Welcome to my home

Welcome to my home. Back in June, I wrote an article about how badly Wife Ninja wanted to feather the nest for our first place. After a heck-of-a-lotta apartment hunting and even getting the cold shoulder from one place we really liked, we finally settled in to a great little (600sqft little) 1 bedroom condo with a view of downtown. Before we got hitched, The Wife and I decided $2,500 should adequately furnish our first place. Well, now that we are 95% settled, we can take a look at how we did. Consider this your official tour of the Casa De Ninja…

Our sleeping situation:

Ninja Bed

As much as I love Wife Ninja, I sure don’t like that she crowds me on our small full-sized bed. I’d rant about it, but I already did that in this marriage post. So why keep the pint sized sleep arrangements? One reason, the bed was free. Wife Ninja has used this bed for the last three years, so we decided to keep it until we know where we will be living long term. The bedding, pillows, sheets, etc were all Wife Ninja’s from before, so although the bed isn’t the most comfortable, you can’t beat FREE-ninety-nine.

The Clothing Situation:

dresser ninja

We went with Ikea for our dresser, but bought one of their more expensive models, the Hemnes. It set us back $299, but is a sturdy build and wont blow over like other Ikea stuff. We looked at quite a few consignment shops and furniture stores and couldn’t find anything we liked more than this for a similar price. If you count, there are 8 drawers in the dresser. Mine is the top left, the other seven are Wife Ninjas 🙂

The Office situation:

Office Ninja
Wife Ninja wanted a black desk. One of my friends had a light birch desk sitting in his guest room that he wanted to get rid of. It was the perfect size, but definitely not what WN was looking for. Three coats of black latex paint and a big mess later, I had the desk painted. It isn’t the highest quality (read crappy Ikea furniture) but it does fine for now. When it comes time to move we’ll sell this on Craigslist, give it away for free, pay someone to take it, or throw it away…whichever comes first.

The Overall Bedroom Situation:

With the exception of a few decorating pieces (rug, candles, lamp shades, etc) we didn’t really spend money on the bedroom aside from the dresser. Probably about $400 for the whole room. I’d show you a picture of our closet organization system, but am too freaked out some of you internet pervs will try and look for my underwear or something. Creepers not welcome.

The Kitchen Situation:

I love the kitchen for three reasons. 1) It’s pretty freakin nice. 2) It has enough cabinet space for all our stuff. 3) Almost everything in it was a wedding gift. Do you remember when I blogged about the wedding registry process from a man’s perspective? Well, registering was TOTALLY awesome because we got a lot of the really expensive kitchen gadget thingys that I was really dreading having to pay for (i.e mixer, espresso machine, knife block). We’ve only put about $150 in to the kitchen, which makes me a very happy camper.

The Fancy Stuff (that I’m Not Allowed To Touch) Situation:

Yet another Ikea purchase. We paid $150 for this display hutch, which I would say is medium grade quality. It made Wife Ninja really happy because it can display our fancy china, ballerific crystal, and sweet orange license plate we bought on our honeymoon that says “Aruba. One Happy Island.” We paid for the hutch, but everything inside of it is wedding gifts.

Dining Area Situation:

That dining room table is the purchase we are most excited about. It was listed on Craigslist for $300 from someone liquidating their mother in laws estate. I was able to negotiate them down to $250. The table is solid wood, came with four, yes FOUR, leaf inserts, six white chairs, and can seat up to 12 people when fully extended. When I was wiping down one of the chairs, I noticed it still had the original price sticker on it, $79. That means the chairs alone originally cost $480. It get’s even better. After a little more research, I found out the table is from Crate & Barrel and cost over $800 originally. We found the white bench on craigslist for $55 and thought it was too perfect to not add to the dining set. We will either keep this table in our family for a very long time, or sell it for twice (or three times) what we paid for it. Total cost of the dining room area ~ $450.

