It’s Mine, All Mine!

Yep, it’s a done deal folks. That sweet little cape cod is now our home sweet home. SO EXCITED!

All the fun started last Thursday, when we went to the house for our final walk through. Thursday night as I was falling off to sleep I leaned over to Jay with an epiphany of a thought that popped into my head. If buying a house was to getting married (I feel like I’m taking a standardized test here..), the final walk through on the house is like your rehearsal dinner, except without lots of food and wine. Now that I think about it, walk throughs could be greatly enhanced if said food and wine accompanied it, the real estate world should work on that…

Closing, that’s like your wedding day – exciting, expensive, emotional, binding … 😉 And the rest … it’s like your marriage – sometimes a whole lotta work, but so worth it when you see how amazing it can be with lots of nurture and dedication. Symbolism like whoaaaa – what what. Needless to say, my perfectly contrived analogy was blowing my mind at 1am in the morning… 😀

Or maybe what was blowing my mind was this image, still fresh in my noggin.

Durham North Carolina Real Estate

Yep – that sign means it’s officially ours! Well, almost.

For the walk through, I met Mr. Jay up at the house. He insisted on riding his bike so that he could scope out his new commute home. 😉 This picture just makes my heart so happy. Nothing makes this guy smile like a bike, I’m telling ya.

Bike Commute from Durham to RTP

Luckily, we didn’t find any hairy beasts left behind during the walk through, like this guy. Pretty sure he qualifies as a hairy beast, and he’s been chilling like a villian in the upstairs closet since our first visit to our future abode. Not sure if Santa got kidnapped, or what the deal is with him sporting that bag over his head and all.

Life Size Santa

They did leave a decent amount of junk behind, but really, meh. A few hangers here and there … from what we’ve unearthed so far it looks like they also left behind some interesting stuff. Like a big old collection of old magazines and a mad amount of really, really old books! When we went to investigate more Friday evening after closing, we found literally boxes full of books, some dating back to the 1920’s (antique roadshow is calling).

Value of Vintage Books

Unfortunately some of them are pretty damaged, since they’ve been up in a humid, southern attic for who knows how long, but a lot of them are in good enough condition that I think they’d look pretty nice styling a bookcase in the future. For now I’ve sorted them into a definite keep pile and I check on ebay first to make sure those goodies aren’t worth a house payment first, pile. 😀

Some of my favorites are some razzle mcdazzle old school children’s books – which (in a very PC fashion) refer to learning all about your friends in different countries – like Kimbi, the “native” of the jungle. Yeeeep.

Vintage Children Books

Some of the books are actually super pretty! Overall, I’d say I set aside 60 or so that I plan on using in some fashion in the future! I also told Jay that I’m pretty sure we need to install a built-in bookcase now. Ya know, so I can have a spot to put all my pretty books that no one will ever read. #practical

Books from First World War

Here’s a stack of keepers I set aside. Love them!

Determining Value of Old Books

So, I got super exited about the books we found in this post, and forgot to tell you about all sorts of other exciting things that happened on move-in day. Turn the key in the lock right after closing – and Jay immediately notices something chilling in a corner of the living room. He walks up to it, and says “Is that a bird”. Cue Mary – mmmm eerrrrr, I don’t know (backing away toward door). As he’s assessing the bird situation in the living room, I crane my head to the right and see ANOTHER BIRD in the downstairs bedroom. Whaaattt? So I snapped a very quick photo of the first bird, just to prove it happened and then dropped everything like it was hot and ran for the hills. Jay, assuming they were dead (all sorts of questions in my head at this point – why are there dead birds in my house? how did they get in here? is this house possessed?) and low and behold, I hear a bellowing yell from the inside of the house informing me that the birds are alive. It’s allllivvvveee!!

Now that I’m outside, I’m mildly entertained by this concept, so I get close enough to the windows to peer in and see Jay running around like a lunatic, opening the windows and trying to gently coax the birds to flee out the windows. Snicker … See that little black thing in the corner, it’s a wee little birdie that got into our abode pre-move in.

Birds Getting Into House

Another very exciting detail was the actual closing process. Our realtor is so sweet and amazing, that she brought champagne for us to toast the sale of the house! This is our third house, but definitely the first time that anyone popped bubbly for us!

