You may have noticed on Instagram recently that we bought a new house! This Mount Pleasant neighborhood has been an absolute dream for me since I moved to Charleston as a college student 11 years
You may have noticed on Instagram recently that we bought a new house! This Mount Pleasant neighborhood has been an absolute dream for me since I moved to Charleston as a college student 11 years ago. The actual house might not exactly read “dream status” to me right now, but we have some big plans for renovations and will hopefully be able to give it the transformation it deserves.
The backyard is my favorite part. If you squint your eyes really tight and use your imagination a bit in the photo below, you can see the Charleston Harbor back there in the middle!
I love some of the mature plants in this yard. Reworking the landscaping is what Brandon is most excited about with this whole project, I’m fairly certain. The footprint of the house is going to change drastically, so basically all of the current plants and shrubbery will have to be moved out of the way at some point.
Pretty sure Brandon is saying in that photo above, “What have I gotten myself into?” What excites me the most about this new house is that a few steps down the street, we can enjoy this view…
What excites me the least is that this project is going to probably take 12 months. We have at least two months ahead of us while our architect creates preliminary plans and we wait for the next historical review board meeting, which only meets once per month. After we present our proposed changes and plans to the board, we potentially might have to wait another month until the board meets again to present any requested adjustments. During this time we can go ahead and get bids from contractors. Once we get the go-ahead from the board and our plans are approved, we can start the project! So that might be anywhere from 2-4 months away. We bought this house in June, so it has definitely been a waiting game! From there, we will most likely have around 8 months of actual renovations and design. With that said, we will hopefully be moving in around June of next year… let’s hope.
I asked for your questions on Instagram and thought I’d round up some of the most asked questions below.
Q: Why did you want to move?
A: Honestly, it wasn’t a case of not liking where we currently live. We love our current home and neighborhood—it’s going to be hard to leave our great neighbors that have become so dear to us. But why did we want to move? We wanted a bigger yard with more privacy. Also, we are now at a point where we are thinking about schools for Watson and there are so many more options near the new house, including an incredible public school which would save us a bunch of money if we do decide to send the kids there. And finally, I think we just wanted a project! We know this house we currently live in isn’t a forever home, so we are at a point where we don’t want to put any more money into fixing it up. But yet, we love to do projects… so? Time to move on!
Q: How did you find your home? Was it listed or did someone tell you about it before it went on the market?
A: This neighborhood is a hot spot for real estate, so I knew that we were going to have to act fast with whatever home we decided to pursue. The house we ended up buying was listed for sale on MLS, but no showings were allowed until a few weeks later. So? We did what any sane person would do… we made an offer on it without ever seeing the inside! Luckily we were able to dig into the archives of MLS and find some older listing photos of the house, so we knew it had good bones.
Q: When are you planning to sell your current house?
A: Probably very soon. Right now the housing market is super strong in Charleston, so it’s a good time to sell. Also, selling our house will definitely help us determine our renovation budget, so it would be nice to go ahead and get that wrapped up before we start any work.
Q: Did you go through a Realtor?
A: About six years ago, I actually got my Real Estate license. I never did much with it, but I’ve kept up my license all of these years because I just truly love real estate. I don’t work with clients, but have kept it active for when we buy/sell. Selling our current home will be my 7th *personal* real estate transaction over the years between buying and selling our own properties, so it definitely has been beneficial to us through that. Maybe one day I will go back to helping clients!
Q: How much renovation work will you be doing? Are you changing the exterior, too?
A: Gosh…. everything. I hope we will be able to do all that we want to, but it may have to be in phases for budgeting reasons. We will just have to see what kind of bids we get from our contractors! But ideally? We want to do an addition, restructure the interior space and move rooms/walls around, change the roof, paint every surface in the house aside from the downstairs hardwoods, restructure the front door to make it centered and restructure the dormer windows, add a new kitchen and bathrooms, replace every single window and door, add big porches to the front and back, and the biggest change? Jack the house up! It sits too low in our coastal flood plain, so we will literally have to have the house picked up and raised in the air so that a new, higher foundation can be poured. It’s going to be… fun.
