{home & garden} home tour ~ great room

So I’m going to try and get more posts up again.  We’ve been living our crazy nomad life since last April when we sold our house. Never in our wildest dreams did we think everything would take as long as it has to get into the new house. I’m crossing my fingers we are in by Christmas….though I also know that’s a tall order…we’ll see.

In the meantime I thought adding more to the plate would keep things exciting (ha!), and returned to my interior design roots.  I started taking on interior design jobs last spring, like this one you read about for Jen’s {Tiny Oranges} sweet little 3 year old daughter.  In the next few weeks we’ll reveal her 6 year old daughter’s room, as well as her Guest Room.  I also have a few other client rooms to photograph and share (Ninjago and Angry Birds anyone?!?) In the meantime I thought I would FINALLY go back and post photos of our house.

Thankfully Todd from Tanker Photography did an AMAZING job of capturing our home. I love having a record like this of where we lived!

For those that don’t remember, this is what our house used to look like when we bought it.

And this is where it ended up when we sold the house last April.  Big, but simple updates.  Looking back makes me miss it….can’t wait to have our family in a house again.  Thankfully the roof was framed on the new house this week….getting closer!

{home & garden} home tour ~ the kids bathroom

Next up on the Home Tour, the Kids Bathroom. Isn’t it pretty?  It’s about as pretty as the rest of the house was before we got started on our super fast overhaul.  So far we’ve toured the Kitchen and Piper’s Room, and of course there was the post on the entire “Before” House. I gave you my cheater post on the Kids Bath, but that was mostly about the towels (since I was lazy).  I dug deep today and sifted through a ton more photos…these are what I came up with for your viewing pleasure.  (And no, I have no clue who the towels belong to in the photo above. No one had lived here for 8 years or so…).

Beautiful lights…..

Lovely linoleum.

Doesn’t everyone need a fan like this in their bathroom. Wait….don’t answer that please.

Again I have to say this, because this is how we attacked the entire house project. We never really knew how much we would be able to do until almost the day we were doing it., and we only had 11 weeks before we needed to move in.  We were hunting for deals, keeping on eye on sales and making trades all over the place. Such was the case with the bathrooms.  If I remember correctly, my mom and I were at Home Depot picking up some supplies Hubs needed when I got a call to “pick up some sinks and toilets, we’re going ahead with the bathrooms…..you might want to check the tile while you’re there”.

Frankly, that kinda call stresses me out (remember I’m type A and always nervous about making the “right” desicion) but when it means you’re going to get a new (and clean) bathroom, you go for it!

There was a lot of scribbling on the walls.   My brain was a little fried at the time. Addie was 5 month old, I was pregnant with Hayden, project managing a resort for my real life job, and stopping in to the house to give instruction during lunch breaks, while packing up our rental in the evenings.

But the point is, if you’re going to paint, tile, wallpaper, or tear down a wall, WRITE ON IT. I’m visual, so the best, and most unofficial & fastest way, I could give instruction was to put it up on the wall so I could see it and tell someone what to do.  Sometimes they were just notes for me, sometimes they were to someone else. And I always took a photo. That way I could remember what my brain could not.  Helps for answering questions when you’re not there.

In came the cabinets.  The same person that helped us with the Kitchen, helped build these for us.  Because both Hubs & I are tall (and expect our children will be too), we choose to go taller with or counter heights (35-1/2″ tall).  I hate to lean over.  We also chose two sets of smaller cabinet doors (rather than singles as the cabinet maker suggested). Yes our way made the design busier, but the space between the bathtub and counter is VERY narrow. I would never be able to access them without totally clearing out of the way. The other thing I ALWAYS like to do, is make tall bathroom drawers (12-1/2″ tall). I love to be able to stand bottles up tall, and also stack towels inside.

In went the vanity counter.  The counters in this bathroom and our master bath are both  leftover Carrera Marble remnants. Meaning they were salvaged from other bigger jobs.  Our installer was able to piece them together for the sizes we needed. BIG dollar saver! Helps to ask the question of the person helping you on ways to save money.

We chose to go with the much loved (and inexpensive) white subway tile. Frankly, I love white. It represents clean to me.  So we just used the basic Home Depot DalTile along with very basic trim peices.

You might also notice that the window is new. I forgot to mention this in Piper’s Room Tour. But all of the windows in the house were in desperate need of replacement.  Hubs did a bit of research and learned that window companies have something called a “Boneyard Sale” to sell brand new windows that didn’t work for a customer. Maybe a measurment wasn’t right, maybe they didn’t like it and wanted a different style. Whatever the reason, a new one was ordered and the unused one goes back. But because it’s not a standard size (remember it was originally ordered custom) it can’t go to regular stock, so they are sold at “Boneyard Sales” for SIGNIFICANT discounts! As in more than 1/2 off.

In the end we were able to buy some beautiful Anderson windows…then the game of where to install them came next as we picked where the “sightly off sized” windows would look best. Thankfully this little one in the bathroom was a perfect fit!

