After MONTHS and MONTHS of not posting, I am going to make an attempt to begin sharing some of our home updates since we moved into our house! When we moved into our townhouse, my first project was what I call our “Morning Room”. When you walk in our house you enter the living room, walk through the kitchen, and then there is another area that leads out to the deck that I had no idea what to do with! This room became mine for decorating and I decided it would be a great space for reading, drinking our morning tea, and a space to enjoy a glass of wine (here you can find my Pinterest board where I gathered all of my thoughts and pulled ideas from)! We had absolutely no furniture when we moved in that would fit the space so deciding on the furniture was the first priority. My parents and Bryan’s parents each generously bought a piece of furniture as our housewarming gift, an amazing matching coffee table and server from World Market (part of their Clayton collection which has been since retired). From there, we bought a custom sofa and two chairs for seating from Wolf Furniture. The next step after the furniture had arrived was to decorate and bring the room to life with accessories. Bryan and I are VERY keen on British accents and the focal point of the room is a custom Union Jack painting (pallet art) that we received as a wedding gift. We incorporated more British elements that we used as decor from our wedding on the coffee table (England books from a local secondhand book store, a French Bulldog statue to represent Rooney, and our gold royal wedding crown cake topper found here: Etsy)
On the adjacent wall, where our server is located, we knew we needed something on the walls. After seeing so many amazing examples of gallery walls, I decided to do my own using the amazing frames I found at Pottery Barn. In order to get all of the frames bottoms straight I made my own template using Adobe Illustrator and printed it to scale via a large format plotter printer. We adhered that template to the wall and measured where the hooks on the back of the frame were to know where to drill the screw into the wall. See our process below:
Now it was on to the fun part, choosing which pictures/artwork to place in each frame. We chose pieces that best represented us as a couple. The pieces as seen below are from: our wedding day by our amazing photographer Rebekah J. Murray, a Maryland Wine print from the talented artist Matt Long, song lyrics by Mumford & Sons done in hand calligraphy by PoppyPressDesigns, a quote from Peter Pan in gold foil calligraphy by Maison Everett, gold foil scrapbook paper found at a craft store, a hand made number 11 to represent a number that is very significant to Bryan and I, and a fish cut out from my favorite yearly calendar at Paper Source which represents Bryan and I’s nickname of “fish”. Here is a look at our final gallery wall:
First and foremost – we are officially homeowners!
The past few days with settlement and the big move have been exciting, new, exhausting, eye-opening, busy and oh so worth it.
On Thursday we had our settlement. At our settlement we signed what seemed like a zillion papers (Bryan forgot how to sign his name by the end of it and I had hand cramps) and we met the previous home-owner (who was absolutely amazing). After that we were handed the keys and they were mostly all Washington Redskins patterned house keys so Bryan instantly knew it was fate that we were meant for that house. After we finished our settlement of course we uploaded the standard keys-in-hand photo to facebook: Afterwards we headed to the old house to meet my dad to bring the first load of stuff over. Thursday night we unloaded what seemed like thousands of boxes and then we returned to our old house for the night.
“A custom in marriage: the husband carries his wife over the threshold of their new house or home. i.e. he lifts her up and carries her through the doorway into their new home.”
Friday I started to set up the kitchen and let me tell you, trying to figure out what dishes should go where, and what drawers should hold what was so tough. By the time Bryan was home from work I had organized the kitchen and the bathrooms. The cable guy then came and hooked up our TV/Internet so we were set.
Saturday was MOVING DAY. We loaded all of the furniture into the trailer and the guys made a few trips back and forth carrying all of the heavy pieces while I went back to the old house and packed all of my clothes (an equally hard task if you knew how many clothes I have). By about 5:30 all of the moving was done (phew) and then I cleaned up a little and then we had our first visitors – my Mom and Stepdad. My amazing mom brought us food – because if you opened our refrigerator at that point you would have found nothing. We then shared a bottle of champagne to celebrate. It was wonderful having our first house guests and we look forward to many more. Saturday night was the first night we spent in the house and that is when the realization hit that we were homeowners and this is where we would build our lives together!
Sneaking a quick post in today – ONE day until we settle and we are happy to report that there were NO SURPRISES! Our HUD-1 final settlement statement came in at the amount we expected (actually a tiny bit UNDER which was an extra bonus). After work we met up with our realtor and did our final walk through and there were no problems to be found – in fact it was even more perfect than I remembered it! The biggest surprise to me was how big our walk in closet is – I literally forgot about the details of the house since we haven’t seen it in so long! We also found out that the previous owners are leaving us their lawnmower and trashcans which will save us some money that we otherwise would have had to spend immediately! All-in-all a very good pre-homebuying day!
Seeing this also out front put a HUGE smile on our faces:
When you have as much junk from the past as I do from never having to condense or prepare for a REAL move – it can take forever! I spent most of my weekend trying to de-clutter and sort through my stuff. Well, realistically, it was an hour of de-cluttering, an hour of complaining about de-cluttering, an hour of watching HGTV dreaming about having a house, and then back to de-cluttering again with the new motivation after watching the nice homes on HGTV. Vicious cycle.
The categories of piles were KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH. I don’t know if it is just me or what – but somehow I get emotionally attached to EVERYTHING. Do I really need to save my history notes from high school, my very first video camera that only records to VHS, my Halloween costumes from the past 10 years? Luckily I was able to trash a LOT of it. I have bags of clothes to donate, and I have a stack of things to give to my dad for his next big yard sale. On the other hand, I have a collection of old cellphones (maybe I should consider opening my own vintage Verizon store?) that are still tentatively in the keep pile, and don’t even try to get me to be able to part with these stuffed animal’s Bryan has won for me over the years in the claw machines!
For now they will just live in a box in our storage room until the next time I have to de-clutter!
As this week continues I will continue to de-clutter, clean, and pack. Luckily for Bryan, he has already moved many times so he doesn’t have anywhere near as much as I do. For now I will just keep telling myself that the less we have to move, the easier it will be on us. In the end it will all be worth it!
love & lots of whit – jen xo
What are some packrat items YOU have that you can’t bear to part with?
As the title of my first blog states – Home is where one starts from. I believe that this is true, though I would like to add a bit more to it!
Our story starts when my husband Bryan and I first met. The chapters started slow, but by the time we reunited and started to spend time with one another and start dating – the story started moving at lightning speed! After only 8 months and 26 days of dating – Bryan proposed. On May 11, 2013 we were married and our fairytale English Garden themed wedding was a day we will never forget. You can watch our wedding video below made by my talented friend Chris Roederer.
After our wedding, we had the most amazing honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands. It was the trip of a lifetime and we will always remember our honeymoon as true paradise.
And now is where HOME comes in. After two months of being married – we decided to start the house-hunting process. We initially didn’t intend on buying a house until about a year after we were married, but we quickly realized that interest rates were on the rise and in order to guarantee a lower rate – now was the time to act. House-hunting was a whirlwind of mixed emotions. As first time home buyers – it’s safe to say that I was literally CLUELESS about the whole process. We quickly learned our budget and found it hard to find something decent in our area and in our price range. Being in Maryland – the cost of living is pretty high. Several times during the process we day-dreamed of moving south where our budget would buy us a much larger home – but with our jobs, family, and friends here, we knew we couldn’t leave our hometown. After many home tours of the good, the bad, and the downright disgusting – we finally made our first bid on a house that was in our dream neighborhood. Sadly, we were outbid but that is when we heard the best piece of advice – which at the time sounded cliché. The advice was that everything happens for a reason, and if it is meant to be – it will happen. We were very discouraged but only a week later a house popped up on our lists after a previous prospective buyers’ finances fell through. We looked at this house that same night, and had won our contract on it by the next day. Needless to say, we were SO excited.
That is where the present comes in. It is almost as if we are at an intermission in our story. The contract is ours, but now we are waiting on the final paperwork and loans to be approved. Our tentative settlement date is August 22. We are positive that this is what that advice meant; this house is larger and newer than the other we placed a bid on AND less expensive. It is also the nicest house we have seen throughout the entire house-hunting process.
We are very hopeful & will keep the updates coming!