Hollywood in the Country Hills

Sometimes I wish I could live in the 1800′s way out in the country, in a beautiful house, with a self sustaining farm where we would get our eggs and greens each morning and a cow named Bertha that we’d get our milk from. I’d have 14 children to do all my work for me and I’d sit back and, I don’t know, cross stitch or something. And pet my cat. Something like that.

And when I see gorgeous photos, of gorgeous old homes nestled in natures abundant beauty, I start to think to myself – man I could dig that. So for all of you that have a penchant for famous people, and have an extra $1.6 million relaxing in your pantalones, I strongly encourage you to purchase Renee Zellweger’s country estate that just landed on the market.

Old Farmhouse

Just stunning, right? The blue sky, the crisp white exterior. It just makes my heart melt.

This foyer has the same effect.

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Foyer

Here are a few more gorgeous photos of this incredible home for you to feast your eyes upon.

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Kitchen

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Hall

The tall ceilings in this Master Suite …

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Master Suite

And this stunning bath.

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Master Suite

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Den

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse Bedroom

And then there’s the back. SWOON.

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse

Along with a gorgeous rustic barn. What’s not to love?

Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Farmhouse

Talk about dream home. You’d have to pull me kicking and screaming out of that one. It’s absolutely amazing.

What’s your dream pad? A Country Estate, an urban row house – one of both? ;)

Migrating Migraines

Moving has never really daunted me much. I guess we were always moving up, moving on, creating a new future and a new beginning. It was always exciting and it always felt right. Our move to NC was no exception, in fact I think more than any other move before it, this one solidified for us that we were on the path we knew we were meant to be on. We were creating the future we’d always imagined and man was that liberating. Taking that dream out of our hearts and putting it into our heads – it was the gutsiest, bravest and boldest move we’ve ever made as a couple and I’m thankful every day we woke up with that strong conviction one morning and just made it happen. But this move was definitely more tiring, and definitely more overwhelming than the rest. Not going to lie, there were a few times I wanted to just throw in the towel and give up. Perhaps it was the whole cross country bit, or the whole new jobs bit along with it, but you guys – I’m still re-cooperating 4-months later.

We’ve actually owned (and moved into!) 3 homes, in the last 4 years. What kind of crazy are we?

Flipping_Houses

We’ve learned a lot on this journey though. Even more so this time around with the whole out of state relocation. Some costly mistakes, some just costly realities that couldn’t be avoided. Now that all the dust has settled, I thought everyone else could more or less benefit from peering into the hard truth of some of the things we flubbed on house hunting/buying/living 3.0.

1) When you’re moving cross country, don’t plan on moving right into another house

This one cost us $500 and a tear or two. Looking back, we were so overwhelmed with everything else going on in our life (selling the Michigan house, finding new gigs, traveling down every other weekend for 12+ hour drives between MI and NC) that we saw a house we thought could work, and we jumped. It wasn’t until we came back to sign the paperwork for proceeding that we started to take a closer look at the house and realized, much to our dismay, that this place was just not right for us. Crap. The bad news, we had already entered a contractual agreement that basically said we’d owe a fat $500 big ones if we backed out. The good, we avoided buying a house that we just didn’t see ourselves in for the long haul.

Durham Real Estate

Although the house was as cute as a button, we realized when we went back to see it that the backyard was positioned up on a hill, looking over a busy thorough fare. This led to lots of car noise, so, we passed.

Lesson Learned: Chill yo jets.

Road Noise Behind House

2) High Maintenance Buyers

So, I probably should have seen the writing on the wall with this one after we had a few crazy requests thrown at us during the closing process, but the people that bought our last house. Ummm – they’re sorta high maintenance. ;) Now our house sold and was closed on in less than 3-weeks. A lightning fast, where do the hours in the day go 3-weeks. And we are SO LUCKY that our house flew like that, but even for minimalist non-packrats like us, getting everything packed and loaded in that time period was, well, tight. The final night before we moved out we were totally scrambling to get everything cleaned up and ready for the next group. By the end though, I’d hand washed the floor and everything looked pretty darn nice. Certainly 10-times nicer than any other of the 3-homes we’ve moved into on moving day, but ya know, that’s all relative.

