Episode #12: Elsie’s Forever-ish Home

Hello friends! This week, we have a BIG announcement! I (Elsie) have found our forever home and we will be remodeling it and moving soon. You’ll get the full story and lots of details in this episode!

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

We’re also excited to introduce our sponsor, Agility by Therapedic! Emma recently switched her mattress, and you can hear more about it on this week’s episode! Agility is offering our readers $200 off a mattress purchase with our code ‘ABM’ (can’t be combined with any other offers) and we have a few other exciting things planned with them in the upcoming months. Visit www.agilitybed.com/abm to learn more!

Show notes:
-I am SO excited to share our new home with you today in our first episode of the year. As many of you know, we have been house shopping in the Nashville area on and off for the past year. I talked more about our initial house shopping in Episode 2.

It was quite a journey this time because we really wanted to find something that checked a LOT of boxes that we could settle into and improve over time. We are considering this our forever home, or forever-ish, more accurately! What I mean by that is that we have no intention of selling this home and it is not a stair-step to another home; it’s a home we can see ourselves living in, well, forever. But I’m also super uncomfortable with the term “forever” since we all know life is unpredictable. Still, it feels great to begin renovating a home we have no plans of leaving.

First of all, I’d love to share a few photos of our new home with you!

Here are a few peeks into our 1965 home. We made sure to take “before” photos of every room when we closed, and I’m so glad we didn’t wait too long because the basement was demo’ed two days later!

As you can see from the photos above, our home has a super ’60s exterior and we’re excited to lean into that style as we renovate the home. You all know I have a deep love for retro homes, but I had my heart set on a historic home in Nashville. However, after looking at so many, my husband confessed that he was more into mid-century homes. That was a defining moment for me and made my choice so much easier since I truly love both types of homes!


-Here is the home I mentioned with the angel murals. It’s the same one as the dead squirrel pool, but I will spare you of that! (We have like 100 silly photos like this—gonna make a coffee table book, haha)

Timeline and phase one plans- 
We closed on this home in December and are currently working on a phase one renovation before we move in early March. Phase one includes redoing all the floors in the home (refinishing some wood and adding some wood floors and new stairs), building Jeremy’s studio out in our basement, painting a lot of white walls, and decorating the girls’ bedrooms so they can have some comforts and exciting memories when we move in.

Phase two and three plans- 
Phase two will be the rest of this year and into 2021. It includes decorating one room at a time. I want to fully enjoy the renovation experience and really soak in every bit of it. So no rushing!

Phase three will include an addition to the home where we plan to add two bedrooms, a dream kitchen and a living space. It will also include a backyard renovation with a large deck with a hot tub and possibly a swimming pool. Phase three will begin as soon as we have design, permits and savings in place (so not sure when, but we’re not in a rush). We’re very much in the dreaming phase for this part of our renovation right now.

-Do you like the analogy of dating being the same as house shopping? It feels so similar to me. Haha!

Listener question: Tips for staying on task and being productive as a business owner.

-Make a list and prioritize your “must do” list and your “want to do” list.

-Figure out what time of day you are productive and work then.

-Find tools or systems to stay on track and stay organized. Whatever works for you is great!

The Now Habit <– read this book!

Smart Passive Income Podcast (and here’s the episode we were on)

-The Food Blogger Pro Podcast 

-Build a schedule where you know when it’s time to batch work and when it’s OK to organize or even do something fun as a treat! I schedule every Friday as an overflow day and it has changed my workweek for the better. If you work from home, cleaning up your workspace IS important work.

OK! So I am doing a Q+A post coming up regarding our new home/move, so if you have a question, leave it for me in the comments!

Happy Monday! Elsie + Emma

Episode 12 Transcript

Nova: This is going to be the longest podcast I’ve ever seen…

Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. Today. Elsie is sharing a really, really big announcement and I’m very excited. Plus, we’re also going to answer another juicy listener question. And this episode is sponsored by Agility Bed. We’ll share more about them later in the episode.

Elsie: Okay, it’s time. I am so excited because I’ve been kind of keeping a secret for about a month, two months-ish month and a half?

Emma: And yeah, I knew about it. Suckers. (laughs).

Elsie: Yeah. Ok. So everyone knows we were house shopping for most of the year last year and we really wanted to move before our daughter enters kindergarten next fall. That was one of our big motivators.

Emma: Yes. You talked about this and if people are new. It’s in episode two, which when we first launched this podcast, we put like three episodes up at once. So if you go to abeautifulmess.com/podcast, it’s in like the very first one. It’s Episode 2. Yes.

Elsie: Ok. So we found a house. That’s the announcement. Yeah! So in this episode, we’re going to talk all about the new home, the timeline, the details. What type of home? And I mean, just everything. So I’m so excited to finally share all of this with you. I kind of felt like I didn’t want to dump it all on the Internet right before Christmas when everyone was so busy. And, you know, we had I don’t know, it just was.

Emma: Yeah. And a lot gets like lost in the shuffle. And I feel like if you’re not talking about the holidays right before the holidays, then just shut up a little bit. We’re all just focused on the holidays, so we can’t think about these other things, you know? Ok. So first, back up just a little. Just in case people haven’t heard Episode 2 and also like I’ve heard all of this, but I just, I like to hear about different areas of the country. So I’d love it if you told everyone a little bit more why you were looking to move. Because I think from the outside, looking in, someone who doesn’t know very much about your family or about your life might be like, oh, but you have this beautiful house that it’s big enough for your size family and you’re done renovating it. So why would you ever move? And I think that if you don’t know some more things about the situation, that could…that make sense. But I would love for you to tell them a little more about some of the challenges in Nashville and what you were looking for in the house, not only like features of the house, but also just like the area and some things that pertain to your family. Okay, I’m rambling go ahead.

