Pretty Leaves


Hey y’all! This is so random… but since I’m trying to add some “pretty” in with all the “practical” I’ve been posting, I just had to post this picture I took of a plant growing beside the lake outside my office. I was sitting out there at lunchtime trying to get a shot of vitamin D, and I must confess… I was a little jealous that his only job is to sit around and turn sunlight into food. (Photosynthesis, schmotosynthesis.) 

Just kidding – plants are the best! (Thanks for the oxygen, by the way.) And what a good looking guy! His leaves are impressive… I could get lost in all those shades and stripes and curves and… wait, what were we talking about?

OK, I probably sound like I watched Fern Gully one too many times as a kid, but seriously, it’s hard NOT to appreciate the simple-yet-mind-blowingly-complex beauty of nature. I, for one, find great joy in noticing things that are just nice to look at.

When I was little, I collected “pretty rocks” — always thrilled to find a piece of quartz and proudly present it to my parents in exchange for a shower of praise for my unique find. Nowadays I’m more likely to collect snaps of trees, flowers, moss… whatever pretty thing I see. I have always loved taking pictures, and nature makes the perfect subject. Beautiful, undemanding, and ever so patient.

I wish I knew the name of this particular plant… I Googled “Georgia, plant, large leaves, light and dark green stripes” and came up with a bazillion pictures of hostas (which I also happen to love!). I may have to consult my landscaping buddy and get his expert botanical opinion.

Anyway, here’s hoping you also get to enjoy something colorful, outdoorsy, or just plain pretty today!


OK so as amazing as I thought this guy’s leaves were, check out the flowers!! Now I’m truly impressed. Those stalks must be 7 or 8 feet tall. Amazing!


Beachy Bath Update (Adios, Istanbul!)

Our cute little half bath gets a lot of use since it’s right off of our downstairs den / living room. It was in desperate need of an update from its builder’s grade plate glass mirror and whacky hookah-lounge-style pendant lights. It truly felt like you were ducking into a Turkish restaurant every time you went to use the bathroom. (Sadly, I don’t have pictures, but those pendant lights were actually fully enclosed lanterns before I removed the bottom halves!) It was so dark and gloomy! And for such a small room (just 42″ by 6 feet), that was just a sad state.

Here’s what it looked like before it got a makeover (but after I removed the original mirror and added a smaller oval one):

Don't you love the lighting?

Don’t you love the lighting?

The mirror came off first, and I found some really hideous colorful floral wallpaper underneath. My sweet husband helped me pick out a new light fixture and we got the mirror from a family member for free.

The ceiling had some peeling paint around the AC vent from condensation damage. Covering it with tongue and groove pine planks was a perfect solution for both the peeling paint issue as well as the holes left after removing the lovely pendant lighting.

Peeling paint be gone!

Peeling paint be gone!

The planks were fairly easy to hang using a little electric nail gun. If I did it all over again, I might consider using some Liquid Nails to help the planks stick better in areas where the ceiling wasn’t perfectly flat. I made sure to stagger the ends of the planks so that none of the seams were next to each other. And luckily the bathroom is right off of the garage so I could easily run back and forth to make the cuts using my table saw.

All done!

Tongue and groovy, baby!

I was planning to paint the newly planked ceiling a glossy white (like everything else I paint) but after one coat of primer, I was pretty much over it and decided that the see-through primer coat looked “beachy.” Theme selected… totally on purpose! (I lie… not at ALL on purpose. Total happy accident.)

Added a little primer and some painted quarter round to finish it off

Added a little primer and some painted quarter round to finish it off

In my near constant quest for perfection, I was also dead set on filling all the little nail holes. It’s amazing how a long drawn out unfinished project time makes you a little lazy helps you embrace life’s little imperfections. I figured no one cares about things like tiny nail holes when they are relaxing with a fruity drink in their beach-themed bathroom.

Don’t think too hard or long about that… the intended visual falls apart almost immediately. Who drinks an umbrella drink in a bathroom? That’s just weird.

Anyway, there’s lots more to look at now than the ceiling!

