Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Home Tour: Kitchen

Our new kitchen got the most attention when it came to updates. Our goals were to add storage, update the lighting, install a back splash, lose the bead board, and install hardware. This kitchen offers much less storage than our previous one and the lighting was such that any food we worked on would be in shadow. 

This custom open shelving offers a lot more storage than the single cabinet we had before. It's also a super convenient place to have our dishes since it's by the table and the dishwasher! For reference, here's how it looked before...

Lots of beadboard. I thought it would really compete pattern wise with the backsplash, besides the fact that I'm not a big bead board kinda girl. We couldn't just tear it off because it had some weird fuzzy stuff behind it, so we had our drywall guy skim it with mud and then the cabinet guy added trim pieces to make faux wainscoting. So. Much. Better.

As far as style changes, we added a back splash of square tiles in a brick-lay style. I love the simplicity of it and it's a variation on my go-to subway tile. We added hardware to the cabinetry and finding a brass knob I liked proved a challenge. I finally landed on this simple one from CB2.

The above shows the detail of the counter (which I wouldn't have picked because I'm a picky diva) but it is nice to have solid surface counter tops for the first time ever! Wiping straight into the sink is HEAVEN, people. Really. Also in this pic is the speaker I've waited my whole life for. (A handsome one that I don't have to hide behind things.) It was affordable too...not that I won't invest in a Crosley someday...  

And below you can see the other side of our kitchen. That's our newly installed pantry on the left! It's amazing. If it weren't for this guy saving the day, we'd have no room for food in here. It used to be a coat closet that opened into the living room. We've never had a coat closet, so why start now? 

An electrician added a light in the pantry, recessed lighting in the main area, and a light over the eating area. It makes such a difference since there had been just one light in the center of the room. I created the basket light from a Home Goods basket and a pendant kit from Michaels. So much cheaper than all the pretty ones I found ready-made! Since then, Ikea began offering this lovely option. We also removed the florescent shop light over the sink and installed a pretty light from Ikea. (No pics of that yet...)

Here's our handy centerpiece for the table. It's easy to remove at meal time's on a tray. I love how things get shuffled around when you move. Items you used one way get featured elsewhere and take on new life! This succulent arrangement was in our guest room before. We added the gold spoons (at Target) and the hot cocoa pot. 

The table was a hand-me-down and the chairs are from Ikea. They are surprisingly comfortable for their sleek look. Let me know if there's anything else you spy that you need details on! 

We plan to one day have travel posters or artistic maps of the places we've gone as a family on trips. One thing we don't do a lot because of budget restrictions is travel, but the times we've gone have been absolutely amazing, so I want to celebrate them. Here's a postcard I found in Charleston this summer. Good times...

Friday, October 19, 2018

Home Tour: Living Room

Guess what? I found a few minutes to snap photos of a couple rooms and with that I'm launching a home tour! Maybe I'll get some momentum going and you can finally see where we live. When you walk in the front door (shown above), the first room you see is the living room, so I thought I'd start there. 

Here's how it looked when we bought it: giant ceiling fan, gray walls, and wood trim that made the new windows look out of place.  

And here it is now:

For those who've seen our previous house, you know it was a bit fancier. When I knew we were downsizing, I thought a casual style would help us feel comfortable using all the spaces for all the things AND allow me to mix my favorites together in the same room. To soften it up, I added wood tones and baskets and a colorful, but worn looking rug. The rug was needed anyway, since the previous living room rug is now in our bedroom that doesn't have carpet.

We still use our trusty dresser entryway to hold our winter gear, kids' shoes, and the other things you want handy when you're walking out the door (sunscreen, umbrellas, etc.) The bowl holds my car keys and spare change. 

If you're sick of your stuff, this little tour may be inspiration for you to shuffle yours around and get some new looks. Adding in a few new pieces like the key bowl above (clearance at Target) and the Ikea vase and thrifted vase make big changes without breaking the bank. Below you can see how I pulled art from three different rooms (at our old house) and grouped it here. 

From the front door, you see the view below. That little bench catches a lot of in-coming and out-going items as well as providing a place for people to sit to take shoes off. I worried this guy was too small for the wall, but in my experience, small is better when it comes to benches. Even at the foot of the bed - they look great when they aren't even close to the width of the bed. 

This piece of art got a new matte and frame which makes it look so different. I love how it looks on this wall. So simple. So good. 

This living room is very dark at night and I hope to someday have a pair of sconces on either side of this artwork. And maybe a fig leaf tree where the floor lamp is? Sigh. The gorgeous art is from Jenny's Print Shop...where I happened to get ALL the new art for this house. Almost.

This was the first print I knew I had to have from Jenny's Print Shop. It makes me so happy. 

The book cases are cheap, but we wrapped the backs with flax color fabric. It feels like the shiny backs with their obvious creases scream, Look at me?! I'm so cheeeaaap! This must be silenced and temporary wallpaper or fabric is way less frustrating than trying to paint them. Been there. Never again.

The windows really make this space. I have an ongoing love affair with windows (one of my favorite features of our last house). I'm just a sucker for sunshine and these let it in without needing thousands of dollars of work. This bench maximizes the seating and feels window seat like. I hope to have some blanket baskets tucked under it one day. 