Elsie: Ok. So the home we live in is amazing. We love it. We haven’t listed it yet. We’re probably going to list it around March ish. We love it so much. But here’s the thing. We bought this house when we didn’t…we still lived in Missouri when we bought this house. So we didn’t know Nashville yet. We didn’t know what parts of town we would spend the most time in. And also, we didn’t have children yet. So getting, you know, with our daughter entering kindergarten next fall, that was a huge decision for us. It was definitely the biggest consideration in shopping for our next home, because really the home we live in now, there were no public or private or charter schools that we were interested in that were very close to our home. So there was no option that was close to our home. And it’s nuts. We’re just not the people who are willing to drive 30 minutes every morning for a school drop off and great if someone else is. But that’s just ah, it was a hard line for us. So we wanted to move close to a school. There’s lots of different options. I’m not going to go into it because it’s so complicated and so personal whether you choose private or public or charter or, you know, there’s even more options beyond that. But we picked the best thing for us, for our family. And yeah, it was such a long journey. Like I lost lots of sleep over it.

Emma: Oh, yeah. You called me multiple times being like, oh, I’ve put them on the list for another school. We’re on a list for another. And it was I just thought it was interesting, too. Well, I mean, and I felt sad for you because you were very stressed about it and I could tell how much it mattered to you. And you were, it felt like you were like, it was this insurmountable thing that you couldn’t get ahead of. It was weird because growing up, we just had like one public school I went to and it was good.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: There is nothing wrong with it. And the bus came and it was just like so simple, like it’s something out of a movie. And I kind of, this is my own being naive, but I just thought that’s kind of what most areas were like. So it’s interesting to see you. I mean, Nashville is a much bigger city than Springfield, Missouri. So I’m sure there’s lots of other places around the country where parents are facing a similar thing. But just interesting. And of course, there’s lots of other options. And I think parents should obviously choose whatever is best for them and their family. But that was a strange thing to watch you go through, and once you explained it more to me, I felt like, oh yeah, I totally get it. Like they basically have to move if they want to get both their girls somewhere that’s going to work well for them.

Elsie: Yeah. So schools were a big part of it. A couple more of our must haves: so we love the house we’re in so much. But it was my first big remodel, so I did feel excited to have another sort of like second chance at a big remodel, if that makes sense. So I wanted…I wanted a house that had a lot of room to improve. So in our area where we were shopping, Nashville and then some of the surrounding suburbs, there are so many houses that are already fully renovated. And basically all of those were off the list for us because we couldn’t, you know, stomach the idea of paying the big markup of someone fully renovating a kitchen and all the bathrooms and then us still wanting to make changes and basically redo the whole thing. A new build was never an option for me this time. It just didn’t feel right in my gut to design all the rooms at once. There were definitely tempting things about it, but I just knew that I didn’t want to design the rooms at once. I want to design it slowly, and I knew that that would be more satisfying for me. And we wanted something with historic charm. Originally, we wanted a home that was like a historic, historic home like from the early nineteen hundreds. And what we ended up getting is a house from the 60s which. Yeah. The home we live in now is from 70s. So very similar in some ways and also very different in other ways. And it has like a beautiful mid-century exterior, like really charming, like some special features like vaulted ceilings, stone fireplace. But it also has a lot of gaps missing that I feel really excited about. Like it has a new kitchen, it doesn’t have a historic kitchen. So I don’t feel at all that eventually we’re gonna rip out the whole thing.

Emma: Yeah. Last time I was in town, we got to drive by and Nova pointed it out. Well, I mean, you told her like, oh, point for aunt Emma. But it was really cute. It was very. I feel like if you Google midcentury, this is the kind of house that will pop up. Like it’s very like classic nineteen sixties to me. But yeah, it’s very cute. OK, so tell us how many houses generally or if you know the exact number, did you look at before and did you have any that you were like, oh I’m so sad we lost that one. We got outbid or whatever. Or did you have any that you’re like, actually I’m glad that one didn’t work out.

Elsie: Yes. So we looked at I would say in person maybe like 15 or 20, not that many, but online I was searching. I saw every single house that popped up in Nashville and the surrounding areas for sale for the last, I don’t know, eight or nine, maybe 12 months. So, yeah. Shopping daily. Like I said before on the podcast, even when we were in China, there was like a house I had my eye on, which is insane and like the worst time ever to be house shopping bag, just sort of like always had a finger on it. So yeah, we looked at a bunch, we bid on three. The one we ended up getting was our third. The first one was a historic home in East Nashville, which was what I really thought I wanted. But in the end, when it didn’t work out, I had a lot of relief instead of sadness. So I think it just wasn’t meant to be like in every neighborhood. There’s like a big give and take. And there were some big give and takes in that situation. I told you on the episode, I’m not sure what episode was in Episode 2 where we talked about Forever Homes.

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: On that episode, I talked about like the scary house that we looked at. That would have been sort of like a new build inside of the shell of a historic home. That one kind of had my heart for a minute. And it was sad we couldn’t do it because we couldn’t make certain changes that were like hard lines for us. And then the second one we bid on was in the same area where we ended up. And it was, I think, at face value. There were things about the house that were better because it had a swimming pool and it was a little bit bigger. But I think in the long term, the house we ended up with is better because it has a more beautiful exterior and some just like original things that are more I don’t know, I just I like the neighborhood better too, it was like a little more special to me and we’ll add a swimming pool. So whatever. Yeah. So we looked a bunch. I do have a couple funny stories. If you want to hear those from house shopping, so there have one that I’m hoping you tell. So let’s see if you we’ll see if you do.

