5 Ideas for Creating Custom Features in your Home

5 Ideas for Creating Custom Features in your Home

Have you ever looked around your home and wondered, “How can I make this space feel a little more like mine?” Well, I’m right there with you, friend. If you’re anything like me, you’d like to avoid the cookie cutter, builder-grade, straight-out-of-the-showroom feel. You want unique … custom. 

I’m hosting the kick-off of November’s new topic, “Customizing your Home” for the House to Home Haven Blog Link Up!

Organized by an amazing group of bloggers from the Haven Conference, this link-up’s purpose is to connect and share amazing design and renovation ideas to make the most of your biggest investment: your home! 

If you haven’t met my friends, you’re missing out: meet Danielle and Michael at Clark & Aldine, Sarah and Nick – owners of Nestrs, Lindsey at Building Bluebird, and Morgan and Jamie from Construction2Style

We want to see your ideas too! To get in on the blog link action, drop a link your your IG post, blog post or video at the bottom of this post!

Here are the House to Home Haven Blog Linkup Rules:

  • Link to relevant content
  • Link to a specific post, image, or video
  • Share the love!

5 Interior Design Ideas to Customize your Home

Book Storage – Make a DIY Book Rail

You can easily (and inexpensively) create storage for displaying in your kid’s bedroom or playroom. I particularly love the style of shelves where the covers are forward facing, like the ones we made for our Girl’s Bedroom Makeover.

This was a super simple project and cost a total of $64 and 3 hours total time. Definitely worth it for this space. 


Installing trim moulding is a moderately easy customization project you can use to customize your space. There are many different types ways to use them.

Crown moulding, for example, can be used to bulk up or accentuate the look of otherwise bland cabinets. Just look at the difference a little paint and trim made in our office upfit! 

The Progression
Painted the cabinets in Chantilly Lace by BM & installed a custom trim up to increase the fancy factor – a moderately easy DIY project

Another idea is adding a strip of trim above your basic base molding (or skirting, as the Europeans say) – a simple project that will make your home feel custom.

For more trim ideas on how to go from builder-basic to custom, I suggest following this guy, Phillip on IG – his ideas and work are super educational and impressive.

Paint Selections

You simply can’t beat the impact a few cans of paint can make, even if it is just white on white. There’s something about walls with generous moulding all painted in the same color. 

Image background by @leclairdecor

Seriously, paint selections make a BIG difference. Although I must admit that I am in the neutral paint fan club, we shouldn’t be afraid of color either. A tasteful paint selection will give you a custom look.


Built-ins are one of those custom features that make high-end homes feel like high end homes. Fortunately, there are tons of tutorials out there for how-to build them in all different styles. 

Take some inspiration from this week’s #housetohomehaven winner over on Instagram – Simply Aligned Home

Make a Unique Return Vent Cover 

I know HVAC returns are necessary, but goodness gracious, they are hideous. Thankfully, there’s this super cute tutorial by Simplicity in the South that will help you get a custom look and improve your HVAC vent situation.

What are your home’s unique or custom features that you just can’t live without? 

Drop a link to your Instagram post, blog post, or video below and don’t forget to use #housetohomehaven in all your inspiring spaces!

Until next time, Inspiring friends

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

7 Tips to help you Organize & Design your Home Office

7 Tips to help you Organize & Design your Home Office

If you are anything like me, no space is complete unless it is both functional AND easy on the eyes – and that includes a home office. Recently on Instagram, we shared a part of our Office Upfit Project and the process of taking our wood-toned, dated home office – located smack in the middle of our home – into a light, organized and inspiring space for our small team to gather. 

I wrestled through the ENTIRE design and organization process with decisions for this space – so much it was painful! After taking input from our team and a strong collaborative effort with my Inspiring Intern, Kelly, the project is finally coming together.

*** I’ll be sharing before after’s of this project soon! Stay in the loop

Given the challenges I faced with the organization and design of our home office, I thought I’d share what I learned along the way. Regardless of whether you are a mom running your household, work from home by yourself or have a team at your side… your home office should be the central hub of functionality and this post is for you!

7 Tips for How to Organize and Design your Home Office

#1 Organize a Bills & Mail Station

Create a System

We developed a little system to organize our bills, documents, and random notes that collect on our desk. 

First when the mail comes in, we go through and purge the junk mail. Random notes are separated from bills and project related documents and placed in a separate folder. The rest go in the top bin. Uriah doesn’t open the mail until he’s ready to spend a few hours paying bills. 

After bills are paid, they go into the “to-be-scanned” bin. Either Uriah or our assistant will then scan the papers into a cloud based system, according to our digital organization process

Then, if it is a document where the original needs to be kept in our records, such as a HUD, it goes in the “to be filed” bin. At that point, documents are ready to be filed in our Project File Drawers by our assistant.

wire file drawer for home office

#2 Choose a Desk with Storage to Help you Organize

Hopefully your desk has at least two file drawers so you can organize important personal business documents. If not, no worries! You can always purchase file boxes like these at Target and store them on open shelving. You can even use file storage as a part of your styling, like this idea from The Organized Home:

picture of a wooden crate being used to store files in a home office and styled on a shelf with pretty books this design tip also helps you stay organize

#3 Organization is all about labeling EVERYTHING

When I say label everything – I mean everything: your shelving, your bins, your folders, your cubbies and baskets. After all – you’ve spend all this time on organization so everything has a place. Labeling (in conjunction with self-discipline) is the way to keep it that way! It will also help your husband, wife, assistant, or children know exactly where things go. 

We bought cabinet hardware that doubled as a label!

this picture is of file drawers with hardware that doubles as a label - found on amazon
Drawer hardware that doubles as a label. Ignore the fact that I haven’t actually labeled them yet 🙂 This project is still in progress.

#4 Organize and Look Good Doing It – Put Your Processes and Operating Procedures in Pretty, Easily Accessible Binders  

I found floral 3-ring binders like the ones you see above at target – making sure they compliment our brand colors. (The ones linked are similar but not the exact same as mine.)

The binders hold our Office Manual, Company Handbook and Order & Inventory Lists for Open Projects. Notebooks and manuals such as this need to be readily accessible for you or your employees to reference when needed. Because counter space is plentiful in The Inspiring Investment office, we display them in a black mesh rack on the counter.

#5 Design: Home Office

This concept could also be applied for a homemaking office! Have a notebook for meal planning, home or craft projects, or you could even have a Household Manual – a tool you can provide a nanny or babysitters who come into your home. (Would you believe I do this one? #nerdalert)

office picture with blog post title pinterest graphic
Pin this to an organization board on Pinterest! Go ahead and follow us while you’re there.

Start with Neutrals

White space is essential to a visually appealing space – I’m convinced! That’s not to say there isn’t a place for color – or – that walls always have to be white – by no means! Color makes our world interesting and dynamic! But in order for that color to be seen and not overwhelmed by other “noise”, a neutral backdrop is a solid foundation for building a well-designed, balanced space. That is why we chose to paint our cabinets AND walls white. It will be the perfect canvas to put our brand on display.

#6 Design: Home Office Artwork and Decor

Use Artwork and Decor that tells a story 

The story you tell through the decor in your home office should be dictated by the reason you use it. I run a small business, so for the purposes of this post I will speak for business owners and branding, but your brand could also be interpreted as your style or values and therefore applicable to a homemaker’s office. 

Brand colors, your logo, imagery, meaningful art related to your business, or company benchmarks –  all of these things are a part of branding your office. They re-affirm the values of your company and communicate a cohesive message to your employees and even yourself. 

#7 – Design: Seating

Use Stylish, but Comfortable Chairs

Ergonomic design is an important factor in furnishing your home office with comfy, stylish seating.

heathered grey stool with pecan modern legs an example of home office seating
I love this stool from West Elm

(We are actually incorporating a standing desk option for one of the three work stations in our home office, which is why I’m showing a stool option.)

More ideas to design your home office: 

  • Hang inspiring wall art (support local artists if possible)
  • Use meaningful objects to your brand or values to decorate
  • Post your vision & mission statement
  • Display a vision board 
  • Provide a gratitude jar
  • Sprinkle a bit of greenery into your styling, using faux plants if necessary (more tips on styling here)

Ideas for branding your home office:

We plan on putting a vinyl sticker of our logo at the top of our office whiteboard, because no one can reach up there anyway. 

Additionally, we will be using light blue push pins on a black and white maps of Raleigh, Cary, and Durham to mark all flips we’ve completed in our market, kind of like the one you see pictured above.

In Conclusion …

Working from home is certainly a blessing, but I think we all know it can also have it’s challenges. Investing the extra effort into the design and organization of your office can improve functionality, your personal productivity and communicate your brand’s message, unifying your whole team! It’s time to treat your home office like an actual workplace, don’t you think?

Coming Next …

I’m posting all the design choices we actually implemented to tell our brand’s story in our Office Upfit. 

Summer Bucket List 2018 for Raleigh

Summer 2018: Make it Memorable. Make it Count

Hi Inspiring people! Hannah here, the Inspiring Intern, summer edition. Speaking of summer, how’s it going? Every thing you’d hoped it would be? Well just in case you’re looking for inspiration, today I’m writing to share a few ways you can make this season count by creating the ultimate bucket list. There are even some ideas specific to the Raleigh area (or at least North Carolina).

summer Bucket List pinterest graphic

To preface this bucket list:

All activities are to be done with people you love (or by yourself because everyone needs some “me time”).

Raleigh’s Ultimate Bucket List

  • Go to the beach for sunrise

Leave at 3:30 in the morning if you have to, grab some coffee, a blanket, and a sweatshirt and get on the road. It’s always a bonus to find a cute breakfast place afterwards. My favorite spot is Wrightsville Beach Access 39, with Breakfast at Jimbo’s to follow.

jeep sunrise summer bucket list inspiring intern inspiring investment raleigh real estate flipping houses

  • A Family Picnic

Make some sandwiches and cut up watermelon, along with fresh strawberries. Take it to your favorite park and have a relaxing afternoon. The best spots are Bond Park in Cary and Pullen Park in Raleigh.

  • Date Nightguitar summer real estate houses raleigh flipping buying intern inspiring investment

The top spots are:

**Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater (Henderson, NC)

**Cinebistro (a theater in Cary that serves you dinner during the movie)

**Beasley’s Chicken n’ Waffles & the Sunset in Raleigh, NC. I would recommend taking your meal to go and going to the top of a parking deck, enjoying it from up high

  • Read

Some of my favorites right now:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • Forgotten God by Francis Chan
  • Everything Always by Bob Goff
  • This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


  • Write a Letter

Reach out to an old college friend, or current college friend, a family member or anyone and write them a letter. Written words are a lot more permanent and meaningful than a text or even call… make someone’s day by sending them a letter.

post letter summer bucket list inspiring intern investment real estate flipping houses raleigh

  • Make Ice Cream *Homemade*

One of the purest forms of joy on this planet: ice cream. Make it even better by making it yourself! (Do not count the calories!!)


stargazing summer bucket list inspiring investment inspiring intern real estate raleigh flipping houses

  • Stargaze

In the back of a truck bed or really anywhere, if you can. Go somewhere away from lights and don’t forget the bug spray! The best places are Jordan Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Wrightsville Beach

  • Go Cliff Jumping

If you aren’t feeling as adventurous as actually jumping off a cliff, swim in the river while your friends jump!

  • Eno Rock Quarry (Durham, NC)
  • Devil’s Washtub (Moravian Falls, NC)
  • Elk River Falls (Elk River, NC)
  • Trashcan Falls (Boone, NC)


  • See a Concert

There are a bunch of great concerts and shows coming up in the area that are definitely worth checking out:

  • Foreigner – July 03 – Walnut Creek Amphitheater
  • Imagine Dragons – July 05 – Walnut Creek Amphitheater
  • Panic! At the Disco – July 28 – PNC Arena
  • Pentatonix – August 11 – Walnut Creek Amphitheater
  • NEEDTOBREATHE – August 22 – Walnut Creek Amphitheater

concert summer bucket list inspiring investment inspiring intern real estate raleigh flipping houses

  • Sleep.

