...because home doesn't happen overnight.
10.25.12 / All Lit Up

Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a weird obsession with peeking in people’s homes at night. Okay, that sounds weird. But it’s not the people I’m looking at. I’m looking at the house. The innards of the house. There’s something about seeing lights on, a TV flickering and pictures on the walls that grabs my attention. When I drive by my favorite local homes at night, I slow down in hopes of catching a glimpse inside. Total stalker. I know.

The weather was so beautiful tonight {I’ll take upper 70’s and sunshine in late October anytime Mother Nature} that I slipped outside to peek into my own house for fun and realized that I’ve totally forgotten to show you the exterior lighting we added to the Underdog. Forgive me. Also, please forgive the aftermath of our new hardscaping. Yes, that is the original screen door lying horizontally propped up against the house and a wheelbarrow to the left of the picture window and a hose reel on top of the brick planter. Junking up the front yard. We’re cool like that. If you look closely, you can see our grassy lawn too!

Our electrician-in-law urged us to go with exterior downlighting installed under the eaves. HH and I hadn’t really thought too much about exterior lighting and, if our EIL hadn’t mentioned downlighting, we probably would have added landscaping up lights instead. We’re so happy that we went with the downlighting! Our EIL placed the recessed lighting so that it washes flat areas of the brick facade. We like that it warms up the brick and gives it a soft glow. That way there’s no annoying bright light shining in through any windows to the interior.

Are  you peeping in my window? Haha! That’s okay. I’ll let you look in mine if you let me look in yours.

You can see in this picture how the lighting is placed closer to the house to illuminate the brick {accent lighting} and then further out from the front door to act as task lighting. The gray heart is covering our house number. Seriously. How does one see a house number that small from the road anyways? We might as well not have one. Which is why we have plans to replace it with larger, more modern numbers down the road. Well, not literally down the road. You know what I mean.

After living with standard incandescent flood lights for only a few months and almost all of them burning out, HH decided to look into replacing them with LED’s. I was leery. Typically, I don’t like LED’s because I associate them with a cold blue light that feels sterile – not warm. HH did some research {the man loves his research} and found a Sylvania 50W 2700K soft white flood light. It’s an LED good for 50,000 hours but gives off that warm glow I love so much. HH tracked a bunch down when they were on closeout a few weeks ago, hitting up several different Lowe’s stores to acquire enough for our house. Even at the sale price, these bad boys weren’t cheap. We paid $39.97 a pop! But they’re guaranteed to last three years or we get a full replacement. Sweet. If you’re interested, this is the newer available version.

The back of the house has downlighting too. And two new patios {!}. We’re replacing the back lights with LED’s as they burn out. We don’t turn on the back lights as frequently. You can see one light is burnt out now and needs replaced.

And because I like peeking in houses at night so much, here’s a shot of mine. Complete with kid lunches on the island in preparation of school tomorrow.

I’ve been wanting to reveal the kitchen backsplash in a true before-and-after post when the kitchen is put back together. But, what the heck!, I’m keeping it real and showing you what it looks like right now. We went with this 2″x12″ subway tile and contrasting epoxy grout in a warm gray. I love subway tile but was afraid that traditional subway tiles would have looked too busy…too many grout lines. {FYI – We’ll be using this same tile but with white grout on the walls in the kid/guest bathroom!}

You also might have noticed that we backsplashed {yes, I just made “backsplash” a verb} sparingly. We tiled up to the hood above the range and only three tiles high the rest of the way. Why didn’t we tile the entire wall? After all, I love me a focal wall tiled all the way to the ceiling. Well, three reasons: 1) It was cheaper not to. 2) It was easier not to. 3) I didn’t want the wall to be a focal wall because you see it from the front door and family room. We did something similar with the backsplash in our previous home because the kitchen, dining room and family room were all open to one another and liked the results so figured we’d go that route again.

HH removed the open shelving to install the backsplash. Once it was down, I decided I didn’t like the previous placement. While it was perfectly fine to reach and use, it was too low visually. Here’s a picture from a few weeks ago to jog your memory.

