Category Archives: goals

First Steps

The first steps in The Great Condo Renovation are cleaning, organizing, donating, & trashing a ton of stuff.

Since the new year, I’ve spending time on Saturdays cleaning out my things in my parents’ house. I’ve filled three 39 gallon trash bags & three medium sized brown boxes with items to donate, & I’ve filled the large curb trash can. It’s amazing how much crap I’ve accumulated in just 22 years. By amazing I mean disturbing. I’m about halfway done.

Now we have to get started on the same process but for Andrés’ condo. We can’t start anything until we pare down & figure out exactly what we have to work with. It’s a huge incentive to get started.

I’m not sure at exactly at what point we will fully combine our possessions, but I’m guessing it’ll be after the bedroom is painted and we’ve purchased a few new pieces of furniture for my things, and we’re ready to move on to the rest of the house.

It’s going to be an adventure: painting every wall, ceiling, door, & strip of moulding; purchasing (or making) & hanging curtains; ripping out hideous built-in shelving & building new shelving; [possibly] removing a wall & creating a make-shift mud room; creating an organization solution for the walk-in closet; &, of course, decorating. Aah, we can’t wait!


The Beginning

Last weekend Andrés & I were watching a show about buying homes on HGTV, & we started talking about The Plan.

Last June, when I accepted a full-time salaried position, we hashed out The Plan: moving in together in the summer or early fall of 2011 to a rented apartment in southeast DC, closer to where we work. But as we talked more & more about the specifics, it just didn’t seem the like right decision for us for a few big reasons:

1. Andrés owns a one bedroom, one bathroom condo right now that he would need to sell, but the condos in his community have lost a lot of their value since the housing market crash. Him breaking even on the condo sale would be a good thing if you consider he could end up selling & still owing thousands of dollars. Hopefully if we stay put the home will gain back some of its value in the coming years.

2. We both see renting as throwing our money away. He would much rather own than rent, & I hate the idea that after throwing a good chunk of my paycheck at the rent, there is no possibility of a return on the investment.

3. I have been into interior decorating & DIY projects for the last seven months. Reading blogs like Young House Love & Design*Sponge (& a half dozen others) make me weak in the knees. I have huge folders on my MacBook of inspiration photos broken down by room that I would just love to bring to life. Renting a place would be extremely limiting as far as decorating the space to make it our own. When I think about that, combined with throwing away money at rent each month, I know renting would be really frustrating for us.

So, we’ve pretty much decided to stay-put in his charming condo, further out from the City, but a better decision for our future.

So we’ve started planning the process of transforming his JETS-themed condo to a first home for a young couple.

I’m so excited I could pee.

Burnt Orange


I love the contrast of burnt orange with dark, smoky gray, light gray, & crisp white… as if you couldn’t tell from the colors of the blog…

I’d love to design a living room around those colors. The walls would be light gray with crisp white molding, the couch would be dark smoky gray, the pillows would add a punch of burnt orange. Like this:

I love the minimalist art above the couch in that photo, & I think Andres & I could recreate that on a large canvas, too.

Because of the loving & committed relationship I have with our DVR, I want to buy a fabulous couch.

That one seems wide enough & looks super comfy, but my heart is set on owning a huge sectional that has room for both of us to sprawl out, & enough room to seat my gaggle of sisters, & room to seat a few friends over for a movie night. Not all of those at the same time, but I want an accommodating couch. Basically, I want this monster couch, except in dark gray:

My Kitchen Table

For the last 4 or 5 years I’ve had my heart set on building my kitchen table with my own two hands.

I’m not really sure where it came from, but I really love the idea of building the table my husband & my family will eat on. I want it to be chunky, weathered wood that will withstand years of daily use. I want it to be the table that my family gathers around. I want my children do their homework at this table. I want to host dinner parties at this table. I want it to be okay if the table shows its use because that’s pretty much the point: a well loved table.

Then I found building plans from for the Farmhouse Table (pictured above) & for a matching Farmhouse Bench. It’s perfect.


Two Thousand & Eleven

I’m generally don’t ascribe to the New Year’s Resolutions thing, but I do have some goals for these next 365 days. These are more Things I want to Accomplish Post Graduating from College, & not strictly because of the new year.

Spend Money More Wisely
I’m starting this by creating a budget & tracking my monthly expenses. Hopefully I’ll acquire smart spending (& saving) habits for life. I’m going to get started by using a monthly budgeting Excel document that I saved a few years ago. If you’re interested, you can download it here through SendSpace. We’ve also decided to cook more meals at home, not eat out at all during the week, & to start using a grocery list for planned grocery shopping days. We make a lot of impulse decisions at the grocery store, we buy ingredients for one meal at a time, & we don’t plan ahead with a menu. This year I want to quit all of that so we can save money, & hopefully eat a little healthier.

Reach My Savings Goal … & Continue Saving
Since I became employed full time in June, I’ve been storing away roughly half of each paycheck. My paychecks are by no means substantial, but right now I have almost no bills to pay, thanks to my parents. Halfway through June I’ll reach my savings goal that Andrés & I agreed upon as being the major prerequisite before we start the process of moving in together. We both recognize I’m in an amazingly blessed position to be able to graduate with no debt & to be able to save like crazy, so we agreed I should put a good chunk of money away while I can afford to.

Move Into a Career Position That Offers Advancement (& Better Pay!)
I hope to be able to move into a career advancing position within the next six months. My current position, which is low-stress & easy, is not at all challenging & does not offer me room to advance my career. It is the perfect job for someone who’s working while finishing up school, but now I feel like I’m ready to take on more. I’m going to polish up my resume & start seeing what’s out there for me. I am terrified & excited. Mostly terrified.

Move Out of My Parents’ House
My parents were gracious enough to let me live at home rent-free through the last 3.5 years college, & even through working full-time. They are extremely generous by paying a lot of my bills while I save up enough money to be able to move out. I’m not sure how long they’ll let this arrangement stand, but I’m not going to overstay my welcome. After I reach my savings goal in June, I will to start the process of moving out of my parents house.

DIY More Projects
I want to start creating some of the projects I have saved up in my bookmarks folder. Starting with these map coasters that will go lovely in Andrés’ condo. I also want to create an elephant print like this one on Etsy. When we move in together, I want to build a headboard for our bed using this tutorial from YHL & this tutorial from Jen Woodhouse.

Well, there you go.

I guess 2011 is going to be a busy year for me & for us. 2010 was pretty fantastic: I started working full-time, I made a couple awesome new friends (one of which I have a baking date with tomorrow!), Andrés & I celebrated our one year anniversary in April (& our two year is fast approaching!), we took trips to Philly, Williamsburg, West Virginia, & New Jersey & booked our Boston trip for February. I hope 2011 blesses us just richly.