Somehow this is the only room that stays neat lately. It’s embarrassing, but true. We’ve been up and down with the whole house hunting process, getting so close, and then having to start over again from square one. Part of our living room and dining room are in boxes. Yes, we got all the way to that point, where it seems like you can begin packing, only to have to turn back. Having our bedroom as a fresh and calm place to wake up to has been a major help throughout all this. We’ve been trying to put everything into perspective, and not stress about this very long, drawn out process.
Back in late August, after seeing about a dozen houses, we found one that seemed perfect for us. It was a little 1940s ranch with a lot of windows on a cheery little street. It checked off most of our wants and needs in a home and was only listed for a few days. Knowing how quickly everything around here has been going, we put an offer in the night we saw it. There was a bit of back and forth and negotiating (which we know is normal, but man was that a stressful 24 hours), and then our offer was accepted! We were over the moon, nervous, excited, and ready for the next steps. Our inspection came back great, which was a sigh of relief. You never know what you’re going to find with a house that old, but hearing our inspector have nothing but great things to say about the place made our hearts even more full about moving into that house. Not too long after, our loan was completed and we received the preliminary thumbs up of approval. Naturally we began envisioning where we would place furniture, ideas for the bathrooms and kitchen. It all was looking good and then somehow with each next step, things went sour and the process became more difficult. The appraisal came back with some issues, the mortgage insurance company was having trouble obtaining documentation on the historic tax rate, the list went on and on and on. It went on for well over a month. The morning of our closing date came and that was pushed back as well, three times. After doing everything we could possibly do with this house, we decided to finally walk away from it after 50 days of uncertainty.
Towards the end of it all, it was something we knew we had to consider seriously, but it definitely stung signing those papers. We had visions of holidays and birthdays in that house…plans for the yard. You can imagine where our heads were at. My family moved around a lot when I was younger and after going through this whole process, I could not imagine how they did it, especially with three kids. However, everything happens for a reason, right? Well that’s what we keep telling ourselves. We know everyone’s experience with buying a home is different and it’s something we have to keep reminding ourselves. When we lay down at night and find our way to various listings on Zillow and Trulia, scrolling through picture after picture, we can’t help but think maybe after all, it just wasn’t the right place for us. Maybe the process was that difficult, because it wasn’t meant to be the place we “settle down” in.
We’re keeping our heads up, our eyes open, and just letting the universe lead us where it may. This week will be a fun one with Halloween parties, puppy play dates and a birthday thrown in there too. We have a lot to be thankful for and know this is just a bump in the road…a long and winding road. 😉
When I was in elementary school on Friday nights, I used to go with my mom and sisters to my mom’s good friend’s house. The kids would play and run around in the yard until we tired ourselves out, while the adults would drink coffee after coffee and craft for the holidays. I didn’t think much of it when I was younger, I just remember them making little village setups with festive ice-skaters and wreaths for every occasion. They clearly enjoyed themselves and my sisters and I loved seeing what they made at the end of the night, along with taking home some extra ribbon. Now I realize, it was more than them just getting their craft on, it was a stress reliever and way to gather with friends. I took on the crafting gene I guess, taking every opportunity to create a Halloween costume or paint in my spare time. My ultimate favorite when I was younger was the weaving loom. Anyone remember those? Oh man, I think everyone in my family received several pot holders from me that year.
I recently had the pleasure of getting an early kit from The Crafter’s Box, for their November project. I discovered them back in April when I began chatting with Morgan, the creator of The Crafter’s Box. She described what she was building as an “artisan-led community” and I was so intrigued by what she was creating. They offer monthly crafts and online workshops with everything from fiber arts and block printing to leather working and weaving. When you sign up you receive instructional videos and kits with everything you need, which is a major plus, because I don’t think I’m alone when I say, sometimes the most difficult part of getting started on a project is dragging yourself to the store for materials. 😉 I’m really excited about the November box by Lynn Muir, which features Scandinavian wooden beads for the holidays. It really brought back some memories for me and I’ve been enjoying putting together some decor ideas for the coming months. (I know Halloween hasn’t even come yet, but I’ve already got Christmas on the mind. I know…I know…)
Here are some of my favorite ideas below:
I began the garland, which is a bit of a larger project, but it seems like once I get a nice rhythm going it will be a breeze. The ornaments and napkin holders may be a great place to start for a craft night. The beads are pretty versatile for any time of year, so a Thanksgiving tablescape with these could be fun too. I’m thinking a little dessert potluck, Frank Sinatra spinning, and crafting with friends next weekend may be in order. 😉
Anyone else into crafty projects like this? I would love to hear what you like to create in your spare time!