One reader recommended raising the shelves to incorporate the hood. I looked back through several inspiration photos and discovered that most of them had an open shelf in line with the bottom of the hood. I think putting the top shelves in line with the hood and the bottom shelves in line with the bottom of the wall cabinets is the way to go.

HH really doesn’t want to drill new holes and patch the old ones but I got him on board by saying it will be one of those little things that makes a big difference design-wise. We’ll be reusing the stainless steel brackets but replacing the white MDF shelving boards with reclaimed fence boards. I can’t wait to see the results of this little tweak!

What about you? Are you a legal Peeping Tom like me? Have you added exterior lighting to your house? Are you tweaking your kitchen? Did you notice anything else new that I didn’t mention? ;)

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

62 Comments

25.October.2012

Love the tile and lighting! I notice that you have a built in window box on the front window. Any master plans for that? Holiday decorations? Have you thought about window boxes for the other windows? The bedroom windows feel short. I bet they would balance the vertical focal point. Can’t wait to see your outdoor transformation.

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

Our plan is to turn the brick planter into a bench/outdoor storage as we’re constantly sitting on it as-is anyways to watch the kids play out front. Probably won’t happen ’til next summer though.

reply )

25.October.2012

Very nice, Dana! The lighting makes the house seem so warm and inviting. And I especially like the picture where your family is standing inside looking out at you taking pictures of the house. :)

reply )

25.October.2012

unless i missed something…I’m thinking the concrete is new too??? it all looks great!

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

But she already mentioned the new patios…

reply )

25.October.2012

Okay, I am a peeping Tom just like you because I LOVE looking in houses at night to see what the inside looks like- you just made me feel better by admitting it first :) There are some that are so beautiful on the outside, I am just dying for a peek of what the inside looks like too-

reply )

26.October.2012

I am a total peeping tom but like you I am looking at the house not the people ha ha. I absolutely loved this post! Your house is looking soooooo amazing. I honestly have never been a fan of white tile with dark grout but then I realized all I have seen is white tile with black grout and a lot of it, I love that your grout lines are darker but not so dark that it takes over the show and becomes the focal point. Your outside lighting looks lovely but my mouth may still be hanging open after finding out how much each bulb costs, I definitely understand why you would opt to buy them but ouch! Your new patios and grass look great too can’t wait to see what’s next. Lastly I am envious of your big shiny wood countertop (yes I did giggle as I debated leaving out the word countertop). Keep up the good work, your blog is #1 in my opinion and I always look forward to reading what you have to say and seeing what projects you’ve been busy with, I honestly don’t know how you squeeze it all in.

reply )

26.October.2012

I’ve loved peeking into peoples’ homes since I was trick-or-treating as a kid!…only to admire their interior design, of course. It’s fun to take a leisurely walk through charming neighborhoods.

Your home is coming together so beautifully! I’m enjoying the modern/masculine direction you’re taking it. I gain a lot of inspiration from your posts. Thank you. =)

reply )

26.October.2012

No, I didn’t notice, and now I’m super curious! What was it???

reply )

26.October.2012

I’m a total peeping tom if someone has their blinds open – I love seeing how others decorate and seeing the layout of a room, etc. I can’t help but look!

reply )

26.October.2012

I’ll admit, when you said you were using dark grout, I thought “oh dear… is this going to be the first ugly design choice you make?” But no, it looks really good, and just that little bit different to what everyone else is using!

As for the new item… is it your front door???

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

No. Not the front door. I wish! Or I just wish we could use the current one.

reply )

26.October.2012

The lighting looks beautiful! Your blog is always so much fun to read!

reply )

26.October.2012

Love the lightning…Your home is coming along beautifully…It looks like you may have put something on top of the planter…Maybe a cushion, it looks like bench now!

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

No. No bench cushion. Just a hose reel. Classy!

reply )

26.October.2012

I do the same thing! We’re just a bunch of house-loving freaks, that’s all. That’s why we’re here and not on a blog about sports or travel.

I am so in love with the globe pendants above the island. Beautiful!

reply )

I love the down lighting! My parents got pot lights put in their house a couple years ago and they look fantastic – makes the house look very upscale.

