Moving to Pittsburgh


Kind of. Let me explain.

Yes, this spring I will be moving to Pittsburgh. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that the past couple years haven’t been the best for me personally. I’ve been trying to think of ways to improve myself, my life, and my overall happiness. Earlier this year I mentioned the idea of moving to all of you and received lots of heartfelt, insightful comments in response. Some of you said, “get out of town,” while others urged me to stay put. Given the pros and cons of each choice, I decided to meet somewhere in the middle.

After much consideration, I decided to rent an apartment in Pittsburgh, which is just under three hours by car from my current house. I knew that I needed to make a change, and although Pittsburgh hadn’t been on my radar, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

You may have some questions, so I’ll tell you what I can.

What about your house?
I am not selling my current home. My plan is to spend about 75% of my time in Pittsburgh and the other 25% in Saint Marys. Even though renting an another place is an added expense, it makes the most sense at this time. It will give me the opportunity to spread my wings and try something new without making a drastic move. After a year, if it’s not working, I won’t renew my lease, and my year it Pittsburgh will just be another chapter in my life story. If it’s working, I can decide the best way to proceed from there.

With that being said, based on my life plans, the sale of my current house is inevitable within the next couple years. So, throughout the coming year, I’m going to diligently work to clear the clutter, finish projects, and get the house “ready for sale.”. That way, when the time does come, the place will be ready.

I have set up a security system in my house in Saint Marys, and during the time I’m away, I will also have a bunch of folks who will check on it weekly. However, if anyone else is in a similar situation or has a summer home/vacation home, I do have a couple questions. What do you do about your mail when you are away for an extended time? Also, I’m going to greatly miss planting flowers. Does anyone have an automatic watering system they recommend? Thanks in advance!

What about your grandparents’ house?
I have had and still have the intention of buying my grandparents’ house some day. That option still remains, but it’s not a decision I need to make now. When the time comes, I will assess my current situation and make a decision then.

Where will your cats live?
I haven’t traveled with my cats since I moved them from Philadelphia in 2008. So, I’m honestly not sure how it will go. Though, I’m certain they will adjust. (Any tips for a three-hour car drive with cats would be most welcome.) However, since I will be spending most of my time in Pittsburgh, they will make the move with me. I do plan to come home every couple of weeks for a day or two, but I won’t bring the cats unless I’m in Saint Marys for an extended time (e.g., the holidays).

Are you as sure about your decision as you seem?
There are moments when I’m thrilled and moments when I want to throw up. ( I think that’s normal.) I’m so excited about the blank pages that are before me. I can’t wait to try new things, meet new people, decorate a new space, walk to a coffee shop, take an art class, find my tribe, etc.

However, a part of me is petrified that I won’t make new friends and that I’m destined to repeat old habits. What if I make this move and nothing changes? What if it’s the same old story, just in a new zip code? To be honest, it’s totally possible. Because I’ve been somewhat isolated for the past year, it’s going to be a push for me to put myself out there. And while I’m committed to finding happiness and building a better personal life, I also know myself all too well.

In an effort to avoid the same old story, before the move, I’m committing myself to establishing some goals and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to ensure that I don’t look back at this opportunity with regret.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Can you tell us more about your place?
You bet I can!

In March, I visited Pittsburgh and looked at several properties. I ended up with one I’m crazy about. It’s a two-bedroom apartment in a new complex. (I’ll actually be the first person to live in this apartment.) While I didn’t “need” a two-bedroom, it’s something that I really wanted in order to have a separate space for work. Since I work from home, It was important to me to be able to close the door at the end of my work day.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Because I love natural light, the thing that sold me on this particular unit are the huge (almost floor-to-ceiling) windows in the open concept living room/kitchen. There’s also a small balcony off the kitchen. And a rolling island will be provided with the unit.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

The second bedroom (which will be my office) has a similar large window, which will be great for photography. The room that will function as my bedroom has a sizable window, though not quite as grand.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

As you can see, this space has a more modern/industrial feel to it which is quite different from my current home. While I won’t go with an overly modern or industrial aesthetic in terms of decor, I am looking forward to experimenting with new and different ideas. Also, I am allowed to paint and change out light fixtures, so that has me excited as well.

Will you be moving all of your stuff?
No. I don’t plan on moving much. I’m looking to start fresh in this space. I will obviously decorate, but I’m hoping to keep the “stuff” to a minimum. (We’ll see how that goes because I love my “stuff.”) I think there’s joy in the “less is more” attitude so I want to give that a try. Plus, I want to avoid the hassle of moving a lot of stuff if at all possible.

I am very fortunate that my job allows me to share this journey with you. I’m not in a rush to have everything in place and furnished within a weekend. I’m looking forward to taking my time and sharing things with you along the way.

I do realize that having two places will be a challenge because I am going to need duplicates of everything (iron, coffee pot, dishes, etc.) I may end up bringing down extra things that I have here, thrifting some items, etc. I’ve also been saving up gift cards, reward dollars, etc. to help with some of the expense.

Will the move have an effect on IBC?
Yes and no. As I’ve been hinting, you can expect more home decor and decorating ideas will be on their way as I move into this new space. Since I will be living in a new city and be experiencing new things, I assume my content will evolve as it has with other changes in my life. My hope is that it’s for the best. I am totally committed to this little space on the internet and my career as a Lifestyle Blogger so it’s my hope that I will be here for years to come.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

I think that about covers everything for now. Obviously, I will be talking about this quite a bit in the future (hopefully not to the point of annoyance). If I missed something here, I’ll probably cover it at a later point. You’re also welcome to leave comments below. I can follow up with another post to answer more questions if needed.

I should be mostly settled (with the cats) in my new place toward the end of May. My lease starts sooner, but I have a work trip to NYC in May (details on that soon) and some other things happening, so it’s going to be a busy month. Before the official move in, I will need a mattress, a few supplies, and cozy spots for the kitties.

Again, I want to thank you for your comments, emails, messages, and support. I know I haven’t responded to them all, and I feel terrible about that. However, they mean so much to me, and each and every one helped me to come to this exciting decision.

I can’t wait to take you all on this new adventure. Look out Pittsburgh, here comes IBC!

Pittsburgh Image Source (Image 1 / Image 2)
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  • Jennifer Homer at

    I know my opinion doesn’t matter but I’m so proud of you. I went through a rut AND a bad relationship for several years. Stepping outside my comfort zone was the best thing I could have done. My life is a complete 180 and I couldn’t be happier. Hang in there Sweets and I’ll be praying for you.

  • Pat Schwab at

    Michael, My son lives in Pittsburgh and my daughter loves it there. The apartment looks awesome. You can have your mail forwarded to your new address or the post office will hold your mail but I am not sure for how long. Good luck!

  • Pamela Heim at

    So excited you’re coming to join us in the Burgh. I also picked up and moved to Pittsburgh (last October I moved here from Fairfax, VA). It’s a great, accessible, walkable and friendly city. I am very into industrial, vintage, and unconventional decor but still very much decor – I don’t mess around! I have found lots of great places to eat, shop and just sit and people watch and would very much enjoy getting together to share some of my newcomer wisdom once you’ve moved. Feel free to get in touch. I hope you love this city as much as I do.

  • Melissa at

    That’s awesome Michael and I cant think of a better city to move to – we love and miss Pittsburgh!! Enjoy – definitely get out and explore (and with it being so close to Saint Mary’s its an easy trip if you need to get home quick!!)

    Good Luck!!!!

  • Alexis at

    SO EXCITING!! It takes a lot of guts to move to a new place alone, so you should be proud of yourself! I moved from Georgia to Boston 4 years ago alone and I’m not gonna lie, big moves aren’t easy! My biggest piece of advice is to give it time. it’s hard to make friends in a new city but I really pushed myself outside of my comfort zone (friend “dating” was more nerve wrecking than normal dating! haha). I found it easiest to make friends by joining the gym, running clubs, local networking groups, etc. Hell, I even went to bars alone to chat it up with the bartenders! Give it time and see what happens….life in a new city went from unbearable to enjoyable around month 6 when I finally made friend (ha!). Blogger groups are always fun too šŸ™‚

    On another note, your new place looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to see how you decorate. What a fun change!!! Enjoy!


  • hotmail login at

    Good luck in Pittsburgh ā€“ my favorite Chinese takeout is there, so I have to say Iā€™m a little jealous.

  • Lesley at

    Being brave is a great personal accomplishment. Keep that thought with you as you transition. Being brave has nothing to do with outcome: good or bad. It’s a skill that you sharpen with life experiences. Good luck in Pittsburgh – my favorite Chinese takeout is there, so I have to say I’m a little jealous. šŸ™‚

  • Shannon Duncan at

    Hi Michael – While I read your blog a lot, I’ve never posted, but felt compelled to share some encouragement. Five years ago my husband and I sold almost everything we own and moved to another country with our pets. (We needed a dramatic change in our lives for a variety of reasons.) It was the best decision we have ever made and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. Cheers to you for taking a leap!