Lots of little holes to add to the "laid back feel... right?

Lots of little holes to add to the “laid back” feel… right?

I had some FABULOUS (and free) paint from a bad mix job at the hardware store. When I returned to the store and showed them that the color was way off, they kindly mixed another can of what I actually wanted and told me they couldn’t take the “bad” color back so I might as well keep it. It’s by far the BEST “bad color” I’ve ever seen! It’s actually very close to the color in my bedroom, which is Behr “Watery.” Throw in a few seaside accents and a rope-y looking rug, and call it finito!

Beachy and bright!

After… beachy and bright!

Crane figurine from my favorite antique store, coral from Beall's Outlet

Crane figurine from my favorite antique store, coral from Beall’s Outlet… shelf and orchid from Goodwill!

I got this from Target on sale... I thought it looked like rope and fit the beach vibe perfectly. Just love it!

I got the rug from Target on sale… I thought it sort of looked like rope and fit the beach vibe perfectly. Just love it!

Here's what it looks like when you walk in from the hall. It says "Come on in, the water's fine!"

Here’s what it looks like when you walk in from the hall. It says, “Come on in, the water’s fine!

When I first started this project, I desperately wanted to get rid of the original 1960s vanity. I bought a pedestal sink off Craigslist and a shiny new faucet to go with it. It was then that I found out that you can’t just swap a pedestal sink in place of a vanity because the drain and water lines are roughed in differently…. so that’s another project for another day. For now, I’m learning to embrace the gold-flake formica in all its subtle, sparkling glory.

How you like me now?

How you like me now?

This project took a few months from start to finish because I worked on it in fits and starts with a dozen other projects in progress at the same time (as usual). I probably could have gotten it done in a weekend or two if I had been able to focus a little more! Major props to my friends and family who were brave enough to venture into this room during the long in between phase.

Thanks for reading… and happy beach-ifying!

Kitchen Window Seat with Storage

This project has been on my mind literally since the day we first toured our home. (Can’t believe that’s been a year ago already!) We knew from the start that we would need to resolve the layout and storage issues in the kitchen. The previous owners’ solution was to construct a massive built-in pub table off the side of the countertop. It provided a ton of great storage space behind its hidden doors, but ate up entirely too much room in an already cramped space. After 9 months of contemplating its demise, we finally went for it.

Since I’m terrible at taking step by step pictures, I won’t attempt to make this in any way instructional. But it’s still fun to see the window seat’s progression from “looks like a toddler threw that together” to “kind of professional if you don’t look too close.” 😀  For instructional info, do what I did and Google “window seat DIY.” I watched tons of videos to see all the different elements that might be involved.

Before/After Pub Table

Here’s the “before” pictures (though not quite the best angles):


Listing picture from before we painted



Progress photo while in the middle of painting cabinets and adding pulls

It now occurs to me that I don’t have a SINGLE finished picture of the kitchen. Mental note… document final results!

Anyway, here’s what it looks like after disassembling the pub table. The window looks absolutely huge! The side of the cabinet will require some creative patch work.


Building the Window Seat

First we removed the baseboard, then built sort of a mini “wall” frame and anchored it to the tile floor along the joists with 3″ decking screws. We pre-drilled the holes so as not to crack the tile. That’s a ledger board screwed to the wall under the window for the top of the box to be mounted to.


After the frame was built and secured, we measured and cut the plywood for the front and the top edges around where the doors would go. The wall vent had to be extended to the front of the box using rectangular wall vent ducting and an elbow joint to lower it towards the floor a bit.


Adam built a plywood casing around the duct so it wouldn’t get squished when we loaded stuff into the cabinet.

I really took my time cutting the wood for the doors since they needed to be functional and also look fairly clean. It took 2-3 hours to measure, cut, and hang them by myself. They are 48″ and 30″ long.


As soon as the top was secured, Murphy laid claim to his new throne.