I think you’re right the idea of the new open shelving placement; lining the shelves up with the bottom of the hood range and bottom of the cabinets will look great!

have a great weekend!

reply )

26.October.2012

First paragragh = me! Glad I’m not the only one. Love the soffit lights and your blog.

reply )

26.October.2012

Love the outdoor lighting! LEDs with warm colors are the way to go, definitely. Lower energy usage, lasts longer…

As for the shelves, I think you’re making the right choice. Raising them with the new alignments will draw the eye right around the room.

The hardscape is looking great!! I can’t wait to hear the details.

reply )

Totally a House Peeker. Didn’t HGTV do a commercial about that? At least now I feel like I’m not alone and creepy :)

reply )

26.October.2012

after you posted these pics, i realized your house looks familiar then i realized you live like 2 minutes from me and i just got some ikea kitchen legs from your husband on Craigslist ( and i emailed you about your front door lol) ! Super cool! love your house!

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

YES! We did sell our IKEA kitchen legs on CL so it was you. Small world!

reply )

26.October.2012

The down lighting looks great – I hate uplights because they always manage to shine right in my eyes! The yard is coming along nicely – I’m sure you are glad that the walkway & patios are in and the grass is growing.

Can’t wait to see what you do for house numbers – that is one thing that drives me crazy on many houses. We walk a lot (and I look at the houses) and I often wonder why some people even bothered as you can hardly see their house number in daylight and there is no light nearby for night. Looks like yours will have great lighting – hoping you go big with bold contrast.

I had the same thoughts as Kaitlyn about the dark grout until I saw the pictures. It looks lovely – not too dark, but breaks up all the white. My only concern about putting the shelves higher is that you are a tiny person – will you be able to reach the shelves if they are lined up with the hood?

Love the progress post – we all know it doesn’t happen overnight and it is fun to see it come together.

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

Hanging the open shelves higher was a concern for me and that’s really the reason why I had HH hang them in their original, low spots. I just reached my arm up naturally and said ‘hang them here and here’ not paying too much attention to the design aspect. I blame it on baby brain. Haha! I wasn’t getting any sleep.

But after considering the design of the shelves, I realized that raising them would better follow the lines of the kitchen and their future heights won’t be any different than reaching into a wall cabinet. The bottom shelves will mimic the bottom shelf of a cabinet and the upper shelves will be similar in height to mid/upper shelf in a cabinet. I’ll be sure to let you know how they work for me after their hung higher.

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

I do understand the design aspect of the continuity of line – just not sure how well it will work in daily life.

At almost 5’4″ I just barely reach things at the front of the top shelf in my upper cabinets (they’re not tall – they have useless soffit above). So I’m often grabbing a step stool so I can reach things if they are heavy or not right at the front.

reply )

26.October.2012

I completely agree with your new decisions on the wall shelves – both the height, lining them up, and changing our the white laminate. Can’t wait to see that . (No pressure) :) The outdoor lighting looks really good.

reply )

I love that downlighting. Never thought to do that. Looks great.

reply )

26.October.2012

My brother added exterior downlighting in his eaves when he replaced the siding, windows and roof on his house and it has made such a wonderful difference! He has a large deck off his kitchen in the rear of his house and it makes being out there at night much like being in an outdoor room. I love what you chose to do with some accent lighting with yours! The lighting on the front of a house can make such a difference, I love admiring the shows stopper houses like yours will be, where every small detail has been considered. Love it!

reply )

26.October.2012

The first sentence in this post caught my attention! I always tell my husband (when we are driving somewhere at night) that I love peeping in people’s houses…he replied with, “You’re creepy!” I explained, just as you did, that I am looking at their house and not at them. Hahah! Glad to know I am not the only creeper!

-Sarah

reply )

26.October.2012

I love the exterior lighting, looks great! I also love looking in other people’s homes, especially when it nears Christmas because all the lights and decorations make the homes look so inviting.

