cozy denim chair. Lela Burris In the New House Designs
Stories

An Open Letter To My Readers

You know I love ya right? Four years ago when I started this blog I had no idea (or intentions) of it turning into what it is now. I didn’t expect to make lifelong friends. I didn’t expect to turn it into an actual business. And I didn’t expect to have been given so many amazing opportunities. Since we’ve traveled this journey together for so long, I think it’s due time that I’m transparent about what’s going on in my life and business so you don’t feel left in the dark. Because we’re friends. Through thick and thin, and I want you to be right beside me sharing a bag of white cheddar popcorn and laughing as I continuously screw things up. Because spoiler alert, it’s gonna happen!

PS: If you’re short on time and just want the key notes, there’s a recap at the bottom. 🙂

The Move

First off, if you read my last couple of posts, you are aware that we’ve decided to sell our house and buy a new construction. We are so excited about our new home, but so very sad to leave this one. So many beautiful memories have taken place here, but luckily we can take them with us wherever we go.

I know you may be confused as to why we’re moving in the first place. My whole motto is turning your current house into your dream home, right? I teach people every single day that you don’t have to buy a bigger, better house to have what you want. I help my clients see the potential of their current homes and form it into what they’ve always dreamed of. So why in the world wouldn’t I do that to my own house?

Here’s the truth, though. Sometimes you just can’t. I can make this house gorgeous in so many ways, but due to the neighborhood codes and restrictions, I can’t make it bigger. What we’ve got is what we’ve got. And with a ten year old that’s bigger than me and a dog that’s not far behind, 1100 square feet just isn’t cutting it. I had big plans of converting the garage or adding a second story, but it turns out, none of that is allowed here. And none of it is in my realistic budget either.

I say all this to tell you that yes, you can turn any house into your dream home, but sometimes you do need to move. Is our new house perfect in every single way? No. But we carefully chose a home that can grow with us as we continue to grow. There is a ton of unfinished space for a large bonus room above the garage and even more space in the attic to add on additional storage space and play areas for Noah. We were so strategic in planning for not just now, but the far, far future. This really is the “forever home.”

The Next House

After looking for a very long time at older homes (which truly have my heart, because I love a house with stories) we came to the conclusion that older homes just can’t accommodate the open concept living space we want, and the wheelchair accessible space we need. As you already know, my brother Brad is in a wheelchair. We’re incredibly close and he visits me often. Even more now that he works on this blog. We took great care to make sure the next house is easily accessible for him.

As far as an update on the house’s progress, here’s what I’ve got as of this week. The kitchen cabinets went in on Tuesday July 3rd. I still haven’t seen them (and yes, I’m dying of curiosity) but I do know that they’re white shaker style. Can you sense my swoon-and-drool action? It’s totally happening. Lighting and trim is also going in this week, then next week will be kitchen counters, bathroom tile, and bathrooms should get finished out completely.

We’re moving fast and our builders are so awesome. But since we bought the house mid-build, I couldn’t make all the customizations on the front end. Which means I’ll be doing a lot of painting and adding in personal touches later on. But buying a mid-way complete house also means I’m not exactly allowed to hang out on site every day and take photos of progress. Trust me, the control-freak inside me is having a panic attack not being able to manage everything, but we will get to go back in and see progress soon and I promise I’ll post photos on here ASAP.

The Blogs

I’ve slowed down my blogging quite a bit lately due to all the craziness of the houses, but I can guarantee I’ll be back to a regular schedule in August. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching with my business lately, and I’m streamlining it a lot. Since I like to stay open and honest with you, I want to fill you in on some changes that will be coming next month.

Organization Hacks

First of all, thank you SO much for all the support of my second blog Your Life. Organized. It has been doing amazing and I’ve gotten so much feedback! But here’s the thing, running two blogs and a design biz is a lot. So I’ve decided to merge the two together. All the awesome organization advice for Your Life. Organized will now join the Styling Tips and DIY projects on In The New House. I’ll be adding a brand new section called ITNH Organization School, and each week I’ll share a new lesson on a small and easy actionable step you can take to get more organized. I’m also adding a member’s only section with even more awesome resources, videos, and secret tips. More on that later though.

Monthly Segments

I just love how much you chat with me about what’s going on in your life, how I can help you, and the projects you’re working on. The massive amounts of emails I get with fun stories really make my day. But I’ve been selfishly keeping those to myself for too long. So later this fall I’ll be adding in some new segments to get our little community a little closer.

Ask Lela

The first segment is Ask Lela. And it’s just that. I get tons of questions in my inbox already, and a lot of them are repeats, so I want to start sharing your questions and my answers to better help all my readers. The questions can range from anything and everything house-related. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. So go ahead and start getting your questions in now, because they could end up in their very own blog post! Just head over to this page to make sure your Q gets directly to me.

