A (Before) Tour of Our Servantless Downstairs.

When I first wrote the word "downstairs" in this post, it reminded me of "Upstairs, Downstairs" and how that distinguished between the homeowners and the servants. We do not have servants living in this downstairs. This is just a regular old 1980s downstairs. I guess there IS what they deemed a 4th bedroom downstairs, so I guess technically we could have someone living there, but really...it's not the same. With that clarification over, let's begin.…

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Small Kitchen? Add a Kitchen Island Cart!

Small kitchens need islands. Even if it has to be a kitchen island cart (as it did for us as renters)! You'll have seen in this tour of our favorite flat in New Zealand that the kitchen was on the small side. Check out our California kitchen! That photo shows the whole living space. All of it. The "dining area" is on the right wall next to the door to the garage, and you're standing…

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3 Ways to DIY Indoor & Outdoor Patio Seating for (Almost) Free!

The (very inexpensive!) indoor and outdoor patio DIY seating projects we came up with in our last flat in New Zealand. You'd think because I'm go-go-go most of the time, I wouldn't get many chances to sit down. Thus, I'm not sure why I love creating cozy seating so much. Maybe it's because once I finally DO sit down, I want it to be AWESOME. I want my body to sigh with sweet ecstasy over…

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A Tour of the Greatest 700 sq ft Flat in New Zealand!

This is where we 1) lived the longest and 2) did the most! We also had the most outdoor living space here of any of the prior places we'd lived in New Zealand. This granny flat is where we tripled our kitchen counter space, refurbished the most pieces of old furniture, and drank the most of my infamous Lemon Drop Sorbet each summer. First, the tour! It's a quick and easy one. THE FRONT How…

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Our Famous $20 DIY Pallet Coffee Table With Wheels!

Making a gorgeous DIY pallet coffee table for next to nothing! In our first New Zealand flat, we didn't have a coffee table. We'd been trying to make do with as little as we could. But when we moved into our second flat in New Zealand, it didn't have any room for a dining table. We had to get creative. So we decided to make our own coffee table—and put wheels on it! That way…

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The Lazy Way to Recover Cushion Covers.

Now, lest you think this article is going to give you painstakingly detailed step-by-step how to instructions on reupholstering chair cushions, or how to sew new cushion covers, let me be clear from the start: I am not a seamstress. Yes, I own a sewing machine. Yes, I sew things. But, as I often tell people when they sound impressed I sewed something myself: "I ONLY SEW IN STRAIGHT LINES." (I say that in the…

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3 Ridiculous Small Space Storage Problems We Solved in Our Second Flat!

Organizing storage for small spaces in our new home! As this flat was BRAND NEW, to say that we were excited to move into it was an understatement. We'd learned that not many buildings in New Zealand were built to the right standards, so we had high hopes for this new build. It was "a granny flat"—an apartment attached to a larger home. The owners had just built this house and were renting out the…

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Tour Our First Flat in New Zealand! (And How I’m a Crazy Plant Lady.)

When we first arrived in New Zealand, we had arranged to stay in a little rental for a week while we found a new apartment. Matt's new job meant he'd be working at an office in the CBD (Central Business District, or "downtown") and we wanted him to be able to walk to work, which narrowed our search quite a bit. Finally we found what appeared to be a great place with a garage and…

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Why (and How) We Suddenly Quit Our High-paying Jobs and Moved to New Zealand!

When we first got married, we made it a goal to save up all our vacation time each year and go on one big international trip. At least one per year, for 3-4 weeks. (We were both working full time, had no kids, and saving for each trip was a priority for us over spending on other things.) The first year, it was Fiji. Second year, we meandered through several of our favorite countries in…

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Our First Complete Backyard Renovation.

Even though it was nearly a blank slate, this backyard was one of the top two reasons we decided to buy this house. FREE: Grab our Design Mini-guide HERE! We loved that it opened up to this green space (with a golf course beyond it) and walking trails, and that we would have no neighbors behind us. However, it was clear no one was gardening in it, making it pretty—or apparently even using this lovely little…

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