...because home doesn't happen overnight.
01.07.15 / A Look Back at 2014

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.

DIY sueded cord cover 6

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!

exterior entry 2

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 & B

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.

exterior before & after

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.

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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.

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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.)

clubhouse south side 1

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.

thanksgiving 2

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.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 15

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 hope you don’t mind if I eke out one more post from our recent vacation. It’s dark and cold here so I’ve been living vicariously through the vacation photos on my phone. I thought maybe you would like to do the same. Photo dump, anyone?

rosemary beach post office

As I’ve mentioned before, we stayed in Seacrest which is sandwiched between Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. We spent most of our time biking and walking around Rosemary and I was so inspired by the architecture which you can read more about here. Seriously, have you ever seen a cuter post office?

rosemary beach house

rosemary beach house

No house is just like the other but there is an underlying vibe that keeps things feeling harmonious. I was especially drawn to the exterior material choices: wood siding, cedar shingle, stucco. And the windows. THE WINDOWS.

rosemary beach garage door

rosemary beach driveway gate

rosemary beach gate

There were so many good door and gate moments, too. I nearly wrecked my bike rubbernecking. Steve and I spent ten minutes ogling the galvanized downspout on that green garage. I loved the unique silhouettes of the gates. The attention to detail is incredible.

rosemary beach modern porch

rosemary beach traditional porch

There was a juxtaposition of modern and traditional that kept things interesting. I noticed something new and different on every bike ride – even if it was an area we had passed through before. For a design nerd like me, it was sensory overload. In a good way, of course.

rosemary beach hidden lantern

rosemary beach hidden lantern

rosemary beach hidden lantern

One of our favorite places to visit was The Hidden Lantern Bookstore in downtown Rosemary. It’s part bookstore, part art gallery, and it’s gorgeous yet homey. There’s a big, comfy sofa and plenty of cushy chairs which make it difficult to leave! I noticed a trio of paper lanterns covered in “scales” cut from book pages. The featured artist was Rae Broyles. Her work is amazing.

I discovered this new book on display and wouldn’t shut up about it because when in Rome… Steve secretly bought a signed copy on the last day and gifted it to me for my birthday. He’s the best.

We ate dinner out a few nights. Since the kids were with us, our options were a bit limited but we really enjoyed Cowgirl Kitchen (get the smoked tuna dip and shrimp & grits) and La Cocina (get the fish tacos and lobster quesadilla plus a margarita). Both were family-friendly and delicious.

alys beach

On one of the cooler days, we biked to Alys Beach just to gawk. Alys Beach is one of those unattainable places that makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong in my life. Ha! The homes are opulent, beautiful and crazy pricey. Here’s a little Alys Beach trivia for you: The community is centered around Lake Marilyn. Interestingly, the lake was an afterthought. It was added in 2005 in response to a need for an irrigation reservoir. Overhead, the lake’s contours resemble those of a curvaceous woman. Hence, the name Lake Marilyn was born.

lays beach house

This was the only house small enough to fit in my viewfinder!

alys beach pool

This is just a sliver of the pool area. There are private cabanas with a lap pool on one side and woodland preserves on the other. Stunning.

alys beach horse sculpture

We stumbled upon these horse sculptures constructed of driftwood. The kids loved them.

alys beach window

alys beach door

More window and door moments. Can you EVEN? Most of the homes are centered around interior, private courtyards that feature fountains and pools. We could hear water trickling beyond the doors. It was so dreamy.

The boys and I hit up Charlie’s Donuts for breakfast one morning. We really wanted to try George’s and Fonville Press but, alas, they didn’t happen this trip. Next time! Who’s with me?

Okay, I think I can make it through winter now ;)

P.S. – The #HolidayHostess event continues this week with Jennifer from Dear Lillie. Her recently re-painted kitchen looks cozy.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

12.15.14 / Made Me Smile

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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.

More happenings…

*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.

british standard kitchen via Remodelista

*Kitchen love.

*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