Memorial Day, New House Design Plans, and Spring Allergies #CoffeeTalk

Well, hello Monday. I tell ya, it may be a holiday, but it sure feels like a Monday to me. I don’t know if it’s the gloomy weather, my morning allergies, or the fact that I woke up and realized I didn’t have anything prepped to post today, but I’m having a pretty blah start to the day. Perhaps if I get out and run, I’ll feel better.

I had mentioned trying to get to a local Memorial Day parade this morning, but I don’t see that happening.

That said, I don’t like to let this day go by without paying some sort of homage to those who have fought and died for our country. It may not be perfect, but it’s home and I’m grateful for that.

So yeah, I don’t know what is up with the spring allergies this year. I guess I need to get myself on an Allegra routine (#notanad.) I don’t usually struggle like this, so I have to wonder what’s up.

My younger daughter has started having trouble in recent years, and she has noticed that her allergies are worse on the days it rains. I think I’m the same. I would think the rain would help alleviate some of the pollen in the air, but perhaps it isn’t the pollen that we’re allergic to… I dunno. All I know is, we’ve had way more than our fair share of rain this spring, and my allergies are bonkers.

I’m sure no one wants to hear me complain about my allergies, so let’s move on to more fun topics.

I’ve mentioned once or twice or maybe ten or twenty times that we’re moving in a few months. For those who are just catching up, it was a rather spontaneous decision. We’d had our eye on the housing market for a couple of years, just out of curiosity, and because we knew we didn’t want to be here forever. But last summer, after seeing a few houses online that looked really promising sell before we could go look at them, we decided to hang it up and wait until our kids are out of high school. We have a great community here, and we know how fast things change — we figured that once the kids are all done with school, we may want to move out of the district anyway, so it made sense to wait.

Funny how life happens. A few months ago, a house came up for sale just a few miles away, and it looked pretty much perfect in every way. We went and saw it “just for fun” because we didn’t even really want to move… right? Ha.

I’ve said it before, but it’s the only way I know to describe the feelings I had when we walked through that house: It checked all the boxes and then some we didn’t even know we had. 

We weren’t really ready to move, though, so we tried to forget about it. We figured it would sell before we could get our act together anyway.

But then it didn’t.

Long story short, after making two separate offers (they turned our first one down flat), we came to an agreement late one Sunday night. By the next Sunday night, we had put our current house on the market and sold it, all while my husband was in the hospital with diverticulitis. Yes, that was one crazy week.

our current house

Everything has gone remarkably well with the inspections and various negotiations involved, and we finally have official closing dates on both homes, allowing for a comfortable two-week overlap to do some work on the new place while still living here.

The house we’re purchasing is about 15 years old, so there are some updates we’d like to make right away — namely carpet and paint. And I’d eventually like to replace the counters and appliances in the kitchen, but that will have to wait. Those are projects that can be done once we’re living in the house, and we want to focus now on the projects that are easiest to do when there is no furniture to contend with.

When it comes to home decorating, I know what I like, and I want it to look nice, but I’m not great at putting it all together. I learned two houses ago that hiring a decorator/designer is a wise investment.

It seems like a luxury at the time, when there are so many necessary expenses vying for their spot in the budget, but after making several costly mistakes and spending hours upon hours trying to make the smallest of decorating decisions, I soon learned the value of a professional.

I mean, if you enjoy the design process, and you’re good at it, that’s awesome. But we are not, so I consider hiring a designer the same as hiring an electrician or a plumber. Sure, we could figure it out and do the job ourselves, but a professional can do it so much better, faster, and more efficiently.

Of course the next question is, how does one find such a treasure?

Fortunately I have someone I’ve worked with before on some small projects in this house, so I reached out to her right away. If you’re looking for a designer, I recommend asking around for personal recommendations. That’s how I found both of the designers I’ve worked with over the years. (My first one moved out of the area.)

Here’s how it works. 

First, I filled out a lifestyle questionnaire that helps her determine my style and the way we use our home — for example, how often we entertain, and that type of thing. She also asked me to share my Pinterest and/or Houzz accounts with her so she can see what styles and colors I’m drawn to. I created a Pinterest board for New House Ideas that I continue to pin to as I find things I like.

