5 Things to Look at When Buying an Old House

5 Things to Look at When Buying an Old House | Hannah & Husband

We get a lot of questions from people that are dreaming of buying an old house. Older homes can be overwhelming because they woo you with their crown moulding and ceramic sinks but their invisible problems can turn into monetary sinkholes. (In fact, Cary Grant made an entire movie about buying an old house for just this reason. It’s a little tedious, but you get to stare at Cary Grant & Myrna Loy for an hour and a half so… worth it.) So today, I’m giving you my list. The Let’s Be Super Realistic, Come to Jesus List that will take the sparkle off that old home and let you know if you really love her or if it’s better to be just friends.

5 Things to Look at When Buying an Old House | Hannah & Husband

Here you go: my top five items—think bottom to top or vis versa—whichever way your brain works.

1. Termites / Foundation: 

Termite protection is a must for any old house! Your inspector can also tell you about the foundation of the house. Things settle over time so it’s good to know if there are any structural issues that will cost big bucks down the road.

2. Plumbing

The obvious thing is to look for leaks and water damage. But it’s also good to know what material your pipes are made of, and common problems that may be associated with that material.

3. Electrical

Plain & simple: Electrical is a biggie because bad wiring can cause fires.


Know the age of your HVAC unit. This can be a huge expense that will inevitably come at the worst possible time. If your unit is more than seven years old, by all means have a little money in the kitty just in case it flakes out in the middle of a long, hot summer. Liz Taylor may look hot sweating in a silk slip, but you, my dear, are no Liz Taylor.

5. Roof

Ask about the age of the roof and have your inspector check it out. This is also a good time to ask your inspector about the insulation situation. Old homes are, by nature, less efficient, but there are plenty of ways to help this if you know what the issues are to begin with.

So that’s my list! What would be in your top 5? It’s so important to get a good inspector and ask a lot of questions! Everyone has their own threshold for what they’re willing to deal with themselves, what they have to hire out, and what is a non-starter. Hopefully, this will help you know your list before going in.

You Might Also Like…

Finding a Realtor

The 10 Stages of Moving to a New Place

The List Khloe & Kim gave Kylie when she decided to get her own place. 


Husband's Childhood Bottle collection | Hannah & Husband

I’m pretty obsessed with Husband’s childhood bottle collection that I put up on our porch. 

It has been raining cats & dogs this week! Rain at Rivermont is pretty terrific. All the green outside our windows brightens up during the showers so I couldn’t resist snapping the pic above before I left this morning. (As a side note: When did label design get so uncool? I just can’t stop with these vintage bottles!)

Per the usual TGIF! post, there are some links to some of my favorite things around the web below. Happy Friday!


A huge thank you to the Knoxville News Sentinel and Lesli Bales-Sherrod for sharing our Rivermont journey in yesterday’s issue. The fact that the paper was *pink* made it even better! Click here to read the story.

There was an article this week in the New York Times titled “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.” It was so interesting to think about how our conversations have actually become more shallow because we feel the need to bail at any moment and move our attention to the phone. Studies show that we have less of a capacity for empathy and our basically losing a part of ourselves because we are so tech-focused.

“The capacity for empathetic conversation goes hand in hand with the capacity for solitude. In solitude we find ourselves; we prepare ourselves to come to conversation with something to say that is authentic, ours… It is often in the moments when we stumble, hesitate and fall silent that we most reveal ourselves to one another.”

It’s not that the article was terribly surprising, but it did make me think a little bit deeper about how I want the screen to be present in my everyday life.

Also along those lines, the TED Radio Hour podcast just did a two-parter called “Screen Time” that is worth a listen.

And finally, if you’d like to check up on people that will make you really question what you’re doing with your life, the Wall Street Journal checked in with this year’s MacArthur Genius Grant recipients. Since Chris Thile’s win in 2012, I’m always curious to see what these extraordinary minds are into. This year one of our favorites, Lin-Manuel Miranda, won. He’s the creator of “Hamilton.” which we’re dying to see, and also the guy that did The Radio Drama Episode on This American Life.

Go forth, read, and have an amazing weekend!


5 Ways to Show Your Spirit… No Tshirt Required

“It’s football time in Tennessee!” Those are sacred words in Knoxville. SEC fans marvel at the empty seats we see on television in stadiums in other parts of the country; it just doesn’t happen around here. In the South, football fandom is more of a lifestyle than 2 days on Saturday. So today, I have 5 ways to show your spirit (in style, of course!).

Contrary to popular belief, I really do enjoy football. Only for me, it’s more about the experience—the tailgate, the campus covered in orange and white, the band… THE BAND (Jake Blues voice please)!

