Waiting & Wallpaper

The past month has been a super stressful waiting game – we’re in the process of applying for a home equity line of credit to fund a big portion of the renovations we’d like to do this summer. Having never applied for a loan in my life, I underestimated how much time, effort, and stress is involved!

I thought — “Hey! The house has no mortgage! We can use the equity! We have no debt! Easy peasy!” Wrong!

First, it took several phone calls to even find a credit union that would give a home equity loan on a “second property.” Even though we do not own any other property, since this one is not our primary residence it’s considered a “second home.” Ok… got around that. And then the paperwork… We got pre-approved through the online process, but then still had to submit 1,000,000 pieces of paper to confirm all that information, including my truly bizarre work history over the past year (I had four W-2s to attach and explain). Ok… done!

Then  — the appraisal process. Big lessons learned on this one. Do not start any renovations BEFORE you apply for a loan. Maybe this is a big “duh” for most of you, but we’ve never done anything like this and are just trying to figure it out as we go along. The bank warned us about safety concerns like “missing handrails” would need to be corrected before we could close. I literally laughed when I read the email. I thought, “So uhhh… if you can see the basement from the second floor, will that be a problem?”

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The hole in the center of this photo is from the old chimney — when it was removed and the smaller chimney was put in, they never sealed up this space therefore it goes all the way to the basement. Additionally, there are no floorboards under the eaves because this space was not accessible before we tore out the plaster.
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My husband sitting on the edge of the stairs on the second floor, my dad going out the back door from the kitchen downstairs. So about those safety hazards….

We eventually worked with the appraiser to lock up the second floor and pretend it and all its safety hazards don’t exist. This allowed him to evaluate the property as a one story one bedroom with “expandable space.” Because we essentially stripped out a bunch of equity from the house when we tore up floors and took down ceilings, he was pretty concerned we would not be able to get an adequate amount of equity from the property to get the loan amount we requested, but after a long two weeks we got word the underwriting of the loan could happen at a slightly modified amount. SUCCESS!

Just a few more pieces of paper to sign and we are GOOD TO GO. Which leads me back to the fun part — planning. Getting this line of credit allows us to bust out a ton of projects on the first floor this summer without spending every cent of cash we have in the bank. It’s a huge relief and very exciting.

The tiny bathroom is on the first floor in a space I assume was originally a closet as it’s located across from the front door right in the entryway. The house had an outhouse for at least 80-85 years after it was built. It was still there  in the 1940’s when my grandmother moved up to the house from Boston (where she grew up and met my grandfather) to raise their daughter, and eventually three more kids.

This little space doesn’t need much work except for a face lift — new coat of paint on the built in medicine cabinet, a nice shower curtain, and a pop of color via some wallpaper. Since there is really only one tiny sliver of a wall that we can work with, it’s a great opportunity to go really bold. We’d like to add more wallpaper throughout the house to honor it’s decorating roots, but we’ll likely go more neutral in the larger spaces.

Design Sponge has an amazing resource list that I spent hours pouring through last night, and below are some of my favorites.

This pattern is from the “Faux Finishes” section from Secondhand Rose, a site that sells actual vintage, not reproduction, wallpaper. It’s a nod to what we found in the kitchen, and the chartreuse color is absolutely amazing.

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It’s hard to find a nautical pattern that isn’t cheesy or too on the nose, which is why I’m slightly obsessed this funky pattern titled, “That Highly Intelligent Clam.” I found it available in several colors, including what’s shown below but also red and white, from both Walnut Wallpaper and Grow House Grow. It has a perfect nod to the ocean, but also has a beautiful hand drawn quality to it that I love.

Another one from Walnut Wallpaper that caught my eye was this pattern “Crescent.” It has a deep rich color but also slightly references waves and the ocean without being too overt.

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I had a blast going through all these sites to see how many totally different options there are for wallpapers now — it’s not just florals and stripes! I have started a Pinterest Board just for ones I find eye catching and am planning on ordering at least three of four samples to take a look at in the space this summer. Stay tuned!

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