Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kitchenless Cobbler

I did, however, document a little bit of our Kitchenless Adventure on Saucy Little Dish this weekend. Check it out!

Also, everyone should buy our dear friend Rachelle's book, WOMEN FROM THE ANKLE DOWN, on sale today!!


Apologies for a few days of no posts...our kitchen is done, we spent the weekend unpacking, running our dishwasher like 85 times and doing other projects. Lots of pictures to come.

Had one of those "Oh we are the OWNERS and no one is there to help us" moments this morning. Neal and I went on a walk early this morning, where I realized I'd grabbed the wrong key. No landlords to call. Just us. Shit.

Luckily, Emily, Neal's little sister is staying with us for a bit, so lots of knocking, yelling and throwing rocks at the guest room window woke her up. Sorry, Em!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And the winner is...

Carrera Marble 2x4 Tile. Going up as I post this. Got a great deal on it (and a road trip to Orange County with Neal to get it). We can do Heath Tile in our "forever home".

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This could become a habit...

S'mores by our new firepit.

This weekend was with college friends Cheryl and Rachel and their husbands.

Boom! Pow! Fireworks!

 Hi internet friends! Neal here, the co-owner of the duplex (and loving husband??). Since it's my first post, I figured I deserved fireworks! Actually, the firworks are from the bi-weekly display at Dodger stadium. They're amazing. Wanna know the best part? We can see them from our backyard. They're the perfect thing to use as a center piece to a relaxing evening with some friends. So two weeks ago we had our first get together at our new place. We watched fireworks, ate smores and talked shit about other people while sitting around our new firepit (the firepit might deserve it's own post). The night was amazing and we swore an oath that we'd have people over for every fireworks display.

Last Friday was a fireworks night, so having sworn an oath, we did exactly what you'd expect  ...We went out to dinner with some friends. Boo! Luckily, the Dodger game went late and we arrived home halfway through the fireworks. We ran up to the terrace off of our bedroom to watch the rest... but while we were watching, we heard something weird. People talking. (So weird, right? No wait, stick with the story, you'll see!) The thing was, every which way we looked, all our neighbors were either out for the night or they were asleep-- yet still, there were voices. Where were they coming from? Jodi thought they were coming from above us. But come on, above us? When the grand finale finished, we brushed off the idea of people hovering high in the trees talking, went inside, and got ready for bed...

That's when we heard the distinct sound of feet on our roof. Right above our stairwell. And we realized... our tenants were on the roof watching the fireworks.

Now I don't like to ruin the fun for everybody (okay, yes I do), but in this instance, what with their safety and the health of our roof on the line, we had to take a stand.

We were freaked. We had to do something quick, but we couldn't appear angry. I mean, come on, they thought we were cool when we met them, and any anger would ruin all our hipster points. But they can't get away with this!! We also had no FOR SURE proof, so we couldn't accuse them directly. I can't decide if we were making it a big deal, or if it actually was a big deal. Anyway, we certainly weren't going to confront them in person. We sent an email no less than 2 minutes after they went inside.

Here's what we wrote:

Hello tenants,
We heard a lot of noise on our roof tonight. We just want to make clear that going on the roof is not allowed. Not only is it unsafe, but it's also above our bedroom.
Jodi and Neal

I'd like to think it struck the right balance between stern and caring. Regardless, it was pretty effective. The next morning we received a genuine apology, and so far we haven't heard any other noises from the roof. Lesson? On our next lease, we'll make sure to specify what is and what isn't allowed on the roof. (Answers: nothing and everything.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dishwasher thingy...

Does anyone know what this thingy is called?

The knob thingy that would squirt water out if your dishwasher overflows?

And more importantly, do they sell ATTRACTIVE ones anywhere?

Where does all our stuff go...

Any minute now our countertops will be arriving, our sink will be hooked up, kitchen lights hung, and we can actually start unpacking and USING the main floor of our place. We're trying to figure out how to lay it out and where all our existing furniture goes - though obviously we want to buy all new stuff!

Neal is anxious and drew this little layout this morning. I thought it was too cute not to share.

We do have a bit of a wonky situation where there's no clear wall for our big ass TV. We think we'll hang it at an angle in the corner (Neal's drawing not to scale) but want to put furniture in place before we commit. I am sure my readers will be DYING with anticipation for where we hang it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wanna see something gross?

So remember our plumbing adventure this weekend? Well, we got that rotten pipe replaced yesterday and I can't help but share the grossness with you. It's not all subway tile and paint colors folks.



And the pièce de résistance...

How could water even flow through that thing!?

I need your help...

Tomorrow our countertops are installed. We chose a blackish/dark grey honed granite (Absolute Black Honed if you want me to be exact) thinking that it would look like a natural stone and be durable enough beyond our time in this apartment. Our cabinets are white. Our knobs and pulls are satin nickel.

Now is the time we must choose a backsplash. I am torn. I had been decided on white subway tile with dark grout, but have changed my mind. I want more texture and more interest than that. But I'm stuck between two ideas. Help me.

FIRST OPTION:  Fern Green Heath Tile from their Modern Basics collection. We'd get the 2x6 tiles. I like the varied tones, I love the texture and gloss, but worry about committing to a color.

This is a pic of the actual tile we'd get - It's in a bathroom, and stacked instead of "running" like subway tile would go.

This is an inspirational picture of white cabinets, dark counters and the same kind of pulls. This green might be a little yellower than ours, and this kitchen obviously has some crazy light going on. Jealous.

OPTION TWO: Small Carrera Marble Tile from wherever is cheapest. I'm thinking 2x4 or even a herringbone, though that can get pricey. I love that it's a neutral, yet bright, and that the natural variations in the marble give the wall a lot of texture.  I also think it might be cool to have this blank slate and then have fun accessorizing the kitchen with all sorts of other textures and colors and fabrics and pottery, etc

Here are a couple inspirational pics of marble:

Which way should we go? HELP!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Washer Update...

I know you were dying to know...Neal was right - the guys forgot to remove a couple of those safety bolts when they installed it. Now they are gone, and the machine purrs like a kitten.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Who lives here?

This is our garage. No one lives in our garage.

 BUT according to the City of Los Angeles, this is a separate unit in our multi-unit house so not only do we pay a separate electricity bill (that's ok) but we pay for separate GARBAGE AND RECYCLING PICK UP. What?
Obviously, we shouldn't have to pay the $31/month to have the GARAGE'S garbage picked up...but the city needs to make sure it's not a residence so in three weeks they will send a guy to take pictures as proof, then we have to chase them down to change our account, THEN they will stop charging us and apparently reimburse the payments we've made. Let's hope.

The surprises never end!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our first "emergency"...

Saturday early afternoon, one of our tenants knocked on our door. A pipe in the garage was leaking all over her car. Neal and I went down to investigate and, sure thing, one of the sewer branch pipe that heads towards the street was dripping from the end cap.

LANDLORDS MOBILIZE!! We called AP Plumbing - the guys we would always call at our old place (who would bill our landlord) - and Tony was able to come by a couple hours later.

After taking off the end cap and letting all the water drain out,  Tony discovered a blockage in the pipe. Using an incredibly scary rooter machine, Tony and his guy basically raped our pipe, got out whatever gunk was blocking it and put a new end cap on it. Problem solved...until we have to replace that pipe sometimes in the next month or so to keep it from happening again.

It wasn't a particularly cheap fix, but he did it on a weekend, pretty much right away. We got to tell our tenants that the problem was fixed within only a couple hours. GO LANDLORDS!

However, only hours later, while doing our first load of laundry in our half done kitchen, the washing machine went bananas. Rattled and walked itself out of the nook, and somehow wedged itself between the brand new fridge and the freshly painted wall, while shaking the entire house like an earthquake. Oh man, this will not do. Imagine running downstairs to see a double stacked washer/dryer shaking like a paint mixer on your brand new wood floors. Freaky.

Neal did some research and we think there's some bolt they put on for transportation that wasn't removed during install...if it's not that, this could be a big problem. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our new neighbor...

This is Alister - he is one of our new tenants. Already loves the window sills and has been keeping watch over our driveway.

On my walk this morning...

...took some pictures around the neighborhood:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Junk Pile...

