Five Years in Our Midtown Home

I don’t know if home anniversaries are a thing, but I’m gunna go ahead and celebrate our five-year home anniversary anyway!

midtown at clear creek 5 year anniversary

When hubby and I met in March 2011, he was living in his own beautiful southwestern-style home in Albuquerque, while I was living in a low-income apartment 10 minutes away. Hubby always makes fun of me because the first time I visited his home, I was super duper impressed by his energy-efficient washer and dryer. I was not only impressed with his fancy adult appliances, but the fact that he owned his own home AND it was tidy!

It was love at first sight [of his home… just kidding!] and only a few months after we met, during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, hubby asked if I wanted to move in with him. The decision was a no-brainer because we had been spending every night with each other after our first dinner date in April.

From the very beginning of our relationship, hubby has always had the sweetest what’s-mine-is-yours attitude and moving in together was no exception. He was more than willing to clear closet-, drawer-, and bathroom counter-space to accommodate my girly things. We even bought a new bed and bedroom furniture set, which definitely made us feel like a legit, adult couple. Despite all that, our Albuquerque home never really felt like OUR home.

After we got hitched in August 2013, we promptly moved to Denver, Colorado, and began a search for home we could truly call ours. We eventually decided we would get a brand new home in a community called Midtown. While owning a home together that we could call “ours” was never essential to the love or success of our relationship, the special privilege of having a home built especially for us that we could call “ours” was an opportunity we deeply appreciated.

Our new home took much longer to be built than the six months we were originally told, but we enjoyed every bit of the building process/experience and visited it often during that time. As much as we loved watching our home be built, we loved even more, finally moving into our home in May 2015.

I have already detailed in another post a few years ago why we love the Midtown community we live in, as well as a few gripes that still remain true. However, for the most part, we choose to focus on the things we love about the home itself, which is the reason why we have no plans to move any time soon. Most importantly, I just can’t imagine moving out of the home that Pie and I helped design and “build” together.

A Few of our Favorite Things

There are many things I love about our Midtown home, but if I had to narrow it down to my top three, it would be the following.

#1 Central vacuum

A central vac is one of those things that is very rare to find in a home and most times can only be installed in a brand new home because the vacuum pipes have to be run through the walls. We are very fortunate that we bought a new home and could have that option to get one installed.

I love that we have a lightweight attachment that can be used on the hard flooring and another lightweight attachment with the beater brush for the carpet. Although the hose is pretty long in order to stretch across the house, I personally prefer that over dragging a heavy vacuum around the house. With our open layout homes, I think the long hose is much more convenient than a standard vacuum.

I also love that the central vac is better for allergy sufferers. The central vac carries dust and debris to a canister out in the garage through the PVC pipes in the walls, rather than to a vacuum bag that might spit that dust and debris right back out in the air inside the house.

My absolute favorite feature of our central vacuum system is that we were also able to install a “mini” version in our master bathroom upstairs called a VROOM. As a woman with long hair, I get ungodly amounts of hair all over the floor and as a clean-freak, I wanted to have an easy way to clean it up every morning without having to drag out a vacuum. The VROOM is a small device installed under the sink cabinet with a retractable hose that allows debris to be dragged out to the garage canister using the same pipes as the main central vac system. If I had known how awesome the VROOM was going to be, I would have had one installed in all the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room!

Although hubby and I personally love our central vac, I’m shocked that some people actually loathe them, and I couldn’t even tell you why. To each, his own!

midtown central vac 1

Our central vac is so easy to use, I can vacuum while enjoying a glass of wine!

midtown central vac 2

The canister for our central vac is located in the garage. This is also where we store the hose and accessories. We have an additional hose for vacuuming the vehicles in the garage.

midtown central vac 4

These are what the outlets look like for central vac hoses. These outlets connect to PVC pipes in the walls that connect to the canister in the garage.

midtown central vac 3

This is the “mini” central vac located in our master bathroom called a VROOM. It has a retractable hose and sucks debris into the same PVC pipes the rest of the central vac system uses. It’s so handy and I wish we had more of these installed!

