Jul 202016

Hi friends! Today I’m giving you a virtual tour of our new town house! We’ve only been living in the house for a couple of weeks now so it still needs a LOT of work, but I thought it would be fun to give you a tour now so they can serve as “before” pictures to look back at as we start making updates.

Ok so first, I should tell you that the location of this house was one of the biggest selling points for us. It’s only a block and a half from the Ballston metro in Arlington, which is a neighborhood we really like because you can walk to so many bars and restaurants and are still less than 10 minutes from DC. Truthfully Fabio and I both thought that any sort of “real” house would be out of our price range for this neighborhood, which is why we jumped at the chance to nab this one. In fact, we were actually out-bid on this house, but our realtor Rob Carter helped us put a really smart offer together since he knew our budget was limited, and that helped us to win the house in the end. Woohoo!

By the way, I have nothing but amazing things to say about our experience in working with Rob so if you are looking for a DC-area realtor I recommend him highly! We definitely wouldn’t have gotten this house without him!

So with all that being said, here’s our house!



Immediately in front of you along the back wall is our little liquor cabinet, which right now is sporting two picture frames on top because we haven’t gotten around to hanging anything yet. In a perfect world I’d love to hang a big mirror here to reflect the light instead, but the little thermostat on the wall makes that a bit tricky.


To your right is the couch area, where we have our old Ikea couch facing a real, wood-burning fire place and our TV. (A couch update is *hopefully* coming soon…)


Please ignore the cables coming down from the TV – we just bought a white floating shelf and are planning to house the cable box there and hide all the cords. That’s tonight’s project!

Here’s the view when you’re standing in front of the couch looking back into the rest of the room.


From there you can see our small glass/wrought-iron table which works well for now but most likely isn’t going to be permanent since it makes the space appear pretty busy. You can also see our bookshelves/leaning desk which I’ve started decorating but is always a work in progress. We also have a nicely sized coat closet behind the door which is pretty convenient.


And here’s the view from a slightly different angle showing the stairs!


Then we have the kitchen. Ooooh the kitchen. This is definitely going to be one of the first major projects we tackle because I can’t stand it.


Our plan is to upgrade the countertops and cabinets (I’m thinking white cabinets with white and grey countertops), and hopefully extend the countertop so it comes out in a sort of bar area on the right (where the tall wood cabinets are now). That way we could pull stools right up to the counter like we did in our old apartment.

We also would like to extend the new cabinets all the way up to the ceiling so we’d have to knock out that drop-down area that’s there now. We also want to get recessed lighting in the entire downstairs, get new appliances, and replace the carpet and linoleum with dark hardwoods. Needless to say, our list is definitely long.


Of course all of this takes a lot of money that we don’t really have right now, so we’re just going to do a little at a time and save up for the big stuff.

Oh and also, I know we could paint the cabinets white for the time being, but they are such crappy quality (they are literally falling apart) that I don’t even want to spend the money or time on doing a quick fix. Yep, the cabinets and countertops are at the top of my list.

(Did I mention this house is a bit of a fixer-upper?)

At least we’ve upgraded one appliance (not by choice – the old dishwasher didn’t work at all) but even this has been a huge improvement on the space seeing as how the old dishwasher had fake wood paneling on the front. Yuck.


Right next to the kitchen is a storage area where we house our trash can, recycling, washer, dryer, bikes, Christmas decorations, etc.


Here is the area behind the washer and dryer – so to the left of the bikes – where we store lots of other random stuff. We’re looking for some kind of shelf system to make this area more organized, but we’ve realized that the dimensions are a bit wonky since it’s under the stairs. The search continues.



Ok, let’s move upstairs!


At the top of the stairs we have this little wall poking out, and I’m thinking I want some kind of corner table here with flowers on it. I’m also planning to hang this painting of the ocean that my Grandma painted.


