Hi everyone! Thanks for being so patient while I spent time away from the laptop. Steve and the kids had two weeks off work / school and I forced myself to unplug from the blog and social media in order to savor our sweet time together. But now that we’re sick of each other (ha!) and snowed in, cabin fever is beginning to set in. Back to reality.
At the beginning of each new year, I have a tendency to focus on all the things I didn’t accomplish during the previous year. While I do find it helpful to assess my shortcomings, taking a moment to acknowledge the things I did tend to gives me a confidence boost moving forward. Here’s looking at you 2014.
I set up a small workspace in the kitchen which includes the cutest lil’ lamp. Having a designated and organized place to write posts, edit photos, pay bills and play house secretary has been glorious.
We created an easy-to-use attic access and organized the attic. No more heating the attic! No more hour-long searches for that one thing I know is up there somewhere!
We revamped the entry inside and out. (But sometimes – like today – the FedEx man forgets the front door is functional now and brings deliveries to the back door.)
I shared our biggest renovation regret and the details of a game-changing renovation project.
I bought a fiddle leaf fig and somehow managed to keep it alive.
I continued with my efforts to disguise all of Steve’s audio equipment.
Mabrey lost her beloved B (a.k.a. Berry). I bought two replacements.
Mabrey burnt my favorite chair. I bought one replacement cushion.
I revived a vintage dresser.
I painted the garage door as a stopgap measure and we had the driveway replaced. 2014 was the year the exterior graduated from crack house to okay-maybe-I’d-let-my-kids-play-there house.
I was wifenapped! (One of my favorite memories of 2014.)
We (and by we I mean Steve) tiled the main bathroom. Twice.
I made out with John & Sherry’s show house.
I upgraded the toilet seat in our master bathroom and it was kinda magical.
I busted out my sewing machine for the first time in a long time.
I worked really hard just for me then I bought a bikini.
I shared my thoughts on quitting my day job. (One of my favorite posts ever.)
I spruced up my childhood clubhouse for my kids and nieces. (One of my favorite projects ever.)
I adopted a kitten even though I thought I wasn’t a cat person. (One of the best uninformed decisions I’ve ever made.)
We declawed a claw foot tub – not our kitten.
We went on a real vacation and stayed here.
I created an easy Thanksgiving tablescape.
And I finally got around to piecing together a legit house tour. (Main bathroom coming soon!)
Those are the highlights I’m remembering as I ease into 2015.
A big THANK YOU to all my (real life and virtual) friends who allowed me to share their Ikea kitchens and home renovations. You are an inspiration to me and homeowners everywhere. (Be sure to check out John & Sara’s kitchen and MIL suite in Nashville. And you must see James & Kristina’s renovation of a midcentury family home here in Ohio. It includes a new kitchen-dining area, a reworked layout and the coolest playhouse.)
And, last but not least, thank you. Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to read my words and write your own if / when moved to do so. I know you have a million other things you could be doing and I don’t take that lightly. You’re the best.
Happy new year!
I am enjoying quality time with my family over the holidays. I hope you are too. I’ll be back to more regular posting next week but I wanted to (finally!) share a tour of the boys’ room. Happy holidays!
We had originally intended for each of our sons to have their own bedroom. We were a family of four when we purchased the 3-bedroom house. A few months into the renovation, we discovered we were expecting a third child. Surprise! We did some shuffling around and decided this room would become the boys’ shared bedroom. It had all the same problems as the other two bedrooms in the house: old / stained carpet, extensive termite damage (i.e., disintegrating baseboards), general neglect. The modest room faces southeast and receives a generous amount of natural light, but that was about the only thing it had going for it.
As in the other bedrooms, we demo’d the exterior walls and added foam insulation. We upgraded the electrical to include overhead lighting, installed new windows, ripped up the carpet & laid engineered hardwood, added chunky baseboards and switched out cumbersome sliding closet doors for hanging fabric panels. I painted the walls three times before finally settling on a black and white scheme which incorporates paint colors used in other parts of the house.
Functionally, we needed the room to act as a bedroom and playroom. (We don’t have a spare bedroom, separate playroom or basement.) To maximize open floor space for play, we brought in a set of bunk beds and hung floor-to-ceiling curtains around them to evoke the feeling of a hideout. A trundle provides an extra bed for sleepovers. Carpet squares form a rug and provide a soft spot for floor play. The low profile allows the trundle to roll overtop easily.
The beds are pushed up against an oddly placed recessed wall. Instead of trying to disguise the recess, we chose to emphasize it with wood planks. The warm wood also ties in to a vintage dresser on the opposite wall. Each bunk has its own book ledge and reading light. At night, we pull the curtains to enclose the bunk. The windows have blackout roller shades installed behind the woven blinds and we pull those down at night, too. The bottom bunk is THE BEST napping spot in the entire house. I can attest to it ;)
The majority of the boys’ clothing (warm and cold weather) is stashed in freestanding dressers. This one near the door is Everett’s. I tweaked it with vertical stripes of washi tape. When we tire of it, we can just pull it off without damaging the dresser. A round mirror reflects light from a south-facing window. White tins on the dresser hold whatever items the boys are collecting at the moment. The brightly colored fabric balls are actually lights. They’re a playful touch.
