Restarting & Our New Home
Hi! Long time no talk. I've definitely been a bad blogger since the start of this thing.. not that I even consider myself a "blogger", but I guess this is technically a blog, isn't it? I didn't actually realize it until now, but I haven't been myself all summer - maybe even this whole year. I've felt unmotivated, depressed, and just generally lazy. My shops are unusually slow lately, and I tend to get my motivation from being busy so it hasn't been good for my mental health. Today I've been hit with a blast of motivation and I've decided that I need to get moving. I need to get things done, I need to push harder, and I need to start doing things that make me happy again. It's finally September, which begins my favorite part of the year so I'm excited to kind of start 2017 over.
Big news! Luke and I purchased our first home last month. It happened quickly and it wasn't really planned. There was a house on my old road that I loved from the outside since I was a kid. It had been for sale for a long time but Luke wanted to move a few towns closer to the highway entrance to cut down his commute, so we didn't bother looking into it for a long time. After a while he came around and we decided we'd contact a realtor to get the whole purchasing a home process started after years of just browsing on Zillow. We got a realtor that day and set up a time to view the house we wanted to see. That same night a different house was newly listed on Zillow. It was 2 miles from our old house, it was an older home (which we love), and it had tons of space and character. It was literally our dream house. We requested a quick viewing, and two days later we got to view it in person! By the third room, I knew this house was the one. We put in our offer about an hour later and it was accepted that night!! We closed on our dream home on August 18th, and we've already started making it our own.
Our house is a Dutch Colonial Revival built in 1913 with a new addition from the early 2000's. It was built by William Brown and it stayed in his family until the 1970's. He didn't have any Grandchildren, so after his Daughter passed away it was sold. I believe we're the 4th owners of this 100+ year old home, which is crazy! The house has a beautiful entryway which features the stairs with original banisters. In the old part of the home there's a parlor with a cute little cove area that we'll use as a small library. There's also a dining room, large pantry, half bathroom, laundry room, sunroom, 2 bedrooms, 1 full bathroom, 2 additional bedrooms we'll be using as home offices, a very large unfinished attic, a half finished basement, and a kitchen which has been expanded. In the newer addition there's a large family room with a lot of windows and natural light, master bedroom, walk-in closet, and a master bathroom. We also have a cool wraparound porch, a big in-ground pool, and a 2 car garage.
When we moved in there was no refrigerator as the previous homeowner took it, and it had a very old and dirty electric stove range which we didn't like. We converted the electric to gas and purchased a new stove and refrigerator. There was a lot of drama with actually getting them in one piece, but we finally have them after 2 weeks of living without them and are totally in love! Our next step for appliances are a washer and dryer and a new dishwasher, the previous homeowner took the w&d and the dishwasher doesn't work that well, but we'll get there eventually!
There is a ton of brown in this house - the carpet, the paint, the wallpaper (my god, the wallpaper....), the floors, and the kitchen cabinets. We HATE brown. We like dark brown hardwood floors, but that's about it. We've already painted the family room a beautiful shade of gray, and the rest of the house will probably be painted in other grays and whites (but we're keeping the old unpainted wood in the house the way it is). We eventually want to redo the kitchen and get rid of the L-shaped counter and replace it with a large island. We're thinking of a white farmhouse style kitchen with quartz countertops and refinishing the floor in a darker color since it needs to be refinished anyway. We'll be replacing the carpet in the family room and master bedroom with a light cream carpet since hardwood is a little out of our price range right now. We will eventually redo the master bedroom and knock out the wall in the master bathroom between the toilet room/large shower, move the toilet, and create a large wall-to-wall shower with a clawfoot tub inside of it. We'll also be redoing the full bathroom upstairs since it was badly remodeled. The rest of the rooms need a good painting, and we discovered that there is lead paint under the newer paint on the baseboards upstairs so we'll be taking the proper steps to cover it. In the far future we're thinking of possibly even finishing the attic.
Outside we power washed the concrete around the pool and deck, redid the chemicals in the pool since it was neglected, and we're finishing up power washing the house and driveway so we can return the power washer to my Aunt and Uncle. The sunroom foundation needs to be fixed as it's 100+ year old wood that wasn't properly cared for, and we need to replace the liner in the pool. We're thinking of painting the shutters in the front of the house a dark gray or black because the red is badly faded and I'm just not feeling it. Other than that, we just need to fix up the landscaping and it'll look great!
