Tuesday, May 9

Fun news to share

I've been keeping a secret for the past several weeks, and I'm excited today to share it with you.

Most of you know that I live in Durham, North Carolina, which is a wonderful, beautiful place to be most of the year. We love North Carolina, and we really like Durham, but this area of the state (the Piedmont) is hot in the summertime. As in H.O.T. And humid as well. Ugh.

So for years now we've dreamt of a place to get away from Durham in the summertime. We've looked at so many different places over the years, but never found just the right spot.

And then last summer my husband took a fly-fishing class in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. We rented a condo there and I went with him—not to fly fish, just to hang out in Blowing Rock. I've been a fan of Jan Karon's since 1993, so it wasn't hard to convince me to spend some time there. Besides, I love the Blue Ridge Mountains. Something about them speaks deeply to my soul.

Here's a sunset photo I took. You can tell these mountains are old, can't you?

One thing led to another, and we ended up looking at various properties in the Blowing Rock area. And I am so excited to tell you we ended up buying a condo there this spring!

A condo is a good choice for us. Although it affords less privacy and less space than a cabin or house, it also involves less work. We want a place to get away and relax, not to get away and do yard work.

I shared this photo on Instagram back in March. This was the view outside the dining room windows of the condo:

That beautiful view was my reward for having just moved this stuff into the condo all by myself:

Here's what's been happening. The condo was partially furnished when we looked at it—beautifully staged by a local interior designer. She has furnished the living room, dining room, and master bedroom. In fact, she offered a package deal for us to purchase that furniture, but even the discounted price was $30,000 (yikes!). We politely declined and I set to work furnishing things.

The photo above is mostly kitchen equipment and basic bedding, some of which we already owned and some of which I bought (thank goodness for the great deals at Amazon and Target). We want the condo to be a fully-functioning second home, so we're trying to equip it thoroughly. . . but it's amazing how much stuff you need to outfit a kitchen!

We ordered beds to be delivered immediately after we took possession, so at least we had a place to camp. But beds were pretty much all we had for awhile. Here's how the living room looked on the first night:

And the kitchen:

As you can see, the only furniture at this point was a little barstool! But if you look closely you can see a coffee maker and toaster as well as my ancient KitchenAid mixer. (When I won a new KitchenAid several years ago, something told me I should hang on to the old one!)

We've come a long way since then, and I'll post some photos with furniture soon. We've spent a couple of weekends happily hiking mountain trails and visiting antique stores. Here's my favorite find so far:

It's a classroom pull-down map from the 1940's. Isn't it fun? The surface can be written on with chalk; maybe we should label Durham and Blowing Rock.

I guess it's fair to say that what's been keeping me busy lately is a dream come true—a little getaway of our own. The best part is that it's less than three hours from our house, so we can enjoy it often.

Thanks so much for allowing me to share my fun news. Now, I could use your help! Do you have any tips for furnishing a home-away-from-home? I'd love to hear them!

Joining Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life


  1. Oh I am so thrilled for you. I love your new place. My thoughts are to take your time and thrift shop till you drop. You can find some fabulous things at thrift stores, goodwill, salvation army and so on, so just buy a piece at a time. A couple of chairs for now and then piece by piece as you find them. Enjoy it all.

  2. Congratulations on your new getaway! How exciting! I love your map and can't wait to see what other treasures you find for decorating!

  3. Wow! How fun is that!! I'm so excited for you!!

  4. We live in the Charlotte area. Both of my kids went to Appalachian State which is in Boone, which is right at you. You will love it up there. One thing to remember, when you see the clouds getting dark, rain is on its way, fast. Alot of times you don't have time to get inside before the rain comes but that's fine and the cool mornings are wonderful compared to Charlotte and Durham. Enjoy your new condo

  5. Home Goods! When we moved into a larger home six years ago, I found so many useful things at such amazing prices. Beautiful area rugs, occasional furniture, pictures, bedding, housewares etc. I also scoured thrift stores. It was fun to decorate after living in the same home for over 30 years. Can't wait to see how you make this condo your own :-)

  6. Well, this just brings you so much closer to Greenville :) Congratulations on your beautiful new condo Richella.

  7. I buy gorgeous things at Good Will for both our homes. We live in NE GA but have a 2nd home in SW GA. It's very hot there, but really nice for winter visits. We go year round, because you've got to keep everything clean and nice. I'm so happy for you. I know you will have fun checking shops for special pieces. But my tip is always check out your Good Will and smaller privately owned shops. There's always the big stores, but you find the unique pieces in the smaller stores. I'd rather have things that not everyone else has, and I find them at our Good Will. Take advantage of discount days.
    I'm anxious to see what else you've done!

  8. It looks like you can go hiking right out your door. How fun is that?!! I LOVE the map, Richella. That would be me... needing something to sit on but buying something for my wall. I love the IDEA of thrifting... it works fine for wood pieces IF you don't mind the imperfection... but it takes forever. Here in MI finding good thrifted fabric covered furniture is really next to impossible. I purchased a love seat and chair for the temporary apartment... it was the best I could find in my area and well... "it'll do" is all I can say. Watch Craig's List... but again... it's hit or miss. I do think you'll do better because you live near a larger metropolitan area in the thrifting department. Whatever you do... make it a fun adventure not a burden. And again... Congrats!!

  9. Well, I don't know if they have a Haverty's furniture store in your area, but in ours they have a back room. It is furnished with stuff that they call damaged. I think it is floor models or returns. We found some amazing deals there for our cabin. In fact, we purchased sofa, tables, chairs, TV cabinet and dining table all there. GREAT prices. I have kept thing really simple at our cabin. I want to go and relax not be constantly cleaning. It is more than a hotel, but maybe a glorified hotel room with some special things to make it look homey, but not cluttered.
    So excited for you. I know you will enjoy it immensely.

  10. I am so happy for you, Richella! I have no personal experience with a second home, but my advice would be to take the advice of Marty....I swear she is the "Queen of Great Deals!" Mainly, just have fun!

    Hugs, Carol

  11. Congratulations! Your condo is going to be a great getaway spot. I look forward to seeing more of it as you get it furnished.


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