Our Charleston Home

House Update No. 1: Our Bedroom Decor & Planning

Happy Friday! Today's post is an exciting one because it's my first official house update. Before I get into the post though I want to share that I'll be incorporating more house updates and little DIY projects here and on my YouTube channel so stay tuned for more coming soon.

Now back to the post at hand. Since we moved in we've been slowly but surely making tweaks here and there - nothing major but just enough to make it our own. If you remember from my first house post here, our bedroom needs the least amount of work so naturally it's the closest to being done. 

What We've Done

So far, we've exposed the brick on the fireplace (it looks amazing!) and just need to have it repointed a little before having the molding touched up. 

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I'll be sure to share a complete before and after of the fireplace once it's done but for now, I'll leave you with a picture of how it looked when we moved in. So far we've also removed the bar across the corner and taken down the T.V. mount. Next on our list is to paint the entire room a lovely, crisp white and start decorating. 

Decorating Inspiration & Color Palette

When it comes to decorating I have a very clear image in my mind of what I want the room to look like. One of my favorite things about the space is how light and bright it is thanks to two very large widows so I want to take advantage of that as much as possible. In order to do so I'm sticking to a light palette of creamy white, pale blue and antique brass and taking design cues from some amazing rooms I've collected on Pinterest

What We Have & What We Still Need

When it comes to furnishing the bedroom we've slowly but surely been collecting pieces at antique shops, eBay, Etsy and craigslist alike and we're just about done! Below, is everything we have and a quick collage of it all together that I'm saving as an inspiration board as I collect a few more things. 

  • White, antique wrought iron bed
  • Small, marble topped dresser
  • Taller wooden dresser with brass hardware 
  • Gorgeous, antique brass candlesticks - I'm going to include these in another home decor haul video coming soon
  • Botanical prints that I shared in my last home decor haul 
  • Lovely pale blue glass bottles - also featured in my last home decor haul 
  • A small selection of antique books that you've seen in the background of so many of my videos and posts 
  • Linens 
  • What I'd still like to add is the following:
    • small side tables
    • white, airy curtains
    • brass or white iron curtain rods
    • table lamps
    • a great mirror for above the small dresser
    • wingback or accent chair for the space next to the fireplace and a small table or bookshelf to turn that area into a reading nook
    • a chandelier like the one we got for the living room
    • some more artwork like a great oil painting or two to go above the tall dresser

Below, I've embedded some of the items featured above but I also want to share some of the places that I actually shop for home goods. First up, Etsy. I LOVE Etsy for everything from decorative books (these, these and these are some of my faves) to door knockers, botanical prints (like these and these) and vases. The supplies here are genuinely endless and I've been so inspired by them lately that I'm going to be adding some great finds to my own shop soon.

Another of my favorite online destinations for unique and beautiful home goods is eBay. I love hitting eBay for everything from candlesticks to oil paintings and find it particularly great for finding amazing pieces at an incredibly low price. The only catch is that you need to be prepared to search when shopping on eBay but the effort is definitely worth it in the long run. 

Before I go I'd love to know what your decor sources are? Where do you love to find amazing pieces that round our your room? Let me know in the comments down below and I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time,

Audrey

 

 

We Bought A House!!!

Happy Monday and I hope you had a wonderful weekend!Today is a very exciting post because we finally bought a house!!Since deciding to relocate to Charleston, Jason and I knew we wanted to live downtown.

From the quaint historic homes to the amazing restaurants, downtown Charleston is the perfect blend of the things we love so we couldn't be happier that we can finally call it home.  Our house is a historic charmer that needs a little bit of work to truly be ours so today, I'm sharing some "before" pics and am so excited to post updates in the coming months as we tackle different projects. 

Master Bedroom

Let's start with my favorite room in the house - the master bedroom. This room is a wonderful size and has some amazing hardwood floors (there are gorgeous hardwood floors throughout the house that need to be refinished and then they'll be perfect). In addition to the incredible fireplace, this room also has some great windows that let in the BEST light. In here, the updates we want to make are minimal but include the following.

