The Bungalow is ours!

Nothing but good news this week!

As of today, we are all moved into the Riverside Retreat—and now the real work begins! I’ve been scheduling projects for us to tackle over the next month, so between those and unpacking and wedding planning (10 more weeks!) and Lucas working full time and traveling, our schedules are jam packed.

Oh, did I mention we FINALLY closed on our 5-unit Bungalow? It only took six months!

I’ve posted updates on this blog sporadically, but this saga has been so many months in the making, I don’t even remember all the details.

Long story short: we went under contract in late January, and the original escrow period was set for 45 days (typical for a commercial loan). There was some confusion/miscommunication from the seller’s broker and property management company, which caused the first extension. Then our bank dragged their feet, resulting in another extension. Days before we were set to close, our bank unexpectedly denied our financing and left us scrambling to line up a hard money lender. In our second attempt to close, the seller discovered he had a lien against his name and couldn’t sell any property until it was cleared. This delay turned out to be a blessing because we were able to find a small local bank to secure a commercial loan with great terms, but we ended up signing 2 more extensions and waiting over 2 more months for the seller to finally clear his lien.

And after all that, we have earned the title of landlords!

There were times where we didn’t think we’d ever make it to the closing table, but we are proof that patience and persistence pay off!

The Bungalow property is two buildings built in 1925 (one main house and one carriage house) split into 5 units (you can see the back unit peeking out from the right side of the photo below).

Don’t let the cute facade fool you, it needs some work.

At only 3400 square feet total, the units are quite small.

They’re a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms, and as basic as they come.

There have been updates like vinyl flooring, paint and a new roof over the years, but there’s some deferred maintenance we have to address right away.

Each has their own private yard, which is a nice bonus.

The biggest selling point for us was the location. The property is in the most desirable neighborhood of Tampa, in the best school district, with nearby development only increasing. There will never be a shortage of renters here.

We’ve had a lot of time to consider our strategy for this property, and have gone back and forth on what makes the most sense. Ultimately, we decided to keep the tenants in place (it’s fully rented with long term leases) and let it cash flow.

We’re going to focus our renovation efforts on the Riverside Retreat and our new construction home, so you won’t be hearing much about this Bungalow going forward.

It’ll be doing its thing in the background, generating some income, and slowly building equity over time.

I’ve rented out 3 of my 4 homes in the past, but have always used a property management company and was very hands off. This will be our first time as both landlords and property managers, so we’re hoping it goes as smoothly as it can! Either way, it’ll be a learning curve.

Let us know if you’d like us to talk about any specific part of being landlords or investing. We’re here to share our experiences!

Speaking of overdue updates… remember this house?

In just 48 hours, it’ll be gone. Our demolition permit was finally issued on Monday, and Demo Day is this Friday. I’ll be there watching and recording it live on Instagram, so make sure to tune then to see it go down! Another end to a story 6 months in the making—but the beginning of something much greater.

Things are finally starting to get exciting around here!

 


Destination Design: Part 1

A couple months ago, I received an email from someone that made me decide to jump on a plane to come help her. This is Part 1 of our story…

At 28 years old, Janice has endured more than anyone should have to in life. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with blood cancer and after surviving one round of chemo, the cancer returned and she had to move to Houston with her husband for months of intensive chemo and a stem cell transplant.

After her scans came back clear the second time around, she was able to move back home to Florida to begin her long road of recovery.

They decided to put down roots and buy their first home in Navarre, FL. Janice had always dreamed about having a beautiful home for her family, and after the setbacks of high medical expenses, she worked overtime and saved up every penny to hire an interior designer to bring her vision to life.

Janice’s husband is in the Air Force, and shortly after buying their home, they found out he was being deployed to Africa. They both agreed she could move forward with hiring the interior design firm and spend the next few months transforming the house—it would bring some much needed joy into her life, and something positive to focus on while he was away.

Sadly, the experience was anything but positive. The firm didn’t deliver on their design plan, they tried to charge her more than they had agreed upon, and after months of working with them and thousands of dollars gone, she was left with a half finished house.

Janice was devastated—she had just spent her life savings with nothing to show for it. She felt like she had let her husband down, and was embarrassed about what he would be coming home to.

In a last ditch effort, she reached out to me, explaining her situation and asking for help. I mean, how could I say no?

Her husband returns from deployment in mid August, and the goal is to have the home completed by then. That’s an entire 2000+ sq ft house to redesign in a matter of weeks.

For the past month we’ve been prepping as much as we can before my first visit. I reached out to a few sponsors who agreed to participate (thank you Schlage, eSalerugsGlobe ElectricGraham & Brown) and we’ve already begun ordering pieces to fill the home.

You’ll have to watch the video linked above to see what happened during the trip. I will say it was more of a challenge than I had anticipated, mostly because I really want to make these rooms special and complete. The problem is, good design takes a long time. It’s about collecting pieces that you fall in love with over the years, and waiting for that perfect vintage furniture or artwork that makes your home personalized and unique from the others. It’s not about thoughtlessly plucking everything from the pages of a catalog. I tend to obsess over every small detail when I’m designing a space, and the reality is there just isn’t time to spend one month searching for the perfect brass towel hook as I’d normally do.

I’m still trying to manage both of our expectations here given the timeline and budget restraints, but the next five weeks or so are going to be long hours and high stress—especially since I can’t be there to watch the progress and make sure everything’s moving along.

Here’s a quick house tour and summary of our plans:

Fortunately, not a lot needs to be done in the foyer. Janice has a wood/metal entry bench that we’ll use on the right wall, we need to fill those empty frames and find a nice runner. You can see we’ve tested a black swatch on the door—Janice wasn’t sure at first, but thankfully she has come around to painting her doors black!

The living room needs some attention. Janice ordered that couch from Restoration Hardware and she’s not a fan, so we’re looking for a new sectional to fill its shoes. We also need a large rug, and she wants to move the TV to the wall with the black botanical art.

Don’t mind the extra furniture pieces in there, those will be gone. We were able to score this gorgeous vintage marble & wood coffee table at a local antique store:

Janice will paint the wood portion a light warm gray to update the piece.

The ceiling fan will be replaced with a chandelier that’s currently in the dining room, and we need to replace the curtain rods with a wider set to hang the curtains further apart (they’re too close together!) We also picked up these inexpensive bamboo shades for all of the windows in the house to bring in texture and make them appear larger.

Something we’re most excited about is this antique fireplace we found on Craigslist for $100!

We plan to mount it on the wall where the TV currently sits, with some sort of tile surround on the inside, load it up with pillar candles, and add this stunning Anthro mirror above it:

The kitchen doesn’t really need anything, but Janice wants to personalize it so we’ll be replacing the nickel knobs with brass pulls, continue to look for a vintage wood & glass door for the pantry (no luck while I was there), and update the pendant lights with two of these beauties:

 

We’re going all out in the laundry room…

We decided on this show-stopping floral pattern from Graham & Brown:

We’ll cover all of the walls, and Janice’s contractor is going to install custom cabinets around the washer & dryer wall (still working on the cabinet color).

