Design Choices

The past two years have been rough. Between COVID, much more alone time than usual, and quite a bit of sickness and loss, I think we’re all really ready for some bright spots. Mine right now is definitely our new home.

I’ve been excited to move now that we have a place to go to, and can begin planning on how to make our home a nice little nest for our family. I’ve been working from home for a few years now, so am stoked to have a home office to make my own. I know many of you initially bookmarked my account to follow for my crazy dating stories or even later on for my relationship with Robert, but expect a lot of interior design in the coming months — along with some stories about love and life sprinkled in here and there.

The Design Studio

Going to choose everything for our home was so much fun. Robert is super easygoing, and I’m pretty sure he thinks I am basically an HGTV design star. We bought our home while he was still deployed, so I had to go make some of the decisions without him. This ended up being fine because he thought it would be more fun for my mom and I to go together and spend hours upon hours looking at tile, flooring, appliances, and literally every detail that goes in to creating a home together. Did I mention my mom went to school for interior design? Growing up we always had HGTV on somewhere in the house, and would tour dream homes just for fun. When I was a kid I would talk about how I loved my parents’ “French countryside” furniture, and always thought I would have a sweet farmhouse of my own when I grew up. As with many things in life, things change, and I am steering clear of the recently popular “modern farmhouse” look, but I still think it’s so special that I became interested in this so long ago and am now finding my own footing in designing my own home. Going to the studio with her was so special and reminded me of all the times I went to look at beautiful designs growing up. It was also hilarious because both she and the designer at the studio wouldn’t give me their opinions on anything until after I said my own. We all quickly noticed I have a hatred for beige and love of all things cool.

Each of these drawers had different tiny tile samples or stacks of carpet samples. There are hundreds of options and it was so fun sorting through it all!

The design studio was a blast. The first time I went, I really went after a lot of what the model home had. After all — if it’s not broken, why fix it? Here is the palette of some of the items I looked at that first visit:

I’m surprised at some of the warmth I am seeing here, knowing what I ended up with.
I initially said I wanted a bright and light floor, despite always loving the dramatic rich chocolate brown. I looked at these choices, and quickly nixed the bright white, but thought I might go with one of the other three.
These were the final 2 bathroom tiles I chose between. I ended up going with the gray vein, as opposed to the warmer tone, because that’s just more my vibe.
I also considered doing a wood porcelain wood tile in the bathroom, but ultimately decided to do white marble.
And here is how I changed my selections the second time I went to the design studio. I chose a frosty white countertop, white cabinets, brushed nickel hardware, and still was going with the light LVP floor choice.

The model home definitely has coastal California vibes — a style I absolutely love. The more I thought about it, though, the more it just didn’t sit right with me. We don’t live near a beach, and I have always loved dark, romantic wood floors. I feel like the two things that are super “in” right now are modern and beachy vibes. It’s hard choosing things you feel will be timeless because trends are forever changing. For example, green or blue cabinets are going to be increasingly popular in kitchens this year, but that’s not something I’m going to want even a few years down the road. So I chose white with brushed nickel hardware. It looks clean and crisp, and will hide in the background and let some of the blue accent pieces I want to get shine. I also chose a white subway tile with white grout for the backsplash because it will allow for bolder design choices outside of what is built inside the kitchen.

Back to the Lab Again

Robert did come to the design studio the second time, and we changed things up a bit. Let the record show that he was the one who decided I should get the pricier countertops since we were already paying for labor and materials, and they wouldn’t be that much more all wrapped up in a mortgage. I changed our kitchen from being a frost white to being white with gray veins, and we solidified the beautiful white marble for our master bath. I definitely am excited about the change, even though what we had in place before was beautiful too.

I couldn’t shake the flooring we had picked, though. I love a nice bright home, but I have always been drawn to the rich dark floors. When we were looking at established homes, I always got giddy over dark floors with bright kitchens. I went back to the studio, once again, and did a complete 180 on the bright gray floor I had picked before.

The floor wasn’t sitting right with me, so I went back to the studio a third time by myself and switched to one of the darkest browns. I feel really excited about this choice now that it’s locked in.

Our home is incredibly open concept, which will make hosting super fun. I can cook and heat up food without being far from all of the action in the living room or breakfast table. We are a huge fan of game nights, so I imagine this will be an easy way to refill appetizers during an intense game of Settlers of Catan. Maybe me being away from the table for a minute will give someone else a chance at winning for once. ūüėČ

I’ll give a good house tour as soon as our home is ready, but it takes awhile for the building process, so that won’t be until August or September. In the meantime I’m going to share pieces here and there, but am more excited to show the finished product all together.

