house goals

OK, house update is here. Warning in advance that this is a lengthy post. As you may have read here or on social media, we bought our house three summers ago and always had the intention of fixing it up. It is an awesome house in the heart of South East Portland, in the same neighborhood I grew up in. We can walk everywhere. Pretty much every convenience is just around the corner: some of the best restaurants and bars in the city, a big beautiful park about 100 meters from our front door, coffee shops, book stores, ice cream shops, vintage clothes & furniture shops, food carts. Literally everything that makes Portland a desirable and livable city is at our fingertips.

When we first moved in we did some small cosmetic things to update. We took some nasty tile off the fireplace and did a really neat concrete DIY for our kitchen counters as well as used some tile paint on the backsplash. Small easy things that made the house way less offensive.


But plans were always to make it more of a livable space long-term & more a reflection of our tastes without removing the amazing character and charm. Initial desires were to remove the entry and kitchen floor tile to expose the hard woods underneath. Simple enough, but what if we could completely renovate and reconfigure the kitchen. With renovating the kitchen you can’t ignore the potential and opportunity of the back sleeping porch. How amazing would it be if the kitchen spilled into a large light filled room that connected you to our big backyard. What about a waterfall deck off of the newly created kitchen and living area. And new landscaping too, definitely need that. Maybe a backyard movie projector as well. And what if we turned our shed into a guest suite. That would be rad right?

And if we took care of the downstairs sleeping porch then it would be near impossible to ignore redoing the upstairs sleeping porch. How about a master suite upstairs connecting the sleeping porch to the upstairs bedroom… You see it was quite an extensive list.

I had been working on Mike ever since we moved in and would cook up little presentations to help him visualize all the potential. Just this past spring we found this house on Dwell, as seen above, and it was the perfect inspiration for our house. A really beautiful blend of the old and new. So in February we began talking to architects and contractors. Our conversations would start conservative with just the kitchen and hardwoods convo but quickly went to all the potential and opportunity to truly make it our dream house. Estimates started out around $75k for the basics but some estimates came back as high as $400k to do it all and make it look like the Dwell house (so dreamy).

So just three weeks ago we took the advice to chat with a realtor and see what we might be able to sell for after doing the renovations. We were told that our home value had increased quite a bit in our three years of just sitting pretty and doing no real work to it. So we had two options: 1) do the renovations to make it our forever home, without any promise that they would hugely increase the value or 2) take the money and run.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

We were a bit stuck and not sure what to do. So for a week we didn’t really worry about it. We had fun thinking about the opportunities this could provide us but really didn’t know what to do. I continued to check my Redfin app and then three weeks ago found a house that kind of had all of the things on our list. It had all the updates that we wanted to do to our house and was just 10 blocks away. So still close to the best of South East Portland. Within a week of seeing it we made an offer and after a few counters had a deal.

That was a week ago on Sunday. And since then we had to turn our house around to get it ready for market with the first open house on Thursday. This whole move doesn’t happen if we don’t have a pending offer on our house in two weeks. So that is a bit scary, but fortunately it is a sellers market. If you know anyone looking for an amazing house in Portland please share our listing with them.

I will be back with updates, more photos and some notes on the whirlwind process we went through to get the house ready for market.

Xx Ly