The dining room looks pretty good to me, but Janice isn’t feeling it.

I suggested swapping the chairs for something dark and upholstered to bring some contrast to all the light colors & wood, but she loves the chairs. We may bring in color through a rug instead, and we’ll add a large clock to the wall on the right. We’re also going to move that chandelier to the living room and bring in something sparkly.

I’m personally most excited about the guest bathroom.

Perhaps our best shopping score was this vintage dresser that will become the vanity (you already saw if you watch my Instagram stories):

Can you believe Janice talked them down to just $200 for this piece?!

The plan in here is to do a board & batten treatment on the lower 2/3 of the wall, with wallpaper on top. We’re still debating on which wallpaper and paint color combo…

Btw, the results of the Instagram poll was 31/69 in favor of the gray & green on the right. We’re both split evenly and still trying to make a decision! Honestly, we can’t go wrong either way.

The vanity will have a custom marble top made along with a wall mounted brass faucet set into a curved tall backsplash, like this

Can you see why I’m the most excited about this room? I really hope it comes together in time.

The master bedroom will receive a similar wall treatment behind the bed:

It’ll be painted a deep charcoal gray, and we’ve replaced one of the side tables with an antique wood desk at Janice’s request. We’ll also be adding a large rug, replacing the floor mirror, and beautifying the bedding.

The master bathroom will get an update as well, with the dark vanity repainted a soft white, brass hardware, new brass faucets, new mirrors and sconces:

In the first guest bedroom we’ve decided to try an experiment with lattice against the back wall.

I’m calling it an experiment because I haven’t been able to find any examples of this done how we’re envisioning it, but I think it will be such a unique touch!

We’ve also moved one of her existing wood dressers in to use as a night stand, and we’ll be bringing in a rug, adding a chandelier, along with new bedding and accessories.

For the second guest room, we found this gorgeous antique bed…

Such a steal. This room will also get an overhaul with a new rug, bedding, chandelier, accessories, and Janice will be painting a couple nightstands she has in storage to save on costs.

Lastly, we have the dogs room.

She wants their space to be playful and fun, so I suggested painting the walls with this gingham effect:

I’m also making two large personalized canvases of her dogs to go on the back wall, finding a rug to ground the space, and she’s looking for a tall glass storage cabinet to hold their toys/treats/etc.

If there’s time and room left in the budget, she wants to spruce up the front and/or back porch as well…

…though I’m trying to set realistic expectations as I’m already nervous about how much of the inside we’ll be able to wrap up in time. Rome wasn’t built in a day (or 5 weeks!)

I’m doing as much as I can from afar—scouring the internet for the perfect pieces, keeping track of our timeline and schedule in a spreadsheet and trying to stay on top of all these moving pieces. It’s almost like the Cottage House Flip all over again. But Janice needs me and I’m not about to let her down, so I’m giving her my very best until the end. I’ll be coming back for one last visit next month to put the finishes touches on the home before her husband arrives. We need all the good luck and positive vibes we can get!

In other news, we’re scheduled to FINALLY close on our 5-unit Bungalow tomorrow (I still won’t believe it until it happens), and we’re moving into the Riverside Retreat next week! I have several design & DIY projects coming up that I’ll be sharing over the next month. Finally after months of a dry spell, everything is happening all at once. When it rains, it really pours… just like these crazy Florida summer afternoon storms.

Back soon with more,


Before Tour: The Riverside Retreat

In just a couple weeks we’ll be saying goodbye to our little apartment and settling into our new house! As promised, here’s a complete pre-renovation House Tour before we swing the first hammer:

For those of you on Instagram, I’ve started up an IGTV channel and will be posting vertical format videos there as well!

Since I first stepped inside the house a few weeks ago, I’ve been collecting inspiration and trying to put together a game plan. We will be renovating it over the next 6-8 months (until our new house is ready to move into) so we have time to work out the details, but here’s the overall vibe:

I talked about this a couple weeks ago, but house will become an AirBnb once we move out, so I have to go bolder than usual with the design. I’ll be channeling a tropical, earthy, boho, mediterranean resort style with lots of deep greens, natural textures, wood tones and bold patterns. Did I mention we have a tiny budget for this? Almost everything will have to be DIY. Time to put our skills to the test!

Welcome to our new home, which we’ve named the Riverside Retreat:

It’s a 3/1, 1649 square feet built in 1948. It’s near the river (hence the name) and right down the street from the new house we’re building (a big reason we bought it).

Fortunately there’s a lot of pluses with this one—it’s in solid condition with a clean bill of health from the inspector, 9′ tall ceilings, and it has a new roof, AC and exterior paint. And these really cool original windows and shutters:

To help the curb appeal, we’ll be replacing the old metal railing with wood, get a new front door, and refinish the tile (probably stencil + sealing):

The front door opens up to a small living room. This is the photo that stopped me in my tracks:

THAT ARCHWAY THOUGH.

I’m keeping the walls white throughout the house, but painting the trim and doors in a light taupe shade.

I’m thinking we’ll cover this wall with dark chalkboard paint, put the TV on here and have some sort of fun welcome artwork/info for our future guests.

There’s room for a small seating area (including a dark green velvety couch) and sliding DIY doors on a track against the back wall to section off that bonus room (more on that room in a sec).

Beyond the beautiful archway is the dining room.

This space is perfect for a large round table with a statement chandelier in the center.

The ceiling will be a focal point in here, with a fancy trim border and either wallpaper or a stencil. Still sorting through options!

Off the dining room to the left is our kitchen:

Unfortunately there’s no way to take down walls to open it up, so we’ll just be working with the existing footprint.

It is a decent size though, perhaps even large enough for a small island in the center for additional workspace/seating.

In the right corner, there’s a door leading to a small laundry/utility space:

It’s tiny so there’s only so much we can do here. We’ll figure out a way to make it fun while maximizing the storage space.

And then there’s the backyard…

It’s a great size with a lot of potential. We haven’t come up with a great plan for this narrow strip of concrete though:

As of now, we’re leaning towards taking the jackhammer to it and creating a new (wider) fire pit area with pea gravel.

And that mismatched tile HAS TO GO. I just realized that this is the same tile used throughout the inside of house (it’s different in every room… sigh).

Once the old tile is removed, we’ll stencil & seal the concrete to give it a fancy patterned tile look.

On the right corner, we’ll build a pergola with string lights & vines, and set up a seating area. Eventually we may do the same for an outdoor dining area on the other side.

Back inside the house, we have the right wing which includes a hallway, two bedrooms and the bathroom.

This bathroom will be split into two, with the empty space on the left becoming part of a new master bath.

The layout of this bathroom will remain the same, but with a smaller vanity to allow room for the new master bath.

The tub/shower area will also get a complete overhaul, and I’ll likely do some sort of bold wallpaper in here.

Adjacent to this bathroom in the back of the house is our master bedroom.

In here we’ll relocate the closet next to the door, and in the far corner will be another door leading to the new master bath.

The vibe in here will be jungle resort style, with a canopy bed draped in gauze, deep green velvet curtains and a wood accent ceiling. I might be most excited about this room!

I’m picturing custom built-in floor to ceiling wardrobes painted in an earthy color, with some sort of trim detailing or perhaps glass doors? Haven’t thought it through yet. Suggestions?

Next up is Bedroom #2.

This is almost a replica of the master with the same windows and square footage, but we thought it’d be fun to build a swing bed in here!

Then we decided we should go with a ‘floating above the clouds’ vibe with some sort of blue/white mural or painted effect on the walls, perhaps birds stenciled onto the ceiling, fluffy sheepskin rugs…

Not sure how this one will evolve, but it’ll be a contrast to the rich and dramatic master.

Next up is Bedroom #3, off the dining room:

This one will be the most fun and youthful of the bunch, with two twin beds against a bold wallpaper backdrop.

Now for the very last space, and it’s a puzzler. On the far end of the living room is a bonus room that was previously a carport:

The long and narrow space with a wide staircase leading into it makes for an awkward layout.

One idea we’re leaning towards is creating a built-in bunk bed area and removing this closet:

This is a no brainer for an AirBnb so it can hold more guests. Below the bunk, we’re thinking of adding a couch and making this a lounge/game area. The door leads to the left side of the house which serves no purpose, so we may just wall it in. Perhaps we’d put a TV or projector down here instead of the living room?

On the opposite side of the room, I thought it could be fun to create a built-in reading nook:

Those are cement blocks in the center with a layer of plexiglass—what were they thinking? I’d love to add a window there if the budget allows.

What would you guys do? The more creative and unexpected, the better. We’d love to have an area for games and a long, narrow space could potentially work for that. Maybe a pool table? Ping pong? Board game tables? All ideas are welcome!

Alright, I think that’s enough information for one post! We’ve got a long(ish) road ahead of us, so we’ll have to pace ourselves. If you want to see all the ideas I’ve gathered for the house, check out my Bnb Pinterest board where I’ll continue to update frequently! You can also find daily updates over on Instagram and Facebook. And don’t forget to watch the full Before Tour on YouTube for a more complete look at the space.

More soon!


Favorite wallpapers, murals & stencils

Since the day I stepped foot inside of our new house (less than 2 weeks ago) my brain has been completely preoccupied (in the best way) with design inspiration and ideas. It’s still a little too early to make any concrete plans, and I’m forced to take it slow since we’re working with a very minimal budget, but that won’t stop a girl from planning ahead!

I mentioned in my last post that we intend to renovate this house over the next 6-8 months while our new home is being built, and then turn this house into an AirBnb once we move out. That means I’ll be taking a bit of a different approach with the design—it has to be eye-catching and fun, with interesting patterns and colors and features that make it feel more like an experience than just a place to crash. Our new build will have more of a classic and understated design, so this house is my chance to go bold and take risks!

In preparation for this big new undertaking, I’ve reorganized my Pinterest board and have been pinning like it’s my full-time job (have you been following me there?)

The world of online shopping really changed during my hiatus last year (for the better) and there’s so many new products and inspiration out there, it can be a little overwhelming. Today I want to break down one of the things I’m most excited to use this year… wall coverings! We’re talking wallpaper, wall murals and stencils.

The “theme” I’m going for with this AirBnb is a mix of tropical, mediterranean, jungle, nature. A bit like the Jungalow, if you will. Now that I’m in Florida, I’m learning to embrace a more tropical vibe, because who wants to stay in a mountain-themed cabin when they come to vacation at the Gulf of Mexico?

Anyway, this new house will have lots of wall coverings. I’ve spent the last week focusing my attention in this department, and I’ve come up with some very worthy candidates. There hasn’t been any winners chosen yet as I’m still in the preliminary design stages, but here are some of my favorites (by category):

Floral 

One of my all-time favorites, I’ve been in love since the moment I laid eyes on it. Spoiler alert: I’m using this in a clients laundry room coming up! Don’t worry, I’ll share more details soon. The best part about this paper is that it comes in several colors. I’m eyeing the shadow and sky for my own house…

I can’t get enough of watercolor + floral! Graham & Brown did it again with this beautiful design.

What is it about this black and floral combination? Gets me every time. I love the vintage and romantic feel of this one.

Here’s another watercolor design in the softest tones—and it comes in several colors. The best part might be the price point at just $0.54/sf.

I’m crushing hard on the monotone, hand drawn style of this one found on Wayfair. Available in three colors.

Here’s a neat idea… removable peel and stick wall decals you can reuse and position however you’d like!

So this isn’t the cheapest, but oh my. It’s one of the most stunning wall murals in existence and I’d say it’s worth it. Available in black and white, too!

Tropical

Palm leaf motifs are everywhere right now, and some pull it off better than others. Pattern repeat is HUGE and the first thing I look for when weeding through options. Seriously— never buy wallpaper without seeing an example of it on a wall first! This Alfresco Palm Leaf passes the pattern repeat test, and it’s at a reasonable price point at under $2/sf. It comes in blue and grayscale colorways, too!

Great price point, lovely tones, and it’s temporary which means easy install and safe for renters! What more could you want?

I love the extra large scale on this one—it looks more like a wall mural.

Obsessed with the dark and dramatic look of this wall mural. It comes in a white background too if you want to keep things light.

A gorgeous, ethereal wall mural if you prefer a more subtle approach.

An affordable option from Serena & Lily that’s also more subdued. One of my favorites and it comes in several colors, too!

Botanical

No surprise this one was designed by the talented Mrs. Gaines! It’s near the top of my list right now—I think it’d be perfect for a dining area.

Even Walmart’s getting in on the wallpaper action. I love the organic style of this paper, the price point, and the fact that it comes in several colors (though beige is my favorite!)

Another top favorite from Serena & Lily (man, these guys are good). Affordable, versatile, and it comes in three colorways. I’m leaning towards green but I love them all.

Isn’t this just the cutest? I’d use it in a laundry room, dining area/nook, mudroom, or study.

Such a fun and interesting yet subtle pattern—it looks even better once installed! Available in several colors and it’s on sale for less than $1/sf.

I love a good black and white wallpaper, and this one has some quirkiness with shimmery butterflies & dragonflies. In fact, I love it so much that I’m using it in of the bathrooms in this next house!