Since I designed most of the inside, I wanted Robert to be able to do something fun — the exterior colors. I didn’t want to influence him too much, but definitely had some favorite color schemes. He ended up choosing one of my favorites, which was really exciting. It’s a really deep gray with sleek black shutters and a gorgeous bright red door. Here is a sample, and I can’t wait to finally show a picture of our actual home one day:

He did a great job picking this out, and I keep saying how beautiful an American flag is going to look out front.

There is still a lot to do, but this was a super fun (and long) part of the process. I can’t wait to be able to do a video tour of the first time we go in our house!

Moving On

If you told me to describe our future home using 3 adjectives, these are what I would choose — cozy, clean, and chic. When we first started putting everything together I was leaning more towards a coastal vibe, but seeing that we live nowhere near a beach, that makes absolutely no sense. I love simple elegance and despite living with two messy boys (in their defense, I’m not particularly neat either), I love a clean looking home.

I hate warm tones and prefer cooler colors in a home. Before we decided to build, my husband realized pretty darn fast that I really do not like beige, particularly in a bathroom. I had to laugh any time we visited a new place and he would shout, “Babe, you’re going to want to change the tile in here!” about any bathroom that was remotely tan. The funny thing is, our last home had all beige bathrooms, but we weren’t going to stay in our townhouse long enough to make even a tiny reno worth it. I was incredibly happy there and cried when my husband said he wanted to move into our forever home. We had made so many great memories there and I loved the location. I loved our neighborhood, our neighbors, and how much it just felt like home. Now that we’re several months removed from living there I’m straight excited about moving, but it definitely wasn’t that way during the moving process. It was really bittersweet. I would have been happy living there forever, but there’s something exciting about moving to a place you know you’re going to stay put. Here are some photos of our first home together — kind of the “before” collage:

We will always have a flag out front. I had someone paint our new home as a present for Robert, and asked for our little pine tree and American flag to the watercolor.
This was our kitchen! It actually makes me kind of sad looking at this photo. Not too long ago I made lots of dinners in this space.
Knock out the arch, replace the countertop, stain the railing, change the fan, and get rid of those ceilings! Sorry — I thought you were asking how I would like to renovate this space.
Such a special little space.
I didn’t spend a lot of time making this house our home, but in hindsight I could have at least replaced the mirror and added paint for a small price.
This was the office Robert made for me. He got the desk for my birthday a few years ago, and built me a gaming computer during COVID!

Selling our house in this market was great. It was gone in a week, but buying was a whole other story. If you’ve been in the market for a house the past 8 months or so, you’ve probably noticed how insanely low rates got, which caused a huge amount of people to rush out and try to get a new home if they weren’t busy refinancing their own. It got so competitive it wasn’t unusual for a home to have 15 or more bids on it. We started shopping at a really bad time (lots of the winter months), so there was such a small selection of houses that were even on the market. Of course, now that we have a place, I’ve seen a million homes go on the market that are great and we would have bid on, but it’s still been so fun getting to create what we want together. More on that another day.

Can I Have Your Cobblestones?

I got a glimpse into one of the most hilarious corners of adult life this week — the Facebook Marketplace.

Being a homeowner has been fun because I love our place, but it’s also a whole lot of work. We are redoing our back yard right now, and dug up about 400 cobblestones that must have been put in as some sort of underground patio by the last owners. These things are easily a pound each, and it would not be fun taking them all to the dump, so I listed them on Facebook Marketplace to get rid of them. Guys. My phone¬†blew up.¬†

“Hi, is this item available?”

“Hello, I’d like to come take a look at the cobblestones.”

“Hey, when can I come pick up the stones?”

“I can come get them today, give me your address.”

I got dozens of messages in the matter of minutes, and they just kept coming. It was amusing, but also stressful enough that I didn’t check my Facebook messages for a few days after creating my listing.¬†When I finally had the patience and courage to sort through everything, I signed on to weed through all the people who wanted our cobblestones. My method was pretty simple. Women got priority because I would rather have a woman come to my house than a man (Why? Check out my last post). Then they got eliminated from the list if their profile picture wasn’t of them. I love dogs more than just about anyone, but I’d like to know whoever is coming over doesn’t mind putting her face out there for me to see. Finally, the easiest part was that I just gave whoever reached out first the priority. This whole week I’ve been bombarded with more messages that I could have ever imagined, been ghosted by people who claimed to want the stones, and finally met up with a really nice couple who is going to use them on their horse farm.

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As anxiety-inducing as the Facebook Marketplace is, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone trying to get rid of any sort of home goods. People on there are sharks just waiting for something to chomp down on, and if you don’t feel like hauling something away, your trash could be another person’s treasure.


What do you think one of the most hilarious things about being in your late twenties or early thirties is? Do you have any experience with the crazy world of Facebook Marketplace?