Emma: Yes, I know what you’re thinking. OK. So the first house we ever looked at this was I think it might have been over a year ago. And it was this really amazing mid-century home that it was built by the designer for himself. And it had an incredible exterior that inside ended up being like nothing, nothing special. And it didn’t feel right for us. And the neighborhood was not yeah, it wasn’t right for us, but it had this like front curb appeal that was just like baller like. So amazing. So anyway, that house was funny because when we went to it with our realtor to view it, the people it, kind of an older couple kind of maybe my parents’ age a little older, they wouldn’t leave. They showed us the whole house. And that is the ultimate worst thing that can happen when you’re house shopping for me. Because I don’t feel like I can really look the way I want to look at the house. And they’re like walking through, pointing out things that you don’t care about at all. You know, sort of like things that you just know you wouldn’t keep. So, yeah, that was definitely my most uncomfortable. And then the.

Emma: Yes. I looked at a house one time that was like that with Trey. The couple was there. And our realtor was too. And they kept pointing things out like they were so into this fireplace in their home. It was made of this like fossil stone. And to me, I’d already seen the photos and I knew like before. I didn’t know they were gonna give us a tour of the house, but I had already knew like, oh, I’m gonna be looking to see if this we could rip this out to make a more open floor plan.

Elsie: That’s how it always is.

Emma: So it was so sad. Yeah. I was just like, I can’t say anything out loud to my husband right now who are looking at this house with. But I would for sure rip this out and don’t want the house if I can’t. So this is awkward.

Elsie: Oh, yeah. Most of the houses we looked at didn’t have anyone there. There was one where the realtor was waiting for us inside and she was sort of like frantic acting. And she was saying that basically they needed to sell it that day. And here’s this long story. Ten minutes as to why that has nothing to do with you. And oh, there’s this little unfinished part. And I just want to warn you, before you see it — it was like a half finished bathroom. And I was like, OK, you are like really not helping the situation at all because, you know…

Emma: Yeah that’s very high pressure. Yeah. Oh, I feel like when you walk through the house, you know, you already know. I mean, for us, it’s like within a couple minutes we know whether or not it’s one we’re even interested in, you know, to further explore. And then also, you pretty much know, like the things that are the features that you like, our selling points and the features that you would change. And like you kind of don’t need to know the details in the story behind, you know, a half finished bathroom. BFD.

Emma: Yeah. Not really. It’s like, okay. They probably ran out of time or money. I got it. This bathroom isn’t finished.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: Pretty straightforward. Yeah. That’s a bit weird. Maybe it would be different if you guys had been like investors showing up because. But I just feel like when you’re looking for a house that you’re planning to stay in for ten years or more. I mean, I don’t care if you need to sell it that day. That’s just none of my business.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: And I need to decide if this house is right for me. I don’t know. It’s just a strange tactic. I’m like, that’s weird. I’m sure she was telling the truth. I just mean, like, that’s a weird, weird way to play it. Oh, no, it wasn’t helpful. Yeah, that’s awkward.

Elsie: OK. So one more story. All right. So the house that we the second we made an offer on where it was like a great home, but like just the front of it and the neighborhood was a little off to me. And when it didn’t work out, I felt relieved, too. Cause it’s like the front of the house and the neighborhood. Are the things that, like, maybe you can change the front. You can never change the neighborhood. Right.

Emma: Yeah exactly.

Elsie: I don’t know. But it was beginning to feel a little desperate. So there were good things. There were really cool things about this house. Anyway, so this was so sad and gross and horrible and. Okay, here’s the thing. We saw this house pop up when we were in Missouri for Halloween. And we as soon as we got home, we went and saw it the next morning. So it had been listed for maybe 48 hours at the most. And…

Emma: So it’s just on the market.

Elsie: It was brand new on the market. And I…it was one of those ones where we walked in. I’m gonna put some pictures in the show notes. It’s the one that has the angels. You’ll see. And…the angel mural in the entry way. It was really a selling point. So anyway, Ting was with us and he was taking a lot we take a lot of selfies when he comes is just like something stupid that we like doing. And it has honestly no point, but we have a huge collection of selfies and like funny bathrooms. And anyway, should be a coffee table book for yourself.

Elsie: Yeah. I have pictures where he’s like sitting in like dirty bathtubs. And it’s just so random and strange yet. I think I have like four years of archives now anyway. So he was with us and we were taking our selfies, as we always do. And there was a swimming pool, which this was like a big thing because I really, really want a swimming pool. Our girls love to swim and, yeah. It just felt very like this would be a cool thing anyway. So it wasn’t super clean. It was fall. It was after Halloween. It was, I guess, early November. And I didn’t really notice. But later on upon further inspection, Jeremy told me that he had seen a dead squirrel was floating in the pool. And then we looked back at our pictures and it’s just right there in every picture, so.

Emma: No, no, no, no.

Elsie: I kind of feel like maybe it was a sign like in the end when it didn’t work out. It was like I never would have been able to forget about that squirrel.

Emma: And the house had been on the market for only two days.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: So it’s like, what did the squirrel fall in the day before?

Elsie: I kind of felt like that they should have caught that. But anyway, it’s all good. Someone else got that house and I hope that they never listen to this episode.

Emma: But still they get to keep the squirrel. That’s what we really want to know.

Elsie: Oh, my God.

Emma: Those didn’t workout. You found the house that you…and it’s a charming little mid-century. Well, not little, but good sized mid-century.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: And it’s going to have great schools for your girls. So life is good. So tell us a little more about what you’ve started so far and like just generally the timeline, right? Because I’m guessing you’re not planning to move in quite yet. You haven’t listed your house yet. So. What’s the deal?

Elsie: Okay. So moving with little kids is such a brain teaser. If anyone wants to send me advice for something that worked well for you. I would love to hear that. All right. So for us, we decided, well, obviously, we didn’t make a contingency offer. We’ve already closed on the house in December and we right now have two homes. So two mortgages. So it’s like a little bit annoying. But for us, we felt it was worth it to have a little bit of a gap to do a phase one quickie remodel before we move in and then not have to have as many lingering projects that we want to do right away with our girls living in the house. Because I do have like a little bit of a sensitivity towards like, I don’t want a lot of chemicals around like our children.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: Yeah. So and, you know, obviously like paint and flooring and all these things, like whether you like it or not, is, you know, kind of toxic. So I wanted to give it a chance to breathe. So. All right. We closed in December. We already started remodeling. So it’s a Phase 1 renovation. And maybe it will sound extensive to some. But to us, this is very minimal. So what we’re doing and we’re planning to move in March. So what we’re doing up until that point is sanding and refinishing the hardwoods that are there, ripping out carpet where there was carpet in the basement, adding some hardwoods there and building some walls to make Jeremy a studio because he works at home as a music producer. So kind of similar to the house we live in now. He’s going to have a basement studio, but this time we’re extensively soundproofing it because that’s something that we didn’t have the money or really the education to do last time that we always regretted. Like this is a great home studio. But he records a lot of stringed instruments. So you have to like the whole house surrounding has to be very quiet. And with two kids and two dogs, that’s pretty challenging.

Emma: Yeah. Yeah, because yeah, you actually record, Elsie and I record from our separate homes. And Elsie is in his basement studio right now recording this episode that’s where you record and it’s great for podcasts and I’m sure other things. But yeah, that makes sense. I don’t. I don’t play any stringed instruments, but I could see how that would be a lot more sensitive.

Elsie: It’s the quietest thing you can record. That and he’s singing. So I guess speaking what we’re doing now is quite you. But also it’s like if you hear a little bit of a vacuum or like a noise in the background of our podcasting, no one cares. It’s a lot different than music.

Emma: Yeah it’s a pretty chill setup. Yeah. So other than that, we’re starting painting and I have phase one phase two phase three planned out. So phase one before March. Just what I’ve said. The floors, building some walls and kind of getting started on some of the rooms. And then phase two is completing rooms one at a time and we have a checklist and an order to go in. And I’m very committed this time to staying one at a time instead of trying to take on too many at once, like we’re not ripping out and remodeling any bathrooms or any kitchens before we move in. We’re moving in with what’s there, which is very different from what we did last time. So a couple of the rooms that are on our phase two list are the girls bedrooms. We want to do that right away so that they can feel settled and special and excited for their new home because it’s quite a big transition for little kids to move. Because I’ll also be moving schools and you know, there’s a sense of of loss there. So we want to give them a sense of excitement as well.

Emma: Mm hmm.

Elsie: And then some of the living spaces are our next first priority. Just because we want to get it where it feels like home as quickly as we can.

Emma: Mm hmm.

Elsie: Yeah. And then for phase three, which we won’t start until I don’t even think we’ll probably start in 2020. I think we’ll start it in 2021 is to do an addition. And it is a pretty significant addition that will change the layout of the home. It will add a couple bedrooms. It will change the kitchen to a new place. And that will be when we do our dream kitchen. So until that point, we’ll just kind of be happy with the kitchen that’s there. Maybe paint it, maybe not.

Emma: How many bedrooms is it like now?

Elsie: OK. So on the listing, it said four, but they were like counting the basement. So it’s it’s three. Yeah. They were counting the basement like just a big open basement is a bedroom, which to me is like not so much. So it’s three right now. And after the additional it will be five. Yeah. So we’re so excited. Like the dream kitchen is pretty consuming and I’m considering doing a sunken living room right next to it, which you’ll see in just like a super, super 60s design choice. I mean, I don’t know if it’ll work out like architecturally or not, but I’m going to try for it some like sort of like pretty decks that you can walk out to with big doors. And we’re planning to add a pool and hot tub and like a deck. So it will be, it will take years, like in three years, five years, probably. We’ll still be working on this home. But it’s — we’re calling it our foreverish home, and.

Emma: Yeah explain that, what is foreverish home? Because I think we’re probably going to call that episode that. So what does that mean?

Elsie: Yeah. So I thought a lot about like the idea of a forever home. And we did a whole episode, episode two about it. But I don’t really believe that, like the idea of forever really exists, like at least not on this earth. It just doesn’t. And you don’t know where life is going to take you. So why I’m calling it our foreverish home is that like, this is as forever as it can be. You know, with like the normal loopholes that life throws at you. So we’re not planning…we’re planning to, you know, renovate this home, make it our dream home, and we’re planning to stay there. And, you know, by all means, we could still be living there when we’re retired. So I feel like that’s pretty forever. But at the same time, like we don’t know what life is gonna bring our way, you know? And so, yeah, I feel like it’s it’s a home where you have no plans to leave and it’s not a stair step to another home, you know? Yeah. That’s about as good as it can get for me. Yeah. I feel like at some point, though, I’m going to talk you into moving back to Springfield when you retire. So…

Elsie: She tries so much like we we don’t fight about it as much anymore because I just kind of like tell her I’m going to even though I’m not.

