...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.28.15 / Liked & Linked

summer fun

breakfast tacos

balayage lob

With only two weeks until school starts (?!), we’re trying to soak up what’s left of summer. Last week we cooled off at the pool, hosted a sleepover, met up with old friends, took slow family walks, slept in, lounged on the back deck, caught fireflies and harvested two cucumbers from our garden (if you can call it that). Our breakfasts and dinners have been later than usual. Breakfast tacos are on heavy rotation because they’re so easy and no one whines. On a whim, I had six inches of hot, sweaty hair lopped off. And after a year of teasing from my dad (oh, have you been painting stuff white again?), I had my grays colored. I’ve never really had a hairstyle per say. It’s been long – too long – for years. And I’ve never done more than subtle highlights every few years. So this new lob + root color + balayage combo is quite the change but I LOVE IT. I think I’ll actually keep it around for a while…and maybe even go shorter next time.

More things to love…

*A DIY garage door before-and-after. Yowsas!

*A 5-month renovation. The white cork flooring is a unique yet practical choice.

*This amazing family home. (Final reveal by Amber Interiors coming soon.)

*American-made warm LED work surface lighting.

*Please tell me you’ve already seen this.

makehaus kitchen

makehaus kitchen 1

*I will never tire of small space renovations. (Note the top shelf extending above the sink window.)

*A hilarious account of taking your kids with you to the gynecologist. It’s been more than 4 years since I survived a very similar experience. One day I’ll share but I’m not there yet.

*The magic of not trying so hard is a very real kind of magic. (Psst…Holly is writing a new book!)

*This adorable book light is saving my marriage.

*My hair stylist recommended using this dry shampoo to stretch the time in between washings and preserve my new color. So far, so good.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4 & 5) Heather Jennings for Make+Haus

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

07.14.15 / 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