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what (finally) owning a home means to me...

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

The home is my most favorite place to be. I'm the person who throws on my PJ's as soon as I get home, and jumps into my bed to relax as soon as my kids go to bed. Some of my all-time favorite memories are being at home having dinner with my family catching up on our day and having friends over and talking about anything and everything while our kids play. Today, in partnership with Unison, I'm reminiscing about our long journey towards home ownership and what it means to me to be finally (almost) a home owner...

The other day, on Facebook, a friend who is a real estate agent asked this question of her fellow Facebook friends...

"How old were you when you bought your first home?"

The answers surprised me. "22! 26! 32!" exclaimed the group.

I was floored. There are people who can buy a house in their 20's?! 30's sounded better to me, but I just turned 40 this year and have not yet lived in a home that I own. Sure, I prioritized the earlier years of my adulthood differently. I started a business at age 26 with no savings and have always put most of the money I earned back into my business to help grow my team. I have also always lived in large cities that are very expensive to buy in. From New York to Philly to San Diego to Los Angeles, I never made it easy on myself to try and save up for a home in a city with reasonable real estate prices. It wasn't until we were outbid multiple times on our attempt to finally buy a house in Los Angeles 5 years ago, that we decided on the very long and crazy process of building a house instead...because, as crazy as it sounds, that's actually cheaper to do in LA than to buy an existing one!

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

Now that we are just a couple months away from finally having our very first (and forever) house to call our own, the emotions here are real. We'll be saying goodbye to our only other home in Los Angeles that we have been renting for 9 years since first moving to LA. In the summer of 2010, we found it on a whim. We got this place before we had kids with no intention of staying as long as we have. But the rent was cheap (for our neighborhood), and it allowed us to save and save and save for a house. But as every year passed, I longed simply for a backyard for my kids to play in, a kitchen and outdoor area where I could have friends hang out, drop by, or stay for dinner. Regardless of what this home lacked in space or amenities, it's the place both of our babies have called home since the beginning of their lives, and it will always have a special place in our hearts.

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

Every week for almost two years, I have been walking through this new home we are building that will soon be ours. While it's been the most financially stressful experience of my life, I see this home as such an amazing representation of our patience and our hard work over the last decade to finally get to this place.

Owning a home always comes back to connection for me—connecting with my family, having my kids have a place to play together and connect as sisters, and inviting friends, family, and co-workers over and being able to connect with them. And, I can't wait for all the memories this new, forever home will bring for us.

Now's your chance to share what owning a home means for you! In partnership with Unison, you can enter the #UnisonDreamHomeContest for your chance to win $25K towards buying a home or to remodel your existing home. Find out more on their website right here!

{Color Photos by Lily Glass, black and white photo by Katherine Rose. Written by Joy Cho.}

one color-block bookcase styled two ways...

One Color-Block Book Shelf Styled Two Ways... / via Oh Joy!

Happy Monday! Today, we're showing you how to give a plain bookcase a fun color-block makeover! But that's not all. We're also showing you two different ways to style it, AND we're showing you a fun wall mural in the process. This is one you don't want to miss. First, let's paint the bookcase of your dreams. Check it out...


a pink & green dining room...

A Pink & Green Dining Room / via Oh Joy!

We've shown you how to create a pink and green living room, and we're back with one of our all-time favorite color combinations to show you how to style a pink and green dining room! Here are a few things to keep in mind when styling a dining room and when you want to make two colors POP...


make your own colorful photo display!

Make Your Own Colorful Photo Display / via Oh Joy!

Meet our favorite way to display rotating art work! I love this project because it's a fun twist on a bulletin board where you can display all your favorite artwork at once and mix it up whenever you'd like. This photo display gives you the flexibility to do both of those things without tons of pushpins! Plus, it brings a splash of color and interest to any room. You can even use it to display kid's art. Come see how...


happy friday + accent walls 101...

Accent Walls 101... / via Oh Joy!

As we head into the weekend, we wanted to leave you with a few of our favorite accent wall ideas for when you're looking to add something special to space. There are SO MANY great ways to create an accent wall with either a solid paint color, a mural, or even wallpaper. We love using them when styling a space for an unexpected dose of fun, to make a bold statement, or instantly give any space personality without having to completely redo a room.


oh joy builds a house: a construction update + both good and bad things that have happened...

Oh Joy! Builds A House: A Construction Update + Both Good and Bad Things That Have Happened... / via Oh Joy!

It's been a few months since I've given you an update on what's happening inside the construction of our house! We now have walls, doors, and windows! Plus, finishes (like tile and floors) are starting to go in! Here's a mini walk-through video for you...

This (almost) 5 year process has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least, so I wanted to share some of the awesome (but also not-so-awesome) things that have happened recently...

Oh Joy! Builds A House: A Construction Update + Both Good and Bad Things That Have Happened... / via Oh Joy!

Not-so-awesome things:

Break-ins. We were given a heads up when we started this project that break-ins are unfortunately very common on construction sites. I was in complete denial because I just believe that most people are good people. But we've unfortunately had a handful of break-ins over the course of this project with the most recent being not too long ago. People mostly steal tools and sell them to pawn shops. Even though it's not a house that we yet live in and so many people are currently working there everyday, it still feels completely violating.

