House Hunting with Mary: Vol 2

House Hunting with Mary

Y’all ready for week #2 of House Hunting with Mary? Can you tell I’m sticking with a Southern theme here 😀 As far as real estate goes, I’m pretty partial to the oldies but goodies. Some of that is due to the details in older houses, but more than anything, I love, love, love the look and feel of an established urban neighborhood with 200 year old trees and 100+ year old houses and lovely little brick paver paths with flowers and ivy creeping up along the side. You picking up what I’m putting down?

Well now that we’ve visited lovely homes in both Raleigh and Asheville, I thought we could move a few miles further north up to Durhum. Home to Duke University, this city has lots of lovely neighborhoods where I’d consider setting down roots and staying for a bit. And amazingly homes. Like this one.

Durham Real Estate

Come to Mama. Lurrrvvve it. Whenever I find a house in my browsing that I really, really love, I immediately grab the hubster and tell him that I found our next house. When that fails to get his attention, I make my voice a bit more stern and tell him that I’ve actually really found our next house and if he doesn’t scoot his booty over here to see it, I’m going to march down to NC and just buy it myself. With imaginary money that grows on trees … 😉

I mean, any house that starts out with a porch this lovely, is a house I have to own.

Porch with Wood Flooring

What I love the most about this house, is you can absolutely see a family going about their day in it. Hanging out on the front porch sipping on a glass of wine as the neighbors walk their dog by. Or in this kitchen, a whole group of bambinos hanging out with their papa bear cooking (this mama bear does not cook) 😀

White Kitchen with Oak Floors

That’s a heart to my home if I ever saw one. I’m dying over here – isn’t it gorg? I just want to kiss those counter tops and chest bump the cabinets. Mine, mine, I want it to be alll miiinnneee.

Here is another view of the kitchen, you can see a perfect little mudroom/laundry room off to the side.

Kitchen with attached Laundry

I love how the dining space opens right up into that gorgeous kitchen. Perfect for entertaining!

Red Walls in Dining Room

At the front of the house, you have a few different living areas. I love the den, which has built-in bookcases along one wall. Gorg.

Built-in Bookcase in Study

There is also a formal living space to the right as you walk in, immediately across from the Den. Complete with a lovely little fireplace.

Living Room with Fireplace

Upstairs, the house has wood floors throughout with fireplaces in some of the bedrooms.

Is that a life long dream for anyone else? A fireplace in the bedroom? Yes, please.

Bedroom with Light Oak Floors

Even the closets are super cute and chic!

Plank Walls in Closet

Tell me, which room is your favorite? Got a soft spot for the kitchen like me? 😀

House Hunting with Mary

We’ve all got hobbies that take up a little bit too much of our free time. You kinda enter the big fat black abyss when ya start and then when you look up an hour’s passed, and you really don’t have that much to show for it. My all time favorite hobby (time suck/obsession/can’t reign me in cause I’m gonnnee…) is searching for my next abode on trulia. And by next abode, I mean houses I will never, ever own. Houses that I just choose to pretend I’m moving into. 😀 Sounds fun, doesn’t it?!

Since I know many of you are as obsessed as me when it comes to scanning out all the real estate on this fine green earth, I thought I’d start a blog series where we can all drool over the goodies together. Y’all excited?!

House Hunting with Mary

For our first official installment, let’s head on down to the land of the pines, shall we? Asheville, Raleigh, I’ve got a soft spot for all of them. Especially when the streets are lined with homes like this.

Brick Colonial in Raleigh

Swoon. That’s some legit gorgeousness, right? Here is a tour of the rest of the joint. You enter right in to a grand foyer, with a double decker staircase.

  Grand Foyer

To the right of the entry, you enter into the formal dining space. Since our home only has an eat in kitchen, I always stop in my tracks and drool when I see a nice formal dining space.

Red Formal Dining Room

To the other side of the entry, there is a nice cozy living space complete with big (beautiful!) windows and another fireplace. I think the only rooms without fireplaces in this house are the bathrooms. No that is my kinda house! 😀

Traditional Living Room

One of my favorite things about this house is the tradition touches you see throughout the entire place. These pocket doors are so lovely, mostly because they haven’t been painted over and still have their original beauty and luster. I like the contrast of the dark wood doors with the lighter trim and floors – it really makes them stand out.