Hard to believe this one is only $0.57/sf! The detailing is gorgeous and looks super high end. It’s available in light gray as well, but the black is my favorite.

I’m just a little obsessed with this Botanical Sanctuary pattern. It’s on sale right now for just $0.61/sf and comes in several colors.

Patterned

I’ve made an executive decision to use wallpaper on the ceiling in the dining room, and this one’s at the top of my list. Normally I stay away from anything shiny on the walls, but those gold accents have me in a trance.

I’m all about this aged mosaic tile look and the gorgeous color palette. This would be perfect in a small powder bath, laundry area or foyer (comes in three colors).

This is from the same ‘Patina Vie’ line by York as the paper shown above, and it has the coolest pattern. Comes in many colors, and it looks amazing installed!

The perfect blend of organic and sophisticated. I’m in love.

This one comes in lots of colors at a great price point, and I love the global feel.

Another nice mix of geometric shapes with a global boho vibe. This one’s great if you’re looking for more of a subtle texture, and there’s plenty of colors to choose from.

Digging the asian vibe in this one, the dusty pink shade, and the interesting overall pattern it creates on the walls.

Whimsical

Tons of potential with this playful cloud design! Available in multiple colors.

So I’ve got a thing for clouds. This one gets bonus points because it’s temporary/peel and stick, reasonably priced, and looks more expensive than it is. I’d use it in a smaller area (like a powder room or accent wall).

On the pricey side, but sometimes you just need something specific. How cute would this be in a kids bathroom?

I can’t stop thinking about this one. Maybe because it’s not available in the US? Hey UK readers, today is your lucky day—it’s only £50.00 per roll! Anyone want to send me one? 😉 

Ugh, I want this wall mural in the worst way. At $5.50/sf, there’s no way I can afford it right now, but I’ll just stare at it longingly through my computer screen in the meantime…

Rebel Walls is the King/Queen of ridiculously amazing wall murals, and their Bellewood design is perhaps the all time greatest. I’m a little upset though because it’s too popular all over blogs and instagram which means I missed my chance to use it (gotta to be original, ya know?) If you aren’t a blogger who cares about that sort of thing, and you have a big budget, please get this mural (it comes in lots of colors!)

Stencils

What happens when you can’t find wallpaper in the colors you need or don’t feel like forking over hundreds of dollars to cover you wall? Stencils to the rescue! I’ve had some great results with these over the years, and now I’m in the process of narrowing down options for this new house. Here are some of my current favorites:

I couldn’t believe this was a stencil when I first saw it on Instagram! So good, right? Just think of all the possibilities when using multiple colors.

Since I can’t get that bird wallpaper mentioned a few photos back, I figure this stencil is the next best thing. Aside from the cost savings, I’ll be able to choose the colors and placement of the birds. I think this could be really cool on the dining room ceiling. Only $23, and comes in a smaller size too!

This pattern is so good and takes me back to our travels in Europe. I’m thinking about using this to stencil the floor of our front porch or backyard patio. Hmmm…

Love the pattern on this stencil. The style can be anything from tropical to glam, depending on the color(s) and sheen of paint you choose. This shop has a lot of nice designs!

I can’t go without mentioning the scallop lace stencil I used in the Cottage Laundry Room. Still one of my all time favorites. So chic and romantic.

Alright folks—this is just a small snippet of some of the inspiration I’ve been hoarding over the past week. Do you have any favorites? Or links to other wallpapers/stencils you love? I’m open to anything at this point, so leave a comment and show me what you’ve got!

There’s been some movement on our Bungalow property, so hopefully by next week I’ll have a big update for you! Follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to keep up with the latest news 🙂

 


We bought another house!

Well, sort of. Let us explain…

Last week I was browsing Zillow and stumbled upon a house for sale down the street from where our new home is being built. We had driven past this home before but never gave it a second glance because it’s on a busy road and not exactly eye catching.

However, the price was hard to ignore, and as soon as I pulled up the photos I had to call Lucas into the room…

Well hello there beautiful archway. If you know me well, you know my obsession for arches runs deep. Especially fancy ones like this. But of course, I’m not about to buy a house solely because of an archway, so we continued to do some digging. And we liked what we saw: a brand new roof and A/C, a large backyard, new paint, beautiful original windows, and tons of potential…

We ran the numbers and did a property evaluation, and it wasn’t a home run, but the home had been sitting on the market for months so we knew there was room for negotiation. At very the least, it was worth taking a look!

We called up the agent, who happened to be the owner of the property (a great thing) and met her there that afternoon. She and her husband purchased the property many years ago and own it outright. They are in the process of getting rid of all of their rentals, and they weren’t doing much to try and sell this place… it had just been sitting there vacant for months, as if it were an afterthought amongst their massive portfolio.

After leaving the house, Lucas and I both knew we had something here. There was just one small problem: WE HAVE NO MONEY TO BUY IT. Every dollar we’ve saved is allocated towards building our new home. So… how can we possibly get this place? Time to get creative.

This is where months of reading, listening, and studying real estate pay off. As soon as our new house is built, we’ll be able to refinance and pull out a ton of equity (a lot more than we put into it)—but that won’t happen until maybe January or February 2019. So we’re out of luck until then, right?

Enter the lease option agreement. We sign a contract up front agreeing to lease (rent) the property for a period of time, and then we’ll have the option to purchase it at a pre-negotiated price. A lease purchase works the same way, except you are committing to purchase rather than simply having the option. We initially proposed a lease purchase agreement, but that leaves the seller at risk of foreclosure so they opted for the lease option instead.

Either way, we are 100% committing to the purchase at the end of our lease since we plan to renovate the property while we’re living in it. This is the most exciting part of the whole deal… we’ll finally be able to start working on projects again! We can take our time and slowly renovate over the next 6-8 months while our new home is being built, and the current owners are cool with it.

Since our budget is so limited, this means a ton of DIY. I’ll admit, last year I was burned out after years of constant DIY and didn’t think I’d ever want to jump back into it. But this new house has reignited the flame and I am so ready to get my hands dirty. It also helps to have a partner who is even more excited and on board with all of my crazy ideas.

The plan is to renovate the home while we’re living in it and turn it into an AirBnb as soon as we move into our new house. This requires a different strategy than renovating it to flip or to use as a long term rental—we get to be creative and over the top, which is music to my ears after this long design drought!

This came at the perfect time, because our apartment lease is up next month (no more termites!) and we would have had to sign another year lease (no thank you). Now we get to move in and start tackling projects right away. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the homes location—we can walk to our new house and check on the build progress! After spending several months commuting 3.5 hours each way (twice a week) to the Cottage House Flip, I learned that location is the most important factor. It’ll also make managing it as an AirBnb rental so much easier. Convenience is everything, and time is money! And speaking of money—even with all the inherent benefits of this house, the numbers still had to work as an investment property. We were able to talk them down 22% off their asking price, which is pretty rare in this market.

