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House Update: Vintage Details

September 27, 2016

One of the benefits of purchasing new construction is that everything is a blank slate; the sky is the limit in terms of putting your own touch on things. That being said, one of the downsides to purchasing new construction is that everything is a blank slate! It’s hard to know where to begin in making things feel like home.

The main focus was the guest room, but we’ve also accomplished a few smaller projects this month! We hung art throughout the house, mostly pieces we already owned and then a few of my photos.  We’re working on a sports gallery wall in the upstairs loft area which will look so cool when we’re finished!

We’ve gone with a rustic look for a lot of our pieces so far and I want to keep with that theme. I like adding vintage details to spaces that didn’t have them already. I found these beauties at an antique fair over the weekend and can’t wait to hang them in our entryway.

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They’re a seemingly small touch that I think will add a lot of character to a pretty blank slate.  I’ve also been collecting vintage door knobs for a few projects throughout the house and can’t wait to share them with you!

While new construction often gets dinged for lacking character, I think our plans will give the space a lot of character that is uniquely us.

How do you add character to your home?

House

Living Room Windows (and our weekend)

September 12, 2016

Oh my word, y’all. I really need time to slow down. I swear I blinked and missed the entire weekend. While our days are full of fun and I wouldn’t trade them, I can’t shake that nagging pre-deployment feeling that each day of fun is one day closer to A leaving. And that makes everything a little bittersweet.

But this weekend, I tried really hard to focus and stay present because we had lots of fun in store! Saturday we hosted an end of summer BBQ for a bunch of folks from work and stayed up waaaay past our bedtime. A and I agreed we’re far too old to adult like that.  Then yesterday, we hit up the Raleigh Home Show and I mentally remodeled our (brand new) home roughly 532948 times.

I know it’s bad, but there were just so many good ideas that it was hard not to! Luckily A dragged me away from the custom flooring people to take a look at some possible window treatments.  We have been working to pick out window treatments for our living room windows since basically the day we moved in, but surprise, surprise, I’m having a hard time making up my mind.

For reference, here’s a photo of the windows during construction. They are gorgeous and let in an unbelievable amount of light which I love. And hate. We get full-day sun in the backyard and it can get really hot downstairs around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  We very much need some light control in those windows.  Privacy is also on the wish list.

living-room-windows

And that’s about all I can settle on right now.  Yesterday, we looked at shutters and I really like the style of those, but they are so pricey! I especially like the ones in the below photo: the top and bottom pieces would offer even more light control. I also love the addition of soft, neutral curtains.

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A new option may be these natural Roman shades. They would blend in well with the look of the living room and based on initial research, they are cheaper. And I would still do white or off-white curtains with them.

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While I like the bamboo ones a lot, we do have plans to repaint the walls a light grey eventually and I’m not sure how I feel about that color combination. These soft gray ones may be better in the long term.

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While browsing Pinterest, I also found these DIY shutters and I really like them! They won’t work for the living room because of the size and number of windows, but maybe I could convince A to make them for some other rooms.

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So while I definitely haven’t made a decision, I’d like to think that I’ve picked out a few good options. Ideally, I would like to have this taken care of before A leaves for deployment.  Do you guys have any standout favorites?

House

Guest Room Reveal

September 2, 2016

Happy Friday! I am so excited to share this post with you today because it means that a room in our house is finally finished! I’d like to think I would still be sharing it even if A’s parents weren’t coming this weekend, but odds are that isn’t true. Sometimes you just a need a little push to get started, right?

And boy am I glad we got that push! After a little blood, sweat, tears and one really iffy light installation, A and I finally put the finishing touches on our guest room and we love it!

I shared some inspiration last week, but as a recap: we really wanted to keep things light and neutral. The room isn’t huge and with the dark floors, I felt like adding too many rich colors would make it feel even smaller.  Plus, I wanted a contrast between the furnishings and the floors to make both stand out really well.

