lifestyle

What I Own: Marita, who has transformed her $550,000 Seattle property into a rainbow-inspired home


This week we chat to Marita (Picture: Marita White)

Welcome back to What I Own – our weekly series speaking to homeowners about their buying experience.

A few weeks ago we talked to social media influencer Alexa about her Florida property, now we are heading back to the US – but this time to the West coast.

We are chatting to Marita, a 28-year-old high school English teacher, who lives in the greater Seattle area.

She’s put her own stamp on the historic property by painting every room a different colour – you can see more of her interior adventures over on her Instagram @the_rainboww_house.

This is what she had to say about her property journey…

Hi Marita, where is your property? 

Our historic cottage, which we call The Rainbow House, is located in a small city but in a residential area. So we can walk to parks, the river, restaurants and boutiques but our street and neighbourhood is very quiet.

There’s colour in every corner (Picture: Marita White)

When did you move in?

We moved into the house in September of 2020.

How much does your property cost?

I paid $550,000 for the house which was a total steal for the area. Most of the houses in our neighborhood are listing for around a million dollars. Just six months later the house is valued at $650,000. 

How much was your deposit? 

Something around $100,000.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?

The cost of living is $2,500 a month.

How did you save up for your deposit?

I saved about $1,000 or more each month on top of the money I got from selling my previous home. I thought it would take a lot longer to buy a house because of the prices in the area, but everything worked out much more quickly than I expected.

She’s even put a rock climbing wall for her daughter in the attic (Picture: Marita White)

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

Getting a mortgage was extremely challenging because I was a newly-single parent with no credit history and a job I had only just started. I worked with Guaranteed Rate, Inc. and they were determined to get us into The Rainbow House. I can’t believe they were able to pull it off. They worked so hard to make it happen. 

Where did you live before this?

My daughter and I rented a house in a neighbouring town. We had never lived anywhere so urban and we discovered that we loved the neighbourhood feel but we also wanted to be close to amenities. If I hadn’t had that experience of living in a little city I think I would have moved to a more rural area.

 What made you want to buy rather than renting?

As you can see I love to design and I love color. I haven’t found many colorful rentals, and I haven’t found many places to rent that let you paint and wallpaper. Once we were in our own space my imagination went completely wild. I never thought I would design something like this – but here we are.

A comfy corner (Picture: Marita White)

How did you find this property?

My dad and I drove by the house and saw the ‘for sale’ sign outside. When I read that the house was 120-years-old I was intrigued. I love old houses – they have so much character and potential. For the price I was expecting the house to be in terrible shape. But the entire inside was already restored. Although the house is old it has all new windows, a new kitchen, a new roof – it was absolutely perfect. 

What really sold me about the house, however, was the attic. The house has stairs so steep they are like a ladder. This leads to a secret room in the roof with low ceilings and funky spaces. I immediately envisioned turning this into a playroom for my three-year-old daughter. Since then we have filled it with toys, painted a mural and built a rock climbing wall in this space.

How have you made the property feel like home?

One word: color.

My previous houses were more Scandinavian modern – all white walls and black and wood accents. I still love Scandinavian design, but it doesn’t fit this old house. When we moved in, the front room was already painted pink. I liked the idea but the shade was a little boring – more like a pink-tan than a vibrant pink.

I took this idea and expanded it to the whole house. Now every wall has been painted a bright color and each room has its own color pallet. The living room is pink, the bedroom is yellow, the kitchen is green. You get the idea.

What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?

I’m inspired by vintage pieces and bright colors. I have a record player that is mustard yellow and velvet, a vintage floral oil painting collection set against a bright orange wall, vintage glassware in rainbow colors. I want to celebrate the age of the house while also making it bright and sunny. I want people to smile as soon as they open the front door.

I think I would describe my overall style as colorful, eclectic, and happy.

What’s your favourite room and why? 

I’m not sure I can choose a favourite room. We just wallpapered the living room in bright pink wallpaper from Hygge and West and I think this is my favourite space right now. Because the house is so small, this room is the entryway, the music space, the living room, the library, and the dining room. I love how all the elements and colors work together and give the first impression of the house – like a big, friendly hug.

Marita’s painting collection (Picture: Marita White)

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Surprisingly, yes. The main floor is only 750-square-feet and there’s one adult, one toddler, and five pets living in the house. We all like to be in the same room together at all times, and I love that you can see and hear each member of the family no matter where you are in the house.

Because The Rainbow House is a vintage bungalow the spaces are very open and flow nicely together, so the space is very well planned. It’s small but cosy.

Do you have plans to change the property? 

One thing I would like to add is a bathtub. I’ve never lived without a bathtub and I certainly feel like this is missing from the house. My daughter doesn’t like to take showers so I added a giant single-basin sink in the kitchen for her to bathe in. It might work for another year or two – but after that we will certainly need a tub.

My friends have told me that I need to add more blue in order for the house to be a proper rainbow house. I’ve struggled to add blue because I feel like it has been over-used in the past decades of design and I can’t envision the right shade of blue to look modern. So stay tuned. I might put some crazy blue wallpaper in the bathroom.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

We do have some old house charms – like a basement that has flooded twice, walls that don’t hold the heat very well, and a ghost that lives here with us.

Luckily, the basement flooding has been mitigated, we’ve added more blankets to each room and the ghost has turned out to be very nice.

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

When you buy a home the process can be extremely stressful and you might feel like giving up. But in the end you have your own little corner of earth that you can make your own. There’s nothing quite like knowing that you have a space that you can cultivate.

 Do you plan to stay here long term?

I see The Rainbow House as our forever house. I’m sure the colors and the styles will change. There will likely be more wallpaper in the future. And I would like to improve the yard by adding more grass and more fencing for the dogs. But other than that we’re just so happy to be here.

Shall we take a look around?

The living space (Picture: Marita White)
A cute nook (Picture: Marita White)
Lovely corners (Picture: Marita White)
A colourful kitchen (Picture: Marita White)
The hallway (Picture: Marita White)
The master bedroom (Picture: Marita White)
The second room (Picture: Marita White)
Marita hopes to one day get a bathtub(Picture: Marita White)
The playroom/attic (Picture: Marita White)
An amazing space for her daughter (Picture: Martia White)
The outdoor space (Picture: Marita White)



How to get involved in What I Own

What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email lizzie.thomson@metro.co.uk

You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important. 

If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email whatirent@metro.co.uk.


MORE : What I Own: Meg, who put down a £37,500 deposit on her old mill cottage in Derbyshire


MORE : What I Own: Alexa, an influencer who bought a $525,000 property in Florida


MORE : What I Own: Marketing executive Emily, who owns half of her £230,000 property with shared ownership





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more