After we we’re already chilling down here in NC, I get a call from our Realtor on closing day saying the buyers are NOT happy with the house’s condition. They’re biggest complaint was that there were crumbs in the cupboard. Oye. Yep, probably were crumbs in the cupboard. Dang, must have forgotten that. They asked for a $250 cleaning fee to cover it. Which made me snort laugh, but in the name of, ya know, not wanting our sale to fall through over this level of ridiculousness, we obliged.

Lesson learned: Clean yo cupboards, or be prepared to pay up.

Moving Checklist

3) Contracts, Dang They’re Pesky

So … contracts. Yes, they’ve bit our behind more than once. Now in hind sight, this was a very easy one to avoid. Very easy. But y’all, life was moving so fast at us when we moved down here that it turns out, we missed some more fine print. Now, I went into this a bit before, but I really don’t think this one is all on us. But, sadly, we do hold some blame – enough blame to cost us another cool $650. Uggh … when I start adding these digits up I get certifiably depressed about it.

Coming off of home ownership, and only renting apartments during our college days, Jay and I were kinda clueless about apartment dwelling. So we got burned big time when our apartment failed to tell us that we need to provide 30-days notice, for our 90-day lease, in order to avoid an extra month carrying cost. Since we just signed on the dotted line and rushed to grab our keys, we missed this important detail that was so SO easy to avoid.

Lesson Learned: Read yo contracts

Empty Apartment

4) Moving Furniture

My final lesson. Seriously - sell everything you own before moving. Perhaps we’re the world’s worst packers, but I don’t thing they’res a single piece of furniture that didn’t get damaged, in some way, during our move. Scratches, stains, you name it. Now, it certainly did not help matters that it was raining cats and dogs when we went to load in all our stuff into the apartment, but we had to throw away and or sell at a significant discount and tons of our goods. In my mind, I did sell off all my worldy belongings before we moved, but if I could do it again, I’d grab a suitcase, fill it up, and get on that plane with only the items I could carry. Ok, right, that’s a slight exaggeration, but lordy, I would NOT be hauling down some of the items we did.

Lesson Learned: Sell yo furniture 

Damaged Furniture From Moving

Anyone else have nuggets of wisdom to add to this list? I’ve been channeling Cher an awful lot lately around here … If I could turn back tiiimee.

 

 

 

End of Summer | Flash Sale!

Looking to spruce up your space before the fall temps set in? Lemon Grove Interiors is having a flash sale – 30% off all services for the next 36-hours! Just type in FLASH30 at checkout.

Whether you’re thinking big with a full bathroom renovation.

Bathroom

Or you want to add some details with new lighting …

Lemon Grove Interiors

Or you just want to add some style to your living space …

Lemon Grove Interiors | Flash Sale

I’d love to work with you to make your home a space you absolutely love coming home to! Packages starting as low as $17.50 per room, with the discount. Get em’ while their hot by typing FLASH30 at checkout. Promotion ends August 2nd.

Samantha Says | Giveaway!

For those of you on the search for some sweet artwork, I’ve got your hook up! By Samantha is a drool worthy etsy shop that has everything your little abode could need. This week’s giveaway is for a $50 gift card to her shop!

Here are a few of my favorites. You can see the entire shop here!

Moon Print

Whales

Botanical Print

Win:  a $50 Gift Card to By Samantha 
When: Today, July 29th – midnight on Tuesday, August 5th
Winner: Announced on this post, next Tuesday!

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Currently Loving // July

This week has had lots of exciting updates on the house (think KITCHEN!), but nothing is quite ready for prime time yet, which is what inspired this quick snapshot of what I’m loving down here lately. A summer inspired love fest.

