House Hunting | An Update!

When I said that house hunting was not for the faint of heart, I really wasn’t kidding. We only looked for a month and a half, but rising interest rates combined with a completely insane market made that month and a half one of the most stressful times of my life! There were several days throughout the process where I was convinced that for one reason or another that we would never be able to get something we were excited about within our budget.

Luckily, we’re under contract on a great house, and have already been through the inspection and the appraisal with no deal breakers. Like most people with a budget, we had to make a few compromises, but all in all the great things about the house totally overshadow any negatives.

Now that the stressful part of the house hunt is behind us, I finally feel like I can take a deep breath and start dreaming, scheming, and planning the design of our new home! The house is much newer than I thought I would ever want, but it’s still an adorable two story craftsman. I think for 99% of people the home would be considered move in ready, but there is still a lot of work to do to make it feel updated and more like “us.” This will be the first time in our almost 6 years of marriage that we will have more than just one bedroom and bath.

Since I can’t share before photos until we close in April, I thought I would use this opportunity to share what projects we’re looking to complete on the house (which will translate into what I’m going to be sharing on the blog moving forward)!

Design by Amber Interiors. Photo by Tessa Neustadt.

Step one… Paint! We close on the house over a month before our apartment lease ends, which means we have plenty of time to paint the entire house top to bottom. Right now, the house is mostly a light green, with a few random rooms/halls that are a bright teal. There is also one room that has an unfortunate shade of yellow-green on all of the trim. Right now, the plan is to paint pretty much everything white, with the exception of the master bedroom, which I’m hoping will be a cozy, dark gray. We’ll see how long those ideas stick once I get some swatches on the walls!

Design by Elizabeth Roberts/Ensemble Architecture. Photo by Dustin Aksland.

Step two, remove the carpet from the stairs. I wish step two was removing the carpet upstairs altogether, but unfortunately that won’t be in our budget right away. We are planning on doing a little stair make-over that I’m hoping will be made easier by some online tutorials that I found.

Design by Design Theory. 

Step three will be replacing light fixtures. Right now, all of the light fixtures in the house are weird, builder grade fixtures that I can’t stand to look at (including the dreaded “boob” lights). Those will be coming out as soon as I can find some inexpensive, modern flush mounts that work well with the aesthetic I’m envisioning for the house.

Steps four through about 85 includes everything from buying larger rugs and dining room furniture to basically gutting the builder-grade bathrooms, updating the fireplace, installing new organization systems in the closets, revamping the back-yard, and eventually gutting the kitchen! Despite all of the work, I’m so excited about finding frugal ways to make the house feel like home at every step in the process.

Is there anything else you would like me to share as I dive into home ownership? Spill!



Our House Hunt | The Wishlist

I’ve been a bit MIA, but I have a good excuse… We’ve started the exciting, terrifying, anxiety inducing process of buying a house!

This is huge for us… I feel like all I’ve talked about since we got married is buying a house, and now that it’s here, I’m not sure what to do with myself. The market that we are buying into is completely outrageous right now, and I’ve already had multiple homes that I was interested in touring sell within days of going on the market. I’m preparing myself for anything to happen, and holding out hope that the right thing will happen in time.

Being that this will be one of the biggest, most permanent purchases we will ever make, we are really honing in our list and trying our best to be realistic, while also prioritizing the things that will be really important.

Thus far this is what we are looking for…

A GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD | For us, this means in an established community that is close to shops, restaurants, and bars that we like, and a 30 minute or less commute to work. This is a priority for us, and also probably our biggest limiting factor. Neighborhoods like this in our city are very expensive to live in, and the likelihood that we will be able to find anything  within our budget is slim. These neighborhoods can have tear-downs priced up to $600,000, which is unfortunately well out of our comfort zone!

Source unknown… If anyone knows, please share!

HISTORIC (LOOKING) HOME WITH CHARACTER | We love the idea of a historic home, and most of the neighborhoods we like have historic homes. It would be great to get something with some vintage architectural character, but we’re open to new architectural character (that looks vintage), too. It just has to be convincing…

OUTDOOR SPACE | This is left pretty open because we are pretty open about the meaning… The ideal situation? We would have a big front porch and a small to medium sized back yard, big enough for our pup to run around a bit. At the end of the day, though, the space and the ability to add a deck, porch, or patio is more important to us than actually having any of those spaces when we first move in.

Design by Joanna Laajisto via est magazine

SEMI-OPEN FLOOR PLAN | I know that everyone always raves about “open floor plans,” but I prefer a little more division. I’m not saying the plan needs to be choppy, or closed off, but I like the idea of having some separation between spaces while still maintaing flow.

2 PLUS BEDROOMS/2 PLUS BATHS | Most of our feelings about the number of bedrooms and baths has been flexible, but I will say that having family here of the holidays may have convinced us to seek out a little more space. We’re open to have 2 bedrooms if there is some kind of bonus space, like an office or a den.

