Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's good to be home

Well hello! I'm writing to you from our new home!! 

It was a whirlwind of a weekend but we are getting settled slow but sure. Other than having my baby and marrying my husband, I've never been happier. This is our dream home and we are constantly pinching ourselves that we get to live here. I've gone from teary (with happiness) to giggling like a little girl more than once over the past few days.

Here's some shots I've taken of our home and the process. 
felt letter board Walmart

I found that letter board sign months ago at Walmart after a blog friend shared her find. Less than ten bucks people!! When we decided to move I knew exactly where I was going to put it. (In our laundry/mud room.)

I kept all of these plants (and more!) alive in the hotel room. Where's my sticker?: 
thick window sill with plants

I was absolutely starving the morning of our move so I grabbed cinnamon rolls and baked them in our new oven. Because I COULD: 
double oven microwave combo

If you haven't had Trader Joe's cinnamon rolls you are missing out. Delish. 

I quickly realized having a house full of boxes wasn't going to fly with me. I knew it would drive me crazy. I was unpacking boxes as they were bringing them in. Boxes like this were my favorites: 
moving into a house

Lightweight? Check. Not much inside? Check. Easy to put away? Check. Lamp shade boxes were another favorite. 👊

By the way. We have a ton of pillows. Most of these were on the window seat (yes I'm planning to add another one!). But woooow: 
blue white green pillows

This is when I started sweating a little. Nope. Can't handle this for too long: 
moving in

The friends were visiting immediately and we feasted on delivery pizza: 
white table wood chairs

I've spent a lot of time outside. You don't do that a whole lot at a hotel. So sitting on our new patio has been a treat:
breakfast of champions

Another treat? Fresh air. We couldn't open windows at the hotel and I couldn't wait throw open the sashes. :) 

As much as I wanted all the boxes emptied right away I ended up being fine just having a walkway through most rooms. But by the end of the second day I had the kitchen, mud room, family room and the master bath pretty much finished up: 
faux marble tile in bathroom

BEAST MODE. That level of unpacking has not continued though. 😂 I've done about ten boxes in the past two days in comparison. 

Sweet neighbors brought us cupcakes the second day: 
white kitchen brass hardware

And I had wine to celebrate my unpacking binge. By the way, her cupcakes were delicious and the icing was the best I've ever had. I hope she'll share the recipe. 

The animals settled in almost immediately. All three of them have been cooped up in the tiny hotel for so long, and we could barely even wait to bring them to our home!! We knew they'd love it: 
dark gray chair

We still can't find our sheets. I don't even care. I was just thrilled we were able to get the sleep number connected and filled up on the first night. I woke up the next morning smiling: 
two windows on either side of bed

No. The nightstands are still not finished and yes I'm deciding between two lamps. :) 

I just sit, look around and smile like an idiot. Can't believe it and can't believe how much this place feels like home already: 
dark railings white spindles on stairs

That's pretty awesome by the way. That this house feels so comfortable so fast. I know it's because we picked everything out and saw the progress along the way. It's also because this was meant to be our house. When I got to know my husband, I knew he was meant to be my partner for life. When we came across our dog one day not even looking to adopt a pet, I knew he was meant to be our pup. When we walked into this house for the first time when it was just studs, I knew it was meant to be our home. 

As I mentioned, the cats are doing just fine:
round glass coffee table

You couldn't even walk through the mud room the first day. I mean, legit, boxes piled four feet in the air, flat boxes piled all over the entire floor. Oh and did I mention we haven't washed clothes in awhile because a. I was done paying for it when I knew we were moving in and b. you could fit about six things in each load there so a normal sized load cost about $10. I ain't doin' it. ;) 

We hooked up the washer and dryer yesterday and did a little happy dance. I've NEVER been so happy to do laundry. Ever: 
laundry with gray washer and dryer

A friend gifted this foaming bath a couple weeks ago at a gift exchange and I've used it twice so far here. If you're counting I've taken two baths and two showers in three days because I can: 
Foaming bath

Annnnd now I know exactly what I'm giving everyone I know for a housewarming gift from now on. A hot bubble bath after being on your feet all day is exquisite. 

