fact, I even quipped, “Now, no more opening of doors or answering of the phone!”  Little did I know that that little statement sealed the deal for us, according to what the owner said yesterday.

Two days later we had a signed contract and the house passed the home inspection yesterday with flying colors!  Which, for being a 1926 build, is no small task…

Anyway, back to the tour:

(Can you tell I’m excited?  I’ve been waiting more than a year to do this…)

Here’s the enclosed porch, which is also the main entrance to the house.  A porch, either open or with windows, is something we both really wanted, since they are so ubiquitous to the village.  The owners have wicker furniture out there now, but I think we’d like to turn it into more of an entrance with a place for coats and shoes, as well as some seating.  I mean, with a view like that, you can’t NOT sit out there with a book and coffee or tea or something!

Check out all that light!  Finally, I’ll be able to take decent food photos!  Also, the interior is painted the same color as the outside of the house.  The house will need to painted (or sided) within the next year or so, so we’ll have to make a call on whether we want to paint it a different color or something.  Andrew loves a really dark gray and I’ve always loved slate blue (both with black shutters), but the sage green the house is right now is very nice as well.  I suppose when we finally do side the house with the ‘wood-look’ vinyl siding, we’ll really have to make a decision.

After you come in from the porch, you enter an L-shaped room to your left and the entrances to the kitchen and dining room are on the right.  They have a giant piano directly in front of the entrance, as well as another dining table and a sitting area in front of the wood-burning fire place.

From the fire place looking toward the front of the house/porch:

We don’t have ANY furniture for these areas yet, so we’ll have to figure that out shortly after moving in.  I don’t want to fill it with furniture, but I also don’t want it to sit empty for months, either!  We both want leather couches next, although I’d like the leather to be what we use on a daily basis, since that’s where the animals will congregate.  Leather = less hair sticking all over the place!

Here is a glass door between the formal seating area around the fire place and the back entrance off the deck:

The entry is painted a really neat avocado green that I think I’m going to keep, at least for awhile.  I love color (as do the owners), but one thing I learned in the Ohio house was that I wanted to keep the colors a little more muted and in the same family and tone.  I think I just had too many bright colors going on in that house.

This is what you see when you enter from the back deck.  The formal sitting room to your right, basement door and stairs in front, a half bath on the left and the opening to the family room and kitchen on the left as well.  There is a built-in coat closet immediately to the left as you walk in.

Here’s what you see if you stop in the hall and look into the family room.  Again, I love their colors!  I love the gray on the wall, and check out the pieces above the TV: not sure if you can see them well or not, but they are “2,” “0,” “5,” which is the number of the house!  LOVE THAT.  I must find out where they got them.

That white door you see on the right is the laundry–FIRST-FLOOR laundry.  Seriously, you should have seen some of the basements we’ve seen…and most of them still have the laundry down there.  Ick!

My favorite is the bank of windows to the back yard.  I can’t get enough natural light.

See that white piece of furniture under the clock?  They’re letting us keep it!  LOVE IT!  Andrew loves giant clocks, too, so we’ll have to go find one as well.  I’m thinking maybe a good place for one (not that right there is a bad spot) would be at the top of the stairs?

Back to the hallway…here is the half-bath:

It’s a grayish-purple and a very earthy tone and is really growing on me.  It goes so well with the green in the hallway.  Andrew really wanted a half-bath on the main floor, so I’m glad this house has one.  Most of these older ones do have a bath on the main floor, but it’s usually been turned into a full bath (so it’s cramped) and is the second bath of the house, which means there is still only one full bath on the second floor.


The owners did this shortly after they moved in about three years ago, and didn’t anticipate moving, so I’m sad to see them not enjoying their new kitchen.  I really am.  As much as I love this house, I truly wish they didn’t have to move.