Because everyone needs that:)


I once read that joy is defined as “happiness that is not affected by circumstance or situation.” With that in mind i encourage you to choose joy this summer. Maybe you don’t get to all the things on your bucket list, maybe you do. Whatever it may consist of, take the opportunity to use your time well and learn from it, and above all – have joy!




Things I’m Loving Thursday

Things I’m Loving Thursday

I follow this girl, Kate,  and she does a hashtag on Instagram called “Things I’m loving Thursday”. I thought I would put my own spin on it. Things I’m Loving Thursday: House Flipper Style.

As Natalie and I are working through the details of our editorial calendar, it looks like blog posts will publish 1-2 days per week, on Monday and Friday. But today I just got so excited about these deals I found! I bought the following items a few days ago for LaRancharita, so you will see them installed very soon if you follow us on Instagram! Here is the kitchen before cabinets. It’s a blank slate!

Now, these amazon images are affiliate links, which means that if you click on it and purchase it, I get a little commission, but it doesn’t effect the price you pay. I see this as a win-win for both of us: I’m scouring the internet for good deals and you want good deals 🙂 I will only share items I have or would use for my house or our projects. Thank you in advance for your support, loves!

Things I’m Loving Thursday: House Flipper Style

Here is the faucet I talked about on Insta. You will see it soon in the navy, white and gold kitchen that is LaRancharita:

Also, I bought these brackets from Amazon for LaRancharita. It will hold reclaimed wood shelves on either side of the stainless steel hood vent, for storage. Kind of like this beauty:
floating shelves navy cabinets kitchen inspiration ideas
I bought the wood from a girl on craigslist who got them from an old tobacco barn in North Carolina. Uriah thinks I may have paid too much for it, but I whole-heartedly disagree 🙂 It doesn’t hurt that we’ve done like 3 projects so far with the wood!

Here is a link to the stainless steel hood vent going in at LaRancharita I mean, it was only like $149.99 (at least it was when I purchased) Don’t miss out, this is a great price!

I’ve received some requests for my favorite hardware selections. I definitely have some I would love to share, but sadly, this is about all I can do tonight. The good news is the beautiful navy (yes NAVY!!) cabinets are now installed at LaRancharita and looking fabulous.

raleigh house flip renovation navy cabinets concrete lights flipping houses
If you want to inside scoop on all things home improvement, DIY, design, and real estate investing-related sign up for our email list here. You’ll be the first to know all the good stuff.

Until Next Time…

Make A Plan: Actionable Steps to Accomplishing Your Goals in 2018

Make A Plan: Actionable Steps to Accomplishing Your Goals in 2018

2018… Where Did You Come From?!? The New Year, as many like to say, is a chance for new beginnings. People make all kinds of resolutions: exercise more, make amends, de-clutter, sell the house, move on from the old and into the new. Resolutions are good things, but shouldn’t they yield results? Today we are going to discuss some actionable steps you can take to conquer your goals this year.

Make The Plan

Plan your life. It is a known fact that successful people set goals, yet the average person doesn’t even take the time to establish them. Success doesn’t just happen. Planning out your days, weeks, and quarters leads to years of fulfilled dreams.

* Action Step: Adjust your daily tasks to accomplish your yearly resolutions.

Plan For Imperfection

Despite our best efforts, we are only human. Humans are flawed. Can’t everyone agree with that? Our intentions in consistency, more often than not, fall apart at some point in the year. That is why many resolutions fail! So what do we do with that? I think the answer is to go ahead and plan for it. Plan for a “re-set”: for rest. Create quality goals that matter, and do so with a mindset of grace! Lara Casey’s Cultivate What Matters concept of goal setting is revolutionizing how we run our business and it can help you as well!