We’ve been talking a lot lately about house hunting, as it’s pretty much the only thing on our minds these days. We figured it was time to get a little more real about the process and where it all started. So here we go…
Our first apartment in AZ, where we lived for two years.
When we first moved to Phoenix, three years ago, we lived in an apartment in a part of town that we didn’t really love. It was a very nice, quiet, suburban area which was great for running errands and going for walks at the local park. There was everything we needed right there, a minute or two away, but there wasn’t much culture or many interesting places to check out. We had to typically drive anywhere from 15-45 minutes to go to the places we have come to enjoy so much. The first two years here were tough as we were transitioning from our New York lifestyles, to our new jobs, and our new neighborhood. It definitely wasn’t easy and at times we really second guessed ourselves. We had moments in the first eight months where we really thought we might have made a mistake. Back in NY we weren’t living in the city…we were in the suburbs, which we didn’t love. We considered moving to the city or Brooklyn (where many of our friends were moving to), but after a lot of back and forth we decided we needed something completely different…and what’s more different than the desert? Even though we (accidentally) found ourselves going from a NY suburb to an AZ suburb (more on that another time), there were a lot of changes that were difficult to get used to in the beginning. It was a total culture shock, not a single thing was familiar, but we quickly reminded ourselves that’s what we originally wanted. That unsure feeling slowly went away as we started to find places we loved and people who felt like friends we’ve had forever. It kind of all came at once. It rushed over us and one day we just knew we didn’t want to live anywhere else. Phoenix was the place.
Apartment #2: Our little casita!
In July of 2015, we moved in to the first place that really felt like home. We were in our ideal neighborhood. It was a casita-style apartment with no one above us or below us, and we were only attached to our neighbor by a brick wall that ran along our dining room and living room. It was great. The complex was built back in the 60’s; it had character and great light and we’ve come to learn that it’s not always easy to find those qualities in an apartment. We really enjoyed our space, but not the issues that came with it. As one could imagine, an older apartment doesn’t always feel so charming when you have water leaking from your ceilings and maintenance pretty much living with you from 9-5. Despite how much we loved the apartment and how much time we put into making it feel like our own, the issues really took a toll on us. We work from home and need a space that feels creative and most of all clean, and for two months we just didn’t have that… there was dry wall falling from the ceiling some days and during the last few weeks we were there, pots were constantly on the floor full of leaking water. With just six weeks left in our lease, we decided to leave. It was tough, because 1) we had already created so many wonderful memories there in such a short time and 2) it all happened way too quickly. We had some travel plans coming up, so we felt like we just had to make a decision fast.
We found a brand new apartment complex which was pretty appealing…we knew the likelihood of water and ceiling issues would be a lot less, and we would still be in the part of town that we loved spending our time in, so we figured we’d give it a try. So here we are… three months later… and this brand new, cookie cutter, not so bright apartment is not exactly the place we hoped it would be. It’s clean and safe and we’re super thankful to be here, but it doesn’t feel like it’s ours and well…that’s probably because it’s not.