With that in mind, I chose a lighter bed frame and bedding. The metallic touches in the bed frame gave it just enough detail to keep it interesting without being over the top. I liked the distressed style as it kept with the feel of the rest of our first floor so far.  The duvet cover is a very soft linen material and I absolutely love the color. It will go with anything, giving me the flexibility to change my accent color whenever I want.

Guest room sneak peek

I did add some pops of blue into the room to break up the neutrals and really like how the different shades all worked together.  My favorite may be the blue and white striped curtains which are almost identical to the ones in our dining room. I know, I know. But I love them!

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At the last minute, we chose to switch out our builder grade light fixture for something a little more stylish. The new light wasn’t necessarily the easiest to install while standing on a mattress, but the end result was totally worth it.

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The next pop of color comes on the wall opposite the bed in the form of the most amazing navy blue dresser. I found it in a local antique store and just had to have it. It was our splurge item in the room, but I adore it. Now that it’s in the room, I’m not 100% sure it will live there forever and I may already have an idea of where else it should go in the house. But it’s safe to say I won’t part with it.

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I added a few knick knacks to the top of the dresser, keeping our color scheme in mind.  The room desperately need a pop of green so an artificial plant in a white and burlap container was quickly purchased and added. I repurposed one of A’s favorite beer containers into a makeshift vase and absolutely love it. We finished out the wall with some of my travel photographs in distressed white frames.

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Even though the bed had a really gorgeous headboard, I felt like it was really important to add something interesting on the wall, but I knew I didn’t want it to be another picture frame. When I found this vintage frame at the same antique store as the dresser, I realized I had just the item. The detail on the frame echoes the detail in the dresser and carries the distressed look onto the wall. I added a twig wreath for now, but may mix this up with seasonal items throughout the year.

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Ideally, I would have matching bedside tables, but couldn’t find ones that I liked so I chose two that coordinated. I helped the process along by replacing the pulls with fun rope ones I found at HomeGoods.  I added a little personality to each table so guest really know they’re staying in our home.  I mean, it’s a wiener dog lamp for heaven’s sake.
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Finally, here are a few more of my favorite details in the room.  I think fresh flowers instantly make a room more inviting so I always like adding them to guest rooms. The curtain rod is a fun detail that matches the mix of rustic and industrial elements we have elsewhere in the house.
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Getting our first room checked off the list as a big step for us and I’m really excited to keep the momentum going with more (albeit smaller) projects throughout the rest of the house.  Stay tuned for more!

House

Guest Room Inspiration

August 23, 2016

Full confession: progress on the house has all but stalled. I wouldn’t call it a lack of inspiration, but rather a lack of time and energy. Between work and dogs, we haven’t put decorating anywhere near the top of our priority list.

But that has to change because company is coming! A’s family will be coming to visit for his birthday and that means they need a place to sleep. So we have prioritized our downstairs guest room as the next (and really only) room to finish.  But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

I’ve struggled to find pieces that fit the image I have in my head. It all looks so easy when you’re watching HGTV and they have an unlimited budget, but here in reality land, it’s a little tougher.

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I’ve always known I wanted a mix of neutrals and strong accent colors.  I love this image’s clean, neutral color palette. It’s the perfect backdrop for adding different pops of color throughout the year. Plus the shape of that dresser is gorgeous!

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One of the accent colors I’m most in love with is navy blue. You can add so many different secondary colors to it that it almost acts like a neutral, but still makes a statement.  I loved the stripes in this bedding, but of course it was custom designed.

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Our guest room isn’t huge and we knew we wanted to put a queen bed in there.  That’s why I thought it was important to make the bed frame itself as light as possible. I’ve searched high and low for a metal frame that came in white and was the right shape for the room.  I think I’ve finally found one so fingers crossed that it’s the right fit.

Other ideas as of now: using my travel photos as art, a unique piece above the bed and the addition of mercury glass and milk glass accessories.

Stay tuned for the reveal in a few weeks!

House

Five Lessons I Learned While Building a House

July 18, 2016
Five Home Construction Lessons I Learned the Hard Way (So You Don't Have To!)

