What I’m doing differently in our new house.

Happy December! Can you believe there’s only three weeks until Christmas? The days have just been flying by here with so much going on with work and our new house.

I posted this on instagram Thanksgiving day, when we finally got the keys…

It was a happy day for sure.

We didn’t waste any time getting started—the next day we headed to Lowe’s and bought all of our appliances, including this french door fridge that Brad’s always wanted:

And yesterday we began demo on the kitchen. I’ll come back soon with all the details on that adventure, but here’s how it looks now:

We’re making progress!

Before we get too much further, I want to take a step back to look at the big picture, and give you all an idea of my vision for this house (and why).

I learned a lot in the three years we spent remodeling our last home, and my style has definitely changed. There are certainly some things I plan on doing differently and reasons behind them.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Style

When I said goodbye to life on the Florida coast, I also left behind the desire to live in a beach cottage style home. Now living in the mountains, I’m craving a cozy cabin environment with more architectural elements and rustic touches.

My overall design principles remain intact, but the vibe has shifted. I’ll be phasing out the turquoise and replacing it with more natural and rich tones—grays, whites, navy blue, brown, all shades of wood tones, maybe even some deep reds!

Here are some of my top inspiration pics to give you a sense of where I envision this home…






I could go on forever… (see my home inspiration board on Pinterest for more) but you get where I’m headed, right? The key word for this house is cozy. Especially with the holidays and winter right around the corner, I’m obsessing over cozy. And it never goes out of style.
Prepare yourself for lots of wood, stone, cozy rugs, and planked walls. Lots of it. This house has textured walls which I have a strong natural aversion to for some reason, so I’ll be covering as much of it as humanly possible with wood planks.
Turquoise decor, your days are numbered.
2. Take more risks

I’ll admit, I played it pretty safe in the last house. Everything was neutral for the most part, and the colors were soft and calming. White is still my favorite color to decorate with and there will be plenty of it, but it’s time for some contrast. It’s time to mix things up a bit and have some fun. 
This high contrast space inspires me to decorate with black!
Edie’s blog, Life in Grace, is really what moved me to commit to this. She experiments with color and scale and styles in a way I never imagined, and it looks so fun yet put together. Even BHG thought so:
This is going to take some effort on my part because I’m not used to stepping out of my neutrals only comfort zone, but I’m really going to challenge myself this time and try to make things special and less predictable. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Be less generic

I can’t deny my love for all things Ikea and Target, and there will definitely be a major Ikea influence in this house—but those pieces will be basics like wardrobes and cabinets where price and function are most important. 
Sadly (or luckily?) there is no Target, or even stores like Hobby Lobby and Home Goods anywhere near here so I’ll be forced to shop at thrift/antique stores, Craigslist, and DIY my own solutions. 
This also means there will be less impulse buys—I’ll be pickier about what I choose and they will have more value to me in the end. I’ll still have my basic staples but I definitely want to incorporate some one of a kind, stand out items in every room. I believe your home should be filled with meaningful pieces and memories that are unique to you and your family. I hope for my home to reflect that.
4. Spend less (frivolously)

This ties into my last point about limiting mass market purchases. There have been so many times where I’ve searched high and low for the “perfect” item—only to settle for something that was just good enough. And inevitably, down the road I no longer liked or wanted it. 
Or I’ve absolutely needed something to finish a project ASAP and just bought the next best thing instead of really planning it out and coming up with a better solution. These impulse buys don’t often pay off.
This time around, I hope to be smarter with my purchases and really evaluate whether it’s something I need, or can DIY myself, or find an alternative for. I’ll spend more time planning and consider what will work best in the future. 
Now that I’m living near my dad (who is a former furniture maker and has all the tools/resources I need) and have help from family, we’re going to step up our DIY game a bit and try things we were too afraid to do on our own before.
5. Spend more (on what matters)

For the most part, Brad and I were really frugal (ahem, cheap) when it came to renovating our last home. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing—we saved a ton of money and really transformed the house with a limited budget. 
We also paid the price with some back-breaking labor, stress, and arguments that lead to some not-so-happy feelings. 
By purchasing a much cheaper house than we originally planned, we’re able to increase our renovation budget and hire out where it makes sense. Just because we can DIY something, doesn’t always mean we should. If our time and efforts can be better spent somewhere else, or if it’s going to save us from a lot of stress and headaches—by all means, we’re glad to pay more.
In the end—it’s your marriage, your health, and your happiness that needs to come first. 
I’m also making an effort to spend more on quality pieces and things that will make our life simpler. This is why were hiring Lowe’s to install our kitchen, and splurging for better appliances, and replacing the handles with real oil rubbed bronze instead of spray painting them, and so on…
We had fun with the challenge of spending as little as possible and getting our biggest bang for the buck in Florida, but I’m ready to splurge a bit where I need to this time—I’m not talking high end store shopping here, but spending more on materials and projects. 
6. Embrace imperfections