Finding this house feels like the missing piece to our puzzle. We’ve been struggling these past couple months—stuck in limbo with no control over the stalled progress of our two properties, facing another year in this cramped apartment, and no glimmer of light at the end of our tunnel. Now it feels like we’re entering a new chapter, one where we finally have some control and can put in the work.

On that subject—we’ve been in Tampa for five months now, which has given us enough time to settle in, learn the market, and get a sense of the time commitment and daily operations DreamStone Homes. We’ve decided that now is the right time for Lucas to get back into his sales career, while I help with project management and focus on my interior design business (which has been growing!) Real estate will always be a priority and we’re doing everything we can to make it grow, but with our situation, it just isn’t a full time commitment (especially with two of us).

There’s much less uncertainty in our lives now, and we finally have a game plan we feel good about. Of course, we’re no strangers to the fact that we can only control so much, and life has a way of shaking things up every now and then. We’re just along for the ride 🙂

I have so many ideas to transform this house, and I can’t wait to document them here! We’ll be moving in mid July, but I’ll be sharing a full “Before Tour” + video with all the details shortly. There’s so many decisions that need to be made with this place, and we’ll need your help!

Can we start with this situation in the backyard? We can’t figure out the intended purpose. It’s too small for a seating area (and there’s already a large seating area to the right). We’re thinking maybe filling it with sand and setting up horseshoes? A big slip ‘n slide? Mini putt course? Bowling? We want it to serve some sort of game/entertainment purpose. Let’s hear your (budget-friendly) ideas!

PS: As of today, there’s finally been major progress on the other two properties! Updates on those soon…


DreamStone Update

I feel like it has been way too long since we’ve had a good heart to heart.

Two weeks ago, we gave a vlog update if you missed it:

But in our unpredictable world, a lot changes in two weeks!

We’ve been living here for five months, and life sure doesn’t look the way we thought it would by now. There have been many difficult moments. A lot of sleepless nights. But we’ve been learning to take it all in stride and roll with the punches, focusing on our goals and pushing forward.

Let’s get right to the latest news…

The Heights House:

Nearly three months ago it caught on fire, and it has been sitting vacant ever since. We spent the first month or so working with insurance, which (surprise!) was an easier process than we expected. We came to a fair agreement and they’ve already given us a portion of the settlement. We’re waiting on the rest (they definitely take their time) but it seems like the rest should go smoothly (famous last words, right?).

After insurance was worked out, we had a big decision to make: repair or build new? We ran through each scenario and crunched the numbers, and ultimately decided that it makes more sense to demolish the existing home and build new.

I can’t explain the level of excitement around this new house—I never thought I’d be sitting down with an architect, designing my own home—I’ve dreamed about this for years and it’s actually coming true. Well, sort of. Insurance won’t cover a brand new house, of course, so we’ve had to curb our expectations and make some sacrifices. We’re pinching pennies and saving every dollar to make this happen (all while saving for our wedding in September!)

Beyond just wanting to build our dream home, it’s a strategic investment because the neighborhood will more than support the new value (this is why it’s a good idea to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood). We should end up getting a 200-250% return on our money after it’s all said and done. I’ll talk more details about how this all works in a future post.

Our drawings are supposed to be finalized with the architect in the next week, and I can’t WAIT to show you as soon as we get them back. For now, visualize with me for a moment—it all started with this charming Tudor inspiration:

Which we ended up merging with this classic French country style:

 

You guys, it’s going to be amazing. Stay tuned.

The 5 Unit Bungalow:

Talk about testing our patience… we found this house back in December, before we moved to Florida. Right after landing, we put in an offer and went under contract. It has now been five months, and we just found out last week that the contract has been pushed back another 30 days!

This deal has been a headache from the start. It took weeks for the listing agent to even show us the units after we already had a signed contract, which pushed back the original 45 day escrow. We had a bank lined up and were assured that everything would be approved and cleared in time. Several more weeks went by as the seller found more reasons to delay the closing, and in April we were finally ready to close! The week before we planned to sign the papers, we received an email from the bank stating our loan was denied. Panicked and confused, we spent the next week trying to figure out a solution and even lining up a hard money lender as a last resort. Long story short, we will never trust or work with a large national bank on investment deals again.

Just when we thought the deal was going to fall apart and we had wasted months and thousands of dollars, the title company informed us that they couldn’t clear the title because there was a lien against the seller (on another property he owned). They asked for another 30 day extension, which we gladly accepted, because it meant we had time to find another bank!

This time we looked for the smallest local bank we could find, and found one with just one branch. A couple days later we sat down with the president, showed him the numbers and told him our story, and two days later we were approved—just like that. It was our proudest moment yet.

With three weeks left until closing, we made all the preparations to begin our new role of becoming landlords, and couldn’t wait to finally get started.

But of course, another setback. A couple weeks ago we found out that the lien still hasn’t been taken care of, and they needed to extend the contract another 30 days. Apparently there are several parties involved (including the court system and the city office) and they aren’t sure how long it’s going to take.

So here we are, five months later, still patiently waiting. Our original plan was to renovate some of the units right away but that is no longer in the cards—at least not for this year, as we need to save our money for the new build. We’re just hoping we’ll actually close on this place in 2018.

So that’s what we’ve been dealing with lately. On one hand it’s incredibly exciting and liberating knowing that we’re in control and building this business while designing the life we want to live. But it’s also scary because our future is riding on every decision, and the responsibility falls entirely on us. If we fail, there’s no hiding and there’s no backup plan. We must pick up the pieces and move forward—and that’s what we’ve been trying to do over these past couple months.

We took a leap of faith by moving across the country, and there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by without uncertainty. Real estate investing is not for the fainthearted, and you can’t be afraid to take risks—especially to be successful in today’s ultra competitive market. Fortunately, Lucas and I love a good challenge and don’t like to play it safe. Screw comfort zones.

We’ve learned how quickly things can change in an instant. One moment you’re drifting off to sleep, and the next you’re standing in front of your house engulfed in flames. One week you are preparing to close on your first investment property, the next you’re denied by the bank with no backup plan. One month you spend rethinking your entire investment and life strategy, and suddenly a house comes on the market that changes everything.

^Yep, another major turn of events yesterday. We found an opportunity that may be a game changer, and would completely turn this next year around for us. You may have caught some of it on my instagram stories, but we’re less than 24 hours into it now and things are happening rapidly. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop—follow me on Insta for the latest updates!

This rollercoaster of ups and downs is just getting started, and we have no plans to get off. We appreciate your patience through the bumpy start, and we’re incredibly thankful to have you on this ride with us!


