...because home doesn't happen overnight.

fridge side panel 3

When we were designing the kitchen, we were a little confused about what to do for the exposed side of the fridge. A side panel would most certainly tidy up the appearance but would it be weird to have a full-length white side panel in a tuxedo kitchen? Would a white panel extending all the way to the floor look strange with black lower cabinets elsewhere? We couldn’t decide. So when we ordered our Ikea kitchen and discovered the side panel we needed was on indefinite backorder, we let it go.

We lived with one side of the fridge exposed to the living room for a few years. As much as I adored seeing my kids’ creations and accomplishments stuck up there, things felt cluttered and chaotic. In preparation for the photo shoot, we finally got around to purchasing and installing a side panel…three years later.

Luckily, Ikea sells a white 36″ x 96″ cover panel in the current SEKTION line that matches the older AKURUM cabinets – which we have. (It’s the FÖRBÄTTRA cover panel in case you’re wondering.) We simply cut it to size and screwed the top into the cabinet above the fridge. The bottom is secured to the floor with small L brackets.

fridge before after

I love how the side panel visually connects the cabinet above to the fridge below. The fridge looks more built-in so the entire kitchen feels finished and polished from the adjacent living area now.

fridge side panel 1

The crazy thing is the white panel is a non-issue after all those weeks and months of rolling around the idea in the early stages of renovating. It just makes sense. (Can you spot the kitty lump in the mudroom? Haha.)

fridge side panel 4

The way things were displayed before was very random and haphazard. Just papers and magnets in disarray. So much so that it was hard to appreciate any one thing. After the new side panel was up, I slapped on some of my favorite family-oriented instagram prints from Artifact Uprising using washi tape. I find Mabrey standing on the step stool studying the photos on a daily basis. It’s so cute.

fridge side panel 2

I guess the takeaway here is, if you’re in the middle of renovating and you can’t quite figure out a particular detail, it’s not the end of the world if you need to wait it out or live with it a while for it to make sense. I can remember getting so caught up in stupid little things mid-renovation. They drove me nuts! Often times, taking a step back and focusing on something else helped. I’m just not sure why it took so long with this one.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.20.15 / Liked & Linked

bye BHG

shoot leftovers

Whew! Last week was surreal and quite the whirlwind in the best way. Living behind the scenes of a magazine shoot opened my eyes to so many things. I will never look at house tours in print the same way again! I snuck a few behind-the-scenes shots and jotted down a ton of notes to share when the feature goes live. For those of you who have asked, I don’t know yet which issue our home will be featured in but, as soon as I do, I will let you know. (I’m told it will be sometime in 2016.)

The BHG crew left on Friday. They were lovely and funny and down-to-earth. Saying goodbye was more difficult than I had anticipated. The kids really enjoyed having company and action at the house. They were so disappointed to wake up to (what felt like) an empty and quiet house the day after shooting wrapped. Mabrey grew attached to Natalie, a BHG editor. She even made up “The Natalie Song” and was bummed when she learned that Saturday was Natalie’s birthday and we wouldn’t be able to have a cupcake party for her at our house. It was the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing. Whenever I walk past one of the leftover floral props, I do a double take and think, “Wait. Did that just really happen?”

Needless to say, we had a slow weekend. We hung out poolside with dear friends all day Saturday and holed up inside while it stormed on Sunday. I got a little antsy and hit up a nearby open house just for fun. With the shoot (and several tedious projects) behind us, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the studio and enjoying a few more slow weekends before the kids start back to school.

A few links…

*Ogling this custom printed upholstery fabric.

*After months of brainstorming, we’re thinking about replacing a closet at the end of our hallway with built-in cabinets similar to this setup. Yes? No?

*Remodelista’s best of the best. Which will you vote for?


*I dogeared this simple, family-friendly beach house in the latest issue of Dwell. I can’t believe it’s <700 square feet!

*I am forever adding design books to my wish list. This week it was this, this and this.

*I finally found the perfect swim trunks for the boys. They love them! They can do all the cannonballs they want without readjusting or retying their waistbands. Pool time just got waaaaaaayyy easier mamas.

Happy start to your week!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3) Sean Fennessy for Dwell magazine

07.14.15 / Photo Shoot!

I’ve been keeping a secret.

BHG shoot 1

This week a team of art directors, editors, stylists and photographers from Better Homes & Gardens arrived at our house for a photo shoot! One of the home editors at BHG reached out to me this past spring about the possibility of a feature. I was asked to send over sample pictures and a narrative detailing the renovation and any special features of our home for a pitch. Honestly, I didn’t expect things to go any further than the pitching stage. I was so shocked when I got an email saying the editorial team had unanimously chosen our home for a feature. WTF?! Up until this week, I was half-expecting them to retract the offer, to realize their mistake and call off the whole thing. I mean, we’re just a normal family living in a normal house that we’ve slowly tweaked into our home.

But now that things are in full swing, I am so excited!

BHG shoot

I’m excited to watch the pros work their magic. I’ll probably ask way too many questions and annoy the heck out of them. I’m excited to see our home through someone else’s lens. Sometimes it’s fun to see the place you live in a new light. I’m excited to witness what goes on behind the scenes of a legit photo shoot. Spoiler alert: A LOT. Our garage is standing in as a temporary prop room for the stylists and also a storage room for photography equipment. Obviously, I’m excited for the feature itself, too. I can remember reading my grandma’s BHG magazines as a kid and I’ve been a regular subscriber in my adulthood. To open the magazine and see the fruit of our blood, sweat and tears doesn’t seem feasible. It’s just plain crazy to even think about at this point.

What I’m most excited about though is the fact that a real house is going to be featured. We’re in Ohio – nowhere near a coast or trendy city. We live in a modest ranch built in the 60s – not a new, custom build or even an old house with charming architectural details. We have only the rooms we need and nothing more. There is no guest room or play room or sunroom or basement. I hope BHG readers will find our home inspiring because it’s relatable and achievable. There’s nothing extravagant about our home or lifestyle.

So the big secret is out! I’m jotting down notes and snapping a few behind-the-scenes pictures to share with you when the feature goes live sometime in 2016. I’m also bribing my kids to be on their best behavior. (Mabrey put on an impromptu dance recital for the team yesterday and Cheetah is stealing everyone’s hearts.) And it looks like the weather is going to cooperate, so YAY! I’ll be posting a few sneak peeks from the shoot over on my instagram account if you want to follow along.

As always, thanks for reading. There is absolutely no way this feature would be happening without this blog. And there’s absolutely no way this blog would be happening without you. You all are the best. Thank you.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking