The Simply Luxurious House: Phase One of TSLL’s Home Customization: Where to Begin?

Oct 23, 2019

View this post on Instagram

Home #tsllelevatetheeveryday

A post shared by Shannon Ables (@thesimplyluxuriouslife) on

And so it begins. TSLL’s house begins to become a home. Or at least it has begun in my mind. 🙂

Customizing our homes to best suit the needs of the inhabitants, whilst offering not only comfort on a daily basis but inspiration as well is no low bar to step over, but rather quite a high hurdle that requires skill (interior decor and design know-how), momentum (i.e. savings, funds, money) and endurance (i.e. patience coupled with perseverance).

Some delight in decorating as a passion or pastime, but I will admit freely, I am more of the mindset to prefer to complete a decor that suits my taste for years to come, so that I can simply live my life within the four walls and be at peace going about my life and projects, as well as coming home after a wonderful excursion of travel to a sanctuary that greets me with a warm, recognizable hug. However, that also requires that the initial decorating and design be done well to ensure timelessness and durability.

Today begins the first of a series of posts that will stretch until the customization of my new home is complete. So, technically, this series could go on for quite some time, but in reality, there are a few projects I hope to have finished in a year’s time so long as my budget allows.

So yes, the journey has just begun, and while the ideas are mere hopes and images in my head and no changes have yet occurred, now I have a canvas that I can see with my own eyes, which means I can begin to bring it to life.

What I hope to do along this journey is share what has worked for me, what has not and how I maneuvered around the latter successfully or at all. So far, I am still at square one, but the engine has been turned on and hopefully there will be forward movement soon.

Where to Begin?

1.Understand how you want to live in your home.

Knowing ourselves and what we need versus what we want will bring clarity to how we need our space to be decorated as well as designed should we be considering making architectural changes to our home.

I immediately knew that my kitchen would need my attention first to improve the ease of cooking and function in such a way to enable me to enjoy stepping into it every day. (As I move forward in this particular project, I will explain what needs to be updated, changed and why.)

As well, organization needs to be tended to. Since I am living in a small space, the design and decorations need to be thoughtful yet functional. Clutter equals unnecessary stress and confusion in daily living, and fewer, yet necessary and loved items equals efficiency and comfort.

With this knowledge in mind my mudroom and my garage were put on my list as needing attention, as well as a permanent way to store and display my many books, from cookbooks to books I have in my office that are overflowing on the shelves I currently have.

2. Begin to look for experts to help you bring your vision to life

The need to find a contractor was at the top of my list, but finding the right contractor can be difficult. Currently, I am in the first stages of the relationship building process with a contractor who has been working in Bend for decades. So far, so good, as I have shared my ideas in detail, given a tour of my home and am waiting patiently (see, there is that skill of endurance coming into play as this journey begins) to determine what my budget will allow once the estimates arrive.

3. Create a Mood Board

Currently, I am beginning to create my mood board for my aforementioned rooms and projects. If any work on the house begins, it will likely begin sometime next year, but that means I have time to carefully pull together my color schemes, themes, colors, fabrics, textures and furniture to help ensure clear communication.

With this task at hand, I am the student. I am wanting to make sure I make the best decision for the home I want to live in for years, so this process will no doubt take time.

Now that I know the style of my home, a Craftsman, albeit with modern touches and finishes, I can decide how many traditional Craftsman touches I want to welcome back into the design, as well as the proportions and space I am working with. I am reminding myself to slow down, enjoy this part of the process and let myself explore. The good news is I do have less square footage (1600) to decorate which means my budget can invest well, but it also mean that what I invest in will be front and center.

In the meantime, while I work on my mood board this fall and winter, I have been tending to my yard, doing what I can to make sure the spring is bright, and full of perennials and smile-making blooms after what could be a long, cold winter. From transplating my 40 daffodils from my previous home to planting 40 new tulips along my front walking path, as well as planting a new rose bush that will hopefully be very happy where it was given a home, the outdoor projects provide an outlet for when the projects on the inside are moving at a seemingly glacial pace.

Oh! And the garden! Currently I am reading the following three books to learn more about how to welcome French herbs and edibles into my yard, and with our springs and summers arriving late in Bend, I will likely be starting some of the plants indoors which means winter garden planning is a must.

Needless to say, I am reservedly giddy about beginning this journey, and cannot wait to see when and how it all comes together. I am confident the journey will be worth the effort and patience.

Thank you for choosing to join me, and look for more posts to come in the next few months in this series. You will be able to find all posts on this topic in TSLL’s Archives, under TSLL’s House.

27 thoughts on “The Simply Luxurious House: Phase One of TSLL’s Home Customization: Where to Begin?

  1. We bought a house about a year ago and are right in the thick of making it our home too! It is stressful but fun. Our little “chateau” is coming aliong.

  2. Such fun Shannon !
    I know you will enjoy the end result, but remember to enjoy the planning steps as well , finding just the right colours, lighting and textures , as well as the right places for your existing treasures .
    You already know that although some changes will require serious investment , sometimes simple and inexpensive solutions can be found , which will work well , and delight you as you discover them.
    It’s all part of the adventure of choosing how yo want your home and garden to look and feel , and how it best works for you and the boys.
    Enjoy ??
    Best wishes from a lovely sunny UK autumn day,

  3. Hei Shannon!
    I love to read and hear from you.
    Your books are now on they journey to Norway!
    Do you have a pod about willpower and how to strengthen it?
    I really want to help and fix myself, but too often all the plans or goals are tossed aside when life appears again and again.
    Longing for the books – the will be here around Nov. 9th – jippi!