Trimming the Window Seat

After days and days of construction, I was so excited to do the finishing touches! Semigloss white paint and base cap molding boxes make it look almost professional. I also used cove molding to trim out the top along the wall and a piece of stop moulding to dress up the front edge of the doors. The baseboard was salvaged from the wall behind the window seat.



Pretty on the Inside

Once the outside was pretty, it was tempting just to throw my kitchen supplies inside and close it until Thanksgiving. But if you know me, you know I’m way too OCD for that. I just HAD to trim out the inside of the cabinet too. Really, I was thinking about resale. As a homebuyer, I wouldn’t want to open a shiny white cabinet and see this:

Yucky bare floor and torn up walls where we removed the baseboard. Not very clean!

Yucky bare floor and torn up walls where we removed the baseboard. Not very clean!

So I painted the bare wood, covered the walls with beadboard wallpaper, and stuck down some vinyl floor tiles. (I mean, I’m not totally insane… I wanted it to be clean and nice, but not so much that I was willing to use real wood and tile to do so!)


IMG_7820 IMG_7819 IMG_7818


Patching the Cabinet

I was even able to repair the side of the cabinet where the pub table came off. I spliced together some of the panels that made up the sides of the old pub table cabinet. They looked like Frankenstein at first….


Nothing a little putty and paint can’t fix! (OK, a lot. A LOT of putty and paint.)


A Pillow of Epic Proportions

Now I’m just working on finishing up the giant 7-foot pillow cushion. It’s hilariously huge. Someday I will make a high density foam seat cushion, but this will suffice for now!



Have you ever made a pillow bigger than yourself? It is a hilarious good time… I definitely recommend it. I might put it on my bucket list just to cross it off.

Happy window sitting,


Winter Wreath DIY

Are you experiencing withdrawals after putting away your Christmas decorations?

You, my friend, are not alone.

Now that the new year has come, my sparkle quotient is running seriously low. Luckily, I have a most brilliant husband who recommended I make some “winter” decorations that weren’t specific to any particular holiday. (Yes, we talk about how I feel about putting away Christmas decorations, and he listens sincerely and makes helpful suggestions.) I hit the ever-craft-loving jackpot with him, folks.

At his suggestion, I began setting aside blue, gold, and silver ornaments and accessories from my Christmas tree when I was putting it away. (I had a blue themed tree a few years in a row so there was plenty of wintery swag to spare.)


I also broke out my giant box o’ glue. Adam says I should join “hot gluers anonymous.”


Lastly, I had a straw wreath on hand from a Christmas wreath I never got around to making. Optional: The watchful cat who’s just mad he got kicked out of “his circle straw bed.”


By now you know I’m terrible at taking “in progress” pictures… (sorry!) but basically, I laid out all my materials around the outside edge to see how it all needed to be arranged to get the best coverage. Thank goodness for the poinsettias! Those made for a great flexible filler.


I just went one piece at a time, placing a mound of hot glue where I wanted each trinket, until I had the front of the wreath all covered. (I left the plastic wrap on the wreath and used a screw driver to dig “pilot holes” for certain sprigs as needed.)

Lastly, I found a little peacock guy that needed a home, and popped him into the bottom left of the finished wreath. 20140106-213257.jpg

Here’s how it turned out:


It feels like this cost next to nothing since I had the supplies on hand, but realistically it’s probably a $15 or $20 project. The straw wreaths are $4-$5, clearance ornaments are maybe $10, then a few bucks for glue sticks. Total project time was maybe an hour, but I was also watching Jimmy Fallon Late Night so I was doing some serious multitasking. It probably wouldn’t take a more dedicated crafter more than 30 minutes or so.  😀

Anyway, hope this inspires a little “winter decorating” and decor recycling of your own! XOXO


Dining Room Update: Box moulding, cheapie curtains, and more!

At long last, we have a functional dining room!


When we moved in, this was a formal living room that we knew we’d never use. I searched and searched and finally found a layout for a dining room / sitting room combo from the design team at Ballard (


This ended up being the perfect solution for such a long room where we hoped to accommodate a lot of people.

