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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seeing spots

This past weekend was great, but such a blur. My head was nearly spinning at how fast the time rushed past me!

We’re STILL working on the kitchen and Friday night was spent in a mad rush touching up paint, patching holes, polishing brass, and re-hanging our cabinets in time to have some friends over for dinner on Sunday.

Saturday, I found made a little break in my schedule to get some quick sale shopping in with my mom – one of the highlights of my weekend. It felt so great to get some quality mother daughter girl time in! (oh, AND, I found my oxblood skinnys at TJMaxx!) I might have been more bummed that I didn’t have enough time left in my schedule to get the mani/pedi’s that she was suggesting, if I’d actually had time to soak the idea in. After shopping I was off to get ready for dinner with Jason’s parents, brothers, and future sister in law.  My brother in law and soon to be sister were in town from Chicago and it’s always fun spending time with them – actually, they made the second highlight of my weekend when said future sister asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding! I don’t think I could possibly be more thrilled and honored and Jason and I are extremely excited for their big day next July! Yay family! Dinner was a blast and incredibly delicious and afterward J and I  hit up a Halloween party with some friends. When we got home we were so exhausted we didn’t even make it upstairs. We both passed out on the sofa somewhere around the end of Saturday Night Live Re-run!

Sunday, we tried out a new church, I went grocery shopping, Jason cleaned, we both prepared dinner, had a great time with our friends and their adorable kids (who we’re trying to convince to move into our neighborhood!), toured a haunted vineyard (sans kids), and tasted some delicious wines.  . . Whew. . . you’re probably seeing spots now too, huh! It was a busy weekend to say the least, but so great.

In house related news, on Friday, I found this Lonny photo on Pinterest and it totally reminds me of our pink/peach master bathroom. I’ve had black in mind as a part of the color scheme for a few weeks now and this photo might just be pretty enough to convince the husband…


I love this Albert Hadley wallpaper (titled “Fireworks”) and it’s actually surfacing quite a bit over the internet, here it is again in a couple other bathrooms, the first of which is Albert Hadley’s own bathroom pictured in the Lonny December 2010 issue.

(source + source + house beautiful)

I decided to render a little mock-up of what this lovely print would look like in our bathroom.

… and included a warm wood dresser for good measure.  I’m dying to find one and put on that back wall to hold towels and toiletries.

I haven’t really checked into the availability of the wallpaper, but I’m thinking if we’re daring enough to try a spotty print in the bathroom I might go the DIY route and make my own stencil – I’ll keep you posted!… have any of you ever stenciled a pattern on a wall?! how’d it turn out?


If you’re just dying to see more spots, I posted about spots in interiors and fashion in SG’s blog yesterday. Check it out here.

painted laminate countertops

One of this first projects that I wanted to tackle in our new house was the kitchen counter tops.

(sorry about my crappy iphone photos… that’s about all the photo I’m able to provide at this time. My wide angle lens is what’s making it look distorted.)

I know orange is trying to make a comeback (at least that’s what I gathered from the September issue of House Beautiful), but we’re not interested in it on our counter tops.

(and a closer look just in case I didn’t quite sell you on how gross and dated they are.)

One evening, before we moved in to the house, I spent some time Googling “paint laminate?” and stumbled upon Rustoleum Countertop Coating. At only about $20 a quart Jason and I did a little shoulder shrug and thought “eh, let’s try it.”

It comes in 16 tintable colors that you choose from the top of the box. We went with “Cobblestone” which actually looks more like their version of “Light Ash” on our counters. It’s more of a warm gray, but we’re pretty happy with it.

If you’re interested in trying this product for yourself, let me warn you that this paint is really sticky and stinky. Take lots of breaks to get fresh air and keep the windows open if you can. Our entire house reeked of paint fumes for a few days. Jason’s parents were sweet enough to bring dinner over to us on the night we were painting and we all seriously contemplated eating outside on the front stoop because of the fumes. . . well, they did, Jason and I were so silly and high at that point we were like “what fumes?!”

We used some cheap foam rollers to roll it on and a paint brush for the hard to get areas. I’m so glad I bought cheap brushes for this project – the paint is so sticky it really wasn’t worth it when we tried cleaning our brushes off. We actually just made a giant painted mess on our hands and then needed to shift our focus and scrubbing energy to get the paint off of our fingers! Some salt scrub did the trick. We found that the trash can was the best remedy for those paint brushes.

