1st year in the house
OK, this week was pretty big for me. I was finally able to reveal my Jonathan Adler collab, share images from my mostly-finished home, launched my YouTube channel with a home tour video, and now, wrapping it all up with a post about what I learned in my first year of home-owning.

It’s been quite a week for us (house & me), but exciting nonetheless. I just cannot believe it’s been an entire year since moving in. It seems like just yesterday I was walking through this house (just another Sunday activity for Paul & I), talking about how perfect it is for our first house together. It was what you would consider a “turn key” in real estate–pretty much move-in ready and no work necessary. Of course, there are still things (ahem…counter tops) that I would love to change. But overall, I love my house.

It was such an emotional roller-coaster purchasing this home, then moving in right after my bridal shower, THEN getting married the following month…no complaints, but phew!

Since getting back from Greece (coming up on one year on my wedding as well [insert crying emoji]), it’s been a non-stop project / process to get this house in order, but it’s finally reached a comfortable point that feels like home to me. Read on to see what I’ve learned in the past year of owning my home.

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-Take your time. This can also apply to apartment living, but the idea is to purchase pieces that are timeless when decorating your home. I still have a guest room completely untouched because my priorities were the main parts of the house, but I’m moving at a pretty slow pace to ensure I don’t settle on things that are just available (rather than loving it).

-Update lighting. As long as the electrical is there, have fun with statement lighting to liven up a room. I added a brass chandelier over my dining table, swapped out the sconces in my kitchen to copper ones, and installed an orbit light fixture in my office. They were all easy updates that make a huge difference.

-Don’t be afraid to DIY. Owning a house is expensive. There are constantly things that will need to be repaired. So instead of hiring someone each and every time, watch some YouTube video, get familiar with the staff at your local Home Depot, and get your hands dirty. I’ve had to paint my living TWICE (long story–comment if you’re interested), I stained my back gate, I re-did a lot of the landscaping myself…the list goes on. Weekend projects pretty much consumed my life this past year. And of course, I have plenty more planned.

-Know when to hire a professional. On the other token, there are certain things that just require a professional. All ego aside, I feel pretty damn handy, but certain jobs are worth enlisting help (plumbing, security, roofing, etc.).

-Lock your mailbox. I had some weirdo steal my mail the day after I installed a security doorbell that records every movement outside my house. It was very creepy, but now I just lock my mailbox.

-Take advantage of your warranties. Most houses have a one-year warranty, so pay attention to your appliances, pesticides, leaks, etc. It‘s not always covered, but it’s worth looking into.

-I love an open floor plan. My house has an open floor plan, which is one of the many things I’ve come to realize after owning  a home, that is a priority for me. We entertain a lot and since people always flock to the kitchen, having a seating area and the dining room all in the same space is perfect.

-Privacy is priceless. When I was having my back gate installed, I wanted a sleek, modern, horizontal gate with small gaps between the wood planks. After the mailbox incident (and couple other creepy-ish things), I’m so glad I went with the privacy planks instead (no gap). I’m not that private of a person (obviously), but I now put a lot of value on privacy in regards to your home.

Posted in My Home · 3 Comments


  1. Oh my gosh, this list takes me back. When my ex and I moved into the first home we purchased at the age of 25 there were so many random little things that surprised us…everything from having to dig up all the exterior plumbing week 1 of home ownership to the discovery that having a big back yard with lots of plant life isn’t actually all that great when you’re the one taking care of it (hire a gardener, just hire a gardener!) to realizing we now had this gorgeous two bedroom house that we couldn’t afford to furnish. There is a huge learning curve involved but I have to think once you make it through that first year it gets easier, right?! I’m back to renting and STILL have weirdos stealing my mail out of a completely locked building under constant surveillance by the way so apparently there is no escaping that one. Congratulations on making it this far, you guys have done a truly beautiful job with your home!

    • Sivan Ayla says:

      Glad I’m not alone!!! It’s a HUGE undertaking…the furnishing, construction, financial responsibility, etc. It really never ends. And yes! We definitely got a gardener lol.

      Thank you for your sweet words. The house is coming together and I’m finally starting to feel at home :)


  2. Rosna says:

    This is very helpful that you shared with us.. I really loved it.

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