layer it up

I know it’s been a while… a very long while… and there’s so much to update about my life and this house, but for now, can we just agree to ignore my absence? Life gets full and busy… who knows when I’ll post again after this… but I promise you, I want to! I’m going to try my hard­est to keep up some sort of sched­ule for myself, even if just a monthly update.

Jason and I have been work­ing away at this home of ours over the past year, but we’ve def­i­nitely kicked our efforts into over drive these past few months. With the arrival of our tax refund I was allot­ted a bit of money to spend on art, acces­sories, and home decor items AT MY DISCRETION! (this doesn’t hap­pen often folks! every deci­sion is a joint deci­sion in our house, which is nice… but some­times it takes a few months or years for my sweet Jason to see MY visions.)

While perus­ing through Rugs USA yes­ter­day I noticed a St. Patrick’s Day sale. I’m a Rugs USA lover, our first expe­ri­ence with them was a lit­tle rough due to some ship­ping issues, but I’m so happy we gave them a sec­ond, third, and fourth shot. The qual­ity of the rugs we’ve cho­sen has been great and although one can usu­ally find a 50% off deal on the reg­u­lar, I usu­ally wait and pur­chase when they’ve upped the dis­count to 70, 75, and even 80%. Well, yes­ter­day (through mid­night tonight) was one of those 80% off days.

I’ve been want­ing a 5x8 rug to layer over our 9x12 sisal (also a Rugs USA pur­chase) in the liv­ing room for quite some­time and our style board has seen it’s fair share of options, but yes­ter­day I found quite a few that I liked. Here are my favorites:

new LR rug 1option 1 — Blue & Beige Graphic

new LR rug 3option 2 — Warm Traditional

new LR rug 2option 3 — Blue Suzani


While they all have their ben­e­fits I think I’d quickly tire of the overly graphic appeal of option 1. I love the sophis­ti­ca­tion and tra­di­tional ele­ments that option 2 adds to the space, but I ended up going with option 3, the Blue Suzani. As soon as I saw it on my style board I knew it would be per­fect. I love the way the pat­ten works with the stripes of our sofa. You know what’s an extra bonus? This evening, as I was search­ing though Joss & Main’s newest sales, I found the exact same rug! They’re only sell­ing the 6x9 ver­sion over there but it’s $50 more than what Rugs USA sells… oh that Rugs USA… I’m telling you.

What do you think? Did I make the right decision?

the young and the beautiful


I spot­ted this adorable lit­tle pick me up today over on i suwan­nee and it totally arrived at just the right time. It’s always best to brain break for cute­ness. (men­tal note to future self: allow your chil­dren to be this free)

While perus­ing for design good­ness I also found a give­away.  These Fur­bish lovelies, includ­ing the inserts, could be yours! Head on over to i suwan­nee to enter!


back to the kitchen tomor­row. :)

everybody’s workin’ on our kitchen: part 1

Because we have so much catch­ing up to do, I’m going to do this in 2 long posts with lots of pic­tures… here we go.

As a lit­tle refresher, the last (and only time) you saw our kitchen it looked like this with freshly painted countertops…


Our kitchen “demo­li­tion” started the week­end of Jason’s fan­tasy foot­ball league draft party back in Sep­tem­ber. Our friends were sick of get­ting sore necks try­ing to talk through those upper kitchen cab­i­net — well, that and then boys just wanted to destruct some­thing — so four of our sweet guy friends picked up some drills and screw­drivers and took down all the upper cab­i­nets that hang over the penin­sula in about 20 mins!





what a dif­fer­ence! It’s so much less claus­tro­pho­bic!  I felt like I could finally breath in there — it’s just so open now.


a cou­ple weeks after that I spent the week­end scrub­bing that kitchen grout clean. it’s absolutely dis­gust­ing how dirty it was, but wow so much better!


I made a paste of bleach and bak­ing soda, it was a tedious job, but those floors were sparkling!



on a dif­fer­ent week­end (prob­a­bly some­thing like a month later), our sweet friend Tommy came over and down came the arched valance over the cook­top + all the mold­ing. Jason and I pur­chased some paint for the kitchen cab­i­nets. I went for the two tone like I men­tioned in this post.

We decided to try out the Rus­toleoum Cab­i­net Trans­for­ma­tion kit. We tinted the uppers to Quilter’s White and the low­ers to Tudor. The whole process of paint­ing the kitchen cab­i­nets took about 2 weeks. I ordered the hard­ware that I spec­i­fied on my kitchen design board from Home Depot and with the help of a gift card, we were able to score all 46 pieces for $30! Not to shabby, right!?



The box says “no strip­ping, sand­ing, or prim­ing” but we sanded some of the really bad cab­i­nets first and I’m glad we did. Lot’s of water dam­age from years of neglect.



after that we removed all the cab­i­net doors, taped off the fridge, and then it was time to start painting!





Because we pur­chased brass hard­ware we were able to clean and reuse all of our brass hinges from our 70’s kitchen. A lit­tle Brasso, a wire brush, and a patient hus­band and they were like new.


then, some­where along the way Jason and I got our first expe­ri­ence with dry­wall mudding…




I think we did a pretty nice job for first timers.

After paint­ing the major­ity of the kitchen in Ben­jamin Moore’s Grant Beige as I spec­i­fied on my design board, we decided that the color just wasn’t dark enough for the room.  I don’t have any pic­tures of it, but the color was really lost in there, cast­ing an almost pur­ple hue. Really strange for such a pretty color, but also a les­son — ALWAYS paint sam­ples on the wall FIRST.  For­tu­nately, sec­ond try’s a charm and we got it right with the com­bi­na­tion of Ben­jamin Moore Green­briar Beige (matched to Glid­den) on the walls and Ben­jamin Moore Texas Leather (also matched to Glid­den) on the faux brick.

here’s a reminder of the first draft:

kitchen design board

and here’s the updated design board:

kitchen design board 2

I’m lov­ing Green­briar Beige! Such a warm color and I’d dream­ing of the day I get to see how it looks with the brass flush mount.

Here’s what it’s look­ing like freshly painted on our kitchen walls



the updates don’t end there… but I think this is a good place to stop for now. Come back tomor­row for part II!


To-Do lists and house updates

Hi friends! Long time, no talk and SO much to say! House updates are really speed­ing up — still all cos­metic and low cost for now, but there’s been plenty to keep us busy!

In excit­ing news, my sweet, Cal­i­for­nia girl, bestie is expect­ing her first child in early June! From the sec­ond I heard the news I knew I wanted to throw her a shower and she’s kindly allow­ing me to!

Time’s a flyin’ and with Lizzy’s baby shower less than 4 weeks away(that’s just 3 short, already jam packed week­ends) I’m really start­ing to kick my butt into gear get­ting this home of ours ready for enter­tain­ing! I even spent 4 hours last night work­ing on reuphol­ster­ing some thrifted par­sons chairs. (more about those in a later post)

In Jan­u­ary, I made myself a “house to-do list” to keep Jason and me in line and on track for the things that need to be pri­or­ity número uno. This long list is a lit­tle daunt­ing and intim­i­dat­ing, but it’s actu­ally help­ing, and some days we’re even cross­ing things off at record speed! I’d actu­ally planned on blog­ging this list well over a month ago and shar­ing progress as we go, but hey, shoulda woulda coulda. At least I’m jump­ing in now, right? For the sake of not show­ing 100 mil­lion progress pho­tos in one post I’m going to share the list with you now, and then write about each room day by day. I promise the kitchen will be first!… I’ve only kept you wait­ing for 4 months ;)

With­out fur­ther ado, here’s the list…

Mind you, this is JUST for the shower/ any upcom­ing enter­tain­ing. We also have a “dream list” of things we’d like to do once we actu­ally have a sub­stan­tial amount of money saved for things like new coun­ter­tops, back­splash, and floor­ing in the kitchen, and a few bath­room renovations.

Carl­ton to do:

—Kitchen —

(just a reminder of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in… updated pho­tos in an upcom­ing post)

Fin­ish paint­ing cab­i­nets
Crown mold­ing over cab­i­nets
Install cab­i­net cre­denza
Make coun­ter­top for cre­denza
Fin­ish paint­ing trim
Win­dow treat­ments
New flush mounts
Counter stools
New rugs (2 or 3, one being a run­ner)
Float shelves

—Din­ing room—

Clean out mess
Paint buf­fet
Paint walls
Win­dow treat­ments (sheers+panels)
Fin­ish uphol­ster­ing chairs
Lamps for buffet


Con­sole table
Hang blue­prints
New light fix­ture
Wall tex­ture or pattern?