Ahhhhh clean and white!  The floor is probably my biggest mistake of our bathrooms. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that floor. It was our only splurge, a penny round from Ann Saks. But there are 2 things we could have done that would have made it perfect. One, not ordered white. There is another color that has a dark ring around the outside of each “penny” and the center is white. Much better than white. OR used a dark gray grout. The problem with the floor as it is, is that you can’t ever get the white grout perfectly clean and white again. So even when it’s clean, it looks dirty. You’ll see in the photos below. Either of the other options would have given us our white floor, but also hidden the”dirt” stains in the grout. I’ll talk about that more in another post….for now I’m just going to enjoy this lovely white Before photo!

Soap niches. These I prefer to put on or near the shower head wall, rather that your view as you enter the bathroom. But with our house we were working with existing (albeit opened up) walls, so I didn’t have a lot of options on where to put them (there were plumbing pipes in that wall). I like to have a nice tall one for oversize shampoo bottles, and a smaller wide shelf for soap and razors.

Now onto what it looks like now.  It’s a small bathroom so somewhat difficult to photograph.  This is standing next to the counter and looking in the mirror back at the toilet area.

The bathtub. It’s an amazingly deep tub perfect for the kids, and perfect for a grown adult to soak in! It was also a salvage purchase. A tub that was ordered for, but not used on another job, that we were able to purchase at a reduced cost.

And yes that’s a no slip mat like you’ve seen at your grandmothers house. I use it in the tub with the little punks and their bums stay in place, no accidental slipping under water!

The new vanity area. Very simple and basic. The sinks are Kohler Memoir from Home Depot.  Step stools are from Ikea.  Knobs are from Home Depot, Pulls are from Restoration Hardware. Sink fixtures are Kohler (I don’t remember the style, let me know in the comments if anyone needs it…).  Bamboo Kleenex box and plastic soap bottles from Target, light fixtures and towel bars from Restoration Hardware during the lighting sale and then the bath sale (and using the Restoration Hardware credit card with a discount for first time purchases, that could be paid over a year at no interest).

I chose to put one plug in the center and had it installed horizontally to visually go with the subway tile. Then had it installed between the sinks where the counter was the widest for functionality.

I always look for hidden storage. While I could have added a cabinet above the toilet. I   preferred to keep the space looking open. So I added a shelf. Sometime sthere are stacks of towels, sometimes glass jars with soap or bath toys, sometimes a big basket with white toilet paper rolls.

Below is the Made by Girl print that I based all the colors for the towels on. I mentioned it in the earlier Kids Bath post.

Yes, that is a pink tin of big girl panties, why do you ask??? OK, truthfully, it makes it a lot more fun in the potty training department!!  All about the choices my friends.

And of course the towels I talked about before. They hang across from the toilet, behind the door, and next to the vanity area.

Best I can do at showing you the whole room. (See the sad dirty, but clean, floor in the photo below? *sigh*). For the record, there is normally a pink Ikea towel like the one with Addie’s name on it hanging on the far towel bar. I quickly ran out of my office to grab these 2 shots so you got the current condition photos!

So there you have it! The Kids Bathroom. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Thanks for touring!!

{home & garden} home tour ~ piper’s new room

Got to say, I’m feeling kinda good about the Home Tour promise right now. I think I’ve gotten one out each week, albeit, a couple were half tours, but I’m taking that as a win because I’m getting SOMETHING out about the house! Seriously, most of this work was done 3 years ago.  I’ve had 2 more children since then and my brain is FRIED. But I’ve shown you the Kitchen, and part of the Kids Bath. Then last week it was our first home. This week I’m going back to Piper’s Room. I showed it before, but I’ve done a little bit of work to it, and yes, it was eaiser to show this again, then to dig out other photos…..

Yep, I’m lazy.

So this is Piper’s Room “Before”. Technically it’s Hayden’s “Before” shots since she lived here first.

There were 2 super small windows, horrible popcorn ceilings with water damage down the walls.

And this lovely closet.

The house we bought is an old 50s track home.  The rooms are not large and frankly not a lot of sun.  We knew we needed to “open” things up. We wanted it to feel brighter and also more current.  All of the bedrooms and hallway that connect them all now have wainscoting.  This can be purchased in sheets at building supply stores.  I did choose to make ours taller, therefore not fully utilizing the sheets (I think they are sold in 8 foot lengths). But if you thought you wanted to use wainscoting as a back splash somewhere, or behind shelves this would work well.

Piper’s crib was a spare one from my parents house. (They realized how much easier it was to watch all 3 babes at our house rather than their’s! But at the time they had visions of “one little baby sleepovers” little did we all know!!)

The shelves on either side of the crib are from Ikea. Hubs cut a taller unit into 2 sets for me, and we hung them on either side of the crib. (I’ve searched the Ikea site with no luck, next time I’m at the store I’ll need to check the name for you.)

