Day 1 Of Our New Lives!


Hello from Tampa, Florida! The three of us (including our kitty, Susie) survived yesterday’s long travel day and are settling in to our new temporary home. Our car and belongings are still en route so we’ll be living out of backpacks and on an air mattress for a little while—but of course we’re used to that 🙂

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Earlier this year I mentioned our big plans to travel and then move to Florida to start a real estate investment company, but I wanted to share more details around that decision.

Most of you know I’ve been doing this home renovation thing for a while, and it’s always been a goal of mine to become a full time investor, which is why I finally made the leap last year with the Cottage House Flip.

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Lucas had a career in technology sales, but after he took a break and spent some time traveling on his own, he realized his work was no longer fulfilling. Investing in real estate was always an idea in the back of his mind, and with my experience and background, joining forces and starting our own company together just felt right.

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Introducing the next chapter in our lives, DreamStone Homes. We’ll be buying and rehabbing properties in the Tampa Bay/St. Pete area, both as flips and buy & holds.

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Why Florida? Well, largely due to the investor-friendly real estate market. As much as we love California, the availability of deals are slim to none, and the cost of entry is outrageous. We considered other markets like Austin and Chicago, but in the end decided we’d rather live in Florida. Lucas went to college there (UT) and some of you may remember that I lived in Jacksonville for a few years (my sister still lives there).

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We love the weather, the beaches, the city amenities and low cost of living. I don’t think we’ll end up staying here forever—mostly because I crave change too much—but we believe it’s the perfect place to jumpstart our business. We haven’t purchased any properties just yet, so we’ll be living in an apartment until we find a place that makes sense to move into.

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As always, I’ll be taking you guys with me on this journey, which now involves much more than renovating/decorating and traveling. Starting and operating any successful company from the ground up is quite the task, especially when there’s no Plan B. Failure is not an option for us!

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Just like I DIY’ed my way through rehabbing 4 houses, we’ll both be doing the same while trying to learn the ins and outs of RE investing. We’ve spent months researching and putting our plan together, and now it’s time to execute. Through this blog (and our new vlog, coming next week!) we hope to help others on this same journey, or who are simply curious about how this all works, by sharing our experience and lessons learned.

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It’s such an exciting time in our lives, and we hope to be able to look back one day to relive our humble beginnings and remember where we started. We really hope you’ll join us on this new adventure, and please reach out to say hello and let us know you’re there with us!

In the next post I’ll be sharing my design plans and obsessions for 2018. I’ve got a ton of pent up inspiration from our travels and can’t wait to show you what’s on my radar for the coming months!

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If you have any questions so far, please comment below or reach me on Instagram or Facebook. We’ll also be doing some Q&A in the vlog so we may just answer your question there!

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start! The sun is shining here in Tampa and the future looks bright 😎

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62 thoughts on “Day 1 Of Our New Lives!

  1. Wishing you and Lucas the best in your new adventure! I will be following along. Have loved your blog and then following your travel adventures for a long time!

  2. I am SO looking forward to following along with this. Your Pinterest board makes me downright giddy! I love your travel stuff and have referred to it dozens of times in planning my own trips, but your house flips are what initially drew me in to your blog. Congrats!!

  3. Sooo excited for yall! I am sure your new business will be a success!
    Has the cottage flip sold? I do not recall ever seeing you post/share anything about that.

  4. So excited for upcoming posts from you!! Just curious, will either of you be getting a real estate sales person license?

  5. I’m SO excited for this new chapter of the blog. I currently work in IT but have felt drawn to real estate investing ever since an internship in college with a land developer. It’s on my bucket list to buy a fixer upper (although my SO other isn’t necessarily on board). I’m just waiting for the pieces to all come together for me (money, time, knowledge) so the more I can soak in the better.

    Additionally, you and Lucas’s passion for following your dreams is absolutely inspirational. I could use some of those balls 😉

    1. Thank you for the support Rebecca! We’re really looking forward to sharing our experience and helping other people out too! Don’t hesitate to ask if you ever have any questions 🙂

  6. So excited for you both!!!! My husband and I started a construction company 5 months ago in Detroit, MI and are looking this week at our first investment property! Can’t wait to follow along on your journey with you! Best of luck!!!

  7. So excited for the two of you. I cannot wait to see you again knee deep in renovations and watching your dreams unfold 🙂 I am going to start following you on Pinterest as well 🙂

  8. Good luck with this new chapter. Went to Eckerd College and hung out in Pass-A-Grille and Gulfport back in the day when they were an investor / flippers paradise. Excited to visit the area virtually through your RE and design eyes. Cheers!

  9. This is a fun, exciting time for the two of you! Can’t wait to see where your dreams take you. You know Ill be following along!! Hugs from KS !! (happy to see that Susie is with you)

  10. The next Chip and Joanna! But of course with your own style 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the next home you choose!

  11. So excited to watch your journey in real estate investing. I enjoyed the travel posts, but CANNOT wait to see your renovation posts again!!!! I feel like I was going through withdrawals! 😉 Best of luck to you both!

