Sunday, June 30, 2013

The "Disappointment" Pillows

'Seaglass' Findlay Pillows from
These Findlay pillows were my first (and only) purchase for our new home so far.  I saw them on and instantly fell in love with them, as they seemed to fit my vision for our new living room perfectly (light and dark blue, taupe and brown).  They were a little on the pricey side (at $29.99 each), but it was the day after my 28th Birthday when I ordered them, so I used some birthday gift money to pay for the four pillows.  I knew they were final sale when I bought them, but I wasn't worried, since they were so perfect.

Then, came the disappointment.

My first round of disappointment regarding these pillows wasn't even when I received them.  I ordered them on June 3rd and a week and a half later, I got an email saying they were back-ordered and wouldn't ship until June 29th.  I was afraid that by then, we might not even be living here anymore, but I decided to wait it out.  As time went on, I started to have a little buyer's remorse - mostly over the fact that I hadn't seen the home we're moving into in over a month and I felt like I was "losing" my vision a little.  I thought maybe it was pre-mature to be buying decorative pillows for the new house (ya think?!) when we'd need so many other things to get started.  A couple of weeks ago, I emailed Joss and Main and asked if I could just cancel the order and have a refund.  They said they couldn't because the pillows had already been shipped to me.

I thought, "No problem.  I did really like the pillows."  A couple of weeks went by and I checked up on the status of my Joss and Main order online and there was no real pertinent information, so I decided to email them and ask if there was any tracking information I could view.

They informed me that my package had been delivered to my doorstep five days prior - but I never got the package.  I still have no idea what happened - my guess is that someone stole the package from my doorstep, but if that's the case, it would be the first time that's ever happened to us here.

Joss and Main was actually really good about it and offered to send another four pillows to us for free, which I graciously accepted.  They were delivered to me yesterday and this time I was home to accept the package.

I quickly tore it open and was immediately disappointed all over again.  The color was all wrong - the base color wasn't white like the photo online, but a sort of a pukey yellow, but it sets off the rest of the colors in a way that doesn't make as much sense for what I was hoping to accomplish with decor for the living room.  Plus, the pillows are all deflated, but I'm hoping that's just due to shipping

Of course, since these were final sale I'm sort of stuck with them.  I'm hoping that once I see them in the new house, I'll find a way to make them work, but I think I've definitely learned my lesson here.  I need to work on planning a space better and making sure I'm committed to the item before purchasing it (especially if it's final sale).

Have you had any decor-purchase fails?  Tell me about them to make me feel better! :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Decorating Style Defined

I've given this topic a lot of thought lately and I think the best label I can give my decorating style is: 

"Cozy Casual."  

My idea of "Cozy Casual" from
Let me explain.  Aside from the practical aspect of decorating that I gravitate towards so much, I find that although I like rooms to look nice, what is almost always more important to me is how they make people feel when they're in them.  

Above all else, I want to feel comfortable in my home.  I don't ever want my family or guests to feel like they're in a museum and have to be careful when they're in my home.  I don't want people to ask me, "Should I take off my shoes before I walk in?"  I realize that not everyone will agree with me here - it's personal taste and I get that.  I can't tell you how many rooms decorated in a style other than my own I've absolutely drooled over, but I just know it wouldn't be me, therefore, it doesn't belong in my home.

My idea of "Cozy Casual" from

When I think "Cozy Casual," plush upholstered furniture, natural fabrics in muted, non-or-lightly-patterned colors immediately come to mind.  Textures and things that you want to touch, feel and wrap yourself in are absolutely what I'm drawn to.  

My idea of "Cozy Casual" from Tumblr

Don't get me wrong, I like things to be neat and tidy, but if a blanket is left out because it's a little chilly, that's a-okay by me.  Mostly, it's just important to me that at the end of the day, we have a place we can go to where we can just relax.  I want people to be able to congregate in a space, easily find themselves a seat and ultimately, I want it to be hard for them to leave, because they're so comfortable where they are.  

My idea of "Cozy Casual" from Tumblr.

Another interesting tid-bit about my decorating style is that I HATE chotchkies (this is a universal term, yes?).  I think this strong feeling comes from my disdain of dusting and the more little chotchkies you have hanging around, the harder it is to dust.  

Now, I should clarify - I don't mind little trinkets that have strong significance or meaning to us.  But if it doesn't have a purpose or sentimental value, it's difficult for me to want to buy it or decorate with it.  All I can think of is how much dust it'll attract.

When Mr. Practicality and I go on vacation, we have a tradition that we bring home a Christmas Ornament from every location we visit.  This was our compromise to wanting to bring home a souvenir from each destination, but not wanting to collect a ton of chotchkies.  And the great thing about Christmas Tree Ornaments is that they're always available in gift shops no matter what time of year it is and they don't take up much room or collect dust!  (These are the crazy thoughts that go through my head.)

As you can see from my above inspiration pictures, I gravitate towards light and dark colors alike.  I think in rooms that receive a lot of natural light, it's okay to go a little darker for a cozier feel with the furniture/upholstery.  But in a room where little natural light exists, I might opt for a lighter palette to try to bring more light into the space.  

How about you?  I'd love it if you would share your decorating style with me!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's The Plan?

In addition to the only known photos I have of our new house that I posted a few days ago, I decided to make a floor plan of the home, to better depict what it looks like.  Now, this floor plan is not to-scale and it was done strictly from memory, so I may have to update the proportions a bit when we actually get the keys.

First Floor

Second Floor

Did I mention it's not to-scale?  :-P  Especially the second floor, but it does represent the layout well.  I promise to update everything as soon as we're able to get back into the house!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Not-So-Pretty Improvements

Much to my dismay, not every aspect of home ownership consists of choosing paint colors and furniture pieces.  Sometimes it requires repairing or replacing broken appliances, "winterizing" a home or simple maintenance and upkeep.

During our home inspection, a few minor issues were uncovered.  They weren't deal-breakers, but they pretty much required immediate attention and take up a big chunk of our decorating budget.

Here are some of the items we'll need to tackle as soon as we close on the house:

  • The oven needs to be replaced.  The stove top works, but not the *oven itself.  (*Funny story:  The house we currently rent also has a broken oven.  We never replaced it, because we figured that wherever we moved to next would have a working oven and then we'd be stuck with two.  So, for the past three years, I've been living without a real oven and I didn't even have to.  If only I had a crystal ball!)
  • The dishwasher is ancient (you'll see that "ancient" is a running theme here).  We tested it during the inspection and it did work, but when I say it's ancient, I mean, it's ancient.  We'd like to replace it at the same time that we replace the oven.
  • The electric service in the home needs to be upgraded.  It's currently at 100 amps and we think we'd like to upgrade to 200 amps, because we heard that the difference in cost between upgrading to 150 and 200 amps is negligible.
  • The hot water heater is ancient (and leaking).  It's original to the house and desperately needs to be replaced.  We really don't want a flooded basement as soon as we move-in.
  • The oil burner is ancient (and very slow to respond).  This is also original to the house and desperately needs to be replaced.  Unfortunately, this is a big-ticket item. 

The kicker here is that the house currently runs on oil.  After extensive research, we decided to convert from oil to gas, since it usually winds up being cheaper in the long run to heat the home and we also prefer gas cooking.  In our area, there is a 9-12 week waiting period for the gas conversion to be completed.  This means that we have to wait until after the gas conversion is completed to purchase the new gas stove, furnace and hot water heater, which also means we'll likely hold off on replacing the dishwasher, too (matching appliances?).  It looks like the only thing we can do as soon as we move in is upgrade the electrical service.

I'm sure we'll be plenty busy with painting and unpacking, so it won't be too bad, but it just looks like I'll have to go a few more months without a working oven!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Pre-Move-In Home Tour!

The home buying process in New York (especially on Long Island), is kind of crazy.  First of all, both the buyer and seller are required, by law, to hire a Real Estate Attorney and the Closing Date means almost nothing in terms of gauging when you might actually close.  New York grants buyers and sellers a 30-day leeway period past the contracted closing date in case either the buyer or seller needs more time.  What's more is that the seller can actually remain in the home for an additional five days (penalty-free) after those 30 days.  

Basically, what I'm saying is that even though our Closing "On-or-around" Date is July 13th, 2013, we really don't have any idea when we'll actually close on the house.  We *think* the seller is ready to vacate the home quickly and if that's the case, all we're really waiting on is our bank for the "clear-to-close."  

We haven't actually seen the house in over a month, since we were last there during the inspection. At the time, I didn't think to take any pictures of the interior (blame it on first-time-home-buyer's brain) and now, of course I regret it.  I keep looking back at the MLS-listing pictures to remind myself of what it looks like, as I'm totally in full-on decorating mode in my head.  The hard part is that I don't have any hard measurements of the interior, so all I know is how big our current furniture pieces are - not whether they will fit in the rooms we're thinking of placing them in.

With all that said, here are the Pre-Move-In photos (seller's furniture) of the inside and outside of our first home.  Since I didn't take these pictures, I find some crucial elements of each room missing and some rooms are not pictured at all, but they give a good general idea of what we're working with!

The home is approximately 1800 sq. ft. on a 7,000 sq. foot plot of land.  It's a Cape Cod that was built in 1953 and it has 4 Bedrooms, 2 Full Bathrooms, hardwood floors throughout, a partially-finished basement and a 1-Car Garage.  The upstairs rear has been dormered and the front has the "Dog House Dormers," which help add square footage to the upstairs bedrooms.