The rug is also from Ikea. Great bargain! And surprisingly comfortable on your feet.

I’ve said before that the color scheme of the room might not be where I would go if I started today. But I had free fabric that we could use for the window treatments so it just worked better to take this route. I LOVE the paint color though. A nice light smoky blue that we use in both this room and the playroom.

To cover up the popcorn ceiling, we chose to add the white planked boards. I’m not sure  now if they are T&G or up with liquid nails. (If anyone wants to know, leave a comment and I’ll check with Hubs as he and our painter installed them.)  We finished the ceilings off with a nice modern crown. I love that it’s so clean and simple.  Again, because we needed to make the rooms feel bigger and lighten things up, adding the wainscot and also using the planks on the ceiling with a large crown not only achieved that, but also made the rooms feel taller. We chose to paint these all out white and finished with a sheen. Makes the wainscot a breeze to keep clean with the Littles.

This corner is lacking something. A nice tall tree might be nice. But that currently gives me visions of Littles making a mess, so for now, it sits a little bare.

The white cabinet is an old one of Hub’s that we painted out white and updated the hardware. I store extra wipes in it.

The swivel chair matches our Family Room sofa. I had them both made by a discount upholster back when I was pregnant with Addie. They are both white slip-covered. Love taking this route as they get cleaned about once a month in the washer and I always know they are CLEAN.

The cabinet is Piper’s Closet. It was mine from a discount pine vendor back when I was a sophomore in college. I’ve added a few coats of BRIWAX over the years to deepen the color. I should actually photograph how we utilize the inside as it’s surprisingly functional. I think we could use it for one of the Little’s the same way through early grade school.

The closet is still set up for a closet. We have the doors in storage, but at the final hour, I chose to make this the spot for Hayden’s crib. She was tucked away here, before Piper was born. When we moved Piper in, we switched the bed and crib.  It has always bugged me not to have a headboard though. The bed seemed empty in the closet.  I’ll have to write about this little project, I was inspired one afternoon and asked Hubs to build the blue headboard. (Don’t you love that? I was inspired so I asked HUBS to build it!! Ha! Thank goodness he loves me!) Super easy day project for under $40.  The curtain above the bed serves as a canopy look, but is actually the top shelf of a closet (when it becomes one again) and serves for longer term storage now.

I have a few more ideas I would like to do to this spot, but some other rooms are sitting higher on the list at the moment.

Love this photo of little Piper! Sandy Heit is the awesome photographer that snapped it for me when Pipe’s was 2 weeks old.  The chest of drawers is Hub’s from his single days, painted out white. The lamp is an old one from my single days.

I’ve been trying to “kid” up the room a bit, so asked my Dad to hang an cute old bath hook I had from the old house and hung Addie’s Christening gown (as a reminder that we STILL need to Baptize Piper!!) Being that it’s a sweet little pique dress, it’s actually fun with the jean jacket and straw hat :-)

There is lots I would love to do to cute things up more, but you know, that all takes a few more dollars than you ever have in your pocket. But the good news is, if you look around your house, you will almost always find something you can re-purpose, paint, or move around!! All the white bedding is a combination from over the years, and that long white pillow? It has Hayden’s name on the back, I just flipped it backwards….sshhh, don’t tell. Straw pillow is from our wedding. The green pillow is from Pottery Barn and was the only thing I bought for the room when it was Hayden’s nursery.

So there you have it. Piper’s little room! I’m hoping for the Living Room or Playroom next week….hmm let’s see what I can do. Wish me luck!

{home & garden} kids bath…sort of

Now before you all throw in the towel at me (Oh wait, HA! That pun was not intended!!)… I KNOW last week with our kitchen I promised you a room each week for the Home Tour, but it just was too crazy a week to try and photograph something during the daylight hours…and as much as I wanted to show you the whole Kids Bathroom, the last blooms had just falled off the plant this week….

(That’s what the plant should have looked like…but it is a little brown now and without color….the room just didn’t look as nice.)

So I’m only showing you part of the Kids Bathroom. Sorry. Just think, that means you get to see it in 2 parts!

But let’s focus on the part that I am sharing SOMETHING from the house. That means I’m keeping my word, kind of, right???

A friend was visiting recently and while she walked around, she kept asking about things in the house and why I didn’t write about them. Frankly, I just didn’t think people would interested….or that they already knew. But she reminded me that things you see everyday in your own life, are not necesarily in someone elses life.

So I’m here to share a couple favorites, one being Bath Towels.

Exciting huh?  Well actually, I kinda think these are exciting. I found them at Ikea (but can’t seem to locate online). They have lots of fun colors, and a loop for a hook already sewn on them (you can see it in the photo above). I had each of the girls’ names added to them and hung them on simple chrome hooks from the hardware store. (I think it was about $10/monogram, and $8-9/towel).

The Little Punks LOVE to use THEIR “towel with my name on it”…and I like the way the towels add a fun kid feel to the room.