The closet holds toys, costumes, books, a few hanging items, pajamas, underwear and socks. Regular editing is essential but not terrible. The boys are very good about letting go of things that they’ve outgrown or broken. We’ve found that the curtain panels allow easy access to the closet’s contents. *BONUS* – They’re quiet, too. We hung a basketball hoop and painted a Calvin & Hobbes mural which speak to our kids’ interests.
Open shelves provide a fun display. Yarn-wrapped letters are a nod to the fabric ball lights on the other side of the room. The dresser is vintage. I cleaned up the finish and switched out some of the hardware. It holds Layne’s clothing with empty drawers to spare. Two floor baskets are sanity-saving catchalls. At the end of each day, I have the boys bring them out to the living room to gather toys then return them to their room. It’s a quick way to tidy up.
Layne and Everett are avid readers. They requested a reading chair in their room. I tricked out an Ikea chair with Prettypegs. They tie in beautifully with the midcentury dresser and wood wall. The table lamp swivels to provide task lighting. A vintage ottoman is the perfect spot to prop feet while diving in to a good book. A wood box on wheels corrals books. The art is a mix of thrifted finds & DIY projects and adds interest to the corner. The boys also requested plants. I chose a hanging planter to free up floor space.
Aesthetically, I wanted the room to reflect the boys’ personalities without veering from our home’s overall vibe too much. It was a challenge. Repeating certain elements found throughout the house (i.e., natural wood tones, hits of black, cozy textures, woven shades, tribal patterned textiles, plants, etc.) really helps the room to feel like a continuation of the rest of the house. Fun accents like the basketball hoop, comic strip mural, colorful ball lights and art (Layne is obsessed with Sweden!) make it special. Luckily, the boys LOVE their room. My favorite is when I find one of them curled up on the bunk or chair with a book, unprompted.
Resources of note:
white wall paint & trim – Benjamin Moore white dove
black wall paint – Ace Paints besalt, mixed in the Clark + Kensington line, flat finish
ceiling light – LampsPlus
rug – Flor
curtains – Ikea
curtain rod & track – Ikea
bunk beds – Ikea
sconces & book ledges – Ikea
peel-and-stick wood planks – caramelized bamboo, Stikwood
linen duvet – etsy
gray & white striped pillow – Ikea
Hmong lumbar pillows – DIY
tribal pillow – H&M
Mexican blanket – vintage, ebay
framed Lego art – Joe Shymanski, gift from the boys’ aunt who lives near DC
Sweden poster – etsy, framed by JoAnn’s
ball lights – Bright Lab Lights
4-drawer dresser – Ikea
round mirror – Ikea
midcentury table lamp – LampsPlus
white tins – Ikea
basketball hoop – Amazon, spray painted gold
wall mural – DIY
wall shelves – Ikea
cardboard deer head – Cardboard Safari
mini mannequin – Ikea
Garfield chia pet – Amazon
yarn-wrapped letters – DIY
wooden spools – vintage
dreamcatcher – etsy
floor baskets – Nate Berkus for Target
woven shades – petite rustique from Overstock
midcentury dresser – vintage Drexel, ebay
streamline knob – Anthropologie
task lamp – Serena & Lily
chair – Ikea
chair legs – Prettypegs
ottoman / footstool – vintage, ebay
faux leather pillow – etsy
Hmong pillow – etsy
Hudson Bay blanket – vintage, etsy
framed engineer print – DIY, frame & mat via Amazon
bullseye art – DIY
hanging macrame planter – etsy
rolling book box – custom piece from the boys’ grandfather
This room didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took a few wrong turns along the way. If you’re interested in seeing how this room evolved, here are a slew of related links:
You can access the boys’ bedroom tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding THE SECOND BATHROOM soon! Thanks for reading!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
We put up our tree last week. Cheetah was verrrry interested in it before we added lights and (unbreakable) ornaments. She disappeared into the tree once and we had to pull her out but, since adding the decorations, she seems to have lost interest other than batting around a few ornaments on the lowest branches. Just in case, we anchored the tree to the mantel with fishing line ;) WE ARE THOSE PEOPLE.
*Coolest open house ever.
*So much potential.
*DIY corner shelves. (Way to go, Alison!)
*A reader from Estonia contacted me this week. It piqued my interest and I did some reading up on the area. Now I want to visit! Have you ever been? This beach villa looks amazing and this old town home in Tallinn looks so cozy.
*One mama’s thoughts.
*Someone gifted me an Amazon gift card for my birthday. I bought this book and have been devouring every word and image. I’m kind of sad I only have a few pages left to read.
Have a great one!
images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Alexis Hamilton