Monday, July 7, 2014

My budget friendly home tour

Hi I'm Ashley, and I am happy to share a tour of my home today on Blissful and Domestic. I am a single mother to a wonderful little boy Trevor. We moved to South West Florida about four years ago just the two of us and have made this place home. In May of last year I purchased my first home as a single woman and mother. I have been able to provide the things we need on a budget, and want to share with you the stories behind how I have been able to decorate my home with second hand and reused materials for a fraction of the cost of new.

About two years ago we lived in a very nice gated apartment community, and the rent was going to be higher than a mortgage for something twice the size. I knew it was time to buy.  I went through the approval process and started looking. I saw this house online and thought....too small. Then I drove by and fell in love with the big porch, stunning gable, and post card stamp front yard. It took about six months but finally, finally, it was ours!

When you pull in to the drive way the first thing you see are these guys. Yep! We're in Florida.

The house was built in 1963 and still has the charm of an old Florida home from that time. I love older things from the 50's and 60's, so this house has me written all over it.

When opening the front door you're greeted by the kitchen.

The kitchen is an open galley with lots of counter and storage space with an open concept to the living room. I was lucky because the previous home owners had redone the kitchen before selling. The best advice my Realtor gave me was to move in and sit on everything for a bit. Dont go in and change everything the first week, he said, sit on it for a bit. So I did, and my wallet is very happy about it! 

I also have a wonderful view of my bougainvillea bushes and honey suckle bush from this window where I wash dishes. 

My 'bougies'

When you turn your back to the kitchen you see the open concept part of the room which is the living space and dining area. 

I'm working on paint colors still. 

This table was a gift from a dear friend and old neighbor Bobbi. She and her fiance moved in together and realizing they had two tables she offered me one. We had been eating on the floor, really, I would put a blanket down and we would eat as if we were having a picnic. It wasn't elegant but I'm proud we made things work, and was very happy to accept this table. 

When I originally received the table the chairs had this interesting fabric on I borrowed a staple gun from a friend and bought a great remnant from a craft store and got to work. The end result was perfect and well within our budget. The remnant was about 4 dollars.



The living area initially felt awkward to me, but this was mostly because my furniture didn't fit the space when we first moved in. I've been able to change things a bit and it has a better flow now.



I snagged this mint green sectional from Craigslist for 300 dollars and moved it for free with a friend who has a truck. I've looked time and again at furniture store ads and see the same couches retail for about a thousand dollars. With two cats and a 5 year old, I dont see the purpose in buying new items that show wear easily or spending full price on them.

My old brown couches I gave away for free on Craigslist as opposed to paying for large item waste removal from the city. It was nice to see them go.

One of the best pieces in my living room is this old tv hutch. I was able to get it for free from Craigslist and painted the front panels to give it a fresh look. It hides my big old tv and fits perfectly on the small wall in the room. One of my favorite things about this piece is that I can put away the clutter and relax without staring at a tv. 

BEFORE                                    AFTER

On top of the tv hutch I have a collection of owls I bought on clearance for less than 20 dollars toward the end of Fall. Most frugal people know, if you see something wait. It will go on clearance!! Imagine a grey wall behind them, one will look great with the contrast of color. The little looking glass owl has a space for candles, I use a flickering LED light. It's great to put on when the lights are dim. The charm is in the detail.

This photo was taken around Easter, hence the eggs.

 When we moved in to the house there were these great black metal curtain rods that match and are fully functional. I kept these and bought curtains on clearance, with a coupon, and used some store merchandise credit from a Christmas return. All in all I paid about 80 dollars for 6 panels, and I love them!! I get asked where I bought them a lot, they were bought from JC Penney about a year ago.

I also bought some great throw pillows for the couches from Kohls. I was able to use a gift card from my sister to make them free after sales, coupon codes, and free shipping. Maximizing discounts on items really helps stretch your dollar and even the dollars on gift cards. There are two more pillows that aren't pictured here. 

One of the neat parts of my house is the lanai, and these curious doors....I didn't open these until a few months ago, with my luck I thought, the second you open those doors they'll fall off the hinges. But one night when vacuuming I found out they're pocket doors! Yes, pocket glass sliding doors to the patio!!! No builder would ever put these in a house now a days. I love them!! This house really has more character than I can express. This is perfect for entertaining and creates an open flow from the living room to the patio. 