My mother will tell you that I’ve been a perfectionist since Day 1. This is something I struggle with in everything I do, and decorating our home is no exception. It’s easy to go overboard when you’re blogging for the world (or a handful of people) to see, and trying to keep up with the perfectly styled homes on Pinterest.
But Pinterest isn’t the real world and we have to remember that we’re decorating our homes for ourselves, not anyone else. 
Sometimes I wonder if my life would be easier if I reverted back to the days before I owned a house and had never even heard of HGTV. I’d decorate my home (or maybe I wouldn’t) how I wanted without any sense of design rules or knowing what’s in style, and wouldn’t think twice about it. No spending gobs of money on renovations and decor, no struggling with miter saws and crown molding, no stress.
But then I remember how happy transforming my home makes me and how excited I get dreaming up new ideas for rooms. This is my hobby and a huge part of my life, and I can’t see that going away anytime soon. 
So instead of worrying about perfect everything needs to be all the time, I’m trying to learn to let go and just enjoy the ride, wherever it leads. If my plan isn’t executed exactly how I had in mind—so what? It turned out how it was meant to and I should appreciate it for what it is—unique to my home. How lucky I am to even have a place to call my home. Embrace the imperfections and love it for what it is—a place to grow, love, and make memories in.
And on that sappy note, it’s time for me to call it a night. Just writing this post made me feel more optimistic about what th
e future holds for our new home, and as always, I’m honored that there’s people out there who are invested enough to leave sweet comments every week and follow us on our journey. 
I’ve got some big plans in store for this one, and as always, I hope you find some new inspiration along the way as my style evolves!

PS—My buddy Jen from IHeart Organizing is hosting an epic holiday giveaway right now, where you can win $50 to anything in my shop! There’s also a coupon code in there… enter here.

19 thoughts on “What I’m doing differently in our new house.

  1. I love reading your blog, your Florida home was so beautiful- I can't wait to see what you do with the new house! 🙂 I love your design style– all of those “country/cozy” inspiration pictures are so awesome!! Good luck with your renovation!

  2. Love your style and your color selections! Absolutely loved your Florida home! Just a 'head's up' about the natural wood……..I have natural barn wood in my house and I abhor it! It catches dust like you can't imagine!
    Anxiously awaiting pictures as you start your transformation 🙂

  3. I totally love reading your blog…. Your pictures and seeing your transformations… BTW… I absolutely love the rug you had in the your Florida living room… I bought the same one cyber Monday for my bedroom. Can't wait to watch your visions become your reality. Good Luck!

  4. Always love your style and energy! I'm sure a lot of us who read your blog are perfectionists; hard on ourselves and visions, but we don't judge others. :0)

  5. Your style is a lot like houseweaking. Even the same paint colors and switch from blue/white/gray to more “lodging”. I love it! 🙂

  6. I really enjoy reading your blog and you've given me so much inspiration. Thank you for taking us along as you create your new home!

  7. I absolutely love where your “new” style is headed and I can't wait to follow along on your journey and see how this new house evolves into a home.

  8. The way you transformed your previous home was truly amazing – can't wait to see your ideas come about with this one. Loving this “new” direction you are headed in, and so happy you are sharing this journey.

  9. I appreciated this post and have thought about it a few times this week. I think quite a few of the bloggers I follow (you, YHL, MerryPad, ChrisLovesJulia, etc) are moving on to a longer-term house, more substantial decor investments over cheaper DIY solutions, and more development of their 'style'. I can't wait to see how your style develops, especially as I tend to embrace the darker wood tones and richer palettes (although always appreciate the light/bright palette of your Florida house!). We are in an interesting season that's *not* our longer-term house – husband and I sold our house recently to move to Switzerland, where we are doing our PhD research at CERN. So I'm working on furnishing/loving on our Geneva apartment – embracing the scandinavian simplicity and rich heritage popular here, while working on not letting our apartment look like an Ikea showroom on our miniscule grad school stipend. Sometimes I also think it would be easier if I didn't care what our place looked like – but then I remember the incredible fun (and side bonus: income from selling our house) I've had and I want to always be doing projects.

    Soo thanks for the continued inspiration, and I look forward to how your style develops!!

  10. I love how different environments can affect our mood & our decor. The lodge look is so awesome. We once stayed in a cozy lodge in Vermont & it truly was amazing. Life is messy…our homes need not be perfect, they are meant to be lived in & loved. You have such great style, its fun when we take chances too.

  11. “So instead of worrying about perfect everything needs to be all the time, I'm trying to learn to let go and just enjoy the ride, wherever it leads.” – I definitely agree with this. Sometimes we plan a lot on what we want to achieve that we miss what is happening at the present. At any rate, I trust that you had come up with a really great transformation for your home.

    Steve Jamieson

  12. Every house teaches you something and you will continue to learn with this one (and the next, and the next). I think that we are all lucky to be able do go on to a new house and give it another shot, apply what we've gained and see what happens. Sometimes it's a complete surprise to me, what the result is. You and Brad have come a long way in your DIY skills, my husband and I don't even do much of it even though we are very “housy.” You should be proud of your work ethic and skills.

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