Take a tour of our new home :)


This is now the third home tour I’ve given to PDITF readers, and now that we own, will probably be the last one for a while. If you want to see our 600sqft San Diego condo ($1,500/mo rent) click here. If you want to see our 700sqft ($1,200) mother in law rental, 30 minutes outside of Seattle, click here. If you want to see what our new home looks like keep on reading ;)…

El Living Room (Before)…

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You can see from the before pictures the living room was staged in a totally non-functional way. Seriously, who puts the couch behind a TV? The new purchases for this room were…

  • Rug $350 from Overstock
  • Coffee table $220 from World Market
  • Curtain/Curtain Rod $80, Ikea Curtain and Lowes for the Curtain Rod
  • Lamp $180 from Pottery Barn, but we used Wedding gift cards (three years later haha) so it was Free 🙂

All the other furniture we’ve owned since our tiny condo in San Diego. When our roommate moves out we will replace her couch (the green one) with one that fits the room a little better, otherwise we have no major plans for this space.

El Dining Room (before)….

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Is now the piano room…





We have a fairly large breakfast nook space, which you will see in the next set of pictures, so we opted to put our dining room table there and make this space a dedicated piano spot. We inherited the piano when my Grandma passed away a few years ago, and while taking ownership of it didn’t cost me anything, keeping it in climate controlled storage and having it moved 1,200 miles cost me around $2,000 over the years. It’s all worth it though, because Girl Ninja plays the piano and when Baby Ninjas come in to the picture, they will play too 🙂 Oh and check out that super sweet globe hiding behind the green couch. Picked that baby up for $30 at a garage sale. Best part, it lights up!!!!

Kitchen (before)…

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Before I show you the updated kitchen I have to note a few things. The kitchen shows waaaaay better in these pictures than it did in real life. For example, the refrigerator was literally held together by duct tape inside. The gas range had a leak and made our whole main floor smell like propane. The cabinets we thought were totally fine, until we realized the gel stain they used looked really pink and was tacky. The pot rack was awesome, but way to big for the space and choked off the room. All the light fixtures were straight off the Ikea clearance rack. If the kitchen was as nice in real life as it looks in the pics we wouldn’t have touched anything. Here’s what things are looking like now…





So as you can see this is where the majority of our sweat equity has gone. Best to break it down in bullet points so it’s easy to follow:

  • We spent two weeks sanding, priming, and painting the cabinets white. Spent about $200 on supplies for that and another $80 on cabinet hardware from Amazon. Couldn’t be happier with the fresher, cleaner, more updated look.
  • We replaced the fridge ($888) and the range ($620) during a Sears Labor Day weekend sale, but sold our old range for $250 to offset some of that cost. The range hood was freaking expensive ($320 at Home Depot), but it really helps finish the space off. Eventually we will replace the dishwasher with stainless steel, but not for a while.
  • We probably spent about $300 updating all of the light fixtures. I’m pretty proud of myself because I added the two pendants above the peninsula, from what was just a single light fixture running down the middle. Total cost for the pendants was $90.
  • To add a little fun, we painted half the dining room wall with chalk board paint. Now whenever the high school kids come over they leave us fun messages.

Next year we want to add a charcoal colored solid surface counter and add a subway tile backsplash. For now though, we are perfectly content with our kitchen.

El Bedroom (before)…

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Nothing too exciting going on in the bedroom. Bought the dark dresser ($150 at Ikea) cause we needed a little more storage space since we no longer have a walk in closet (gotta love 1930’s houses and their tiny closets). Otherwise it was just a fresh coat of paint on the walls/ceiling and throwing in our double bed Girl Ninja has owned since before we were married. Anyone else sleep on a double?

El Basement (before)…

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The basement was the first and only space we’ve had to hire out work. We had the carpet replaced because the old carpet had water damage and smelled like old dog. Set us back $1,000 for a relatively tiny space because the exposed basement staircase was a nightmare for the carpet guy. We painted the trim, walls, and ceiling to lighten/freshen things up. Just in time for our tenant to move in and get settled 🙂

Backyard (before and after) 

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Haven’t had time to do much in the backyard yet. The previous owners kind of let things go and stuff got way overgrown. We’ve spent a couple of hours hacking things back and trying to open the space up a bit, which helped a ton. Still have a few more weekends worth of work to go before we can be in love with the space. It’s definitely a work in progress.

And that concludes the house tour for now.

We haven’t touched the two rooms upstairs or our bathroom at all, hence the reason we don’t have pictures of them. It feels good to finally have the nest moderately feathered. What better way to celebrate than to leave the country for six weeks!? Haha. Oh well, at least I have something to look forward to when I get home.

What do you think of our 1931 cottage?


Houston, we have a roommate.

toilet bathroom

And so begins the life of three adults sharing one bathroom. Fortunately for me, I am the only male in the household and my understanding is girls are physically incapable of pooping, farting, or burping. Unfortunately for them, as a male I am not only capable of each of these things, but I have mastered doing all three at one time.

Too much information? 

