Life As I Know It: October

Life As I Know It October by Stephanie Hill on The Style Bungalow

Life As I Know It October by Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill on The Style Bungalow

“Stephanie, why are you spending so much time and money on a rental apartment? You literally just got engaged! Why don’t you move in with your fiancé?”

Before I answer this question, let’s rewind to October 31, 2018. 

Nearly one year ago today, I packed my belongings and moved out of my tiny 350 sq.ft. studio and into a one-bedroom apartment. The building, formerly a hotel from the 1920s, came with plenty of charm along with lots of issues (as do all historic buildings). My new apartment had banged up hardwood floors, exposed cables, an outdated bathroom, crooked kitchen cabinets, an oversized fridge, a broken dishwasher, the list goes on…but it had the most beautiful window light in the afternoon, high ceilings with crown molding and more space than what I was in before. 

Well, sort of.  

Although slightly larger, it still didn’t have a decent sized closet – especially one to accommodate my clothing.  

Exhausted from moving all day, I sat down for the first time and tears automatically coursed down my cheeks. As calm as I may have seemed on the outside, my mind was wrestling with the thoughts of how I still didn’t have enough room for my things. “Amor, did I make the right decision?”

Then, lightning struck.  

If I were to give you one piece of business advice, it’s to be resourceful. I grew up in a middle-class family with tight purse strings. I also started my blog with very few resources. Being scrappy (in hindsight) has been a blessing because I know the value of a dollar and I’m not afraid of hard work.

“Why don’t I convert the bedroom into a walk-in closet and put my bed in the living room… like a hotel room?” 

A few months later (with the help of Urban Simplicity), I had a walk-in closet that fit everything. (You can read more about the transformation here.) I also added a new member to The Style Bungalow team, which meant we needed an office. I searched high and low for the perfect office space but found nothing that inspired me.

Then I thought, “why don’t I buy a house?” My fiancé and I love the idea of investing in real estate and want multiple properties together. The main idea? Renovate a petite bungalow in West Palm Beach, use it for work and sell down the line. We’re firm believers in making sacrifices now before having kids (aka, commuting one hour to see each other) and have big plans for our future. 

But unfortunately, we couldn’t find the perfect bungalow. The timing was off.  

Discouraged, I went back to the drawing board. We searched for a larger apartment in Miami but everything we saw was ultra-modern. We considered buying a house in Miami, but everything was overpriced. We looked into a beautiful apartment in Palm Beach but it was also overpriced and my fiancé still works in Miami. Moving didn’t seem practical for us or worth the expense. “Why don’t you re-decorate your place in West Palm Beach,” he suggested one day out of the blue. “It’s so rough… I’ll need an interior designer to help me.”

Little did he know.

As luck would have it, I met Danielle Rollins a few weeks later. Without hesitation, she took on my project. I’m a firm believer that when things are meant to be, doors open. We tried finding an office. We tried finding a house. We considered moving. Nothing made sense until I considered what was right in front of me this whole time: my apartment. 

Just because it’s a rental, doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to bad living conditions until you buy a house. A home is a home whether you rent or own. Not only do I work out of my apartment (and occasionally live here), but my team uses it, too. Plus, we love having two apartments! It gives us the freedom to hang out in West Palm one weekend; Miami the next. (And trust me, having a fiancé who works in finance and knows the real estate market like the back of his hand, this route is actually saving us money right now!)  

Besides…everything we’ve done to my apartment is renter-friendly. It’s a great inspiration for New Yorkers going through the same scenario. San Francisco. Boston. Chicago. LA. The bulk of my investments came in the form of furniture that I can bring with me to my next place. And my fiancé loves what I’ve done, especially my window treatments from The Shade Store. We look forward to hosting many cocktail parties here over the holidays and are in no rush to buy an investment property or our first home until the timing is perfect for us. 

Over the next few months, we’re dissecting exactly what we did to each room and the reasons why with Danielle’s expertise. It’s not often that you have access to an interior designer who’s used to working on million dollar homes work on yours so I hope you enjoy everything we’ve put together for you! I have no idea what’s in store for us next year, but Life As I Know It right now is pretty wonderful (despite the uncertainty) and that’s all that matters. Stay tuned! 

Xo, Stephanie 

2 Comments

  • I can’t wait to see what you’ve done to the other rooms! I love your style and you are inspiring me to invest in decorating my rental apartment even though it’s just temporary. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • u have definitely created a niche for yourself ….. your uniqueness stands out …love your style and have fallen head over heels over your house …. your home. Best wishes for success always and may your dreams come true soon

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