The Best Affordable Mirrors Online

Lately I’ve had this obsession with mirrors, as evidenced in my latest DIY antique mirror tutorial and recent mirror makeovers in my Instagram Stories. It all started at the beginning of the One Room Challenge. I had chosen these gorgeous vintage style mirrors to hang on either side of the bed…

And a couple weeks later, I was so bummed to find out that they weren’t available until September (if you’re not in a hurry, you should grab one!)

That left me scrambling to find a suitable alternative, so I combed the internet looking for new options. This is where the ‘Mirror Madness’ began. You guys, there are so many great affordable options out there! I hadn’t shopped online in over a year, but wow, times have changed.

I got sucked into Bellacor and spent hours going through all 3,642 mirrors (yes, every single one) and soon enough, I had narrowed it down to a small library of favorites. From those I chose a suitable replacement, which I then antiqued, and they turned out pretty nice!

And now that I’ve scoured the web to find the best and most affordable mirror options, let me save you hours of time with this guide, grouped by price range. Note that all of these were found on Bellacor for simplicity’s sake (this post is not sponsored by them), but many of the same ones are offered elsewhere online as well (I’ve found that they’re usually around the same price, but let me know if you find a better deal and I’ll update the post!)

One // I used this same mirror (in a lighter finish) a few years ago inside a custom wardrobe vanity. I’ve always loved this mirror, and it comes in a few different finishes.

Two // This one is nearly 40″ tall and a great bang for your buck. I love the lantern look and can also see it working well with a coastal/lake style.

Three // I’m a huge fan of these ornate stone frames. Take me back to Europe!

Four // I love the unique shape of this one along with the carved detailing.

Five // Another gorgeous antiqued mirror. And only $39!

Six // Love how the frame is only on the top and bottom, very French (there’s a lot more like these on Bellacor).

Seven // A classic gilded oval vintage mirror with sweet bow detailing. You can’t go wrong!

Eight // These are perfect for a rustic or nautical/coastal theme without overdoing it. They work great above a bathroom vanity.

Nine // Similar to #8 but with a more modern twist. Another great one for the bathroom or above night stands.

One // I can’t get enough arches, and this mirror is no exception. It’s super versatile and will look great anywhere (so affordable too!)

Two // Such a pretty feminine shape, geometric but still soft. Looks great displayed in a group as a ‘statement wall’.

Three // Simple and elegant with the thin frame. These would be great in a bathroom (also available in other finishes).

Four // Gorgeous coloring and pretty detailing. It feels very royal without being too fancy.

Five // Gorgeous shape! These would be quite glamorous and romantic above night stands.

Six // Loving the long, slender profile and Moroccan vibe here.

Seven // One of my favorite mirror shapes. A European classic.

Eight // This one has a sweet, playful look and I can see it in a childs’ room or bathroom.

Nine // A unique mix of rustic farmhouse and gothic European styles. It would look great anywhere!

One // Similar to #7 from the Under $200 list, but this one has a rustic chalky white antique finish.

Two // One of the best deals on floor mirrors you’ll find, with a built-in antique mirror finish. I was so close to getting these for our bedroom instead!

Three // This beautiful French style mirror was another close runner up. I can’t get enough of that elegant shape!

Four // That basilica arch design gets me every time. Made from wood too and 4′ tall. Just gorgeous.

Five // These were the ones I chose for our bedroom! Beautiful shape and can be used anywhere.

Six // I’ve never met an arch I didn’t like, and this one has a unique twist!

Seven // The scale and simplicity of this one is gorgeous! Reminds me of an Indian palace.

Eight // The detailing on this is so fun and cute. I love the shield shape, the curls—there’s nothing out there like it.

Nine // A modern, classy and sophisticated option. These would be lovely in a bathroom.

 

Tell me, did any of these catch your eye? What are your favorites? Keep in mind that these are just the most affordable mirrors—there are some seriously swoon-worthy mirrors once you go over $300—definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a show stopper. I tried to choose mirrors that you don’t see every day on Pinterest/instagram—unique styles or shapes that are classic and haven’t been overdone. Hopefully you’ve found a few new favorites in this list!

Speaking of new mirrors… I snagged these babies for $20 each on OfferUp this past weekend…

And after a little DIY mirror magic, here they are!

I used Maison Blanche’s Oil Rubbed Bronze and Antique Gold Organza wax for the frames. This has become my new favorite hobby—now can you see why I have the “mirror madness”? 😉

Catch me on Instagram and Facebook for more updates and my latest DIY projects. Hopefully I’ll be back next time with some long overdue house updates!


How to Antique a Mirror Tutorial

A lot of you have been asking for a tutorial on this technique, dating back to last year at the Cottage House Flip when I first tried it out on this ReStore mirror…

Now that I’ve done a few more and have a good process down, I’m finally ready to share it step by step! Watch below to see how it’s done:

And just because I love you guys so much, I’m breaking it down via written tutorial as well 🙂

You may remember seeing these lovelies in the One Room Challenge reveal

And here’s the latest addition!

If you Google how to antique a mirror, you’ll find a variety of methods, many of which have you use muriatic acid which is a harsh chemical. Save yourself the trouble—regular bleach and water work just fine!

It’s important to note that every time you do this your results will be a little different…  it’s just as much of an art as it is a science, and you have to let go of trying to make it ‘perfect’. Practice will certainly help though!

I took photos off this process for the last three mirrors you saw above, so I’ll share parts from each so you can see how they all turned out (spoiler alert: they were all a bit different).

Along with your mirror, here are the supplies you’ll need:

  1. Bleach
  2. Spray bottle
  3. Paper towels
  4. Paint stripper (CitriStrip orange gel is safe for indoor use and it’s the only one I recommend!)
  5. Black or dark gray paint (spray paint is best)
  6. Optional gold/bronze paint
  7. Putty knife
  8. Paint brush
  9. Sponge

I highly recommend trying this out on a spare mirror first. It takes some practice to get the technique down!

For the One Room Challenge, I ordered two of these mirrors from Bellacor with the intention to antique them:

 

And here’s my latest mirror I picked up for $30 off Craigslist:

I removed my mirrors from their frames, but you don’t necessarily have to do that if it makes more sense to leave them in. You do need access to the entire back of the mirror though, which is where you’ll be doing all the work.

On the back of the mirror you’ll see a painted layer, which is usually gray in color. Underneath that is the reflective surface, and finally your glass. You’ll need to remove the back layer of paint to get to the reflective surface, and gel stripper is the way to go:

Brush it on as thick and evenly as possible—you want the paint to come up nice and smoothly.

I left my CitriStrip on for nearly an hour, but all mirrors are different. These ones had a super thick painted layer that needed extra time.

Next comes the trickiest and most important part of the entire process—removing that first layer. You want to scrape it off completely without breaking through the thin reflective surface below. It’s a very delicate balance.

On my first mirror, I didn’t press too hard with the putty knife in fear of leaving scratch marks. I ended up having to apply a second coat of Citristrip which is dangerous, because it can start to eat away at the reflective surface.