Once upon a time, a happy couple moved into their very first home together. It wasn’t just any home. It was their dream home, practically perfect in every way! Except for one little thing: they didn’t have internet. And that made the happy couple unhappy, especially as weeks passed with no signal to be found. Calls to customer service went unanswered, scheduled service appointments were cancelled. Finally the couple got fed up and called their internet service provider to complain and get some answers.  It turns out the lines for said internet hadn’t even been installed and their completion date was unknown!

And that’s where the story ends because y’all, we still don’t have internet. I had to type this from a Panera because there’s only so many times I can visit my parents before they get suspicious that I’m just there for their bandwidth. It’s driving me bonkers and the longer it takes, the less understanding I become. I’m calling the company again today to see what their plan is, but am not holding out much hope.  I miss Netflix.

Lesson #1: The house isn’t going to be perfect.

While hopefully you’ll have internet upon moving in, I guarantee your dream house that you lovingly crafted to be perfect in every way will not be perfect when you move in. Walls may be slightly more textured than you wanted, maybe there’s a subway tile in the shower that you SWEAR is crooked, perhaps your back door only shuts when you throw your body weight into it.

As A and I did our final walk-through before we closed, we constantly reminded each other that our house was built by people and not machines. People make mistakes, people cut corners, people want to leave early on Fridays. The sooner you accept that, the easier (and less stressful) your life will be.

Now, I’m not saying that you should ignore the leaky faucet and the giant whole in your drywall.  Just know what your deal breakers are and make sure those are taken care of before you close.

Lesson #2: The house isn’t going to be complete.

A brand new house you helped design should have everything done to it that you could ever want, right?!

Wrong.

We should have known this would be the case because we had been warned by friends who had just gone through the process. But somehow we figured it wouldn’t apply to us.

Wrong again.

Due in large part to lesson #3, A and I are prepared to take on quite a few projects over the next few years. I think we may have more projects on our to-do list in our new house than we could have ever dreamed up for the old place. Everything from building a fire pit and patio out back to adding crown moulding to painting and installing blinds.  We may not have technically built our house ourselves, but we’ll be putting plenty of sweat equity into it.

Lesson #3: Upgrades are expensive (and not always necessary).

Model homes are gorgeous, but much like a human model, they’ve had some help. Fancy paint colors, custom light fixtures, the highest end of everything…you get the idea.  So what you see when you visit a model home is definitely not what you’ll get, unless you’re willing to pay (waaay too much) for it.

I felt like we had a pretty good handle on our wish list, but when we saw the final price tag, we knew that some compromises would need to be made (see lesson #5).  So we looked at the upgrades and realized that so many of them were way overpriced and not really something we needed at that moment. For example, to have the builder case the opening around our dining room was more than I make in a month. Add another project to the DIY list!

When you choose your upgrades and finishes, really consider what’s feasible to do after you close and what really needs to be done at the upgraded price.

Lesson #4: The mortgage process is a pain in the butt!

I’m not sure why exactly, but the mortgage process for building a home was so much more painful than purchasing a pre-existing home.  The process stretched on for months and we had to supply so many versions of the same document that I was completely burned out on paperwork by the end of it.  Plus anytime you have two people they’re looking at, things are bound to be even more complicated.

Lesson #5: You will need to make compromises.

I don’t care if you’re JT MoneyBags with an unlimited budget, compromises will have to be made. If you’re Mr. Moneybags it may be that your gold carpet clashes with your diamond wallpaper and one has to go. If you’re like the rest of us, it may be that having hardwood floors throughout means you’ll need to eat Ramen noodles for six months and you have to settle for carpet upstairs.

And it’s not just budget-related compromises! A and I had to make compromises with each other left and right when it came to the design process.  He liked one cabinet better than I did and I liked a flooring sample more than his choice. With a little give and take, we were able to come to an agreement that we both loved. Just because we both didn’t get 100% exactly what we each wanted did not mean that our choices weren’t perfect for us.  Yours will be perfect for you as well.

Have you built a home? What lessons would you add to my list?