Welcome to the first house update! As you may have heard, we bought a little house on a little mountain in the Hudson Valley. It’s our little respite from the wilds of city life; and someday soon it will be the place where we get to relax and revel in the good life with friends and family. To kick it off, I thought I’d share our priorities in turning the house into a home!
Entertaining in New York City is hard: small spaces, no spare bedrooms, lack of a real table. I grew up in a house that was always open for guests (my mom is totally the hostest with the mostest), and Ryan is an incredible cook, so it’s very exciting for us to have a place where we can really host company. With hiking trails steps from the front door, a fireplace that begs you to snuggle up with a good book, and a back porch that’s the stuff of dreams, it’s a little retreat that we can’t wait to share with our loved ones.
Making the house a great place for company is one of our top priorities, so a lot of our decisions around furnishing keep that in mind. “How many people can you sleep and feed in a 760 sq. ft. house?” you ask. “At least six!” I say.
Another major consideration in making decisions about the house is, of course, design. We want the space to be cozy and inviting, to use the gorgeous landscape around as inspiration, but to feel more sophisticated than rustic. Too many qualifiers? Let’s throw another one in the mix. Ryan and I are both very opinionated, and don’t necessarily agree on everything (shocking – I know). I was a little worried we’d have a hard time settling on things that we both liked, but it’s been surprisingly easy! I’ll write more about how we’re team-selecting things in a future post.
Finally, I’m forced to face the reality that we don’t have a bottomless budget. Yup folks, we’re outfitting a house on a dime. (Ok, more than a dime, but less than a lot.) Luckily, the house was renovated fairly recently and is in great shape. We don’t have to shell out for any major renovations or repair, just a few small maintenance projects and cosmetic updates. Finding quality stuff at a decent price is one of my hobbies, so this has been fun! I’ll try to keep track of expenses and share as much as I can here in case anyone else out there is also looking to do some redesigning on the cheap.
Our first project – paramount to my happiness – was repainting the accent wall in the living room.
Honestly, I don’t know what you’d call that color. Red-Orange? I totally appreciate the former owner’s bold vision, but it’s just not for me. When we first saw the house, Ryan and I were totally charmed – with the exception of that wall (and a truly offensive countertop that I will address another time). Throughout the protracted contracting process, I collected pins of beautiful walls and paint colors to pitch to Ryan. We landed on Gentleman’s Gray by Benjamin Moore months before we actually closed on the house.
Editor’s Note: Benjamin Moore has some pretty cool features on their website. I didn’t use them all, but found the ‘see color in room‘ option super helpful. Also, I was SO impressed with the paint. At our salesman’s suggestion, we used the Aura line in eggshell and I can testify that it is idiot-proof.
Because I am impatient and unprofessional, we didn’t bother to put samples up on the wall to make sure we liked it. (I am definitely one of those people who disregards the “use a small amount first to make sure you’re not allergic” warning on hair colors and skin creams.) We marched into the nearest paint store, asked the salesman what we needed and went to town…in the dark.
Now, I remember “helping” my parents paint my bedroom walls growing up, so I figured I knew what I was doing. My sincere apologies to my parents, because if I helped at all, it was a handful of rolls up and down a wall until I got bored. Pardon my French, but painting is such a pain in the ass you guys. Mostly the taping. I’m high on the clumsy spectrum, so I wanted to make sure we taped and covered everything. It looked ridiculous (Dexter would have been proud), and was SUCH A PAIN, but I’m glad we did it.
In spite of our inexperience and the many imperfections, it came out beautifully!
Later that weekend, Ryan caught me admiring photos of our handiwork while we caught up on some tv. I can’t help it – I’m so damn pleased. We took on our first project and nailed it (but like, don’t look too closely). Not only is the new color lovely, but it really makes the house feel like our house and not somebody else’s.
I’m a little bit in love.