It took a lot more effort than we originally thought, but we finally got the chandelier moved from the old dining room to the new. (We had to tap into an existing electrical box in the attic, run new romex to a new wall switch – not to mention cutting a hole in the ceiling in just the right place… no pressure!) But that made such a huge difference in the look of the room, with the added benefit of not having to eat by lamplight / candlelight anymore. (Let’s face it – it’s only romantic when it’s elective!) We also moved the couch into the seating area at the end of the room… it’s the perfect landing spot for Adam and his near-nightly food coma.


So you know how Better Homes and Gardens sends out about 50 emails a week with “quick and easy” decorating ideas? Well I actually found a usable idea… check out my super sweet stag / gold branch pillows! I almost feel guilty that they cost about $2.00 apiece. Those are clearance “holiday” placemats from Target – ripped open and stuffed with batting. I call this one my “Frankenstein” pillow…


…on account of it’s stitched back together pretty roughly… but we’ll keep that between us! The others went back together almost undetectably since they were stitched at the edge. This one had a double hem so I had to open it up inside the second stitch.


The old dining room is becoming a “keeping room” of sorts. It looks somewhat better now that the chandelier is gone and we have a regular ceiling light in there. Not exactly sure how we’re going to end up decorating it, but for now it’s a great entertaining space. The console table on the left is perfect for serving drinks, and the doors at the back of the room open up onto the back porch. Mostly, it’s where I drink my coffee and eat my cereal in the morning since we don’t yet have an eat-in area in the kitchen.


Last weekend I decided to start tackling the box moulding project in the dining room. I had already hung the chair rail and acquired the paint, base cap trim, and other supplies that I would need. I started by painting the bottom part of the room in semi-gloss white with a roller and trim brush. By far the easiest paint job, EVER. Slapping paint on with total disregard for the edges – yes please!! Since the chair rail, base boards, and window frames were all covered in the same semi-gloss paint, it mattered zero if I overpainted in those areas.


Here’s what the half wall looks like with a couple coats of white paint while it awaits the moulding detail:20140105-233827.jpg

Once I had the half wall painted, I started hanging the box /picture moulding. I don’t own a compound miter saw, but I do have a table saw that I got at Goodwill (score!). I was able to make the 45-degree cuts, but they still weren’t perfect because of the off-ish angle of the saw blade. Luckily, we have caulk for that! Here is a painfully close-up shot of one of the boxes:


And here’s what they look like from a normal distance to the naked eye. (Notice I still need to sand and paint around the new light switch.)


This wall was a little tricky because of the air vent intake… I looked online and found a bunch of ways to address this issue (you can alter the shape of the box by skirting around the vent) – but I consulted with my husband and he wanted me to just terminate the moulding into the sides of the vent. Now I just need to give it a coat of spray paint – it looked plenty white before, but with the superwhite semigloss latex next to it, the vent now looks a little gray.20140105-230151.jpg

Here is a closeup of how the moulding and vent live together…20140105-230923.jpg

And here is the wall behind the china cabinet, which we will hardly ever see, but for the record, turned out pretty great!


I’m loving this project because I can do a little at a time without it looking terrible. It took a couple hours to do the wall painting, then I’ve hung about 2 boxes a day and am about halfway done. (Granted, with the learning curve, I’m sure the second half will go MUCH faster.) But if you look to the left and right of the window (below), you can see that the unfinished side of the room (on the left) is not terribly noticeable.


Now, on to my easy, cheapie curtains! I had some “Goodwill specials” up there before, but they were not wide enough to fully cover the window, and they were also too long – in the kitty danger zone if you know what I mean. 😐 I got 2 table cloths (60×102) at Target on clearance for about $8.00 each. I cut them in half after trimming them to the right vertical length and hung them on my curtain rod with the clip rings I already had from the previous set of curtains.

20140105-230357.jpgNo sewing, no hem tape, NOTHING! I literally measured, cut, and clipped. The raw edge blends right in – no fraying so far!