Across from the towels I hung a super fun print from Made By Girl. Have you heard of the site? Great, great blog with fun design inspiration and a cute shop with adorable prints. I ordered this one and  had it personalized with “Bath Time” rather than someone’s name.

I love the colors and I love the blue (to tie in with the flower pot in the photo above). I used the print as the basis to pick the towel monogram colors for the Littles’ towels. Just a few simple things and a basic white bathroom is a happy kids space.

I’d love to know what favorite things you’ve done in your kids bathroom/s? Any fun websites you used? Design tricks? My tip to you is, it doesn’t need to be big or too expensive to be effective. Simple things go a long way.

{home & garden} our kitchen ~ before, during, after

I am soooooo tardy in sharing our Home Tour with you all. But I’ve been poked in the ribs enough times with all the emails asking “WHEN??” that I’m going to get my booty in gear and get this done for us all.  My goal to you and to myself is to post once a week on our house.

You would think this would be easy, but it involves digging through THOUSANDS of photos we’ve taken along the way, along with taking the updated photo for you.  Which, of course, means I want the rooms to be realitively clean.

But as I’ve said before, the after photos will be how the rooms are 99% of the time.  You may see kids, toys, laundry, or half eaten meals.  And if anyone spots a lost sippy cup or 2, let me know please!

As a recap, this is our house the day we bought it. I’m gonna hang out here while you look through that post and laugh…..

So this is our kitchen the day we bought the house. And that’s me with 6 month old Addie (4 months pregnant with Hayden).

We had not planned on tackling the kitchen when we moved in. Kind of took all our pennies just to buy the house. But we knew we needed to open the front Family Room (meaning raising the ceiling, and pushing out into the backyard. Both being possible because the roof line was existing). That meant that we would be able to get rid of that wall at the end of the kitchen and open the kitchen into the Family Room.

But we really needed to try and live with the Kitchen for the time being. Paint and clean it up, and then hold out.

Thankfully some of the cabinets were actually pretty functional, and again could just be cleaned up.

So much nicer once the wall came down and opened things up a bit.

The ceiling had to be opened as it was just unfinished drywall to patch an old water leak. This helped us as it meant we could update the electrical which was in DESPERATE need of attention.

But then the Heaven’s opened up and had mercy on us. Hubs received a call from a friend who was helping a small design showroom leave their current space. Everything need to go and the space needed to be demoed for future tenants.  If Hubs could take care of it all, then he could have everything. (Let me reitorate, demoing is not Hub’s normal job, but we he was willing to take on whatever to help our house. Hubs’ brain works like this ~ if you want it badly enough, you will find away to make it happen). Lord love him!

So he took on the job.

Hubs grabbed a few guys and paid for a days worth of help. We were able to take the entire stainless kitchen, and most of the cabinets, then sell the rest to both help pay for the help that day, and loads of other house surprises we ran into later on in the project (which you will with an old house).

Now that our kitchen was opened up and more of a blank slate. We brought in some of the base cabinets from the design showroom and started puzzle piecing things together in a fashion that made sense for this space. (The kitchen it came from was filled with angles).

Crazy how a little bit of playing around showed us that we could come up with a very workable configuration for us!

Then we brought back in some of the old upper cabinets, and added trim to update it all.  For counter tops we REALLY had no extra budget. This kitchen basically happened because of that demo job. So even if we dreamed of granite, Ikea’s butcher block counters have worked PERFECTLY for our family. And we were able to add a nice peninsula area for eating with the kids, a work surface, buffet spot, etc.

We also knew that we wanted open shelves somewhere. I love Juliska (no secret) and love seeing the collection out. But practically speaking, I also love the easy access.

To further update the cabinets, Hubs made another trade with a friend to help us make new cabinet fronts.  Then found a stainless steel hood from a Home Depot an hour away. It was being phased out with the release of a new model, so was a steal compared to most new hoods. It was simple, clean lined, and with no brand names. Worked with us.

Coming together more! This is when it started to become real that we really were going to have a brand new kitchen!  WhooHoooo!

Primer went on and it became even more real.

I can’t say enough how important a good painter is. I’ll write about ours one day as he is pretty much my hero for EVERYTHING! Ultimately your painter may not like you for cheaping out in some areas of your home as it will be his job to make it look good.  BUT if you choose to go higher end in areas and cheap out on your painter, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of money because it will look cheap.

I will ALWAYS be ok paying more for a fabulous painter, they are worth their weight in gold.

I mentioned above that we used the Ikea butcher block top on our counters. At the last minute however we were nervous about the undermount sink and water issues with the wood (which probably wouldn’t be an issue today as Ikea is showing this as an option in their showrooms, but at the time, it made us nervous). Thankfully a friend had a piece of a marble slab left over from a project.  It had it’s imperfections, but nothing we couldn’t live with. If we paid for the installation, it was ours. Sold.