* Action Step: Plan for little “re-sets” throughout the year. Maybe you get away for a weekend, maybe you take a month off of your “plan”. The key is to get back to it!

inspiring investment goal setting goals business plan development

Dream Big, But Start Small

To achieve the big dream, you need to realize that it’s the small decisions that matter. Big dreams are great! They can motivate you and propel you forward, but they can also be daunting! Take those big dreams and break them out into yearly and monthly goals, then create daily or weekly tasks related to their respective goals. Set reminders for yourself throughout the year and mark your calendar as *busy* during designated times, allowing you the space to accomplish your tasks.
PS. If you are not the journaling/scheduling type, then don’t jump all-in purchasing expensive tools. Just use your phone calendar to get started.

* Action Step: Start with one, achievable item on your goal list and set the tasks in place to get it done. Work on that until you complete that goal – it will feel great! From there, you can start scheduling more items.

 goals resolution new years

The Big Dream

When it comes down to it, the drive or motivation necessary accomplish a “Big Dream” is far higher than what’s needed for a small one, so dream BIG! It will push you further in your life business.
The Inspiring Investment’s goals for 2017 were to buy 20 houses, 2 rentals and streamline our business. To be honest, we didn’t accomplish all of our goals this year. We bought 15 houses and 2 rentals; however, we are not disappointed in our efforts. Dedication and hard work allowed us to take some big steps in our company’s structure. This year, our biggest accomplishment is that we worked on the business, instead of just in the business.

 * Action Step: Starting at the end of December / beginning of January, set 3 major goals for your life / job / business.

Don’t Ignore Your Health

No amount of success should come at the expense of your health: physical, mental, or emotional. If something is causing you emotional anxiety or mental stress and inhibiting your goals, consider cutting it. Maybe it’s a house you need to sell (we can take care of it for you), a business that is crumbling, or saying “yes” to too many things. De-clutter and focus on what is important: your health, for starters! Find a physical activity you love and do it, regularly. **But don’t forget to plan for rest. Personally, I enjoy Crossfit and go to this gym. If you are local want to try it, let me know and I’ll go with you!

 * Action Step: Exercise doesn’t have to be intimidating, but it does need to be intentional. If you are new to it, start with one activity scheduled per week and increase from there.

** Scroll to the bottom of this post to read about what happened in my life to push me to prioritize personal health.***


Seek advice and wisdom from those you want to be like. Great articles have been written on countless websites about the benefits of mentorship.

 * Action Step: Find someone you respect who you can be mutually beneficial to. Study what they do, ask them questions, be generous with your ideas and try to avoid hoarding your own knowledge.

One of my favorite mentors is a man who I originally met thorugh a mutual friend; we get together and talk regularly. When we met, he had an amazing team and before we knew it, a partnership developed. He ended up teaching me a lot about business. Leadership, honesty, and strength are a few of the characteristics he displays and I am honored to now consider him one of my best friends. Although we are technically competitors in our market, I trust him: as a friend first and competitor, second.

Grow Quality Relationships

While listening to this podcast the other day, something the guest speaker, Eric Barker, stated intrigued me. He said, “networking is the worst thing ever”. The term “networking” can be extremely egocentric. It implies that you only want to know someone for what they can give you. He goes on to say that people need to stop networking and start making friends.
I agree 100%, and that is coming from an introvert! Large groups of people who I don’t know… I’ll pass. But when looking at a social situation differently, I can come to the gathering saying, “I’m going to find a new friend today”.

 * Action Step: Purse friendships in your industry or stage of life, step out of your comfort zone, and be yourself!