  • We need to refinish and expose the fireplace - we're going to remove that metal cover and redo the mantle

  • Refinish the floors

  • Paint the walls and baseboards Remove the T.V. mount from above the fireplace

  • Remove that metal rail across the left corner 

  • Add new light switch and outlet covers 

  • DECORATE!!!!

Guest Room/Office

Much like the master bedroom, the guest room/office needs minimal updates including refinishing the floors and painting. Other than that, I can't wait to decorate, decorate, decorate. 

Bathroom

Now onto the bathroom. As you can see, the bathroom needs some cosmetic updates that include the following.

  • Remove the giant shower and replace it with a clawfoot tub

  • Change out the vanity with a classic pedestal sink or even a marble sink with wall bracket supports 

  • Add a mirror, change out all the hardware (towel rack etc.)

  • Paint

  • Decorate - I'm thinking amber glass apothecary jars and white linen towels 

Kitchen

The kitchen is a decent sized galley kitchen that has some great bones. Unfortunately, the color palette is very dark so we're hoping to lighten it up by repainting the cabinets and changing out the hardware, counters and back splash. 

Living Room

I LOVE the living room in this house and can't wait to display our Christmas tree in front of the far right window this December! Other than that, we hope to tackle the following.

  • Change the fireplace mantle for a historically accurate one

  • Replace the wet bar with a built-in bookshelf of some sort

  • Refinish the floors

  • Paint

  • Change out the light fixtures and hardware

  • Replace the front door


That's all! Those are the rooms and projects we hope to tackle first and I can't wait to share updates in the coming weeks and months. 

Until next time,

Audrey

5 Must-Read Tips For First Time Home Buyers + An Update On Our Search

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Since moving to Charleston in May, Jason and I have had a blast discovering our new city while also searching for our first home! When we first decided to leave New York, one of our major goals was to embrace a more balanced way of life while also getting more bang for our buck.

Since setting foot on South Carolina soil, we have seen countless properties and researched every neighborhood in search of our first home. Throughout it all, our main objective has been to find a great house with tons of potential that we can add our own stamp to - all while maintaining the rich historical integrity of an older home and this lovely city. 

Needless to say, this is no small feat, especially in a city growing as quickly as Charleston. Just in the past three months we have seen house after house sell within days (sometimes hours!) of being listed.

All-in-all, our search has taken us through some scary fixer-uppers, some gorgeous updated homes and some properties with amazing potential that would work better for someone else. We even got so far as having our offer accepted on a house only to have the contract fall through due to some undisclosed issues with the home. 

Regardless of the ups and downs this search has provided, or the fact that it has been down right frustrating at times, we couldn't be more excited to become first time home buyers. The craziest part of all is that after having lived in New York in a 1 bedroom apartment (for nearly 6 years!) it seems unreal that we could soon have more than 500 square feet - what will we do with all the space?!

Anyway, despite not finding our home (yet), I have learned a ton throughout this process and thought it might help some of you. Whether you're house hunting too or are just dreaming of starting the process, I hope these tips will help you navigate the confusing world of home buying. Before we jump into the tips though, I have to say that these are just the 5 things that have helped me but you should always consult a professional and do what works the best for you. 

5 Must-Read Tips For First Time Home Buyers

 

Set A Budget & A Wish List

When you decide to buy a home, the first thing I would recommend is to set a budget and make your wish list. After doing this and researching the homes available in your price range you may discover that compromises need to be made.

At this point it is important to honestly re-evaluate what you want in a home. Would it be nice to have 4 bedrooms, an updated gourmet kitchen and a great backyard? Sure, but for most of us (and certainly for me!) compromises will have to be made.

For example, for Jason and I it is very important for us to purchase a home downtown that has some history and age to it. While we could more easily achieve a larger home in one of the surrounding boroughs of Charleston, we really want to be in the center of it all and have the great restaurants, parks and historic King Street within walking distance. Also, we aren't interested in newer homes so we decided early on to compromise on space in favor of location and history. 