  • Kelly at

    I just got caught up on all your news and wanted to congratulate you on making such a big decision. I definitely think that environment has an effect on our happiness. Pittsburgh is really such a friendly, active city and I think that really can be energizing. If it doesn’t work out, yes you still have your home town (will always have that). Here’s a thought though…..My niece is a traveling nurse which means that every few months she goes to work in a new hospital and gets to try out a new city. She’s young and is aware that this is an adventure to take advantage of while she has no commitments. I think it would be so cool and such an adventure for a designer to try this out. It might be fun to try out a different city each year (or maybe six months?) and document the process. You could limit yourself to furnishing your house with mostly local consignments with a few local shops featured and intersperse with Target, etc. Just an idea! Whatever you do, enjoy!

  • Devon Marie at

    Hey! I just wanted to give you a tip on traveling with cats. I’ve done a ten hour car ride with both of my kitties. I would recommend getting a crate. I used one made for small dogs and lined it with a comfortable blanket. This is nice because some cats tend to freak out and not come out from under the seats of the car, or can meow around and be distracting to you while driving. They also will cry quite a bit which is sad… šŸ™ I had to turn my music up and just let em cry it out.. but they’ll be ok! Also, on the move, it’s not about where you are it’s about what you make out of it! Hopefully you make it an awesome chapter. Good luck!

  • Patricia at

    It’s the right thing to do … or at least, try. You haven’t been happy and it makes sense to try something new. You’re young and need to be part of a vibrant community where you can meet someone special.
    We just moved after 32 years in a three story brick Tudor into a two bedroom two bath condo in a retirement community. It was the right choice for us but I certainly agonized over it. The worst part was downsizing and moving; not your issue at this time.
    Fully live your life. You only get one chance at it.

  • Anna at

    I live in Pittsburgh and you can come plant flowers at my house! šŸ˜Š You’ll love it here…Welcome!

  • Reenie at

    How exciting. I love the apartment ~ and the pipes are one of my favs about it. šŸ™‚

  • Pamela Caudill at

    I think this is an excellent solution for you given the turmoil you have gone through in recent months! And you can hop on up to NYC for a weekend which should be fun! Looking forward to seeing how you design the new place! Color is your friend! šŸ˜‰

  • Kim R at

    I’m thrilled you are taking this step! When I read the sun-dried tomatoes post I wanted to suggest Atlanta as a new home. We live intown and love it here. So….if Pittsburgh isn’t all you’re looking for, come further south! šŸ™‚
    I had a couple of suggestions from our time of furnishing a second home: 1) thrift/Craigslist, etc. We got a great Henredon campaign dresser is very good shape for $350 off Craigslist. I know we will keep it forever because it is such a classic piece. There are treasures out there just looking for a new home. 2) We bought a king size memory foam mattress and frame (no box spring needed) from Sam’s Club. They delivered it in a box and it expanded once opened. It is the most comfortable bed, and an easy way to get the most cumbersome item to move in your new place. The quality for the price point was exceptional in my opinion.
    Good luck, and thanks for allowing us to follow your journey!

  • Mimi at

    Michael! I’m so excited for you! What a great opportunity. A chance at a new beginning that can be temporary if that’s what you eventually choose. My wish for you is that you view this as an adventure that you can return home from. That you’ll just relax and breathe it in for as long as you need to. You’re young and can afford the experience. Take advantage of it, Best of luck and loving thoughts!

  • Michelle James at

    Congratulations! That sounds so exciting & kudos to you for being strong enough to make changes if you are not happy. I wish you all the best & look forward to seeing your new space all decorated! It’s very cool!

  • Debbie at

    You will love Pittsburgh! I’m a bit partial….was born and raised there but now live in a suburb of Kansas City, KS (which is also a pretty great place!). When we go home to visit family and friends we mostly eat! The restaurants are great, the people are friendly, and the eclectic feel of the city is wonderful. You won’t be bored! Good luck to you!

  • Kim~madeinaday at

    Good luck on your new adventure! And that mailing list fly out cracked me up! Love it!

  • Gwen, The Makerista at

    I’m so excited for this change for you and I pray it brings some clarity and peace to you!

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