Things are coming together, slow but sure. We've had a tiny TV in our room but hopefully as of tonight we'll be watching TV in the family room. Can I tell you how much I missed cable? We had it in the hotel but I never realized quite how amazing DVRs were. I mean, a gift from God. He knows. 

We've gone grocery shopping and it's actually been quite fun. I loathe grocery shopping and IT WAS FUN. Because we have a place to put food. :) I filled the baking jars again -- it's the little things. I was practically clicking my heels in the air as I filled them up: 
baking jars white subway tile

(I'm installing shelves there soon.) 

Most of the house? Looks like this:
future office

But I'm cool with it. It's going to take a long time. I joked that it would take about six months to unpack everything and now I'm thinking that may not be that far off. :) I don't even care. The main areas are mostly cleaned out and I'm getting used to seeing cardboard everywhere. As long as we're here I will gladly take it!!

I have to say...even though our "in between" got to me at times, it made me appreciate this house even more. I would recommend it to everyone at one point or another because you get a much different perspective on the little things in life. Opening the windows, baking, stretching out on the floor. All of the things. It's really changed how I look at home now, in a good way. 

OH and this process has changed how I look at our stuff now too. I've already got two boxes full of donate/sell and many more will be coming. I'm looking at so much of it and saying WHY did I keep this?? After not using some items for so long it lessens that attachment to them. Other things, like our bed? Those things I want to marry because I missed them so much. Anyway, more on that later. 

I'll be back with more updates and tours of the rooms! I LOVE THIS HOUSE!! Thanks for all your love and support, we have appreciated it so much!! 

P.S. I'm sharing stories on Instagram pretty often so you can get a good look at the progress there too. :)

Affiliate links included for your convenience!
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

From dark to light: the living room over the years!

OH happy day! We are starting the move in process and I couldn't be happier. I'm pausing the cleaning, packing and unpacking to share another recap from our old house. 

Want to know something weird? We don't miss our old house. It's so odd -- we didn't expect that. Even on the days when living in our tiny hotel space was driving me crazy, I didn't miss the house. I desperately wanted to be in our new house, but not the old one. I can chalk that up to two things -- one, we've just been so stinking excited about the new one. Two, we get to visit our old house all the time. :) That's such a blessing for me, I can't even tell you. It feels like it belongs to our friends who bought it (as it should). Such a weird, wonderful thing. :) 

So anyway, I've been sharing recaps of many of the rooms in our old house because let's be honest, I don't have much else to talk about lately. 😂 I mean, really. It is what it is. But looking back at the progression of the rooms has always been a favorite of mine, so it's been lots of fun to do this. 

I've shared the guest room, family room, kitchen, library/dining room and bathrooms so far. This next one is a room I struggled with for YEARS. We loved the two stories ceilings when we first walked into the model and it's what immediately sold us on the house. Those tall walls were later what made me shake my fists in the air quite often. I never knew how to address them. 

I started by hanging stuff really, really high after we moved in: 
Living room before

We're going old school with photos, sorry for the quality. Our two best kitties ever are sitting in the windows. :) 

The furniture was all hand me downs. The nesting tables were Bombay Company finds -- remember them? Gosh I loved that store. 

We later bought new furniture (that I ended up absolutely HATING). I also went high with a simple painted box on the wall:
Painted box on wall

And then...they gold and red phase started. You've seen it before! 

I went all out!:
Red and gold living room

I made a quick sofa table for about $20 that we used for years. It's a super simple build and works great if you want to add some lamps or decor behind your sofa: 
Easy DIY sofa table

I changed up that rectangle a lot huh? My love of molding started and I added even more: 
DIY sofa table for $20

Then I started to branch out from my reds and try some different colors. Part of the reason I went with those colors to begin with was because of the wall color. It's hard to tell in some of the pictures, but in some light our walls looked PINK. As you can see here: 
DIY floral curtains

I didn't like other colors with it. It was a taupe color that went really rosy and was a pain in my butt. (And YES, I picked it out, of course!)

We later had half of the house repainted in the analytical gray color it stayed at: 
living room with jute rug

This little corner by the door always felt like it needed something, and I tried a few different pieces: 
desk by front door

Later on I built a bookcase that extended out from the half wall. I LOVED that little change! It added so much character to the room: 
DIY half wall bookcase

We moved some furniture around and then got a sofa (for a steal!!) for the room and I found that glass table on Amazon. I love that table! I plan to use both of these in the new family room. (I shared my layout options with you here.)

It only took me 13 years, but this space was FINALLY just how I wanted it early this year. And then we decided to move. Ha!:
Gallery wall, blue dresser, light sofa living room

Neutral sofa round coffee table in living room

This was supposed to be more of a "fancy" living area but that's not how we live. We used this room quite often -- every day! It was where our tall Christmas tree stood at Christmas and we made wonderful memories in there. It was such a pretty welcome into our home!

Oh and here's my tip for decorating tall rooms...get ready, it's big. Ignore them. :) I lived with them in quite a few rooms for years and that's how I addressed them after trying all kinds of things. Adding detail, art or any focus up high will accentuate what doesn't need to be accentuated. I think it can absolutely be done well, don't get me wrong. But I've heard from so many of you who struggle with decorating rooms like this and that's always my advice. Keep the decor down instead of going extra high. 

You can see more about some of the projects in this space here! If I missed anything feel free to let me know!: 


Affiliate links included for your convenience! 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Our in between living and why we chose it

My friends...we are just days away from moving into our house! We are beyond excited to get into our new home!! I can barely stand it.

Many of you have asked our our "in between" status -- it's not been very glamorous but it's worked well for us. I figure some of you will be in the same situation at some point so I figured it may be helpful to share what we've done! (I'm throwing in random photos of our old house because you do NOT want to see our mess of a place right now!)

First things first -- in hindsight I wish we hadn't sold our home so quickly. Even though we had our buyers lined up, they had to sell their house and our (shared) realtor highly encouraged us to get it on the market during the summer. I am glad that we got the sales all done in plenty of time, but we didn't realize how much time we'd have to live in temporary housing. If we did it all over again I probably wouldn't have gotten the ball rolling quite as fast, but not worrying about the stress of selling/closing has been nice too.

When we got the sale process started our realtor mentioned some nearby apartment complexes that offered short-term stays. I didn't worry about contacting them until we had our closing scheduled but when I did start calling, I had a bit of a freak out. None of the complexes he recommended allowed stays shorter than six months. I started to panic a bit and kept calling places to be told the same thing over and over. Finally one very kind employee of one recommended that I call newer apartments as they typically offer short term because they aren't full yet. I think she could hear the panic in my voice. ;)

I finally found some complexes that did short term stays, but all did a minimum of three months. At the time we thought we'd only need about six weeks of housing so those were going to be crazy expensive for what we needed. This is the thing with a short term apartment situation -- we would have had to pay around $900 in fees just to move in. Most of that we would never see again. Some we'd get back if the apartment was left in good condition of course, but most (at least $600) we wouldn't get back. That was a tough pill to swallow.

Remember, at the time we thought it would only be a six week wait, so that extra month would have been an entire month we would pay for and not live there. We were also going to have to pay movers four times -- for our moves in and out of our houses as well as the apartment. AND they only allowed two animals, we have three. It simply wasn't an option for us to give one up for even that amount of time.

Soooo. It was discouraging. We started to think about other options. Friends suggested VRBO or other short term options but anything that allowed animals was insane expensive. Then someone mentioned a long term hotel situation and the more we looked into it the more we liked the idea.