Antique Pocket Doors

Venturing further in the downstairs, you’ll find a gorgeous study. In it’s current form, this room can also flex into being a bedroom, but I think it would be super fun to add some floor to ceiling built-in bookcases and perhaps a darker, more masculine color on the walls?

Study with Persian Rug

The kitchen has a lot of original features as well, with beautiful cabinetry that goes all the way up to the ceiling. So. much. storage.

Vintage Kitchen

Heading to the upstairs, this wall of built-in closets caught my attention. What a great use of space in this hallway.

Wall of Built-ins

And capping off our tour, how about this cozy looking bedroom? I love the dark blue color they used in this space, it’s perfect!

Dark Blue Master Suite

Pretty little thing, isn’t it? Which room is your favorite?

The Best of 2013

Pretty much a year ago today I started this groovy little blog. A whole lotta home improvements later, I thought it would be fun to do a best of collection for 2013. Hold your pants, America, cause there were some pretty epic transformations going down in this place.

Best DIY Projects of 2013

You betcha. We’ve been busy little beavers. Here is a recap of the year’s most popular posts.

Kitchen Renovation

It was one hairy beast, but our kitchen is finally in a non-renovation stage (unless you count me trying to cook something) 😉 We said goodbye to our light oak cabinets (and a wall) and hello to some brighter and whiter stunners! I think we’re both pretty smitten.

DIY Herringbone Backsplash

Bathroom Renovation

Our bathroom went from 80’s to oh la la when we added some sweet little details like our herringbone tile shower. We loved the pattern so much that we even popped the same style in for our kitchen backsplash.

Herringbone Subway Tile

Built-in Bookcase

Even though it’s got me on the hook for a new (larger) TV for the hubster, our built-in bookcase was a pretty big hit around here, too. Best part was, we paid a fraction of the price of a pre-fab (non-builtin) option, with the entire project coming in at just over $400.

DIY Built In Bookcase

Floor Refinishing

It was one of the more painful projects we’ve under taken to date, but the floor refinishing really made a big difference in our house. Overall, I’m really glad we tackled this one and stretched our DIYing wings to try something new.

How to Refinish Floors

Refinishing Furniture 

Sometimes a $20 thrift store find is pure magic. Since we started refinishing the old furniture we find, we’ve been able to turn some pretty beat up pieces of furniture into some pretty chic new (to us!) furniture. All for pennies on the dollar.

How to Refinish Wood Tables

Crown molding 

Fit for a King, our crown molding made a h-u-g-e difference in our kitchen. We went for the bulky thick stuff and I’ve got a mega soft spot for it. Lurrrvvee.

Installing Crown Molding

Basement Bathroom 

True to form, knowing me, if we were doing one bath you’d better bet I was going to do the other. (My poor husband) We laid down some 12″x12″ marble tiles and got things looking a bit more classy. Better than the kermit the frog walls we had rocking the place before 🙂

Northern Cliffs Bathroom

Attic Renovation

Granted, this one is DEFINITELY still in progress (drywall being installed as we speak!) but this attic is on it’s way to being what I think will be my favorite space in the house. From insulation to bathrooms, we’ve been busting this one out for the last few months, and we are ready to be donzo.

Framing Bathroom in Attic

Weed Killing 

Leave it to the powers of pinterest, but this weed killing post was the MOST POPULAR post of the year. Who knew that some dish soap and vinegar would be such a hit! 😀

Happy New Year, blog friends! Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by to read the blog, it’s always nice to have you!

Getting Vain

If you came to our little abode to visit me right now, you’d find me sitting in front of a clock and staring down the days, minutes and hours until our plumber arrives. This lady is ready to bust a move and get some b-room action a-happening. In the spirit of getting this boat out of the harbor, I’ve started some serious vanity shopping. Actually, some serious everything shopping. Our rough-ins are getting installed on January 6th, so our main game objective is to have all of the fixtures purchased before hand so that we can get right to the installation after the plumbing work is done.

Just thinking about how close we are to actually installing the finishing touches upstairs makes me want to do this.

Crazy Dance

For the vanity, in many ways I’d love a nice deep gray or charcoal. Yum. But in all honesty, the most affordable options I’m finding have almost all been white. Le sigh.

