It didn’t seem right to let 2018 fade away without taking a moment to recap and reflect on what has been such a monumental year for us. The latter half especially has been a bit of a whirlwind, so if you’ve lost track of things around here, I don’t blame you! Even I have trouble remembering everything that’s happened over the past 12 months.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, month by month, highlighting the noteworthy events of this rollercoaster ride of a year…
- Moved from San Francisco, CA to Tampa, FL to embark on a new journey of real estate investing. Started a vlog to document our progress
- Found & bought our first property less than two weeks later
- Closed on our first property, and went under contract on a 5-unit Bungalow
- Began offering E-Design Services
- Began renovations on first property (dubbed the Heights House)
- Still under contract for the Bungalow, waiting patiently as the seller delays escrow
- Get a late night call from a future neighbor telling us our Heights house is on fire. More than half of the house is destroyed (cause was never determined by fire investigators)
- After already committing to the One Room Challenge weeks prior, I decide to stick with it and instead makeover our apartment bedroom.
- Still stuck in limbo with the Bungalow and took up furniture flipping to pass the time
- Shared a “Real Life Home Tour” Spring edition to memorialize our transient, termite-infested existence
- Revealed our One Room Challenge makeover
- More delays and challenges with the Bungalow contract
- The burned Heights House sits vacant as we work with insurance and come up with a plan to rebuild
- We make the decision to demolish the old Heights House and build new. It’s a big commitment both financially and time-wise, but we know it will be the right move in the end
- The Bungalow headache continues, with the seller requesting yet another 30 day extension. We feel helpless, frustrated and stuck. Until…
- A new opportunity pops up out of nowhere and we jump on it: our third property. We go under contract as a lease to own, which means we can live in and renovate it over the next several months, and will purchase the property before the contracted date in April 2019
- We decide to turn this property into a vacation rental (after we move out) named “The Riverside Retreat”, and put together a tropical earthy oasis design plan
- I head north to work on a special client design project and document Part 1 (I know Part 2 is long overdue—there have been lots of delays out of my control with this one unfortunately! It’s coming…)
- I reveal a fun patio makeover project for a friend
- We move into the Riverside Retreat and and tackle our bedroom first
- After permitting delays, the old Heights House is finally demolished to make way for our new build
- After nearly half a year, we FINALLY CLOSE ON BUNGALOW!
- A difficult first month as landlords leaves us with a loss after having to evict one tenant, another fleeing the country, and the discovery of a major termite infestation requiring the tenting of both buildings
- Renovations begin on the Riverside Retreat
- We finally break ground on the new Heights House and I share all the plans
- We also (literally) break ground on our tile floors at the Riverside Retreat and transform the house with new laminate floors
- Bits and pieces of the Riverside Retreat come together, and our laundry room renovation is started and *almost* completed…
- But first, we take a few days off to get married (photos by Adam Black Photography)
- Exciting progress as the walls go up just weeks into construction of our Heights House:
Then the second floor a few weeks later:
- Phase 1 of the Guest Bedroom makeover is completed
- And progress on our Dining Room makeover gets underway
- Interior walls and windows, followed shortly by electric, AC and plumbing are installed at the Heights House
- Our Riverside Retreat Dining Room is complete, just in time to host Thanksgiving!
- Our most challenging yet rewarding DIY project yet:
- Took it slow with a break from DIY projects and easy holiday decor
- Finally got our furniture and an arrangement down for the living room—just a couple projects left to tackle in here!
And that brings us to today, the very last day of 2018. Looking back at it all now, I can remember the heart-sinking moments, the days of frustration and doubt, the stress of juggling so many things at once. But I also feel a sense of progress and accomplishment, and peace knowing that even though we weren’t in control for so much of it… life always has a way of working itself out.
While 2019 is shaping up to be a year packed with even more projects and ‘to-dos’, there is certainly more stability now—and part of that is comforting to me. I’ve relished a lifestyle of change and unknowns over the past few years, but I think I’m ready to settle down in one place for a little while. Traveling will always be a priority for us (even though it has been put on hold for the time being) but it feels good to have a home base somewhere. I think we made the right choice in choosing Tampa to be that place.
See you on the other side,