This time around, I tried organizing my books by color. It works well for me because I remember what color a book was, but my husband isn't sure about splitting up authors. I put his complete sets somewhere else. :)

This gold end table became more subtle with a wood table top I bought on Etsy. They sell several sizes, and I didn't have to do anything as far as finishing it. Easy? Yes, please.

And lastly, we added the coffee table. We were without one for a while and boy, is it nice to have a place to set your stuff! 

Let me know if you have questions about anything. I'm a little out of practice!

Friday, September 7, 2018

What We've Been Up To

Since it's been a hundred years since I've written, I'm going to give you a speed of light catch up thing. Synopsis? I don't know, but if you ever read Highlights magazine, you'll remember the stories where there were pictures that replaced words? I'm gonna go that route.

Super sophisticated. 

Per usual.

We did make some of my dreamed of improvements before and after our move in. We added a pantry and a little more space to the tiny main floor bathroom. We also moved the sink and vanity from the main floor to the basement bathroom-to-be. Possibly my favorite change was this custom built cabinet that gives us SO MUCH more kitchen space.

When we moved our stuff in we found out we had a room full of things to get rid of in our summer garage sale. The downsizing is real, but it feels like we fit this home better than any we've had. There were also science fairs, recitals and a trip to Ikea...

...and at last, a new kitten.

His name if Phineas and he eats truckloads, talks incessantly and is fluffulicious. We're in love.

Shortly after, Brian became severely anemic and then there were a million tests. Then there were bed bugs that turned out to be bat bugs (yes, it's a thing), neither of which do you particularly want to discover in your new little house, but if one has to choose, go bat bugs every time. Overalls came back from the 90's so I went straight away and got a pair. Also our kids got baptized.

This would have been a highlight any time, but particularly in comparison to our war on bugs and we celebrated. The kids said it was so fun, they wished they could do it again. 

During graduation time (Brian's busiest as a principal) our lease came due on our car. So we leased a new car with room for our kids' growing legs. I turned 38 and tried my hair a reddish color.

My younger sister moved to Florida, we built a temporary deck and Chandler went to summer camp for the first time. (I'm starting to feel this is the "dear diary" style of Christmas letter...) But the best, best part of this whole time, was our vacation. Not only did we need to get away from all the stress life threw our way, but it killed time while we waited to find out what Brian needed to do about his anemia. If you want to understand what a relief it was for all of us, just look at our faces when we reached the ocean:

Then we saw this (below) with our own eyeballs. (Magnolia Plantation, South Carolina)

We saw friends and celebrated the 4th and ate pizza in St. Louis.

When we got home it was time to clear out that room of stuff we'd decided we didn't need and had our annual garage sale. That wasn't enough work, so we decided it was time to add a shower to the basement bathroom, effectively exiling the entire family from my main floor bath. Well, except Phineas, who's become monstrous.

Brian had surgery a week ago to take care of some internal bleeding that caused his anemia. He's been a trooper through a painful, slow recovery. We hope this will get him back to his normal, energetic self. 

So there you have it. Or an overview of it. Our new house is pretty darn cute and I'm excited to share it with you as I have time. All my fingers and toes are crossed that this will begin an era of quieter waters for us, so I can indeed write a bit from time to time. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

We're Moving

Can you believe it? We can hardly believe it either. We've been in this house for eight years and didn't plan to leave, but other expenses keep increasing and the amount we are willing to devote to a house payment has gone down. 

My hope was to move into something smaller, without sacrificing quality (i.e. more future expenses) or neighborhood. While we're moving to the edge of the neighborhood and won't be in the CENTER of the country club, we're still in an area we love while getting a bit closer to both of our jobs. 

It's been an ordeal finding a house, selling ours, and getting both houses fixed midwinter, but we're getting closer to being settled. One of the hardest parts about this transition has been not being able to get a new cat. After Leo died, I wanted to run out and get a kitten that day, but we knew we weren't in a place to do that. I've had some serious cat withdrawal and am looking forward to a new baby in our new house. In fact, we've already chosen a name. Phineas. I die...

Anyway! Here's a little tour of what our new house looked like when we bought it:

Living room



Main Bath

Master Bedroom

Kids' Loft

Family Room

 Laundry Area

So a lovely little mid-century house, born in 1947. Which seems very NEW to us, as our previous houses (all four) have been built in the 1920's. This house was flipped with integrity (not all are!) and we appreciate what they did. Of course, I have some ideas of my own about how it could be SO MUCH BETTER, and so we're doing what we can in that direction. 

It's well under way and I hope to find time to update you on our progress. If it weren't so much WORK, I'd be telling you every little thing! On top of it all, I was sick for a week...packing boxes whilst coughing and blowing my nose. Eww. But I do want to share with you so I'll do my best. 

Hope you're staying well and weathering whatever life throws your way (expected or otherwise). You may feel sad over this as you know how I loved my house on Lake Street, but I want you to know our family is processing and learning what is most important to our happiness: that we're together - wherever we find ourselves. 

That's not a bad thing to know.