Thursday, June 18, 2015

That Time We Bought Our Rental House....

So... We moved to Savannah in the fall of last year into a rental house on Isle of Hope. A house we had never visited in person, but my family all knew the owners and had been there and gave us the go-ahead. Trusting their advice, we signed a lease agreement on a home we'd never stepped foot in.

Upon move in, we had some major growing pains. Growing smaller that is. We moved from a roughly 3,000 square foot home in Atlanta to 1800 square feet on the coast. We sold half our furniture and took several loads to Goodwill. Those first few months were a big adjustment for everyone. We went from 3.5 bathrooms, to 2 full bathrooms, one of which my husband and Evans share. This isn't a "woah is me" post by any means, I'm just saying once you get used to your own spaces and then suddenly have to share- it's an adjustment. Going from 4 bedrooms plus a bonus room to three bedrooms was also an adjustment. At first, we really didn't love-love the house. We did, however, love the area. It's a stone's throw from the river, and a quick 2 minute drive to family. The location really cannot be beat, and we quickly discovered why Isle of Hope is so special to Savannah folks. It's extremely charming, you'll have to visit sometime to see for yourself.

Over time, the house definitely grew on us. We figured out how to live in a smaller space. Actually, I think it's helped us become closer as a family (both literally and figuratively). We are often forced to be in the same room spending time together. We are also forced to declutter and are very wise about keep-toss-sell piles. We really don't keep much clutter at all anymore simply because we don't have room for it! I forced myself to go through my closet and dresser and Goodwill anything I haven't worn in the last year. If I haven't worn it lately, I'm for sure not going to miss it. We've also done a big overhaul on kitchen items (do we really need 3 crock pot cookers, or 5 baking sheets? no). Random accessories, blankets, pillows, etc. we didn't NEED also went to Goodwill. I have to admit, it feels totally freeing to not have so much STUFF.  I feel less of a hoarder now.

A smaller house also forces you to keep things tidy. And it's faster to clean. I used to spend a good 4.5 hours cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, vacuuming etc. at our Atlanta home. It was a JOB. This house takes no time at all. Two bathrooms, hardwood floors throughout, a small (but functional) kitchen- and I'm done. Easy peasy.

All of this to say, yea the house grew on us. We started looking at homes for sale back in April and couldn't find much we liked that was in our price range. Our landlord threw out the idea of buying the rental from him, and at first we thought we wanted a 4th bedroom. After tossing it around, we decided that to be on Isle of Hope was probably worth sacrificing the extra space. After a month or so of negotiating, we weren't sure a deal could be made- so we started looking again. We found the CUTEST house that was further out towards the beach, but the flood insurance was going to be disastrous. Oy. So back to square one. Luckily, our rental was still in the mix, and we were able to finally reach a deal on buying it.

Under contract and set to close in July! I'm excited to finally say that. We have lots of renovation plans in mind that will probably go down in phases. First up will definitely be painting the exterior, getting a new front door, beadboard ceilings, and updating the hall bathroom. Down the road we'd love to add on a screened porch and a deck, and possibly a front porch. Can't wait to get to work and share the progress along the way with all of you!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Rental House: Guest Room Updates

Our guest room at the rental house has finally taken on some resemblance of an actual room and not just a storage unit. Hooray! For months, we had the queen sized bed centered right in front of the large bay window in the room, but on a whim I decided to try it against the far wall. I had to lose a nightstand to make it work in this small room, but I really like it. How often do guests use your end table anyways? Sorry mom and dad! We gained much needed floor space and room to walk around (AKA more area for Evans to run and push her baby doll stroller.... which is so important).

I finally got around to washing and making the guest bed in all white bedding from Pottery Barn. I've had the bedding (it's the everyday essential white duvet and euro shams) since we lived in Atlanta and just never did anything with it! In this cottage I think it totally works! Screams beach to me. Living in a rental makes it way more difficult to decorate in my opinion. You can't change fixtures, you can't change paint colors, can't change anything really except for your own furniture and arrangements. So- none of my stuff really worked with this bright blue bedroom, until I gave the white a try. Somehow, it even updates Hubs' old headboard. I had considered painting that headboard a million times, but I love the contrast of the warm wood with the bright white linens. Less work for me- score!

Once the bedding was in place, I realized the room needed a major POP. I love neutral spaces, but I've been wanting to paint a large colorful piece. Most of my clients have wanted something subtle or serene, (except for Sweet Caroline who let me do a super colorful abstract for her!!). To be able to do something really bold was exciting to me. And what else could I do for a cottage bedroom than BOATS!

These are 36x36 and make me oh so happy walking in the front door! I really like that our foyer and front living room is coastal and a bit more neutral, but a look to your right walking in the front door and BAM. Oh happy day! My mom said she loves this room big time, and she's our usual guest... so there you go. Mission accomplished.

I started working on the old desk of ours as well. I painted it with Annie Sloan in paris gray and did a wash of french linen. This desk was my dad's when he was growing up. It's been yellow, white, blue, yellow again, back to white... then when I got it in college I painted it black. It remained black for almost 12 years until now. Keep on truckin', old desk! It's funny to think my dad studied here, I did my homework here, and Evans probably will one day as well. A keepsake for sure!

I kept the drapes we've had forever (from World Market). They are casual and breezy. Plus, I already owned them. Money saved.

I did scoop up a bedskirt. It was time to get rid of the cheap one from Steinmart (that was see-through and falling apart!). This one is Pottery Barn (yay rewards bucks). 

 That's it for updates around the rental casa. Pssst- I'm running a sale in my art shop trying to make way for new paintings! Enter the code "summer" at checkout to receive 15% off your order. There's a few paintings left. Happy summer people! It's finally here!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vegas Trip

We just got back from 4 days in Vegas, and I am still trying to get used to the time change. I'm not sure I ever adjusted while out west, but I'm certainly tired today. We went for our friend's 40th birthday. It was so much fun, but I definitely missed Evans while we were gone. She got to spend a week with my parents and Hubs' parents. They split their time taking care of our wild child. Busy, busy. I think all are recovering with much needed sleep now!

The first day, we checked out Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at the Venetian. I have always wanted to see this, and the wax people actually do look realistic! It was crazy. The artists apparently take 200 something measurements and photographs of the celebrities to make these figures.

We hung out at Venetian for a while and ate lunch at Margarittaville. Of course, we go all the way to Vegas and wind up somewhere beachy.... That night we checked out the Flamingo and called it lights out by midnight. The flight and time change left us exhausted.

Day 2 we went to the pool at Caesar's Palace. So nice to have a relaxing day in the sun, not chasing around a toddler :) Although, all we did was talk about her.... Funny how that is. The drinks and food by the pool were insanely expensive ($20 for a pina colada!) so we packed up after a couple hours and headed to "Old Vegas". We went to the Freemont Street Experience, and I'll just say, yes, it was an experience. One I don't want to repeat. Naked old men and women on the street just walking around. For real. You just can't un-see that. Yikes. Once we realized we were in cookooville, it was time to leave and head to the Mob Museum. At the museum, you can see the wall from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. That was pretty crazy to see the bullet holes and blood stains on the bricks.  The museum had a lot of history on Vegas and how casinos and such came to be. I definitely recommend visiting if you are in the area.

That night we hung out at The Bellagio. Cocktails at Lily Bar, dinner at Prime, and then later we walked out to see the Bellagio fountains doing their thing. It's pretty crazy to see in person.

Day 3, the men went off to play cards while the ladies went SHOPPING! Marie and I hit The Forum shops at Caesar's. That night we went back to Venetian to check out the famous Bourbon Room and saw Rock of Ages. Rock of Ages is a guilty pleasure movie for me.... mostly because of the music. I'm an 80's dork and I just don't care!

Vegas is great for people watching. We saw some of everything out there.  Wow.  Great time with friends, but sure am glad to be home to this little girl!