It took about 3 coats of paint to fully cover our counter tops and we went though the whole quart. We actually ran out before we finished the tiny counter of our wet bar. I bought another quart, but we have yet to open or use it. I think we’re afraid of the smell… if that tells you anything.

No painting photos, but here’s what it looks like now…

(you can see some of the roller marks, which we tried to even out after this was taken, but they still could use a touch up)

We’re about 3 months in and the counters have been holding up pretty well. There are a few minor scratches, which is a bummer, but overall we’re so happy to be rid of that orange!

What do you think? Improvement? Would you ever consider painting your counter tops?

I know there’s not really a whole lot of prettiness to this post, but oh my gosh I promise you – it’s coming! Jason and I have spent ALL of our free time this past week (with the exception of MSUvsUofM game day, yesterday) working on the kitchen and I can’t wait to show you!

a little house tour


excuse me! I’m allergic to dust and man oh my is this website dusty!!!

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I left you with an “EXTERIOR PHOTOS ONLY” cliff-hanger! My apologies friends! As you can imagine Jason and I have been pretty busy over here (in Jackson now) getting settled into the new house. I actually wrote the majority of this follow-up post the same day I wrote the last post and it was scheduled for the very next day… then I just procrastinated 6 weeks on adding the actual pictures. whoops.

that being said, here’s the post:

I’m hoping to find the time to pop back over here as frequently as I used to now that things are settling down. It’s been a pretty busy summer full of work, travel, a tiny (but fortunately very short lived) employment search, and of course the new house + move. It’s made me so sad to have been neglecting some of my sweet clients but now I’m finding myself taking some deep breaths and enjoying that glorious light that I can see peeking out at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wait to get back to a serene and luxurious master bedroom project and a chic glam dining room makeover all from my very own drafting table in my very own house!

Anyway, enough ramble, how about some interior photos, yeah?!…

(all of these photos were taken BEFORE we moved in)

 From the front door you walk into this lovely entryway. All the woodwork is absolutely stunning but we’re going to need to finish some of the baseboards and the staircase, all of which are a little beaten up. I’d love to see a banded jute or sisal runner on those stairs! Not exactly sure how I feel about that tile… but it’s fine for now.

Here’s our living room. It’s massive at about 25′ x 15′! It’ll take a whole lot of furniture to finish this room, and like most rooms in our house it will stay empty for a while. For now, I’ll just keep dreaming of some mirrored comfy sofas in front of that fireplace and perhaps a baby grand piano in the corner? Just past the living room is the foyer (pictured above) and past the foyer is the dining room.

a view of the living room from the staircase

Directly behind the living room is the den (or library) it’s still a bit of a schizophrenic room as we’re never sure what to call it. This will be the first room we’ll furnish – with just about every piece of furniture that we own from our previous tiny apartment.

We have a pretty large kitchen behind the formal dining room. It’s pretty dated so I think we’ll be doing an inexpensive cosmetic overhaul in here first. Oh and that grout… it’s supposed to be light gray. gross.

We also have a lovely 1970’s trash compactor available if anyone’s interested… 🙂

our upstairs hall is one of my favorite places in the house. it’s so light and open!

i can’t get enough of the view from that window.

upstairs, the east side of the house (pictured above) holds 3 bedrooms. that’s the master on the right and there are 2 more bedrooms through that mini hallway there on the left… one of which would be perfect for a nursery 🙂

 on the west side of the second floor there’s a 4th bedroom, and 2nd bathroom and a laundry room. I must have forgotten to get “before we move  in” photos of those 2 rooms.

This is the master… those 4 windows let in lots of gorgeous light!

you walk though a small dressing room/closet off the master bedroom to enter the *peach* master bathroom

man that’s peach.

I’ve got plans for this master bathroom though (plans that involved making the peach my friend for about 10-15 years until we can actually afford to gut the pink tiles and start over)… we’ll see if I can get Jason to play along.

on the other side of the pink bathroom is the green (guest) bathroom. This bathroom doesn’t offend me as much. The 2 upstairs bathrooms are mirror images of each other at exactly the same size but because the doors are in different places, this bathroom just seems so much bigger to me.

That’s all for now, but as you can see, we have our hands full with this place and we have A LOT of projects in the works! Projects that somehow put me into a spin of 6 week silence… the good news is, there’s a ton of great blog material happening behind the scenes here so stay tuned!

In the meantime, any advice for us new homeowners? Do you have an ever-growing, never-ending list of projects? – we’d love to know how you prioritize and handle it!