I used the leftover fabric from the curtains (two strips of about 28″x60″) to make pillow covers for the couch to pull the room together. The placemats on the table are from the same batch that I used for the pillows. I also snagged cloth napkins in the red fabric pattern, but those are in the wash right now.  😀


Do you love my twig candelabra from World Market? Thanks Mom!

All told, it’s coming together a little at a time. Definitely a huge improvement since we first figured out the layout of the room a few months ago!




Christmas Crafts and Decor

OK, I can’t be the only one who’s been pinning Christmas craft and decor ideas since, oh… April… right? My pinboards runneth over with DIY Christmas decorations and inspiration. Growing up, my folks always had pretty, classic wreaths on our windows, so I envisioned the same. I used poinsettias in combination with bows, garland, and wreaths. We mounted them to the windows frames with cup hooks… the ribbons are just decorative. 



And we even decorated the non-functional lamp post at the end of the walkway. He looks like he’s wearing a Christmas suit and bow tie… hah!


We definitely underestimated the cost and work involved in decorating our home for the first time. But we stuck to the essentials and are looking (and feeling) very much in the Christmas spirit!

On to the crafts… there are only so many hours in the month of December, so I picked a few of my favorites to start with. We’ll see how many more I can knock out before the big day comes!


Left to right… twig + ornament + frame, paper cone + fabric “trees,” glitter deer silhouette, deer & moose from Hancock Fabrics (I cheated on buying those, but they were… wait for it… 80% OFF! I paid $2.40 for both.)

Here are some close-ups:


That’s a dollar store frame, dollar store ornament (2 for $1), twigs from the yard, craft glue (like Elmer’s), and a strip of scrap plaid fabric.

My current favorites are next…..


I made these three “trees” with poster board, hot glue, and scrap fabric. The green is strips of felt cut into a sort of wide fringe. The cream is painter’s drop cloth twisted into cord. The red is pleated plaid cotton I had left over from repairing a few quilt squares for my mom. (Hey mom!) Here is a tutorial for creating the cones from poster board. I skipped the tutorial and just used good ol’ trial and error until I got it right by cutting the approximate shapes and rolling, trimming, glueing, taping, stapling, and trimming some more.

IMG_8672 IMG_8670 IMG_8669

And by the way, what in the WORLD did we do before hot glue?! Definitely my most favorite craft essential.

Last but not least, my sweet, glittery deer silhouette. This idea has been out there for a while but I was so excited to make my own!


He is comprised of: an old painting from Sips and Strokes with painter’s dropcloth stapled over the top, craft glue (like Elmer’s), and gold glitter. Easy peasy!




As you can see, I had to pin all his extremities down so I could trace the outline.


Then used glue, a paint brush, and glitter to fill him all in.


He’s so awesome… Adam wants to keep him up year ’round! We’ll see how it goes. He is pretty fabulous, after all!

Merry Christmas and happy decorating!


Tiffany Blue Dresser Makeover

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE a good furniture makeover. It’s so satisfying to take a piece that has been cast off and give it a totally new look so it can be appreciated again. Plus, I hate to pay retail price for ANYTHING… for obvious reasons. (Today, I saw a factory-distressed console table “on sale” for over $1,200. Such lunacy!!) But I digress….

Old dressers are great candidates because they offer TONS of extra storage and are fairly easy to paint. I found this fantastic but… well… uninspiring Broyhill dresser at Goodwill for around $25. I had already removed the drawers when I remembered to take a “before” pic. 🙂


It was missing one of its drawers and the top was pretty beat up, but since I was planning to refinish it, I figured the “flaws” would just help shape the makeover. I sanded the top really well to get rid of most of the dings and dents. As for the missing drawer, I found a piece of scrap oak at Home Depot and used one of the other drawer faces to create a template for a false front. We installed it in the bottom-right drawer space using hinges and a magnetic closure so we can flip it down and use it for our cable box and other TV components.


When I bought it, the previous owner had already removed all the pulls, which is fine because I’m sure I would have wanted to change them anyway. I bought these cool pyramid pulls on Amazon… $15 for a 10-pack.


I created the white boxes using 1″ painter’s tape around the edges of the drawer and taping off another square leaving a 1/2″ gap. I sealed the edges of the tape with a coat of the blue base color paint before painting 2 coats of white over it. That helped prevent the white from bleeding under the edges of the tape since the blue had already filled any gaps. (I learned that trick a while back and it works like a charm. There’s a great tutorial at Bloglovin…. check it out!)

As for refinishing, I used my orbital sander + sanding disks, Killz primer (1 coat), Behr “Agave” paint in satin finish (2 coats), and Minwax Polycryllic satin finish (2 coats). Here are the steps:

  1. Remove all drawers, door, pulls, hinges, etc. Place over dropcloths or outside.
  2. Sand all surfaces well to remove grime and create a good surface for the paint to stick to. I used 100 grit sanding discs.
  3. Wipe surfaces down with a damp rag or paper towel to remove dirt and sanding dust.
  4. Use a high density foam roller to apply a coat of primer to dresser, door, and drawer faces. Let dry.
  5. Rinse/dry roller and apply 2 coats of chosen paint color. (Sand between coats if you notice any bumps, ridges, or dust in the paint.) Let dry.
  6. Create white boxes using painter’s tape and white paint.
  7. Using a clean paint brush, apply 2 coats of polyurethane/polycryllic to protect from damage. (Let dry completely between coats).
  8. Install drawer pulls and put everything back together.

The total cost of this project was around $60 (that’s the dresser plus paint, primer, and drawer pulls). I saved some money since I already had painter’s tape, rollers, brushes, and polycryllic. Add another $20 for those items, and $80 is still a bargain for such a fun piece!

Hope this inspires a little furniture rescue mission in your future!



60’s Fireplace Refresh

There are a lot of wonderful things about living in a house instead of an apartment. For me, one of the things I was MOST excited about was having a fireplace mantle to decorate. Especially around Christmastime. So I was super thrilled when we bought a house with not one, but TWO fireplaces! The catch? No mantles! NO. MANTLES. The builders clearly underestimated the sheer joy to be had in decorating and RE-decorating these wonderful focal points. What’s a cozy fireplace without a mantle full of family pictures and holiday decorations? And WHERE would you hang the stockings?

We decided to tackle the one in the den first, since it gets the most face time with us and our guests.

Before: Bold & Brassy


Isn’t it so dark? Just think what it would have looked like with the original wood paneling before it was painted. It must have been like a cave in here!

To be honest, I actually love the challenge of getting this little guy brought into the 21st century. Plus it gives me an excuse to try out this fireplace makeover technique I saw from The Yellow Cape Cod via Pinterest (where else?!).


And because I’m terrible at taking progress pictures, here’s the AFTER for the whitewashing portion of the project. Instructions below!


Phase 1: Whitewashing

Here’s what I did:

  1. Mixed about a cup of leftover white latex paint with water. I started with a 2:1 water to paint ratio, but found that a MUCH thinner mixture worked better. I just kept adding water so I’m not sure where I landed, but basically you want it to look like skim milk. You can always go back over any thin spots later, but it’s much harder to un-paint the areas that have too much coverage!
  2. Sponged the paint/water mixture on very liberally with a utility rag and an old paintbrush and followed with a dry rag to catch drips.


  • Pre-mix plenty of paint and water so you have enough for the whole project
  • Cover the hearth while you paint the vertical brick… otherwise the drips will dry in little circles and will show through when you white wash the hearth. They can be sanded off, but it’s easier just to put down some paper.
  • Vacuum the cracks before you start. It’s amazing how much loose mortar “dust” is hanging out between the bricks!

It probably took about an hour and a half to whitewash the whole fireplace. It still needs some more work, but I love that you can still see the different shades of the brick. Although now that the brick is painted, the brass surround stands out even more!  😐


Phase 2: Painting the Surround

The next step was painting the brass surround using Barbecue Black. I followed the tutorial at from Infarrantly Creative, but the steps are pretty intuitive if you’ve painted before. The major twist, however, is using spray paint INSIDE. Black paint, no less. This had serious potential to get reallllll messy.

