Refinished Hardwoods

When we moved in a year ago, the hardwoods were in horrible condition. They were covered in a wax that just looked dirty. It wouldn't come off and we didn't even eat in the dining room because the room didn't feel clean. I felt like I had to explain to guests that our floors weren't dirty, just stained. :)

They just needed to be refinished and now they are fabulous. We are so thrilled. And, we eat in the dining room every day.

Before... hideous hardwoods.

After... the same angle as above. Don't they look brand new?!

The living room.

The dining room with the refinished chandelier.


A Newer Chandelier

I recently bought this gorgeous Restoration Hardware chandelier (at DownEast Home) but it just didn't work without higher ceilings (or a shorter husband...).

So, I decided to make our current dining room chandelier work for now without removing it for painting.

Before... an old, brassy chandelier with loads of crystals.

After... a hipper, black chandelier with less crystals.

I decided to use the black spray paint that we already had. Jeremy and I stood on ladders. I held a black, plastic garbage sack over the chandelier while Jeremy (aka the freakishly tall husband) stood on the ladder above the chandelier. He held the can of spray paint into the garbage sack and let loose.

We did one coat of primer, let it dry for 20 minutes, and followed up with two coats of black spray paint.

Before I put some of the crystals back on. I like it this way too.

Total cost: $0.
Total time: 1 hour.

The Make-Shift Mudroom

Our dream for this home includes an organized mudroom for all of our family's stuff. Although we don't know when this dream will become reality, we're using what we have to make our own reality now. Before...

When we moved in, this open storage was in the garage. Obviously, it was quickly filled with stuff.

When we organized the garage, we had the handyman paint it white and moved it to the covered back patio.

I bought storage containers for $4 each at Wal-mart and my sister made vinyl names for the tubs. I had her make names for: basketball, art, balls, soccer, games, safety, roller blades, garden, and sand toys.

I left 6 blank so that we can add names as we determine what we need (at least one with outdoor trucks and cars!).

This bucket has helmets and knee and elbow pads.

A year ago, Hogle Zoo sold the banners they had up all over the zoo. We bought a few for about $15 each (can't remember the exact price). Anyway, this unit turned out to be the perfect place for some of this custom art!

Budget breakdown:
storage containers - $60
custom art - $30
vinyl words - free from one generous sister!

Total for our make-shift mudroom: $90

A Blank Slate


We hung shelves that used to be in the nursery in our old house. My sister used her vinyl machine to make the quote "Never Suppress a Generous Thought". And, for the shelves, I just used stuff we already had. I think it makes our dining room seem a lot more inviting.

A Cleaner Garage

I know it's silly, but I LOVE a clean garage. And our garage was far from that. Here's our recent transformation...Before: it wasn't really horrible but needed a lot of sprucing up.

We had other ideas for this cabinet (pics to come), which we inherited with the house.

The bookcase behind all of that stuff has been refinished (pics to come) for I's room and the bookcase was concealing a charming little workbench and built-in cabinetry.

Our crazy staircase couldn't fit the queen boxspring so it was stored here for the last year. When the windows were replaced this fall, we had the installers move the boxspring and that large bookcase through the opening before the new window was installed.

The dingy, cluttered cabinet area.

Looks like there was a fire at some point?! And, you can see the built-in cabinetry and workbench. Here, the stuff has been cleared out for the painting.

After: the clean, well-organized garage!!

We moved our freezer into the garage, re-organized the pegboards, and just got rid of a lot of stuff! And, now we can easily walk all the way around our cars!

All of the cute cabinetry looks fresh with a fresh coat of paint.

We paid a handyman to paint the walls and ceiling. J and I epoxied the floor one night after the kids went to bed. We used a kit from Home Depot. We did it in our last house as well. It's so easy, affordable (about $130), and makes a big difference.
In our last house, we hung tennis balls from the ceiling so we'd know where to stop the car but the kids and their friends had fun with the tennis balls and they always ended up on the ground. So, J picked these little things at Lowe's and bolted them to the ground. You can see the epoxied floor here.

One of the panes of glass was missing so I asked the window guys to cut a new piece of glass for it. Now I just need to get the paint off the cute little, crystal knobs.


Bibs for two!

My amazing friend, Megan, had twins in May. I am still trying to put my life back together but she, on the other hand, is already back to her crafty self. She recently mailed me not 1, not 2, but 8 bibs for my big boys! They are our favorites and I use them at every meal. For their first birthday.

Each bib has two designs and each has rick-rack, my favorite go-to embellishment.

It's fun to have generous, talented friends! Thanks, Megan!

Cards by Less Ordinary Designs

Last fall, I found Less Ordinary Designs on Etsy and used her to create our twins' birth announcement. For $15, she'll customize a design and email you the file, which you can have printed anywhere. She also has afffordable printing options, which we used. I think we'll use her again this year for our Christmas cards. Here's a style I like that I may use for the twins' first birthday party invitations but with some of the wording from this one below: Let's celebrate how far we've come ... as H & B turn one!