Looking forward to the new shelving, good call on changing the height.

reply )

26.October.2012

I am a total Peeping Tom. I walk the dog at night just for that purpose! I ran into one neighbor once and told him I love their den with the brick wall. He looked at me like I was nuts and or a little creepy. I could not walk away fast enough. I always have my lights on at time and all my blinds up…so come on over to my neighborhood and take a look!

reply )

I have never seen down lighting before. So different, I like it!

reply )

26.October.2012

oh la la! replacing the mdf boards with reclaimed boards….genius! i think they will look fabulous with your stainless steel brackets. i can’t wait to see it! and i love the 2 x 12 subway tiles. and i love that you didn’t take them all the way up the wall everywhere. (that look just reminds me of a gas station bathroom!)

reply )

26.October.2012

We are adding subway tiles to our kitchen reno as well. Everything else is kind of up in the air… See how its going here: http://createbakecelebrate.blogspot.com/2012/10/create-kitchen-remodel-backsplash-and.html

Your lighting is awesome! One of my favorite pass times is driving around my favorite neighborhoods at night and looking in the windows! Talk about inspiration!

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

Your progress is looking great!

reply )

26.October.2012

Guilty House Peeper – right here. Maybe that is why I love home decor blogs soo much. I am loving the clean lines of the backsplash tile and can’t wait to see it in the bathroom. The house looks amazing at night. Those lights make all the difference. I’m also excited to see what’s in store for the back patios, that’s exciting stuff. I’m sure your boys are happy about that as well. Okay, I’m stepping away from my stalking side, but just wanted to let you know I’m living vicariously through you so keep up the amazing work.

reply )

26.October.2012

The LEDs also are great in that they don’t attract as many insects at night. I noticed a big difference when I switched my outside lights.

reply )

26.October.2012

Hey Dana,

Love, love, love the downlighting. Several houses in our neighbourhood have it and it always catches my eye when I drive past. I talk about adding them to our house all the time.

I know you’re a super-famous blogger and all who probably doesn’t need freebies from me (what with being friends with Sherry & John and mentioned in their book) , but you might be interested in a giveaway I’m hosting right now for a custom-made house number sign from Ramsign.

If you are interested, check it out at:
http://turtlesandtails.blogspot.ca/2012/10/do-you-like-free-stuff-ramsign-giveaway.html

Thanks,
Barb
http://www.turtlesandtails.blogspot.com

reply )

I definitely do the same thing, and even more, we always drive around and stare at people exterior lighting because Hubby reallyyyyyyyy wants some for our home. He always talks about uplighting, but now I’ll have to show him your post so he can consider downlighting. Thanks for the food for thought! :)

reply )

26.October.2012

I’m a neighbor and I always check the Underdog’s progress when I drive by; I’m glad to hear you don’t mind. I know the front walk is quite new, but I don’t think you’ve mentioned the uplighting in the kitchen — except on Instagram.

Roz Young, who was a much-beloved columnist in the Dayton area, also loved to “peep” into lighted front rooms as she drove past. She said that, for her, it was like viewing a little play, and she would imagine stories about the peoples’ lives inside.

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

Love the idea of viewing people’s homes as little plays. And you’re right! We have lighting above and below the kitchen wall cabinets now.

reply )

26.October.2012

The lighting looks great! I love peeping in on houses too. In our neighborhood we have a lot of the same floor plans so I like seeing what other people have done to the same house as ours.

I just recently found your blog and I love it. Have/Are you going to do a budget breakdown for all the repairs to the underdog? (Of course I understand if you don’t share that info!)

reply )

replied on October 26th, 2012

Yes, at some point I’ll include a budget breakdown. Probably next year after the driveway is replaced {that’s the last major overhaul we want to tackle…among other smaller tweaks} so it’s an inclusive breakdown.

reply )

26.October.2012

I’m actually freaked out by the thought of someone peeking into my house. Luckily I live on the 3rd floor and have lots of tall trees surrounding my condo. I’ve had my son stand in various places near the windows and I’ve stood outside to see how much someone from the street can see. Not very much. Which is good because I don’t have any window treatments – I’ve loved the uncluttered look.