How awesome are these advertisements from the 40s and 50s? (via Pinterest)
That’s when we really started talking about houses. We’ll be honest. We never saw ourselves owning a house. We like to travel and never saw ourselves with a huge family, so we always thought apartment living was the way we were going to live. It’s great to have a maintenance team on call if anything goes wrong, we have a fitness center, and a pool. It all sounds great, but at the end of the day it doesn’t belong to us and we’re starting to understand all the fuss about being a home owner. We know nothing is going to be perfect, and hey, what fun would that be? But at the end of the day we would feel so much better knowing that the money we’re putting towards where we live, will be for a place that we will own and can create memories in for years to come. So… we’ve been looking… A LOT! We started looking many months ago, when we had some family in town. Mostly out of curiosity and let’s face it, it’s fun showing out-of-towners different neighborhoods and discovering new areas for yourself, too. We are on the hunt for a charming, historic home here in Phoenix. We have seen some beauties out there, but apparently so has everyone else, because they are going quick! We mentioned it a bit on instagram. We’ve missed out on a few already, but we are staying vigilant and waiting for the right one to come along. We would love something from the 1930s to 1950s with little touches from those decades.
We’re excited, a little nervous, and hoping to find something before the holidays roll around, but the beauty is there’s no urgency, like in the past. We can really take our time and enjoy the process, no matter how nutty it may make us at times. It’s pretty crazy how life works…how you end up in places and walks of life you never thought you would, but this journey has been so incredible so far! So, here’s to the next part of our lives. We’re so happy to be able to share and document it here. Stay tuned!
It might sound strange, but we never thought we would want a house. Apartment living was always something we felt content with and thought we’d happy with for years to come. Maybe we never felt settled, maybe we didn’t want the commitment, maybe the dream of traveling often was too appealing (well, it still is)…whatever it was, it wasn’t something that was part of “the plan” for us. As time goes on, and we feel more and more comfortable here in Arizona, it becomes more clear to us how much we really love it here and want to make it our permanent home. Coming from New York, the appeal was how extremely different our way of life would be in Arizona and how cheap real estate is, was an added bonus. Both of those are still true, but its remarkable how less expensive real estate is in community homes and new builds vs. older homes. It seems with newer homes you get a lot more for your money. Sounds weird, right? Don’t get us wrong, custom homes can obviously cost you a pretty penny, but we have been more drawn to the older 1930s-midcentury homes in Phoenix. The charm has completely sucked us in and apparently we’re not alone, because they’re selling like hotcakes! Over the last few months we’ve seen a few dozen homes. We’ve been actively looking, but nothing has really spoken to us. The one or two that did were sold just hours after us seeing them, giving us little time to discuss anything or let it all soak in. It’s so strange, because its one of the biggest investments of your life…you should be thinking everything through and not be impulsive, yet if you don’t strike while the iron is hot it can just slip away. We’re still on the hunt! One of the things that surprised us the most about these older homes is just how big the yards are. We’ve seen some that are completely decked out (fire pits, crazy tile, even a spot to park your airstream) to some that are literally dirt lots in the back (a blank slate for whatever your heart may yearn for). It got us thinking about all the possibilities and dreaming of the perfect outdoor space. Here’s a few from Pinterest that we’re loving…
We’re a little pillow obsessed over here…there’s no denying that! One of the biggest questions we get asked about with home decor is about our pillows and where to find indigo, mud cloth, and shibori prints. There’s a lot of places selling them nowadays, but some bigger retailers can be really over priced! We love searching on etsy for pieces like these…you can usually snag a better deal and you get to connect with some independent business owners. Here are our top three favorite etsy shops for pillows, throws, and blankets!
BOHO PILLOW Monica is a local business owner in Arizona, and one of the sweetest people! She has a lot of variety in the different prints she carries, and some with a great pop of color.
MAE WOVEN If black and white patterns are your thing, this shop is perfect! Amelia has a ton of black and white mud cloth pillow options, along with some great baskets and throws.
ONE FINE NEST This was the first shop we found when we were searching for indigo and shibori print pillows for our living room. Since then they’ve add some great blankets too.
