If you follow me on Instagram, then you know we recently moved back to Boston into our first place as actual homeowners. While the house hunting process probably deserves a post in itself, suffice it to say that it was a crazy whirlwind. And while I don’t have experience searching in other cities since we’ve always been renters before this, I can say with some confidence that looking for a home to purchase in Boston in particular is a little extra challenging: the inventory is very, very limited, the demand incredibly high, and it isn’t all that uncommon for homes to sell in less than 48 hours well above asking price.
We had a tight budget by Boston standards, and a very tight timeline since we needed to move here by June 1st for my husband’s job and we were only able to start looking in April. You need to allot 4 to 6 weeks for escrow and the closing process, which meant we really only had a few weeks to get this done…and from out-of-state, no less, which meant frantic weekend trips from Philadelphia. But long story short, we made it happen by some miracle!
As someone who is a nester and loves designing out spaces, I had many-a-visions on what my dream first place would look like: and while those visions did go in a lot of different directions, my wishlist was really for a place with some history and character and a lot of light. And you easily find plenty of that with Boston homes, but then your budget comes into the picture and compromises most definitely get made. We were initially hoping for a two bedroom / two bathroom with a laundry room and small outdoor space / patio – a place where we could have a legitimate guest bedroom for our friends and family that could potentially double as a home office. While we didn’t get the outdoor space or a full second bedroom, we did check a lot off the list: we have in-unit laundry (rare in Boston!), are in the city limits, are in a secure building, have lots of natural light, bits of vintage character, and are in a great location.
We LOVE our location. While I don’t want to share the exact particulars of our neighborhood (in Philadelphia I literally lived across the street from my shop and had ZERO privacy which nearly killed me in the end), I can say that we quickly learned we could either get everything on our wishlist and be in a less than ideal location, or we could prioritize location and make a few compromises to make it work. We did the latter and honestly I could not dream of being happier than I am to what I get to come home to everyday and where I wake up every morning.
Okay, so without further ado, I thought I’d share all the “before” photos – as in photos from right before we moved in to our place – along with short lists of what I like and what I hope to change when time / budget allows.
Mostly, I think this will be a great little journey for me to look back on as this home evolves, but based on how much you guys have loved everything I’ve been sharing from behind the scenes via Insta-stories, I figured you all might love to follow along on this journey too!
Will and I have had some pretty tight and inefficient kitchen spaces while we’ve been married, but we’ve definitely learned that we both LOVE to cook. And while it wasn’t a priority for us to have a super spacious or particularly large kitchen, we lucked out that this condo happened to have an amazing one to offer! After years of hand washing, we are pumped to have a dishwasher. Oh, the little things – haha. So, while I love how spacious it is and am grateful for the updates that the previous owner made, there is a lot I don’t like aesthetically and would like to change in the future:
CHANGES TO MAKE
Okay, I LOVE how much natural light we have in this room, its incredible. And the original wood floors were recently refinished and there are efficient new windows in here, so all in all we’ve got a really great foundation to build off of! The challenges are that I want to create a carved out eating nook as well as a living space that flows well, remains visually light and airy, and to sneak a TV somewhere that isn’t over the mantle. While the photos make this space look large, its actually fairly tiny and most average sized couches and sectionals aren’t going to work in here, especially while allowing a kitchen table, which is a must for me. I’ve waited so long to be able to set and style a table, to sit down for meals, and to entertain friends, so over my dead body will I give up having a damn table – haha – BUT SERIOUSLY. The ceilings are also low – 8 feet – which is normal enough to walk around in but too low to hang any special light fixtures, which was my Pinterest dream. A fine compromise in the end for me since I get so much sunlight! That cute little electric fireplace was a nice bonus – it puts off great heat, is really easy to use, and Gazpacho loves cozying up in front of it. It’s adorable.
CHANGES TO MAKE
Guys, this room is LITTLE. It’s v. v. little. We were originally dreaming of upgrading to a queen or (gasp!) KING sized bed, but once we got this place we knew that was in no way possible – our full sized bed barely leaves room for a dresser. BUT look at that custom closet!! Those sliding doors open to another large opening, and then that mirror door opens to even more storage, and that closet is ALL MINE muahhahahaha. Will so graciously said I could have this closet since I was working with one of those little Ikea wardrobe things in our last place (which look, I get it, not everyone needs much closet space – BUT I OWN A CLOTHING STORE. I LIKE THE CLOTHES. I LIKE THE SHOES. I LIKE THE ACCESSORIES. I WON’T APOLOGIZE!) – he gets a tiny little closet in the other room – bless him.
CHANGES TO MAKE
To go with our little bedroom is our little bathroom. While I was initially worried about the size of this since it is the only bathroom in our place, it’s actually been working out just fine. There is a cute little cabinet storage nook not pictured right behind the door, and the world’s tiniest little window to let in fresh air – its pretty charming. What’s not charming? ALL THAT DAMN BEIGE.
CHANGES TO MAKE
Now, this condo was actually listed as a two bedroom – and while you can technically fit a twin bed in here, it would take up the entire room. It is TINY in here. So tiny that the before pictures other than these to give you more context were hard to actually take because of the lack of standing room to pull back, haha. But to the left of this bottom picture is the opposite wall, and on it is a window, so again, lots of natural light in here, which helps a lot. This room will house Will’s closet and our home office (sorry guests!).
CHANGES TO MAKE
Phew, so that is our place! There are a lot of ideas I have in my head and I’m excited to start tackling small and big projects to really transform this place – and to have a space to share the journey! Luckily, this is a 1940s building, so the bones of this place are dreamy and the previous owner did a great job of updating / restoring all the trim work, wood floors, and other details while also making it feel clean, streamlined, and efficient. So I’ve got a great little place to work with!
I’ll be sharing inspiration boards and progress shots of these projects and more visual specifics of what I want to do in each room in future posts, so stay tuned 🙂
Feel free to throw out any questions or suggestions in the comments – and congratulations to anyone who actually read this insanely long post! Much love!