Next, we met for an initial consultation to talk everything over and be sure we were on the same page. After our meeting, I signed a contract that explains the design process and her payment structure, and I put a deposit down that covers her first five hours of work.

Typically the initial consultation would happen in the home being decorated, because we aren’t in our new house yet, we used the online listing along with pictures I took when we were there for the inspection.

My two biggest priorities for our first meeting were paint and carpet. These are big expenses, and they will flow through much of the house, so I want to be sure I’m selecting colors that I’ll be happy with.

In my current home, almost every room is a different paint color, and while they flow and work together, I want to take a different approach in the new home. I’m planning to choose one paint color in a light neutral to take through the first floor and the upstairs hallway. Then each bedroom will be a separate project.

As far as flooring goes, most of the 1st floor is medium brown hardwoods that were recently refinished so those stay. For now, we’re keeping the light neutral carpet in the family room, but we will be re-carpeting the 2nd floor and the basement.

My designer decided to focus first on the family room and kitchen areas — since that is the “heart of the home” and where we spend the most time, and also because I wanted to order a new family room couch to be delivered during that two-week overlap so we don’t have to move our existing one.

Also, the family room contains a stone fireplace that will help dictate the color scheme for the house, and the granite in the kitchen should be considered as well. Both are busy patterns that can’t really be ignored when designing the space. Fortunately they’re also fairly neutral, so we can work with them.

About a week after our initial consultation, my designer was ready to meet and present her design ideas to us. She came to my current house with paint and fabric samples, along with her family room design plan.

The “mood board” above shows how all the pieces will work together. I also like how she included a swatch of the stone fireplace that is in our new family room.

She also provided this 3D rendering of the room, along with a floor plan drawn to scale, showing all of the furniture placement.

This is just a starting point — her proposal. Most of the pieces (like the pillows and ottomans) aren’t even picked out yet. She did, however, bring fabric swatches for the curtains and couch.

A navy blue couch was my idea. I definitely do not want white or beige or grey, which is what seems to be trending at the moment. I do, however, want something neutral enough to allow me to swap out pillows and accessories for the seasons and as my tastes change. She brought me a few couch suggestions from companies she recommends, and I selected one, which we ordered.

We will be keeping the existing neutral wall-to-wall carpet for now, and for paint, we’re planning on a light neutral “greige” so I think the couch will provide a nice contrast to all of that. She brought over some paint samples, but we will finalize that decision after we close on the house and we can look at the samples over there.

Next, she is going to send me ideas for the kitchen — window coverings and area rug suggestions for under the kitchen table — and after that, we will see where things stand budget-wise.

For now I’m planning to move my existing living room, dining room, and basement furniture into our new house, and our bedrooms will also remain largely the same for now.

There are other spaces that will eventually need attention — a mudroom (hooray!), a 2nd floor laundry room, my home office, a guest room (I’ve never had one before!), and an outdoor living space in the backyard. But I will tackle those areas one at a time after we move in. In fact, I’m excited to take it slowly, one room at a time, and really enjoy the process. I’m also planning to share each project with you as I go along.

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, and I can’t wait to actually show you pictures of the new space!

Well, that’s enough for now. I’ve had time to digest my 2 cups of coffee, and I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself. I plan to go for a run and start tackling some packing projects before it’s time to get ready for a cookout with friends tonight.

If you’re doing some shopping today, don’t miss my Memorial Day Sales Roundup and Try On Sesh posts.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your long weekend, if you’re one of my stateside friends, and if not, I hope your Monday is safe and productive!

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33 Responses

  1. I love what you and your designer have come up with. How exciting! I also do better if I have help when it comes to decorating! Best of luck with your move. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Is the photo of the house your new one? Couldn’t decide since you were discussing both. Looks like it is on some acreage without next door neighbor on top of you. Good luck with the move. You can’t start boxing too soon, takes awhile. With kitchen being usually the last. We had solo many boxes from the kitchen, it was crazy. Hired people to pack the kitchen and it took 3 guys all day to do it. They did grest, nothing broke.

    1. No, that’s my current house. 🙂 I haven’t posted anything of the new house b/c the current owners are still living there. You are scaring me. I think I need to start packing STAT!