Here's what we loved about moving into a hotel instead of an apartment:

  • We could set the exact dates of our stay. 
  • No movers -- all of the furniture was provided and ready to go
  • No limit on animals (they may have one but never asked how many we had!) 
  • One $100 animal fee at the start of our stay and that was it as far as fees
  • Free food! Yessss. Breakfast every morning and some kind of dinner or evening snack three nights a week. 
  • If you don't have animals you'd get "free" cleaning services as well! We have a dog who doesn't take too kindly to new people, so we've never had them in to clean. But man, that would have been awesome!
  • A stocked kitchenette (bowls, plates, some cookware and small appliances)
  • Hot tub and pool anytime you want it!
There are some downsides too -- mainly just the tight space. Six of us (three people and three animals) have shared less than 300 square feet for the past two months. At first it's sweet and cozy and we didn't mind it one bit. About four weeks in I started going a little stir crazy. :) Most of the time lately I spend the day out and about -- either running errands or sitting and working on my computer somewhere. And this time of year our evenings are always busy with marching band, basketball and fitness classes. 

I have learned one thing through this experience...I will NEVER be a tiny house person. It's just not in my blood. I need space! Windows! Doors! Furniture! All the things!! 

With all of the natural disasters and tragedies of late it's made me crave our home even more. I want to put roots down again, bake things, build something(s), organize stuff...my list is endless. I have a million recipes I want to try out, so many projects I'm ready to tackle and of course, I'm planning our Christmas decor. 😁

Obviously the hotel option isn't for everyone! But if you only need a couple months to cover in between houses it may be best for you. We're spending about the same (or less depending on where we would have ended up) than what we would have paid at an apartment. We would have been dangerously close to having to sign another three month lease with an apartment too, so overall we've been really happy with our decision to stay at a long term hotel. 

With all of that being said...I hope we never have to stay here ever again. God willing. Hotels have lost their luster for awhile. 😂 We are getting packed up, I'm cleaning the hotel room from top to bottom and then we are getting the heck out! Our new home awaits!:


Have you ever done the "in between" and what did you do? Did you enjoy it or go stir crazy like me?

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hits and misses: the bathroom renovations!

Goodness my friends...we're about a week out from moving in and I can barely stand it! We did our walk through today and things are really wrapping up. The house is so incredibly beautiful, I can hardly wait to show you. (If you missed our last update check it out here!)

I've been recapping all of my favorite room makeovers in our last house and it's been fun to look back! I LOVE before and after pictures anyway, but seeing the different designs over the years and all the work I put in is a great feeling. I'm sharing our bathrooms through the years today but you can look back at our dining room, guest bedroom, kitchen and family room as well! (See the bottom of the post for links for these rooms and their resources!)

When we finished our basement years back, we were able to complete the bathroom. It ended up being a long, narrow room because we added a laundry room and storage area as well. This is what we started with: 

We went with a teeny tiny shower in here because we knew it wouldn't be used much. And then of course for years I ended up using it a bunch. 😜 We later put the cat litter trays back there so we didn't use the shower a lot the last year or so. 

I knew I wanted to add some storage to this small space, and the area next to the shower was perfect for it:

You can see how I built the DIY floating wood shelves for that spot. This spot was screaming out for them!: 

We really used them too -- they weren't just for looks. Other than the small vanity in there, this was the only storage in the room. 

I decorated with some items from Target and it turned into such a sweet, pretty space: 

I just loved the colors in this room! And of course, because there were no windows down there, I added the daylight bulbs I told you about earlier this week. ;) 

The next before is one of the best in our whole house! Or I should say befores, plural. Our powder room was one of the first spots I added trim in our house and I went dramatic with the color:

I've always said you should do something fun in the smaller spaces in your home -- laundry rooms, powder rooms, mud rooms -- all great places to try a color or treatment you wouldn't do in a bigger living area. 

