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How to Furnish a Second Home on the Cheap

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As we are getting ready to sell our sweet little near the lake house, I think I am getting sentimental.

I dug out our scrap book from the first few years of our journey and was pleasantly surprised at all we have done on the home. I also thought back to all we did not know or have when we bought Star Hill eight years ago.

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If you are anything like us, buying a second home is a stretch financially and a little scary. Buying a second home means there is suddenly a new house payment, electrical bill, home owner association dues, water, taxes, upkeep… the list is long.

First of all, buy only what you can afford comfortably, be aware in advance what to expect like how much to plan for utilities. I was such a nervous nelly that I insisted we make “payments” for two months into our savings account before we actually bought the house. That money we deposited was our contingency fund. Hubby was so desperate to convince me that we could afford it he packed his lunch for work.

What we didn’t have a great plan for was furniture. We bought a three bedroom home with very little furniture that would work in the small spaces.

I set a goal of getting the house move in ready for $1000 and we got it done. Move in ready does not mean perfect. It means we could spend the night, have guests, and have the basics.

There were a few things I learned from the experience that I think applies to any time you set up a new home. We followed the same strategy when setting up both of our kids in their first apartment.

1. Walk through your own home to see what can go to the weekend house . We were able to come up with linens, lamps, utensils, a chair, a cedar cabinet, and our first couch.  You can see the ugly couch in the trailer packed for our trip to move into the lake house.  It looked much better with a slip cover.

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2. Let folks know what you need. Tell people what you are looking for. Cast the net and let people know specifically what you have on your list. We ended up getting to borrow a great table and chairs for several years until we built the set we now have. A friend gave me this ginger jar lamp and mom gave us a bedside table. Don’t turn things down because it is the wrong style, shape or color. Paint covers a lot of ugly, changing out parts makes things like lamps look better. Hardware can make something look totally different.

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3. Roadside rescue. Look every day you can on Craig’s list free stuff. Ask friends to call with curb alerts. Every home I have furnished has at least a few curbside rescues. Star Hill is chock full of rescues. The biggest- you really won’t believe me, but it is true, is our master bedroom dresser, chest, and a night stand we use in the guest room. We also have this cast iron typewriter table that  was left at our city house when the previous owners moved off.

chest of drawers dresser

Furnishing a Weekend Home on the Cheap

4. Get up early and hit garage sales. Go with a list of items you need. Wooden chairs, storage items, lawn chairs, beach towels, life jackets, and cooking items, and decorative items were picked up at garage sales for pennies on the dollar. Ask when you go to a garage sale if they have specific items. I asked about sewing cabinet at a garage sale a year ago and the man holding the garage sale took me to the back yard to see two old treadle machines. The wooden parts were dry rotted, but the bases are now my master bedroom side tables. I got this chair and bookcase for $2.00 each. Glue, paint and fabric helped them.

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A Bookcase Table for Star Hill

blue thrift store chair

5. Go to resale and thrift stores. Yes, they sometimes smell funny. Get past it and check out their furniture. Look for solid wood. Remember paint cures a lot. This coffee table was a Goodwill find. Blue paint updated the look and covered the scratched top.

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6. Shop the clearance sections of target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Kirkland’s, and Marshall’s. We picked red, white, and blue for our home colors. When looking for dishes, pillows, accessories I mixed and matched. A lot of our red stuff came from after Christmas sales. I have mixed and matched dishes that are all solid colors.

7. Shop Craig’s List. Be safe and never go alone but we find a lot there. My most recent CL find was this wood stove. This twin over double

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twin over double bunk

 

 

8. Auctions are another source to furnish your home. One cold, wet January we got this brand new leather sleeper sofa ( our second sofa in the home) for $150.00. No one was bidding so we snagged it. It is great.

Furnishing a Weekend Home on the Cheap

9. If you just can’t find what you need, make it yourself. Check out Pinterest, Ana White’s blog, or just Google what you need instructions to make. I am lucky enough to be married to a woodworker so I can just draw it and get what I want. This buffet, these benches, and this table are all examples of his hard work.

Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill

Over the years we have added, replaced, and upgraded. That is the fun of having a place. Because we don’t have tons invested in the furnishings I have given myself permission to experiment.

100 Thousand Thanks

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Ever since I started blogging,  I have stopped 25 thousand page views to look over what happened since we started. I just hit 100,000 page views.  I had not been paying much attention to the stats so this one was a bit of a surprise.   It used to take a long time to reach 25 thousand page views. I mean a really long time. This time took 5 months. I was worried that in the last five months I wouldn’t have much to show you guys. It felt to me like we were sort of stuck and not getting a lot done. The kids moved out of the country, the garage is full of unfinished projects, school got started, life happened.

When I actually looked back over the last five months , I was pleasantly surprised. We got a little more done than I remembered.

My favorites from the last five months are below.  If you click on the link below each picture it will take you to that actual blog, complete with DIY and pictures.

Our biggest project was updating our suburban bathroom and figuring out how to get that restoration hardware weathered wood look on a dresser.  Board and batten, cool shelf, zinc finished towel rack and chandelier made to look like wood beads.

