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

sister wedding

bouquet

photo booth

Hello! How are you? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! Haha. Just kidding. I come from a family whose motto is “no news is good news” which means things are good on my end. A little busier than normal, but good.

My (much) younger sister, Alina, got married a few weeks ago. She looked beautiful, as always. The ceremony took place outside on a soggy, overcast day. It rained all day but let up just in time to wipe down the guest chairs and say “I do.” Five minutes after the ceremony was over, it started raining again. Perfect timing!

I was a matron of honor along with my other sister, Rihana. Mabrey was the flower girl, and Everett was the ring bearer. Before Everett and Mabrey walked down the aisle, I told Everett to remind Mabrey to toss her rose petals if she forgot. Three-quarters of the way down, Everett glanced in Mabrey’s basket and must have thought she wasn’t tossing efficiently enough. He whispered something to her and she immediately came to a complete stop, let go of Everett’s hand and dumped the basket upside down, emptying its contents in one fell swoop. She got some laughs. Layne was a legit groomsman. He wore a tux and a boutonniere, escorted a bridesmaid, the whole shebang. He looked so handsome and grown up! I was shocked when he later told me he wants to add a tuxedo to his wardrobe. Says the kid whom wears fluorescent athletic apparel on a regular basis.

The flowers were gorgeous! I couldn’t stop admiring them. Alina worked with a local florist who offers affordable DIY bouquets. Basically, you select your floral arrangements a few months in advance then show up the day before your event and the florist gives you a quick tutorial on how to create the arrangements yourself on site. You have several hours to put everything together. The results look professional but cost way less. Alina chose blush roses, white hydrangea, ivory astilbe, eucalyptus and dusty miller for the bridesmaids’ bouquets. They were so, so pretty.

We had a blast at the reception. The boys were dancing maniacs. They absolutely love weddings just for the dancing. Steve and I were able to steal a few moments in the photo booth. Sombreros and oversize heart glasses for the win!

Anyway.

It was a wonderful celebration, and I’m so happy for Alina and Pete. They are experiencing so many exciting changes right now. Not only did they just tie the knot, they are closing on their first house in a few weeks (it’s a dreamy, historic colonial with hardwood floors and original woodwork), moving to a new city and starting new jobs. I’m going to miss them so much!

A few things…

*Made me cry.

*Made me laugh.

*Tips for meditating at home.

*I’m on a candle kick at the moment. I have this candle burning in my kitchen and this candle burning on my nightstand.

lil boy room 2

lil boy room

*Love this little boy’s room.

*A $20,000 house. Say what?!

*That’s one epic treehouse!

*I gifted the newlyweds a set of brass coasters, a print from one of my favorite artists and a guest book for their new home. Secretly hoping they ask me to help decorate ;)

Hope you are well!

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4 & 5) Anna Smith

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Jill whose favorite recent mail includes anything from Amazon. Ha!

modbox 1

We live in a township which means we avoid city taxes and must abide by ordinances that help keep property values high such as mowing the lawn regularly, not parking broken down vehicles in the driveway and generally maintaining our home’s appearance. When we were in full on renovation mode, we received a notice from the township regarding peeling paint on the front door, garage door and mailbox post. I found it comical, if not a bit infuriating. Here we were breathing new life into a decrepit property  – removing dead and overgrown trees, installing a new roof and windows, completely updating the interior, etc. – and we were being served a letter for a petty thing like peeling exterior paint. I couldn’t help but thinking that if we had left the trees in place (they completely blocked the view of the house from the road) until some of the major work was finished, the township wouldn’t have even noticed the peeling paint.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the township’s commitment to optimizing property values, but wasn’t it obvious we were working hard to improve the property already? We were addressing more pressing issues and would get to the peeling paint eventually. In the end, to avoid fines, I slapped a few coats of paint on the garage door and mailbox post as a stopgap measure. Steve shuffled around projects so he could tackle the restoration of the original front door. Meanwhile, a full bathroom sat gutted inside the house.

Fast forward four years, we’re finally in a place where we can address little things like a mailbox. (No pun intended.) The mailbox that came with our house had seen better days. It looked like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. The door didn’t close properly, and the flag had fallen off and been “fixed” numerous times. The *painted* wood post was rotted.

