I’ve had a bunch of fun projects through my etsy business lately, so I thought I would share some of my favorites. This project is from a repeat client, whom I have previously done a master bedroom, guest bedroom, dining room, and most recently the den. They were so much fun to work with and I absolutely love how their daughter’s room turned out. She even had some input on the wallpaper selection and other things. In this case, her bed, vanity and flowered pillows were existing pieces to work with, and everything else was new. [Read more…]
Our house is old and kind of quirky. We knew when we bought it that we needed to figure out how to make better use of the space that was formerly an attached garage and converted into living space (by previous owners). We made a few changes before moving in, but we wanted to live with the space for a while before doing too much. You can see the area I’m talking about on the far right of our house.
The real estate listing called the area a 4th bedroom, but it was cavernous and felt more like a basement rec room. We knew we needed a guest bedroom, and I was really hoping for a main floor laundry room. My dad and I tossed ideas back and forth for a few weeks, sketching out the possibilities. We ended up building a wall, dividing the space by 2/3 bedroom, 1/3 laundry/mudroom/TBD. I had him add a nice big coat closet to the laundry side, because we knew we would be mostly coming and going through the back door of the house, which is nearest to this room.
Let’s look at the original space, shall we? [Read more…]
I love that little face so much. This girl brings so much joy to our family and we are so thankful for her. Her personality default is happy all day long and she only cries if she’s tired or hungry.
I don’t have much to say without getting all mom gushy about her. Claire is my little angel baby.
I love this age. She’s finally old enough to roll around and play with toys on the floor by herself for a few minutes, but not old enough to get into too much mischief. We are starting to talk about baby proofing the house soon though – we know it’s coming!
I mean, how could you not want to just squeeze her all day? Love you sweet Claire Evelyn!
Claire just had her 4 month checkup on Thursday and she’s growing like crazy. She’s 98th percentile for height and 75th for weight (15 lbs, 6 oz). She caught up to Ellie for height who was always around the 98th percent or higher, but she’s not quite as much of a chunk.
I spend every day smothering her with kisses and smelling her head. It’s the best!
Claire has a new trick that I haven’t caught on camera yet, but she thinks it’s pretty funny. She blows raspberries (or strawberries as Ellie calls it haha). She can get a fair amount of spit going, so watch out!
Her other trick is rolling over. She can go from her front to her back pretty regularly, but can’t quite get her arm out from under her to go from her back to her front yet. Any day now probably.
I mean, don’t you just want to squish her?
Claire is starting to use her hands to hold and grab for things now. I can’t wait until she can put her own pacifier in and hold a toy long enough to entertain herself.
I thought I would throw in a couple pics of big sister, just because. Ellie loves her window seat in her bedroom and spends a lot of time there playing or looking at books.
And in case you wonder what it’s like to live with a three year old, this pic is a pretty good example. She is full of sass and threenager attitude these days. She still has her sweet moments, but she is definitely sugar and spice. She decided a couple months ago that she was done with naps, and recently started all day preschool, which she loves. My baby is growing up!
Claire is three months old today!
Before she was born, I wondered what her personality would be like, and the answer is that she is the sweetest baby I’ve ever seen. Well, maybe she’s tied with her sister, but in truth, she has an easier smile, and is far less quick to fuss. She is the most laid back little sweetheart and I can’t get enough of snuggling her and smelling her amazing baby smell.
Claire is happy just to go along for the ride. With an older sister, it’s harder to stay at home for naps and things throughout the day, but Claire will sleep anytime, anywhere that she needs to.
She has been sleeping in her crib for the past couple weeks and… sleeping through the night routinely! She goes down around 8:00 pm and doesn’t wake up again until around 7:00 am. Or maybe she does, but we never hear her fussing. I love having her in her own room because she is a grunty/snorty sleeper, which kept waking me up when she was sleeping in our room. She loves to be swaddled, and I swear by that because it worked like a charm with Ellie too.