It has cherry cabinets (my dream is white, so we’ll see what happens down the road, but for now, I’m thrilled) and they’re nice.  Like, really nice.  Granite countertop.  Stainless steel appliances.  Built-in microwave (I hate countertop microwaves–the less clutter the better), gas range (finally!!) and an awesome French-door, bottom freezer fridge!

There is even a small pantry in the kitchen, which is something you rarely find in these old homes.  In fact, the one we’re renting doesn’t have one, so I had to take a small bookcase and drag it into the room next to the kitchen for a place to keep food.

Off the kitchen is the dining room:

I LOVE the white plate rail on the walls, the white trim, the beautiful floors and all the natural light.  I’m thinking we’ll eventually paint it something in the blue/green/teal earth-tone family, and we’ll need to get some sort of black hutch in order to store table linens and all my cookbooks.

Check out this window!  LOVE IT.

Here’s the laundry area, off the family room:

A little cramped, but we’re thinking of trying to relocate the hook-up to the wall with the door (we’d get rid of the door) to create a bit more space.  I have those large units with the pedestals, which might make the space seem even more cramped.  Me + cramped space = claustrophobia.

Beautiful, unique staircase!  I love that it’s to the side of the front entrance and that it kind of breaks that front L-shaped room up a bit.

Here’s the hall upstairs if you take a right where the staircase forks:

I love the built-in linen closets and drawers!  A lot of these old homes have them; they are something I’d never seen before we started looking at homes here last year.

Bedroom #1:

Guest bath:

It’s painted a light brown and has light green accents, which I really like.  It has a window (yes! natural light!) near the shower, so I think I’d like to go with a really light or sheer curtain to let as much light in as possible.  The wood floor has even been stained a darker brown than the hallway, which I think is a neat touch as well.

Bedroom #2:

Here’s more of bedroom 2, but it’s really more of an office.  It’s L-shaped and small, but would fit a twin bed no problem.  I think we’ll make it an office, too, for now.

Here’s bedroom #3:

Check out the wall of built-in closets!  These might be my favorite thing in the house, mostly because they are just so unique and different and classy.  They look kind of like shutters, and they slide.

I also like the light green on the walls in here and see this as a baby’s room one day, but until then, maybe a place to put a craft table and an ironing board?  Here’s my dilemma:  The room is too beautiful to NOT use at all, and while it would make a beautiful guest room, I would hate to go to all the trouble of setting it up that way and then in a year or two (or whenever), having to turn it into a baby’s room.  And it’s giant, which means it could hold TWO kiddos at some point, which is more proof that it should be, one day, a baby’s room.

Here’s the hall looking the other way, and you can just see the top of the right fork of the stairs on the left.

If you were to take a left at the fork in the road stairs, you would see this:

HOLY COW!  Can I just say that perhaps the weirdest/neatest thing about this house is that the color that is on the walls in this bedroom is the EXACT color I was going to paint it?!  Our bedroom in Ohio was more sky blue than this, and I had already decided I wanted a more slate blue the next time around.  God, you are too funny.

It’s currently carpeted, although I’m sure one day soon we’ll do wood.  Andrew would like to find some reclaimed room and have it refinished/stained to match the rest of the upstairs.  We’ll also need to add a ceiling fan, which will be a bit of a project for Andrew since there isn’t currently a light there.

And get this–a walk-in closet!

It’s giant, and I’ve already informed Andrew that if he can’t keep his stuff neat and tidy, he’ll be asked to use another closet.  Orderly, color-coordinated closets make me happy.

And the icing on the cake:

A beautiful master bath with TWO sinks (essential!), a Jacuzzi tub, stand-up shower and WINDOWS that’s already painted light blue!  Seriously.  I feel like I’m in a dream.  Don’t wake me, I like it here.

The floor is made of those little white hexagonal “subway” tiles (I think that’s what they call them) and I love it.  So classic.  LOVE the wainscoting on the walls, too.  I also love the floor-t0-ceiling tiles in the shower, too.  At some point, I’d like a clear shower door; I realize it’s less private, but I think it just looks sharp.

