Our house sat empty for quite some time.
Back in February, when Chad and I decided that we would be moving at the end of the month, we made quite a few on-the-fly decisions. One of them was a biggie, which led to all kinds of smaller choices: we knew we wanted to hire a moving company and that we’d prefer to make the move go as cheaply as possible.
So, it quickly became a game of “does it come with us,” “do we donate it,” and “do we sell it,” for every item in our possession. And while the whole moving company thing ended up being less than budget-friendly (a lot of drama went down), Chad and I were able to pair down our belongings to what felt like the essentials (okay, I still have way too many clothes).
Many of the eliminated items were important: we said goodbye to our couch (beloved by all, but most by Wally), kitchen table, dressers, guest bed and mattress, office desk, and coffee table. Others were a sad but necessary goodbye, since we were moving into a teeny tiny apartment, like our lawn mower, grill (that we *just* got, damn it), and outdoor furniture. We drained our fridge and emptied our pantry—hopefully the neighbors didn’t mind all the canned clam chowder soup—and filled our tiny car with the essentials.
I spent a lot (a lot) of time (and energy) negotiating with strangers on the internet (Facebook Marketplace) and I hope to not have to do that again for a really, really long time.
Here we are, nearly half a year later, and our house has become a home.
As we initially settled in we filled in the large gaps with purchases here and there, not just to replace our former belongings but to also create something new. While before I tried to emulate a very white-based modern feel, this Victorian house called for something different.
Below are some inspiration photos that heavily influenced the direction of my design and direction. They are each pulled from Pinterest.
Our previous couch was a big, grey, gigantic, cozy-ass sectional. We found it for $800 at American Furniture Warehouse…which, after looking at other couches of similar sizes, is insane. It was Wally’s favorite space and where Chad and I spent a little too much time relaxing. It was amazing for us, but it wasn’t necessarily the couch of my dreams—from the color to the wear to the way it commanded the entire space, I didn’t want it being the focal point of our lives forever.
In Milwaukee, I’m going for a different vibe. I want our living room to be pretty and grown up with understated elegance. We’re in a Victorian house, so why not lean into it?
I found us a leather sofa from Albany Park (Albany Sofa, $1225 on sale). I do think it’ll be comfortable, but it fits my other goals as well: not too big for the space, allows for other pieces, and will hopefully look smooth and dreamy AF. Leather is a little out of our comfort zone, but we’re going for it.
Also for the living room, Chad and I bought two statement chairs from Target. They’re the Tufeld Wood Armchair Beige from Project 62 ($200 each).
These were our main apartment purchase here in Milwaukee, to give us something to sit on other than our air mattress bed. I chose these chairs because I’d pined over them for a while—they’re both attractive and comfortable.
I had the hardest time trying to figure out the vibe in our living room, but it turned into our best space. I mentioned leaning into our Victorian vibe, which went against my initial reaction to stick with the light and airy modern feel that I fell in love with before.
However, I stuck with my gut, and the result was worth it. Building around the dimensions of the room and the couch, I found a coffee table from World Market ($399) that is stately and unique. It’s an investment piece and one of the best furniture buys I’ve ever made—everyone loves it.
Dining table and desk
New to us: space for an actual dining room! Because Chad and I are chronic eat-on-the-couch people (which is low-key horrible and not at all how I was raised, lol), we probably won’t be using a dining table for dining very often (until we make some friends). So, I’m looking for a table that can double as an office desk for me and my laptop.
I went for the Alphons 67.91” Dining Table (Wayfair), $400 – which will take several weeks to arrive, but will hopefully be worth the wait.
Our bed situation is getting a complete makeover. We’re upgrading from a queen sized to a king (fingers crossed that our primary bedroom can handle it), then moving our former bed into one of the guest bedrooms.
We got our mattress from Tuft and Needle (T&N Original Mattress, $1145) and ordered a bed frame from Living Spaces (Dean Sand Eastern King Upholstered Panel Bed, $595). The bed will take months to arrive, so in the meantime I grabbed an affordable platform frame from Amazon (Zinus Abel 14 Inch Metal Platform Bed Frame, $117).
This will also mean updating our bedding. I haven’t bought anything yet, but I’m looking into more upscale options, like Parachute, Target’s Casaluna line, or Brooklinen. I want to be super super extra comfortable!!
Is there anything on your current home wish list?
After living in our house for 5 years with this awful muddy brown wall color with holes and mismatched paint sheen in the basement, my husband and I have finally arranged for a painting company to come out and provide us with a quote. We know it will be quite expensive since it will be an entire basement (living space, stairwell, 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom), but we have 10ft ceilings and the stairwell itself is 2 stories high. We for sure need some professionals to help us out.
Once we have the walls completed with a fresh coat of paint, next will be to hire a contractor to build our dry bar and library, then replacing the carpets. Ahhhh homeownership… 🤗