See I really, really want the top to be marble. If I can’t have it in my kitchen, then by George, I want that beautiful stuff adorning the walls of our bathroom. The thing about a marble top vanity, is that 1) they are a bit harder to find than your average run of the mill variety and 2) turns out, they’re also more expensive. Go figure.

Right now, my top vanity contenders look like this.

Marble Top Bathroom Vanities

Hard to decide when there are so many delicious options. A few things helping me my choices down is that big fat bottom dollar.

  1. Hamilton Vanity: $593 (granite top)
  2. Amelia Vanity: $850
  3. Hampton Bay Vanity: $519
  4. Smithfield Medium Gray Vanity: $750

Of these options, I’m liking #3 the best right now, since the final price is a bit more manageable. Although I LOVED the last one, is just north of $1k, for a fa-reaking vanity. Ya hear me, fine brothers and sisters?

In the name of getting things all ready for our very exciting installation (Yes, I’m still dancing like crazy man above every time I even think about thinking about it), we decided to put on our big kid pants and commit already and buy it. To save some mollah, we went with option #3. Done.

Now onto toilets. 😀 Ready for some fine looking porcelain potty’s? Annnd GO.

Dual Flush Toilets Once we started our search for the almighty throne, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually overestimated the cost we’d be looking at for the new addition. Which is good, cause I underestimated the cost of this whole shabang in general, so I’ll take any extra casho I can get.

  1. Glacier Bay Dual Flush: $158
  2. American Standard Dual Flush: $199
  3. Glacier Bay High-Efficiency Dual Flush: $98
  4. Kohler Memoirs: $349

Initially, I had budgeted $300 for the toilet, so  we were pretty happy to find the majority of our options comfortably fell within that. We immediately ruled out the cheapest option (Choice #3, it just looked chincey), and moved on to some of the other dual flush johns. Just sounds swanky, doesn’t it?

We landed up jumping for options #1 on the list. It seems to be a good mix of function, price, and looks.

So right out of the gate, we were able to decide on the two most important fixtures that we’ll need to get this bathroom up and running. Bam. That feels good. Now onto some of the trickier parts.

Slanted Ceiling Bathroom Mirror

This is the wall that the vanity will be going on. See that slant action happening? Yeah, that makes mirror and light shopping a wee trickier. A light above is definitely out, since that would be way too tight. Right now, we are thinking we might be able to squeeze in two side mounted lights flanking a mirror, but we’re going to have to get creative.

When we were out and about at HomeGoods this weekend, I snapped some pictures of a few possible contenders. Like this one.

Gold Sunburst Mirror

And this one.

Gold Round Mirror

I thought I should give y’all a nice smile, since I’m chilling in the picture, too 😀

Although I lurrrve the first one (hello sunshine!) I’m concerned that 1) the mirror part is a little rinky dink and 2) that the sunburst part may interfere with our side mounted sconces. Tricky thing with HomeGoods, if ya don’t snag those goodies, next time you walk in you risk the last Joe Schmo snagging your treasures away. So, in the name of playing it safe, I may just cart my bootie back there and snag the sunburst options and return it if it lands up not working. 😀

So, now that we’ve got au toilet and the vanity ordered, our bathroom is at least (starting) to take shape! Once they are installed, the layout of the room will be like this. Cozy, but I think it will work!

Adding Bathroom to Attic

Want to see more bathroom renovations? Here’s how our newest bath turned out!



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Sir Mix a Lot

Ok. We’ve done a complete 180. So goes the life of a DIY home renovation blogger. We’ve flipped and we’ve flopped and we’ve finally landed. You know how I said we were doing a half-bath, THEN said a full-bath. Well guess what, America. We’ve landed flat back on our bellies and we’re staying with the initial game plan by popping in a smaller bathroom.

If you’re all like – wait – but didn’t you already frame out a full bath and tell us all about how you’d be doing a full fledged big ol’ b-room up in the attic, then you’d be right. Here it is, to refresh your memory. Framed and all.

How To Install a Pocket Door

So before you get your pants all in a bunch about it, let me give you the play-by-play of where we are at today. Turns out a full bath has a full price and the dollars and cents just were not going to fly for what we were hoping to get out of it. Aka – return on investment. Not really there. Since we are pretty young (26) and know that we won’t be in the house until we retire or anything (I mean, we’d be lucky if we last 5 years…), ROI is pretty darn spankin’ important.