And last but not least, the basement:

You wouldn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but it so is.  First of all, we’ve seen houses as old as 1870; you can imagine the basements in those babies!  Seriously, some of the ones we’ve seen can’t even be used as storage.  Think sitting water, musty smells, caving-in cement walls and dirt floors.

So, this one is fantastic compared to those!  It has plenty of storage and is dry.

It even has a partially-finished workout area!

And, oh by the way, they want to leave their work out equipment!  I almost fell off my chair when they said that!  I have no problem getting to the gym, but it would be so nice to have something at home for those days when we might get snowed in or something, or maybe so I could do weights after a run outside.  What a blessing!

So, as you can see, God has just blessed our socks off and Andrew and I still feel like it’s not even real.  Except it is, since I dropped the second part of our “good faith” deposit off today…

We tentatively close August 15 and can barely contain ourselves.  I’ve already started my “to buy” list for the house…

where we live, pre-snow

This is our neighborhood.  I walked (HA!  WALKED!) to the hardware store to buy a lightbulb shortly after moving into our rental house in October and snapped a few photos along the way.  (Somehow, they never actually got published…  Life happens, I guess.)

This is the top of our neighborhood where the road meets up with Quaker (a.k.a. 20A) which is the road that takes you to East Aurora.  It extends east that way (the way you’re looking, above) and west through Orchard Park and further past the Bills stadium and, eventually, turns into Southwestern Blvd., which is a main thoroughfare here and also the street on which the Y resides.

Here is this adorable little gift shop on Quaker called the Lemon Tree.  I finally went in once when Emily was visiting and it’s definitely your typical gift shop with kitchen items, kitschy items, papers, baby stuff, etc…

And this even more adorable children’s bookstore called “B is for Books.”  The name is interesting, though, since I came to find out through writing an article for the paper that the owner’s last name actually starts with a ‘B,’ so I thought that was neat.  It’s the kind of place I can envision myself going once we have kids, although by that time I’m hoping we’re settled in East Aurora!  There is a used bookstore in EA, as well as the library on Main Street, so those will have to do.

Here’s a shot from the intersection of Quaker and Buffalo Roads, the main intersection of Orchard Park.  I love the lampposts–they’re the kind that play music, too.

Here’s the hardware store, around since 1907.  It’s no Lowe’s, but it has the necessities and is way closer (and walkable!), which I love.  And I love shopping locally.  I think it’s becoming more and more important these days to do that.  I’m not saying I’m ready to swear-off my Honda Pilot or other foreign-made goods (I’m all for good, old-fashioned capitalism), but when all things are equal, I’d rather support the local economy and reduce my carbon footprint.

And we’re back!  Here is our actual street and our house is about two past the stop sign on the right.  It’s a cute little street filled with cute houses and youngsters.  Ours, as a rental, leaves a bit to be desired in the curb-appeal category, but it gets the job done.

Now, imagine all this under a blanket of white.  That what happened yesterday just before class, and by the afternoon, it was all gone again.  I’m thinking my snow boots are going to get a run for their money this winter…


more than live-able, but not quite ‘home’

At last, a ‘real’ post!  I love that I’ve been able to post quick things from my iPhone, but nothing beats a good ‘ole picture-filled narrative!

I don’t quite feel like I’ve gotten my head above water yet (Andrew is gone this weekend and I had high hopes for being a crazy-productive person in all sorts of ways, yet I never get as much done as I want to…); I’m in the middle of a bunch of random things:

-finishing up an article for the Advertiser


-need to start Chemistry homework

-baking bread

-“feeding” my sourdough starter I got from King Arthur Flour on Friday

-making meatballs to freeze

-Bible Study

-dishes BY HAND (our dishwasher is less-than-satisfactory)


-giving myself a mani/pedi (I am in DESPERATE need)

-and the MYRIAD unreturned phone calls, emails and letters I need to address….