Triplets - yikes!

I think twelve photos of twins could be a little busy so I think the two photo design of this one might be perfect.

I love the design on it. This may be the one I choose for our Christmas cards.

I like some aspects of this one for B's baptism next summer but with the classic styling of the one below.

Love the simplicity of this moving announcement.


I'm loving...

Ever since I saw Anne Marie Barton's home in Utah Style and Design a few years ago, I wanted photos of it for my files. I love her classic contemporary style. Her website has great photos like the one above of her kitchen.

As I'm trying to make my Christmas gifts more personal and thoughtful, this blog about gifting (ideas, etiquette, etc.) is a must read.

Maria Killam's blog, Colour Me Happy, is a wonderful collection of advice like her posts on creating focal points, painting the kitchen cabinets white, the secrets to selling your house, and hiring a designer.

Maybe it's because I'm updating our front door, or maybe it's because I love using initials, but I love this wreath from the Nesting Place.

I love modern design and this alphabet poster from Century Finds is just too much fun.

My crafty daughter would LOVE to make one of these Ragamuffin Garlands from Nesting Place for her newly decorated bedroom -- only in pink, of course.

This fur wreath is just so unexpected and fun for winter. And, with this easy tutorial from Nesting Place, I might actually be able to do it!


A New Front Door

We're so excited! On Saturday, our new front door was installed. Our friend, Todd, put it in and did an amazing job. Before: The old 1950 door.

It wasn't horrible, just outdated. The style had grown on me over the last year... just not enough to still keep it. I hope it goes to a grateful new owner. I can't bear to think of it in a landfill. It has a really cool little magic window.

Now: The new 2009 door.

It brings our entryway into the 21st century. Hopefully this week, it will be painted black. I've ordered these numbers for the door too and I'm on the lookout for a modern door knocker like this (my fav so far), this (discontinued from this source) or this (probably a little too out there but cool, nonetheless).

Next, we're losing the 1950 white iron decor and replacing it with black, simple iron handrails. And, I'm looking for a new light fixture to replace our GIGANTIC brass one. It's so hideous.


Love this space!

Love the simple table and chairs.
Love the herringbone design of the hardwood floors.
Love the light fixture from Ikea.
Love the bluish walls with the hint of grey. That's what I tried in my kitchen... Didn't work out quite like that.

And, I love the piece of furniture on the far right. Maybe I could find that at Ikea too?

(image from here)


Front Entry Makeover

We're updating a few things in our house (mostly windows, shutters, hardwood floors, front door). But, we're also looking at new tile for the entryway and new artwork for that space. The look in our home will hopefully be fresh, comfortable, transitional in style, reflect our love of family, and have a peaceful feeling about it.

Here's one idea for our entryway:

I've loved NameYourDesign for awhile but their custom artwork was way beyond my puny budget. Not any more! They came out with a really cool garden silhouette print with an initial print accompanying it. So fun!

And, only $25. Might be just the right thing for my foyer....


Favorite New Design Blog

I just discovered This Young House and I'm addicted. The blog is by a young couple who have renovated a 1300 square foot 1950's house on a budget.

Sherry and John have impeccable taste and an eye for inexpensive, well-designed furnishings. They answer design dilemmas and offer mood boards at a really great price. I love their before and after photos.

And, although I don't have lots of time for blogging these days, I check their blog daily. Check it out. It's so inspiring!


Kitchen Seating

So, we're about to remodel our kitchen. It's going to have white, shaker style cabinets with long, modern pulls, dark grey counters, and a subway tile backsplash. I love the mix of modern and classic so the subway tile will probably be like the convex tile in the photo below.

We'll be replacing our current barstools and, hopefully, our dining room chairs as well. Here are a few of my ideas so far...

So I don't love backless barstools because the kids can fall off easily, but these Spin Barstools from Crate and Barrel have the right look (classic, a bit modern, easy to clean) and just may fit well in the possibly tight space. The price is great at $99.

I love these Delta Barstools from Crate and Barrel, but if the space is a little tight, would people be more likely to trip over the back legs as they walk past? $139.

If we go with the backless, here's a classic beauty that would pick on up on the dark table and white chairs nearby. Delano Barstool from Crate and Barrel. A bit steep at $179.
I love these Scoop-Back Barstools from West Elm but Jeremy doesn't like the thin backs. He thinks they don't look sturdy enough. $134.
He's probably right but I'll at least purchase one of these chair versions for the office or a few for our craft room.

I'd love to refinish our classic oval table and it's 4(!!) leaves. Currently, it's honey colored but I'd go dark and probably purchase white chairs to go with it ala these two photos.
From West Elm.
From my cousin Kellie's blog, Little Green Couch.

These are probably my first choice at this point. These Oval Back Dining Chairs from Crate and Barrel would be perfect because they would echo the oval table but take a modern spin on a classic. $144.