  4. Shannon, you will have so much fun making your house a home. We have lived in our home 21 years now, and it has gone through many transformations. It has taught me so much about myself and what I truly like to have around me, how I want it to function etc. I have learned less is more! We have a beautiful cozy home with essential things and the items we love to have around us that we find meaningful and beautiful. The goal for us is to have simplicity in our home because less things to care for, maintain, and keep clean frees us up to enjoy it more and have experiences outside the home. Coming home always feel like a big warm hug, instead of a burden with so many things to take care of.
    Boy that was longwinded, but I feel our home is about the most important aspect of our lives. Best wishes to you always on this exciting journey creating your home!!!

  5. Hi Shannon. Enjoy the journey of making your new house a home…your home! It I may add a piece of advice, (feel free to discard it if you choose), it is this….know yourself and what you want. I believe you already know these two things very well, as you’ve written books and blog posts about it. But, I have found that there is someone around every corner, contractors, decorators, well-meaning friends, who will all try to tell you what they think is best for you and/or your house.

    For example, we were doing an outside remodel with new siding, trim, front door, etc. My husband is an excellent draftsman, and he designed a pediment for our front door in minute detail. When showing this design to our contractor, I allowed this person to talk us into something we did not want…..the changes made because our design was more complex; and, in hindsight, he didn’t want to do the work….work we were willing to pay for. My now uninspiring pediment greets us everyday when we arrive home. It saddens me, and the only good thing I learned from it is to stand your ground. Yes, keep an open mind, but also know what you want and be able to express it clearly.

    I know you must be receiving advice at every turn, so please feel free to disregard mine if you feel inundated. Best wishes on your journey, and I look forward to seeing your new house posts.


    1. Bev, I greatly appreciate your reminder which doesn’t hurt being said regularly. I am so sorry to hear of your experience. If nothing else, you have now likely helped many others avoid such a situation and outcome. Thank you very much for your comment.

  6. This is exactly what I needed to read! I just moved to Texas from Ohio and have a new home as well. It’s a rental so it’s a bit different. But I am going through something very similar that you are. I love the idea of the mood board. I may have to borrow that idea. Thank you for sharing your experience and ideas.

    1. Ashley, I am very excited for you! Rental or owned, either way, it takes time to make it our sanctuary, but it can all come together. I look forward to sharing how my mood board comes together. Pulling out one of the large cork boards that needs a home and going to use it moving forward. More visual and easier to change as I go. Have fun!

  7. Oooh !!! This is going to be so much fun !!!
    I bought my house 5yrs ago for my 2 kiddo’s & I – every room was transformed . Remember to hold your cup of tea & breathe in how proud of yourself you are to have made this dream come true !! <3

  8. It will be exciting to see updates to your home as you go through the process of making it your lovely sanctuary. I still find it fun to putter around changing accessories to refresh a 32 year old home. Enjoy!

    1. Karen, So excited to share. ☺️ And those simple small changes and tweaks we make as we go are fun as well as they reflect our growth and awareness of ourselves and the life we enjoy living. Thanks again for stopping by!

  9. As a writer and editor, my favorite design book will always be Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature. Lisa Giramonti inspires us to create a home that’s as lushly conceived as any Regency romance novel or World War II roman a clef. Check it out!

  10. Ooooh, Shannon, I am so excited for you. Our first house was an early (1910) Craftsman that even had a front porch swing in place! We did some cosmetic rehab work on the house and discovered lots of history within its walls. When we removed the large plate glass mirror in the bathroom, there were the original gas-jet orifices for the lamps!
    Enjoy! Take lots of photos!

  11. Shannon what an exciting journey for you. Taking time to live and get used to your surroundings before embarking on the great renovation means you can have time to do all your research and might save you money in the long run. Look forward to all the updates?

  12. SO excited for you. Last spring I had my place repainted in cream with white on the woodwork. Color is provided by large art work & some green plants. I wanted the tan brick fireplace repainted & hadn’t thought beyond matching the walls. The painter suggested black to add some drama. I was uncertain but liked photos I saw on Pinterest, and if I didn’t like it he said he would repaint it at no additional charge. I love it! My only point in sharing this is to have a plan yet remain open to suggestions. A lot of painters would likely not have questioned my plan and I would have missed out on a great unexpected change. Enjoy the journey! Looking forward to seeing it evolve.

  13. Hi Shannon – I’m looking forward to seeing all your improvements and decorating. I love decorating, landscaping and making a house or apartment a home. I have a request: would you take Before and After pictures for us of everything…all 4 sides of the exterior of your house and yard plus different views of each room as you go? It looks like you have some very interesting windows and great color-scheme in your living room. The furniture and accessories are beautiful!

    The best of luck with everything. Three pieces of advice: (1) (This is well-known) Everything almost always takes longer and costs more than anticipated. Have a ‘cushion’. (2) Contractors (especially painters) are a different breed and very independent. They can drive you to distraction because they are usually working on more than one job at the same time as yours and will leave your job to go work on another one. (Grrrrr!) (3) Get references and call them. Drive by their homes if you can. Don’t be shy about stopping and asking questions. One more…Keep Your Jets Cool!!!!

    A Bientôt

  14. I love seeing your house and love all your writings about home. I’m so excited that we get a little peek into this journey with you. Congrats on your home. I can’t wait to see how it evolves. xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *