Home Tour: Design on a Shoestring Budget

I apologize for the lack of posts the past week.
{I’ll try & make up for it & post 5 times today :)}
We listed our house on Tuesday evening & had our first showing Wednesday, & found out yesterday where our first assignment is.We’re going to San Antonio, TX.Do you think they have vegans there?  Mormons?  I don’t know much about the place, but all I can say is:  at least it’s not North Dakota.  I’m beyond thrilled to be going somewhere warm.
So about today’s post I thought, since we’re getting ready to move (as soon as we sell our house), I should show you around the place.
I’m not a designer.  I don’t pretend to be.  I do love design, though.  I look to ladies like Design Mom or Nicole at Making it Lovely for inspiration.
Once, long ago, I had hopes of being an interior designer.  I got a much more practical degree instead–English.  Right.  English is not a practical degree.  But back to what I was saying about design.I have no formal training in design.I did minor in art, which did help teach some handy principles & elements of good design, but I do believe I have a very distinct & defined sense of style.  I know what I like & I’d like to think I have some pretty good instincts as to what works & what doesn’t.
I grew up in a home where our home decor was very practical & utilitarian.Houseplants were the extent of my mother’s design tendencies.  She was much more comfortable building decks or fences, re-roofing houses, or gardening, than decorating a home.  Somehow, out of this upbringing, I didn’t, unfortunately, get my mother’s knack for building & fixing.  Instead, I got the urge to rearrange my dwelling.   To make things look pretty, clean & organized.(Why I think you should have nice things & a clean home with kids, even with small kids, here).
Since during my married life, we’ve always been on a very limited budget, I’ve purchased things over time.
People come to my house & say wow, how did you put all of these things together (especially considering my job teaching, taking care of the kids, supporting a husband in law school & being on a tight budget)?
It didn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure.  It’s been about 7 years in the making.
I don’t think it needs to take 7 years to figure out what your style is, or to get your house in order in such a way where you love how it’s decorated.  But for us, that’s how long it’s taken simply because we haven’t had a lot of discretionary income up to this point.

Most of my home decor was either purchased on sale, with coupons, received as a gift (I still do have some of those gifts from our wedding gift registry!), or bought from second-hand stores like Goodwill or Desert Industries.

Here are some of my top places to shop for my house:

  • Target:  Oh Target.  Why do you have to be so clean, organized, & lovely so that I want to buy everything in the store?  Target is a great place for mirrors, shelving, & little bits & bobs you need to make your house feel homey (like wicker baskets, throw blankets, pillows, & fake flower arrangements & wreaths).  I’ve also had success finding reasonably priced, nice bookshelves.  Check out their clearance section (often at the end of the aisles).
  • Kohl’s:  Has a great selection of picture frames, kitchen stuff, & Christmas decorations which you can often get at a deep discount with coupons & sales.
  • Pier1:  I’m in love with this store.  I don’t like everything there–the bright colors & bold prints aren’t my thing, but I recently got all my living room furniture there & it’s a perfect fit for my style.  This is a great place for pillows (they have some amazing decorative pillows!), decorative candles & candle holders, table & dishware, furniture, curtains, & rugs.  They often have sales or clearance items.
  • Tai Pan Trading Company:  Not crazy about their overall style–it borders on a bit too flowery or cutesy for my taste, but I’ve been able to find a few different items there that I really like.
  • JCPenney’s:  I purchased most of my lamps from here.  Also buy my comforters, sheets (highest count possible), & other bedding items.
  • Tuesday Morning:  Kind of a “last chance” store.  Lot’s of designer home decor pieces.  Similar to TJ Maxx but better selection, more designer goods to choose from.  Hit & miss, depending on what you’re looking for, but they get new stuff every week.  Great for fake plants, door mats, rugs, & paintings or inexpensive wall art.
  • Kmart:  They actually have some really great, affordable furniture pieces (was even better when they carried their Martha Stewart line).  I think the rest of the store is a jumbled, useless mess, but I’m quite happy with some of the furniture pieces I’ve been able to get there (like my kitchen hutch & kitchen table!).
Ready to see the house?

Let’s go!

[Full Disclosure:  My house is not always immaculately clean.  Just saying.  I don’t want to you to start thinking my house always is spic & span without a trace or hint of dust, crumbs, or peanut butter smears.  I am human & I have 4 little persons running around the place, for Pete’s sake!]

Outside, porch, garden, & yard


Living Room

Bedrooms, Toy Room

Bathroom, Laundry


  1. Carrie
    on June 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm said:

    I just found your blog, and I’m reading backwards…but I live on the outskirts of San Antonio!!! (Schertz to be exact)… There’s not to many vegetarian/vegan places..but there are a couple… You have Green Vegetarian, The Cove has some good stuff, and Vegeria….I’ve tried all 3 and love them all!!!! If you need any ideas or have any questions, please let me know. Also, one of my good friends goes to the San Antonio temple. I’d be happy to get you in touch with her….

    • Janae Wise
      on June 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm said:

      Carrie, hello! How do you like living in TX? Are you vegetarian? I’ve heard it’s not too far from Austin which is a hub of vegetarian friendly places.

      Thanks for thinking of me, I’ll definitely keep that in mind for when we actually get there!

