...because home doesn't happen overnight.
01.18.15 / Made Me Smile

cajun stew in the works

How was your week? Ours was spent tackling a few little projects around the house and mostly just trying to stay warm. One afternoon Mabrey helped me make the cajun stew from Martha’s One Pot cookbook. (…while the hood vent’s grease filters were soaking in soapy water.) It was soooo good. The perfect comfort food for a chilly evening.

Some comfort links ;) …

*An Ikea kitchen for kids.

*Woven wall hangings are all the rage but have you heard of soundweavings?

*In the future we’ll heat our home with…sweaters?

*A timeless tuxedo kitchen.

annabode coffee station

*The cutest lil’ coffee station. (The rest of the house is pretty cute, too.)

*Anyone looking for a historic house near Cincinnati?

Happy long weekend!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Anna Smith

I keep a running list of my favorite house tours. I refer to them for inspiration or when I just need a good eye candy-induced pick-me-up. I thought you might enjoy seeing the online tours from the past year or so that made my it list. Here are 10 in no particular order.

laurel canyon cottage

1. Laurel Canyon Cottage – I absolutely love how an array of vintage items (textiles, furniture, accessories, art, etc.) gives this cottage a collected and cozy feel, yet careful editing keeps the space from feeling cluttered. I think I need some mudcloth in my life!

midcentury family oasis

2. Midcentury Oasis – I’ve touted Commune before. One of the firm’s designers is the homeowner of this amazing abode. More than the decor (which is fabulous), I adore the backstory of the home. I’m a sucker for underdogs. I want to save them all! I’m also inspired by the use of built-ins in this midcentury gem.

alyson fox new build

3. Austin New Build – Ironically, I am equally inspired by this home which was built new from the ground up. I’m drawn to the open layout, warm wood tones, dark kitchen cabinetry and the abundance of natural light. My dream house has tons of natural light and comes with a lifetime window cleaning service ;) This home was actually featured twice last year. See more of it here.

amber interiors

4. Eclectic California Home – Amber Lewis knocked it out of the ballpark with this remodel. I could move right in and wouldn’t change a thing. I’m always amazed at how effortlessly Amber mixes patterns. She makes it look so easy! And the master bathroom design is stellar.

house of schoolhouse

5. The House of Schoolhouse – The owner of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. calls this place home. If you look closely, you will notice many Schoolhouse products on display but this isn’t a showhouse. It isn’t too precious. It was designed for a family of five with durability in mind. I’m taking note of the planked walls & ceilings and all the family-friendly nooks like the built-in desk area and mudroom.

casual modern loft

6. Casual Modern Loft – This small space feels homey thanks to lots of layering. I love all the natural touches & textures and how the owner worked with the builder grade cabinetry in the kitchen and bathroom. It’s a good reminder that not all kitchens and walls have to be white and / or custom to be great.

global family home

7. Global-Inspired Hideaway – Technically, this tour is from the tail end of 2013 but who’s keeping track? Again, lots of different textures and materials (sheepskins, Moroccan rugs, nubby linen, woven wall hangings, painted & unpainted brick, copper, concrete, wood, leather, etc.) work together to lend a cozy vibe. I also like how there isn’t a rigid color scheme and nothing “matches” yet everything goes together. This home was previously featured on Apartment Therapy before its Domino debut. See it here.

little cabin in the city

8. Little Cabin in the City – This 800 sq. ft. rental was originally featured in 2011 but it resurfaced this year and I’m glad it did so I could add it to my list. I have a soft spot for small spaces and this one does not disappoint. Every square inch is utilized. It has an imperfectly perfect, lived-in vibe that feels just right. Proof that bigger isn’t always better.

comfortable and stylish

9. Comfortable and Stylish Family Home – This original Streng has Steve and me itching to find a midcentury gem with good bones. (FYI – Steve said this is his favorite online house tour to date.) I’m so happy the homeowners kept the original kitchen and cork floors while bringing in modern pieces and finds from their travels. Even without a bunch of kid paraphernalia lying around, you can tell it’s well suited for a young family. I love that it isn’t overly designed. The outdoor space is pretty amazing, too. See before-and-afters here.

organic modern sweet spot

10. Organic Modern Sweet Spot – What do you get when you mix an architect’s attention to detail with a floral designer’s natural touch? You get one pretty amazing house, that’s what. From the interior courtyard to the tidy built-ins to the material choices (love the repetition of the gray tile), this home is exemplary of good design that will stand the test of time. It’s unique and trend-free with a focus on quality. If I had to choose one favorite tour from the past year, this would be it. There’s nothing else like it.

Do you keep a list of inspiring home tours? What are some of your favorites? I’d love for you to share links in the comments section!

images: 1) Tessa Neustadt 2) Douglas Friedman 3) Michael A. Muller 4) Tessa Neustadt 5) Jeremy Bittermann 6) Kim Lucian 7) Brittany Ambridge 8) Marcia Prentice 9) Ashley Bruhn 10) Kim Lucian

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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!