And when in the stadium, I sometimes get distracted. Like a couple of weeks ago when I thought the sky was more entertaining than the play.

5 Ways to Root for Your Team Without Wearing a Tshirt | Hannah & Husband

Surely I’m not the only one this happens too. So the other day, I came across this Big Orange pennant from The Old Try, and I decided we should talk about sports accoutrements that go beyond the orange Tshirt.

Disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with a Tshirt. In fact, my friend, Beverly, has taken crafting her own Vol tees to a level that puts all others to shame. But there are at least 12 times to show off your team’s colors… maybe we should mix it up a little.

5 Ways to Root for Your Team Without Wearing a Tshirt | Hannah & Husband

Sources: You can filter The Old Try’s fab goods by state here! Vintage thermos of every color can be found on Etsy. / Also found on Etsy: that 1930s quilt I’m now convinced I need. (Attn: Lish) / Hook + Albert lapel flower / Local mens’ shops always have some version of team dress shirts. If you’re in East Tennessee, the orange & white cuffed shirt came from our friend Bill at Boyd Thomas. / Boden cardigan / Wood boxer briefs / lingerie set / Cole Haan oxfords / Dooney & Bourke bag 

Hello, Autumn!

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & Husband

Hello, Autumn–you taunting vixen you! It’s been so dry here that leaves were falling from the trees without changing colors, and I was beginning to wonder if Fall, my very favorite season, was just going to let us down completely.

Then yesterday, it happened! After a couple good rains, I caught a few glimpses of color in the trees on my drive home. Sure enough, I stepped out of my car and felt that familiar *crunch* under my feet. It is Autumn after all!

I always wonder if Fall energizes everyone the way it does me. Fall makes me excited, inquisitive, and restless all at the same time. Do you think the school year begins in September because Fall is the time that children get the most curious and mischievous? Or is it the other way around?

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & HusbandWhen I was in college, early morning walks to class in the Fall were so invigorating. I’d put Outkast on my iPod (remember the year of Hey Ya?) and clutch my coffee for dear life. It wasn’t quite cold enough in the afternoons to warrant tights with my skirts so there was a cold, damp chill on my legs might as well have been caffeine.

Art history classes, design classes, drawing classes, and printmaking followed by time at the library leafing through art books that were too heavy to carry home. In the afternoon, I’d grab a caramel apple cider and spend hours with my sketchbook. So many ideas!

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & Husband

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking to a group of students in the graphic design program at UT. I’m so excited to spend another early Autumn morning on campus.

Usually around this time of year, I’m setting goals for things I want to accomplish over the next year. (You can see a past list here.) For this season, I think my only goal may be to spend more time reading art history books, asking questions with no answers, and doodling in my sketchbook. Just making room for new ideas.


New Work!

Has this week been as hectic for you as it has for me? Now granted going to bed too late and still choosing to stay up and squeeze in just one (three) chapter (chapters) of Mindy Kaling’s book probably wasn’t the best decision to make three nights in a row. But it’s times like this when I remember being in my childhood room reading the Boxcar Children with a flashlight until the wee hours, and I think, I’m a grown-up!

Being a grown-up is pretty awesome.

You know what else is awesome? Videos about interior design filled with my funky doodles! Ok, so that was a weird transition, but we’re just going to go with it because I updated my portfolio this weekend!

New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband

You can now see peeks at 3 hand drawn videos I did for HGTV in collaboration with Scripps Productions on my site… alongside a lot of my other work. But the concepts for these videos were so cool that I just had to share them here too.

The first will teach you how to hang your own gallery wall! And, fyi, there is an adorable unicorn trophy involved.

Always be a unicorn.

Click here to watch the video on HGTV.com

New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband

The next video introduces you to five patterns from around the world that you see everywhere but may not know much about. My favorite part of illustrating this one was painting that NYC coffee cup; it’s the little things.

Click here to watch the video on HGTV.com

New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband

Are you thinking about buying a new rug? “How to Choose the Right Rug” is such a great primer! Whether you’re worried about the material or the size/shape, this one leads you through the choosing process with cut paper and hip furnishings.

Click here to watch the video on HGTV.com

New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband New Work! Hannah B. Design via Hannah and Husband

If you’re interested, you can see more of my work on my professional site: hannahbdesign.com 

Wine & Beer Videos for HGTV | Hannah B. Design To watch other videos I’ve made for HGTV.com, click here. 

Opposites Attract

I am a big believer in the theory of “opposites attract.” For instance, he has dark brown hair, while I have dark brown hair that has been dyed beyond all recognition of any color found in nature. (We won’t even talk about the perfect curls.)

He likes vanilla bean ice cream. I like strawberry ice cream with crushed up Oreos (but only if they’re real Oreos—no off brands for this girl) served in a waffle cone please and thank you.

He says tomato. I say tomato. Etc. Etc.

He is great at executing projects while I sometimes (read: all the times) get caught up in the details. Like this 8″ tall, 3″ wide piece of wall the other day.

Opposites Attract | Hannah & Husband

Hannah stop pulling on things. This is a painting project not a time capsule.

Yes, dear.

Be thankful for the differences. If it weren’t for those, you may never get anything done.

In related news, we’re painting our bedroom. Can’t wait to share it!

Miss Piggy Style File

Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband

When I was little, I would spend entirely too much time poring over my mom’s pink and white bound copy of Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life. I dreamt of big eyelashes, mud masks, and leg warmers. So in honor of tonight’s big premiere, I couldn’t resist a Miss Piggy Style File.

Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband

First and foremost, Miss Piggy believes that maintenance is key. You have to earn those curves, but you can still look good doing it. No holey tshirt and cotton shorts for this one. Dress for the occasion! And remember, pink is always on point.

Champagne is basically the water of the goddesses, no? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! (Maybe if more gyms had a liquor license…)

Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband

I know she makes doing a mud mask in full eye makeup and pearls look easy, but trust me it’s not.

Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband

In the words of Sylvia Plath, “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

The proper bubble bath technique includes the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar, a cheese tray, monogrammed towels, maids, and the likeness of your true love carved in stone and made into a fountain. Obviously.

Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband

There is no excuse for not pulling your look together… Even when that excuse is that you live light years away on a spaceship with a group of incompetent spacepigs. Curl your hair, throw on some blush, and respect yourself!

Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband

Here’s the thing about Miss Piggy’s look. Makeup fads come and go, but black mascara is forever.


Style File: Miss Piggy | Hannah & Husband


At 8pm tonight, we will be parked in front of ABC drinking champagne and watching The Muppets. What about you?






The Pop with Abby Ham

Pop Culture with Abby Ham on Mornings with Fox 43 | Hannah & Husband

This morning we were up bright & early (coffee in hand) to chat pop culture with Abby Ham in a new segment called The Pop! How fun is that? Also, it got a little publicity for my childhood Miss Piggy pin–OMG, is it vintage now?! #thisis30 #teampiggy

#teampiggy, Pop Culture with Abby Ham on Mornings with Fox 43 | Hannah & Husband

Watch the segment below!



A Little Marilyn to Start Your Monday

We’ll check back in with a video this afternoon. But for now, how about a little Marilyn and a cup of coffee to start your Monday?

Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire



TGIF! (S?)

The weekend is finally here! *cheers* *applause* And I am happy to report that Husband is home, and there are paint chips hanging on the wall.

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

Huzzah! It’s the little victories, you know?

In addition to a paint store visit and lots of football, this weekend will include Mindy Kaling’s latest, Why Not Me? 

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

One chapter in and I’m remembering exactly why I loved her first book so much. Have you read either?

A favorite line from chapter one…

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

Boom! #nailedit

In other news, Stephen Colbert also #nailedit with this.

Finally, in lieu of our usual TGIF! links from around the interwebs, I wanted to share three documentaries I watched this week that were amazing. Two of which were about men I already admired and the other about a performer–spoiler alert: that one was my very favorite.

Walt Disney American Experience

This week, PBS profiled Walt Disney on their American Experience series for two nights. Altogether, it’s a four hour documentary, which sounds tedious, but instead, it was engrossing. I’ve been a Disney nerd for years, but I’ve never seen such a balanced profile of Walt Disney the man–the capitalist, the obsessive, the guy that’s maybe a little racist. There was amazing footage from the studio, the strikes, and the early days of the parks that I’d never seen. If it piques your interest at all, it’s worth a watch.

Jim Henson In His Own Words

Before night 2 of Walt Disney, I caught the last five minutes of this one and had to look it up too. In Their Own Words: Jim Henson, also a PBS doc, is a profile of a completely different type of creative. The doc focused on Henson’s story and interviews with those closest to him. I was interested to hear that both Disney and Henson struggled with wanting to be artists for all, not just artists for children. But while Disney was often seen as a harsh manager, Henson’s people talked a lot about love.

I Am Big Bird

And speaking of Henson’s people, carve out time this weekend to watch I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. It’s free streaming with Amazon Prime right now, and it’s one of my favorite documentaries to date!