      • Carrie
        on June 4, 2012 at 8:54 am said:

        Well I’ve lived here pretty much my entire life (minus the 3 years I lived in Canada for University). I’ve always been within about 45 miles of the San Antonio area. So it’s truly all I know. It’s home to me, and I wouldn’t want to move. Yes the summers can be brutally hot, but it’s something that if you’re from here, you’re used too. That’s why you have iced tea, lemonade, and freezer pops. You are right, in saying that Austin is close. For me, I’m about 45 miles away. Just depends on what part of San Antonio ya’ll are looking at to live. I’m assuming that you will probably get stationed at RAFB. Which is literally about 3 miles from my house. So if that’s the case, you’d be about 45 miles from Austin. We do have several really good Farmer’s Markets here. Nothing like a California market or anything like that, but it is good. It’s the Pearl Market. http://pearlfarmersmarket.com/ It’s the one I go to, and I’ve never been disappointed in their food. Oh and to answer your question about being a vegetarian…I am not, but I tend to eat that way a lot. I still eat fish and chicken, about 2 times a week. But the other days, I’m meatless. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me directly. I’d love to help you out.

        • Janae Wise
          on June 4, 2012 at 9:01 am said:

          Carrie, will be at Lackland AFB.

          Thanks for taking the time to give me the run down. I’m so excited. Sounds like a fab place to live. And, surprisingly, I can’t wait for the hot summers! I’m actually looking forward to the heat & sunshine. Is the Farmer’s Market year round?

          Thanks for the help, I’ll be sure to look out for you once we get there & get settled 🙂

  2. Janae Wise
    on May 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm said:

    Aimee: So cool that you're from San Antonio. I'm looking forward to the warm weather. I'll take the heat if that means I don't have to suffer through any more Utah winters (although this winter wasn't too bad). Thanks for stopping by :)!

  3. Aimee
    on May 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm said:

    Wow! I've been in San Antonio since my dad got stationed here when I was 15. 17 years, great hubby, and 7 kids later, I like it a lot better than I did at first! Summers are hot, but the rest of the year is gorgeous. Bit of a vegan desert, but it's getting better. Love your blog! So inspiring and full of practical advice.

  4. Janae Wise
    on May 13, 2012 at 1:36 am said:

    Elise: I will come find you. And visit we must. I can't wait!

  5. Elise
    on May 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm said:

    Yay! San Antonio is… sort of… by me (you know… 7 hours away)! And… Jes! Did you know that Jes from England is there? I think she's on base. I love her. We should get together sometime maybe.

  6. Sarah
    on May 12, 2012 at 12:53 am said:

    Very true. It will happen when the time is right and I'm already very, very blessed. It's good to know that there are houses around here like that. I hope you can sell it soon and move on to your next exciting step in life!

  7. Janae Wise
    on May 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm said:

    Sarah: Lol, I can't help that my house is naturally gorgeous! It really is one of a kind that way 🙂 Don't worry, your time will come. Home ownership is a big step–it's about timing & finding the house that is a perfect fit. Patience, as they say, is a virtue…:)

  8. Sarah
    on May 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm said:

    Janae, stop making me fall in love with your home! It is beautiful! I keep hoping we'll be looking for a house soon. And now I hope that even more. We'd love a place like yours! Good luck in Texas. 🙂

  9. Janae Wise
    on May 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm said:

    Lindsay: (Squeal) I'm so happy you noticed my floors. When I told my husband I wanted to do the floors before I took pictures, he was like, why? no one will notice. But YOU did! Yay.Don't you just love the glass jars? I do. Grains & beans are so pretty, I like kinda putting them on display like that.

  10. Janae Wise
    on May 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm said:

    lfwv: Thank you! (I do too!)Adina: I've heard that Austin is quite the vegan hub, which honestly, surprises me. Thanks for all the well wishes, we'll need them!Amber: Fantastic! Thank you for the connection, I'll be sure to look you up when I'm there (are you on twitter? if so, add me, it's a great way for me to stay in touch with people)Katie: Thank you. Yes, I believe it's so important not to lower our standards of cleanliness, order, or even design because we have kids. Kinda insulting really. Kids are people, too! 🙂

  11. Lindsay
    on May 11, 2012 at 8:31 pm said:

    Your house is just so lovely! You have inspired me to declutter and decorate! Your kitchen floors were very shiny – my 5 year old actually commented on that! Also, I don't think I've ever mentioned, but I got those gallon glass jars for grains and beans when I saw you got them from Azure Standard. I love them. Thanks for posting the tour! Good luck on selling and planning to move!

  12. Katie
    on May 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm said:

    Your house looks amazing. Thanks for the bit about having nice things with kids. I start feeling guilty about wanting and saving for nice things, but really, it's important to have a beautiful home.

  13. Amber
    on May 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm said:

    Hey Janae, I've been reading your blog for a while, so fun to seeyou're moving to San Antonio! It's a great city! I'm Mormon too and live near the temple – there are a lot of members here – (not so many vegans :). Feel free to email me if you have any questions about San Antonio! The house looks great – hope it sells super fast (for y'all!).adavidson79@sbcglobal.net

  14. Adina | Gluten Free Travelette
    on May 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm said:

    Yay! Love the home tour! And San Antonio-that's exciting!I've been there but havn't eaten out much, I'm sure you'll be able to find some good vegan eats though. If not, Austin is only a bit away and they have AMAZING vegan and generally allergy friendly eats. I'm actually a little jealous, I really like that part of Texas. Wishing you the best of luck in prepping for your move!

  15. Anonymous
    on May 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm said:

    Your home is beautiful and tasteful! i hope it sells soon!lfwfv