On my latest mirror, I got it all up on the first attempt but scraped too hard, leaving scratch marks:

I’ll be honest, this part is not fun and it’s quite messy. But if you get it right, it’s smooth sailing from here.

Fine steel wool can help remove some of the stubborn paint, but again be careful not to rub too hard. Here you can see the back of the first mirror with some of the gray paint still there. The bleach water won’t penetrate through this surface, so if you want yours very lightly aged then you can leave some of the gray paint. I like having a blank canvas to work with though so I can control where all of the age spots are. There’s a lot of different ways to do it!

After my first mirror was all cleaned up, I mixed 1/4 parts bleach with 3/4 parts water in a spray bottle, and began misting the back of the mirror.

I like to focus more on the edges which is where mirrors will naturally age. Use a finer mist for an even appearance, and throw in some larger droplets for random spots of heavier aging.

This is the fun part, where you get to watch it magically transform before your eyes! Within minutes the spots will begin to darken (this is still the back of the mirror).

Use a sponge to blot some of the areas for a more natural look. You can experiment here to find the technique you like.

The longer you leave the bleach water on, the more it will eat away at the reflective coating and the darker your age spots will be. Do a little bit at a time, flipping the mirror over frequently to monitor your progress. Keep in mind that you can always add more, but you can never bring the reflective part back!

Hold your mirror up to a light source to get a closer look:

You can see where the bleach has dissolved the mirror down to the clear glass, and those are where the aged areas will be. Important: Make sure to pat down the back before flipping it over so the bleach doesn’t drip and create run lines —not a good look! That happened to the mirror above and I had to remove larger sections of mirror to get rid of it. It ended up being more distressed than I wanted. Here’s how that same mirror looked against a background (the dark spots are the clear glass):

If you remove too much mirror by accident, you can minimize the damage by applying a “mirror effect” spray paint to the back. There is no paint out there that can mimic the reflective qualities of a real mirror, but you can at least get to a nickel color. That’s what I did on my first attempt after removing almost all of the mirror finish by accident:

I still think it turned out pretty nice—and FYI, that spray paint is what you would use for doing this technique on a piece of glass instead of a mirror. It’s just a different look!

After realizing I had removed a bit too much from the first Bellacor mirror, I took my time with the second and focused on the edges, using a lighter mist towards the center:

The gold surface on the back of the mirror is so pretty, you could even just use this as the front side if you wanted!

Here’s how it looked after a few minutes. Try spraying the bleach water and leaving some areas as alone while dabbing other parts up with a sponge right away for different effects.

Once you are happy with the level of distressing, it’s time to turn it back over for paint.

You can use gray or black paint here, but I love the way gold tones look. I covered the back in Maison Blanche’s Organza in Old Penny, which is a shimmery wax coat that gives it a realistic rusty look.

If you aren’t using spray paint, you want to make sure to avoid brush strokes so I dabbed on the paint:

You can apply lighter coverage in some areas and come back with a second coat of black or another color for added dimension and depth. Or even just leave it as is and let some of the clear glass show through—it all depends on the look you’re going for!

I was really pleased with the results of the second mirror:

And here it is back in the frame:

The Old Penny organza ended up being a perfect match to the rusty colored frame. If you have a mirror frame with metal in it, try to match the finish if you can.

On the Craigslist mirror, I liked the gold frame but wanted to tone it down a bit. I applied a mix of Oil Rubbed Bronze and Antique Gold Organza (both from Maison Blanche) and gave it a light distressing.

I also applied some of the Oil Rubbed Bronze organza to the backside of the mirror. And here’s how it turned out…

Love that arch.

I originally bought this mirror for the entryway of our Heights House, and now that we’ve redesigned the home I’m not sure where to put it.

I’m considering selling it… but it’s just so gorgeous!

Although, used mirrors are cheap and plentiful online so I can easily recreate this. Maybe I can start selling them… they’re more fun to DIY than painting furniture!

Have you ever antiqued a mirror? If you have any tips, please do share in the comments! There’s always room for improvement, and hopefully with practice the results will become a little more consistent.

Last week on YouTube we posted an update on what’s been going on with our single family and 5-unit properties, so if you missed that, make sure to watch it here. I’ll be sharing more in an upcoming blog post along with the latest news on plans for our new home.

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend, and I’ll see you back here next week!


Beautiful Before & Afters from the One Room Challenge

Now that the chaos of the One Room Challenge is over, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and enjoy the best part—seeing everyone else’s transformations!

I’ve been keeping up with the other designers each week, but did you know there were also 240+ guest participants sharing their progress every Thursday? I recently had a chance to look through all of the final reveals and wanted to share a handful that caught my eye.

There’s so much inspiration floating around the blogosphere/Instagram/Pinterest these days and we only see a fraction of it, so let’s show these folks some well deserved love for what they’ve accomplished over the past six weeks!

Life on Hill Street

Before:

After:

What I love:

That cedar shingle wall treatment is perfection! I love how they decided on something outside of the box and just went for it. The chair swing is also a nice unexpected touch, and I’m in love with that rustic wood chest. I love that the room has a woodland theme but it’s very subtle and not overdone. So many gorgeous elements in one room. Bravo, Amy!

Room for Tuesday

Before:

After:

What I love:

Where do I start? The amount of thought and attention to detail that went into this is beyond impressive. It’s just as functional as it is beautiful—from that floor tile to the custom cabinet doors, the dramatic black accents and the fun oil paintings of their sweet pups (she painted those herself!) Sarah, you’re a rockstar.

Unexpected Elegance

Before:

After:

What I love:

The soft, muted color palette is a breath of fresh air! I love how Angela mixed patterns and balanced light with dark colors. Perhaps my favorite part of the room are those nightstand dressers—they were two completely different pieces that she stripped & sanded down to that gorgeous natural wood color, and now they coordinate so well! Proof that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on new furniture to get great results.

Vestige Home

Before:

After:

What I love:

This room epitomizes why I’m obsessed with sage green right now. Nicole has masterfully mixed cool greens with warm ivory and wood tones and textures in a way that feels light and effortless. It has a minimalist style yet it’s still rich with layers and interest. The custom built-in daybed makes me want to crawl in and spend the day reading, and I love how that rug ties it all together.

Daly Digs

Before:

After:

What I love:

Here’s the same sage green/ivory/wood tones color palette in a completely different setting. I love how Becky did something different than your typical black/white/gray patio and pulled colors from nature. The stained wood ceiling makes all the difference, and she did a good job of keeping it simple and not too overdone. The separate sections for dining and lounging create a nice flow and make it perfect for entertaining!

