Tuesday’s financial breakdown of how we afforded to build the house was met with much…. enthusiasm? nosiness? curiosity? Whatever it was, you guys sure were interested! I think I got more hits on this site Tuesday than I ever have! I hope it was enlightening and encouraging to live your dream now…. not wait for retirement (not that anyone without a lot of hard work will really be able to fully retire!)
Today I want to talk about how we furnished the house…. because let’s face it, furniture, curtains, plates, towels and rugs are expensive.
Keep your eyes open for deals everywhere/Start collecting things way before move-in
One of the first things I do when I walk in Target is peruse the Dollar Spot at the front of the store. I went in and saw they had clear beer glasses and stemless wine glasses there! I grabbed 12 of each. Now- was I looking for beer & wine glasses? No. Certainly not at the Target Dollar Spot…. but had I passed by, I might have spent more on the same thing in the housewares aisle. My mom had a motto when shopping (TJ Maxx & Marshalls, usually!) that if you go hunting for something you’ll never find it. If you go in not looking for anything, you’ll find everything you didn’t know you needed/wanted.
We bought our fridge in August 2012 (before we even had a loan!)… slowly I filled it up with kitchen things, like the glasses from Target. I also spotted a navy pitcher and cake stand on trips to Marshall’s and TJMaxx, so I picked them up and stored them in the fridge too. I didn’t need these things, but knowing I was going to have a lot of open shelves in the kitchen, I was going to need pretty things to display!
The very first thing purchased for this home was all the patio furniture (table, 4 chairs, coffee table & 2 club chairs). Maybe 2 months after we bought the lot, this furniture was 90% off in the seasonal clearance at Target. Thankfully, Jeremy’s mom, sister & brother-in-law bought all they had for us, and stored it for 3 years until the house was done!
Think about the usability of space when you design the house
Where are you going to want lamps, sconces, outlets, etc.? If you have a plan of where your furniture will be, you can make a plan with your electrician. You don’t want to have to pay an electrician to come back out when you discover you things added or moved. We had a good idea of how the furniture would lay out after the initial design of the house was drawn, so when we had our electrical walk-thru we could place outlets accordingly (ie: we have 3 floor outlets in the living room for lamps, laptops, chargers, etc. and no one is tripping over cords walking around the room!)
We also had the custom banquette built where our table is, this will seat lots of people and eliminates the table from sticking out into the room because people need to pull chairs in and out. I feel like we saved quite a bit of square footage by doing this.
The last major space saver/high function are the beds upstairs in the loft. Having them built in made use of a potentially awkward space (sloped ceiling) and having them placed end-to-end gives everyone privacy in their bed.
Don’t be afraid of the sewing machine.
I am NOT a sewing expert, but I can thread my machine and sew a semi-straight line. That’s about all it takes to make curtains and pillows. The pinch pleat curtains in the living room were a labor of love, but I knew they’d have to be to fit in the budget. Buying 108-120″ lined, pinch pleat drapes will run you a ton, so I decide to tackle making them (using this tutorial). I also made loads of pillows in the house. All the lumbar pillows (sailboats in the master bedroom & floral in the guest room) I made. I also rigged up the curtains in the loft for the beds. They’re just really thin blankets folded over one edge to make a pocket (from Ikea, although the size of this blanket has now changed)
Stalk Craigslist/Yard Sales/ReStore
I routinely searched craigslist for dressers & buffets to be made into vanities, chairs for the living room, a sectional for upstairs, etc. The only thing that came from searching were the living room chairs. On Instagram I shared how these less than pretty chairs became easier on the eyes. We found the plaid chairs for $25 each and the seller even delivered them! It was quite time consuming to make the slip covers, but they match well now and I love I can take the covers off and throw them in the wash. This is about the only thing we purchased that wasn’t a long-term piece, but for the next few years, they’ll work great and we’ll get our $50 worth!
I’m part of a Facebook group that hosts buying/selling/trading of Lilly Pulitzer items. The moderator got wind that the Lilly Pulitzer Home line was going out of business, and all remaining inventory was at the Charlotte ReStore. They posted the items, and among them were counter-height stools. I hightailed it over and bought 4 for about 75% off! The duponi silk, pinch pleat drapes in the guest room are also from the ReStore. I got 4 panels for $10 on a whim (before the house was ever built). I realized they would be great in the guest room, but they needed some altering (they were too short). I took apart 2 panels and added them to the others to lengthen them.
Look for things you already own and give them new purpose.
This is a HUGE one. There’s a ton in the beach house that had lived a previous life. The 4-post bed in the master was bought for me when I was in the 9th grade. My dad has kept it for me all these years (actually sleeping on it!) along with the nightstands and dust ruffle. The master bedroom curtains, coffee table and end tables in the living room were from my old photography office (both of which came from the Cornelius ReStore). The current dining table is actually my old desk (a large stainless steel table from Ikea)… Jeremy hopes to build one soon.
We also had an abundance of bake-ware at our house in Davidson, so I divided it up and took a lot to the beach house kitchen. Our tiny Davidson kitchen, thanked me. The bench in the living room is actually the base to an old wood stove from my grandfathers house. My mom made it into a bench when I was little. I’ve kept it all these years and glad it has a home now.
The lounge chairs on the porch were probably purchased 20 years ago from Big Lots. They are a favorite spot for coffee!
Get to know places that have “open box” items & go often.
We routinely stalked 3 different Lowe’s (Huntersville, Northlake & Concord Mills) and Best Buy for open box appliances. The fridge, cook-top & oven were all from Lowes. The oven we purchased had been sitting on the floor for weeks and weeks, they finally marked it down to about $550, I think and I joked with the sales girl that we should get it for $500…. and she did!!! It was missing a vent cover (which we ordered online for $25!). The cook-top had been a special order that someone returned because the glass on top was cracked. They fixed it and sold it to us for $600 less than retail. The dishwasher, washer & dryer all came from Best Buy. They have a nifty online “open box” feature now that you can sort by store. I found the washer & dryer online, printed the prices and took it into the store. The sales guy found be the floor model of the washer, and then tagged a still-in-the-box dryer in the back for me. The dishwasher was a display model.
Apart from the appliances, we also got our leather Mitchell Gold, Bob Williams sofa this way. They have an outlet in Hickory, and we spotted it there. Went home, thought about it…. decided on it. Jeremy called the store the next day and we got an additional 20% off! It’s probably a $5,000+ sofa and we scored it for about $1900. Not cheap, but well worth the investment.
Our tv the living room and the one in the loft were both open box specials at Best Buy.
Use items not for their intended purpose.
The curtains over the beds in the loft are actually blankets from Ikea. The orange shower curtain in the hall bath is a regular curtain that I found on Target clearance end-cap for $7. I hemmed it and had the “H” stitched on at Poppies. In the same bathroom there’s a framed piece of wrapping paper over the toilet. There are 2 greeting cards framed in the kitchen from the Southern Weddings Shop.
It’s ok to splurge on things that need to last a long time.
About the only real splurge in the house for furnishings is the sectional sofa in the loft. I knew I wanted a navy sectional and finding a ready-made one would be near impossible (although Mitchell Gold did have one, and blogger Emily got it!) We ordered it from Furnitureland South, which you can read about that experience here
Don’t fill your home to have it full. Fill it with things you love, even if that means taking your time to find them or afford them.
I would love to have every little piece in it’s place, but my wallet won’t allow it…. and really, what fun is that?! I get a great joy and accomplishment when I find just the right piece. I am glad I started hunting out things over a year in advance. The blow to my wallet wasn’t so bad, and I had plenty of time.I was able to shop the black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and get great deals on our guest room headboards (from Joss & Main) and our dining chairs (from Serena & Lilly)
Where things are from:
Kitchen: Stools: ReStore, Plates/Mugs/Cake Plate/Pitcher: HomeGoods, Ikat bowls: West Elm, Light over sink: Urban Outfitters, Lights over Island: Pottery Barn Outlet, Dining chairs: Serena & Lilly, Chandelier: World Market, Farmhouse sink, cabinets, hardware & counters: Prestige Kitchen & Bath (Wilmington NC) brand is Amerock, Mulholland Collection
Living Room: Sofa: Mitchell Gold Bob Williams Outlet, Chairs: Craigslist, Rug: Wayfair.com, Tables: ReStore, Lamp: Goodwill, Entertainment Center: Built in by carpenter, Curtains: handmade, Tall candlesticks: Recollections (store in Wilmington), Gold garden stool/end table between chairs: Target, Pouf: Joss & Main, Gold curtain rods: Overstock, Gold frames & navy mats: Amazon
Master Bedroom: Bed & nightsands: Furnitureland South (15 years ago), Sheets & duvet: TJMaxx, Plaid shams: Land’s End, Boat pillow: handmade, Lamp: Goodwill
Master Bath: Sink & shower faucets are Delta Cassidy, Towels: Target, Vanity/Buffet: Consign on a Dime (Cornelius NC), Curtains: handmade, Stool: Target
Guest Room: Headboards: Joss & Main, Blue sheets: TJMaxx, Anchor Pillowcases: Garnet Hill, Floral pillow: handmade, Lamp & Sunglasses pillow: Homegoods, Orange tray: West Elm, Curtains: ReStore
Guest Bath: Shower curtain: Target, Vanity: Allen Roth at Lowes, Mirror: Wayfair, Light: Lowes, Framed paper: Paper Source, Towel hooks: Target (Young House Love collection), Octagon hand towel ring: Urban Outfitters, Light: Lowes, Faucets are Moen Eva, Towels: Homegoods, Cabinet hardware: Prestige Kitchen & Bath (Wilmington NC) brand is Amerock, Mulholland Collection
Loft: Stripe sheets: Homegoods, Whale pillowcases: Garnet Hill, Stripe shams & duvets: Pottery Barn Kids, Navy blankets: Ikea, Sectional: Furnitureland South (Fuller sofa by Klaussner), black mirror: Lowes, Towels: Target, Lights in loft beds: Lowes
Other: Dog Light & Orb Light: Shadesoflight.com (both Young House Love collection), Settee in entry: Consign on a Dime (Cornelius NC store)
Let me know if you have any questions!