The Man Cave of Crazy Manliness Situation:

Do you see that 46″ television of pure epic glory? It was my favorite wedding gift, from the one and only, Mom Ninja. We spent $300 on the entertainment stand, $35 on the super sweet coffee table/mission style chest thing-a-majigger, $30 on the lamp, $35 on the fake plant, and a bit more on the other “minor” decorating expenses. The couch, which you will see in the next picture, was actually given to us by a friend and is super sweet and saved us some serious coin. All said and done we are looking at about $500 on the living room.

The Great Room Situation:

There isn’t much else to say about the place, but I wanted to include the above picture so you got an idea of how everything was situated, and because I think Wife Ninja did an incredible job decorating. Her goal was to make it look like the inside of a magazine, and I think she did just that. Even sexier than the way our place looks, is the cost to bring it all together. Remember that $2,500 we had allocated for furnishings? Well, only about $1,600 of it got spent. We picked certain items to spend a bit more $$$ on (dining table, dresser, entertainment center) as we plan to keep them for many years to come, but we also went cheap on things that we probably wont move with us to our next place (barstools, bedding, desk, couch).

The only thing I love more than coming home to our wonderful Ninja abode, is that I get to come home to a wonderful Ninja abode that has two plates full of pumpkin cookies waiting to be devoured…

Oh how I love being married 🙂

What are some of the furnishing you spent some serious change on and where did you decide to go cheap? Did you have a “furniture” budget set up when you moved in to your current place? If you’re feeling extra nice, you’ll drop a comment telling Wife Ninja how great of a job she did decorating, I’d love to show her all the positive remarks!

70 thoughts on “Welcome to my home”

  1. I like it! I never thought black and white would be such awesome colors. If you ever come to Las Vegas I have a home I’d like to rent to you two 😛

  2. I’m glad you gave craiglist a try. All the stuff looks brand new and you’d never guess you got such a steal on things. The best picture though is of those cookies.

    My house is the opposite of yours…every room is a different color (my bedroom is pumpkin) and most of my furniture is all 100+ years old.

    Things we spent money on: Our mattress and bedding. My dark master is oriental rugs. I travelled a lot and have multiple orientals rugs in every room of my house. We also spent money re-upholstering family furniture (It took 13 years of sitting on ripped couch cushions before we got to it though).

    I guess we cheaped out on furniture because almost everything in our house was either from a yard sale, or family. Some of it is very nice, but it’s a mish mash of eclectic stuff. In our room, my dresser is birdseye maple and his is a very dark wood, so it’s not like they go together.

  3. I love it! I’m a little green over your kitchen space. It’s absolutely beautiful! I’ve been in my house for a year and a half, and it still looks like we just moved in. I’m a failure of a woman, I’ll admit it!!!!

  4. Your place looks great! I remember our first place, one bedroom basement apartment that we decorated from yard sales and discount stores. To be honest, it was probably the best place we ever lived. We had everything we needed and nothing to tie us down. I bet in 20yrs you guys will look back with a lot of fond memories when you think of your first home.

  5. I think your place looks wonderful 🙂 I really like all the white! Seems like you are all done with big purchases, but for odds and ends, estate sales are awesome. Just make sure you get there at the very very beginning for the best stuff.

  6. Wife Ninja is the master of interior design! Seriously, I love almost everything about your apartment, especially the dining room and the bedroom. I especially admire the fact that you guys did all of this on such a small budget! Good for you both for taking advantage of free furniture and dressing it up to fit your home. I can’t even believe it’s only 600 square feet with all the rooms you have. Our apartment is 640 square feet, but yours seems alot larger than ours. (Maybe we’re getting ripped off!)

  7. Wife Ninja did an OUTSTANDING job decorating your space. I am truly impressed. She’s made a rather small space look very comfortable and cozy and inviting.