The Grit & Polish

Before:

After:

What I love:

Cathy’s designs always stop me in my tracks. She’s a wizard at effortlessly pulling together rooms bursting with vintage character and charm, and this nursery is no exception. I’m crushing on everything from the pastel color palette to the antique cane bed, the DIY night stands and family heirlooms sprinkled throughout. Oh, and that surprise crib nook! You know I love those unexpected details that make a room memorable. Cathy, you did it again!

Home Glow Design

Before:

After:

What I love:

This is just downright awesome—who wouldn’t want a ‘She Shed’?! Workspaces are often tricky to make both functional and beautiful, but Amy nailed it. I love the history behind this old building, the thoughtfully designed layout, and how she managed to organize it all in a way that looks bright and clean. I don’t know about you, but I could get a lot of creative work done in here!

Stevie Storck Design Co.

Before:

After:

What I love:

This one caught my eye because it’s so different than anything else out there, especially for a nursery. Of course that gorgeous mural immediately grabs your attention, but the vintage style wrought iron crib is pretty spectacular too. I wouldn’t have thought to pair those with a rich burgundy rug and mint velvet settee, but Stevie absolutely nailed it! Rooms like these are the most inspiring to me because they challenge you to think of designing in new ways.

 

Did you follow or participate in the One Room Challenge this round? Any room reveals that really stood out to you? I love that there’s such a wide variety of styles, and that we all have an opportunity to come together and share our own unique ideas—and hopefully gain inspiration from others!

Now that the challenge is over, I can get back to focusing on the other projects we’re juggling right now—our single family home, and the 5-unit we’re STILL under contract on. There have been a few developments with both, and Lucas and I are working on a vlog episode with those updates that should be posted on my YouTube channel later this week. Make sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when that comes out, and I’ll do a follow up post here on the blog next week. In the meantime, stop by and say hello on instagram or facebook!


One Room Challenge: The Reveal

Six weeks of design and DIY have come down to this moment!

Now is the time to get caught up before you scroll down: Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Watch the Reveal Video below!

It’s a little crazy to think back to the beginning of this challenge when I was dreaming up a design for the great room of our new home, and had to suddenly abandon those dreams when it caught on fire.

At the time I was crushed—our lives had been dedicated to this renovation, and what were we going to do now? Do I back out of the One Room Challenge at the last minute without a Plan B? Those questions were quickly replaced with determination to continue on and make lemons out of lemonade. We were living out of boxes in a cramped, temporary apartment that had suddenly become not-so-temporary since we lost our home. So I decided we needed a sanctuary to get us through these next several months—a space that would make us feel like we were home.

Enter our bedroom:

It’s your typical apartment bedroom.

Vinyl floors, gray paint, a single small window.

Being an apartment, I couldn’t make any permanent changes like paint or trim (bummer).

We had no furniture when we moved to Florida in January, and ended up finding all of the pieces shown here second hand online.

Ahh… feels like just yesterday I was waking up to this cold, gray abyss.

Here’s the game plan I put together:

 

And now I present to you, our romantic, restful oasis…

It really is a completely different room.

These nightstands underwent quite the makeover, too! You can find more details about them in Week 4.

I was saving these mirrors for the reveal—what do you think? The original mirrors I had selected went out of stock, so I found these beauties from Bellacor and gave them a DIY aged finish (I’ll post a complete tutorial on that soon!)

I love the patina look, and the shape of the mirrors even mimic the curves on the door. Speaking of this door...

Be still my heart. It’s from Metrie’s “French Curves” line and is a match made in heaven for the antique door knob made by Nostalgic Warehouse (sold here). You can find out more details on both in Week 4.

And how about that perfect shade of blush pink? It’s called ‘Setting Plaster’ by Farrow & Ball. It’s always a little nerve-wracking selecting paint colors online, but the shade is exactly what I was hoping for. Don’t you worry, I’ll be taking these doors with me to our new home!

I spotted this very old antique desk on OfferUp a couple weeks ago, and it was mine for $50!

I love all of the history told through its imperfections. And how about that sweet striped linen chair from HomePop?

It fits right in with the style of the room, but I can picture these around our future dining table!

One of my favorite items in this room is this canvas map from Bellacor.

It’s a French antique reproduction and the level of quality + detail was better than expected—especially for the price!

Another special piece in the room is this old wardrobe I made over back in Week 2

Ivory and gold, what a classic combination.

I found these handmade ceramic jugs on Lamps Plus of all places, and love the organic touch they bring to the room (large vases are a necessity to hold those branch clippings!)

Another great Lamps Plus find are these fun wood-like textured lamps

It’s all in the details. Bringing in a little sparkle with this hand painted pink & gold tray from Jill Rosenwald:

But the focal point of this room is this grand tufted bed from Overstock…

And the floral sheets from Roostery? Obsessed. In the running for my favorite thing in the entire room.

Last week I shared my tips for styling a bed like a pro and all of the elements I used to bring this bed situation to life. Like the necessary things you don’t see—the low profile foundation, the memory foam topper, the extra fluffy comforter, and then the mix of linens like these quilted euro shams from Pom Pom at Home.

I love adding unexpected touches, like this lace bed scarf

Linen has to be the most versatile and luxurious bedding fabric. I chose a classic white linen duvet cover, also from Pom Pom at Home. Susie can’t get enough either.

The pink throw was from 4 or 5 years ago at Kohl’s, and the green quilt was a thrift store score.

One addition that immediately changed the feel of the room is this 8×10′braided jute rug from eSalerugs:

Rugs should be a requirement in every bedroom—it’s the easiest way to make a space feel cozier!

Another huge impact with a small change came from the window treatments. The small window got a facelift with bamboo roman shades (hung high on the wall), and plush velvet white drapes hung up to the ceiling on a pretty gold curtain rod:

It’s amazing what this trick will do to any window! And did you notice the beaded chandelier? Another unique Bellacor find that I love waking up to every morning.

These abstract art prints from Minted also greet us each morning…

They’re aerial landscape shots (my favorite) and I love the soothing color palette.

Well folks, that about wraps up the tour. It’s a small space, but when you fill it with things that inspire you and bring you joy… it’s really all you need.

This is the first apartment I’ve ever decorated, and while I did put some effort into making changes that I’ll have to switch back & take with me when we move… it was all worth it. Having a home you love is so important, no matter where you live, and it’s always worth the effort to make it your own.

As always, I hope you found something of inspiration to take away from this makeover. Tell me, what is your favorite part? Mine has to be those doorknobs, followed closely by the floral sheets. Lucas’ favorite is the bed and the map. But ask us again in a week and we might have a different answer 😉

The reveals don’t end here—there’s 19 other designers who are ready to show off what they’ve done!

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

 

I’ve been pretty consumed with this project for the past few weeks, but I owe you guys an update as to what else has been going on with our houses, and life changes in general. It has been a rollercoaster over here and many things still hang in the balance, but I promise I’ll share some news soon 🙂