  3. Just so you know…..I’m dying to see even a peek of what yiur new home looks like on!  Anything?  Just a crumb?  LOL!  My daughters & I loved visiting model homes just for ideas on colors, furniture placement, etc.  I’m loving the idea of the navy sofa, what a great color palette. I was always leery of dark colored fabric on chairs/sofas, thinking about lint, pet hair, etc, but I have 2 recliners that are darkish blue, & they have worked out just fine.  Enjoy yiour day!  We are off to our annual Memorial Day Service.  It’s always a long one for our family by the time our church hall is all cleaned up after serving lunch.  But it’s the least we can do for our Veterans who have give so much.  All 3 of our nephews are serving in the Army, so it’s a really special for for us!  

  4. So exciting Jo-Lynne!  The first time that I had to select bathroom tile, we were pressured by the contractor to make a fast decision.  While the tile color I chose was okay, I chose white caulk, which was a huge mistake due to all of the Georgia red clay.  When it came time to select tile for our now forever home, I made a much smarter decision, and love it.  As I’ve shared before, we recently had all of our walls painted in Behr Silver Bullet.  Everyone, even the men, that has been in our home comments on what a great color it is.  I can’t wait to see what you end up with.  Is the picture of your new home or the one you sold?  Either way, it’s very pretty.  In our hearts we are definitely honoring all of the military that paid the ultimate price for our freedom, here in the U.S.

  5. I love the navy couch idea!❤️ We currently have all neutral furniture but eventually I’d love to upgrade .. as far as allergies , I’m suffering too.  I listened to an allergist who said since winter hung on for so
    Long this yr the pollen is all bursting out at once and is making it miserable for so many.  I also learned when rain is coming and it’s humid the pollen “swells up’ making it even worse😩.   I feel your pain… all I can say is to take the meds daily:) have a great Memorial Day! 

    1. Makes sense. I just got back from a run and I’m feeling better. The annoying thing about my allergies is, it’s really only the first couple hours of the morning and then they’re better. I hate to take meds for just that. But I probably should just get on a regimen — at least till the pollen count goes down.

  6. Hi! I love your outfit (purple tank and denim shorts) in the image featured in the  article. Would you please share details? It looks very flattering on you!

  7. I would be a bit careful of navy – any shade of blue really fades in the sunlight. Speaking from experience.

  8. I love this post! First off, you look adorable in the photo! I dress a lot like that for casual summer days and actually even for running errands, etc. when it’s hot. I even had those shoes (had to retire them) and lift my toes in photos! 

    It’s fun hearing how your design project is going to work. I think I mentioned we’re moving soon and after 15 years, I’m definitely ready for some changes of furnishings. I echo your thoughts on paint. We’ve had very dramatic paint in our main living areas and while I loved it, I agree neutral will be nice, as there will be possibilities for changing the look with pillows and accessories. I may do an accent was here and there…not sure I can go completely cold turkey! Okay, I could go on and on…but very excited for us both! 

  9. First off sorry to hear about misery with the allergies. I can see rain making it worse some how but not sure why ??? Hmmm if it’s something I read or heard. Secondly we just got home from Florida (a family vacation) which we did manage to get several sunny and hot days plus I’m shopped out.., thirdly your new home sounds wonderful and a navy couch is a great idea. I’ve heard it’s the new grey which has worn out it’s welcome I think . You can change up navy just as much even with seafoam or turquoise. I remember you mentioning a pool so carrying the navy outside in perhaps a nautical theme would be cute. The outside is now and extension of our indoors ( so I’ve heard the designers say on tv).
    Have a wonderful holiday. Ours was last Monday.

  10. Everything is looking beautiful.  I will really enjoy following along with you in this process.  Thank you for letting us “inside your head”!

  11. Hi. Love your ideas! I used navy in my newer home we built and have been happy with it. It is versatile in furnishings. I paired it with a very soft lavenderish tone in my bedroom which works well with marble in the master bath. As far as allergies maybe just some Nasocort nasal spray for daily would help till the pollen goes away. We are in full summer here in North GA! Thanks for holiday sale info. 