I’ve had my eye on Modbox USA, a sleek mailbox reminiscent of midcentury modern designs. I contributed to the Kickstarter program last year and even mentioned it on the blog at one point. The creator Greg, a midcentury design enthusiast, got the idea for the midcentury-inspired mailbox when he stumbled upon an issue of Atomic Ranch in which a reader asked, “Do you know of a good source for ’50s period mailboxes?” The editor replied, “The retro market seems to be wide open.” And an idea was born. The fundraiser was a success, and Steve and I were giddy when the mailbox and post showed up on our doorstep.

modbox install

The mailbox came with installation instructions, and Steve installed it without too much trouble. Due to the depth of the frostline here in Ohio, he did have to add a length of metal rod to the post to avoid shifting. He set the post with concrete in a cardboard form tube then rigged a support system constructed of lumber scraps and clamps to hold the post in place while the concrete cured. Once the concrete had cured, he added the mailbox.

modbox 3

I’ve never been so excited about a mailbox in my life! It’s one of those things you don’t really think about until you make the upgrade. The simple design is perfection. The fabrication is impeccable. The company uses 20 gauge steel which is 75% thicker than today’s standard mailboxes.

modbox 4

modbox 5

Checking the mail has never felt so luxurious. The door has a magnetic closure, and the handle has some heft to it. It’s a far cry from the rusted door we had to yank open and slam shut on our previous mailbox.

modbox 2

The two-tone color highlights the streamlined design. The mailbox is offered in all original Eichler exterior color accents. We went with the eucalyptus and white color scheme to tie in with the metal roof and garage door.

Greg at Modbox USA has agreed to offer up one mailbox to a lucky House*Tweaking reader! No curbside mailbox? No problem. Modbox USA offers wall-mounted mailboxes, too. Find giveaway entry details below.

PRIZE: one wall-mounted mailbox (including letter tray) or one curbside mailbox (including post) from Modbox USA in your choice of color.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address in the continental U.S. (No P.O. boxes please.) One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming, “MODBOX ME!”

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 8th. One random winner will be announced Monday, May 9th.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: What’s the best mail you’ve received lately? Tax refund? A wedding invitation? A letter from a good friend? We got a statement from the bank officially showing our mortgage balance as $0.00. Feels so good!

Use the discount code TWEAK15 to score 15% off your entire Modbox USA purchase now through May 11th, 2016.

Good luck!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

nursery after 13

Mabrey turned four last month. I think that means I can no longer call her bedroom “the nursery.” I also think that means it’s time to make some changes. The nursery setup has served us well, but our spunky girl is growing and I want her room to evolve with her. A few items can stay: the rug, ceiling light and window treatments. We’ll be letting go of other items to make way for more age/stage-appropriate pieces. Here are my plans for the space…

Big Girl Room

1 – I’m nixing the dark walls to create a brighter, fresher space that better reflects Mabrey’s personality. Two walls will be painted the same white that’s in the boys’ shared room. (It’s Benjamin Moore white dove.) I like the idea of the kids’ bedrooms having a common denominator, so we’ll be giving one wall the Stikwood bamboo treatment to mimic the boys’ wood wall. The fourth wall will be covered in Cavern Home’s tapestry zuni wallpaper for a boho vibe. In the past, I’ve installed wallpaper solo and also with Steve’s help. I thoroughly despised the process each time. I’m seriously considering hiring the job out this time.

2 – I’m replacing the crib/toddler bed with a twin trundle. I mentioned loose plans for the bed here, and just this past weekend Steve and I painted it olive green. It looks incredible! Look for a separate post on that project soon. I’ll be switching out the knobs on the trundle with robust leather pulls. (Initially, I considered brass pulls but later decided they probably aren’t the most kid-friendly option.) The room is tiny – not even 10′ x 10′ – so there’s minimal space for a bedside table and lighting. I’m forgoing the traditional nightstand + lamp combo in favor of a versatile wood stool and a midcentury modern wall sconce. I’m pairing simple white bedding with a colorful kilim pillow and an indigo throw.

3 – Currently, an eight-year-old IKEA EXPEDIT unit holds Mabrey’s clothes.  The piece has traveled with us from a large house to a small interim apartment and finally to our current home, serving as toy storage, a media cabinet and dresser along the way. Looking ahead, I think a squattier piece with drawers would better suit Mabrey’s needs. It will serve as both a dresser and bench for seating. A striped pillow invites sitting.

4 – I’m bringing in new accessories to spice things up. The wild & free banner is soooo Mabrey. The moody indigo watercolor pays homage to the nursery wall color. The felt letter board is a fun way to display Mabreyisms and quirky phrases. An oversize jute basket will corral favorite toys and provide some of that natural texture I love so much.

That’s the gist! I’m throwing in a few surprises to keep things interesting, and I’ll be posting progress pics on instagram if you want to follow along. As I mentioned, we painted the bed over the weekend. It’s off-gassing in the garage as I type. After the paint has cured and the leather pulls are installed, I’ll write up a little “how we did it” post. I’m so excited to see this room come together and watch Mabrey’s reaction. She saw Steve unpacking her bed yesterday and said, “Oh Daddy! Thank you! I love you.” So sweet.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking