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I'm from the sunny South and am just a few weeks away from being a first time home owner. We rented a loft in a historic district, just to see if we liked the area (it was second on my husband's list of potentials, 3rd on mine) and ended up loving the actual loft itself - put in an offer though it wasn't on the market, and after some negotiation we signed a contract.
Everything is builder grade, and like most lofts, sorta wonky where plumbing placement goes. We first shopped at IKEA as a "tourist" quirk while visiting down state - you know, to see what the fuss was about (and being Swedish-American, I figured I really should). We've shopped a few times since, buying one of their closets, some kitchen dishes, a piece of furniture or two, a mirror and some artwork and table/chairs for our kitchen nook.
I'm excited about figuring out the bigger things, now that the place will be ours - kitchen and bathrooms, primarily.