Terrific Broth

Beijinger in Denver | 北京人在丹佛

Tag: Rental

Video tour – Evergreen sunroom

We spent quite a few weeks looking for rental in Colorado. Our demands are high. The landlord has to be OK with us bringing in two dogs, there needs to be a large yard, the rent needs to be reasonable, and the place needs to be kind of cool. We are always attracted to places that are not ordinary. And renting an “regular” 2b/1b apartment is never an option to us. As you could imagine, there were only handful of places we contacted. And what sold our current rental to Slav, who visited the prospective rentals in person, is this sunroom.

01

This sunroom was built as a greenhouse, attached to the southern exterior of the house. It spins more than half of the length of the house and meets the garage on its side. When our landlord bought the house 15 years ago, it was only one story in height. He was impressed how warm this greenhouse got in Winter, and therefore decided to extend it all the way to the roof of the house for heating purposes. Even in a snowy winter night, it is above freezing. When it is sunny outside, which are most of the days here, the sunroom warms up quickly and can get to 80 degrees in Winter and over 100 degrees in Summer. It helps to reduce the heating cost in winter.

02

A fan is installed between the sunroom and the garage to distribute the heat accumulated in the sunroom. When it is above 75 degrees in the sunroom, the fan turns on automatically and pumps hot air into the garage. We leave the sliding door open on the other end of the sunroom so cool breeze comes in. A set of stairs leads to the patio above the garage, which also helps the hot air to escape.

Because the sunroom stays warm at night, it is possible to grow flowers and vegetables year-around. We are told that one of the previous tenants, a lady who lived here for 14 years, grew her own vegetables and herbs in these rock beds. In March it still snows in Evergreen. But the days are getting warmer, and we already saw seedlings peeking out of these beds. The first a couple days we got here, I have planted Morning Glories and Moonflowers, and hope to see them sprouting soon.

03

 

At the end of this sunroom, it is the front door to our ground floor apartment. We created a small mudroon under the stairs to keep our shoes and coats out of the main living space. We are also able to fit Slav’s tools under the stairs.

04

 

We have already enjoyed a few evenings here star gazing in our camping chairs. The sliding door lets in cool breeze and the flowers and herbs we are planting in these rock beds should provide additional fragrance in summer nights. North Carolina gets was very humid in summer and has lots of mosquitoes. We expect the summer nights here to be cool, dry and bug-free, which are ideal for dining out in this cute sunroom of ours.

As you can tell, I love this sunroom very much. I love it so much that I shot a separate video for this little space and the attached patio. Do you have a favorite patio set for two that you can recommend?

Video tour – Evergreen home

Howdy! It has been a full week since we arrived in Colorado. It took us quite a few days to unpack, even though we did not move with many furniture. But nevertheless, we are home! This video tour shows the apartment we are moving into, which is a half basement of an old house. If you are in a hurry and do not have time for a video, I also included some photos below. Thanks for visiting!

 

Living room

You immediately enter the living room when walking into the front door. The lack of a drop-off zone is a common problem with every rental we have been. In our last rental, we carved out of a small entryway with shelves and wall-mount hooks. In this rental, we are lucky to have an enclosed sunroom right over the front door, which we immediately turned into a mudroom.

Storing shoes and winter coats outside of the front door keeps living room clean and free from clutter. Then, this becomes the view from the front door – day bed doubles as a sofa, kitchen island, and kitchen.

01 Living

 

Since this is a relative short rental, we do not want to buy a sofa yet. A full mattress covered with our king-size bedding becomes a perfect sofa bed for movie nights and afternoon naps. Like many of you, we do not watch TV almost at all. Our entertainment is streaming with a projector. We store the projector, amplifier, and speakers inside the coffee table and project movies on the opposite wall.

02 Living-sofa bed

 

The projector wall. This will be the wall we project movies and shows onto. The projector screen is lying on the floor, waiting to be mounted.

03 living-movie wall

Slav has a pretty cool standing desk which he has been using for a couple years. We are lucky to get a few of these desks for cheap. We each kept one desk for personal use (mine is not assembled at this moment due to lack of space). As for the rest of the desks, Slav disassembled them and only kept the motorized legs. Our plan is to make an adjustable-height kitchen island with these legs, which we can lower and use as a dining table when needed.