Our roommate moved in on Saturday, which means for the first time in my life, I’m a landlord. Do I get to learn some secret landlord handshake now!? Before we bought our house, we were paying $1,200/month in rent. As homeowners, we have a $1,600/mo mortgage payment (PITI). Can you guess how much we decided to charge our tenant/friend?

You’re wrong if you guessed $9,000/month, although I like your ambition.

We went with $400, which includes all utilities and cable. We’ll obviously have to pay taxes on that income (unless any of you know of some legal way to get out of it ;)). Assuming we’ll net about $300 after taxes. Stupid IRS.

Of our $1,600/mo mortgage obligation, $1,200 gets thrown away in interest/taxes/insurance, and the remaining $400 goes to reducing our loan obligation. So by letting our friend live with us, we can nearly double our principal payments each month. How sweet is that? 

sweet snickers

Will we actually use this rental income for additional mortgage payments? Probably not, but at least it’s an option. For now, we’ll just use the funds to help make our home better. Like yesterday, when we dropped some mad benjamins on new carpet in the basement.

You ever been, or plan to be a landlord? 

We’re getting a human!!!

You all know in mid December Girl Ninja and I will be adding a puppy to the household, but we just found out last Thursday we will also be adding a human to the mix!!! No, no. Not a baby.

A roommate.

We were at a Young Life meeting (a high school outreach we are a part of) last week and one of our fellow adult friends mentioned she was moving out of her current apartment. I jokingly said, “Want to live with us?”.

To which she responded something like “Wait, are you serious?”.

I looked at Girl Ninja, and we did that thing married couples do where we have a whole conversation with our eyes without saying any words, and responded “Yeah, why not!” 

She came over last Friday and looked at the place and she’s all for it. She’ll be joining the family Mid October. Seeing that we want to be the coolest landlords to have ever existed, Girl Ninja and I made a “list of demands” that our new roommate must meet if she wants to stay in our home. Those demands are as follows…

  1. She has to live WITH us. She can’t be all awkward and isolate herself from us. She isn’t renting a room in our house, she’s renting the whole thing. She has just as much of a right to the living room, piano, bathroom, and kitchen as we do. She can come and go as she pleases, and she doesn’t need to check in with us if she wants to have people over.
  2. She can’t sign a lease. We aren’t just renting a room in our house to a random person, we’ve served in ministry with this girl for over a year now and want to keep things friendly. She’ll move in Mid October and she can move out a week, a month, or a year later for all we care. She told us she was thinking she’d crash for about six months.
  3. We will collect rent. We are thinking probably $400/month -all utilities included- would be a good “friend deal”. She is currently paying about $700/month, and while we could definitely charge close to that for our place, we don’t need to. She’s pumped because she gets to save $300 a month. We’re pumped because we get to help a friend save some money. Oh, and we told her that we plan to use her “rent” money for the good of the house. We’ll be reinvesting all of her payments directly back in to making our living space more comfortable. Maybe that means upgrading the dishwasher, adding in some canned lighting, or changing out carpet.

The best part about this whole thing is that she is moving in Mid October, and if you recall, I am leaving for The Netherlands, for six weeks, starting November 1st. That means, Girl Ninja wont have to be home alone while I’m gone! Instead she’ll be making orange mocha frappuccinos, painting her nails, and listening to Celine Dion with one of her good friends. That is what girls do in their free time right? 

So yeah, we are getting a human. We’ve always flirted with the idea of “communal” living and talked about which of our friends we would be cool living with. Now we get to give it a shot.

Would you ever rent a room in your house out? 

Finally getting settled…and dropping mad benajmins


I’m happy to announce my six-week blogging hiatus is coming to an end! Girl Ninja is back to work, which means she is going to bed at her regular time of 6pm (okay really like 9:30pm). So after she hits the sack, I can hop on the old computer and pound at the keys a bit. Missed you peeps.

I’ve pretty much spent every free moment these last two weeks making our house less sucky. I’ve been up to the following things as of late…

    • changing light fixtures and motion sensors (haven’t electrocuted myself yet!)
    • painting the walls and trim
    • buying and returning area rugs (we are on our fifth try)
    • freaking out about how much we are spending
    • dropping mad skrilla on some new appliances
    • learning how to paint our nasty kitchen cabinets
    • putting fake security alarm stickers on our doors/windows
    • pricing out faux wood blinds
    • having a plumber tell me it is going to cost $600 to have a water line ran to our fridge, only to learn via YouTube I can do it for about $50 myself
    • visiting Home Depot a frustratingly high number of times per week
    • axing down trees and making our jungle of a backyard look a little more tame

I’m leaving the country for six weeks starting in November, so I’m trying to get as much of this house stuff done as possible before I fly the coup. It’s totally rewarding to see the house take a new shape each day as we keep plugging and chugging to make our house a home. I had $10,000 budgeted for all these odds and ends, but at the rate we are spending that sure wont last long…haha.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I still have random moments where I’m like “Why am I not still a renter?”, but then I just look at our freaking huge backyard and the scratches I’ve put in our hardwood floor and remember “Oh yeah, because owning this stuff, instead of borrowing, it is fun and exciting too.”  

