What’s Your House Love Story?

Today is the last day of my 31 days challenge (because I want to post about Halloween tomorrow), so I thought I’d wrap it up by asking a question to all of you- what’s your house love story? what made you know your house was “the one”? The first few months of home ownership can be so stressful, full of endless lists and projects, so take a minute to think about why you got into all of this in the first place.

Our current house is actually the third house we made an offer on. House #1 we had issues coming to a sale agreement, house #2 got caught up in a bidding war and I didn’t want to stretch our budget, and then there was this one. The night before I went to look at it was soon after we had lost house #2 and Matt and I had a serious talk about saving up for another year and then trying again, because we just weren’t finding much. The next morning my real estate agent called me and said there was a new short sale on the market and we should be the first ones to see it because it might go fast. Unfortunately Matt had work so I went without him.

front of house

The house was a filthy, cluttered, wallpapered hot mess. Seriously. Even the real estate agent gave me the side eye on it. But I just fell in love. It was home. Immediately. I can’t pinpoint exactly what made me fall in love, but I fell hard immediately when we walked in. I hadn’t even seen the bedrooms yet and I knew it was THE ONE.

No one else agreed with me- Matt was furious I bought such a filth house (he still brings it up), the real estate agent asked me if I was sure at least 3 times, my friend Beth went on a walk through with me and looked seriously concerned. I wouldn’t allow my parents to see it for the first week we lived there because it was that bad. But now- now she’s looking mighty fine and I always say even though I know we’re going to move, I wish we could just pick up this house and move it with us.

What’s your love story?

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge. To see the full list of my posts from this month, check here.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

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Couch Pillows

Maybe it’s just because of my price range, and the price range of those around me, but I’m just going to throw this out there as an overall rule:

Do not use the pillows that come with your couch. I assure you they are awful.

I say that in all kindness, because I’m pretty sure every single one of my family members are using the pillows that came with their couch. But they are awful. Everyone deserves cute pillows. AND, so that nothing goes to waste, use the ones you’ve got as a form and cover them with better fabric. You don’t even have to know how to sew:

Don’t want a giant knot on your pillow? You can make a no sew cover using a hot glue gun and cloth napkins:

There’s so many possibilities out there! Have you made a pillow cover? Link it in the comments!

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

 

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Your Monthly Payment Could Change

First things first- when you are on a real estate website and it tells you what your monthly payment will be, that is in no way correct. At least not with your first house. As a first time home owner (and maybe beyond that? I don’t know, I’m not there yet), you’re going to have to take out insurance on your loan for at least a few years. Additionally, you’re going to have property tax built in to your cost too. AND if you have a super low down payment, you’re going to have to get  insurance for your insurance until you own a certain percentage of your home. Yup. Insurance for your insurance.

yo dawg, home insurance, monthly payment

AND property tax can change annually. The first year we lived in our house our monthly payment was about $1,000. Year two it went up to about $1,100. In year three we no longer need insurance on our insurance and it is back to $1,000 (but because we got used to the extra $100, we just keep paying it anyway to pay down our loan).

Confused yet? Here’s the bottom line: talk to your loan person. Make sure you understand as much of this chaos as you can.

 

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

Throwback Friday

I’ve had a lot of new readers since this series started, so today I wanted to throwback to a few good posts I had before this started:

And because so many of you have shared horror stories with me over the past few weeks, here’s my horror story.

 

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

House Upkeep: Dryer Ducts

SO here’s something I didn’t know- you should clean your dryer vents once a year to prevent build up, which prevents unwanted fire. Huh. Wish someone had told me that one a little sooner.

Luckily, Pretty Handy Girl has a tutorial all about it- so please do click over and check it out. Straight from her blog:

‘According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, ( CPSC ), annually there are 15,500 Dryer Fires, Up To 30 Deaths and over 310 injuries, due to dryer exhaust duct fires. You should clean your dryer hose and around it once a year, and inspect the vent and hose for any blockages at least every 6 months.”

 

The jist of it is:

  • unplug your dryer and shut off the gas, if applicable
  • clean the lint trap & the slot you replace it in
  • pull the dryer away from the wall and detach that big coil (that’s your duct), then vacuum it out and reattach.
  • go outside and clean the vent outside your house too

Seriously, hop over to Pretty Handy Girl’s and read the full tutorial (there’s pictures! so helpful!) and then put this on your to-do list for the weekend.

 

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

Buy What You Love and Thrift the Rest

Some people wish they could walk into Pottery Barn and buy everything in the little staged room that’s set up. I’m not one of those people. Yes, I’d love to shop at Pottery Barn or West Elm but the reality is I’ve still got an Ikea budget.