Emma: Oh, now you’ve just told me your whole system.

Elsie: I mean, I’m like maybe…and it’ll always be a maybe.

Emma: Well, yeah, I mean, I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it because basically I’m right and you’re wrong. You should. But you know, whatever, you can just keep telling me that you will, even though you’re not.

Elsie: I love Nashville so much like I don’t mean to be like saying really sad things about the housing market, but the housing market is, it’s like you love Nashville in spite of the housing market, not because of the housing market. If you know what I’m saying.

Emma: Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s all big cities like I loved living in Los Angeles, but I hated the traffic. I mean, that’s a no duh. And anyone who’s even visited there can see that, that doesn’t mean the city’s terrible, the city’s wonderful. But, you know, there’s some things that are hard.

Elsie: Yes. OK. So I’m going to put some pictures of the new home in the shownotes. abeautifulmess.com/podcast is where our show notes go. I’m going to put some photos of the new home. I’m excited to show it. I did my before pictures kind of rushed this time. And then like, the basement was like ripped out the next day when we went back. Because we went back yeah to show our kids. And it was already ripped out. So it’s crazy how quickly this one has gone. But I got the before photos. That’s all that matters. And yeah, I’ll put some in the show notes just for fun. OK. So I want to keep talking about this. But first, let’s take a break and have a word from this week’s sponsor.

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Emma: So a couple more questions. So how do you plan to renovate this house that you’re gonna be moving into differently from the house you’re currently living in?

Elsie: Ok. So I feel like I learned some lessons the hard way on the home we’re currently living in like it turned out great and I’m super proud of it. But I took on so many rooms at once and in some of them I felt like I rushed too much where like, even though I was happy with the outcome, I didn’t enjoy the process as much as I could have. So for this home, I’m just excited to kind of lean into like slowly taking one room at a time, not rushing to any certain finish line like I don’t care when the house is finished, which that feels really good to say. I’m just excited to work on it, you know, over the next few years and, you know, really put some time and love into it.

Emma: That makes sense. And then. Do you have a room that you’re most excited to renovate or space? Maybe. Maybe it’s not a room I don’t know.

Elsie: Before, I have kind of like the pre-addition and then after the addition. So like how it is now in our Phase 1 and 2, the room I’m the most excited about doing is the deck. It’s like a double deck because there’s like you walk out from sort of like the living room kitchen area and then below it you walk out from the basement living room and it’s a beautiful deck already. But I have so many ideas for how to improve it on like a quick low budget and enjoy it over the next year or two before we rip it off and start over. So, yeah, I’m I’m very excited about having an outdoor space. That was one of my big things in our current home that we never did was we never had any kind of porch, which is so weird. I guess there was a sunroom. So you can sort of count that, but not really.

Emma: And you made those playhouses.

Elsie: That’s true. The playhouses were…

Emma: I mean, that’s not the same thing as a porch at all, but it’s something for your kids to do.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: You know.

Elsie: Anyway, yeah I’m very excited about redoing the deck. And then after the addition, I think I’m the most excited to design a dream kitchen. Because I’ve never done a kitchen before that wasn’t an extreme budget. Like, you know, situation. And I can really design a kitchen on a budget. And I’m really proud of that. But I’m excited to design one on, like, you know, a larger budget.

Emma: Anyway, I’m super excited for you. I’m sure our listeners are, too. It’s very good to feel a little more settled in your brain, too, right?

Elsie: Oh, my God. I feel so relieved, like going from the house shopping mode to the planning a renovation and a design mode is the greatest feeling in the universe. And I feel like I just got engaged. Like I can finally quit dating and, you know, just focus on one relationship with this one home and it feels magical. Yeah.

Emma: Yes, make something of it.

Elsie: Yes. That wasn’t a perfect analogy. Please don’t pick it apart.

Emma: Okay. Now we have a listener question. And this is from Raeann from Indiana. And she says, “I wanted to know if you do a podcast on being your own boss and basically like how you started your business and stayed motivated each day and kind of plan out your own work schedule. Because I think that could be inspiring and motivating to a lot of people who are trying to do the same thing, but maybe feel overwhelmed in the beginning.” So a lot of things there. Shoes wants to hear about how we started our own business. So we should talk about that a little bit. And then generally it sounds like she wants some tips or ideas of like how you stay on task and how you prioritize.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: So first, maybe Elsie. I think like the way we started our business is slightly different from our different perspectives. So.

Elsie: That’s true.

Emma: In a nutshell, that’s what I like to say a lot on this podcast. How would you describe like working for yourself, like how you started that?

Elsie: Yeah, OK. Well, I guess I would first say like in the sort of like contrasting like the early years, how my schedule was compared to now. So in the early years, I really did struggle with staying on task. Like I constantly was like I’m overwhelmed. I think I’m just gonna like go to a flea market or go to a thrift store and then start working. And I was kind of in a routine of what’s it called procrastinating. Why couldn’t I remember to say that? (laughs) So, yeah, I was kind of in a big procrastinating place in my life. And yeah, I did have productivity problems because I got so overwhelmed with these big goals or like in the early years, I was always trying to make ends meet financially. So I was so overwhelmed with how much money that I needed to make that I wasn’t making, that sometimes that was sort of paralyzing. And skip forward and this is literally skipping forward 12 years. So don’t feel like this has to happen overnight. This is something that like, you know, we practiced and practiced. But nowadays, I feel like I can like very responsibly, very efficiently batch work, speed work to the point where now I don’t schedule things on Fridays anymore and not all of the time, it’s sort of my overflow day, not all the time. But some of the time I’m able to kind of have an easier day on that day and do a couple of fun things and prep for the following week, which is the greatest feeling ever. And I never thought I’d be able to get there.