Park and Oak_Fireplace
Gorgeous fireplace via Park and Oak

A FIREPLACE | This is my frivolous request. I really, really want a working fireplace. It can be wood burning or gas, doesn’t matter much to me either way.  I visited a friend in her new home this past fall, and sitting and chatting with her and her husband by the fire in the chilly fall weather was heaven. It’s a dream to be able to have that cozy feeling on our own future home.

A LITTLE WORK, BUT LIVABLE DAY ONE | While I would LOVE to do an entire renovation, it unfortunately not realistic that we could swing that in our price range. That being said, I don’t think that there exists a house out there in the world that I wouldn’t want to change something about. Since this is our first home, the kind of work that I would prefer to do is the fun kind… the kind that requires picking out finishes, not moving walls or replacing electrical. Right now, I’m happy to save that kind of work for the future when I have a bit more of a budget to work with. That being said, I have no fear of replacing cabinets, counters, floors, or adding backsplash. I can handle kitchen and bathroom renovations if the footprint is something that already works. And painting is pretty much a given. Basically, if it’s just cosmetic, I’m excited about it!

I plan to continue to share the process here, so if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Want to win a $20 Target gift card? Leave me a comment on this post sharing what you would like to see here in the new year! Each comment on my January posts (including this one!) will earn you an additional entry. A winner will be announced Wednesday, January 31st. Thanks for all of your support!



Happy New Year from Schafer Rea Studio!


Free Styled Stock_Styled Stock Photography Images_SC Stockshop_Laptop Desk-3.jpg

Hello friends!

It’s the first month of the new year. A blank slate. We’re officially through the holidays, and most everyone is jumping back into the grind.

Before we do that here, I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that your family had a blessed Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza!) and is thrilled to be moving into 2018.

My family visited for the holidays and it was so amazing to have everyone under my own (rented) roof! As of about 4 am this morning, everyone has headed home, and so now our apartment feels quiet and empty. The atmosphere is perfect for reflecting on  2017, setting goals for this blog in 2018, and getting my home in order before I start back to work tomorrow.

With that, I want to ask – What would you like to see from Schafer Rea Studio in 2018?

My goal when starting this blog was to provide consistent, inspirational, and helpful design content. I think that everyone should be empowered to love where they live, because how you feel about your home can impact every other aspect of your life, both positively and negatively. But I also want to hear from you. What are you looking for? Advice from designers? Inspiration photos? Organizational tools? Product ideas and sources? Anything I’m missing? Please share in the comments below!

Want to win a $20 Target gift card? Leave me a comment sharing what you would like to see here in the new year! Each comment on my January posts will earn you an additional  entry. A winner will be announced Wednesday, January 31st. Thanks for all of your support!

Socially Conscious Gift Guide


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The holidays are my favorite time of the year.  I love the weather, the lights, and the time with family. I also enjoy picking out gifts for my family. There is nothing like getting them something that you know they will love and (if we’re lucky with all of our schedules) watching them open it on Christmas morning.

The past few years, however, I’ve also started to feel some guilt around my Christmas gifts, both given and received. My husband worked in retail at Target for 5 years, and I know all about the craziness that happens on Black Friday (and really during any other holiday sale). We’ve turned the day after Thanksgiving into a day of consumerism. That isn’t what this season is about for our family, so my husband and I have made a habit of giving gifts of experiences.

But sometimes, “object” gifts are the right types of gifts. When that is the case, I like to do one of three things. The first is come up with a DIY gift idea. Something that we can put our time and energy into that will have a special meaning to the person receiving the gift. The second is to gift an object that will lead to an experience. Some of my favorite examples include special ingredients to cook with, sports or outdoor equipment for activities a person likes or wants to do, or something for an upcoming trip or vacation. Finally, if I find I want to purchase an “object” gift, I like to see what I can find from socially and ethically sourced shops. These have expanded way beyond the simple idea behind Tom’s shoes and Warby Parker, and the good ones offer items that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. I’ve included just a few options from my favorite places… if you don’t see something here you love, I promise you will find something once you visit their websites. So many beautiful gifts to feel good about spending money on!

Happy Holidays (and back to our regularly scheduled programming)!


Happy Monday, friends! Hope everyone is easing back into the work week after Thanksgiving. We’re one day down, and only four more to go!

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful… We got quality, uninterrupted time with our families and I was able to completely disconnect from social media.

Now that we are home, I’m propped up on the couch watching White Christmas (with the stockings hung and the Christmas tree lit) and getting myself into the Christmas spirit. I have a sleeping pup next to me and a husband on his way home with some egg nog.

I’m looking forward to getting back to this blog’s regularly scheduled programming starting tomorrow with a few design posts (some holiday related, some not).

I hope you all have a wonderful week and are enjoying the beginning of the holidays as much as I am!