Summer Wish List

Notebook // Makeup Bag // Pelican Tray // Bee Soap // Necklace // Blouse

Since shopping for Jay  is lots of fun, too, I put together some mega Man-candy-must-haves.

Gifts for a Meat Eating Man

Beef Jerky Gift Pack // NC Local Brews // America Cutting Board // Pig Picture // NC Cycling Shirt // Biking Beer Opener 

How are the temps where you are right now? Are things starting to cool off yet? I’m the kind of person that likes to be hot in the summer time. I don’t want to worry about grabbing my hoodie for chilly evenings, I want to walk around in my tank top and shorts all day and feel the sun shining on down. And ya know, that’s probably why I moved my booty south. ;)

Psst! Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway, it’s the last day! Enter here.

Boo to This Loo

What can I say, I’m really just not a hot pink kinda gal. Lipstick, underwear, my bathroom walls. So when we moved in, and our downstairs bathroom looked like this… well, it just wasn’t my jam.

Small Walkin Shower

Needless to say, my paint-crazed hand was a twitching and ready to do some switching. Remember how I told y’all that I decided to be all spur of the moment and just randomly select the paint color for the bedroom next to this bath? Well ladies and gentleman, I went and did it again. This time my color of choice was Behr Swiss Coffee. Sounds nice, and whatdayaknow, it looks nice, too!

Behr Swiss Coffee

Here is that same angle, on move-in day.

Bathroom Before

Hoooolllyy mackerel, are your retinas still recovering? Cause let me tell you, mine sure are.

Here is the other side of the room, where the shower resides. So much better!

Swiss Coffee Behr

Now, this room. This room is most definitely not finished. Truth be told, I have every plan of gutting this little b-room and putting in some ultra-chic marble floor tile and a subway tile shower, but since I’m feeling all sorts of broke these days, I thought the $30 can of paint was a good place to start, right?

Some other low cost improvements I plan to make pre-gut job include switching out the ever lovely mirror and classy light fixture. For the mirror, I’ll probably search through HomeGoods. I’d love something like this guy (luurrrve)

Updating Bathroom On Budget

I’d also like to add some artwork to the main wall, which is your main view when your sitting on the loo. Awfully bland these days, in my opinion.

Artwork for Bathroom

Truth be told, I’ve already started my deal scavenging for this space and by the grace of the thrifting Gods above, my hands have not come up empty.

Guess how much I spent on this pretty little toilet paper number?

Thrift Store Basket

.49 cents, people!! Wooootttt.

And this guy, the price was a bit steeper at .99 but ya know, I sprung for it.

Hyacinth Trash Basket

Since there isn’t much room for storage in this bathroom, I also think that we’ll add some floating shelves down the line to give the room some much needed locales for stashing junk. And since I know you guys know how much I love to dream and scheme, here’s how I’d style that little bugger.

How_to_Accessorize_Bathroom_Shelf

Towels // Candle Holder //Picture Frame // Baskets

 

      

Flip My Chair

Do you know what I find great joy from? Making some dolla billz AND trading out for something more my jam at the same time. See, we’ve had quite a bit of spending excess amounts of money lately (like, oh THIS), so when I saw a capitalist opportunity to snag a few extra simoleans, I was on it like sugar on a cider mill donut. Remember my steal of a deal craigslist chairs? The ones I paid $550 for, for (3). Well truth be told, I wasn’t loving them in the new space. The color was a bit off, and they felt a bit too short for the room, too.

Tufted Living Room Chair

So I decided to flip the chairs and see if I couldn’t snag myself enough profit to accessorize the room just a bit. As luck would have it, I was able to get $900 for those three chairs. Yep, that’s a net gain of $450, if you’re doing the math. $450 worth of pure awesomeness, in my book. Now, the chairs retailed for $800 each, so in all honesty, I really don’t feel that bad about what we sold them for, since ya know, that’s $2,400 worth of chair for $900 bucks.

Added bonus for mauh, I just happened to spot exactly the right chairs for the space at TJMaxx for $250. TWO FIFTY! And do you know what, they’re actually more comfortable than the $800 chairs we had before. Awwww snap! Here’s a look at these beauties up close.

Tufted Wingback Chair

The two things I really didn’t like about the chairs we had before were the color (too gray) and the height (too short). These chairs check off both of those boxes for me as I vastly prefer both the color, which is a soft linen shade and the height.

Another thing that makes me smile is that these exact chairs retail online for nearly $600. WOOT.

Raven Chair

You can see how much taller they are than the ones before in this shot.

Tufted Wingback Chairs

I actually had hoped to show y’all our ginormous rug we purchased from our extra cash in the chair swap, too. Chalk it up to us have insanely bad luck with deliveries as of late, but this new guy had a huge black smudge along the cloth perimeter. The good news is that Home Decorators (where we purchased it from) have been absolute rockstars about the whole thing, so hopefully we’ll have a replacement for it very soon!

Fixing Damaged Natural Fiber Rug

Until then, I have another (much smaller) update for you guys. See something peaking out from my final new chair snapshot?

Tufted Linen Chair

I really never knew that a $20 plant could make my heart so dang happy. For those of you not aware of the blogosphere obsession with these things, that is a fiddle leaf fig tree aka Mary’s favorite thing. Other than warm white bread with butter smothered all over it, cause let’s be honest, is there anything better than that?

Where to Buy Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees

Last time Jay and I were at Home Depot I did a legit stop in my tracks with a quick pivot and possessive arm flailing to indicate to any other passer bye that this final little fiddle leaf fig. Oh it was mine. And Lordy, am I loving our new green leafed addition.

I searched for a bit before I found this $5 HomeGoods basket, and deemed it the perfect little container for this beaut.

Inexpensive Locations for Baskets

Overall, we’re pretty happy to have some new chairs that fit the space better, all while putting a few extra dollars back in our pockets. Anyone else a craigslist flipper out there? I’m a serial offender over here. ;)

 

Another Day, Another $900

You guys – I can’t even tell you how hard this post is to write. We had something awful happen to us and I wanted to treat these next few words as one big fat public service announcement to make sure no one suffers the same fate as us.

Remember this beautiful washer?

Samsung Front Loading Washer and Dryer

The one that I said we were super excited about installing in our upstairs laundry room? Well, late Thursday night, with my family anticipated to get down here from Michigan the afternoon the next day, and our Living Room looking like this (picture below), we were motivated to go out, buy an appliance dolly ($100…) and move our appliances to their forever homes.

Appliances in Living Room

So we moved the oven, no problem, lickedy splickedy, took under a minute to hoist the thing gently up onto it’s side and into the kitchen. Done. We kinda looked at each other and said, well that was easy!

And perhaps it was a false sense of confidence that inspired us to tackle the washing machine – up the stairs – next. The oven went so easy, we had “stair climbers” on the dolly, we had the two of us to handle it, we thought we were good. We were so, so wrong.

When we got it up the stairs, we noticed one side was a little bent – I told Jay it was fine, as long as it was just aesthetic, no one would see that once this guy was installed (since it was on the side). As we looked closer though, we noticed that the machine itself was actually buckled a bit. Rut row.

And that’s when tragedy struck. After some additional investigation, we found that the inside plastic basin, the one that holds the water, was cracked. Like seriously cracked.

Breaking Washing Machine Basin

We both kind of looked at each other, dumbfounded as to how this could have happened. Once we had a second to reassess the situation, we realized that the unit must have been damaged from moving it from the control panel, along it’s back. This section of the appliance, it appears, is much more sensitive than the metal sides of the unit.

When Jay was downstairs, cleaning up the Styrofoam later that evening, he spotted plastic pieces in our living room, which meant that 1) the unit was somehow damaged during delivery and/or 2) The initial effort of hoisting the unit back (which was done extremely gently …) was too much weight alone, and the plastic internal tub popped just from that.