For starters, just to get the rough-in’s done, we’d be looking at a $2,000 bump UP in pricing i.e. not including the fixture installs. When it was all said and done, it was going to be almost $4,000 extra (EXTRA!!) to pop in a shower, with us doing like 99% of the work. Um – that is a lot of money, right?! We just couldn’t justify the cost and knowing we won’t be in the house forever and a day – the full shower just wasn’t enough make or break it for us.

Cost of Adding New Bathroom

The other thing that swayed us away from the full bath option was the resale value we’d be able to capture on our house. I’m sure the full-bath would have been a BIG selling point, but I also think some of these improvements might start to price us out of our neighborhood just a bit. Most homes have a bath, or a bath and a half on our block, so adding a full third one just felt a bit out of the stratosphere.

Taking the wall down actually felt kind of liberating, and it definitely felt like the right decision as we moved forward. Look how much more open that side of the room feels, now!

Framing Bathroom in Attic

Another advantage of the half bath option is that we now have an extra window adding lots of sun rays into our bedroom, making everything even more bright upstairs. The new bathroom option will be 5×4, with a sloped ceiling along the back wall. Although it will be cozy, we are very excited about the function it will add to the space!

We had an intsy teensy bath in our last home, but found it was so very nice to have a place to get ready for bed, right next to our bed. Now our new bathroom will be like four times the size of the one below, but you can see that you really don’t need much space to plop down a sink and au toilet.

Small Bathroom Design

Since we are working with a smaller space now, we’re excited about making it a bit more of a statement room. I’m loving this look right now, and thinking about integrating a darker wall color with some wainscoting or subway tile.

Small Black Bathroom

I’m also obsessed with the look of grasscloth wallpaper in a bathroom.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in Bathroom

You smell that? This bathroom is Reek-o-chico. Chicest thing I ever did see. On second thought … perhaps I shouldn’t ask you if you smell something while showing a photo of a bathroom. No scratch and sniff technologies here 😀

As far as materials go, I’m leaning toward a neutral base pallet, which should leave lots of room for getting spicy with fun wall paper or paint. Since the room is so small though, I didn’t want the nuts and bolts of the space to be competing with each other for eyeballs. Look at me. NO, me!!

Bathroom Inspiration Board

The look above is pretty close to what you’ll be seeing come install day. Our plumber will be here on the 6th of January – and we will be right behind ready to install some fixtures. YEEEEHHHHHAAAAHHH buddy!! Whoppdie whoo loopie looo babbadaa booooo ryhmes with poo, which I can do, in my boo(tiful) bathroom soo(n). 😀 Ha! I’m loling over here, y’all.

I. Can’t. Wait!!


Bathroom Beautification

Sometimes I get all gang busters on a room, and I forget to swing back through for some of the finishing details. Guess I’m a bit big picture that way. Plus, I  like being efficient, which often (in my head) means moving on over to the next space. Take the the downstairs bathroom for instance. Last winter, we had lots of fun turning it from this:

How to remove bathroom tile

To this:

Herringbone Subway Tile

Side view:

Traditional Marble Bathroom

But now that we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting in our house, I’m starting to come back through areas that were feeling a bit incomplete.

Like this area of the bathroom. A wee sparse, ya think.

Art Work in Small Bathroom

And the best part? I’ve actually had this artwork right under my nose the whole stinkin’ time. Geesh.

One night I was shuffling through one of our junk drawers and I came across two dainty little botanical prints. I was all, shiver me timbers, where are these from matey? (I’m writing this post on Halloween – a pirate just came to the door – what can I say). 😀

Antique Botanical Prints

And then it hit me, ah YES. These are remnants from our art collage in the dining room. We made an executive decision at the time that our collage was going to look too rectangular with (8) prints across, so we decided to keep things simple and only put (6) up. Past Mary looking out for Future Mary – I love when that happens.


We also had grabbed a few frames on a prior run to HomeGoods so we were all systems go in that department as well. Sa-wweeettt!.

Gold Frames in Bathroom

Since I’m a HomeGoods addict (seriously, I think I need a support group) I also decided to pick up this purty little number to add to our basket stash. At $4.99, I couldn’t pass it up.

Ah, yes, well on our way to a pretty potty.

  Small Natural Fiber Basket

Here is a shot of the art work (and basket) in action. Smokin’!