Want to see what a whole apartments' world of flooring, carpet, garbage and all around junk looks like:

That's our patio (well, one third of it) last week. Then two guys came and filled an entire U-Haul with it and took it away. Now there's a little mini-pile of recyclable Ikea boxes from our cabinets and SOON there will be a brand new outdoor dining set and grill and planters and happy Jodi reading on a Saturday afternoon.


We did it! We found renters for the other half of the duplex! Well...WE didn't exactly. Here's the deal.

In the midst of moving, renovating, working to pay for moving and renovating, we got overwhelmed. When the place didn't rent after 5 days of our Craigslist and Westside rental listings, we got frustrated and impatient. Yes, I know that is a little silly, it was only 5 days, but when this rental is covering more than half our mortgage - first payment due June 1 - we started to freak.

So we could at least put some of the stress behind us, we hired, on the recommendation of a friend with a duplex nearby, THE RENTAL GIRL. In exchange for half of the first month's rent, the lovely Zaya handled the listings, showings, tenant screenings, paperwork and check collecting. We didn't need to worry about it.

 About a week after she signed on, we got an email with an information packet about our potential tenants. Personal info, references, credit scores and financial information. We're really running a small business - so all that stuff matters. No dead-beats please. These guys seemed great, and after meeting them in person, we felt like they would take good care of our place.

Who are they? Three 27-year olds, who went to college together in New York, who all work in creative fields - an ad-writer, a TV production assistant, a guy who manages fashion designers. Two boys and one girl - we for some reason decided a combo would be cleaner than three boys or three girls. Oh, and a cat. (They had to pay an extra $300 security deposit for him.) They are definitely fun, definitely wanted to live in our neighborhood for it's "hipness" and seemed very relieved that "you guys are cool" since we are living so close. (I have never felt older in my life after hearing that!)

They signed their lease on Thursday and I cashed the rent and security deposit checks on Friday. Tried to make it feel as ceremonious as possible. By myself, at the Vermont Avenue Chase Branch. Our FIRST PAYMENTS AS LANDLORDS. It's pretty cool. Even if no one there noticed how cool it was.

So far so good - they got the keys Saturday morning and will start moving stuff over this week. And after we send our workers in today for a couple finishing touches they forgot, we can put that place and all it's fixes behind us...

...until something breaks of course.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Exciting progress...

You guys, exciting things are happening in our kitchen. Here's a little status report.

Here is what it looked like when we bought the place - can lights AND hideous boob lights, gross tile, and just gross everything:

Then our contractor's team ripped EVERYTHING OUT. Fridge, washer and dryer got craigslisted, stove was moved to the front rental unit. Gas, water, washer hookups were moved to fit new kitchen plan, and hardwood replaced the nasty tile - it's still covered here. Our Ikea kitchen was delivered in boxes and bags.

Instead of waiting on Ikea to install - last month was the kitchen sale so it wouldn't have been til May 23rd! yikes! - our guys tackled the job. They actually used powertools though - not the little wrench that comes with Ikea furniture.

This was the place last night. Cabinets in, new recessed light, that's our new deep sink leaning against the back wall. Appliances come today and fabricator gets started on countertops next week!

We're so close!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A little less bittersweet...

Sold our old 22-Inch Stove on Craigslist for $125. Here it is, awaiting it's new owner.

I managed to cook and bake a lot of amazing things in this little sucker - but man, oh man, I can't wait to meet our new LG Gas Convection Range. Its a whole $30 inches wide guys!!

Moving Day...

This weekend, Neal and I moved out of our home of over 6 years. When our amazing friends, Sean and Sara, bought a house nearby, we jumped what may have been a little quickly into co-habitation in order to snag such a great space at a great deal. Luckily, the landing was perfect, and in this apartment we fell more in love, got engaged, got married, got new jobs, a writing career, and a future together. It's bittersweet to leave it.

The great guys at Northstar Moving pulled up 10 minutes early on Sunday morning and we raced around to pack up clothes, clear surfaces and get the last bits packed up. A few hours later our whole life was gone - enroute across town to Echo Park.

Back in the empty apartment on Sunday afternoon, we couldn't help but tear up. It may have been from the strain of heaving old air-conditioners out of the windows, but it was mostly from saying good-bye to our old home that had been so good to us.

I hope the next residents (It's still available by the way!) fill it with as much laughter, cooking, game nights, cocktail parties and love as we did.