Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Home

Before my husband and I wed we felt the desire to have our own home. Many married couples begin in apartments and that is a great alternative whilst saving, but it was and still is a great time to buy. During this time we bid on at least seven different homes and loved every single one of them. It was heart wrenching and just emotionally exhausting to lose one possible home after another, you can't help but imagine yourselves in each home. We felt like God was pushing us to buy but were having no luck in securing a home. In spring of 2010 just a few months before our wedding I saw online an adorable 2 bedroom 1 bathroom cottage on 5.5 acres of land. Both my husband and I have always lived in homes with acreage. I've never lived in a neighborhood and the few years that Jeremy did he hated it. Abundant land was a dream of ours we weren't sure we could afford. We both loved the pictures of the house and decided to call about it without seeing it in person, we learned very much the hard way that time is of the essence. At this time any moderately priced home turned into a bidding war between home seekers and investors so we quickly put in our bid. We were called the next day and told we were outbid, again. Again, we were distraught but by this point kind of used to it. Just a few days later the real estate agent contacted my husband and told him the initial bid winner backed out and we're next in line if he was still interested. My husband accepted and we bought ourselves a house. We bought the home for less than 90,000 with an excellent interest rate. Our monthly payment is $565 a month making this investment seemingly a great decision. BUT the house we bought is a fixer upper and repairs have been costly. Just in the first six months we have had to renovate the laundry room, bathroom, purchase a new water heater, water meter ($4500 can you believe it?!), and new heat pump. We love creatively working on our home, most of the time. It is discouraging to me as a woman that we don't always have the money to do the finishing touches that most other homes have. Mostly this is just an issue with pride for me. So what my laundry room and kitchen are lacking baseboards :). It has been a joy making this house a home completely our own and less cookie cutter than the average domicile. So while this home hasn't been the best financial decision, it also hasn't been a bad one. It is always important to buy a home not based on how beautiful it is but on the affordability... if you buy a home that weighs heavy financially you will start to resent the house you once loved. ALSO, if you can't afford a fixer upper- buy a smaller plain home that doesn't need much TLC. :) On a spiritual note, homes are very temporary and the comfort it brings can quickly become an idol, remember to regard it with an open grasp putting all hope in Jesus! We do adore our little home, its a wonderful feeling pulling in the driveway everyday.

You CAN make your home beautiful on a dime! Here are a few tips we've learned along the way!

The couch, ottoman, and chair were floor models purchased at a much discounted price, my husband built the side tables, and all other furniture was found in relative's homes for free!

The owl chair was one of my favorite finds, I found four just alike in my grandmother's antique shop and she was so happy to give them to us! The dog was free too, she found us ;) 

The rustic print on the wall was 12$ 
Fresh Frugal Tip- Visit well priced antique stores and second hand stores on sale days, you will get a hefty percentage off already low prices!

While I adore everything cottage chic to begin with, I also firmly believe if you dress your home in a purposefully distressed style you will get away with hand-me-downs looking chic instead of cheap! 

Toss pillows are expensive EVERYWHERE! Toss pillows should be bought only when they are on sale and having a coupon for the store sweetens the deal! The top set were purchased at world market, we had 20% off coupon for being world market explorer members, a 10$ gift card that they give you on your birthday and the pillows were on sale! We got them for 10 dollars each!

Again, sticking to the cottage chic style allowed us to use beautiful second hand mismatched furniture to look completly chic and purposeful. Some one gave us the chairs when they bought a new set which we roughly painted antique white and the antique table was a freebie find in my uncles basement. The lighting we found on the website bellacor which offers lighting for a great price while they are on clearance- The lights we bought are usually $115.00 each but the website had two available for half off! The downfall was that they were non-returnable. We took a chance and they are perfect, they really tie the look together and the best part is the lights are back up to $115 on the website! Well... good for us.

The rug was around $100 at ikea, we shopped around and it was the least expensive of it's kind. We love the rug and it is holding up beautifully. Even if we decide to get another one this rug can be used in many spaces as it is very style versatile. Again since we stuck with the cottage chic theme, we were able to paint our worn out wooden floors for less than $100 and it looks so creatively different! We are a little lack on the wall art but we believe in the gradually added on look that just can't be done quickly. It also gives us opportunities to look for great deals on perfect finds instead of settling or spending too much. The pear painting was $15 on clearance at an upscale antique store, don't be afraid to add contemporary touches to a distressed look, it's where the "chic" comes in! I'm blessed I have a husband that cares about the way our home looks and is willing to help make our dreams a reality. 
Also, antique shopping is a fresh frugal date idea if you keep spending limited to great deals on necessities!
 This piece was our latest great find! Normally is it $200.00 at world market but they were having a 50% off furniture sale, which they have pretty frequently. Also it was the day after Christmas and between 3 and 5 that day they would take an additional 20% off any purchase! We got the piece for $85 after taxes, it is extra storage and seating we desperately needed and we also just needed more something in the room and this was the perfect find. Credit to my husband actually.