Looking back on the photos of the unit downstairs, you can actually see some of the buckling, which was present before we even moved it up the stairs, so we’re confident that damage occurred during delivery, as well. Sigh. No fun.

Damaged Washer

A few other facts, leading to a question mark on when this guy actually bit the dust include that all of our appliances were actually moved 3-times to different trucks before they got to our home. On our scheduled delivery date, the appliance delivery man said he couldn’t fit down our street (?) (which I find odd, since Lowe’s brought a semi down the street to deliver our fridge), so he’d have to reschedule for later the following week with a pick-up truck. Lots of moving around with fragile appliances = disaster, apparently.

Long story short, instead of resting in the laundry room, this beast is resting in our bedroom – completely broken. Along with our hearts. And our wallets.

Breaking Washing Machine

Insult to injury, we need to open up the doorway even more to get these units into the laundry room. So demo days are not behind us.

Closet Door Opening

To say we’re depressed about this, well, there couldn’t be truer words. Basically, we’re now in a position where our $800 washer is now worth nothing. Like – nothing. Plus, ya know, there’s the entire not having a laundry room – we were SO looking forward to having one functioning space in this house.

Did I mention our Kitchen currently looks like this?

Martha Stewart Kitchen

The Sell household has seen better days, this is certain.

The part that kind of boggles our minds about it, is there was absolutely no indication on the unit that we should not lift it up from the back end. Our oven, for instance, has this notification in like three spots. ONLY LIFT FROM SIDES.

How to Move Large Appliance

We looked for a similar notation on the washer, but when we didn’t see anything, we kind of shrugged and figured it would be alright. For one thing, it’s the way the delivery men brought in the unit (not so tenderly, may I add) and for another, we were dealing with a pretty tight spot once we got up the steps, so we figured it would be best to position it the slimmest way possible to ease that transition.

At the end of the day, by all appearances we will be out around $900 to buy a new unit. We got it on sale the first time, through an online retailer, that was quite frankly a nightmare. If we would have bit the bullet earlier and just paid for the unit at Home Depot, we would have had free delivery – which covers up to (3) flights of stairs. Now that’s what I’m talking about. My game plan was to head over to Home Depot and find a sympathetic set of arms to weep in, to see if they could help me out on the pricing at all – but ya know, turns out they just kinda shrugged their shoulders.

With all that being said, we did have a rather wonderful thing happen though when Jay was chatting with a co-worker that mentioned we may have protection under our credit card. Turns out, we do (!) Jay called and explained the situation, and Chase indicated up to $500 in damages would be covered under a large purchase clause they have. Basically, since there is ambiguity to when the damages happened, Chase is willing to cover at minimum $500 and up to the entire purchase price, if they can pin negligence on the company we purchased it from (during the delivery). How sa-weet is that?

The $500 refund clause (more info, here) actually protects against damages whenever they’ve occurred, so that is a huge, HUGE relief to us as it appears we’ll at least be reimbursed for that portion of our expenditure.

Damage Protection on Chase Credit Card

So y’all – my main take away’s from this tragic event are as follows:

1) Pay a bit more to buy your appliance through a company that will deliver it for you. The online retailer we purchased from was deceiving, because although it said “delivery” was included, they were adamant that they would just bring it inside the threshold of our door – no further. Home Depot on the other had, will bring it up 3-flights of stairs, and hook it up, at no charge.

2) Never, ever, under any circumstances, should you put the unit on it’s back (i.e. control panel). As I mentioned, before we even brought this up a single step, the inside basin had broke – since we found bits of the plastic down in our living room. The delivery crew also brought it in on it’s back – big no no.

3) Make big purchases with a credit card when you can. This provides an extra level of protection if you get stuck in a crappy situation like we did

In the mean time, what’s a girl to do when she just can’t wash those jeans fast enough? Why, hit up the clearance rack at Target, of course!

Shopping Target Clearance

Shopping. A quick distraction when I feel like bawling my eyes out. Any other sad stories of appliances slapping you in the face? Help me feel better, tell me your tale!

