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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Before and After

Back in February, we were thrilled to find a house that we loved, in a great neighborhood, ready to move into the day we landed in the US. To be precise, we closed on the house 24 hours after landing - virtual perfection. The trouble is that with an international move, especially one from a country with questionable import/export restrictions, you end up waiting for your belongings for anywhere from two to five months. We were thrilled to hear that our wait was on the short end of that range, and after a mere 7.5 weeks in Houston, our shipment arrived.

Let me note that those 7.5 weeks were very long and echoey in our big empty house. We were thrilled to see our things again.

On the other side of that coin, we sold lots of items in Argentina that we knew weren't going to convey well into our new home. This allowed for lots of home goods shopping, and lucky for me, Jon's parents came to town to help with the transition and his mom was willing to come along and lend her eye to the cause. We did a LOT of shopping. In a matter of days (weeks if you include the delivery time), our living room went from this: 
Note the priority item, chosen by Daddy
 To this:

We also purchased an entire master bedroom set and my parents sent us my childhood bedrooms set for Gretchen's room. There were 3 rooms that had lots of furniture, the rest of the house was pretty sparse.

The other positive side of living in a half-empty house for a few weeks is that you can take stock of anything you want to change - and get the changes done without having to move furniture. There were some unfortunate paint choices made by the previous owner and one DIY project that (in my opinion) was a bust, so we had an easy opportunity to make some design changes.

The dining room before and after is probably my favorite. Before:

The room was incredibly dark, with lots of conflicting patterns and textures. The yellow paint sample was my own doing...

So much lighter, a wainscoting rail and in general, a much simpler look. Score.

There is a landing at the top of our stairs that we are using as a kid's playroom. When we looked at the house it was more of a game room/pool table area, including some mirrors and a drink bar. 


Pay no attention the random assortment of toys and knick knacks everywhere. Again, a super dark space and the design was not cohesive with our idea of a playroom. No to mention that I had a serious dislike for those mirrors.


We added some much needed storage to the room and some additional sleep space with the pull out couch for future sleepovers (kid or adult varieties).

Let me add that none of these projects were of the do-it-yourself variety. While I'm happy to take on little decorating projects, big woodworking is not something we were prepared to dive into, so we used a contractor named Tom Stump with Stump Custom Cabinets. He was prompt, did much of the work himself and was more reasonable than I had expected going into these projects. He completed two built in cabinets (including the one pictured above), removed the mirrors/drink ledge and personally installed the wainscoting. If you're in the Northern Houston area and looking for a contractor, I highly recommend him.

I am pleased to report that with the completion of these rooms, we have unpacked our last box! The actual unpacking and reorganizing will go on for a while yet, but there is something exhilarating about not having to open anything else. Now it's just putting things away. Also, exhilarating holds a different meaning when you're in your 30s.

The house is coming together. It has a much more "moved-in" look and we're feeling more steady on our feet in Texas. Gretchen has stopped asking about "the next time we put all of our things on a ship...", and Alex is consistently sleeping through the night for the first time since the whole moving transition began so we feel like the kids are getting settled as well.

Now we can focus on important things like standing...


  1. Can't wait to see Gretchen's room! Will certainly bring back memories.

  2. So glad you all are settling in! I can't wait to see it for myself (and I need to meet Alex!). I hope you had an awesome time with the Humkeys -- based on the Instagram pictures, it looks like it was oh so much fun. Hopefully see you all soon.....