Baldwin Building Adventures

There is so much happening in the world right now and so much of it is so, so heavy. I have never felt less Christmas-y- ever. People are really hurting right now. If you are friends with Amanda on Facebook, then you already know that Demetrius is going through hell in the form of a concussion followed by an extended stay at Children’s Hospital. I’ve just lost two friends to cancer, one who mentored me and changed my life and one that while I haven’t spoken to her in many years, had an impact on some of my hardest years. We have a new president in our country and no matter how people feel about him- they fall on one side of a fence that has divided us as a nation AND as Christians. People are hurting right now and it’s no fun.

But….in the midst of all that, we’ve been on a grand adventure. It started less than 6 weeks ago, when being the protective neighbor that I am, I spotted someone with no business in our neighborhood driving around aimlessly and looking at my neighbors houses. I asked if she was lost and she said, “no, I’m a realtor looking for a house.” Done being neighborly and now just being nosy I started to ask more questions.

Turns out, the house was for her and her husband and they were looking to purchase a house in our neighborhood and scrape it to turn it into a modern home.

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They had purchased two lots just a few blocks from us (closer to downtown and on a cul-de-sac and next to a stream and walking trail) and wanted to build their dream home there, but being in a historic preservation district, they could only build a Craftsman style home (or similar). Do you guys know anyone who writes on this blog who likes Craftsman style?

In a “hey, just for fun” moment, I invited the realtor to our house just to check it out, but told her the only way we would consider selling is if we could buy those lots from her, knowing the real estate market and knowing if they put them back on the market they would be gone to a cash buyer in a minute. When he got home that night, I told Andy the story of me being a nosy concerned neighbor and really played it all as just being for kicks, because we were not planning to sell our house, but when I said “craftsman home” he stopped what he was doing and said, “OK. Now I’m listening.” In inviting the realtor over to see our house, we were very much like, “whatever happens”. When I say we had no expectations, I couldn’t mean that more. So many things would have to happen for this to work, so we didn’t expect anything.

Stacy (the realtor) came over on a Saturday and within 14 days we were under contract with her. We had agreed on fair pricing- she and her husband buying our house and us buying the lots.

This has been one of those crazy rides that can only be God. As Amanda said to me, “God is giving you something you could have never been bold enough to even pray for or know you wanted.” And she’s right. This is all so far beyond my imagination and expectations…it’s mind-blowing.

After so many things falling into place for us the remaining piece was a place to live while we build our home. Last night we noticed our neighbor (5 houses down from us!!) is renting out his house. He had put up his sign no more than 2 hours before we drove by. It will be available exactly when we need it in mid-February.  He is a friend of ours – someone we have gotten to know through being neighborly, who is renting his house for way cheaper than any house I have looked at. It’s another link in the chain that we can only see as God saying: “I got this. I’m doing this!”

This morning, we closed on both properties and all four of us left the closing table happy. Stacy and Eric are getting to create their modern dream home and Andy and I are getting to create what we didn’t know we wanted.

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Buyers, sellers, buyers, sellers

Here’s the start of the plans we will be using. We’re building a duplex first and will live in half of that while we build our home on the larger lot. We are beyond excited and also beyond terrified, but just like getting married (ten years ago yesterday!!) we know it will be exciting and scary and there will be great moments and not-so-great moments. We just know it’s from Him and so we’re moving along…..and all I can say right now is “WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING!!????!!!!”

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DINK Dreams and Bathrooms

 Do you ever imagine living your life totally differently? David and I do. We tease about what our lives would look like if we were single, but we also dream about being DINK’s (Double Income No Kids). In my DINK’s dream, we live in a big city, preferably New York City. And I would be a super good designer, helping people create spaces that pull out the best in themselves. (And my clients would have unlimited budgets.) We would live in an amazing pre-war apartment that had exposed brick, and a rooftop deck of our own. We would meet at the gym after we each had our wonderfully fulfilling days at work, where we would work out with our personal trainer who would help keep us in amazing shape. My husband would have seeable abs, and my thighs wouldn’t touch. Then we would walk to some posh market to get healthy organic fresh meals where we’d eat them with wonderful wine and talk about our upcoming vacations and projects— uniterrupted. It really would be perfection.
But in actuality I live in a small town in Colorado, I make terrible dinners for five kids who still love them, I rarely find myself at the gym, I’ve never had a personal trainer, and I am often fighting chaffing. As for work, I work with families who are trying to help kids who carry burdens too heavy for humanity. The most “design” I get to engage in during my work day is trying to help parents cover holes in walls that were punched out the night before, before the social workers show up. As the poet Mary Oliver writes, “All things are inventions of holiness- some more rascally than others.”
Although posh interior design seems uber holy to me, I do realize that what I do is just as… (rascally).
That being said, when we bought a home out of foreclosure and my husband accidentally mentioned that we might be able to “do a little work to it”. I thought I had won the lottery. Except we didn’t.
So after black mold popped out of the bank’s cover-up job, in our first ever master bathroom, we had to gut it, immediately.
That was three years ago.
And because there were more pressing things to do in the house with our small (non-lottery) winning cash pot, it has sat, gutted. Since the first week we moved in. Gutted to the studs.
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In the winter our bedroom would sometimes be in the 40s because it was so cold outside and we had exposed exterior walls. It meant in the summer, our attic fan (we don’t have air conditioning- old house, base board heat, no duct work….) didn’t work because the attic and our bedroom were one, so all the heat in the attic, was also in our room.11722591_10153056707587081_7309682294326633419_oNeedless to say we finally won the lottery saved up enough to do it! So about two months ago the construction began. And TODAY the last bit is getting finished! And my designer genes got to be dusted off for a bit!
BEFORE: The tiny pocket door from the bedroom into the bathroom.

BEFORE: The tiny pocket door from the bedroom into the bathroom.

The doors I found on etsy and had them shipped here. They are old country store doors. I love the old stickers and intricate kick-plates. And the colors. Since we added windows in the bathroom I wanted to allow the extra light into the bedroom, so these doors we’re perfect. We had them hang them so they could open up flush against the walls because I feel like they are such a work of art.

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The old floral kick plates on the vintage store doors are one of my favorite details.

I love the depth when you combine sleek modern pieces with the intricate details and roughness of antiquities. You will see that in this space.
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The vanity is a sleek Ikea piece, and then I found these antique mirrors at a local gem of an antique store Dwell whose owners are women of valor.

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The antique etching is my favorite.

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Isn’t this soap amazing?!

(The bottom shelf mirror is not an antique, it came from anthropologie.)
We did these built in closets (ikea closets that we then just framed out to look like custom pieces). My hubby has not had his clothes or a bathroom on the same level as our bedroom in ten years, to say he is excited to get ready in the morning here is an understatement.
 2015-07-24 14.40.19And we did my closet space in the bedroom.
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I am not much of a bath person, but we have both dreamed of a steam sauna/shower combo for years. So we took out the tub, and made everything else a little closer together to make this bigger shower/steam sauna. We added a window (I LOVE taking showers with a window, it helps me wake up when there is real sunlight in the room! ) and we just adore our view from here!
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 This bathroom was a long time coming.
David and I have found ourselves hiding in our room, drinking, and pretending like we’re DINKs. So it’s totally working for us. And we are so so grateful for our own little slice of heaven. Where I can pretend I am a top designer and David can steam up the room while he poops.
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The sign is from House of Belonging.
The mirrors and soap are from Dwell antiques and home.
The string of pearls cactus is from CactusLimon.
The doors are from RagTagStudios.
The ombre towels and mirror shelf are from anthropologie.