Thanks Giving on the patio with family and friends before I attempted opening the pocket doors.

George and Lucy, the previous occupants even left me this table and chair set. To be honest, they were really generous with the things they left in the house, I was also smart enough to keep them and enjoy them instead of throwing away and buying new. I would tell anyone who is starting out or entering a newer and larger space to accept gifts from friends even if they're not exactly your taste. In time you will be able to upgrade everything when it's convenient for you. Be patient.

Back to the living room...

Our coffee table I bought the first year I moved to Florida for $150 dollars at Goodwill. I know, crazy right? But this is the neatest coffee table I've ever seen. It's made of real wood and the book ends open up with drawers for books and such. 

The titles of the books on my table are Ivanhoe, The Odyssey, and Vanity Fair. It weighs about 200 lbs and takes 2 to 3 adults to lift! It's one of the higher cost items in my home and I'd probably buy it again, it's a great conversation piece and extremely unique.

On to my little man's room and the first thing I want to tell you about is the bedroom set. This bed with a slide was given to us by my friend Niki. She was pregnant with her youngest at the time over a year ago and decided to get a bunk bed for her older two kids. One day she asked me if my son had a bed, I said yes. She goes, a twin? I said a toddler bed. The rest is history...

My friend Kim delivered the frame, my coworker and friend Robert and I loaded and moved the dresser and mattress on a lunch break, my friend Jennifer and I put it together, and my son and I picked out new knobs. Let's just say, I could never have bought this bed set for my son and the generosity of my friends is what made it all come together. Their kindness brings tears to my eyes.

This picture is in our old apartment the first night my son slept in his bed. He was so excited!  

The curtains in the little man's room were made new again from an old set we had from our apartment. It had been almost three years since I bought them and couldn't find the same set at the store or online. So I lowered the rods, cut them in half, and hemmed those bad boys! 
You can read a post about it here.



This tv was a gift from a neighbor at our old apartment complex. Our neighbor Britney moved out and asked if we'd like this. I decided to take it knowing Trevor would have his own bedroom at our new house. We dont have cable but I let him watch old VHS tapes at night sometimes when he's going to bed.

Our VHS collection was mostly given to us by my friend and co-worker Joe whose children are my age. He generously gave us his Disney collection, a tv vcr combo, and vcr all of which we've put to good use. This is the media collection in my son's room.

My son has the master which includes a bath room. This entire bathroom set was given to us by someone we met who had just downsized to a smaller home. She said she had a bathroom for her grand kids in her old house but now had less bathrooms and wouldn't use the set. She offered it to us and  my son accepted before I could say anything.

This is something I would have put off buying, but with the kindness of others we were able to have this decorated at no cost to us.

We initially met this woman because she was giving away pink crinum lily bulbs on Craigslist.

It seems everything in my home has a story....the main theme is I rarely pay full price for things anymore. If there is something I want, someone else wanted it too and is now trying to sell it for a loss or even give it away. This is a great savings over buying new. And that's the moral of my story.......I cant afford to buy new, but I've still managed to provide everything we need and for that I'm thankful.

Thank you for visiting my home today!


  1. Sometimes the best things in life are free...

    Great post, I do skim craigslist occasionally to see what I can find for free, or cheap that will fit the decor I like.

    1. Thanks Scott. The best things in life cant be bought, everything else shouldn't leave you broke! Craigslist has been a great resource for me.

  2. Ashley, I really enjoy your blog. Reminded me of the way I saved money when raising my daughter. It also helped me to remember and pick up some of the same ideas to use now. It would be great if you had a place on your blog for me to put my email in. This way when you post I would get an email to let me know you did. Thank you for the many ideas you shared.

    1. Thanks Rita! I think a lot of people do similar things to make things work when they have little kids, a tight budget, or both. It's nice to hear I'm not the only one who does these things with reusing or being frugal. Sometimes I think people put on a front that they're super well off, the keeping up with the Jones' mentality. Instead I'm trying to live in my truth as Suze Orman would put it, and be ok with what I have and be open about it. So, it feels great to hear that you've done similar and see how other people are making it work.

      I'm not sure how to add an email feature on here. I'll have to look in to it!