And boy did I do that! Next was the chocolate brown bathroom...everywhere: 

I mean. When I commit, I commit

This was around the time I did the same with the dining room as well. I must have really loved brown at the time? I loved this tomb room!

Well, my tastes changed. I slowly but surely started brightening up the house, and after a lot of wood and a LOT of painting, this was the result

I get a lot of questions about that Hemnes bathroom vanity and YES I would highly recommend it! We had one little tiny sliver of the finish come off in all the years we had it, and that was right away. 

Otherwise it's held up beautifully. It's a great deal for the size and the pretty sink that comes with it. 

Later I finally painted that closet door black like the rest of the doors on the bottom levels and I loved it against all the white!: 

See the awesome detail we put in that closet here. At first I didn't use it much but I came to LOVE having it!

And finally, my piece de resistance -- our son's bathroom redo. I worked my tail off on this room!! Blood, sweat and tears, literally. Here's how it looked for nearly ten years


I had an itch to knock down that wall in the middle for forever. One day earlier this year I just decided to start taking it down. It was so exciting. ;) 

It took me a few months but I finally finished the space. It's one of my top three makeovers in the house (I'd say up there with the kitchen and the dining/library). Here's how it turned out: 

Oh I do miss that pretty shower! Someday I'll do the same tile in his bathroom at our new house...someday, a lot of days from now. ;) 

I loved every single inch of this room. I am so proud of it:  


I still love looking at it. :) 

One room we didn't touch much (probably the only room in the house!) was our master bathroom. I shared that with you here -- I made some small changes over the years but since it was set up well and we knew it would be so expensive, we never tackled a big reno. 

Bathrooms are no joke people! They are hard work -- even the small ones. But they make a big impact in your home and can give it tons of personality. 

I'll be back next week as we pack up and count down the hours till we are in our house! As always, thanks for coming along for the ride all these years! :)  

You can see more about each bathroom at the links below, but let me know if you have any questions!:


     - Resources and links for this bathroom

     - Resources and links for this room






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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Five lighting tricks that make a BIG difference!

We are on the countdown! Now we can say we move in "next week" -- how exciting is that? The house is pretty close to done inside, just the island countertop to install and a few minor things to address. We have a couple bigger projects outside that need completed too. Our walk through is this week...one step closer! 

It probably sounds funny, but some of the projects I want to complete first are not decor-related. Well, at least not in the traditional sense. I want to tackle some lighting projects first, but not just installing lights. I added so many little lighting "tricks" in our old house that made a HUGE difference in the way we lived in it. I plan to repeat every single one of these. 

Here's a recap of my favorite lighting changes! 

The daylight bulb:

First up...most of the bathrooms in the new house have windows, but I'll still be adding the amazing daylight bulbs to them anyway. They make a HUGE difference at night and during the day. I mean...big. You can see them in my son's bathroom here
Bathroom with cement tile wall

I discovered them a couple years ago and ended up changing out all of our bathroom bulbs to daylight. They change not only how YOU look, but they completely transform how the room looks too, even during the day. Incandescent bulbs give off a yellow tint and daylight makes everything it's true color. 

You can see the drastic before and after of the daylight bulb in this post. Our new basement has some windows, but not a ton, so eventually I'll trade those out too. The old basement had zero windows and I couldn't believe how much better it looked with them! 

A few things to consider -- they are bright! Get the dimmable ones (more about that in a minute) if you think that will bother you. Also, I don't like them in most living spaces or bedrooms -- I tried them in our kitchen and hated it. I still enjoy the incandescent look for those rooms. But if you want to see how your makeup really looks, go for daylight in the bathrooms. :)

Dimmers, dimmers everywhere:

That brings me to the next change I'll be making -- GIVE ME ALL THE DIMMERS. Yes, we could have had our builder install them, but we'd pay more. You can get them for around $15 at the hardware store and if you know what you're doing it only takes about ten minutes to change them out. 