Champagne Toast

Seriously, if anyone lives in the triangle area (or is looking to move to the area, like us!), than I can’t recommend Eve enough. Here we are with the entire dream team that helped this purchase happen. We only had just over 3-weeks between the offer and closing, so they were all rocks stars to get things moving as quickly as they did. Really a great group of people! (Here is her contact info, if you’re looking for a realtor!)


Overall, I’m having a hard time even enunciating how extremely excited I am. We had tons of fun making some major changes the first weekend, and I’m so excited to share them with you later this week!

This picture pretty much sums up my sentiment about our new little abode! Now, time to start working and getting this place into tip top shape!

Moving to New Home

Forest Hills

Being that we were from out of state when we began our house hunting adventure here in Durham, we really had no idea how diverse and varied the neighborhoods were here in town. Our real estate agent was awesome about bringing us around to new haunts, and one of the locations that I absolutely fell in love with was Forest Hills. This section of town was not even remotely on our radar when we started hunting, most likely since all of the houses are completely out of our budget. 😀 Plus, since it’s such a prime time swank location, houses rarely get listed in this section of town to boot.

Durham Neighborhood Map

Now partly because I felt like a mega-licous stalker, and partly because the sun was setting, this is a short and sweet little tour of the Forest Hills neighborhood. As gorgeous as this area is, I’d definitely say it’s got a slightly different vibe than the other chunks of town, so I felt a bit more paparazzi over here when I got some strange looks from all the fancy pants people walking their dogs that evening 😀

Here is a small sampling of the stunning pads you can find though! How about this brick charmer?

Traditional Brick Colonial Home in Durham, North Carolina


Maybe it’s because they remind me of my Grandma’s house up in Wisconsin, but I absolutely love the cape cod style of home. This one is totally done right with the greige exterior color and contrasting black shutters.

Traditional Cape Cod

And right next door, a regal white painted brick home. What would I even DO with a house that big – it’s a dangerous question, people, very dangerous.

Ivy Around Steps

Even though I know it’s an invasive down here, I can even handle how much I love the look of a walkway surrounded by ivy.

Ivy around walkway

Given my love affair with ivy, you can see why I was totally smitten with this section of town!

This house needed some updating (awnings must go, now!), but perched up high on a hill as you enter this neighborhoods main loop, you definitely can’t beat the location. I love how atypical the homes facade is, too.

Homes in Forest Hills

Hard to do, but this curved brick walkway may just beat out the whole ivy look. A wee more expensive, but come ON, can you beat that curb appeal?

Forest Hills Home

This house is great from all angles – this is a side view of the same home!

Forest Hills

And if you’re all googly eyed over these mansions of yesteryear like I was, one just went on the market a week or so ago for a cool $1 mill, which is quite frankly, on the low end in this hood! Keep pinching those pennies Durhamites!

Oh and PSSTT!! As of yesterday – we’ve got some pretty BIG news to share next Monday!! 😀 Spoiler alert – We found a ( ______ ) – it starts with the letter H…. 😀

On the Hunt

Ya know, coming from the Ann Arbor Real Estate market (which is red smoking hot) I think Jay and I both thought that it would be easier to find a place to live down here in Durham. Although we had to wait it out a bit when we bought both our homes in Ann Arbor, it’s actually taking us quite a bit longer to find a pad here in NC. We’ve been scouring the market for a while now, and I’ve always had my eye on a set of reno’s going down near one of the downtown hot spots, called 9th Street. I knew we’d never purchase these homes since an investor was decking them out to the nines, but one of the units just came on the market and I just had to share all the amazingness with you guys. Buckle your seatbelts, it’s a beaut.

Flipping Real Estate

See that cute little blue number on the right? That’s the house – adorable, right?! (Keep in mind, I snapped these photos before it hit the market, so that front door and awning had not been painted yet). Y’all ready to see the AMAZING interior?

Right off the bat, you walk into a beautiful and open Living Space, complete with refinished floors and lots of natural light. I’m totally smitten with that glass tile around the fireplace as well.

Staged Living Room

Here’s another angle. Delicious. Love the double windows up front.

Staging Living Room

Off the Living Room, you’ve got hands down, one of the prettiest flipped kitchen’s I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

White Shaker Cabinets

MEOW. Look at those cabinets, the backsplash, just all of it.

White Kitchen Shaker Cabinets

So many perfect details.