#2 Sparkly countertops

Our sparkly white quartz countertops are so easy to keep clean and just look amazing. When we were choosing counter options for our home, we decided to make the decision easy by choosing the same counters for the kitchen and bathrooms and I love seeing the sparkle in so many rooms.

midtown quartz countertops

#3 Kitchen cabinets

One of things I really wanted in the home hubby and I bought in Denver (whether it was a new home or pre-owned home) was cabinets that weren’t that ugly, dated, orangish color (you know the ones right?). With a new home, it wasn’t difficult to get modern cabinets, but I still love and appreciate our modern kitchen cabinets. I know that colorful cabinets are becoming really trendy lately, but I still really like the timeless, modern, grey-brown toned cabinets and shelving in our home. Bright white cabinets would have been my other preference, but I couldn’t fathom trying to keep them clean. I also especially love our mix of open shelving and cabinets with decorative glass panel inserts. Our kitchen is just overall a treat to look at between the cabinets and counters!

midtown cabinets

Hubby’s favorite things about our Midtown home are also in my top list of favorite things and they are pretty simple: the energy efficiency of the home, the tall ceilings and open layout, and the yard.

What We’ve Accomplished in Five Years

While our new home was pretty awesome to begin with, we have still put in a lot of work with a few updates over the past five years, most of which I have detailed in past blog posts. And when I say “we”, I actually mean hubby! I’m so grateful he is so handy around the house and even looks forward to figuring out how to do projects himself.

  1. Window shades
  2. Backyard landscaping
  3. Fence staining
  4. Fire table
  5. Kitchen backsplash
  6. Light fixtures and ceiling fans
  7. Indoor/Outdoor speakers
  8. Cabinet hardware
  9. Dog door
  10. Garage bike/storage racks
  11. Bathroom shelving

Our most recent home projects were the front yard landscaping (re-do) and furnishing the second guest bedroom.

We have struggled with our front yard grass every single year we’ve been in Midtown and have replaced it completely at least twice. Despite our efforts, we cannot figure out why the grass does not do well, so this year we waved the white flag and replaced it with small rock. While the rock doesn’t look as homey as the grass, at least we will no longer fret when we get an HOA notice saying we probably “forgot” to water our lawn. 

Regarding our guest bedroom project, we had already decorated/furnished one of the two guest bedrooms, but every time we have guests, they coincidentally want to stay in the guest bedroom that isn’t decorated and just had a mattress on the floor. We had been saving that bedroom as a future nursery, but since we have abandoned that idea (more on that later), we figured we might as well give it a proper furnishing. That room was a labor of love because we DIY’d both the accent wall (board and batten design) and the IKEA dresser redo.

midtown landscape before

“Before” photo of our front yard landscaping. The grass may not look too bad, but our HOA doesn’t think so, and because we were tired of fighting with the grass every year, we finally (and sadly) decided to replace it with rocks.

midtown landscape after

“After” photo of our front yard landscaping with the grass replaced with rocks.

Bedroom Remodel 2

Hubby helping “upgrade” a cheap IKEA dresser for our guest bedroom.

Bedroom Remodel 3

board and batten DIY

Hubby putting up the DIY board and batten wall accent in our guest bedroom. So glad he’s a meticulous nerd that’s good with numbers, angles, and measuring!

midtown guest bedroom 2a

Our finished, furnished guest bedroom.

DIY board and batten wall

midtown guest bedroom 2b

For the most part, our home doesn’t look too much different than when we moved in. We still have many blank walls that need art, but I have hesitated to clutter up the walls with anything I don’t feel strongly about. For the time being, we love the somewhat “minimal” look and actually miss our beautiful home when we go on vacations. We’re very lucky to have a gorgeous home to come home to everyday.

What’s Next?

Despite all the home projects we’ve accomplished, we still have a lengthy list of projects on our to-do list. One of the most challenging things about the list is deciding the priority of each project. As such, items on the list keep bouncing around in order of importance and never get done.

For example, we recently thought we would bump up a patio pergola to the top of the list, but after getting a $19,000 quote for our dream pergola (I swear it’s not even that fancy), that item got bumped down as we re-evaluate whether we want to take on a DIY challenge or settle for an alternative. Other smaller projects, like the laundry room sink, we just need to get ‘er done!

Perhaps in another five years, we’ll have these all done! Stay tuned!

  1. Laundry room sink/cabinet
  2. Patio pergola
  3. Raise wood fence
  4. Finish garage walls/floors
  5. Curtains

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