Once you’re in a home you’re going to be in for a while, it is worth it to spend the money on fixtures:

  • Couches
  • Dining sets
  • Beds

Spend money on things you absolutely love and that are a large presence in your home. Then, if you like your house to have a collected feel, or you’re on a budget, thrift everything else while you save up for the long term:

  • Sides Tables (our living room ones are from Amazon)
  • Night Stands (we’ve only got one, and it’s Ikea…but my eyes are scanning around for an upgrade)
  • Frames (Salvation Army! Habitat Restore!)
  • Chairs (thrift, thrift, thrift my friends)

In my house there are 2 pieces of furniture we spent good money on, and actually still saved a ton. We have a big 6 person sectional in the basement that we bought for $600- which is a steal and was the first ever piece of furniture I bought from a store. We got it from a place called Scratch ‘n Dent (ha!), which sells showroom and returned furniture from their sister store. The other big furniture we got was the bar in our sunroom, which we spent $300 on and got from a place called Bob’s Discount Furniture.

So yeah, we made the decision to invest in a returned sectional and a bar. Because we are adults.

I have learned that it takes time to come into your own style when decorating a house, but I have also learned that I can not stand to live in an empty house while I wait to fill it up. So I decorate in the “phase” approach:

  • Phase 1 is move in and set up whatcha got. Move it around, shop your house.
  • Phase 2 is to thrift for style and uniqueness- sometimes the thrift store is where you find that one piece you can’t live without.
  • Phase 3 is to upgrade with expensive, long term pieces when I find something I can’t leave the store without. I imagine this happening a lot more when we move into our next home (in the next 5 or so years)

 

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

 

Who Gave Me a HOUSE?!

I spent a solid amount of time Friday night bleaching and scraping mold off the bathroom ceiling, then a lot of Saturday raking up leaves with Matt, then about 6 hours yesterday tearing down wallpaper at my brother’s house. It’s safe to say I woke up fairly sore this morning.

And so I leave you with this depiction of what it feels like to buy a house:

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

 

Shop Your House

When you first move into your home your immediate plan is always clean, unpack, sleeeep. A chair was in the living room at your last place, it’s in the living room now. A bench was by the door at your last house, that’s where it goes in this house. And that’s fine. But! A few weeks or months later, when you’re settled, take a walk around your house and see if things can’t be better shuffled around a bit.

I move my chairs around regularly (also, I have a chair hoarding problem). I also rearrange my kitchen cabinets every six months or so because I keep trying to make them more efficient. The closets get cleaned out once a year and giant donation piles are made. Things like plants, trays, and picture frames are constantly revolving through each room.

Basically, just because it started somewhere doesn’t mean it has to stay there.

For example:

rearranging furniture

  • I bought 2 slipper chairs from Target, one has always lived in our bedroom and the other originally lived in the sunroom
  • But then I found two wooden chairs on the side of the road that I needed so the chair moved into the office
  • I redid the wooden chairs, which led to me repainting the sunroom, which led to me reupholstering the bench in that room too
  • And then once in the office the cats made themselves at home on the  slipper chair, so I had to give it a little surgery and also I added an Ikea faux sheepskin on the top.

WHEW! And now everything is about one zillion times better.

And one more thing: The chair hoarder in me needs to tell you to buy or thrift your chairs in multiples of 2. Even if you don’t really need 2. Just do it. Because when you rearrange in a few months, having a set will make things so, so much easier for you.

 

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

Design Theory

comfort zone, be bold, comfort, home, home decorating

Before you start decorating your house, and spending a whole lot of money to do so, you should really think about what you want to get out of it:

  • Are you a plop your stuff down and settle in kind of person (which I doubt you are if you’re reading DIY blogs)?
  • Are you a think long and hard and work on the house for years person?
  • Are you flighty with lots of ideas and ok with changing things over time (that’s me!)?

Try and think of just one or two sentences to describe how you want your house to make you feel and what your design theory is. Mine is:

If you don’t walk into a room and fall and love, it’s not done yet.

What’s yours?

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors

Stop with the Pinning and Start with the Doing

I know that there’s a heck of a lot of pinned images and decorator’s rooms that make working on your house seem so impossible. But I promise it is not. I knew literally nothing when I bought my house, and then I started reading blogs, and that made me start to feel empowered, and so I picked up a some drop cloths and a paintbrush and got to work. It’s that easy.

Stop pinning beautifully staged rooms that cost more than your house’s down payment and start making some real changes.

Start reading more blogs from real people and get yourself some DIY instructions from women who started in the same boat as you. Here’s 15 of the zillion blogs I read in no particular order…except that I put my 3 friends at the top… haha:

 

Here’s the thing: There is literally no one in my everyday life working on their home in the same way I am (with a budget of about 0 and no experience). But there’s this whole world of bloggers who are. So talk to them. Leave comments and email and ask questions. They could become your best friends… Kenz (Interiors by Kenz) and Emma (Broke Ass Home) and I literally talk every single day. And it is awesome.

Feeling overwhelmed by having a long list of blogs to check in on? Sign up for Blog Lovin’ and it’ll organize them all for you.

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For the month of October, I will be participating in The  Nester’s 31 day challenge.

new homeowner tips, 31 days, neutral home colors