Subway Tile Backsplash

I love that this house has a mud room off the back as well. With all the houses we’ve owned so far we’ve had rinky dink entries that definitely would not accommodate a space for a bench or any type of storage.

Small Mud Room

Capping off the downstairs, there’s a small little hall bath. Perfect for guests.

Small Hall Bath

Upstairs, you’ve got a roomy and gorgeous Master Suite. I’m a neutral’s girl, and usually find myself putting whiteish colors up on the wall, but man alive am I loving this seagreen color in the master.

Bedroom with White Oak

Here’s the room from another angle.

Bedroom with Dormers

Another one of my house bucket list items is actually having a bedroom big enough to put a pretty little bench in (it’s the small things, right?) So far, all our bedrooms have been so dang small that it’s really not possible to add a bench in.

Window Seat in Bedroom

Keeping it classy, they added a jaw dropping on suite. The door and that vintage chic hardware is just killing me.

Traditional Bath

You just can’t go wrong with a traditional subway tile pattern. It looks perfect against that light gray up on the walls. Notice the marble inset shampoo nook, too?

Bathroom with Subway Tile

And a grand finale for this grand tour of a grand old house is glorious little backyard. Although the landscaping is all new, it will fill out over time and make this a wonderful living space.

Side Porch

They even thought to put in some raised bed gardens! A renovation after my own heart. You can see from this back vantage view, that this house is divided into two identical duplex units, so everything you saw on this tour, is duplicated over on the left.

Raised Bed Garden

The dreamer and schemer in me would absolutely love to do renovations just like this one where no detail is overlooked. As someone that’s on the hunt for houses often, there is nothing that makes me cringe more than a poorly done flip with builder grade all over the place. Ahhh, but first, I’ve gotta find a place to land my booty – then I can worry about flipping some real estate! 😀

House Hunting with Mary: Vol 2

House Hunting with Mary

Y’all ready for week #2 of House Hunting with Mary? Can you tell I’m sticking with a Southern theme here 😀 As far as real estate goes, I’m pretty partial to the oldies but goodies. Some of that is due to the details in older houses, but more than anything, I love, love, love the look and feel of an established urban neighborhood with 200 year old trees and 100+ year old houses and lovely little brick paver paths with flowers and ivy creeping up along the side. You picking up what I’m putting down?

Well now that we’ve visited lovely homes in both Raleigh and Asheville, I thought we could move a few miles further north up to Durhum. Home to Duke University, this city has lots of lovely neighborhoods where I’d consider setting down roots and staying for a bit. And amazingly homes. Like this one.

Durham Real Estate

Come to Mama. Lurrrvvve it. Whenever I find a house in my browsing that I really, really love, I immediately grab the hubster and tell him that I found our next house. When that fails to get his attention, I make my voice a bit more stern and tell him that I’ve actually really found our next house and if he doesn’t scoot his booty over here to see it, I’m going to march down to NC and just buy it myself. With imaginary money that grows on trees … 😉

I mean, any house that starts out with a porch this lovely, is a house I have to own.

Porch with Wood Flooring

What I love the most about this house, is you can absolutely see a family going about their day in it. Hanging out on the front porch sipping on a glass of wine as the neighbors walk their dog by. Or in this kitchen, a whole group of bambinos hanging out with their papa bear cooking (this mama bear does not cook) 😀

White Kitchen with Oak Floors

That’s a heart to my home if I ever saw one. I’m dying over here – isn’t it gorg? I just want to kiss those counter tops and chest bump the cabinets. Mine, mine, I want it to be alll miiinnneee.

Here is another view of the kitchen, you can see a perfect little mudroom/laundry room off to the side.

Kitchen with attached Laundry

I love how the dining space opens right up into that gorgeous kitchen. Perfect for entertaining!

Red Walls in Dining Room

At the front of the house, you have a few different living areas. I love the den, which has built-in bookcases along one wall. Gorg.

Built-in Bookcase in Study

There is also a formal living space to the right as you walk in, immediately across from the Den. Complete with a lovely little fireplace.

Living Room with Fireplace

Upstairs, the house has wood floors throughout with fireplaces in some of the bedrooms.

Is that a life long dream for anyone else? A fireplace in the bedroom? Yes, please.

Bedroom with Light Oak Floors

Even the closets are super cute and chic!

Plank Walls in Closet

Tell me, which room is your favorite? Got a soft spot for the kitchen like me? 😀