My sweet husband helped me cover all the brick around the surround with packing paper. We made sure to slip it behind the metal and the brick so no paint spray would get through the edges. We also taped off the glass panes using pieces of cardboard we cut to fit.




Then, we assembled a crude paint tent with a plastic dropcloth and a chair. Hey… it doesn’t have to look pretty to work!


I suited up in black scrubs from head to toe and covered my hair and neck with plastic bags. I even taped my sleeves over my gloves to keep any paint spray from getting on me. Finally, I put Pond’s cold cream all over my face so the paint couldn’t stick. The heavy duty breathing mask was a MUST. Not shown are my dirtbiking goggles… gotta have eye protection!

Even with the mask, I ended up holding my breath while I spray painted under the tent. The fumes were crazy toxic! I ducked in and out a few times (even running outside to get fresh air) before I finally finished spraying the whole insert.

Here’s the before and after:


I liked the black, but it still looked so… BARE! We discussed installing a floating mantle shelf, wiring it for power so we could mount the TV over it…. I mean we probably waffled back and forth for weeks looking at pricing and wiring and such. Then, one happy Saturday, I came across this “headboard” at my favorite local flea market/antique shop. Thank goodness it wasn’t being sold as a mantle… the price ranch for headboards is much cheaper!


We had to remove the fabric covered panel and trim it down to size with a skill saw (it was too deep for our fireplace). We cut it down from 16″ to 9″.

But then, we had to learn how to affix it to the masonry. That was kind of scary. I pictured future children hanging on it and pulling it off the wall. I let the husband handle that part of the show.


After: Fresh and Bright!

Finally… at long last, the mantle is securely mounted and now just needs a fresh coat of paint! And some accessories. It looks so much more balanced… I don’t know how this house lived 45 years of mantle-less life. I think it’s happier now. 😀


Just in time for Christmas! 🙂  I gotta say, this makeover took some patience. We moved in June 3 and got this done in December… but it was SO worth the wait. I love my bright, fresh, cottage-y mantle and can’t wait to hang some stockings!


Thanks for reading!



Bestie Table Twins

Have you ever had a moment where it occurs to you that you and your best friend are friends for an innate reason, beyond shared experiences and years and years of laughter and tears? It’s because you just genuinely like each other and actually like the same things! It’s amazing to go through life with someone that — despite time and distance apart — still sees things the way you see them (even if it is just when it comes to furniture).

Last week I got to visit my bestest friend 600 miles away and tour her beautiful new home for the first time. I all but totally freaked out when I walked into her dining room and found myself in the presence of my new farm table’s doppelgänger. TOO. WEIRD! But so much fun to realize how similar our tastes are. Check out the side by side:

Can you even BELIEVE how similar they are?? I gotta give it to her – she has GREAT taste. I think she found hers at Ashley or another local showroom. She definitely shares my design style but not my stubbornness when it comes to insisting on paying less than $50 for everything I buy, ever.

Anyway, I just got such a kick out of this and wanted to share.

Here’s to bestie love!


Dining room update – in progress

A few days ago, we successfully got our shiny new homemade farm table moved into the “new” dining room (formerly known as the formal living room) with the help of my sweet brother.


He also helped me rearrange the room – china cabinet and all – several times before we found a layout we liked.

Here’s where we started:


Notice the awkward “AA circle” as my bro so aptly named it. We were using our old dining chairs as placeholders to figure out if a seating arrangement would make sense on that side of the room. You guessed it! Not. Working.


Then we moved the table to the middle of the room:


And put the china cabinet in the nook along the side wall where it fits perfectly!


I think the room looks so much bigger now! Plus we have space for a seating area at the end of the room that’s nice and cozy instead of hanging out in the doorway right next to the foyer.


There is so much more to do to make it an actual dining room… Chair rail, box moulding, oh, and a chandelier maybe. You know, just a few more little major purchases! But for now, I think the giant table in the middle of the room sort of sells it. What do you think? Murph cat agrees… He can smell the food already!