    When I bought my house, 3 1/2 years ago, I had no freakin’ clue how I was going to decorate it – no budget, no plan, (and no money)! I was just really happy that I had a house for my son and me. All we had were beds, a tv, a really (I mean REALLY) cheap (did I say REALLY CHEAP??) tv stand, and way too many books (I love to read).

    My mother bought my son’s bedroom set (bed, dresser, night stand); a friend gave me our sofa, and THEN I put together a budget – an amount of money I allocated to spend each month on our house. 3 1/2 years later, we have everything we need – and a bunch of stuff we just wanted – that I’m about to put on Craig’s List.

    Awesome job with the budgeting and spending. Really awesome job with the decorating!

  8. First of all, it all looks awesome. I wish I had a wife ninja. She did a phenomenal job. I do have one issue to take up with Husband ninja though.

    How is that beautiful 46″ television sitting on an entertainment center and not mounted on the wall? Look at all that wall space just begging to be used.

    That’s the only thing I would change. That and put in a soda fountain.

    • Not a fan of the TV mount, and I don’t think our landlord would go for it either. Have you seen the size of the holes a TV mounting bracket puts in a wall? Grand Canyon baby.

  9. The place is gorgeous! I especially love the dining table ensemble and the centerpiece. The place looks so light and airy, but also warm and inviting.

  10. WifeNinja needs to be a set-designer on one of those shows about hip-cool-20somethings, because this is BEAUTIFUL. If she doesn’t enjoy teaching kidlets, I suggest this alternate career path. Awesome…and crazy-good on the frugality front. I love me some craigslist bargains!

  11. It really does look like the inside of a magazine! Good work, Wife Ninja. Please come decorate our place? I especially love the dining room set with the bench and the shutters in your bedroom (though they were probably there when you moved in?)

    We haven’t spent much since we moved in because B. brought all his furnishings from his last place – but we did spend a few thousand to have them moved. Sounds sucky but it was half way across the country and we couldn’t have replaced the furniture for that price.

  12. Your place looks awesome! I am jealous that wife ninja has the eye for decorating. I try and it almost always never works. I see you learned your first lesson as an assistant ninja decorator – Listening and completing projects without questioning!

    Your apartment does look huge, I would have guess 900 sqft. Somehow it has the perfect amount of stuff, nice and airy.

    I have doubts that you two can remain married with only a full size bed for three years or whatever your plan is. Sometimes you just need your space!

    • Also, Ikea furniture is more durable then most people think. As long as you take your time and put it together well. A hint I’ve found is to add wood glue to all the joints to make it a little stronger. And as long as you aren’t macho man when moving them around they shouldn’t get too banged up. We’ve moved out apartment full of ikea furniture 3x and its still almost just as sturdy as when I put it together. Another key is to always just get white or black.brown ikea furniture and any tiny nicks can be hidden with white paint, whiteout, or a black sharpie.

    • No way I could survive on the little bed for three years. I’m just trying to make it till the summer time. Then we’ll look in to getting a queen 🙂

  13. Your place looks fabulous! I love WHITE so the white-ness of the overall look really appeals to me! I have very little white in my house – instead I have 4 children who are very much into dirty! so…

    Anyway, when hubby and I first got together, we decided to buy a bedroom set at IKEA. Since we weren’t living together, what we did was we each bought two pieces of the same set (a nightstand and a dresser each). When we got married and moved in together, we brought the whole bedroom set together, and we’re still using it today – 12 years later. 🙂

    We aren’t terribly extravagant people and what I think is expensive might differ wildly from the next person’s opinion, however, we paid “more” for our livingroom couches and chair (total cost $3500). We paid a good price for our kids’ bed frames (boys’ bunkbed for $1200, girl’s bed for $600, and we are in the process of shopping for a bed for the 5 yr old who is quickly outgrowing her toddler bed), but we didn’t pay top dollar for the kids’ mattresses since they have pee accidents occasionally. In the teen years we’ll replace their mattresses with better quality mattresses that they can keep when they move out if they want.