I am feeling so unbelievably lucky for our home and the home buying process we experienced. I have some friends and family who are purchasing homes as well, and I've heard many horror stories with what they're going through. We were very lucky. I also can't thank my family enough for helping us move in and helping us with cleaning and maintenance. I've honestly been blessed with the most amazing people in my life and I will forever be grateful.
The Always Anchors Office
During the week I spend around 10 hours in my office each day. I've found that creating a fun, personalized environment really helps my productivity. If you're spending so much time in one space, shouldn't you try to make it a place that you'll love to spend time in? I think so! My office is a space that I believe represents my style relatively well. I love cute, brightly colored things just as much as I love vintage and antique pieces. In my office you'll find a lot of DIY projects, art prints, and vintage items. Welcome to a little tour of my home office!
* Apologies in advance that this post is a bit picture heavy!
This room used to be a little library. Unfortunately, it didn't get much use and my small business started getting too big for our living room. After coming to peace with the fact that the library would have to go, we started brainstorming ideas for a desk that would fit this small loft space. Luckily, I've been blessed with a very crafty mother who is able to make things that I wouldn't even believe were possible, like my custom L-shaped desk for example. We used some wood and an old IKEA bookshelf to create a desk that fit this tiny room perfectly and to my needs. I'm able to use storage bins underneath without them being seen from the front because we were able to close that part off (this is helpful because as soon as you come up the stairs, it's the first thing you see). I really wanted to keep one of the old IKEA bookshelves for extra storage, so we built around the shelf, which also gave support for the desk itself. After everything was nailed in and sturdy, we painted it a nice white, added a wallpaper to the back of the bookself, and I've been using it for a year now!
Mannequin: Hobby Lobby, $50; Suitcase: vintage gift from a family member; Fabric storage bins: Target, $13 each; Wire organizer: Target, $20; Flowers/Vases: craft store flowers and spray painted sparkling water bottles.
I think little details are key to bringing a room together. I tried to incorporate as many matching colors as I could for my office supplies, and what I couldn't find, I made or adjusted. The nesting boxes are by Nate Berkus from Target, around $13 for the set (I don't think they carry these anymore). The middle size box was all gold, which I wasn't too fond of, so I got some fabric that resembled the other two boxes and glued it on. I think it's a pretty close match! The gold-flecked mason jar is from Target, $2-$8, there are 3 different sizes. I use these to hold scissors, markers, and pens. The tape dispenser was just a basic black one that I painted with a thousand coats of a glittery gold paint, I love how it turned out! The little bunny girl is a business card from the amazing shop called The Midnight Rabbit, two of her art prints are displayed on my main wall. My favorite detail of them all is the little Hershel Funko POP! vinyl figurine supervising everything, I can't describe to you how much I loved his character in The Walking Dead *sobbing*. The gorgeous piece in the right photo is something I found at my favorite antique store, the Antique Marketplace in downtown Hammonton, NJ. The beautiful flowers are painted on velvet with acrylic paints. Unfortunately, the artist's name is worn off on the side of the painting but there's a business card taped to the back with the name "Virginia Hayes" from Vineland, NJ. A quick internet search hasn't allowed me to go any further than that.
Top 2 prints and center print: Charmaine Olivia from Society6; $20-$60; "Be Brave" print: The Digital Studio, $11; Gemini girls & deer print: The Midnight Rabbit, $10 each; "The Earth Laughs in Flowers" print: Lily & Val, $19, Elephant and fox prints: Freeminds, $18.72 each. Faux taxidermy bunnies: Stitch of Whimsy, $75+ (follow her on IG @stitchofwhimsy for many more adorable creatures!); Glitter feathers: DIY project with parrot feathers (my grandparents used to raise them, no parrots were harmed for this project!), glue, and glitter.
Fun fact: The center frame is an antique one that I found at an antique store, it still has its original tin photo of a (creepy) baby inside behind the Charmaine Olivia "Ava" print.
What are some of your favorite things in your workspace?