Thursday, September 30, 2004

Deadline Met

I recently joined a club called the East Bay Scrapbookers where women in the East Bay get together online and in person to eat, sleep, and live scrapbooking! I have yet to meet any of my EBS sisters, but I joined my first group activity. The assignment was to create a favorite recipe page to be part of an EBS cookbook. Here is my contribution. I can't wait to get our finished book! The women in the group are so talented and even design for the big scrapbooking companies.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

More Furniture!


We have a new couch! I know that we still have a few weeks before actually getting our new house, but we seriously needed comfy furniture. Again, I found this couch on This couch is a year and a half old and was originally purchased at Macys.

The couple selling the couch had to sell it because they bought a brand new condo and the couch ended up matching their carpet exactly. We can't have any furniture fashion problems now can we!!! I love our new couch and can't wait to have everyone over to sit on it!


Thanks for looking! Shannon

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Our dog is nuts

Note: We've noticed that there is a distinct lack of pictures of our dog on this site. This post aims to help alleviate the situation.

Teenie never ceases to entertain. Below, you will see a picture taken while Shannon was watching America's Next Top Model. Shannon was totally into the show, and calling Kelly to get her to watch. Teenie... well, Teenie was out like a light. Even after I had taken a few pictures of her laying like that, she didn't even move.

Click the first picture to see a bigger version of it.


Another picture, close up.

New Furniture


Andrew and I bought our first piece of furniture for the new house. This is a dining room table from Scandinavian Designs in San Francisco. We bought it used and found it on my favorite website The table matches the china hutch perfectly. It even has the two tones because of the darker legs. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect piece. We only had to pay $200 too! The edges of the table extend to seat 8 comfortably.


Now we can actually have places for people to sit and eat.

P.S. Here is a photo of our first new home paint can. The color is Beechwood from Kelly Moore. The color sample is the dot on top of the can and is actually twice as dark as it appears here.

Floor Plan and More!

Hi all,
Well we are still in escrow and LOVING it! Soon we will release the inspection contingency. Andrew and I already made a trip to Kelly Moore paints and bought a quart of paint for our new house. Our first task is to paint poster boards and hang them around the house to test the colors out. We can't wait to get started on fixing up the place and making it our new home.

Here is a floor plan of our "soon to be" house:
-click on it for a bigger picture-


My Uncle Richard and Auntie Constance came to visit last weekend. Andrew and I wanted their expertise (Uncle=Architect, Auntie=Real Estate Agent) and opinions on the Pippo Avenue house we were looking at. The house was nice, but the previous owners added on a great room and the craftsmanship was not very good.

We enjoyed critiquing the house and finished the night off with a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant in Brentwood. Richard and Constance traveled to and fro via motorcycle from Santa Rosa. We'll see if they come by car next time! Thanks again for a great evening of fun. Here is a photo gallery of the Pippo house:

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A clean bill of health!

Teenie dreams of the new house

So we did the home inspection today and signed off on all of the disclosure paperwork as well. And we like the home even more now that we've gone through it again!

The house passed the inspection with flying colors. Nothing major to worry about, just a few little things that we're going to get the current homeowner to take care of before we move in. A few broken roof tiles, a seal around the toilet, restrapping the water heater (its legal as of 10 years ago, but not the new code).

Nothing that causes us any worry.

Realizing that the last set of pictures was lacking (not the least of which because other people's stuff was in them, but more because I didn't get enough of the house in them ;) we took some more pictures of the house today. Shannon took these and made sure to get everything she wants everyone to see.

View the latest photo gallery here.

The current owners moved out most of their stuff this past weekend. They've moved just over a mile away, to another part of Discovery Bay. We met the current owner while we were doing the inspection and she gave the neighborhood rave reviews. She said we'll like it a lot.

In fact, she wanted to just move down the street but they couldn't find a house the size they wanted in the price range they were looking for. Good news, in our opinion.

And of course, we'll get a floorplan of the home soon. But, its time for bed now.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

!!! SOLD !!!



Good news! The Cove Lane house is ours! (shown in the story below)
Here is a list of how things happened:

1. We submitted an offer on the house
2. They counter-offered by asking for $5,000 more
3. I said "no way" to our Real Estate agent
4. He told them nicely we were already stretching ourselves
5. They accepted our original offer!