This is the kitchen today (well last Friday actually) but it’s the “AFTER” picture.

I love that we were able to reuse so many cabinets, and by just updating the doors and hardware (Ikea handles), and painting it all out white the DIFFERENCE it all made! Remember, some of these cabinets were from the demo job, and some were already here and we just moved them around. So this is an eclectic mix, all with updated trim and white paint.

The Ikea counters are very functional and 3 years into us living here, have never let us down.

We’ve never gotten around to adding the glass to that cabinet. (Which we placed there on purpose as we were able to add a wine fridge from the showroom too. Should have taken a pic of that, sorry. It’s on the other side of the counter.)

Also, note the outlet to the right of the photo, over Addie’s head. If you get the chance to make over, or build a new kitchen, add outlets everywhere you MIGHT want one. Can you imagine having that big counter to work on and having to go back to the wall for the mixer? I can’t tell you how many times we make cookies and ice cream on this counter!

This is my other favorite thing in the kitchen. The door was existing. I asked our painter to cut it in half to make it a make shift Dutch Door. Then he added trim and a little chalkboard paint. When I’m working I can keep the top half open and can still be aware of what’s going on, but the bottom door locked to keep little hands from getting to the desk. It also lets me open the office door (which is the room behind the door) to let more air into the kitchen.

I use the chalkboard everyday. Whatever we need from any store goes on that door. I snap a photo with my phone whenever I leave so the list is always with me.

So there you have it.  We started here….

And ended up here, with the entire project being almost for free. Lots of late nights & sweat, lots of friends & family, and thanks to my fabulous Hubs, keeping an eye out for good deals and helping other friends out. To clarify, while we did have help from Electricians and our FAB painter, the rest of the construction fell to us Hubs, and friends & family.

Happy to answer any questions, just leave a comment below.  Stay tuned for another room next week!

{Home & Garden} Piper’s Paint Color

I get asked for the paint color in Piper’s Room and the Play Room all.the.time.  But I’m a little disorganized and a little scattered and a lot lazy. The paint lives in the garage, in one of Hubs childproof/mom proof cabinets, in cans that have numbers…and whenever I’ve needed more paint I’ve just called our painter and he takes care of getting it for me.

See?! Lazy.

But Hubs was in the garage the other day and I asked him to haul it on out for us all.

So here ya go…

This is honestly one of my most favorite smoky blue paints.  It’s in Piper’s Room and also in our playroom too.  I think it is one of those great neutral colors that also happens to be an actual color.

I’m quite positive it will have a future life wherever we may live!

{Home & Garden} Addie’s & Hay’s Room and Toddler Bunk Bed

So you saw Piper’s Room (though a week after showing you, I got the itch to rearrange…there will be another post soon…).  This is Addie & Hay’s room.  I wish I had taken photos when it was just Addie’s Nursery. Actually, I’m sure I did, it’s just they would have been taken prior to my writing this blog, therefore WHO KNOWS where they are….

The thing to know is that the furniture is the same. I’m big on rearranging and reusing everything and anything. I like to buy once and use it an infinite amount of times.

The table (orginaly purchased for my college kitchen table) was the changing table for Addie’s nursery (after I had it cut down to a narrow depth).  The skirt hides large plastic toys that I can’t bear to see daily. The pillows were all made for the queen bed that used to be in the nursery.  We had the new twin bed made for Addie by a dear friend.  I used existing Pottery Barn storage baskets to slide under the bed with toys.

There are a pair of bookcases that we found at a second hand store. The rug is from Ikea. Super cozy and soft.

The photos were all taken by Sandy Heit. They are from Addie’s 2 week photo shoot. Her crib used to sit directly below them, so they are a bit off center for the current setup….and um, kinda need to be updated now that it’s both Hay’s and Addie’s room.

This is a small little room, 10′ x 10′ so it’s definitely always had to be a perfect puzzle to make it all fit. Not that many inches to spare.

This is Hay’s side of the room.  The crib used to be Addie’s, but when Piper was born, Hayden became the new resident when she moved in with Addie. The stuffed animal collection is not my favorite, but it is the girls’ and each has a special meaning to them. The tissue poufs were leftover from their birthday party….we went for extra mileaege weeks with them!

Hayden is 2 years & 3 months.  She has been able to climb out of her crib for about 5 months. But she never really does, only if she really, really, really wants out and doesn’t want to wait (until after you’ve gone to the bathroom.) Then a few weeks ago, while Hay and Addie were playing “baby” in her crib, THIS happens.  Guessing she was trying to tell us she’s not a baby anymore.

So I did a bunch of research on beds. My problem was 2 twin beds would swallow the room. But my little girls are 2 and 3 years old!!  HOW could I put them in full bunk beds?? Then I found this toddler size bunk bed at Ikea. And it occurred to me I could paint it black. It was perfect.

So I bought it.

My mom and I partially assembled it. My husband handed me his electric sander, and then I painted it.