I don’t know how people can buy houses only putting 3% down, starting off with negative equity would make me feel trapped, where at least now I know if we end up hating this house a year from now, we shouldn’t have a problem selling it thanks to a large down-payment.

Renting is legit, and so far owning is too. Only time will tell which one is best for us 😉


Box by box

We moved in to our house over the weekend! WOOOHOOOO!!!! It’s about freakin’ time considering we’ve owned the place for over a month now. We spent all last week painting the ceilings and walls before we moved furniture in (which was the best decision ever). Getting all our stuff out of storage and in to the house was a nightmare, but we are in and that’s all that matters.

Now we just have about eight million boxes to unpack and sort through. I’m hoping this weekend (Labor Day) there will be some good sales on appliances. Our fridge could use some updating, and if the deals are good enough, may update the gas range and dishwasher as well.

On Wednesday night, Girl Ninja is going out for dinner and drinks with some friends so I plan to upload all my Europe pics and I’ll write a blog post about our trip 🙂

For now, I need to get back to unpacking before Girl Ninja starts hitting me. 

Here are a few pictures of our (limited) progress of the main spaces. They are by no means done, but when they are, I’ll be sure to give you the full tour 😉

Old Living Room…



New Living Room…


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Old Kitchen Nook…


New Kitchen Nook:

dining room

Didn’t know our house came with beef stew

So I was too lazy to count the actual votes for the Goosebumps inspired “pick your own path” game we played yesterday. Of the five or so options I pitched for today’s blog post, two were clearly the favorite: 1) A recap of our time in Europe. 2) A post about the garbage that was left behind for us when we bought our house. 

Seeing that I don’t have my camera cord immediately available, I’ve decided to write about the garbage situation. Fear not, however, as a Europe post will be coming in the next few days.

If you recall, we got the keys to our house about six hours before we were leaving the country. At first glance, things seemed alright. But after our realtor left, we finally felt the excitement of ownership. We could finally be in our house, without someone else having to be present. We could do whatever we wanted!

We started opening every drawer, closet, and storage space we could find. We were discouraged to find a decent amount of garbage and junk left behind. Our basement freezer had some nasty looking beef stew and short ribs stored in Tupperware. There was some kind of soup, about 20 bottles of cheap alcohol, and a ton of other food items left behind.

But what really irked me was our utility room. 

They left behind about 40 cans of paint. I get that a seller might leave some paint behind so the new owner know what paint to get for touch ups. That’s not what this was. The house was built in 1930 and my hunch is that every can of paint that has ever gone on a wall in the house has been passed on from one owner to the next. We spent a solid hour clearing the paint cans, paint thinner, stain, grout, etc out of the utility room and setting them in our driveway. My excitement was now frustration.


What’s more, when we did our final walk-through a few days before we took possession, I noticed there were three lawnmowers and a wood chipper near our backyard storage shed. One of the mowers appeared to be working, the other two had clearly been retired long ago. I was hoping the sellers would leave the working lawnmower  with the house so I didn’t have to go out and buy one.

They didn’t. 

But what they did do was leave us the two non-functioning mowers and the huge inoperable wood chipper. I was sensing a patterns. The sellers took everything they wanted, and left behind everything they didn’t. This was especially true for things they couldn’t just throw away in the regular garbage can (paint and lawnmowers). What should have been there problem, was quickly becoming mine.

While we were in Europe, we decided to have the house professionally cleaned. Fourteen hours of cleaning, and $450 later, our house finally felt ready to be lived in. We sent an invoice to the sellers for reimbursement and made them pick up the garbage we piled up in our driveway.

Taking possession of the house was easy, getting the sellers to uphold their contractual obligations, not so much.

At least it’s over and now we get to do fun things like paint!!!


We are no longer renters.

Over the weekend Girl Ninja and I packed up our tiny little 700sqft apartment rental and threw all our stuff in a storage unit. We take possession of our house on Wednesday at 9pm, but leave at 3am the next morning to take 50 high school kids to summer camp for a week. What’s more,  24hrs after we get back from Malibu British Columbia we hop on a plane for a two week trip to Europe.

So even though we get the keys to our pad on Wednesday, we won’t actually be in the house for another month. We wished we could have closed a day or two earlier so we could have avoided the storage unit issue, but the sellers were unwilling to budge. Note to future self, don’t offer a close date the night before a significant life event.

We were super sad moving out of our rental. In fact here is a picture documenting our sadness as we checked out of our apartment (note Girl Ninja’s amazing carpet lines!)…


I think we are particularly fond of renting for one primary reason: we have always made friends with our landlords.

While the amenities offered at a large apartment complex are great, we just couldn’t give up the benefits of having a personal relationship with your landlord. For example, our landlords love us so much they gave us back our full security deposit… before we even began moving out! How awesome is that!? I bet ya a million dollars no large rental complex would do that!

So while we close this chapter of life we look forward to opening a new one. I can say with confidence renting doesn’t suck, hopefully the same will be true for home ownership.

When you were a renter did you prefer the big apartment complexes or renting from a single owner? Have any renting horror stories (we don’t)? Those of you that own, do you ever miss the freeing feeling of knowing you can move whenever you want?