DIY Fail Diaries

The next segment is DIY Fail Diaries. And this is going to be so much fun. We’ve all done a DIY that just failed. I’m talking major bomb. I asked my followers on Instagram one day to share their fails and the response was mind-blowing. Everyone was so excited to tell me all about how they screwed up. And everyone else could relate to the flops of each other! Which in turn gave others the confidence to try again and the know-how to not make the same mistakes.

So I’m bringing that to the blog. Once a month I’ll share a reader’s story of her own DIY fail. Then I’ll offer up advice on how to execute that project just a little better next time. Get ready for some laughs, some tears, and a lot of confidence to rock your next project. To submit your own DIY fail story, visit this page.

Accessibility

As you know, Brad has CP and is in a power wheelchair. I do a lot of work for him, but I also help other families with disabilities as well. I’ve done designs for families as one-off projects but I’m learning that more and more people are searching online for decorating ideas that are also handicap accessible. And after doing some Googling, there’s not much on the web to support that.

So with the help of my bro, we’ll be adding new monthly content all about accessible decorating, styling, and mobility. I know that you may not fall into that category, but I bet you know someone who does, so I ask that you please share it with them. The internet is lacking this type of content so badly, and if I can just help a few families find the inspiration to improve their home, it can really change lives.

My Recent Life Change

Ok, so if you’re still reading, my goodness I Love You! This is a ton of information that I’m throwing out, so thank you beyond words for sticking with me! Over the last year I’ve been slowly minimizing my life and my belongings. I buy less, own less, and experience more. You won’t see me constantly shopping for new decor pieces all the time anymore, because I’ve come to realize that’s just not important to me. My home isn’t about the stuff in it, it’s how my family uses it. So I put more time and care into curating my decor and style. I spend less money on useless table decor that gets moved every night at dinner. And I put more thought into what I own and how it all functions.

So what does that mean for the blog? It really just means that I’ll teach you how to style your home for the long run. I’ve never been into trends and I don’t really follow design styles. I’ll still be doing the same DIYs and the same styling tips, but they’ll be tailored to things that are actually useful. We won’t waste $50 making a set of dyed cloth napkins you’ll never use.

Recap

So that’s it! My manuscript of what’s going on in Lela Land. I know that was a lot, so here’s the mini version for those who like to skim like I do.

  • We sold our house and we’re moving in August
  • We bought a new construction and it’s a blank canvas
  • Your Life. Organized is merging with ITNH
  • Organization School will be in session in August with an all new format
  • Ask Lela segment to, well, ask me stuff
  • DIY Fail Diaries segment to read and share stories of your own fails and learn from them
  • Handicap Accessibility segment to share our specific expertise
  • I’m not a minimalist, but I’m definitely carefully curating my home and life and ditching all the extra clutter

Still have questions?

I’m an open book. Shoot me an email, drop them in the comment section, DM me on social media, whatever you prefer. And go ahead and get your Ask Lela Questions and DIY Fail Stories in now so you can be featured.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here packing boxes and trying to sneak peeks of my new kitchen through the back window of our new house…not weird at all, right?

7 Comments

  1. Putting some ramps on your home is also a good idea. It serves so many purpose for many people specially to those with disabilities.

  2. It’s nice to read your life updates, Lela! It makes a reader like me motivated and inspired. Good luck with your plans! 🙂 Cheers!

    • Lela Burris

      Aww, thank you Jessica! That’s so encouraging to read! I really appreciate your kind words and I’m so happy you stopped by to read my [ridiculously long] story. Haha!

  3. Sandra gandy

    Thank you for sharing with your readers. I can’t wait to see how you decorate your new home. I love the idea that you will be adding helpful ideas for wheelchair accessibility.

    • Lela Burris

      Thank you so much! And we are so excited to expand to reach new families with such specific needs.

  4. Anna Morgan

    Lela, I am a 65 year old woman, living in rural Kansas. Last September I downsized to a little square house built in 1945 due to a divorce from an alcoholic husband. My basement is full, I mean full! Full of unpacked boxes; some of the boxes belong to my adult sons who have promised to come and sort through their stuff. But it is a daunting project because I want to keep all my sewing and quilting supplies and all my Christmas trees (3) and decorations. Everything else has to be sorted through and tossed if I no longer want it (or taken to the Thrift Shop). I have bought two new bedframes and mattresses that I want to put up in the basement for when my family comes to stay, but there is no room to put them up. I just don’t know how to begin sorting. Any suggestions.

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