I shared a dimmer switch tutorial years ago that will show you how to install one yourself. If you have any electrical experience at all, you can do this (even if you don't!). There are single pole versions (where you only have one switch that operates one light) or a three way (one light operates from more than one switch). I already have plans to add them to all of the bathrooms, our family room lights and the kitchen lights. Oh, and the basement. Basically our whole house. :) 

Our friends who bought our old home laugh at how many we had...but they are the bomb. Especially on a dark winter morning when you want to wake up slowly. Or a midnight run to the bathroom when you only need a little light. Or when you want it cozy at night. OH and they use less energy (when dimmed) and I hardly ever changed out bulbs I had on dimmers...they rarely went out. I adore these and will be adding them everywhere. 

Landscape lighting: 

I joke about this but it's true -- drive around a "fancy" neighborhood at dusk (my favorite time of day) and there will be a common detail that most of the houses have. At first it's hard to put your finger on it but they all look so expensive, and yet cozy because of landscape lighting: 
How to install landscape lighting

It's just something that makes a house feel fancier, but also super approachable because...well, so much pretty light. I wanted to copy the look at our house and the first time I did it, I was totally hooked. I used directional lights that lit up the front of the house as well as smaller lights in the landscaping. 

You DO not know how to to change a light fixture, a plug, or install a dimmer to be able to do your own landscape lighting. I promise. It is WAY easier than you think it would be. You plug in a box and then connect the lights to the wire -- but it's just a matter of snapping them on. I shared a step-by-step tutorial for landscape lighting here

One of the first things I did at the new house was make sure we had outlets in specific spots so I could add them to the front of the house right away. Our exterior is going to look even more beautiful when I get those installed. I hope to do it before the cold temps hit, so I'll be sure to share it with you. 

DIY landscape lighting

Upper and lower cabinet lighting: 

This is another update that was one of my favorites in the house. I've done this myself a couple times over the years -- the first time I installed them (without any new outlets or wiring) I used actual fixtures you plug in and switch on. 

This last time I used an outlet to run them on a switch and it was SO EASY: 
upper and lower cabinet lighting

I shared exactly how I did it and all the materials I used (all from Amazon) in this cabinet lighting post. These little lighting strips pack a big punch!: 
DIY cabinets lighting tutorial

Our new house already included the under cabinet lighting so we paid to have them add some to the uppers as well. I plan to add them to our future basement kitchenette as well. They are SO lovely at night! We absolutely love them -- this lighting is another detail that isn't expensive but makes your kitchen feel custom. 

Sensor switch: 

OK...this one is the bomb. It rocks, especially if you/your kids/your love/your mom/anyone tends to leave the lights on in your house. I changed our our master closet light years back and then moved this one to our mud room: 
DIY closet makeover using kitchen cabinets

The new light was perfect in there (I don't think I ever shared it with you all) because it was a lot shorter. But man, it was BRIGHT. I tried something different in here instead of the traditional dimmer -- a sensor switch

sensor switch for closet

They do just that -- sense when you walk in the room and they turn on the light. You don't touch it! The best part about ours was it also had a dimming function, so you could set it to the amount of light you wanted each time it turned on.

When we walked in the room, it turned on. No reaching for a switch. It's GREAT for closets. And within a set amount of time, it goes off. If you are still in the room and it senses your movement, it will stay on.

The only bad thing about these lights is that if you are sitting on the floor folding clothes or organizing, the light will turn off. Many times I'd have to wave my arms wildly to turn in back on. 😂 But those were few and far between. Totally worth it and I plan to add them in our closets again.

I love every single one of these lighting tricks and will be adding each one again. They are easy fixes that make your home feel warm and cozy, but are also super functional as well.

Here's a recap of the posts I mentioned above as well as links to some of the items I talked about. (Affiliate links included for your convenience.) If you have any questions please let me know!

Get the daylight bulb here

Dimmers (for incandescent bulbs only

Get the sensor switch here

How to install landscape lighting (with list of supplies)

How to install cabinet lighting (with full supply list)
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