Hooray. We go into escrow tomorrow and our inspection takes place this Tuesday. If we like what we see and still want to buy the house we then go into a loan contingency period. Once they approve that are loan is legit, we can move into our NEW HOME on October 19th!

I will submit a "rough" floorplan soon. Everyone get ready for one rockin' house warming party!

(clipart borrowed from

Thursday, September 16, 2004

3 seen, 2 offered

So we saw 3 more homes this evening when running around with Patrick (our real estate agent). Two of them we liked enough to place offers on.

The first home that we placed an offer on was exactly the same model as our first offer, but it was down the street about 5 houses. We underbid, and aren't expecting to get it.


The second home that we saw and placed an offer on is shown above, and is on Cove Lane in Discovery Bay.

View a photo gallery of it here.

About the home:
* 1 story
* 3 bdr, 2 bath
* 2 car garage
* 1750 square feet
* Some hardwood floors

We liked the layout, and the separate breakfast nook and dining area a lot. The master suite was very big, which was great, but (and my photos didn't show this) it didn't have a bathtub. We figure if it ever bothers us enough we can re-do the bathroom. The 2nd bathroom does have a bathtub though, if it comes to it.

So, two offers, we're rooting for the second offer more. But the first is a great house too and we wouldn't mind living there at all.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Happy Birthday Mommie!

Happy Birthday to my mommie! You are super special and I hope you have a great day. Andrew and I love you lots. Enjoy your new satellite radio.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

910 Yardely

UPDATE 9/13/04
Our offer was rejected on the house. One of the other offers included 50% down payment, and we couldn't compete with our 100% financing. We'll keep you posted as we keep looking for more homes.


We found a great home in Brentwood today, when we went around again with our Real Estate Agent. In fact, it was so great, we decided to make an offer on it.

The basics:
Built in 1999
3 bdr, 2 bath
Central heat and air
Built-in 5.1 surround sound
Fans in every room
Great master bathroom
1490 sqft
1 story
.14 acre lot

View a photo gallery of the house.

Unlike the other homes that we've looked at, this one isn't a fixer-upper. In fact, there isn't much we could do to it to fix it up, its all done! It has a great (covered!) patio in the back yard, with a good floor plan in the house. It flows nicely.

Also, its in a nice neighborhood. The only two concerns we had about it were that it backs up to a street that is pretty busy during rush hour, and its next to a railroad. The extention of eBart into Brentwood would run on the railroad tracks as seen in the second picture in the gallery linked above. About 3 houses from us. The plus of that is that it probably wouldn't happen for 5-10 years, and even if it does we don't think that it would drop the property values below what we'd make in the 5 years before we leave anyway.

So think good thoughts, and we'll keep you posted!

We've put together a small floorplan of the home to help you see its layout a little bit better. You can see it right below this text. Click on it to see a larger version.


Bobby Got Married!


Andrew and I were lucky guests at my past roomate's wedding. Bobby and I lived together my senior year of college at Davis. We had a blast and I often reminesce about the crazy times we had together. He put up with my cockatiel Kiwi and an assortment of small creatures that he would find loose in the apartment. Bobby married his girlfriend of 4 years, Brittany Priest.

They will be starting a new family where Bobby will be a proud step-father to Brittany's five year old son Chandler. We wish them the best of luck and hope they live happily ever after.

The wedding was held at Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin, CA.

The fun part about the wedding was that one of my father's great friends officiated the ceremony. Bobby works in the Sacramento Courthouse where my father's friend, Judge Gunther, is a Superior Court Judge. He did an excellent job and I enjoyed seeing him and introducing him to Andrew.

