We Bought a House!

After 13 years of the transient military life (more for Tom), we are finally putting down roots!  I’m still pinching myself over this being real.  Since graduating from West Point in 2009 I’ve lived in 9 different rentals in 5 different states (Hawaii, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Kansas, Hawaii again, and then Virginia again).  It was just part of  life as a military family, but as a person who shares photos of our home on the internet it has been tough.  There have always been major downsides like not enough space, or ugly carpet, or ugly bathrooms with ugly carpet in them (ewww), dark kitchens, no storage space so extra furniture was stacked around the walls of our bedroom, one bathroom for 5 people, difficult 99 year old layouts…we’ve just made due with what we could get for the 1-3 years we were in each location.  It’s been fine and part of the adventure…and the experience has made me really creative with decorating and making it work, but now we can finally make a house OUR home!!!

The lease on our quirky 99 year old Northern Virginia home is up in May, so we’ve been browsing RedFin daily for the past year just to get an idea of what was possible for us.  After feeling completely demoralized because the Northern Virginia housing market is so expensive plus then you typically end up still needing to do a renovation on an old house…I stumbled upon a new build townhouse that allowed us to commit and start planning now, but we won’t be able to move in until closer to when our lease would be up anyway.  I had always assumed we’d live in a single family home, but in this area sometimes you can get more space in a townhouse, and that is certainly the case for us!  Plus this one is brand new so no renovation needed!  We won’t have a yard, but we will have 2 decks and hopefully the neighbors will be ok with the kids scootering around on the shared road.

We got in early enough to where I’m able to make my own choices on flooring, hardware, countertops, fireplace surround, and plumbing fixtures.  What a total dream that I honestly had never even allowed myself to actually dream about because it seemed like such a farfetched idea.  We currently only have 1 full bathroom for our family of 5 (with a half bath in our dungeon of a basement that we don’t let the kids use because the stairs are so steep) and now we will have 4.5 bathrooms.  I can’t even wrap my head around it all!  Drywall should go up in 2 weeks and I’m so excited to see the progression over the next couple of months.  I’ve had trouble sleeping since this ball started rolling early last week because all I can think about is where my furniture will go, what I plan to wallpaper one day, the pendants I’ll put over the island, which barstools to buy, whether or not I made the right choice on countertops, etc.  It’s all just so exciting and surreal!  Our kitchen will look very similar to this kitchen below, but with white cabinets, different hardware, and I already ordered these pendants from Ballard to hang over the island (it’ll be 2 in our kitchen, vs 3 in the photo).  I happened to choose this same flooring, so that should be the same.  I plan to eventually add cabinets up the the ceiling and I’m requesting that the backsplash be continued up to the ceiling.

I’ve been working on some design boards and saving lots of photos on Instagram for inspiration.  More thorough blog posts to come soon!  I plan to use most of what we already have since I’ve always been a collector of vintage and antique furniture and have a bunch of stuff stored in our basement.  I’ll have some furniture painting projects to finalize once it’s warm enough outside and then I’ll finally get to use all of the things I’ve worked so hard to collect over the years!  I will need to buy barstools (there’s room for 4!), a new rug, and maybe a few other things but I think we’re mostly all set with what we have.

I just shared a little video tour on Reels and included some of the choices for counters, hardware, etc.  Some things will change but it’s mostly what I’ll be going with!  Can’t wait to share more in the coming months!

Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. Kelsey
    January 22, 2022 / 12:04 pm

    So exciting!!! The inspiration picture looks beautiful. You deserve it!

    • January 23, 2022 / 4:26 pm

      Thank you so much, Kelsey! It’s actually from a nearby townhouse that the same developers just built, so it actually going to be pretty spot on once ours comes together. I can’t wait!

  2. Carmen Moody
    January 22, 2022 / 4:22 pm

    Ahh Katie, I’m so thrilled for you!! I can’t wait to watch the process of it all & how you decorate etc!

    • January 23, 2022 / 4:26 pm

      Thank you, Carmen! I really appreciate that!

  3. Julie
    January 24, 2022 / 8:38 am

    Congratulations! This is sooo exciting! I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I were in your shoes either; so many ideas would be flying through my head. Thank goodness for Pinterest! Enjoy every moment of this exciting time.

    • January 24, 2022 / 10:51 am

      Thank you so much, Julie! It’s such an exciting time, I keep pinching myself!

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