Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Hope you have a fun day celebrating Halloween! Hopefully we will still have Trick-or-Treaters even with the rain that is in the forecast. 

Be back tomorrow sharing my new watercolor art!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Loving: Fiddle Leaf Fig & House Plants

If there is one indoor plant that is considered popular and trendy, it would definitely be the Fiddle Leaf Fig. The scientific name is Ficus Lyrata. They can grow to be really tall and are a focal point in any room.

Marion House Book
 This one is huuuge, I can only imagine this being in my house!

Peter Dunham
Elle Decor
I had heard IKEA was selling these Fiddle Leaf Fig trees so after checking their inventory online for a couple weeks, they finally got some in stock at my local store. I've read these are finicky plants to care for but figured for $12.99, it was worth a shot! The ones IKEA sell are smaller, more plant like, but they do grow fairly quickly. The one I bought at Ikea had two stalks like this one.

It also looks like Home Depot carries them now.

I've had mine for about 6 months and haven't killed it yet so I thought I'd try separating it to give each more room and encourage new growth.

My fiddle leaf fig plants seem to like the indirect light next to the windows and I water them once a week. I also turn them every couple days to avoid them growing towards the sunlight. 

Here is my other one that is in the large window:

Another favorite house plant, and some may argue more popular than the Fiddle Leaf, is the Succulent.  They are readily available at any garden center, come in many different colors and are so easy to take care of. Just put them in a sunny window, give a small amount of water every two weeks or so and they will thrive!

I also have a spider plant and a little maidenhair fern that I just picked up. I think every room needs some greenery to add some natural color, texture and to bring the room to life! 

Do you have a favorite house plant??

Update: 8/5/2015:
Wooot, Look at how much these have grown!! The one in the first picture has clearly grown faster but the other has still grown a lot! Looking at these pictures.. I need some bigger pots and will have to put the white one on the floor soon!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Before & After: Kitchen Makeover

The first area we worked on when we moved into our house was the kitchen. We finished it before I started this blog but it's taken me a while to snap some updated pictures.

This is the kitchen photo from the real estate listing. 

And here is a panoramic photo from when we did the inspection.

They removed all of the counter-top clutter but a few things were not working here. Do you see where the dishwasher is in relation to the sink?? It is a little distorted from the wide angle but that's like 10 ft away! Why is there a speaker mounted in the kitchen (upper right of the sink)?

The art deco black sconces have a teal strip that lights up when they are on. I think there were 5 of these in total, I couldn't rip those suckers down fast enough.

The previous owners were using the huge back room as a dining room and had a large dining table here. I knew there could be a better layout and wanted to add some extra cabinet space.

Here are the 'After' photos:

In the empty space, we added a peninsula/breakfast bar. It's so nice to have a place to gather around when friends & family are over.

The maple cabinets were in good condition so we tried to keep as many as we could. We added glass doors to the ones above the sink and added the new tall pantry next to the fridge. We changed out the electric stove to a gas one and got super lucky that there was gas originally installed so Dave only had to uncap and hook it up to our new one.

We added height extenders to the cabinets and crown molding then I painted everything to match using Benjamin Moore's Advanced Paint in Senora Gray. It's a little hard to tell from the photos but its a nice warm gray green taupe color, I love it! I used a lot of steps/tips from this tutorial on painting cabinets from Young House Love. It's fairly easy but time consuming and important to let each coat dry thoroughly before moving on so patience is needed! The finish on ours is pretty durable so far and it's been about 7 months since we finished and no scratches or chipping paint.

For the backsplash,  we installed white subway tiles with a silver grout - so fresh and classic. Love this new faucet, so easy to clean the farmhouse sink. The only thing we had to hire out was the new counter and we're happy to leave that one to the pros. We chose a Corian solid-surface material in Linen. It is SO durable and looks amazing, very pleased with it.

Instead of the full depth counter (24") the previous owners had sitting in the middle of the room, we went with 12" deep uppers and added a base to use it as a buffet. We topped these cabinets with butcher block which adds nice warmth to the room.

The upper cabinet was 12" deep but I wanted it to have a slimmer profile so we cut it down to 6" and holds wine glasses perfectly! We added crown molding to this cabinet and painted to match the others. We use this as a beverage center and have wine & liquor bottles stored underneath.

We also added 6 pot lights to bring in some extra light to this room which it desperately needed.

I forget how much this space has changed and how far we've come. Even though it wasn't a total gut job, we were still able to make it exactly what we wanted while saving $$. I love it and wouldn't change a thing! It took us about 3 months of working on the weekends and during the week after coming home from our day jobs.. but totally worth it!

Here is the list of sources, let me know if there's anything I missed or if you have any questions! 


Breakfast Bar Stools: Overstock Tabouret Stools
Pull Down Faucet: American Classic Satin Nickel

Sink: Ikea Domsjo Farmhouse Single Bowl Sink

Hardware- Cup Pull: Stone Mill Hardware Oil Rubbed Bronze Cup
Hardware- Knobs:Stone Mille Hardware Oil Rubbed Bronze 3 Ring Knob

Lighting: Lanterns, glass panels removed- Sea Gull 3-Light Bretton

Paint - Cabinets: Benjamin Moore Advanced Paint - Senora Gray, Satin finish
Paint - Walls: Benjamin Moore - White Dove

Countertop: Corian - Linen

Butcher Block Counter on Buffet: IKEA Numerar

Glass Front Cabinet Doors: IKEA Lidingo

Blue & White Striped Rug: Dash & Albert Lighthouse

Jute Rug in front of sink: World Market Basket Weave Jute Rug


**I'm linking this post over at Thrifty Decor Chick!

Friday, October 25, 2013

DIY Cedar Shutters

 The window company had to take down the old, aluminum shutters when we had our windows replaced and while I originally had planned on freshening them up with a paint of coat, they were in too bad of condition to be put back on the house. I'm not a huge fan of the polymer shutters that are available at the big box stores and the nicer wood ones were out of our budget so DIY to rescue! Dave & I made these in just a few hours of work and for less than $30 for the pair!

We started by picking up 6 of these Cedar Fence Pickets from Lowe's. I like the dog-eared tops as opposed to straight across.
Cedar Fence Picket - Lowe's
I wanted them to be exactly even with the window frame so we cut these boards to 50". These are rough sewn boards that were really really textured and rough. I sanded them on all sides using an electric palm sander. It didn't take too long, maybe 30 minutes and made a big difference. 

Since I was painting the raw wood, I used an exterior primer on all sides first. I actually did two coats to really protect the wood, adhere the paint, and prevent any bleeding from the knots. 

Once dry, I used the same paint as the front door 'Wood Smoke" by Glidden, two coats. I used a small foam roller to paint these and it worked perfectly, no drips and much quicker than by brush. Scrap wood was used for the horizontal pieces and positioned 11" from either end with a tiny bit of spacing in between the boards. We hung these up before our big landscaping weekend which I'm glad we did so the ladder wasn't trampling the fresh planted shrubs.

After hanging them, we filled the holes, sanded, and touched up the paint. Here's how they look today:

I am in love with how they turned out!! Just enough charm & character to add a little something to this area of the front. 

Any last minute outdoor projects you are working on before the winter/snow??


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Before & After: Curb Appeal

I am so excited to be sharing the new and improved curb appeal of our house! This last couple of weeks, we really kicked it into overdrive to get some of these changes completed before winter. Check out the start to finish process below.

This is the original listing photo:

It had terrible condition original wood windows, faded baby blue aluminum siding and overgrown bushes. From completing the curb appeal update on our last house, I knew there was some potential for this house to look a lot better. 

Once we added the new windows, a darker color on the house was needed for some contrast but it took me forever to decide on the color. The fear of picking the wrong color can be paralyzing but ultimately it's just paint! Pick a color and move on.. if it's horrible, then pick a different one and paint again!

You can read about painting the exterior in this post. The color we picked is Sherwin Williams, Web Gray. 

The mini railing was rusted out and not really attached anymore so with a few pulls and swings of a sledgehammer, it was removed. I wanted to give our house some charm & character but had to do it on a tiny budget and thought building a pergola over the front door might do the trick. I gathered some inspiration images for the pergola in this post.

I ordered a load of top soil & mulch so we could fix the grading and create a nice mound for the plants. A huge 'Thank You' shout out  to my brother-in-law, Michael, for coming out to help us move all the dirt, mulch and plant the shrubs. He is a life saver!

And finally... the After photos:

We planted a bunch of Boxwoods, a couple Rose plants and Hydrangea bushes.

We made the shutters from cedar picket fence boards. They were pretty easy to make and I love the charm they add. I will be sharing those details soon. The shutters and front door are painted 'Wood Smoke' by Glidden.

We made the pergola using cedar that I primed and painted before we installed. I'm so happy we made the decision to build this, it really makes such a difference to the front of our house!

The chair is from Lowe's here.

One last look at where we started and ended:

Changes to make in the future: new light fixture, make the porch + stairs prettier, address the scallops on gable (replace or repair), paint white trim on gable + porthole window.

If you have any questions about any of the changes we made, please send them my way!!

Also, we are honored to be included in this Buzzfeed round up 15 Home Makeovers 

Updated Pictures: