One year ago today we moved from Connecticut to Charleston and became new homeowners! I feel like the year flew by but we did get a lot done since last July. We furnished and decorated a house, made new friends, rebuilt our training clientele, both started new online businesses and now this city that used to feel unfamiliar is our home.
What we’ve learned along the way:
It takes time:
What does? Everything. I will be the first one to admit that I wanted to walk in the front door, snap my fingers and have the entire house decorated perfectly, exactly to what we had imagined. Let’s just say that didn’t happen. We went to Lowe’s our second day here and bought $10 lawn chairs to put in the living room. (Which remained there for at least a few weeks before we found a couch). If you’re moving into a new home and not bringing a bunch with you from your previous living space, there’s just no way everything will be done at once.
And it’s better that way. Why? Because your taste will change. For example, I’m writing this from my kitchen right now (because our office still isn’t furnished) and sitting on a blue counter stool. I thought these stools were great when we ordered them 12 months ago but I now have my eye on different ones. My taste has changed slightly and now that the downstairs living area is mostly done I realize these stools aren’t perfect anymore. Thanks to being able to sell things online pretty easily, it isn’t the end of the world to swap these out. Also, it took 10 months for us to order new cabinet knobs and pulls. I finally found ones that matched our new faucet really well and then waited for a sale. Now they’re here and they’re perfect, but we waited a while! My point is: don’t order everything at once, and don’t feel like you have to. The first few months of home-owning aren’t meant to be totally comfortable. You’re in a new space without a ton of furniture and that’s ok. Figure out what you like, maybe make a few vision boards to make sure everything goes well together and just enjoy the process.
If you want to renovate things, get a few different quotes.
The biggest things we did when moving in were paint the bedrooms (which my Dad and Uncle did) got a new fence and changed out the kitchen countertops. It’s so important to get quotes from a few different companies and also read reviews. You can then make an informed decision from there!
Friendships take time.
We love our neighborhood, but it’s filled with families with young/middle-aged children and some retired couples. We don’t mind that one bit, but it was a little challenging to find a young, child-less couple around here at first. What we realized is that at this age (late 20s early 30s) it’s a bit tricky to meet people. We both work from home so there weren’t any coworkers to hang with, we aren’t in school and we don’t party at the bars until 2am. So where the heck does one make friends?! We joined networking groups and went to a few functions downtown where we met some younger couples. A friend from NY introduced us to a couple down here and we actually went on a blind date with them, it went really well 😉 Friendships take time and you have to put yourself out there a bit!
Furnishing a home is not cheap.
Obviously when you’re house shopping, you undertand that you will indeed also need to spend money to furnish it. I think it’s really important for this to be factored into the budget early on. If you end up buying a home at the top end of your budget, make sure you still have room left to purchase furniture and decor. I’ve spoken to so many couples who get the house or apartment of their dreams and then they start looking at couches and they’re like holy crap we cannot afford this! Our office is still empty for a few reasons: It is actually meant to be a formal dining room, so I’m figuring out how we can put book shelves in and give it more of an office feel. The furniture I want (particularly an office chair and a rug) are on the expensive side. I could find something cheaper, of course. But I have no problem working at the kitchen island for the time being until I’m more comfortable splurging on the office furniture I really want.
We also have a loft at the top of our stairs that’s totally empty. It’ll eventually be a cute little seating area/ reading nook but it’s not necessary to spend money on that right now. Furnish the most used rooms first. If you’re reading this and you haven’t bought your home yet, start getting ideas of what the pieces you like cost so you can make a budget around this before you move in.
Do what works for you AND your spouse.
This is different for everyone. If you’re buying a home with a significant other, that is two opinions for everything you do and buy. You’ve got to find what works best for your relationship. Here’s what works for us: I have more fun shopping for things than Mike does. Let’s take our downstairs powder room as an example because we’re talking about changing it up in the near future. I will find wallpaper, a new mirror and lighting options that I like and lay them all out for Mike, a few of each item. We’ll discuss which we like the best and review pricing and make a decision together from there. I have some friends who will find what they like and purchase it without letting their significant other know. Some husbands don’t mind and others get a little pissed. The main thing here is to figure out what works best for you two but in most cases if you can both agree on and be excited about said item then everyone is happier.
A home is your living environment. It’s where you dine, sleep, relax, laugh, connect and work (for some people). Make it a place that brings you joy and relieves stress. Keep it tidy, uncluttered, fill it with pieces that make you smile and most importantly, people that fill you up.
When moving in, you’ve got a blank slate to work with. Take your time and enjoy the process. <3
Side note: If you’re wanting to see a full video tour of our home, head to my Instagram page where you can watch on IGTV! Otherwise, I have our kitchen, breakfast nook and living room tours on the blog.