It took me about a week of 20 minute windows. But it wasn’t too hard. I used a Behr paint and primer combo to try and minimize steps. Then Hay helped us carry it all into their room.

We dismantled their old room.

And we put the puzzle together.

And now they have a bunk bed (please don’t look too closely at my paint job….we had a bit of a rain storm while it was out on the driveway…I kinda have a few touch ups.)

I’ve reused all the same pillows again. The bedding on the top was Addie’s twin bedding. And the comforter on the bottom is from Addie’s nursery queen bed.

Now both bookcases flank the window again as they did when it was Addie’s nursery.

And here’s their little bunk bed.

The room actually has sooo much more play space now.  We all pile on their rug and read books and watch them play dress up.

Hay (our 2 year old) sleeps in the top bunk.  She is good at climbing the ladder which is not tall at all.  The sides are perfect since she still moves around quite a bit when she’s sleeping and I think it reminds her just enough of her crib, but also let’s her feel like a big girl. Addie (our 3 year old) sleeps on the bottom bunk (basically the mattress is on the floor). She is awesome about getting up in the middle of the night to go potty when she needs to, but she is normally half asleep….love that there is no fear of hurting herself.

I think it’s working for Hayden.

And Addie is pretty cozy too!

Our Home ~ Living Room Shelves

I started the Home Tour with Piper’s Room.  Today I thought I would show you part of the Living Room/Front Room/Everything Room.

The shelves.

But before I can really address the shelves, I need to show you where this side of the room started and where it is now.

It started as a REALLY small front room. We only intended to paint and carpet in the beginning. But we had great plans for where we wanted everything to go. Just not right away….

Wellllll, one thing led to another and as demo was happening, and discovery was going on, and things became apparent that we hadn’t counted on (which is all part of a remodel process ~ one big Pandora’s Box!) we did things sooner than we had planned. But thank goodness for loads of talented friends and family willing to chip in with time and braun…and a Husband that will work all hours to get a job done!! I may or may not have said this before, but our house is 100% sweat equity!

Back to the front room.

From the photo above, the room went here in order to deal with the electrical…

But when Pandora’s box opened up, we went ahead and opened up the ceiling. Seemed fitting since Hubs is 6′ 5″ and he kinda had to duck down a bit…

And shortly after the windows & wall to the left were gone.  The roof line continued outside to a “covered patio” which was an easy way to take that area indoors and give a little more space to the “Everything Room”.

Soon the room became this.

Note that the fireplace never changed. Wasn’t in the budget for new stone (especially with the added scope and workload we had given ourselves). So we had it painted out white and our fabulous painter worked with us to give it an updated surround (as well as a small fence to discourage the Littles from getting too close to the fireplace ~ at the time this meant Addie who was 8 months or so, I was 6 mos pregnant with Hayden).

The floor is the original hardwood that was hiding under the nasty carpet. The wood was unfortunately very stained and water damaged, and while we could have attempted to sand out the spots, we had no idea how deep some of the marks were.  Ultimately we stained the floor SUPER dark (to hide everything). Which I love the look of, just not the day-to-day care of with small kids.

A year after moving in, we opened up the wall to build the playroom. You might remember the wall from the Vonny photo shoot.

Today this is what that wall looks like.

OK, back to the shelves. Love em! Bought them at Room & Board for our first house. It was  a small (600 sq ft…) beach cottage back house in Corona del Mar. I used the shelves to hold all of our dishes we were so thankful to receive when we were married. There was no storage in the small house, and with no children (yet!) I was able to stack away, adding to the overall decor.

Now the shelves are in our front room.

The top half of each is for the grown ups – mostly meaning me :-) With photos, coffee table books, our wedding albums.

My half of the shelves…

The bottom half of each is the Littles’ stuff. Baskets from Ikea hide what I don’t like to see. The shelves above the baskets have some of the Littles’ books, along with the toys that look cute. I figure this is a happy balance for us all.  The baskets are easy for the kids to pull out and play with what’s inside. And also helps the kids clean up with some form of organization.

The Littles half…

Do you have any tricks to keeping your rooms easy on the eyes, but still kid friendly? How do you make a space work for both the kids and the adults? What are your favorite ways to hide toys?

Happy weekend everyone!

Our Home – Piper’s Room

MANY have asked when I would be posting photos of our house AFTER we moved in.  (If you missed it, here is the full set of BEFORE). And while I had every intention of doing this ages ago, whenever I started to take the photos, I was just never as happy with the photos as I was with the rooms in real life. Add to that, that when I’ve worked on photo shoots or model interiors, my job is to think of each and every detail and REALLY make it show with perfection.

Ummm, with 3 kids, 3 and under, it’s hard to have your house “show with perfection”. Places I would normally have a coffee book, plant or fun accessory were long ago cleared away from little exploring hands.  Places that I would fill with a wonderful bouquet of fresh flowers? Well, our garden isn’t exactly blooming right now…and a weekly flower budget isn’t considered a “practical expense” (darn it!!).