Congrats to Bobby and Brittany. Cheers!

judge gunther.jpg
cake cutting.jpg

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Home Shopping Summary Sept. 8

So we drove to Brentwood this evening to look at homes. Well, Brentwood and Discovery Bay. We went through 4 homes, and of that two were notable. A brief summary:

Beaver St.
Discovery Bay
$439k (overpriced)
3bdr 2bath
1692 sqft


  • The yard is pretty much finished
  • Big living room
  • Nice patio out the back door, covered
  • Good neighborhood
  • Backs up to park
  • Large lot
  • Attached 2 car garage


  • Galley Kitchen, would need to be redone eventually
  • Overpriced, closer to $420k value
  • Bathrooms are "70's style"
  • No overhead lighting

Pippo St.
4bdr 2bath
1940 sqft


  • Large kitchen
  • Odd layout is "easily" fixed by taking out 2 non-load-bearing walls, and covering a couple doorways
  • After a bunch of mostly "cosmetic" fixes, it could be worth lots more (realtor says if the stuff I mention here were fixed, it would sell for $500k now)
  • Large lot
  • Attached 2 car garage
  • Backs up to empty lot, curmudgeon owns it and has no plans to sell. Zoned for homes if he does sell
  • Walking distance to elementary school and water park


  • Previous person did lots of work themself, and it shows (home depot cabinets, etc)
  • Really odd layout
  • Pool in backyard would need to be filled in (not a cement pool; fiberglass liner)
  • Lots of backyard work to do other than the pool
  • Fence is showing its age

So those are the two that we found the most attractive. Both would need work (one a kitchen, one everything but the kitchen). We're tending towards less work right now, so the Pippo house is rather unattractive in the amount of work that it needs done.

I like the yard and the layout of the Beaver house, other than the galley kitchen. Shannon doesn't like its bathrooms.

Of course, we're going to keep looking. But as a first day of looking, I think we did pretty good!

Friday, September 3, 2004

Purchase me a big house

So after polling half the population of California last night about loans, we've decided to go with an Interest Only loan.

Judging by the audible gasp that I just heard you make, you might think thats a crazy idea. Well, I did at first too. In fact, I've been running around for the past 2 years telling people what a crazy idea it is.

What made me change my mind? Well, I finally sat down and actually calculated the difference between an interest only (hereafter i/o) loan and a regular amortized loan. The difference? Not much in the short term (less than 5 years).


You probably already know this, but because of the way home loans are structured, for your first few years that you're paying it off on a regular amortized loan you're paying almost all interest anyway. The bank structures the payments so they get their money (the interest you pay) first, then you get your money (the principle, the equity in the home) later in the loan.

Hey, why run a bank if you don't get to do money tricks like that, eh?

So when I calculated it out for the length of time that we're planning to stay in the house we buy (less than 5 years) there isn't much difference in the amount of equity that we would have between the i/o and amortized loan.

As another bonus point for i/o loans, because you don't have to pay down the principle, the payments will be much lower, thus we can buy more house.

And the amount of house that we can afford with an i/o loan is just about the level of house that we've been wanting.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

What to buy?

So lately we've been trying to figure out how much and what type of home to buy. I think it all comes down to how we feel when we see it, but we're trying to quantize it as much as possible at first.

In no particular order below, are some of what we're thinking about in regards to getting a home/condo:

  • Bedrooms - 2 minimum, 3 would be great.
  • Bathrooms - 2 minimum, the 1 bathroom at our current place is not enough...
  • Kitchen with a dishwasher
  • No carports, a covered garage is a must here. Attached would be great, but detached... we might be able to swing it. Depending on the house.
  • How much yard? We're not really sure. We think we can make it work with a condo, if we are diligent about walking the dogs regularly. A small yard area would be nice though, we could set up a doggie door.
  • Cost. Should we buy as much house as possible, or buy as cheap as possible so that we can have more money for emergencies. On one hand we want to have the most equity so when we decide to have kids we can afford a house on my salary alone. On the other we don't want to become "house poor."
  • Independant of the above factors, should we get a home or a condo? If the market drops in the future, a home would probably keep its value better, but homes cost that much more. And condo's in Discovery Bay would probably hold value pretty well anyway...

    Also, condominiums might require less direct maintenance by us, which would probably be a good thing.

  • Two stories or one? Teenie's back wouldn't like a big staircase, but if we were diligent we think we could probably keep her out of a back brace.

So thats just some of what we've been thinking about. Do you have any suggestions for future homes? Can you not live without ceiling fans? No sliding class doors? At least a 400 sqr foot kitchen?