    Other than that, a lot of our furniture is “inexpensive” or “used”. I’m all for getting a great deal on a good quality used piece of furniture. For example, the beautiful Morigeau Lepine crib we had for the girls was purchased used (6 years old – 2 kids had already used it) for $300. Solid dark wood, sleigh style crib, excellent condition. We used it continuously for almost 8 years (so it was 14 years old) and sold it a year ago for… $300!

  14. Gorgeous! I love love love the bench with the kitchen table, that was a great idea. Also, I’m jealous of your kitchen.

  15. It does look magazinish. And I just made up that awesome word.

    We spent next to nothing on furniture when we got married. Hubby had been on his own for about five years and I’d been living alone for about two years when we got hitched, so we actually had duplicates of a lot of stuff and ended up getting rid of things. Our best deals over the years? The chair hubby found at a thrift store “$5 off any chair sale” and the chair was $5. Free chair. Not kidding. And the couch I got from my sister’s husband’s brother for free, only there was a nickel in the cushions, which means I got paid five cents to take a couch off his hands. But all that was pre-wedding.

    My parents bought our bedroom suite, which with dresser, bed, and chest of drawers cost them about $550 if I remember correctly. After we were married about three years we bought a new mattress & box springs. Almost every other piece of furniture we own was either purchased second hand (cheap!) or given to us.

  16. I die for your couch. Your place looks modern and clean but still cozy and comfortable – my favorite kind of place to be!

    Everything in our place is IKEA, yard sale + paint, or overstock.com ($2.95 to ship a sofa and loveseat – a huge savings for a couple without a car.) and I love it. It’s not always the best quality, but it’s enough to get us through for a good while and I mind a lot less when someone (me) spills wine on a $50 rug instead of a $500 rug.

    Also, cookie recipe please? Looking for a good pumpkin cookie to put in wedding gift bags.

  17. WifeNinja ROCKS! She gave you a great place to call home.

    PS I want some pumpkin cookies when I come for a visit they looked AWESOME!

  18. Had to come out of lurkdom for this one…

    Dear Wife Ninja,
    If you are as good a teacher as you are a decorator, then those lucky students are going to be brilliant. What an eye for detail you have! And its totally not over-the-top with all the white. The Ninja home is perfection. Hey – you should be on the Nate Berkus show. He would so approve of everything you’ve done as well as how affordable it was.

    Dear Ninja,
    Love the stick figure face in the second photo. How funny is that! I love that you love being married. So sweet. (And yes – you do need a bigger bed. You’ll love being married more then LOL). Congrats on staying well under budget!

  19. For such a small space, wife Ninja has maximized the potential of everything. Your apartment is beautiful! When I think back to our first condo (900 sq f) it didn’t look nearly this spacious, because of our furniture situation.

    Well done to you two with only 8 drawers. I have six drawers to myself PLUS 9/10ths of a walk in closet and still don’t think that’s enough!

  20. Woooow! Ur place looks niceeee 🙂 tell Wife Ninja maybe she will consider working for homedeco/interior design mags – ur place looks awsum!

    My bf’s worked for close to 10 yrs now and he lives alone, so his place is pretty much set up. I lamented on the fact that when we get married we won’t hv the fun of hunting for stuff together but he said I shud be happy it’s all paid for *smile* and he has pretty good taste too so I’m not complaining! He has a big wooden bed, coffee table, couch n loveseat, kitchen stuff (plates etc) so whenever I come visit, it feels awesome coz he has everything. Well, almost. The only thing I made him buy was a mixer for my baking!

    And pls can I hv the pumpkin cookies recipe? My bf is nuts for pumpkins, and I dun get why, but I do like baking and making pumpkin-based stuff for him. Thanks, Ninja!

  21. Looks pretty good. Using a lot of white helps make the space look bigger than it really is. (For the opposite reason, heavy people should wear dark colors.) But what’s all the stuff on the kitchen counter? That’s the only area that looks a bit cluttered. Walls look a little bare, and I could refer you to a guest post by one Larry called “Collecting Art on a Budget.” It’s really good. My fee for all my comments for the past few months will be 1 dozen pumpkin cookies, or the recipe thereof.

    • Ahh, I was waiting to see if someone noticed the appearance of clutter on the counters. I should have known it would be you. they actually aren’t cluttered at all. If you look closely, you’ll notice the backsplash above the counter is actually a mirror (instead of tile). Since a picture has no depth perception it’s hard to tell, but everything looks busy because you see the back of all of the stuff on the counter, effectively making it look twice as crowded as it is. I’ve never seen a mirror backsplash in the kitchen before, but we’ve grown to like it because it reflects more light and makes the place look even larger. The picture doesn’t do the counter space justice 🙂

      • Now I can see the mirrors after looking more closely. You’re right, there’s not much on the counters themselves. Mirrors definitely make a space look larger.

  22. Your Wife Ninja and I have the same taste. Except she actually did it! I totaly dream that my apt would look like yours..but it doesn’t 🙂

  23. Hey Ninja, this brings back memories of our first house purchased 30 years ago. We filled it with yard sale/Salvation Army, and Goodwill. Lot’s of family goodwill, too!!! We still have some of the pieces, as they were high quality.

    Your WN obviously knows what she likes, and is great at putting things together.

    Hope your marriage stays as hot as mine, 30 years later:)

  24. Wow! I have to admit, I am 100% jealous of your apartment. Wife Ninja did an incredible job! We’re moving into a new place on Saturday – any chance we can rent her and her incredible eye for a few weeks? 😉 And I hear ya on the full size bed situation – I had one, so we kept that since it was free, but we recently had a mouse issue that is speeding up the upgrade to a queen and I could not be more excited about upgrading (the mouse issue…not to so excited – it’s the reason we’re moving).

    Kudos to Wife Ninja – she rocks!

  25. You guys (or should I say Wife Ninja) did a great job decorating, your place looks great! That being said, you should start saving for another “re-decorating” fund because all that white won’t last long if you ever have Ninja babies!!!

  26. Wow! It’s very nice space! I love the fact that Wife Ninja has 7 dressers out of the 8! I love the kitchen! It’s absolutely gorgeous! Wife Ninja is very lucky to have such a nice space to cook up some great food! Great decor! It looks like it came out from the magazine! 🙂

  27. Your place is awesome! Seriously amazing! As for me, I can’t wait to move out and turn my futon that I’ve been sleeping on since 6th grade into a couch for my future guest room and get a comfy bed / futon.

  28. SWEET DIGS! I’m sure your bachelor pad was great fun, but wifeys can create a cozy place on not as much money. Any story behind the trunk? That kitchen would keep me from ever eating out! But don’t you hate stainless steel? We try to clean with vinegar but sometimes you need that (expensive) cleaner. I’m glad we found that out via renting instead of buying.

    Seriously, Wife Ninja might have a stay-at-home gig in decorating.

    • Story behind the trunk is that we were looking forever for a pine chest to double as our coffee table since we don’t have a ton of storage and needed something to put blankets/towels in. We kept looking on CL and in stores and everything was about $150-$300 for anything that was rustic/cute. After a few weeks of casually browsing, we came across this gem. It was only $35, and I bought it the same day I found it on CL. I have no idea why it was listed for so cheap. It’s awesome, stores a ton, is real wood, and fits the space GREAT!

  29. It looks great! I am ridiculously jealous of your kitchen! Your place is definitely worth more than $1500/month. My Mom’s hobby in interior design and the last 2 apts she has help set up (her & my Dad’s on their 2-year stint in NYC & their new one near downtown Seattle) is black & white themed with red accents. It’s amazing and definitely a gift! Luckily I’ve inherited some of her talents 😉 Enjoy your awesome place!