But then it occurred to me, that most of you may come to this blog for inspiration, but you are not coming for perfection (thank goodness!). Many of you send emails saying you’re thankful we are a real family (oh we’re real alright!!) and show you our real life…


That all being said, I’ve decided to start posting photos that are a little less than perfect. You’ll see the things we’ve done, along with things I’m working on, or things I care to turn my head to.  A wise friend once told me “a messy home is a happy home.” Now while a messy home may make this mommy crazy in the head, I do tend to agree that taking that stress of perfection away sometimes will keep you in a happier place! And if the saying is true – then our family must be through the moon with joy!!!

Today I thought I would show you Piper’s Room.

This is what it looked like the day we bought it…

There was extensive water damage to the ceiling….

Did I say extensive? I really meant EXTENSIVE!  The windows also needed to be replaced along with the electrical (which was something we needed to do throughout the house…but the electrical story is a story for another day. Just know this, the photo below is where this project started, a few hours later all the plaster in the house was ripped out…..)

This is Piper’s room now.  It started as Hay’s room when we first moved in and I’ve made a few changes since then.  All the rooms have the same wainscoting (which is a breeze to clean up and a life saver with kids!), and I love the paint color. It’s kind of a smoky light blue (I need to find the color for you….bug me if I don’t post this soon). It’s also in our Playroom.

This was truly my “freebie” room. When we moved in and I was pregnant with Hay, there was no extra money to do another nursery.  The window treatments were made as a gift from a vendor I had worked with and the fabric was left over from another project.

The crib was from Grandma’s house for visiting babies…it quickly moved to our house for Grandparents to visit babies in!

The mobile I found on final sale for Addie’s original nursery, but didn’t  use until Piper.  I thought the room needed a little “fun” in it.

The white chair I had made for our living room when we were first married. We had visited a resort in Hawaii that had swivel/rockers in their lobby great room.  We loved it and had one knocked off by a local upholster. It’s slip-covered and was an easy move to each nursery as needed.

Blue pashmina is from my closet…..the green pillow was from Pottery Barn and was the only purchase I made.

I’ve always done white sheets for the cribs as it’s crisp and clean and easy to bleach out if needed.

The bamboo frames I get asked about ALL the time. They are throughout our house, and unfortunately are no longer available, as far as I know. I purchased them from Pottery Barn for a Photo Table at our wedding.  I never mind making a big purchase for things that I know will have lots of flexible use later.  These were a perfect example! (I put cute letter flash cards in the frames over Piper’s bed, just don’t look to closely, you might see that a few are slipping and need to be fixed!)

The rug is from Ikea. I bought it about 3 weeks ago (or rather Piper’s grandmothers bought it for her birthday….seems they thought her room was a little cold on her feet – do you hear that Honey??? It’s cold in our house sometimes…all the time.) It’s a GREAT rug! Good neutral color for any room, not scratchy and was $99.

Piper thought the Costco wipes were a good addition to the decor…

The armoire is one I purchased in Forney, Texas for my first college apartment. It was under $200 and has been used in every room I’ve ever lived in! When you buy something for your house, try and think of future uses….so many possibilities!

The bassinet is AWESOME! It’s a loaner from a friend. She originally bought it from Pottery Barn Kids.  It wheels around and the Moses basket lifts out. This was Piper’s traveling room for her first few months of life.

You remember my office buddy, right??

The chest of drawers is an old Pottery Barn chest of drawers my husband had from college I think.  It was quickly painted out white for this room and given replacement hardware.  I’m considering painting it again…possibly a nice green apple color….or pink  if I take a whole new direction in the room. Will have to let you know.

The plant and pot? From Ikea, about $5. Bought them a week ago!  Plant is fake, looks AMAZINGLY real, and the white ceramic pots all have different geometric patterns on them. Love them.

Again frame from our wedding….a color copy of a photo of Addie (that obviously needs to be adjusted in the frame). Piper conveniently gets an odd diaper rash that means we use Seventh Generation diapers (that conveniently match the decor!). Sorry for your bum, Baby, but thanks!

The lamp I bought from Butera Home for my first home AGES ago!

What you don’t see is the drawer on the left houses her overnite diapers that I don’t think match the decor as well :-) and the drawer on the right has a wipe warmer. Not that you need a wipe warmer, but it is a nice luxury with diaper rash on little bums. Hubs drilled a hole in the back of the dresser so that it could be plugged in and remain hidden.

This little nook is where the closet should be. We have new closet doors stored to install, but it’s always worked better to use the space in the room.  Behind the curtain is a storage shelf, and for now we tuck the bed back here. I never did linens for this room, so this bed has always bugged me. The green pillow in back was made for our sofa in our first home, and the blue and white fabric is just that, fabric over another long pillow….I’ve never focused long enough to figure out what I really needed to do to finish things off.