So, until tonight after I’ve made a bit more progress on the above, I’ll probably feel a bit discombobulated.  That word is so fitting.  (Before anyone can say it, yes, I know I bring a lot of these ‘tasks’ on myself.  I can’t help it…)

Did I mention I totally forgot today was the time change?  Good thing my uber-smart alarm clock changed automatically…

Anyway, here is the much-anticipated (or not, depending upon how you feel about it…) photo montage of the new place.  Disclaimer:  It isn’t clean.  It isn’t organized.  I basically snapped a bunch of photos this morning once the sun started coming up.

We’re pretty much unpacked, at least the things we’ll need for the near term.  This move was certainly a challenge; we knew going into it that our stuff would be in storage, which means bringing A LOT with us, and then now going into a rental, we’re faced with moving twice.  So, we’ve basically unpacked and re-packed A LOT.

Dining Room:

-took the three shelves from the office and combined them to form a larger one with the corner units on each side to hold linens, salt and pepper shakers and knick-knacky things


-As I said, I’m in the middle of a bunch of baking projects, so it’s a bit messy

-I don’t have a lot of counter space; that’s been the biggest challenge

-But, I got my white cabinets!  Ha!

The “paneled” room:

-This room is off the kitchen and we’re putting the computer and the printer (once we find it) there

-Our bigger red couch didn’t fit through either door into the living room, so it’s living here for now

-On the left is a sliding door out to a screened-in patio and I also have a small bookcase with my food items, since the kitchen is only big enough for my “stuff”

“Pepto-Bismol Pink Pet” room:

-This room hold’s Hadrian’s crate, the kitty stuff and Andrew’s closet.  Hi Odie!

Guest room:

-Coincidentally, it’s painted almost the same color as in our house in Ohio, so everything looks very nice

-I stayed up until 12:30 unpacking and making the bed in there; it’s almost finished and ready for Emily and Dan, who are visiting in TWO WEEKS!

-I’m also going to set up a desk in there for quiet studying (I do my homework in the dining room) and keep my craft and mailing supplies in the closet

Our bedroom:

-It’s only slightly less pink, and I had plans (and all the supplies!) to paint, but I’ll be honest–my enthusiasm is waning.  IF it gets done, it won’t be until Christmas break, at the earliest.

-There is only room for one nightstand (so I get it) and it makes sense, since I’m the last one in bed and definitely the first one out every morning (hello 5 a.m. school mornings!)

Moving on to the basement–you’ll see why Andrew and I were thrilled with it.  It’s giant and warm and dry, which is important since it holds all our stuff!

My kitchen “goodies:”

-I set up some chrome shelving in the basement near the stairs to hold my appliances.  I placed the most-used ones near the top since I can grab them without going all the way to the bottom…I’m so smart 🙂

-Don’t you just love my colorful Le Creuset shelf??  I do…

Laundry area:

-I have a line (sweet!) to hang my running stuff and plenty of shelves

-I’ll be honest; between my washer and dryer at home and the HE ones at the hotel (however grody they were), I’ve gotten spoiled by the front load/HE washers and dryers.  These, while relatively new, just are not as good.  Seriously people, HE really is a HUGE difference

These are all the re-packed boxes–basically we opened them, took stuff out and re-packed and labelled what we didn’t need or want out right now.  All my fun dishes are in there, and lots of decoration items.

A giant pile of paper…

Empty boxes….

And our rubbermaid tub collection!  Most are “memories,” like boxes of yearbooks, trophies–you know, the things you can’t really part with, but what the heck do you do with them things, and other stuff, like camping and canning equipment, as well as Christmas decorations and miscellaneous furniture.

It’s a work in progress; I feel like the basement could be better organized and the upstairs still doesn’t feel very ‘homey,’ whether it’s decorated or not.  Maybe once Andrew actually unpacked his clothes it will…