Another thing to keep in mind when working with your budget, is to get a pre-approval from your lender so you know exactly (or at least close to it) how much you can afford. This is especially important when searching for a home that may need renovations or cosmetic updates to suit your taste.

Sure, a home may be listed for an attractive price but once you tour it and realize that it will need a new roof, new plumbing, foundation work etc, the price skyrockets into a territory way beyond your means. Just remember, the last thing you want for your introduction to home ownership is a money pit. 

Research, Research, Research 

This takes us to my next tip - research, research research. Due to the high demand of homes downtown and the nature of older homes in general (typically smaller rooms, no walk-in closets etc), massive amounts of space only come with a very steep price tag or intensive renovations that require deep pockets.

While searching for homes in our price range we quickly noticed that we knew very little about how much a new roof, or new plumping would cost. To remedy this and make ourselves more knowledgable home buyers, we researched like crazy! We spoke with friends, family, local experts and even fellow Charleston home buyers to gather as much information as possible. The beauty of the internet is that most things are only a click away and with a little bit of time you can gather estimates for making changes to a home.

In line with this point, I would also recommend that you over estimate how much certain changes (large and small) will cost. That way you can honestly evaluate a home for the worst case scenario and not unintentionally sign up for a total gut job that far exceeds your means. 

In the nature of research, I also recommend becoming very familiar with your city, the housing market on a macro level and what each neighborhood has to offer.

For example, throughout our search Jason and I have familiarized ourselves with the varying neighborhoods and have narrowed in on the desirable areas, the up-and-coming areas, and the areas that aren't up-and-coming yet but will be soon - helloooo investors. This research has also helped us determine which neighborhoods may be a better investment simply because they are undergoing block wide renovations and each house seems to sell for slightly more than the last. 

Sign Up For Realty Search Engines

My next tip is to sign up for any and all realty search engines. With nearly everything available online these days it is no surprise that you can easily peruse housing listings from your phone with the likes of Trulia.com, Zillow.com, Redfin.com, Realtor.com, Estately.com and more. 

Once you have your budget, wish list and location locked down you can sign up for one or all of these sights, create a profile with your details, and you will be alerted the moment a new house is listed. This real-time approach to realty is especially helpful if you're house hunting in a competitive market like we are. Being alerted to new listings the moment they happen will help you beat the competition, or at the very least meet it half-way. 

For example, a few weeks ago we received a notification that a house matching our criteria had been listed so we drove out to take a look and scheduled a walk-through. Unfortunately, so had everyone else, and within hours of being listed the home had been sold for cash to an investor!

While this instance is certainly an unusual one, my point is that you need every edge you can get in a competitive market, and sites like Zillow and Redfin help you familiarize yourself with current listings and what past listings have gone for in your desired area. 

Pick A Realtor (Or Don't)

In line with signing up for these realty engines, you should also settle on a realtor - or don't! Depending on your needs, sites like Redfin.com even offer a cash back incentive if you hire one of their realtors. If that approach works for you, then I encourage you to go that route. If you would rather take a more conventional approach, then finding a realtor that you trust and can rely on is a must.

For this step in the process I recommend consulting with friends and family who have purchased homes in your area and see who they worked with - maybe they can recommend someone and save you the leg work of vetting realtors yourself. 

Be Flexible

My final tip for house hunting is to be flexible. Regardless of obstacles the process brings, I would encourage you to stay optimistic throughout it all, and be flexible to change. For example, you wouldn't want to put a damper on this exciting time by getting hung up on having a walk-in closet.

Instead, try to focus on the bigger picture and make reasonable accommodations as the market changes, your needs change and you become more knowledgable. Yes the process has ups and downs but ultimately buying a home is one of the most exciting things you can do. For me it signals positive change and growth, and Jason and I are incredibly excited to be starting this new chapter in our life together. 

At the end of the day, I feel incredibly fortunate that we're able to buy a home at all, and I have vowed to enjoy every second of the process.

Until next time, 

Audrey

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