When Hay was in this room, the crib and bed were flip flopped from where they are today. I first showed it to you HERE. I loved the crib in the closet nook! But the bed never worked as well on the wall, so the switch was good.

This is the storage shelf.  If you decide to use a closet for a bed, desk, crib, reading nook (which I definitely recommend)….don’t give away the shelf. Just build it to work for a closet later. A curtain adds a new detail to the space, and hides the much needed storage space.

There you have it. Piper’s room. Admittingly, it has never been a favorite room of mine, and I still have things I think about doing, and know I need to do, and will probably happen at some point, but for now this is where the little Pipe’s lives…..and I have to say, in person, it’s pretty cute! Especially when she’s peering at you over the crib in the morning!!

our home ~ the beginning

I’m often asked about our house. I love our house. It’s not huge, 2 of our girls share a room and I’m pretty sure no one would consider our bedroom a “Master Bedroom”! But I love our house because it is filled with our own love, blood, sweat, and tears.

But most importantly, because our house found us.

When my husband and I were still free to call the shots on the weekends, meaning there was only Addie and at 5 months or so, she didn’t demand all that much, we used to drive around neighborhoods looking. Looking for a home. Looking for things we both liked. Looking for our future. We were also newly pregnant with #2 at the time, so we knew our sweet little 2 bedroom cottage rental wasn’t going to last us too much longer.

One Saturday we drove down the street to an open house we were hoping to see, only to find out it wasn’t open for another few hours. Bummer. As we continued down the street we saw a house. THE WORST HOUSE ON THE STREET.

I turned to my hubs and said, That is the house we need to buy. First off, it’s probably the only one we can afford. And secondly we can do what we want to it.

He agreed as we continued driving, making a mental note to check who the owner was….but life, as it does, got in the way and we forgot about the house.

A few weeks later a friend told us about a house going on the market across the street from her. Fun! Morning coffee talk in the street with a girlfriend. My husband also had a friend who lived on the street. Perfect! We made an appointment to see the house the next night. My husband tends to bounce ideas off co-workers, and brought up the house the next day asking what they all thought about the area. One of his co-workers left to take a call. When he came back he told Hubs that we should take a look at a house his friend just called him about. His friend was a real estate broker, living next door to a house that wasn’t being lived in. He was hoping to talk to the owner about selling it…maybe Hub’s co-worker wanted a rental property??

So we were now on our way to see 2 homes. We saw the first, loads of good things about it, and of course I loved that it was so close to friends! But there were design limitations, and other challenges to get around.

Then we drove to the second.

You know where I’m headed with this. It was the house.

The house at the end of the street. Seriously?!?!? My heart just about jumped through my chest! We walked in and all the broker said was…..

You need to have a good imagination.

Truly he wasn’t kidding.

We bought the house. And this is what it looked like when we did.  11 weeks later, it looked a whole lot different.

The backyard. Only things living here were the overgrown hedges and trees.

Did I mention the backdoor? Yeah, it was pretty. I BEGGED to keep it!

The home to our future vegetable garden.

Loved that pop out kitchen window. I’m still missing it…We had a “We Bought a House / White Trash BYOB Party” the weekend we closed. The card table and fold up beach chairs were set up in this lovely patio area.

Now THIS was a thing of beauty. Hubs really fought (not) to keep it. You could not turn on the dishwasher without every light in the house flickering. Fun.

And don’t ask about the sewage. A hugs tree root, that looked like a snake, but was not, but really, really looked like one + old pipes = no working sewage lines to the street. Double fun.

Ok, let’s step inside for a minute. Join me at the front door.

Take a seat in the Family Room. But watch your head. Hubs is 6′ 5″, it was a little low…built in the 50s. Maybe people were smaller??

The kitchen. Yes, that’s me…about 4 1/2 months pregnant, with Addie, about 6 months. We’re both looking (a little horrified) at the kitchen. There had been some water damage at some point. The owner thought the best thing to do was tear out the ceiling and slap up some drywall. Surrrrre. That’d be my choice too.

Kitchen in the other direction. That light at the end of the tunnel? My future office. Hoping it was a sign of “Brilliant” things to come!

This is where I work. Used to be a laundry room in this photo. And it was after we moved in too. My co-worker was a stackable washer & dryer. But they’ve moved to their own room now. One of em snored.

Loooong dark hallway to our “Master” Bedroom. Love that track lighting!

Kids Bathroom. It’s a little more cheerful now. And it’s clean…sometimes.

More water damage. This time in our future nursery.  I think they thought the popcorn ceiling hid the damage. “What water ring? I just see an ‘attractive’ texture on the ceiling…”

Our “Master” Bath. Gotta love the Hollywood lighting!

Hub’s future man cave. One day, come Hell or High water he vows to have a space not overrun with girl things. He’s still trying. I’m sure he’ll get there.

One day.

I’m pulling for ya Hon! (snicker, snicker….)

Stay tuned. The coming weeks will have much sharing of how we got from here to now!