  12. Wishing you and Lucas much success! I see your business venture together more than succeeding! Can’t wait to follow along! 🙂

  13. Fantastic Jenna, best of luck in your new business and I can’t wait to see your designs, will be interesing to see how your travels influence your renovations.

  14. Another Ginny! I’ve been waiting like many others for this chapter of your lives to start, and it couldn’t be in a better place like Florida! Loved all of the traveling and stories you shared but also really enjoy your home projects. Congrats on the new start and good luck in our Sunshine state.

  15. I have no doubt you will be successful – don’t even worry about the not having a Plan B – it will not be necessary! Good luck – I am so excited for you both. I can’t wait to see what you do.

  16. I’m really excited about your move and next adventure, and am curious to see how it unfolds. Our daughter and her family live in Tampa, and we plan to move down there sometime within the next few years. Love Tampa! Good luck!!

  17. How exciting this new adventure will be. I am a Florida girl myself, outside Orlando. The building that is going on in my town of Oviedo and around us is phenomenal! New homes starting at almost $500K are commonplace. Too many new apartments are going up like crazy!! And the inventory for pre-owned homes is slim! You are in a great market and should do well! You and Lucas are adorable together and it has ben fun to watch your journey unfold! Can you tell me what you mean when you say “buy and hold?” I know what flipping is but am not familiar with this term. All the best to you both in this new adventure!!

    1. Yes, we’re hoping to find some homes with character! The inventory of those is quite limited. Buy & hold is simply keeping the property long term to rent out, rather than selling it as a flip. We’ll explain a lot more during the vlogs! 🙂

  18. I shall be following along from Scotland. Have followed your renovations for a long time, and, of course, your exciting travels. All the very best with your new venture.

  19. What a wonderful journey the two of you have had. I discovered your blog through your living room reveal in your California house and have been following ever since! I love that you have taken us all on this journey with you and what a journey it has been! I have no doubt you two will do great things together. Can’t wait for more and best of luck to you both!!

  20. Welcome to the neighborhood. We live in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. Can’t wait to see what you find and how you transform it. Please save some of the old Florida Cracker homes which are being plowed down. They are sooooooooo much more charming than the McMansions!! Best of luck

  21. I enjoyed your travel posts but I really missed your decorating and reno posts. I’m so looking forward to seeing them again and the best of luck to you and Lucas in this adventure. I don’t doubt you’ll succeed.

  22. I can’t wait to see what you do with our Florida-style homes. I am in the Orlando area and will be watching closely 🙂

  23. Dear Jenna. I am writing you from Germany. I’ve become obsessioned with your art to renovate and decorate. I love your work!! I am still renovating my new old house by my own and you gave me so great Inspiration. Wishing you and Lucas the best for your new plans. I am sure you’ll be successful! I will follow you!! 🙂

  24. Since HGTV is expanding their flipping shows, you guys should consider reaching out to them to start something in Florida! You have been blogging and doing UTube for a long time and are a pro at this plus your mountain flip was featured in Country Living and your one room makeover bathroom was I believe the #1 coveted design on Pintrest:) Love watching your journey and creativity, not ashamed to say that I copy it all the time in my home and staging business:) Best of luck to you both!

    1. We’ve talked to a few different production companies over the years but we don’t think we’re cut out for the TV gig! Building our business is #1 for us right now. But that’s why were starting the vlog — best of both worlds, and non reality-tv content 😉

  25. I am so so happy you are back!! Loved living vicariously through your travel – what an experience. I can resonate with you on a personal and career level so it’s inspiring to see what you accomplish!

  26. We’re opening a couple Maple Street’s in the St Pete/Seminole area in the next couple of months so maybe I’ll see you down there! Congrats on the next step!

  27. Hi Jenna,
    Can’t wait to see how things progress with your new business! I’ve always been interested in real estate too. What influenced your decision to hold the properties & rent rather than flip them?
    Best wishes and welcome back to the states!

    1. Hi and thank you! Our end goal is long term wealth, and the best way to do that is to hold onto the properties. House flips are simply a “job” used to generate cash in order to purchase investments (buy & holds). We’ll explain a lot more in upcoming vlogs! 😉

  28. I just looked at your flip – what beautiful results! I’ve wanted to get involved with rehabbing properties. Is that a book that you would recommend? Any others? Love your blog!

  29. Good luck to you both!!! I’ll be watching and wishing you well on your new adventure. I live in Australia. The average house price in my city, which is the 3rd most affordable capital city in Australia, is $500,000. My in-laws however, live 1.5 hours drive out of Sydney in an average suburban home which is worth $950,000!!!!!! Good to hear the US housing market hasn’t gone as bonkers as ours has over here.

  30. Welcome to Florida! I’ve followed your blog ever since you lived in Florida the first time. I loved what you did with the Jacksonville house–especially the kitchen. I’m super excited to see what you’re going to do in Tampa Bay (I live in the Brandon/Valrico/Seffner area. Continued success in this next exciting chapter of your life!

  31. Amazing!! we just did the same thing in South Florida, we moved from New york and started a real estate investment business if you need any help with anything don’t hesitate to ask.

    Best of luck

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