  30. I love the black and white! That table is fabulous. Our next kitchen table will for sure have the bench seat, great idea!
    Our 2 splurge areas after our wedding were the bedroom set and couch. We have been thrilled with the Cal King mattress, sleigh bed, dresser and 2 night stands. We found the whole set at Macys, but took our sweet time buying everything when it showed up at their furniture outlet (in Southcenter…whoowhoo!). Also, the gigantic sectional couch with lounge was a wonderful purchase. It is the only furniture we have ever had in our living room and it is perfect! The couch was a wedding gift and we saved up and paid for the bedroom stuff. Can’t believe it is all 6 years old already…
    And the cookies look bomb!

  31. This…IS… AWESOME!

    You guys really rock! Gives me a whole lot of ideas for living in a small space when I get married. I love following your journey. Keep up the good writing,… and stick figures of course. 😉


  32. Casa De Ninja is simply lovely. Very welcoming and cozy looking.

    Kudos to Wife Ninja and her mad decorating skills… 🙂

  33. Cute place…looks very expensive and soooo grown up (give my kids 5 min and the whole place would look different). You have the right balance…looks high end, but also looks welcoming. I’m sure your guests love to hang out there.

  34. Coming out of lurkdom for this….It looks like your wife and I share the same shabby chic/flea market taste. My husband and I live in a small 750sq ft apartment too and I am wondering if you know which Ikea model is that white china display hutch in your kitchen area? I love it! I have been looking on Ikea’s website but can’t seem to find it? We have been looking for something similar and thought we might check it out at our local store. Thanks!

    • What you can’t see, is that underneath the couch I have a fire breathing shark and inside of the entertainment center is where I keep my nunchucks and bostaff.

      • Nunchucks belong on the coffee table or ottoman. But if you have a wife, you have to use a nunchuck coaster. Small price to pay for having your tools handy — happy wife, happy life.

        Now I return to figuring out how to remove cat snot from my wife’s loveseat.

  35. I adore your home. It is very well decorated and beautifully arranged. It looks like a happy home!

    My very favorite is the dining area. It makes me want to pull up a chair and dine on pumpkin cookies!

  36. Your home is beautiful. It’s just the size that I want. I particularly like your dining area. My goal is to have a bench style dining table someday. 🙂 I also like how you break the whiteness of things with a thing or two there. Your place is very tidy and organized. I don’t think I’d get lost there if I were a guest. I love that. I’d say it’s worth being in a magazine.

  37. Your house is gorgeous! 🙂 Clean, simple and very livable.

    I should note that people crowd beds because they want to cuddle. I just experienced this last night with BF pushing me up against the bed frame (we have to sleep on a futon of ours on the floor beside this massive bed in this tiny room) and it was just because he wanted to cuddle!

    I do the same thing to him. I crowd him to get close and steal his BF warmth, but then he complains the next day with: “WHY WERE YOU ALL UP IN MY SPACE?”

    Me: excuuuuuuuuse me for trying to cuddle! 😛

  38. LOVE LOVE LOVE your digs! Wife Ninja has quite the eye for decorating and wise use of space. It’s amazing how big your home looks considering it’s 600 sq.ft. The DR table is AWESOME!! Our’s is so ugly and dated, we use it only to house folded laundry… it’ll be the next thing to be replaced. Hubby and I couldn’t survive on a double bed LOL!! We upped from our old queen to a king a few years ago… needed he extra room for the cats 😉

  39. I love your place. My husband has a man cave with a 42 inch flat screen in it…for ya know man games. The cool thing about it is one of our offices closed down and I asked my boss if I could have it for my husband…and he said yes! Free TV… Score! *hi-Fives Ninja*

  40. It does look like a magazine! (Right down to my inevitable question of “but where are all the books?”

    Seriously, it looks great – I’ve been eyeing that style of Ikea dresser for a while!!

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