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Bathroom Makeover

beautiful chandelier

Chandelier

The next big thing was creating a fun office at work that included a reclaimed wood wall, suitcase wall and a giant marquee letter.

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Suitcase Wall

We made one of my favorite benches from a queen sized bed.

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Bench

We finally got started on our pile of cedar and are making headway with projects there.  My favorite so far is a cedar barn door.

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Cedar Barn Door

I repurposed a 1980’s dresser hutch top to look go with our green buffet table.  I now have a place to display my milk glass that makes sense.

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Hutch

I worked off and on for a while on a funky dresser that is now 99% complete.  I love the look of this piece that is going to be an entertainment center.

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Funky Dresser

I tried my hand at painting fabric.

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Painted Fabric Chair

and finally…

I enjoyed making a rustic Christmas mantle.

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Rustic Deer Head

Not too bad for a “slow” few months. Being a weekend country girl is a great life.  I am blessed to have the opportunities that I have.

Thank you all so much for joining my husband and me on this empty-nest, third quarter adventure. Repurposing furniture and blogging has helped me to stay active and has enlarged my circle of friends.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and travel with us on this adventure. We have a lot in store and look forward to the future.

I love to hear from you,

Blessings,

Karen

Decorating for Christmas

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This year we are going to do something a little different for Christmas.  We are taking a cruise.  Yep.  I was in a funk about two of the kids not being here that I just decided we were going to do something different.  We tried a snowy vacation home but couldn’t work it out.  Sooo, a four-day cruise to Mexico it is.  There will be 10 of us on the trip.  I am excited.  We have never been on a cruise, so I am sure it will be an adventure.

I did decorate for Christmas… sort of.  I mean we got the tree up, the mantle done, the table decorated and we got the yard stuff out.  If you don’t see  a space it is because there is no decorating going on there.

Welcome to our Christmas home.

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My favorite mantle ever. I love the rustic wood, the tarnished silver, the burlap.

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Our tree is beautiful.  Burlap, deer and cardinals.

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The tree is 10 feet tall.

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The hidden office has a little deer stuff on top.

The Coke Christmas village is something we collected for several years.  It has been a while since we had a spot for it.  The newspaper around the village parts was 1998.  I think the green hutch is the perfect spot.

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The farmhouse table has tree cookies cut from the lake, dishes collected from thrift stores and Target, the lanterns were garage sale finds, the basket normally has our silverware in it on the peninsula.

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The porch and backyard are as done as they will be except I do plan on sprucing up the plants.  I really like the porch.  Just enough.  Next year the yard is getting a little more love but this year I traveled two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That knocked out the decorating.

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I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

I have been blogging for two years now and my husband and I want to thank you all for joining us on this journey.  We  are smarter than we were two years ago but we still have a lot to learn.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Blessings,

Karen

Santa Fe Color

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I know it is December and I should be writing about Christmas, but I just got back from Santa Fe and being the oversharer that I am, I wanted to share Santa Fe with you.

If you haven’t been to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I would suggest you add it to your bucket list.  It is a unique and quirky little city with an artsy style like no other.  Back in the 1950’s the city decided that what they had was special and enacted laws to preserve the look, size, and feel of this desert mountain oasis.

The buildings are almost all brown and a form of Adobe style. (Only grandfathered buildings are not Adobe and brown.). I stay lost when I am there because there aren’t the usual landmarks. (There are five shades of brown allowed for buildings.)  The Santa Fe color comes out in the trim, the textiles, the pottery, and the plants around the homes and businesses.

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I realized this week that even though I don’t have Santa Fe style in design I am drawn to Santa Fe colors. I love the turquoise, teal, red, orange, brown, and cream colors. They soothe me and make me feel at home.

Here are a few shots taken on my iPhone. No camera this trip. I was working and a camera bag didn’t make the cut.

 

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Outdoor art is everywhere.  I really like this wind park.

Enjoy a few shots from outdoor  vendors.  You can really see the colors come through here.  Once again, sorry about the photo quality.

 

 

 

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The colors are vibrant and full of life.  My favorite place to shop is the market square.  All the vendors are native Americans who hand make the items.  Their work is beautiful and the stories are even better.

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I also like how the rustic wood plays against the bright colors.

 

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Santa fe street

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Here are a few pieces I have done that have that Santa Fe color scheme:

close up of turquoisedresser

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twin bed bench

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I love the bright colors on a cold day.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you have a wonderful day,

 

Blessings,

 

Karen

A Fifteen Minute $6.00 Side Yard Spruce Up

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Two four year old dollar store chairs that were faded by the sun, a newly power washed concrete slab, a small table that folds up and has floated around the house for years, and a tray I found in the boy’s closet when I cleaned it out. (No idea why I put it there…)

Valspar spray paint- Tropical Oasis…what could be more perfect?

A quick spray of the chairs later, this is the result.

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Real beauties huh?

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Not too bad now. I think we will be out in them in the morning. Want to join us?