Why I Prioritize Health In Yearly Goal Setting

When I was in High School I was helping my dad move some furniture. (He wasn’t the healthiest guy in the world. He had a sedentary lifestyle with work and home life: didn’t go to the gym and let his weight rise over the years.) We had just finished loading a trailer with several large pieces of furniture and hit the road. After a few minutes, he pulled over and said he wasn’t feeling well. He asked me to drive the rest of the way. I got a couple of miles down the road and BAM! It hit. Uriah! Drive to the ER NOW!!!
Before I knew it, I was driving a loaded trailer and Expedition 100 MPH down HWY 485 in Charlotte headed towards the closest ER. I pulled up to the ambulance entrance, blocking anybody else from coming in, and ran inside. I yelled for help as several nurses rushed out. They quickly transfered him to a stretcher and he was admitted.
He suffered a massive heart attack that day. I thought I was going to lose my dad. By the grace of God I did not, however, the years ahead left him with ongoing issues: 2 more heart attacks and a heart transplant. 13 years from the original heart attack and he can finally play with my kids and get around like I would expect a 60-year-old to.
I say all this to tell you that the cost (whatever it is) of a gym membership is nothing in comparison to effectively losing 10+ years of your life. We are now members at New Order Crossfit and make our best effort to go consistently. It’s not cheap! But given the event’s I witnessed in my dad’s life, worth the investment. I encourage you to prioritize your health this year.

Your Life Is Bigger Than You

I have learned, and continue to learn, that no matter how hard I work or how many good decisions I make, I actually have very little control over my life. It can all be swept away in a moments notice. That is why I put my faith in something bigger. As members of The Summit Church, we strongly suggest you consider this fact and invite you to join us in learning more of what the Bible teaches about your purpose, what can drive you to a meaningful life.

 * Action Step: Consider your purpose and your drive. Write it down. Talk about it with your loved ones.


What Are Your Goals?

Have you given any thought to the year ahead? What are your goals? We want to hear from you!

Things House Flippers Learned From Conferences in 2017

Things House Flippers Learned From Conferences in 2017

November of 2017 was an exciting yet busy month. We learned alot, stirring fruitful business conversations. The source of our education came from two different conferences. Uriah attended the NCSSA Conference in Charlotte and Katelynn, the Internet Summit in Raleigh. After our respective conferences, we came together and compared notes, in order to determine how we could apply the things we learned to benefit our business. We thought we would share some of what we learned, in case it could be applicable to you.

NCSSA Conference

The NCSSA stands for North Carolina Self-Storage Association. They describe themselves as “an Association comprised of a wide array of owners and operators whose facilities range from single location sites to large portfolios with thousands of rental units.  In addition, we have associate members that represent vendors who serve the industry as well as those individuals who are interested in getting involved.”
Self-Storage is an intriguing real estate investing avenue. It’s benefits include low turn-over rates, low maintenance, and potentially fewer headaches. Although we would not recommend this conference to “newby” storage investors, because they didn’t do any hand-holding, there were a few key points of information we walked away with:

  1. SBA loans are available for buying or building.
  2. Building of new storage has hit all time highs over the last 2 years
  3. …because of this, an opportunity is present from new owners that built and didn’t plan well: anticipate a high foreclosure rate in the future.
  4. Buying run down facilities and fixing them up (kind of like fixing up damaged houses) is a great way to get into the business, because you have automatic cash flow and can add value to the building in a few short months.
  5. Secondary and tertiary markets have great margins for storage. (The big 3 story storage facilities on main roads in large MSA’s are pretty, but their numbers are tight)

The Internet Summit Conference

The Internet Summit is a massive conference with tons of information. Katelynn only attended one day, but plans to go to the whole thing next year. With an impressive speaker line up of Mitch Lowe (co-founder of Netflix), Seth Godin, Amy Schmittauer, and Natasha Mulla (Mashable), just to name a few, it was quite inspirational to hear. Our main interest here was foundational brand building. Here are a few bulleted points that we walked away with.

  • Establish a brand strategy.
  • Know your audience.
  • Set clear, measurable goals.
  • Create a content plan.
  • There are three varieties of content:
    • Informational
    • Entertaining
    • Inspirational

What did you do this month that helped you achieve your goals? Do you have a house that needs work and you want to sell it as-is? Want to see more of our flips or see what services we offer? Let’s stay in touch!