Who doesn’t love to dream a little? When you were little did you ever draw your dream home out on paper? I used to draw the front of my house — which was always white — and then draw a floor plan. For whatever reason, I always had the house in the shape of a U or an L with a pool tucked neatly into the home.
Living in DC I’ve had to have a little reality check with what I want, versus what is actually possible, not just because of the expensive housing prices but also there just isn’t that much space! DC is one of the most expensive cities in the country to live in, and the home prices reflect that.
My husband and I bought our first house around nine years ago. We lived in it for four years before trying to sell it for an entire year (with no success). We were moving to DC so we rented out or 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home (it also had a 2-car garage and a 6-foot privacy fence) to renters for three years. Then a few years ago we finally sold it.
We put a lot of sweat equity into our first home. My husband is really handy and worked in construction and the housing industry for years so he can do a lot of things himself. We put tens of thousands of dollars into upgrading our home only to take a loss on it when we sold it. But that was just the timing of everything going on in the United States economy at the time. It was hard to go through but we learned a lot in the process.
Living in DC I know the next time we buy property I’m going to have to compromise, but there are certain things I’m not willing to compromise on. I’m in my mid-30s and I want to enjoy my life now because a long life isn’t guaranteed. At the same time I don’t have a money tree in my non-existent back yard, so while I want my list of non-negotiables, I know that I might have to wait a few years and do renovations one at a time. With DC property, I doubt I’ll find everything I want in one place, and I’ll probably want to renovate certain parts if not the entire home.
Luckily this is something that is absolutely possible and I’ve teamed up with Capital One to tell you how you can do it using their home equity loans. While I don’t currently own a home in DC (we rent) I have owned one before, and I am a Capital One customer, but I haven’t used their home equity products, so they’ve dared me to dream up my ideal renovations once I DO own a place in DC. I love dreaming about my ideal space so let’s get to that.
A lot of properties in DC have to be renovated at some point. There are a lot of old town homes and old condo buildings here, so there is a high chance that no matter where you buy, you are going to want to renovate some part of your space! This is true in a lot of downtown neighborhoods all over the U.S.
I have a short list of things that are really important to me in a home and they seem to be concentrated in three areas, so I’ll be doing three posts focusing on those three areas!
First up is bathrooms. Bathrooms with an s because I want more than one. There’s nothing more annoying than having company and having to share a bathroom with them. I want to have a guest bathroom that is always clean for my guests, and if I was rushing to get ready in the morning and my makeup is all over the bathroom counter, I don’t want to have to worry about cleaning it up because that’s the only bathroom for my guests to use. So two bathrooms is ideal!
The guest bathroom I want to be nice of course, but the master bathroom is where I want to put my money! The number one, non-negotiable is a bathtub. We MUST have a bathtub. For two reasons.
One is because I find it super relaxing and I love to read, drink wine, and listen to music all in a relaxing bath. Or when I’m sick, I like to drink tea, and just let the warm water and some bath salts soothe me.
Secondly, my husband and I exercise a lot and a hot bath is perfect for our sore muscles! I grew up with a hot tub on my back deck and I used it all the time. In every house or apartment my husband and I have ever lived in that we did have a tub — we used it. So I know I won’t be one of those people who just has a bathtub and uses it for storage. Honestly, I can’t wait to buy all kinds of bath salts to try out as soon as I do have a tub again!
Obviously I also want a shower, but I don’t want it connected to the bathtub. The bathtub is its own thing. And I have an ideal shower (of course!). One thing I couldn’t care less about is a rain shower head. I hate it when the water comes straight down on the top of your head. I like my water coming from an angle, and I want a removable shower head also. I’ve only had that in one of my apartments and I loved it. It makes it so easy to get shampoo out of my hair!
Also, in the shower, I want there to be a built-in bench and a built-in shelf for all of my products. A large built-in shelf.
If my shower is big enough, a towel warming rack in the shower would be amazing, but if it has to be right outside the shower, I guess I could deal with that. Man, taking a shower in my current shower tonight is going to be depressing!
Now that we’ve covered the bathtub and shower, let’s talk about bathroom storage! Being a content creator who covers beauty, I have a lot of beauty products. I don’t really want to have that many, but I’m always testing out new things, so I do, and I just have to embrace it with a very organized system. So having proper storage for beauty products and towels is a must!
I like my countertops to be clear of clutter, but have everything that I use on a daily basis very accessible. So drawers and cabinets are a must. I don’t mind if towels are out on display on open shelves or in baskets but all of the other products and hair tools need to be out of sight!
Since we’re dreaming here, I want two sinks — his and hers — and a lot of counter space. Nothing worse than having no room to put all the products you need to get ready and having them fall in the sink!
Lastly, I would love the bathroom to be flooded with natural light! Whether that means a big window, multiple windows, or a skylight, light is always important to me!
As you can see from all of my inspirational images, I love a simple neutral color palette in my bathroom. Mostly white, black, and gray, with some natural wood decor, plants, and art — but overall very easy on the eyes.
For those of you interested in DC specific info, Capital One did a survey (conducted by Wakefield Research) among 500 homeowners in the Washington, D.C. area this year* and I thought the information was really interesting:
- 45% of homeowners in Washington D.C. plan to renovate their home in the next two years and 31 percent expect to consolidate debt.
- 57% of homeowners in Washington D.C. have not taken out a home equity line of credit or loan, and 21% of respondents are unaware of the option to leverage their home’s equity for debt consolidation.
- 13% of homeowners in Washington D.C. have not taken out a home equity loan or line of credit because the process is confusing, 10% indicated the rates or fees are too high, and 10% expressed there’s too much paperwork.
- That said, 76% of homeowners in Washington D.C. indicated they would renovate areas of their home if they had better financial means to do so, and 63% would consolidate all their debt if they had better financial means to do so.
If all this home equity loan talk scares you, all you need to do is educate yourself a little about it and it won’t! Here are a few things to know about the Capital One home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC):
- Just by visiting CapitalOne.com/home-equity, can get a customized rate offer and estimated loan amount – with no impact to your credit score.
- Their simply smarter process allows you to easily learn more about and apply for a home equity line of credit that gives you added flexibility to support your project.
- With a Capital One home equity loan, you can consolidate credit cards, personal loans, and more into one fixed monthly payment.
Have you ever taken out a home equity loan for renovations or updates to your home? How did it go? How did you feel after it was finished?
Back to thinking about my dream home…
This post was sponsored by Capital One. All opinions are my own.
All photos courtesy of and shown with permission by Rue. Photos in order: Top photo by Nash Design Group featured here; 2nd row — photo by Lucy Cuneo featured here; photo by Michele Lee Wilson Photography featured here; 3rd row — photo by Michele Lee Wilson Photography featured here; photo by Aubrie Pick featured here; photo by Lucy Cuneo featured here; 4th row — photo by Tracey Ayton Photography featured here; photo by Aubrie Pick featured here.
Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor is it endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are the ownership of their respective owners.
*Survey was between September 28 and October 5, 2016, using an email invitation and an online survey.