homeownership 101.
by victoria comment


at home with victoria smith. / sfgirlbybay

i never really thought i’d buy my very own home. i had always envisioned doing it with my future husband or partner, but never all on my own as a single woman — it seemed too daunting a task and the thought of upkeep and remodeling by myself frightened me. but then there came this moment where i felt less fearful and more self-assured that i could do it on my own and i could do it well by just taking it step-by-step. don’t get me wrong, i still wonder what the heck i’m doing sometimes, but i’ve learned so much from friends, family and experts and taught myself a lot along the way. and the best part of owning my own home is getting to design and decorate it exactly as i want. having never been able to do that in the past, i can’t tell you the joy i get from making my home exactly as i’ve always dreamed. from adding my floor to ceiling bookcases (a lifelong goal!) to growing a vegetable garden, to painting the exterior scandinavian-inspired black, owning my home is the most gratifying thing i’ve ever done. it doesn’t make the obligations of homeownership any less important, but i’ve partnered with Allstate to share how to make those ‘grown-up’ responsibilities a little bit easier to manage.

victoria smith at home with her dog lucy. / sfgirlbybay

i was told right off the bat was i needed to have home owner’s insurance — in fact, you must have it to buy a home, but a handy tip? you can also lump your premiums in with your mortgage payment so you don’t have to think about it every month, and i have that payment deducted from my bank account each month just so i don’t ever forget (or have to ever write that big number on a check!). essentially the main function of Allstate for your home is similar to that of auto insurance: to protect your home’s structure and other structures on your property, along with your personal belongings. as you live in your home awhile, you begin to accumulate new furniture, pieces of artwork, and things like appliances that are costly, so you want the reassurance and comfort that comes from feeling protected. lucy’s a good watchdog and housemate and makes me feel safe — but bless her heart, that furry beast can’t cover the cost of a major repair!

victoria smith at home with her dog lucy. / sfgirlbybay

along with owning your own home, you really want to maintain it and have a sense of pride in it, so you might want to keep on hand a list of repair people you can trust — from painters to plumbers i’ve tracked down a great list of resources for myself by asking neighbors and other professionals for referrals. i try and learn how to repair what i can on my own, but there’s always going to be those things i haven’t the skills for. so just like the comfort of having that kind of homeowner’s arsenal, Allstate is helping me as a homeowner feel more confident, too. From quote to claim, Allstate is working to help you make smarter, more efficient choices with your home and auto insurance. Using state-of-the-art technology, they offer a seamless online and mobile experience along with intuitive tools that help take the hassle out of insurance.

white washed living room with pops of color on bookshelf. / sfgirlbybay

white linen sofa with throw pillows and oversized art. / sfgirlbybay

bohemian modern rattan daybed. / sfgirlbybay

white built-in bookcase with color blocked books. / sfgirlbybay

white built-in bookcases. / sfgirlbybay

rose gold bar cart with vintage photos and decor. / sfgirlbybay

black and white details at home. / sfgirlbybay

white entryway with gold wall decor and round woven rug. / sfgirlbybay

vintage gold mirror and candlestick holders / sfgirlbybay

entryway with bohemian modern decor. / sfgirlbybay

floral arrangements and houseplants with neutral decor. / sfgirlbybay

bohemian modern bedroom decor. / sfgirlbybay

bedroom with black headboard and white bedding / sfgirlbybay

leather moroccan slippers with pom poms at foot of bed. / sfgirlbybay

• photography by lily glass and victoria smith for sfgirlbybay.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Allstate and all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep sfgirlbybay going with fresh content every day.

29 responses to “homeownership 101.”

  1. Your home is beautiful, V! And yes, how lovely that you get to have it exactly as you wish. Merry Christmas to you and Lucy and your mom! I hope you enjoy some well-deserved time off in the coming weeks.

  2. i love my husband dearly, but just once i would like to decorate a room without taking his likes/dislikes into consideration! your home is beautiful and it is so YOU! enjoy your space!

  3. It’s looking really good, V. I would spend my life on that wicker daybed, looking out that window. And thank you for having books in your bookcases! I go nuts when I see lovely built in bookcases with a handful of books and six pieces of ceramics. I have bookcases in almost every room in my house because I have a lot of books. Yes, I style them as best I can, but it’s mostly books. You are definitely a kindred spirit.

  4. having renovated my first apartment (studio) at 57 … I completely know how you felt.
    2 renos later – with a bit more know-how, I feel a little proud.
    your home is a sight to behold Victoria – thank you for sharing your journey and your home.

  5. Hi Victoria,

    I just love your sense of home style. It’s so cozy and eye catching at the same time. I dream of having a cozy little house someday and you are an inspiration. You have such an open, friendly face. I always refer to your blog for inspiration or simply to see what’s new!

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Hi Lisa, Thank you SO much for being a faithful reader! I’m so glad I can inspire you and you too can have a cozy house one day! It took me forever, but it was well worth it! Happy holidays!! Victoria

  6. Thanks for sharing your lovely home. I have been following your post for several years, and I love your style. Miss your SF posts since you left the bay area. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year! Kari

  7. You have a lovely home, Victoria! Full of meaningful touches, personality and at the same time conveying a feeling of a “personal retreat”. Love seeing so much of it in one post!

    Could you tell me more about the hanging lights in the bedroom? They are gorgeous! Are they vintage with new cords? Thanks!


    • thank you so much, jan! the lights are from Woodland Hill Home on etsy, but for some reason i’m not finding her anymore. maybe she closed up shop – i tried googling her, too. if i find her i’ll let you know! they’re all handmade, but not vintage. :)

  8. Our monthly mortgage payment includes a pro rata share of property tax as well as homeowner’s insurance, and that certainly takes the hassle out of coming up with that annual lump of cash…..

  9. Love your space, it’s beautiful . Can I ask where you found the art work (or is it a photograph?) of the couple standing in the water with the man holding the woman’s hand ? It looks like it’s black and white . Love it! Thank you !

  10. thank you of your intimacy, victoria! i truly appreciate you candor, with regard to HOW you thought you’d acquire a home. at 45, i am about to embark on homeownership, as a single woman- wasn’t HOW i thought it’d be, but i am excited by the prospect of the home and it’s renovation. i received so much inspiration, from you, in this post. your home is YOU! it’s as beautiful as you are. OH!!! can you do a post (if you haven’t already) about the decision to paint your home black? any push back from neighbors? i feel like i want to paint mine black! i’m moving to New Orleans, where homes are EXTREMELY colorful, and feel like i may get “push-back” from the community.
    may thanks and blessings to you…

    • thanks so much, daena and congratulations on your new home in NOLA! i’ve always wanted a scandinavian-inspired black house and just sourced them on pinterest until i found the look i was going for. a couple of neighbors were skeptical, but now they love it and a couple have even painted their own homes back. good luck with yours!

  11. Wonderfull photography! It is such an inspired home especially the dining area with glass of bouquet adding life and personal taste to the home. I always wanted to own my place too! Pease also share the pictures of the house front. (*^_^*)

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