Botanical Art Work in Bathroom

Our loo is becoming quite the looker post the art addition 😀 In case you needed some persuading …

Seriously – not sure what took us so long! Especially since these prints have just been chillaxin’ in a basement drawer.

Adding Art to Small Bathroom

Speaking of adding art to our abode, we’ve got another great giveaway lined up for Wednesday! Swing back for a chance to win an awesome print from uplift prints! Feast your eyes, America, on some of the loot you can snag below!

Jeremiah 29 11 verse



All, Or Nothing, or Half

So … confession. Remember when I told you all about our attic insulating bonanza and how great it was and how warm we’d be and how cheap it was. The thing I left out in this insulation love fest was that this hairy beast took WAY longer than either of us ever anticipated. Every. single. night. has been dedicated to this attic for the past 2-weeks. It’s been a dragola. Mainly because insulation is boring and it’s not fun to spend 2,000 years on a project that makes babies cry. From boredom.

To deal with my inner pain of having to wait it out to move on to any of the fun stuff, I’ve decided to dream away my days and try to hammer out what the upstairs bathroom will look like. Can’t help it, I’m a big picture type of girl. Once we finish this insulation (please Lord, let us finish) we’ll be lobbing off a chunk of the room to dedicated space for our fancy flusher water closet. A holy grail for our porcelain potty if you will, a la this photo.

Converting Attic to Master Suite

Dimensions wise, this photo is a pretty accurate depiction of the floor space that will be used-up to pop in this new bath of ours. Right now, the room’s dimensions are around 17′ x 11′, not including the long hall adjacent to the stairs where our closets will be. Now, for comparison, our current bedroom is 9′ x 11′, so we pretty much feel like we are moving into the Taj Mahal. Shwanky.

After we chunk off a piece for the bath, we will be looking at a room that’s 12′ x 11′, which in old house talk, means giant. We’ve got a few options for what the bath will look like, too.

Bathroom Options

Option #1 gives us a walk-in shower, similar to this bathroom. Walk-in shower and my house are never two words I thought I’d hear mashed together. It gives me the jitters. The good kind.

Option #2, gives us a double vanity. That’s two sinks, in one bathroom. That’s crazy talk. Crazy delicious talk. Omitting the plumbing for a shower is also kind of appealing.

If we go small, Option #3, we’d also have room for a wee little sitting nook over looking the neighborhood. So quaint and cozy. I can just see myself curled up with a book now.

So much to ponder, my heads a spinning. To help me visualize some of our lovely options, I took to my dear friend photoshop and started a workin’.

Marble Bathroom Mood Board

I’m a sucker for marble, that’s fo shizzle. A marble mosaic floor and some grass cloth wall paper. Yes sirree Bob. Sign me up brotha!! As you can see, I opted for the double vanity in this first rendition. I think I would just stand there and high five Jay while I brushed my teeth. The whole time.

Since you bump into yourself in our current teeth brushing space, having 11 FEET to crank our elbows around would be like the best thing ever.

Marble Bathroom Mood Board

Since I’m a hard core fan of a gray vanity (like our downstairs bath) I thought I’d switch up the first little photo op with a gray option. Yummmy. Maybe some darker details with a black or ORB frame. You picking up what I’m putting down?

If we went the small, cozy route, I think that I’d do a white plank wall to add some rustic character to the space. Perhaps something like this.

White Plank Bathroom

It’s fun to try out different options and see which one strikes my fancy the most. After lots of chatting with the hubster, I think we are leaning toward the double sink option since it will give us lots of elbow room, while having pretty straight forward plumbing to work with.

Although it would be nice to have a shower, we’ve already got two in the house, and there are only two of us … We don’t have any double sinks though, so that won the roll of the dice! Next steps:

  1. Hiring Plumber to do rough-ins
  2. Framing and drywalling bath
  3. Purchasing the fixtures
  4. Installing them!

Ya know, pretty much everything. 😉 Help us decide! Which bathroom option do you think is best?

Bathroom Options

Feeling Moody | Giveaway!

Mood boards are one of my favorite ways to envision a space – it’s the best way to get my design mojo a going and my pinterest button a clicking.

For instance, when we were working on the downstairs bathroom remodel last winter (seriously, was that last winter?) I put this little guy together to keep track of some of the details I was hoping to incorporate into the space.