The boxes to the left are (hopefully) temporary. These are Slav’s electronic “stuff”, which to me are trash but to him are definitely treasure. Well, at least he promised that they will be consolidated and “gone” by the time I come back from my expected China trip in April.

 

Kitchen cook top and eat-in island. We have been eating all of our meals standing up next to the island due to lack of chairs. 😉

06 Haallway to bed and bath

 

Kitchen. This is a pretty old house so the kitchen is … authentic. We could not unpack all our cookware and dishes due to the lack of storage. Interestingly, we got comfortable with just a few dishes pretty quickly. See, there is no dish washer, and we only have one shallow sink. A couple plates and mugs are used for each meal, then immediately washed and dried. Next meal, we just used the same ones. It is very different how we use our plates and mugs when we had a dishwasher.

07 kitchen

 

Laundry room. Yes. this door needs some upgrade…

08 Laundry and garage

 

The small hallway next to the stove leads to bedroom, bathroom and the utility closet. We did not unpack many art pieces and picture frames at the new place, only a few that means a lot to us. The painting hung above our bed is by Adam Faglio from Poland. He is a family friend and a brilliant artist. He painted the castle from Slav’s hometown in winter.

10 Bed

 

Bathroom. There is very little storage so we only unpacked the essentials. My guess is that we will again get used to live on very few things. We never had storage units, but we are not minimalist either by any means. I kind of like how this place forced us to live towards minimalism.

11 Bath

Our landlord is so kind that he gave us this new “world map) shower curtain. Do you know that there is a place called “the Sandwich Islands“?

12 Bath

I hope that you like our little rental! It is an old house and it is not perfect. But this cozy place is where we became Coloradoans. One of the things sold Slav to this place is a sunroom that spins the entire length of our apartment on the southern side, which I will show you in a separate video tomorrow. Thanks for checking out!

A three-year garden recap

I have not been gardening long – we always rent and did not have the money or freedom to plant until we moved into our current rental in the summer of 2012. Our first gardening experience was this front yard beautification in the summer of 2013 (with help from professionals):

June 2013, front garden with cannas, lantana and a dwarf palm tree

Which, did surprisingly well the following year:

Summer 2014, Lantana

We have since learned some tough lessons from this garden – it is on the north side of the house and as you can see from the first picture, the part of the garden next to the house never gets any direct sun. Actually, except from June to August, 40% of the garden is in constant shade. In addition, the soil is cold and is heavy clay that never drains well. More plants died here than thrived, mostly during winter and because of rotten roots, including the cute palm tree and lantana (my personal favorite). We have since replaced half of what we originally planted. And this is what looks like a few days ago:

April 2016, front yard garden, Lilies, cannas, hibiscus, gardenia

We have since put down some rosemary bushes in the center of the yard where the palm tree used to be. Rosemary does not do well in clay soil but I have seen it as perennials here. So we are given it a try this year and hope it makes the center evergreen piece in this garden.

One success we had in this garden is hibiscus. We got the non-tropical ones and they overwinter very well. They actually do not mind saggy soil at all and really enjoy themselves at the sunny spot in this garden. They have been given generous and elegant big flowers whole summer throughout which attracted many butterflies. They do, however, attract beetles like crazy and definitely require daily attention to remove bugs and dead flowers for continuous bloom.

June 2015

 

April, 2016

We also enjoyed growing lily here which is actually in partial shade:

May, 2015
May, 2015

We got so many in such a short period of time so we gave them to everyone at my work and it made people so happy. Cannot wait for them to bloom again this year!

Our second garden is this little underplant area in the middle of our circular driveway:

June 2014, underplant in the driveway

Did not look so hot did it? But these plants are tough and just keep giving us surprises. It has been doing better and better each year and this is what it looks like last week:  

Much. Better. 🙂

We also tried to grow vegetables. yet so far it has not been going so well. We have many woodland critters who have been keeping a much closer eye on our fresh produce than we ever could. We have be successful with growing and producing cherry tomatoes (again, producing, not harvesting), and this year we decided to get our hands on peppers and cucumbers:

Summer 2015
April, 2016
April, 2016
April, 2016

If there is one thing gardening has taught me, is respect. Respect the plant, respect the nature. There is no other thing I could do but to provide what the plant need and to assist nature. That means be patient, be vigilance, be gentle, and be forgiving. 2016 has just started and we have already seen success and failure. We could not wait to see where 2016 takes us!

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