On the other side of this wall we have a linen closet! This is something we never, ever had in any of our old apartments, and I can’t tell you how weirdly excited I am to have one now. And stairs. Stairs make me giddy. 🙂


Then to your left is the guest bathroom! This has also become Fabio’s bathroom, which may or may not stay like that. I need to make sure this one stays clean for when guests come over, and he’s not quite as tidy OCD as I am. 😉


After the bathroom you enter the master bedroom. We are definitely planning to paint in here/get new furniture/change the bedding, etc., but it gets the job done for now.


My favorite part of the bedroom is the super high ceilings. It’s hard to get a picture of them but here’s how they’re vaulted up from the doorway!


And then we have my closet. Yay! Having my own closet has been awesome.


I especially like all the little shelves and nooks that are perfect for my purses and shoes. I’m thinking about getting some white curtains to hang in front that can be pulled back on the sides. What do you guys think?


Opposite of the closet is my bathroom – well, part of it anyway. The sink and cabinets are actually separate from the toilet and shower.


My bathroom was like this in my dad’s house growing up, so even though it’s a little odd I’m actually used to it.


We obviously need to make some cosmetic updates to the bathrooms too, but those are further down on our list.

Once you exit the master bedroom and go back into the hallway, you have the second bedroom on your left. (Woohoo! Two bedrooms!)


This space is a total mess right now with all of Fabio’s baseball memorabilia, but I’ll show you where that’s all going in a minute. In the future I’m planning to put a guest bed in here, but I haven’t thought too much beyond that yet.



Fabio’s closet is also located in this room, and again it’s been really nice to be able to spread out our stuff.


Oh, and did you happen to notice a weird carpeted ladder thing in the first picture of this room? Oh yeah, that’s because we have a loft up there!


Our loft is a very odd little bonus room at the top of the house, and even though right now you have to climb a crazy ladder to get up there, we still think it’s pretty cool. (One day we’d like to get some stairs put in, which some of our neighbors have.)


So what does one do with an odd space like this? Make a man cave of course! We are planning to put all Fabio’s Yankee baseball memorabilia up here (he has TONS of it since he had season tickets for almost his whole life and was a bat boy/ball boy for the Yankees and Mets).

This will be especially nice for me because in our old apartment he had it all hanging up in our bedroom. Thank goodness that’s going to change. Out of sight = out of mind. 😉


This is also the area that I mentioned we started painting, so it looks pretty different from this already! The back wall (which you can’t see from down below) is going to be white with blue Yankee pinstrips, and the side wall that goes down into the second bedroom is going to be Yankee grey (which actually is a nice grey color that hopefully won’t be too dark). We think the other walls are going to be a very light grey/whitish grey, but we want to see what the other two walls wind up looking like before we decide.

The loft keeps going to the right, and has a whole little side room area where we plan to bring up a small bar and beer fridge.


Cute right? It’s definitely an awkward space but I think it’s perfect for a man cave (or a man “cove” as Aunt CC called it).


And that’s it! Now you’ve seen the whole house! Obviously it needs a lot of work but for the location, price, and amount of space we get, we think it’s pretty great. Of course I wish we had a back yard for Jack (this was definitely a major downside, but at least we have a small front yard) however there are TONS of great parks nearby that we’ve been taking Jack too daily. Plus is has a parking spot – one that’s NOT parallel parking for once – so that’s been amazing too.

You know I’ll keep you posted on progress!

Question of the day: What do you think of the house? Any tips/thoughts/advice?