  12. Congrats on your new home!  I enjoyed reading all about it.  What an exciting time for you and your family!  I support the use of interior designers wholeheartedly.  My husband and I decided to renovate our home and add a 2-story addition.  After interviewing several architects and not finding one with whom we wanted to work, we decided to go the way of an interior designer, first.  That was the best move we’d made.  I wanted to use a local professional and used Houzz to locate several in our area.  I created a questionnaire and metric from which to evaluate them equally, and then used the face to face interview to make the final decision, along with the rating.  It worked like a charm and we ADORE the interior designer that we selected.  Designers of course know other professionals and as part of her service, she selected an architect who she thought would mesh with our personalities.  Here was another winner.  We love our architect and our builder, who was vetted by both our architect and designer.  They have worked as a team for the past several months as a 2-story addition was erected and our house was gutted to the studs.  We went through the process that you described, and we also completed questionnaires for every room of our house.  We’ve shopped together and she has made the process so much less stressful.  It’s clear that she knows us quite well by now…likes and dislikes.  We have standing site meetings with our team to make sure everyone is on the same page and on schedule.  She has pushed back when for example the master plumber didn’t want to place wall  mounted faucets in the master bathroom.  Her extensive knowledge prevailed in this scenario and so many others.  One of our primary renovation goals is aging in place.  That meant customizing several things like placing electrical outlets at 18 inches from the floor versus the 12 inch standard height.  Our custom kitchen island will have a lift for our heavy electric mixer, another example of need as we age in place.  Our expectation is to remain in this home until the end.  We’ve targeted the end of July to move back into our fully renovated home, and that can’t come quickly enough for me.  I wish you much happiness in your new home and look forward to hearing more about it.

  13. I have a navy sofa in my family room, it’s leather, and I love it!  You are right, it is a great neutral.  I have a plaid arm chair in navy yellow and red which goes great!  (If I say so myself) 😆
    Best advice I can give is start packing NOW! If you are like most people you have way more stuff than you realize. Pack everything keeping only essentials. It’s hard but you won’t die without your grill cheese pan, or crystal wine glass (insert your fav items here)  and don’t forget your clothes. Now is the time to practice with that 12 piece capsule wardrobe!  (Think of it as research).  You will be thankful in the last days leading up to the move that you got it all packed without the stress. 
    Good Luck!

  14. Congratulations on finding your new home and thanks  for sharing your house plans and the process of using a decorator to help. I am looking forward to following you through the move. I enjoy your daily emails, instastories, etc., so much! Thank you! 

  15. That was a fun post! Thank you for sharing your design ideas and pinterest board. I’m excited about being along for the ride as you decorate your new home. Hope the allergies abate soon.

  16. Hi – I know you probably have your wall color picked out, but just in case you are still thinking of ideas…we went with Toasty Gray by Behr from Home Depot. It is amazing. It picks up any color you accent with in each room. We moved to our new house last summer and I am in love with my wall color!! 
    I can’t wait to see your new house! 

  17. Thanks for sharing your new home decor/ color scheme. it is always fun decorating. Have you tried nasal saline rinse irrigation using a nasal wash bottle? It has really helped me (and the Allegra!). I find the netty pots too awkward tilting your head/ neck. I swear by the Neil Med Sinuflo rinse bottles. Just make sure to use distilled water, not tap water (bacteria and minerals in the water) with the sodium chloride and sodium bicarb pre mixes to take the sting out of rinsing. I warm the bottle in the microwave for 20 sec so the water isn’t a cold shock to the system. Most allergy doctors swear by nasal irrigation. Good luck and feel better!

  18. Hi Jolynne,  You may want to rethink the navy blue couch.  It will fade,especially if the room gets lots of sun!

  19. Congratulations!  That’s so exciting! Rob and I recently purchased land and hope to build in the next couple of years! I look forward to seeing you work through the design process!  🙂

  20. Hi Jolynne! As an interior designer, I also wanted to suggest that people can find a designer in their area that is licensed by visiting ASID.org (Americans society of Interior Designers). Good luck with your house and can’t wait to see the photos! 

  21. Sweet! Thanks for sharing. Am so excited for you and your family in the new house. My allergies have been horrible this year, but I am allergic to snow mold – and there was a TON of it where I live, so when everything melted – BANG! Also all the lawn mowing and gravel sweeping didn’t help either. Oh well – I just bought some good Kleenex and powered through. 🙂 Hope you and your daughter are feeling better.

    1. It is $125/hr, and the deposit is usually applied to the last 5 hours, so I pay monthly until we are done. The first time I worked with her, I think I only used 5 hours of her time as it was a small project.

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