Today is the one year anniversary of submitting an offer on my home! In celebration I thought it would fun to do a tour of my minimalist living room to show everyone who has followed my story what it’s really all about.
By now you probably know that last fall I bought my first home. If you’re new, welcome, and now you know the premise of this website. On a single low income, I bought a house for my family. We love it here, and every day are proud of the sacrifices we made to get here. In the middle of the pandemic housing boom that has made owning a home a nearly impossible for many, I managed to beat the odds.
But what kind of house can a low income family possibly afford? The Nova Scotia Down Payment Assistance Program limits the purchase price of a house outside of Halifax to $150,000, so that was my hard limit. When I found my house, along with my two neighbours, all listed between $95,000 and $120,000, I knew I had to see them right away!
Most of the houses I’d seen in that price range would not have worked for us. Either they were too far from town (we didn’t have a car), they needed a ton of work (that we lack time and skills for) or they were mini homes, which are hard to mortgage, insure, and aren’t as likely to appreciate in value. A single detached, 3+ bedroom, move-in ready home on a bus route was everything we could have hoped for.
I won’t deny that this house was a market anomaly. The three houses on my road were originally faculty housing for a Christian school nearby, and the church sold them as a lot when they were no longer required. They were rentals for many years before the new owner divided the lots to sell them individually. He made plenty on his investment, and presumable in the interest of selling quickly, he priced them low. When I saw the first home on the street, I fell instantly in love with the bright, sunny living room, and the rest is history.
So if you’re wondering what a $115,000 house looks like, look no further! Take a peer at my little tour video to see my minimalist living room tour
The first thing to change was our couch. At our old apartment we had a massive beige microfiber sectional, whose cushions came off every time we looked at it. While it was super comfortable, it was annoying, ugly and too big for the new space. I sold it for about what I paid for it (2nd hand) and put the money towards the new couch. I chose the chaise design so the four of us could fit comfortably even on a small sofa. The grey appealed to me as a neutral that would look great against the light grey walls, and the mid-century style legs both matched the wood ceiling fan in the dining room, and played off the age of the home.
Next I found a chair to match at a Wayfair liquidator in a nearby town. It was a great price, and I felt it was exactly what the room needed. I finished it off with new curtains, and the gold side table which is in fact an upside-down laundry hamper. The coffee table we’ve had for years. It was given to us by my sister, and I believe built by her father-in-law. The ladder shelf that houses some of our games also came from my sister. I was looking for a mid-century buffet to incorporate some closed storage under the TV, but I think this works just as well, and keeps more floor space open for yoga and playing.
This is my favourite space in my home. I love how the big front window lets in a ton of natural light, and all of my plants help tie the space with the greenery outside. The decided lack of knick knacks keeps it looking tidy, even when the kids are playing, and the light, airy colour is good for my soul.
The dining room is an extension of our family living space. It serves many purposes, from our eating area, to homework, games, music and more. The table and chairs I purchased years ago from a second hand shop. I don’t love the style, but they function well, so there’s no reason to replace them. The art is a mix of old and new. The gold framed pictures came from my partners grandmother who has passed, and we are honoured to give them a prominent place in our home. The large abstract city scape was a bit of a splurge. I love that it speaks to my more urban past, while fitting so perfectly in the room.
The highlight for me of course is my coffee station. As a former barista and beverage aficionado, it was important for me to have all of my coffee and tea tools accessible without taking up counter space in the kitchen. When we first moved in, we had a little shelf in that spot that didn’t work very well. I had often admired the simple shelf my brother-in-law had built in their dining room, and mentioned that it would work perfectly for my space. Well to my great surprise they built me my very own coffee shelf and on Christmas day while I was working away in the kitchen they snuck it in. It had become the focal point of the room and where every day begins for me.
All told I have probably spend $500-$600 decorating these rooms, most of that going towards the couch. I have not “finished” any other rooms yet, but plan to slowly complete all the spaces with the same cool and airy palette that I love so much. We talk a lot about the projects we hope to do and how to beautify our little house, but with a low income these things take time. In the meantime, it makes me so happy that every time I sit in this room I can look around at the space I created and be in awe of how much I love my $115,000 home.
I hope you enjoyed my minimalist living room tour, and are a little inspired by what I’ve managed to do with a small budget. Most of all I hope that my little house that I am so proud of help inspire you on your own journey, because I know that even on minimum wage, owning a home you love is possible!