Monday, November 25, 2013

Phase One: Before and Afters

One of the things that drew us to our new house is its not-so-badness.  We know it will feel pretty comfortable until we are able afford to take on the heftier projects, and in the meantime it has some nice, neutral features and the potential to be lovelier with some quicker fixes. For example it came with...


...white cabinets that are in great shape, including some uppers with glass doors and a wine rack...


...big windows with a view of a grassy hill and trees...

Untitled island with storage, electricity, and space for my little chefs-in-training...


...all open to a family room with a fireplace.

And here's how those spaces look today!


In addition to painting (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter color matched by Valspar again), Mike replaced the brass knobs, handles, and hinges in the kitchen and hallways.  


New appliances freshened things up quite a bit.  I love the oil-rubbed bronze doorknobs that we added throughout the house, but I'm considering switching again to nickel drawer and cabinet pulls for down the road when we update floors and counter tops in the kitchen, but that's a ways away.  Right now I think the dark ones add some necessary warmth and contrast.




The family room lamp and kitchen pendant are from Ikea.  The drum shade you might recall from the old place.


As much as I look forward to updates to our fireplace facade and so on, I'm finding myself much more patient about improvements with this second house than I was with the first.  We'll get there!


This is my favorite view right now, the one I see when crashing on the couch after a long month of settling in!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Warm House

Yesterday the four of us ended the day in heap on the couch watching Elf with a fire going, relishing the knowledge that phase one of fixing up this place is over, we've broken the ice on entertaining here, and now it's time to enjoy the holidays.  The open house style party we had yesterday totally worked its housewarming magic.

I do regret not taking many pictures of our party, especially since the food and guests all came together nicely.  Picture bagels on cake plates, donut-and-fruit kabobs, and kids and adults filling this house with friendly faces and happy noise.

To keep our youngest guests occupied I put my mom to work the other day making gingerbread cookies in the shape of houses for the kids to decorate.  I found this recipe for her, and the cookies were quite good--soft like the blogger promised.  (Mom would want me to advise using a silicone mat and rolling the dough on the thick side to make cutting the cookies a smooth process.)  I put Mike to work making royal icing using this recipe just as the guests were arriving.  Despite not actually creating the cookies or icing, I believe my vision, research, and delegation skills deserve full credit for the fun and deliciousness of the end result. I know who will come through!

Sophie decorated a cookie for (with the help of) Mike's best friend Jeff.
Once the kids all finished making cookies, I intended to break out a second craft (paper cup turkeys), but that never seemed necessary.  In fact, we had some cookies left over, so I let Michael and Sophie decorate and eat a couple more after breakfast this morning.


Like yesterday, eating the decorations (mini M&M's, square pretzels, and peppermints) was at least half the fun.

Thank you to the friends who came to visit yesterday.
It really does feel more like home since you came by!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Michael's Big Boy Room

Unlike Sophie who was thrilled with her new room immediately, Michael took a little more time warming up to his.  Thankfully, he has also been sleeping pretty well, but it has taken a little more snuggling and storytelling to settle him in.  

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The beds were Mike's when he was growing up, and his parents were gracious enough to let us paint them navy blue (Royal Navy by Valspar).


Speaking of paint, Michael's room looked pretty feminine when we moved in.  I'm glad I didn't give in to the pretty purple walls and delicate windows that suggested it could be a better choice for Sophie.  I knew their furniture would fit better the way we have them.

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His dresser was part of a set we picked up at a garage sale years ago for $60 (the longer dresser is now our family room TV stand). The lamp is from Ikea and lived in our old basement family room for years.

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The airplane and double-decker bus pillows came from Etsy. The quilt sets are from Target. I have a number of ideas for wall art for both kids' rooms including a box of industrial gears from eBay for Michael's.  I hope you'll check back in to see those details down the road.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sophie's Big Girl Room

While Michael and Sophie's rooms still need art for the walls and window coverings, I'm pleased with how they're shaping up!   On tours of our new house Sophie literally jumps up and down with excitement to share hers, so I think I did well.  She also goes to sleep and stays asleep in it almost every night and nap time.  Hallelujah!

We painted our kitchen, family room, and both kids' rooms Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (color matched by Lowe's/Valspar).  Perhaps we'll get more playful as time goes on, but so far it really is the perfect neutral it is often touted to be on Pinterest.  

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Sophie's bed is from Ikea, cost about $100, and I love the idea of painting it another color one day. Red has been on my mind, but we'll try it out as is for a while.  We chose to go with a queen so it can function as a guest bed and would allow the kids to sleep in the same room if they ever request it.  We weren't sure how this transition would go, but so far no loneliness issues.  (Michael has two twin beds for the same reasons...another post is in the works.)


It took a lot of online shopping for me to get a vision for Soph's room. While reading this book at bedtime in the weeks leading up to our move, I told Mike I would be thrilled to find a quilt like the one in it for her.  I wanted to get away from the pastels of the kids' nursery but still create a room that clearly belonged to a little girl. 


I was thrilled to discover this quilt here and loved the bold colors that are also youthful and girly--that was a tough combo to find.  I like it even more in person.

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This lamp was a $1 garage sale find, already painted the perfect robin's egg blue (that color is sneaking it's way into a number of places in this house--mildly obsessed at the moment). The shade is from Ikea.  The side table is a treasure, one crafted by Mike's grandpa.

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Sophie's dresser is obviously the tall one from the kids' old room, complete with the same accessories on top, for now at least.

I can't wait to share Michael's room with you as well!  Stay tuned.

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