New here? Follow along with the fun!

      

Puddleduck Paper | Giveaway!

I’ve gotta tell you, browsing online these days makes me wish I’d stumbled across some shops before I tied the knot with the Mr. 5-years ago. There are SO many gorgeous options out there today that are as beautiful as can be! Puddleduck Paper Co. is one of my new favorite finds that carries lots of wonderful custom invitation suites, but also lots of fun (and beautiful!) art work for your home and office.

So if you’re planning a wedding, and in need of sweet invites.

Navy Wedding Invitation

Or custom bridesmaid cards .

Bridesmaid Card

Or if you’re hitched and single and ready to mingle, and just want to stock up on some stylish office art …

Work Hard

Then you are going to LOVE her shop! 

One lucky winner will win a $25 gift card to her shop, and anyone can snag 10% off by typing in the coupon code “LEMONGROVE” at checkout.

Win:  a $25 Gift Card to Puddleduck Paper Company
When: Today, July 22nd – midnight on Tuesday, July 29th
Winner: Announced on this post, next Tuesday!

 

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Counting Sheep as We Sleep

You know what makes me happy? Paying way less for something than I was supposed to. Ya know, like these chairs, or this couch. It just makes me feel like I spotted a $20 bill hanging out on the pavement. So when Jay and I were on the hunt for a new bed for our guest room, it made me extra happy when I found a sleep number (aka mucho dinero bed) for all of $100. And get this, the inflatable mattress had never been used. Shhhhwweeeettt! :D

We were motivated to get our rear’s in gear when we found out my family would be coming down to the land of the pines in mid-July. When we started to do the math, we realized we’d be coming up a few beds short, which inspired us to bite the bullet and add a bed to our sleeping arrangement menu of options. After some sleuthing on craigslist, we came home with this. A mattress, in a box.

Sleep Number Bed Price

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but my engineer of a husband was pretty sure he could figure it out. Back in the day, when I used to work at the Sunglass Hut at the mall (hated that job) I remember there was a swanky little mattress boutique next door, called Select Comfort. So when I spotted a never used twin on craigslist for $100, I put on my detective pants and started sleuthing, to see what it’s value would be if we bought it new. Bam. Y’all see that? That’s a 6 with two digits after it which = way more than the $100 we were about to part with.

Sleep Number Bed Price

So sleep number beds are super nifty in the fact that their air filled, so you can customize them to be firm, or soft, based on yo preference. Our guests are sleeping in style, people. Once we filled up the mattress, we realized something was still missing along the sides. The bed seemed a wee small, no?

Sleep Number Bed

Which was when we spotted the last part of our little mattress puzzle, these foam doo-hickeys that go along the side, like so. After you add the pillow top pad over the top, you’ve got yourself one fancy bed!

Assembling a Sleep Number Bed

Another added bonus, since this bed is right up against the wall, is that the air mattress component of it makes it really easy to lift the bed to the side as your making it since it’s so much lighter!

Speaking of making the bed, I had fun pulling a few items out of our packed storage inventory to make our bed feel a bit more guest ready. I love how the $3 blankets I snagged from the Goodwill look – everything looks so nice and cozy now!

Buying_Linens_From_Thrift_Store

While I was at it, I added some pillows from the last house to the mix as well.

Pillows from Homegoods

Speaking of HomeGoods … we might as well deem that place the land of baskets – since I scored this ginormous (and beautiful!) basket there this weekend for $24.99. For that size, that is down right criminal. It’s large enough that it’s perfect for end of bed storage and extra blankets.

Large_Basket_For_Foot_Of_Bed

But you know, as good as it feels to have this room more done, and ready for one of my sisters to slumber in, I’ve gotta be straight with you. If you pivot 90 degrees to the right, this is your view. Ha!

Guest Room After Moving

So let’s just pivot on back to the left y’all and enjoy what is done. Little steps, we’re getting closer!

Twin Bed in Guest Room