This past weekend was one of those really good, soak it all in, don’t want it to end weekends. Nothing particularly spectacular happened, but that’s what we loved about it so much…the specialness in the simplicity. We joined some friends at happy hour on Saturday to say farewell to a friend who’s leaving for the UK, and on Sunday we made a little picnic for brunch by the pool in our complex, then cranked up the record player, sang to our plants, and were a couple of home bodies. We’ve been getting used to our new place and settling in since being back from our travels. It was nice to indulge in the weekend a bit, cook some of our favorite meals, and have some one on one time together. It reminded us of our dating days, when we used to just hang out at one of each others’s houses, listen to music for hours on end, dance around and share stories. It’s hard to explain that moment when “our” song comes on and we both lose it with what are probably the most pathetic dance moves of all time, but finding time to be silly should be at the top of our list every weekend.
As many of you probably know by now, we share a pretty similar style. We’ve realized more than ever lately how alike we are and often we unintentionally match. It must be the twelve years we’ve been together, because the amount of times we’ve stepped out of the closet to realize the other is in a matching chambray or leather bag has become a real thing around here. We recently embraced the matching by picking out his and hers watches from Movado. We have been huge admirers of the brand for quite some time and were so excited to add a couple to our collection. Their Heritage Series is a nod to one of their 1950’s pieces, and we are pretty obsessed with the updated vintage design. Take a peek at the collection here.
It’s no secret we love adding plants to our indoor spaces. Every room in our apartment is full of everything from small cactus and succulents to hanging plants and indoor trees. We’re not exactly sure where our love for bringing the outdoors in began, but thinking back on it a bit, it most likely had something to do with our love for the 60s & 70s, along with vintage home decor. When looking back on old photos of our parents from the 70s, their homes were always full of potted and hanging plants (and a ton of macrame). They add character, purify the air, and bring so much positivity. We love the watering routine. Waking up in the morning and grabbing the watering can is usually the first thing we do when getting out of bed on the weekends, after getting the coffee brewing of course. One of us makes breakfast, while the other is making their way from room to room trying not to forget any plants. We have so many tucked away in each corner, on every shelf, even in the bathroom. Basically, the more plants, the better.
So, how do we take care of them? This is probably one of the most asked questions we get and fear not, we will share all we know about indoor plant care. We never really had green thumbs, but we picked up some tips and tricks along the way, learned what worked and also what really didn’t work and are pretty proud of some plant babies that have been with us for several years now.
So let’s dive in!
WHAT PLANTS ARE RIGHT FOR ME? This is probably the first thing you should ask yourself when creating your own indoor jungle. Every plant is different and it may sound silly, but considering your lifestyle is the best way to choose which plants to bring in your home and how to hang/display them. We work from home most of the time and thankfully have a lot of natural light in our apartment. If you travel a lot or are gone for most of the day and don’t like keeping your curtains open, low light plants will be a better option for you. Here are a few of our favorite indoor plants that are relatively easy to take care of:
Potted/Floor Plants: -Rubber trees -Fiddle Leaf Fig trees -Snake plant -Monstera Deliciosa/”Cottage Cheese Plant” -Aloe -Zamioculcas/”ZZ Plant” -Staghorn Fern
WHERE SHOULD I BUY MY PLANTS? We are constantly finding new nurseries and plant shops in Phoenix. If you’re local, Berridge Nursery, Dig It, Camelback Flowershop, and The Bosque are some of our favorites that we definitely recommend. There are also some big box stores like IKEA, Home Depot, and Lowes, that have some great options. For bigger purchases like a Fiddle Leaf Fig or large cactus, we like to stick to some more of the local specialty nurseries. In our experience they last longer and continue to thrive more quickly, and you’re more likely to find something a little different and unique. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have luck at Home Depot for example, just our own experience with it. We do pick up succulents here and there at our local Home Depot and still have a ZZ plant from IKEA that is going strong with very little care.
HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY PLANTS? So this will be different for everyone, and especially dependent on the type of plants you have and where you live. In Arizona, the air is VERY dry, so our watering routine may seem a little different. Here’s what works for us…
Leafy Plants: All of the leafy plants in our home (Fiddle Leaf Fig, Philodendrons, Pothos, Snake plants, Fishhook/String of Bananas, Monstera, etc…) we water once a week like clock work. Once on Sunday morning and a little misting in-between during the week (to create a humid environment for them) has done the trick. If you see a plant getting a little droopy here or there, give it a good soak. We saw this happen with our Monstera Deliciosa/”Cottage Cheese Plant”, (which can be a little temperamental). We put it in our bathtub gave it a little shower and it perked right back up. Side note: We’ve noticed those plants in particular really don’t like to be moved often. They get used to where they are in your home and will react to a change in light and/or location.
Cactus: We keep an eye on these and just water them when the soil feels dry. This is usually every two to three weeks and probably one of the easiest ways to bring some greenery into your home.
Succulents: These were the most difficult for us to take care of, because we wanted to baby them, but we are getting better remembering not to over water them and just let them do their own thing with a bit of misting in between. We’ve read and heard all different opinions on this, but in our experience, the more we left the succulents alone, the better they did. They require adequate light, but not direct sunlight, so don’t put them too close to a window. If they look almost bleached in color, they’re getting too much sun. We keep our succulents (and small cactus) on a shelf opposite a window in our living room. So far, so good.
Ferns: We have a Staghorn Fern (pictured on the bench in the photo above), which is such a fun and unique looking plant with fuzzy leaves. We water it twice a week but if you live in a more humid climate or have your fern in the bathroom once a week should be alright. Ferns make perfect bathroom plants!
When purchasing new plants, we always like to repot them a week or so after bringing them home, just so they don’t get “shocked” in their new environment. This was something we started doing the last year with our plants, and it has made a huge difference. Thankfully, we haven’t had to replace one yet. After your plants get acquainted to their new home, take them outside to be repotted.
WHAT ARE SOME DIFFERENT WAYS TO DISPLAY PLANTS? Macrame and beaded hangers, ceramic pots, baskets, the list goes on. We like to use a mix of terra-cotta pots and basket throughout our home. Baskets are an easy way to being a boho touch to any space. We’ve gotten lucky with finding great ones at thrift stores, even one for around $5 in Palm Springs on our last trip there. When using baskets be sure to pick up a plastic tray/floor guard. This will protect your baskets and floors from any damage when watering. Terra-cotta planters are always a nice classic go to, and can easily be found at any local nursery. We’re fans of the white washed look too, plus its a simple weekend project to do with friends. Some sites like CB2 and Crate and Barrel have some sleep solid ceramic pots, for a more modern look. A lot of online stores are also selling plant swings now, which a great way to add a variety of heights and create depth with your plant displays.
Below are a few of our favorite planters from around the web:
Last but not least, mix up the textures and sizes of your plants when creating your indoor jungle. Create a vignette that looks effortless, yet still cohesive with a nice flow. Mix a large floor plant with thicker leaves, a softer airy plant, and possibly something with a bit more structure like a snake plant. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it, as long as it brings you joy and don’t forget to sing to your plant babies!
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our new apartment for over a month already. Half of that month was spent traveling, so it still feels really new and unfamiliar. There’s a lot we would like to do with the place (including getting ready for some of out town guests — can’t wait to host some family in AZ!), but we want to be smart about what pieces we bring in and not go too crazy, as we don’t plan on being in this space forever.
When we first moved to Arizona, into our first apartment together, some family suggested we go superrrr minimal on the furniture and decorating, and hardly spend money on any pieces for at least several months. This advice was given for a few reasons: 1: Save, save, save! As newlyweds it’s easy to get carried away and want to decorate and spend money on your new place together, but budgeting is obviously important (at any age). 2: You don’t know if you’ll be there forever. There are many similarities in the way we grew up and were raised, but housing was very different. One of us moved around a lot growing up and the other lived in the same house until it was time to get married and move across the country. There are some pieces we purchased early on that we ended up selling, but for the most part we are happy we invested in the larger items we did and know they will come with us to a home some day.
In the mean time, we’re in a new apartment, which as we mentioned a while back was totally unplanned, but we’re glad we’re here now. The place is a new build with a lot of great amenities and we feel pretty grateful to have found a place so quickly. Although everything is new and bright, there are some finishes that aren’t totally our style and more on the modern side, i.e.: light fixtures, cabinet hardware, etc… We’ve been huge fans of brass finishes for a long time, and are happy to see them come back around in interior design now-a-days. We’re thinking about bringing in some brass accent pieces and switching out a few light fixtures here and there, to make the place feel more our style. We have our dining room chandelier from the old apartment that we still need to hang up and are on the hunt for a few other pieces that we can bring along with us to a future home that won’t break the bank.
Here are some brass favorites we found while searching the web. Everything from accent pieces to cabinet & drawer pulls, plus this simple brass trimmed mirror from Target. That Threshold section can be seriously dangerous! 😉 (That’s also where we found our night table lamps, for those who asked.)
We’re constantly on the hunt for new home decor books. They’re some of our favorite books to flip through when needing some inspiration and to read with a cup of tea in hand, sleepy-eyed in the morning. Our love for interior design is something that just continues to grow over time. We’re always finding ourselves walking into restaurants or shops, admiring the architecture and/or design process, how clothing or items are merchandised, how windows and furniture is placed, and thinking of ways to recreate and reinvent those looks in our own home. It’s something we just instantly gravitate towards. Add in some interior “before and afters” to the mix and that’s a whole other level of excitement! Below we’ve rounded up some of our favorite home decor books that we find ourselves reaching for quite often…
INTERIOR DESIGN BOOKS: [Click through to see some of our favorites]
Follow along with us on Pinterest for more home inspiration.
We always have so much fun reading up on home decor, discovering new websites and books on inspiring spaces, new and old trends and great finds. Recently, we made a few small updates in the dining room/breakfast nook area of our apartment, that have made a big impact on the space. A few small additions are really making it feel more homey.
We shared a peek into this room a while back, but there was still a lot that just felt unfinished. We are renting, so there is a limit to the amount of work we can (or should) do in each room. Thankfully, for us, the walls were painted a great shade of white (we opted out of the traditional accent wall), which makes the room feel bright and airy, and was a great starting point for us. There wasn’t a light fixture when we moved in, so we hung this chandelier from West Elm and added Edison bulbs.
We scored this John Vogel dining table on sale a while back when we were still living in our old apartment, and were so happy that it fit perfectly here in our new space. One day, down the line, when we’re in a bigger place (or make the transition to a house) we’d love to have a larger, rectangular version of this table. The legs are just so pretty and something you don’t see very often. It’s probably obvious we love mid-century design, but unless you’re a super savvy estate sale goer or are constantly hunting on Craigslist, it can be difficult to find some great vintage items at a good price. Phoenix has some amazing vintage furniture shops (see some of our favorites here), but before we discovered them we found some nice vintage-lookalikes on Overstock, which is where we found these dining chairs. We’ve had them for over two years now and they’re still going strong. The seats are super easy to wipe clean too, which is always a plus (and something we think about when buying furniture).
One of our favorite parts of this little nook is the rug. The living room and kitchen/dining area are all pretty close to each other, so we didn’t want it to feel confusing to the eye with too many patterns and prints going on. We found so many pretty shag rugs with different patterns and designs, but thought it might have been too much, so we opted for a neutral camel and beige cow hide inspired rug from Loloi. We found them a while back when we were shopping for pillows. They have such a huge selection of rugs, pillows and throws for all different rooms and styles. The design we chose from their Grand Canyon Collection is somewhat simple, but we feel it really pulls the room together, making it feel cozy and complete. We love it.
To finish off the space, we added some plants and this cool cactus skeleton from our friend’s local flowershop, around the hanging print. We love the texture it adds to the space. Our family back east always joke around with us about how much we’ve really embraced “desert style”. Although we don’t see a huge southwestern influence in our decor, always mixing in different elements and styles, we definitely love all the plant life and natural tones the desert has to offer.
We are Robert and Christina: husband and wife, photo takers, adventurers and best friends. We like to laugh too hard, dance all night, and explore together. Here is a little glimpse into our lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.