Emma: Yes, I love that. I love that you’re also like encouraging people that it takes time, because I do think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be good at things when we start them. And it’s just kind of silly when you step back and think about it. But. I still do it, and so I think, you know, it makes sense why we do it. But yeah, it takes time to get good at something, whether you’re starting a new workout routine, whether you’re starting a hobby like painting or whether you’re starting a business or being married or being a parent. You’re not going to be perfect at it at first. It’s going to take time. And you need to like give yourself space to learn anyway. So I love that tip. So I had a couple tips. I’m just gonna go through some of them. But you can totally interject Elsie anytime you want. So like Elsie kind of. You touched on this. I think one of the big difficulties when you’re first starting to work for yourself or just work very independently is you don’t know what to focus on because basically you have to do everything. You probably don’t really have anyone working for you or you don’t have a lot of extra help. Maybe you have like an assistant or maybe you have like someone who does one specific task, like an accountant, but you’re probably doing everything. So it’s hard to know like what’s important because everything feels important. So I would try to encourage people to make a list and kind of think through what must be done versus what would be nice to work on next. Or when I have time, what can I work on? So here are the two things I would focus on first. I don’t know the right way to say it, but basically operating legally. So making sure that your business has all its licenses, is paying its taxes, whatever things you’ll…

Elsie: I’ll interject here, because right now…this never ends. Right now, we’re in the middle of getting everything set up for our Florida BNBs, which we had to do it all over again because it’s a new state. And this is so important. It’s a skip or a step that you cannot skip. Like in the early years, this is kind of a big rabbit trail, but I really want to say it. And in the early hours of blogging Emma and I did a panel once at a blogger conference and one of the bloggers said, don’t worry about taxes, which was horrible, crazy advice. And after the panel was over Emma literally like jumped off the stage and raced for that girl to tell her, like, no, no, no, pay your taxes. This is not good advice don’t listen to that blogger.

Emma: I didn’t say it like that, but I did say that basically. Yeah.

Elsie: She was so concerned.

Emma: I was like oh my gosh, please don’t take that advice. I was like you’re gonna get a big fine or be in trouble. Don’t do that!

Elsie: Never listen to someone like that. Like listen to Emma she…this is, you know, a person who knows how to, like, go the distance in business. You do…you cannot ignore those things. You cannot outsource them. There is no way for your life to ever be like perfectly simple like you want it to be. There’s some things when you own a business that you will always have to do yourself that are annoying.

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: Rant over!

Emma: Yeah. When we think about starting a business, especially one that we’re passionate about. So it might be something creative or artistic. You’re probably thinking about the fun parts. And that’s great. Hopefully you get to do the fun parts. But every business has the shitty parts, which is taxes, permits, calling your local agencies and figuring out how to do X, Y, Z, and it sucks. And it’s kind of never ending, but it’s — you must do it. It is important. So operating legally, I would put that on the list of like must do first things and then second, and this one has so many parts to it, but it’s making revenue. Unless you’re starting a non for profit. You’re gonna need to make some revenue. It’s just how it works. You can’t do what you love for a living without making a living. That’s kind of the whole thing. If not, you’re just doing a hobby. So focusing on that, which that can be, like Elsie said, a bit paralyzing and intimidating. And also it can, I think, make you feel kind of bad sometimes because you’re like, I just want to do this thing because I’m passionate about it because I love it. But it’s like, yeah, that’s good. But you also must make money at it or you can’t really operate as a business. You know, focusing on that. So focus on things, prioritize things and be a little bit ruthless about it. That’s just how it must be if you want to do what you love for a living. So that’s one tip. Also another tip is figure out what time of day you are the most productive. For me, that’s usually the morning. So I try really hard even if I have a meeting earlier in the day like before noon, I try to get at least a couple things done before the meeting starts. That way I feel this kind of work momentum. Like for me, if I start my day kind of dicking around. Not good. Like I’m going to have a terrible day and I’m not going to get a lot done. Like I have to just boom start because my morning is my most productive time. But not everyone is like that. We all have. Some people are night owls and they truly get their best work done at night. So I would say save some of your important task for the evening then. If you’re that person, I’m not. Past 6 p.m., if I’m working, it’s because I have to. And I just have to finish something. But it’s not going to be my best work because I am not good at night. Not a night person.

Elsie: Yeah. I feel like you can tell the blog posts that I finished at night because they’re so fast. And to the point, it’s like and this room tour is done the end, you know.

Emma: And this was great. That is all. Yeah. Oh, no.

Elsie: I have nothing to say at that time. Yeah, I agree. I like to really hit it hard in the morning and try to get as much done as I can. And then by the afternoon, it’s a better time to be able to do those like more optional things in your schedule.