—Liv­ing room—

Win­dow treat­ments
Lay­ered rug
Chairs (4. 2 comfy, 2 occa­sional)
Side tables
Con­sole table(s) (1 or 2)
Quar­ter round on base­boards
Fin­ish touch up paint­ing


Paint walls and ceil­ing
Buy sofa table/storage
Bins for shelf stor­age
Spray paint vases
Re-style shelves
New sconces

—Pow­der room—

Make cur­tain
Make sink skirt
Jazz up light fixture

—Back hall—

Hang art
Buy 3’x5’ rug (as flat as pos­si­ble)
New sconce

Paint walls
Hang mir­ror and/or art
New light fixture

—Coat closet—

Remove 50% of the coats to make room for guests
Add shoe bins for orga­ni­za­tion

—Front Entry Exterior—

Paint front door
Top­i­aries or plants


Art­work (gallery wall going up the stairs)
Stair run­ner
New light fixtures

Clearly some of these things won’t get crossed off in time. I think I can rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a stair run­ner in 3 weeks, and the pos­si­bil­ity of reuphol­ster­ing 8 chairs in time is dimin­ish­ing. Heck, I’d be excited if  we only got side tables for the liv­ing room! (…can’t say I’m being com­pletely truth­ful there.)

But really, quite a few things on this long list have already been crossed off! you’ll see very soon. stay tuned!

tomor­row, a kitchen update!

… I promise.

a direction for the kitchen

We’ve been busy here, and slowly pick­ing away at the kitchen. I’ve been try­ing my very hard­est to stay focused on one project at a time but I can’t help but wan­der around this house, star­ing at empty walls, and plan plan plan. The ideas are almost explod­ing out of my head– seri­ously though, I almost wish that they would so some­thing would actu­ally get done!

When I find myself tired of paint­ing I turn to my com­puter to put ideas to paper… er, screen. I’m find­ing that design boards are going to be the best way to keep myself focused on the vision and direc­tion of a room in this place. I just explained to you that I get side­tracked while paint­ing, and plan­ning, you bet­ter believe that I get side tracked about a cer­tain design direc­tion. While my boards start as mainly a jump­ing off point, they help me stay focused and on task and ensure that I don’t stray too far from the intended aes­thetic of the room. They also help me avoid mak­ing costly mis­takes — there were a cou­ple rugs that I was con­sid­er­ing, until I laid them out on the design board and real­ized that they were way to loud for the space. My favorite part of design boards is that even­tu­ally, they will ensure that the entire house is cohe­sive and tran­si­tions are thought­fully laid out.

Before I start “shop­ping” I always start with some inspi­ra­tion images. Here’s a bit of my inspi­ra­tion for our kitchen:

Def­i­nitely want to go for two tone. I’m in love with this look and it might just be the main inspi­ra­tion photo. Dark low­ers, light uppers, white trim, dark sashes, light back splash and light counter tops. I LOVE the floors, too. We aren’t quite ready for a floor­ing change, but this photo is surely saved for inspi­ra­tion when we do.

tudor brown low­ers, white uppers, and def­i­nitely brass hard­ware. Dig­ging the bam­boo blinds

more brass hard­ware. swoon­ing over those grey/navy lowers.

more yummy brass (are you sens­ing a theme here?) love that this kitchen intro­duces pat­tern into the space through the backsplash.

speak­ing of pat­tern, the flo­ral ele­ment on these cur­tains and valance soften the space in this lovely kitchen.

I’m also lov­ing the pat­tern of this tra­di­tional Per­sian rug, espe­cially when paired with the vintage/modern chairs and eclec­tic chan­de­lier. The pop of red doesn’t hurt either. Like this scheme, love this space.

another red Per­sian rug + some indus­trial bar stools

…or per­haps a pop of color with some red bar stools.

I love the way a lit­tle bit of red goes a long way in the warmth depart­ment. Espe­cially against some dark win­dow sashes.

like these…

or these.

this photo seri­ously has me con­sid­er­ing painted our (faux) brick.

a lit­tle bit of this + a lit­tle bit of that, lead to…

the inspi­ra­tion for our kitchen:

an over­all neu­tral scheme with two tone cab­i­nets, brass and nat­ural accents, with pops of red and mixes of tra­di­tional and modern.

I’m pretty proud of this scheme and it inspires me just enough to put a paint brush in my hand again… and to keep sav­ing my pen­nies for that new rug and those red bar stools.

Do you ever use design boards to keep true to your desired aesthetic?


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