Q: What color will the exterior be?
A: I wish I could say I have something interesting in store, but it’s going to be a warm, classic white. I don’t know which color yet, but I have a few that I know we will be testing.
Q: Do you have any mood boards?
A: Yes! I actually have a whole Pinterest board that I’ve kept set to private, but I just changed the settings so that y’all can see it if you want. Obviously Pinterest is full of dreamy images and I don’t expect our house to reflect exactly what I’m seeing in these images, but I definitely am gaining inspiration from the things I’ve pinned.
Q: Are you working with an Interior Designer?
A: I think so! I’ll share more details on this soon.
Q: Can you explain what is in the area that you wanted to be close to?
A: Everything. Schools are most important, but also it’s just a super close proximity to everything we need. Right now, we live more out in the “country” and are about 15-30 minutes from our go-to places. With the kids getting a little older, I know we will have things like t-ball, dance lessons, and all of the other activities that will keep me running around like a taxi. Right now, it takes me 50-60 minutes to take the kids to school and for me to get back home, so being able to do this in just minutes will be a huge lifestyle change!
Q: How many square feet? Beds/Baths? Will you be doing any additions?
A: I believe our appraisal said it’s about 3350 square feet, but it feels way smaller to me than that. That’s bigger than we currently have, but it feels like it should be opposite! I think it’s because the new house has lower ceilings and feels cozier, whereas our current home has tall ceilings and is wide open. The new house has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. I’d love to do an addition and add on one more bedroom/bath. This area could serve as an office for me now but then down the road, it could be a bedroom for a third child if we ever decided to expand the fam and were blessed with the ability to do so.
Q: How old is the house? Is it historic?
A: It’s in a historic area, but this one is not. Pretty sure it was built in 1971.
Q: What is something you love about the house that you will keep? First thing you want gone?
A: I love that the house has reclaimed wood floors in it. They look like they should belong in a 19th century downtown Charleston home. The first thing I want gone is the exterior color. Nothing against yellow because I do love a charming yellow home, but I just think changing the paint is what is going to make the biggest immediate difference! However, that is probably one of the last things that will happen!
Q: Will you be putting in a pool?
A: We would love to!! I’m not sure if we will be able to right away or not.
Q: Do you plan to live there long term?
A: Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we did all of this work and then sold it immediately without ever moving in. We are just crazy people like that. However, I hope we don’t do that. I would love to settle into it and stay for more of an extended period of time than we have in other homes we’ve owned (about 1-3 years max each). I’m going to renovate and design this home the way that we personally want it, not for anyone else. And for that reason I want to be there long term. Brandon doesn’t get attached to homes, so he will always be ready to up and leave! Maybe that will change with this one, though.
Q: How big is your lot?
A: I was thinking it was a half acre but it’s actually .41. Close enough for me… our current yard is so tiny! This will seem like a wide open field to us, haha! We are excited to be able to get a dog. 🙂
Q: Will you do a walk through before demo with details about your visions for each space?
A: Yes! I have already filmed it. I’ll need to update it once we get plans back from our architect, because honestly I have no idea what will truly end up happening. We have a vision, but our architect might think something else would work better.
Thank you guys for sharing in this excitement with us! To be honest, though, I’m also incredibly scared and nervous about all of this. It’s scary owning two homes right now (my mind keeps thinking the market will crash or something terrible!), but God-willing that will change soon when we decide to list our current home. Then of course, where will we go from here while we wait on the new house? We hate to displace ourselves during an already unsettling year. And then there’s the fact that jumping into a massive year-long renovation feels like I’m about to jump into a tank of sharks. There’s no telling what kinds of issues will be found in the house and how long each issue will set our timeline back and also increase the cost. I pretty much have the lowest expectations ever because I’m trying not to tell myself that everything will go smoothly—I know it won’t. But I’m keeping my eye on the prize… and I’m really happy to be able to share it all with you! Stuff like this is my favorite content to follow, so I hope you’re ready for some house updates! I haven’t wanted to share anything yet until we got things underway with the architect and I had more of a solid timeline in place, which we do now. Thanks again for all of your excitement and well wishes!