I was just thinking about your yard the other day and wondering how your grass is growing. The outside is starting to take shape!

reply )

26.October.2012

Your home looks lovely, warm and inviting both inside and outside now too! I’m glad for the information on warm LED lights. I’m like you, I hate the bluish, sterile glow of most LED lights. They leave me completely cold. My husband replaced some our our dining room bulbs with LEDs last year and I hated them. I told him I felt like we were dining in the glow of BMW headlamps (which is perhaps exactly why he liked them)! ;) Maybe now I will start being able to embrace this new technology.

reply )

26.October.2012

We have a very wealthy neighborhood in my town where most of the houses are bungalow style and set maybe 5 or 6 feet off of the street. One of those communities where you know every house has been decorated by a paid professional. I too am guilty of driving around at night and peeking in the windows (from my car of course, not like in the bushes), especially around Christmas. I love to see how the people decorate their tree when money is no object lol.

reply )

26.October.2012

Yay!!! Wood shelves!!!

reply )

26.October.2012

Did you install a new window?

reply )

26.October.2012

I am glad to hear you say this. I live one street away from you and always feel the need to avert my eyes when I drive by or when I am taking a walk. I just felt like I was being creepy by trying to get a sneak peek on the progress. I will have to try and get over that I suppose!

reply )

26.October.2012

im so glad you came clean :p

i love doing that too! there’s a romantic neighborhood in our old town that i LOVE driving through in the late evening. im always worried ill hit something because i have such a hard time keeping my eyes on the road.

ive found a safer way though… i go through houses on places like trulia.com – especially if i see a house i love is for sale. i’m all over it. and to be honest, i’m usually disappointed in terms of decor [but i can forgive if they have old hardwood floors, french doors, and stained glass]. i’m a sucker for the classics.

reply )

26.October.2012

This was too funny! I am a certified stalker when it comes to homes… I guess that is why I love this blog so much. BUT to think that you are a stalker too makes me see that I am more normal than I previously thought. Love the lights! I have always had great outdoor lights except in this new house we just bought. It makes a BIG difference… can’t wait to see the new cement work :)

reply )

26.October.2012

I am not alone! I LUV driving by houses at night and looking in. When I lived in the city (Chicago) Lakeshore Drive was like crack. If ever in Chicago during nicer months sit in the passenger seat at night, driving south towards the city, and enjoy. Tons of peeping!

reply )

27.October.2012

When we lived in a neighborhood, I loved taking walks in the early evening, when lights were on but blinds were still open.

The lights in the eaves is beautiful.

reply )

Coincidentally, I just did a minor tweak to my kitchen cabinets today! You can take a peek here if you’d like: http://ahomefullofcolor.blogspot.com/2012/10/bits-of-saturday.html. Oh and by the way, Im also a total peeping Tammy! Its shameful, I tell ya.

reply )

28.October.2012

I do the same exact thing – and I also make it a point to sit on the top deck of the bus because the most people that are up a floor leave their windows completely exposed. Oh and the posher the area, the more Im encouraged!

reply )

29.October.2012

I’m so fond of the sprawling ranch bungalow and must admit to peeking inside the large front picture windows to see whether or not there is a brick fireplace inside the living room. I’m loving what you’ve done with your home outside and in. I’m curious as to what type of front door you plan on. Will you keep the original and weather-proof it or replace with a mid-century insprired brand new door?

reply )

replied on October 29th, 2012

We’re hoping to reuse the original door but weatherproof it with a simple storm door painted a contrasting color.

reply )

Waow, I loved the every single piece of the interior. That’s what I called a perfect home,
Amazing! Specially your kitchen has grabbed my attention and LED’s were totally awesome. No
words to describe this perfection. :)

reply )

05.November.2012

I’m a total peeping tom when it comes to my neighbours… I try to disguise it when walking the dog, but I’m totally looking in windows to check out people’s decor. So much so that I had to introduce myself to the woman a few doors down because she took down a wall I’d been contemplating taking down in my house (we have the same layout) and I wanted to see exactly what it looked like before I got out the sledgehammer. Turns out, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would… :)

reply )

06.November.2012

Ha! I cracked up reading this! I totally look in people’s houses too! My husband thinks I am crazy! Now I know I’m not the only one! HAHA

reply )

I am totally a house-peeker too! And never to peek at people, but to try and catch glimpses of decor. :)

reply )

06.December.2013

[…] – Another lighting project suggested by our […]




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing