Planning for a Real Home

{Also known as: In Which Nikki and I FREAK OUT About Becoming Adults}
So the big news of the week is that the bank finally approved Nikki’s paperwork, so she’s officially in escrow!! (For those of you just joining us, it’s been an epic adventure for my BFF trying to purchase her first home, a short sale condo. Dante and I will be renting a room.) The place is about as perfect as we could have asked for and we absolutely love the neighborhood.

Shout it with me now: Wooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Ellingsen Photography Trude and Nikki Freak Out

(Or aaaaaaaahhhhhhh run for your liiiiiiiiiiiiife!!)

If all goes well, we close escrow at the end of July. She already had the home inspection done last weekend, which found super minimal things that needed to be done to bring it up to code safety-wise, but other than that it’s looking good! So after a fresh coat of paint all around and new carpet upstairs, it looks like we’ll be moving in around mid-August or so. (You know I’ll be sharing photos then!)

Of course we couldn’t be more excited, but as this will be the first time for either of us actually owning instead of renting (well, she’ll be the owner, but you get what I mean), it’s now time for us to freak. out. about everything that needs to be done and all that we’ll need to stock up on. Even though we’ve both been reading up online and planning and researching since she officially started looking, I think everyone would get that feeling of “OhMyGodIHaveSoMuchToDo!” now that we’ve reached this point. And then, being late-twenty-somethings, we’re both constantly going “Good lord we’re discussing water heaters and sofa fabric. We’re adults!” :)

Between the two of us we’re doing well on some supplies, but others are definitely lacking. At least she found a couch and chair she likes, after we wandered into La-Z-Boy just to butt-test. We’ll also need a fridge, vacuum, new bed and mattress for Nikki, and a grass box for Dante, among other things.

I’ve been pinning and blog reading and reading through my parents’ Consumer Reports like nobody’s business, so here’s some things I’ve found especially helpful or inspiring for n00bs like us (read: newbies in gamer speak), in the hopes that my hours of research will maybe help someone else too. :)

Design Sponge Sneak Peek Alissa Walker

I think Nikki and I would both love to move in to this gorgeous 1940s Silver Lake home (a super cute neighborhood in LA)

Dewdrop & Dahlia Coffee Table Makeover

My New Zealand friend Kathryn did amazing things with this $12 coffee table she found

Live Creating Yourself Home Tour Living Room

Alaina, the blogger behind Live Creating Yourself, recently shared her own home tour and I especially loved how she layered textures and mixed patterns in her living room. The kitchen is gorgeous too!

Smile and Wave Home Tour Master Bedroom

You can’t go wrong with Rachel Denbow’s gorgeous vintage style that’s also budget-friendly. Seriously love her home! And I’m completely addicted to her blog.

Design Sponge Mantel Makeovers

We’ll have a fireplace with a mantle (not so common in sunny Southern California!), so these two mantle makeovers are making me drool

Filing Cabinet Planter Baldmanmod

I don’t know why but I’m dying to do this old-filing-cabinet-into-a-planter DIY

I also have about 496 blog posts from Young House Love saved (as I testified to on Twitter – and they responded!). Seriously, I cannot get enough of their blog because they’re so down-to-earth and self-deprecating and spare no details! Their true step-by-steps and rationale is pretty much exactly the way I think. The following are the ones I keep going back to:

Young House Love Drawer Lining DIY

Lining dresser drawers with pretty wrapping paper and Mod Podge. Lots of great less-permanent ideas in the comments too!

Young House Love Office Progress Getting Wired

Getting wired in the office. The surge protector they went with looks awesome. (Mom! Look at me all adult-y!)

Young House Love Bedroom Curtains

Their big window treatment Q&A post is helping me SO much. The bedrooms in the new place are wide but short, so I’ve been researching options on pretty ways to play those up without losing light. (Fellow photogs will empathize with me – we’re the opposite of vampires. Light! Give me liiiight!”)

Young House Love House Crashing Courtney Little Glass Box

This house walk through they did of the home of blogger Courtney of Little Glass Box, had me super inspired! Love when design doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Sorry for using “of” too many times in one sentence.)

Okay, I’m already exhausted. But still inspired and can’t wait to get this party started! And I have to say a super big thank you to my mom, whom we’ve already started abusing for her interior design training and may-jah skillz. We would be lost without her!

So, homeowners, any tips or insights for us?


10 Things

It’s been a while since the last time I made a list, and with everything that’s going on it’s about time I gave some thanks to these things that put a smile on my face!

1. Orly’s In A SnapThis quick-dry top coat is a godsend to this impatient, yet nail-polish-addicted girl. I’ve been using it for years and can’t imagine how I used to sit around for an hour waiting for polish to dry!

2. The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger. First, how awesome is that name? Yes, it’s another series with werewolves and vampires, but I love the alternate Victorian London she’s created (very steampunk-y), and the main character reminds me of Amelia Peabody, the heroine of yet another series of books I love. I guess I’m drawn to strong female leads! :) These books are just good fun, great quick reads with well drawn characters.

3. Elsie’s new dress line for Red Velvet. My favorite is the Kite Day dress, which of course sold out almost immediately. I just love the print, which she had custom made based off her artwork (which is also gorgeous, I’ve got one of her prints and plan on collecting more). I’ve loved Elsie since she was just doing scrapbooking and photography, and I’m in awe of how much she’s accomplished!

4. Harry Potter marathons on TV. What, it was in HD! I rest my case.

5. This quote:

Something I need to keep in mind and I wish more parents practiced! Via the always-inspiring Notebook Doodles.

6. A DIY card I can actually make! So ridiculously cute, right?

7. This bedroom, by AB Chao. Ignore the fact that it’s for a young girl, I LOVE it! :) And it doesn’t hurt that AB is hysterically funny and a fantastic photog – love her blog too!

8. Nathan Fillion. The man can do no wrong. Do you guys watch Castle? He’s the reason I started watching that show, and now I’m vested in it so I can’t give it up! Luckily it’s really funny. :) I have to admit I’ve also been watching the re-airing of Firefly on the Science Channel, because it’s in lovely lovely HD. If you love him too, make sure to give a listen to his episode of the Nerdist podcast. Nearly an hour of witty and nerdy conversation. {Image via Fashionably Geek, which also has some great excerpts of his interview for EW.}

9. SkinnytasteI can’t remember how I stumbled upon this blog this week, but I’m definitely going to try out her recipes! I could really be eating better, but I don’t want to give up flavor in order to do so. This site has skinny versions of much-loved dishes, and that makes me much more in favor of this weird thing called “dieting”. I plan on starting with her Best of 2010 and we’ll see how they turn out!

10. DIY tutorials on the ‘net. It’s been amazing seeing how much information is really out there these days! Not that I didn’t know, but I haven’t been paying much attention to home stuff since I haven’t had one (of my own) to decorate for a couple years! Now that my BFF and I are getting closer to a new space, I’ve been drowning in home decor and DIY ideas. Here’s some of my favorites:

So link me up if you’ve seen any great DIYs out there! :) What’s making you smile these days?


Dreaming of Home

So my BFF and I are officially house hunting (for her, I’ll be renting a room), and I couldn’t be more excited! Not only because it means we’re entering a new stage in our lives, and I’m super proud of her for being able to buy a home before she’s 30 (an especially big deal when you live in Orange County), but also because we’re finally going to be roomies! :) We’ve only been dreaming about this for, oh, fifteen years.

While we’re working on finding just the right place for her and I (and Dante too!), I’ve been playing at interior designer and just had to share some of the prettier things and great DIY tutorials I’ve found around the interwebs.

I’m obsessed with the bright yellow and grey/neutrals combo right now, isn’t it so pretty? Relaxing yet sunny, and you can really play with pattern and texture. The center image is my main inspiration, from Angela Hardison’s home as featured on Design*Sponge (she’s a graphic designer – surprised much?).

Clockwise from top left:

We’ll be on a tight budget, so some of these are not on my actual shopping list, but you can do a whole lot with some paint, varnish and sandpaper! We’ll be doing some serious thrifting and Goodwill-hopping. We also have most of the essentials in terms of kitchen supplies and furniture, so I’ve been daydreaming about how we can play with what we have already. Here’s some DIY tutorials that I’m loving:

So link us up, friends! What DIY projects have you loved lately?