Emma: Yeah. Or the afternoon I’ll leave…like once you make a list of all the tasks that you have to do, I’ll put the things that take a little less brainpower or can be a little more automatic in the afternoon. Like sometimes I’m working on like this afternoon, for example, we’re recording this podcast earlier in the day and this afternoon I’m working on a project in my bedroom and I have a lot of sanding and priming to do so. And I need to do it. It’s a blog post and it’s due at a certain time. But I’m like, I don’t really have to think I’m just going to be sanding for a long time, like an hour and then priming for like an hour or painting. So I’m just going to listen to podcasts and do that this afternoon. But I wouldn’t really do that first thing in the morning unless I had to because it takes a little less brainpower. So I want to do the stuff in the morning that’s like, oh, I need to finish this like census for our retirement plan and blah blah blah. This time here there’s a lot of tasks because it’s our fiscal year’s the same as the calendar year. So we have a lot of like tax things and H.R. type things that are happening. So I don’t leave those till the end of the day because I do them poorly. Anyway, enough of that rant over next tip. This one’s super simple but really important. Find tools or systems that keep you on track and keep you organized. Very straightforward. I feel like it’s a tip that’s like I feel like anyone listening is probably like, duh. But really I think so often you don’t take the like. You think, oh, everybody else does this. Everyone uses these big, heavy planners. So that’s what I must…that’s what I should do. If those don’t work for you, don’t use them. Like you must use something that keeps you organized and that keeps you on track and motivates you if it stresses you out to have like a giant planner, don’t use that. If it makes you feel a lot more organized and you get a lot more done using some a tool like that, do it. It’s really whatever works for you and everybody’s a little bit different. So it’s that’s it. Just find tools and systems that work for you and that might even include delegating a little bit. And once you get to a place where…

Elsie: I love that.

Emma: Yeah. And then my last tip, which there just could be a whole episode, but I just wrote down like I guess four or five tips. But last tip is a little bit of a twofer I guess. So it’s read this book, it’s called The Now Habit. I recently finished it and it’s all about getting over procrastination and it’s really powerful. I loved it. So I would highly recommend reading that. The Now Habit we’ll put in the show notes abeautifulmess.com/podcast. And then the second thing is on that same note. Always be reading something or listening to something that teaches you, that challenges you, that forces you to grow in your business, in productivity, and you know, if you feel also like you don’t get a lot of work done because you feel like down on yourself. Maybe you need to look into that area, too. There’s just always something to be learning. And for me, a couple of things. I own an online business. I’m a blogger. So a couple things that have helped me over the years that I wanted to mention is smart passive income with Pat Flynn. Love Pat Flynn, such a huge fan. I’m actually on an episode. I don’t remember which one it is, but I’ll put it in the show notes and write it down ahead of time. But I love his podcast, Smart Passive Income. There’s so many episodes. He’s been doing it for years, so there’s a lot to learn there. And then the other one I would recommend. This is more specific to bloggers who put out content. That is something people Google. So could be food, crafts, home decor, whatever. But it’s the Food Blogger Pro podcast and it is created by the people who do the food blog Pinch of Yum! And also a Pinch of Yum has a bunch of revenue reports. They’re kind of older now, but there’s still a lot of information in there if you’re starting out as a blogger to find. Whatever industry you’re in, there is definitely some community that you can learn from. So try to find them, find podcasts, find audiobooks. Always be learning and growing because like Elsie said, it’s a journey. So however good you are owning your business today. You should be five times better. Twelve years from now. And that happens over time with learning.

Elsie: I love that advice because I think that choosing to like listen to these podcasts, read these books. It’s a way for you to be influenced by people who are better than you, even if I feel like most of us. We want like a friend or a mentor who is like five steps ahead of their career and they have the exact same career as us, but the one we want. You can’t always find that. You don’t always have that. Like this is a way to, you know, be influenced to be better that anyone can do. And I love that.

Emma: Yes, exactly. Yeah. And yeah, so best of luck. And thank you for the listener question if you have a question…

Elsie: I have another tip, too!

Emma: Oh, sorry. Gosh. I keep like cutting off your side even though I have this right in front of me. OK. OK.

Elsie: It’s okay, you had a lot of good tips. I have one. No, you’re great. OK. So I just had one tip I wanted to share from my experience. Like, obviously, you can probably tell by this segment that Emma is like a bad ass at business and I am like staying afloat and doing my best. You know, I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but I’m not Emma and like, learn from her if you’re going to learn from one of us. But…

Emma: I appreciate the compliment, but I do not agree with your second half.

Elsie: You can learn from me about like getting pumped up and excited, but you got to learn about business from Emma. OK. So but here’s my tip. I think that like I in the past created a lot of routines that were a little bit self-punishing for no reason. Now, like my Friday thing I mentioned earlier, that is a big a big help for me. Like, I am able to like do a couple…like I have one appointment I do every two weeks and I always put it on Friday. And it is so special to me that like, I know I don’t have to be stressed about how busy I’m going to be on that day anymore, because that’s my overflow day. I think that you have to find ways to make your schedule feel lighter to you, whatever that means for you. And a big thing this is like surprisingly powerful is that I used to never schedule time to clean. Like I felt that like cleaning and organizing wasn’t really working. But, you know, you’re not working a 9 to 5 job like I worked, you know, at the mall when I was younger and Hobby Lobby and like whatever. Like this is a different type of thing. You’re fully responsible for your atmosphere of where you’re working. And I think that taking a day like scheduling a day where you’re just going to clean, organize your workspace is a great way to increase your productivity and take care of yourself. So little things like that, like I think of it now as like a work place form of self-care to give myself, you know, a little bit of freedom and just a more positive environment to work in where it’s not just like clutter free and like, you know, sad and…

Emma: …can’t find stuff. And you’re immediately stressed when you walk in there. Yeah, that’s definitely going to like, down your productivity.

