Up to the age thirty two years old, I had lived on my own many times. Actually, I moved around a lot and didn’t stay in one apartment or rental usually past 6 months. I enjoyed the freedom of experiencing different types of living situations. But one thing I always enjoyed inside my rental was the ability to decorate and make it a home. Each place had a different style. I had the contemporary look in a downtown Atlanta studio. Then I had the over the top girlie and colorful apartment during my short stint in college. Then I had the apartment in my early 20’s that was a blend of different furniture and no exact style. It just experimented with different styles through life. And all those places were decorated prior to the birth of Pinterest.
Now I am 33 years old and have been a home owner for a year with my husband. This house was our first time house buying experience, and if you read the Journey to Building a Home post, you know we chose to build our first home. After the building was complete and we moved into this house I had the desire to completing decorate within the first couple of weeks. Now that mentality had worked for me in the past because usually when I moved into a place I knew I would get bored quickly and move out again, so I had a limited timeline to have it decorated and organized in a short amount of time. And usually I would have everything before moving. However, back to the present day in time I had sold a lot of items and kept very little for the size of house we were building. My husband, Keith, had a lot of hand me downs and mixed items that were falling apart. So we were tasked with combining my items and his to put our brand new house together.
Most of his items were either sold or trashed if they weren’t in great shape, we made our second big purchase together, (the house begin our first big purchase together), for our master bedroom. We bought a full bedroom set. Keith and I also bought a couch and bar set. The items we had that filled in the guest bedrooms were hand me downs. We were completely unpacked in 2 days and mostly decorated within a couple of weeks. I was taking the mentality I had a limited timeline to get it all done, but I hadn’t wrapped my mind around the idea that I was officially putting roots in one place and building a life that could be many years in this house, so I no longer had to rush. However, I was anxious to get it done, because I wanted to be able to be complete on the inside of the house and then start with upgrades and remodeling of the house. I know it sounds crazy, it was a brand new house why would I start upgrading it already. Well I like to have a project, I did grow up in construction and there was always an upgrade taking place in my home as a child. Plus it was just fun to think of always improving.
I quickly learned that owning a house came with learning to save and spend money wisely. Our first year in our home was stressful because we had indulged more than expected in our initals upgrades for the home so we were left each month with no additional money for projects. Plus we were also planning a costly wedding in our first year as homeowners so I had to priortize where the money was spent and it wasn’t fully on the house of course. However as the year passed, we were able to refinance our home giving us some breathing room in our monthly budget and the wedding planning was done and we were married. I was now able to really jump head first into the small upgrades for the house and the decorating the house to make it a home.
I have spent the first year of homeownership coming to the realization that the decorating and the upgrades do not have to be on a short timeline. They do not have to be completed immediately and if I give time in between each project I am actually able to really get creative for each project individually. Its been a fun experience being a homeowner and it has been truly wonderful getting to create items that will enrich my house. Now I have a full list of at least a dozen things I want to change and upgrade for our home, but for now I am appreciating the changes we have made and the improvements we have completed to really make this house a home.
Here is a slideshow of the many projects we have done in the home, including changes the to home itself or decorating the home, because decorating a house really has the ability to enhance the house.
For descriptions of the photos above continue reading…
Photo #1 is the wedding photo collage wall. The shelves were handmade, I purchased two piece of wood, brown stain and six brackets from Home Depot. Sanded and stained the wood, attached the brackets to the wood and screwed them into the wall. The photos are a collection of us and family and I saved my wedding bouquet as it was tied with my grandfathers blue tie which was my something blue and had a special pendent with a photo of him and I on it. It was one of my favorite things from my wedding.
Photo #2 is a look an expanded look of the photo collage shelves with the dogs bed underneath, our modern TV stand with fireplace topped with a basket of flowers that had been repurposed from the wedding flowers.
Photo #3 is my blanket wall which I had purchased locally off Facebook Marketplace and above it was a housewarming/engagement gift from Keith’s family. Beautiful!
Photo #4 is the entry table which was found in one of our local shops in Saint Cloud downtown, it was one of the best finds, which is when I realized I can find the best things when shopping local. The Be Our Guest wood art was a DIY project that Keith and I made together from scrap pieces of wood we find at the house during the building process. Keith nailed the wood together and I stained it and together we painted the lettering.
Photo #5 is a picture of one of the small upgrades we made to the home, the builder installs cheap flourscent tube lights and so we had a friend and neighbor who is extremely skilled come over and install recessed lighting. This particular photo was taken in the laundry room where two lights were installed to replace the one flourscent light. We also changed the tube lighting from the pantry to one recessed light and then finished removing the last flourescent light in the master closet with three recessed lights. It was a small change but has big results, its brighter and has a better quality look to it.
Photo #6 our bar area, love this piece of furniture that we found at Haverty’s.
Photo #7 was our first project remodel in the home and honestly turned out to be a remodel fail. This was Keith’s and my first attempt at installing flooring together, although I grew up in construction, I was not an expert in all things construction, I usually was the spectator. But its raw honesty, as DIYers we made a mistake, so this will have to be redone.
Photo #8 includes a gift of a bottle opener from Keith’s sister and brother-in-law, and our fruit and vegetable holder as I prefer to have little items on our countertops.
Photo #9 shows a little bit of my prograstination, as I still haven’t painted over the uh-oh hole that is white. But again I’m not perfect and my house won’t be either. However my lanterns are perfectly equal on both sides of the back door and are great for holding our fresh vine, that once is grows will spill out and down from the lantern giving a very cool look. These lanterns were also repurposed from our wedding. I really wanted to use as much as I could from the wedding so it didn’t feel like a waste of money.
Photo #10 shows our fence which has been the best investment into our home because it hides the neighbors and gives us privacy as well as freedom to the dogs to run and explore. This picture also shows the avocado tree that was a gift to us from my sweet sister and brother-in-law. We are excited to watch it grow and be able to one day enjoy an avocado from that tree. The picture of our backyard also shows the incomplete portion of the shrubs, we haven’t had the best of luck in our landscaping, most things have died, mainly in the front landscaping. The back was truly not well planned out and we are hoping in the next year or so to create a backyard oasis, with and extension on the patio covered by a pergola and would include a beautiful garden of shrubs, plants and flowers around the patio. We will build a firepit accompanied by adirondack chairs, a fresh garden for Keith and still enough room for the dogs to run and muck. Therefore the shrubs are short term misplaced and unplanned mess.
Photo #11 & #12 are of the brand new completed project of the pavers my wonderful husband, Keith has completed for a stable ground beneath our trash bins.
Photo #13 is a glimpse of our guest bath set up and ready for our guest any time they chose to come visit.
Photo #14 shows an overview of my kitchen and above cabinet decor. The Happiness is Homemade sign is like the wood art in #4, we used found scraps of wood from our house during the building process and made these crafted these pieces into art that we can keep and carry with us no matter where we live we will always be able to take a piece of our first home with us.