As far as milestones, Claire has pretty good neck control now. I love to wear her in my Solly wrap and go for walks, or to the grocery store with her in that now. She is a busybody and likes to watch her sister and me walk around. I usually put her in her bouncy seat in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner and as long as she can see me, she will sit there happily for a while. She has grabby hands lately and pulls on her clothes or pinches my arm or neck while I’m holding her. Sometimes she flashes me her cute little belly if she pulls up her shirt! My favorite thing is that she often gets chatty after eating lately. She makes the sweetest goo goo gaga noises and her face gets so animated like she’s really trying to say something, I can’t even stand it.
It’s crazy how much your heart can grow with each child, and I feel like the luckiest to have such amazing little girls.
Ellie turned three at the end of August and she has definitely been living up to the term “threenager” lately. She goes from being the sweetest little helper to the most feisty, patience testing little stinker in a span of five minutes. She makes me smile on a daily basis with the funny things she says, and she makes me want to pull my hair out when she asks “why?” for the thousandth time. Sugar and spice.
I’ve been waiting to take pictures of my house until everything is “done.” Well, that could be a while. I do have a three year old and a newborn to deal with, so certain house projects have had to be put on hold for a bit. There are other areas where I’m waiting to find the perfect rug, vase, art, pillows, etc., etc… you get the idea. Sometimes it bothers me to look around and see so many things I want to finish, but the thrill of the hunt is half the fun for me.
Anyway, my dining room is looking pretty good these days, now that we have the wallpaper done. I still want to find a buffet for the recessed area, and some art for the wall, but other than that, things are moving along in there.
I’ve shared our breakfast nook/butler pantry before, but I’ve since gotten around to styling the shelves a bit better. I’m still tweaking the middle shelves, but I’m happy with the rest. It’s so nice to have space for all my serving pieces and china now.
The half bath is so hard to get a good picture of. It’s shoebox tiny, but it turned out super cute. I’ll try to get better angles of it another time with a different camera lens. I absolutely love how the wallpaper turned out in there.
The living room is still a work in progress. We just got two new chairs, but are still waiting to order the sofa and a coffee table. I keep working on the shelves – nearly every time I walk by, it’s something a little to the left, something to the right, and something rearranged. I ordered a new mirror for over the fireplace that hasn’t shipped yet, and I still need to work on the art/lamp/accessory situation. I’m in love with our fireplace though, and would like to find a screen for in front of it at some point. Did you know you can order birch logs from Amazon? I mean, what can’t you buy there these days?
My sweet baby girl will be two weeks old tomorrow, so I thought I should share a bit about her birth and how things are going for us as a family of four. I will keep the birth story pretty clean, but feel free to skip ahead if you’re bored!
It’s mind boggling to me that we’ve been in our new house in Michigan for over a month now, and that we are having another baby any day. My days have been filled with a million tasks related to renovating an old house while living here, and getting things ready for the baby. Every room is in various stages of mess, and it’s sort of a happy chaos around here right now. Ted started working almost immediately after we moved in, so I’ve been trying to do as much as I can while being very, very pregnant in 90 degree heat. So anyway, a few quick updates.
I love my kitchen. It has been a process to get to this point. We still need a backsplash and a couple light fixtures installed, but other than that, it’s close to done. I’ve been working on the decorative glass cabinets and trying to keep everything clean as best as I can.
The above photos are the reason why it’s difficult to keep everything clean right now. We had the power lines running over our backyard buried a couple weeks ago, and a huge tree stump removed and finally had the backyard smoothed out and covered with topsoil and seed after all that work was done. No more giant trench through the yard, although the concrete patio still needs to be fixed. We have lots of baby grass sprouting up now since this pic was taken over a week ago. Can’t wait until I can let the dog run around back there again and not worry about Ellie messing something up. We’ve had a parade of contractors in and out of the house constantly, so I can’t wait to be done with the dirt and bugs that have gone along with that. And the jungle weeds, oh my goodness.
This door looks so awesome. We did a little floor plan reconfigure in the kitchen and garage addition area, and this back entrance was one of the trickiest places to figure out. Originally it just had a storm door that led to an unheated vestibule area. You would then open a door to the right to walk into the kitchen (which was where this wood door came from). We removed this door and created an open entryway to the kitchen, and knocked an entrance to the left into what is now our mudroom/pantry/laundry room. Since we will park at the back of the house and use this entry through all the winter months, I’m so excited to have a place other than the kitchen to dump boots and all our stuff.
My dad is a genius and figured out how to make this door fit, redid the stoop and trim (which still needs a little brick work), and made it all look like it has always been there. You can also see the new trim color I picked out for the exterior of the house. The current color everywhere else is a dark mud brown that I don’t care for, so I wanted to lighten and brighten it all up. We don’t plan to tackle the rest of the exterior until next spring, but it didn’t make sense to paint all of this trim brown only to turn around and repaint it again in the spring. I also can’t wait to have the brick power washed and clean up the landscaping. We have an awesome covered back porch area that will be perfect for a nice big dining table and chairs at some point. Projects.
We (my dad!) have cut down a couple scrub trees, yanked out a huge overgrown grapevine that was overtaking some holly bushes and our air conditioner, and tried to keep up with the serious jungle weeds, but other than that, we haven’t had time for much landscaping yet this summer. You can tell that our yard was well taken care of at some point, but after being a rental for a couple years and then sitting vacant for 9 months before we bought it, everything is starting to look a little sprawly and crazy. This fall we will plan to divide up a bunch of stuff, and prune like crazy. I did buy a couple petunia plants for the front porch because I think it makes it feel more like home. Ellie picked out the color.
As far as the inside of the house, this has been the view for the past few weeks. The delivery guys must know us all by name by now. Thank goodness for Amazon prime is all I can say. I’ve ordered everything from lightbulbs to the kitchen sink (literally) from Amazon. I honestly don’t know how else I would have managed this project without it, especially when we were still living 600 miles away. My dad gives me a list of 10 random odds and ends and with the click of a button they show up in two days. It’s a beautiful thing. Especially now that I don’t particularly want to drag my almost three year old and my large self through five stores to find all this stuff. Light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, the vent for our range, obscure light bulb sizes, and even furniture have shown up on our doorstep. Let’s just say we’ve been keeping our recycling bins a little on the extra full side.
Miss grumpy eating at our new breakfast table courtesy of Amazon. Chairs are real, table is a fake, but nobody needs to know that right?
So what else is left on our to do list? Mostly just finishing touches at this point. Here’s my list:
- Kitchen backsplash (will be 3×6 carrara marble subway tiles)
- Master bath backsplash (will be white 3×6 subway tiles)
- Hang mirror in front of window over sink in master bath (will require a little creative hook and cabling)
- Hang remaining light fixtures (two in kitchen/back entry, one in front entry, one at top of stairs in entryway, one (on backorder for a bit) in the sunroom, and replace can lights in 4th bedroom/laundry area
- schedule wallpaper installer to hang wallpaper in dining room, half bath and Ellie’s room
- make cushion for Ellie’s built in window seat
- finish finding/hanging window treatments in master bedroom, nursery, 4th bedroom and half bath
- order cabinets for laundry area
- have carpet installed in 4th bedroom (sometime this month!)
- hang pictures everrrrywhere
- find rugs for various areas
- order new couch for living room and craigslist the old ones (new chairs are already on order, coming soon)
- set up 4th bedroom as a guest bedroom once carpet is installed so we have a place for family to stay
And a million other little odds and ends that make me feel like as soon as I cross off one thing, I add three more. Every day. But this is fun for me, at least for the most part. Living here without all the bathrooms functioning for a while, not so much. We have made so much progress though and I can’t wait until I can share official before and after pictures of everything. This house has been a dream for me, and I absolutely love our neighborhood. I can’t wait to have more time and energy to get out and see more of it.
In the meantime, I’ll be folding baby clothes and sweeping dirt out of my kitchen for the 18th time today.
Most of my days the past couple months or so have been filled with making lots of house decisions. Research on paint, light fixtures, faucets, toilets… you name it. It’s definitely more challenging to plan a house remodel from several states away, but we’re so lucky to have my dad helping us out with everything. I always look forward to getting new progress pictures from him each week, and we are only a few short weeks away from moving in now. Movers are coming to pack us up two weeks from today!
I will share some of the (very rough!) progress pics in a minute, but first I wanted to talk about my plans for the living room. This is a room I have put a lot of thought into. We plan to live with our existing, beat up temporary stuff we bought in Hershey for a while until we can afford to do this room the way we want to. Basically everything needs to be replaced, so it’s going to be a big project that we will slowly complete. We want things to hold up for the long run, and be kid and pet friendly, while not necessarily looking like it.
I even included my fantasy chair, an Eames lounge on here. Dream big right? One thing Ted and I both agreed on from the start was that we wanted a leather sofa. We have lived through two fabric ones being constantly bombarded by baby spit up and dog dirt now, and I just want something I can wipe down whenever I need to. Especially since we are up for another round of baby spit soon!
The room is sort of an odd shape to design. I put a tentative floor plan together shown below.
It’s shown with a sofa and loveseat, which is what we currently own, but I would like to replace the loveseat with two separate chairs. The french doors at the back of the room lead to our awesome covered patio area, so we need to leave an aisle to access those. I’m planning to stash a couple baskets of kid toys and books behind the sofa under a console table or something. It’s nice to have a place to store stuff that isn’t visible front and center.
Here are some pics to remind you of what we started with.
The ceiling has been painted white and the walls are Benjamin Moore Balboa Grey. The floor is currently being refinished, and my dad just installed the new built in shelving next to the fireplace. I love it! We decided to square off the tops of the arches on either side because it was an astronomical cost savings to do so. I still think they look great, and there are lots of other arches and other architectural features in the room.
Here’s what it’s looking like now.
Obviously it still needs the shelves and hardware installed, but it’s fun to start seeing things get put back together. Don’t you love the fireplace? We removed the old brass door insert and plan to just place some logs in there for now. At some point in the past, the fireplace was converted to gas, but our inspector said it needed to be replaced. We opted to just tear it out and cap off the gas for now. The chimney would need to be re-lined if we wanted to burn actual wood in there, so we will just live without it being functional for a while until we decide what to do.
Moving on to further progress, these are of the kitchen. The cabinets have been installed, and my dad is now working on finishing up the trim and details. They will go all the way up to the ceiling when he’s finished. The drywall will be covered someday when I pick out backsplash tile, which I want to wait to do in person once the counters are installed. The floors are going to be black slate and install is starting on that tomorrow. Can’t wait to see this room in a more finished state!
The second photo shows the results of a big project. We closed off a doorway that was on the right side of the first photo in order to create a more functional floor plan. Because of that, we still needed a way to access the room beyond the kitchen, which is what used to be a garage. My dad cut through the wall where you can see the second doorway with a new wood header. The room you see in there will be our new laundry/pantry/mudroom, which I am so excited about. We split the space approximately in half, so there is also a guest bedroom beyond that to the right. The guest room is the only access to the basement, which isn’t my ideal layout, but sometimes in an old house you just have to deal with some quirks. We won’t finish the basement for some time anyway.
There is a door to the left in that little hallway that leads to the backyard. We have another freestanding two stall garage closer to the back of the house, so we will be using this back door as our main entry most of the time. It’s going to be so nice to have a place to hang coats and kick off wet snowy boots this winter that isn’t right in a doorway.
This is how things are looking in our front entryway. It was originally painted a dark gray/blue color, ceiling included, and it made this area feel so gloomy. I think this pic is just the first coat, but you can already see how much brighter it will be in there. We added that can light at the bottom of the stairs as well, which will so nice to have in the evenings. I still need to find new light fixtures for the main chandelier (that you can’t see in this photo), and a sconce for the wall near that back half bath. I’d like to see the space in person again though before I decide on anything. This room will also be tiled in the same slate as the kitchen, which it’s connected to by that doorway in the back right corner of this pic. I can’t wait to see how the tile looks with everything.
Ellie has been very vocal about her request for a pink bedroom. She got her wish!
Our master bath is mostly being left as is, with the exception of a new vanity. I had also noticed from a real estate photo of the back of the house that there appeared to be a window over the sink area. My dad removed the mirror and sure enough, there’s a big, bright window right in the middle. It totally changes the feel of the room, so we definitely want to keep it as open as we can. It does leave me scratching my head a bit as to how to hang a mirror there though. The things that keep me awake at night these days…
Anyway, I think we should be in pretty good shape by the end of next week. All the flooring should be done – all the wood floor refinishing upstairs and downstairs, and hopefully most of the tile. We will still have some odds and ends projects going on after we move in, but as long as I have a functional kitchen and bathroom, I’m happy!