 Posted by on July 20, 2016

  13 Responses to “Town House Tour!”

  1. Congrats! It’s so nice to have a place that’s truly your own.

  2. Very cute. Congrats!

  3. Congrats! It’s super exciting to have your own first place together. One piece of advice our realtor has given us has been to “live with it” a while before you make any major changes. There are lots of little things that jump out at first, but as you feel the space out more and see how it works for the two of you, your opinions might change. It’s great that you’ve seen some of the neighbors’ places so you have an idea of what is possible. My two bits of free advice: tall cupboards while beautiful are a pain in the tush, IMHO. We have them in our new house and I cannot even reach anything above the second shelf and have to keep a step stool in the kitchen. Good for storage, sure, but they don’t feel super practical. 2) Do not put an actual bed in your guest room. I thought that’s what I wanted too, but I actually found that investing in a really nice, tall aerobed ($300 at BB+B) makes so much more sense. You can set it up when you need it, but tuck it away when you don’t, freeing up that room for other uses. You probably will only have guests once and a while, but you will be living with the space full time 🙂 It is also portable in case you want to set it up in a different part of the house. That’s actually what a lot of staggers use when they get houses ready to show. My parents even slept on ours for two weeks when our baby was born. Yeah for you guys 🙂 Enjoy!

  4. Isn’t it so amazing to have a space to call your own?

    1. Yes to the white curtains for your closet!
    2. LOVE the man cave. My boyfriend Felix would fill his with Manchester United jerseys and Star Wars stuff. It’ be nice to get that out of our bedroom too. 😉
    3. Also, I never realized how sacred parking spots are in VA. I’ve lived here (Old Town) for a little over a month, and it’s so weird not to have a driveway like my home did in New Orleans!


  5. Congrats!!! So, so cute! One word of wisdom – I might suggest taking the outside picture down since you also mentioned the location. Probably a good idea for safety reasons 🙂

  6. congrats on the new home!! it’s such a fun (and big) step! I painted our kitchen cabinets white bc they were only 3 years old and i’m really glad i did it – but it was still a pain! if you’re planning to change yours out shortly, i wouldn’t try painting them either. but, if you have any other cabinets (bathroom, etc.) paint is an easy and quick fix! don’t be afraid to DIY stuff – there are so many tutorials on youtube and other advice online. if you go with marble for the countertops in the kitchen, make sure to pay attention to care instructions. ours are a light white but with gray spots and we have a water stain in one section (that probably no one but me notices).

    as for the aerobed someone mentioned above, that may be a good idea! we had one (from costco, maybe $130?) for like two years and most people couldn’t even tell it wasn’t a real bed! we’ve since replaced it only because we got a new bed and put our old one in the guest room, but there is definitely something to be said about having the extra space when you don’t have guests over.

  7. Congrats on the new house!!! My boyfriend lives probably like another block up from you guys! He moved there in January and while we’re both from this area, this is the first time one of us has been so close to the city and it isn’t a hassle getting in there anymore haha. I love the neighborhood and it’s been so fun to explore these past few months! Enjoy all the house projects and making it more your own!! 🙂

  8. Ahhh, I love it!! And such a great location too! It is super cute and has so much potential to make it your own. Since we have only been living in our house for about 6 weeks now, I’m equally in the middle of decorating and let me just say, it is both exciting and HARD to go from a small apartment to a large house space and figure out how to decorate it all!! Haha. I’ve been SUPER into DIY projects though to revamp some of our old college furniture and make things more uniquely our style. It’s such a fun way to decorate a space without spending a fortune (so you can save up for those totally NON-DIY projects!).

  9. The house looks fab! Such a good amount of space. And when you make the changes you want it’ll really start becoming a home to you guys 🙂

  10. Love it and love that you took the time to take pictures from all angles and really explain the house!

    100% agree on the white curtains for the closet. Such a cute addition and then you don’t care as much if things get a little messy!

    I’ve lived in a place where the sink and cabinets are separate from the tub and toilet and loved it! It may be strange but its so useful!

    The only suggestion I had is about the little table and chair set. It’s so cute but it does make that space seem busy. I can’t really tell how much room there is from the pictures but what if you moved the liquor cabinet to the wall over by the kitchen/end of couch and then put the table and chairs where the cabinet is now? Just a thought! And that all might change when you redo the kitchen!

  11. Congrats on your house! It’s cozy and the loft is an unexpected bonus. I love reading your blog every once in a while. I also just purchased a total fixer upper with similar 80’s looking style due to the location and parking… worth it, but the renovations feel overwhelming sometimes! It does motivate me to manage money well because there is so much I am excited to do.

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