You break it, I fix it
I'm sure this happens to everybody - you have an inspector visit your potential new home and they go over the place with a fine-tooth comb, giving you an overview of the good and the bad before you move ahead with your purchase plans.

And then you move in and find all of the stuff that the inspector missed.

Fortunately for us, all of the things that were missed were minor, but they add up to point towards a very particular trend.

  • easily 1/4 of the lightbulbs throughout the unit were out
  • the security cameras outside of our building were non-functional
  • the refrigerator's icemaker/water dispenser weren't working
  • the filter to the HVAC had obviously never been cleaned
  • the built-in coffee machine wasn't working
  • the clothes dryer wasn't drying clothes
  • the home's security system wasn't functioning
  • the hot water heater was turned up to scalding levels
  • the door to the deck wouldn't open
  • the jacuzzi bathtub wasn't functioning

The thing about all of these items is that they're all easily fixable. Taken together, we couldn't help but to wonder, "Why would the former owner let all of these things pile up like this?"

And then we recalled meeting him during that same inspection and it clicked: when asked about living here he responded, "Well, you know, the place was built in 2000 so everything's still new. We haven't had to worry about anything." Basically, this guy didn't understand the notion of maintenance! Yeah, the stuff might be new but that doesn't mean you don't clean out the HVAC filter!!!

I may not be the most "handy" guy in the world, but most of these things took nothing more than a little bit of time, patience and research to figure out. On the plus side, every time I fix one of these things it does wonders for my man-ego as I feel like Bob-freaking-Villa every time I get something fixed in our place!


Neighbors Come, Neighbors Go
One of the perks we've discovered by moving to "ourhaus" from the student-heavy Fenway area of Boston, besides no longer having to horde quarters for laundry, is that we actually have real, live neighbors - people who have lived in their homes for > 9 months and have a vested interest in knowing you.

We got lucky right away and became fast friends with the couple renting the unit below us - we've had them over a bunch of times, visited them and generally had a bunch of good laughs. Fortunately for them (but UNfortunately for us), they've just found themselves a great house in the 'burbs and are moving on.

At the same time, a new couple has appeared in the unit behind us. This is exciting because we finally have owner/occupants sharing the building with us. As it turns out, they're bright, funny and as enthusiastic about their new home as we are. We're excited by the possibilities for home improvement this brings and expect to be reporting on all sorts of new developments over the summer.

Now all we need to do is to see a new owner/occupant arrive in the now-vacant unit below us and we'll be really cooking!

About Us

Christopher Scott and Jodi Vautrin are the husband and wife team behind Ourhaus, where they chronicle their adventures in home improvement, decorating and travel. After purchasing a unique loft space just a few miles north of Boston, they began photographing and writing about their projects and it blossomed into a creative outlet and platform.

When they’re not home improving, Jodi spends her days as a freelance creative director & designer with a focus on user interface and interactive design, and is an entrepreneur at heart. She serves on the board of AIGA Boston as Vice President of Emerging Ideas & Events.

In his professional life, Christopher is the Technology Director for a multi-service ad agency based in Harvard Square. In his private life, he enjoys tinkering in all its forms, whether it's rebuilding the Ourhaus home network (again), fooling himself into thinking he knows how to fix home appliances, or trying to unravel the mysteries of the guitar. He also flies planes, performs open heart surgery and sings at bar mitzvahs (though not all at the same time).

They share their “haus” with their adorable, highly food-motivated chocolate lab, Lucy.