Elsie: I think when you work from home, you have to make that a part of your routine so that your home can be a home. When you stop working. So we’ve been having kind of her a lot of requests for Nova to come back on the podcast. So we’re going to let her close out this episode. Thank you so much for listening.

Nova: Thank you for letting me do my mommy’s podcast. Tell your friends about it. I’m gonna tell all my friends about the podcast. Bye!

 

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  • Loved this episode and post! Excited for you and your family Elsie 🙂 We closed on our 1970s home in December of 2016 so I remember how wild it felt so be closing and knowing it was our last Christmas in our apartment! Do you have plans for your home office? I work from home too and am always curious to see how other creatives work!

    • Hi Rachel! I won’t have a designated office space until we do our addition so I am planning to work in the dining room. I’m excited to move around the house (I love working from the sofa too!) but I am concerned about where to keep all my “stuff” so working on that! XX

  • Hi congrats!!
    Any update on how the concrete painting outside the studio has held up?

  • Thank you for talking about your house shopping journey. We just started and I am already feeling overwhelmed. Where we are school districts are tricky (it not based on where you live but when you enroll) and trying to find a home with the right balance of needs vs wants has been hard. It’s always encouraging to hear others journeys!

  • Yay! <3 Congrats, Elsie & family! I'm so excited for and inspired by you. My partner and I live in Lexington, KY where I think the market is similar to Nashville, TN. We've been looking for a house for almost a year since our oldest will begin Kindergarten in the fall, so we're in a similar season in life. Here's a site I found helpful in regards to moving with littles. https://www.artofhappymoving.com/ The blogger/author was just interviewed on the Minimalist Moms podcast and she had some excellent tips. Best wishes on the reno & move; can't wait for all the fun updates! xoxo

  • I enjoyed hearing about your house search and love the mid century house! I just moved out of a 1973 house that we renovated. We thought it was going to be our forever home, but life threw us some curveballs. I love that you mentioned it’s your forever-ish home and you get that life can change in an instant.

    Anyway, I moved with a just-turned 6 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old. It was a total nightmare, honestly, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. So my tip to you is to start packing way earlier than you think you need to because it takes exponentially more time with kids. We also packed up nearly all our stuff and for the last week or two, we all lived out of duffel bags and the kids had minimal toys and books. This was super helpful when we arrived at our new house too, because we continued living out of the duffel bags for a while as we tried to find things!

    Good luck with your renovation and move!

  • As someone who works a 9-5, I also do a lot of these work tips! I batch a lot of my tasks and have designated days and times that I spend on them. I also schedule cleaning times. My staff often leave a bunch of stuff in my office and our storage isn’t great so I schedule time to clean my work area. I also work hard Mon-Thu and schedule heavy those days so that Fridays can be my catch up days where I can finish tasks and also have time to personally check in with my staff before the leave for the weekend and I have time to brainstorm priorities for the following week.

    Just wanted to put in my two cents for anyone else who doesn’t work for themselves to know that these tips can absolutely work for office jobs!

  • Would you mind sharing what area of Nashville your new home is in? We just moved to east Nashville in August. I also looked at EVERY house listing all over Nashville and the home we bought was the first one I wanted to see in person, and the only one that ticked almost all our boxes. It’s insane how hard it is to buy a historic AND a one level home!

    • Hi Amber!
      I want to avoid sharing the specific area online for privacy reasons. But yes- I agree with you- I didn’t look at almost any one level homes. XX!

      • Well I’ll be sad you’re leaving east Nashville! Out of all the places I’ve lived in Nashville (and I’ve lived in almost all, including right downtown) I love the vibe of the east the best. And for think, when I was growing up, east Nashville was the place you stayed away from at all costs????

  • So, admittedly, ABM and I have different styles/tastes, but I have loved following along on every renovation project because even if it’s not always the choice I would make, there is something so satisfying about a beautifully done before and after. I think Elsie’s current home turned out so nicely and I am so jazzed to see all the fun projects coming!

  • Hi! Congrats so so excited for you guys! So excited to watch the process!!

    Question:
    Is the backyard as big as your current home your living in? It was hard to tell in the IG video, it looked more steep off the deck.

    Thanks!!

  • Congrats! What an exciting project for the coming year – if it turns out anything like your past places or Airbnb’s it will be gorgeous!!

  • Congrats on your new house!! I love it! We just bought a very similar style house in Tulsa Ok and I am planning on following along to be inspired! Question: Are you painting the stone fireplaces? Our house has similar stone fireplaces and I am tempted to paint them white. I’d love your thoughts!

  • I’m so excited to see the new house all done up!! Elsie, you have wonderful style and taste! I’ve loved everything you’ve done, and I’ve been reading the blog for a LONG time. ???? I really hope the new house has a rainbow wall like the playroom had for a hot minute way back when!

    Moving for school is a big deal, and a totally personal thing. It’s hard and I am not looking forward to it. Bless y’all for doing it and finding a sweet house! With free fake flowers. Ha!

  • I love you guys, everything you do is pure magic! Elsie, can’t wait to see your new home! ????

  • I am a new listener to your podcast and I had to stop working and comment on this episode. I have been listening for a couple of months and have heard about a dozen podcasts in no particular order. I just heard episode 12 and loved the ending when you had Nova ask for good reviews. That was the most adorable thing I’ve heard in a long time! I laughed out loud for real!
    Anyway, my podcast app (Podcast Addict) doesn’t have a way for me to rate the podcast, so just because she asked, I came here to let you know I enjoy your show.
    Keep up the good work!

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