Money Stress. I have never been so stressed about money in my whole life. Everyone tells me that home ownership changes the game, and they weren't kidding. Being a renter thus far in my adult life has sheltered me from this feeling of knowing the stress of owning property that is yours...plus, all the responsibilities that come with it.

I Cry a lot. I'm already a very emotional person, and I cry probably once a week lately. It's a lot of things to manage on top of my regular job, running a business, and trying to have some sort of life. There are some days I just want to give up and undo all of it. I truly do try to remind myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and my husband has been so amazing is reminding me of that!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: A Construction Update + Both Good and Bad Things That Have Happened... / via Oh Joy!

Awesome things:

It's starting to look like a real house! Once the walls went up, it all started feeling much more real. It was no longer just this pile of dirt that we looked at for years! We are now able to walk through and actually see how the space is coming together, where things will go, and where my family will be living.

Having control over where we live and what we do to/for our house. No more broken faucets due to faulty old plumbing or having to wait for a landlord to fix something that always breaks! I've rented for so long that I gotten used to having to make do with old parts that constantly break. To know that we can fix something or change something on our own feels very freeing.

Seeing all of our hard work pay off. This project has been nothing short of time-consuming and stressful. But when I have a moment to take a deep breath and really take it in, it's pretty incredible when I let myself appreciate how hard my husband and I have worked to save and save (and will continue to save) over the course of our adult lives for this forever home for our family.

{Photos by Lily Glass and Morgan Pansing. Video by Jenner Brown. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Cleo Murnane at Project M+. All other layouts by Joy Cho. My pink dress is Kate Spade, boots are Red Wing Heritage. Written by Joy Cho.} 

color adventures: a blue sitting room...

Color Adventures: A Blue Seating Area... / via Oh Joy!

We're back with another chic room for this month's Color Adventures! For July, we're all about BLUE, so we created a super relaxing seating area with all different shades of the most calming color there is. Check it out...


oh joy builds a house: our kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: our kitchen!

Ah, the kitchen! To me, the kitchen is often the center of a home. It's where you cook meals. It's where friends and family gather when they are over to snack on tiny bite-sized snacks and chat about life. It's the place where my children will have meals, learn to bake cookies from scratch, and where my husband and I will prepare meals for our family. Here's a peek at some of the plans for our kitchen...

oh joy builds a house: our kitchen!

Our current apartment rental (where we have lived for 9 years) has brown wood cabinets, black countertops, and rust-colored tile. I don't own it and have therefore left it exactly as it is. It has served us well over the years, and we have made the best of a smaller kitchen and limited countertop space. But, it's dark and not inviting at all.

So, for our new home, I wanted the kitchen to be light and bright and feel open and inviting. The new kitchen isn't huge, but we will have space for a small island which I am very excited about to be able to have a surface to prep and also to have a few counter stools where we can also have meals. The white cabinets that will fill most of the kitchen are accented with texture from the countertop, backsplash tile, and accent wallpaper. Smaller doses of brass and wood will warm up the bright and light space.

Shown: 1. Clare paint in Timeless, 2. Tabarka Basel 1 cement/brass tile for a small backsplash area, 3. Concrete Collaborative terrazzo tile on floor, 4. Makelike wallpaper for an accent wall, 5. Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo 5131 for countertop, 6. Fyrn stools, 7. Schaub appliance pulls.

oh joy builds a house: our kitchen!

Here's a peek at the floor! It has brass accents in the flooring (with schulter strips). This was a way to bring in the look of something custom without the price tag of a completely custom poured floor or brass detail. It still needs to have grout put in between the tiles, but it's all happening!

oh joy builds a house: our kitchen!


Shown: Reform Degree cabinets, Tabarka Basel 1 cement and brass tile for a small backsplash area.

I love the mix of texture and shine with the combo of cement and brass and wanted the tile to be a way to bring in a bit of pattern since the cabinets will be all solid white. Here are some tile studies we played with for a small area of backsplash. Some feel heavier while some feel lighter. Which one do you like best?

I can't wait to show you more as we go!

{First photo by Morgan Pansing, all others by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors and renderings in collaboration with Cleo Murnane at Project M+. All other layouts by Joy Cho. My dress is past season Gorman, boots are Red Wing Heritage. Written by Joy Cho.} 

paint your own vase...

Paint Your Own Vase / via Oh Joy!

Our markets have been bursting with peonies over here in Los Angeles, so today, we're showing you how to paint your very own vase to display all your pretty summer blooms! It's the simplest way to give glass vases a little personality and flair...


setting up a home office in a small space...

Setting Up a Home Office in a Small Space...  / via Oh Joy!

If you have a smaller home or apartment and need a sometimes home office, creating a dedicated office space can be low on the priority list. But it's SO nice to have a space ready when you do need to work from home for a bit, pay those bills, or sit down and write letters. So today, we're showing you how you can create a small home office either as part of a guest room or a small corner of another main space in your home! It just takes up one corner, and with a few key elements, it truly feels like its very own special place. Here's are a few key tips...