Marble bathroom, antique bronze, polished nickel And as a point of comparison, this is how our tiny water closet turned out.

Traditional Marble Bathroom

We went with the floors from the Tile Shop and LOVE them. They make me feel like tap dancing. Which I’d do if the room wasn’t like 2 feet x 3 feet. I tap dance in my head anyway.

White Painted bathroom threshold

And although I didn’t get all the gold accessories I was initially pegging for, I did spot this little antique painting at the resale shop, and I think that it adds some warmth into the room. Still working on some final details for the space, but it’s coming along.

Small Antique Frame

When I was looking to get all inspired to tackle our latest and greatest project up in the attic, I also popped some images together to get my vision aligned with reality. Now, were not nearly done with the attic, but I’m using this board as a general template to help guide us as we work on each component of the room.

Plus, it helps me to begin the sourcing process, which can be tedious at times when you’re having a hard time finding exactly the right item, in exactly the right price range. Actually it’s usually easy to find the right item, it’s that pesky budget that gets in the way. 😉

Master Attic Conversion Mood BoardAnd now that we’ve started working on the basement in a bit more earnest with the built-in, I also decided to throw it down into the mood board gauntlet and get all inspired for that space, too! Just looking at it makes me start fist pumping, which is exactly what an inspiration board should do, get ya all hyped to get that space purty.

Living Room Mood Board

So, are ya wondering what the giveaway is? 😉 Kept ya hanging, didn’t I. 

Since I’m such a mood board maven, I thought I’d holla at all my buddies out in the blog land and offer a free mood board to (3) random readers! Got a room you’ve been dying to tackle? Just comment below and tell me, what room is giving you the blues? Why do you want to revamp it?

Here’s the scoop on the details: I’ll contact the (3) random winners a week from today (10/23)  and get crack a lackin’ on a designed space just for you, which will include sourced materials so you can hunt down all the specifics after! I’ll announce the winners at the bottom of this post, and the bottom of my 10/23 post, too! Good luck!

Kiwanis Collection

Yep, you heard it here first, folks. Genuine vintage prints, only $1 bill. Holllaaaa. I had it in my head that I wanted to hit up Kiwanis this weekend to get some new art, and MAN did I hit the treasure trove.

Like this little guy, popped it up in the downstairs bath. Guess how much it set me back. If you guessed one green back, you’re the grand prize winner. Yes sirree, that’s some cheap art. Sure it’s small, but it’s just so stinkin’ perfect for our downstairs bath. I’m rather smitten.

Small Antique Frame

We also found some big old prints at Kiwanis that were also – wait. for. it. – a buck!! None of the art was priced so I pretty much couldn’t contain my excitement when the sweet old lady at the art counter kept telling me all my treasured finds were $1 each.

Granted the prints had seen a bit more wear in their day, but I’m just going with the theory that it makes them look more genuine. 😉 And, the larger ones didn’t come with frames. Being highly motivated to see our new lovely prints popped up on the wall, we took an afternoon jaunt to Michael’s, where we snagged these frames (which are HUGE) for $26 each. Being used to IKEA frame prices, this was actually a wee bit of a splurge for us, but with the art only being a buck, I figured it evened itself out.

Frames from Michaels

Much to our surprise, since I thoroughly measured the prints before we went out shopping, we actually had to trim the art down a bit before it would fit in the frame. We could have used custom framing for the prints, thus avoiding the use of scissors on our freshly minted, beautiful little art friends, but let’s be honest, that’s pricey, and I’m cheap.

So we very carefully set to trim the sides of the art to get the right dimensions. Malcolm offered a paw. 😉 Five seconds flat that little orange boy was laying on the mat and “helping”. His favorite thing to do 😉

How to install art

Malcolm continued to offer a helping hand as we put the wire on the back of the frame, in order to hang the print up. Being the greenies we were to home improvement, we never put a wire on the back of our art, and over time, we started to notice that our heavier frames would buckle at the top from the weight pulling down on the frame. Since we had the wire just laying around, we figured it was best to do things the real deal, legit way and avoid ruining our new expensive frame.

How to Hang Large Art

Here is the first print above the bed in the guest room. It’s not perfect, since technically the print could use a larger frame that would allow a mat the entire way around, but ya know what, it’s good enough for now. We can always get a larger frame down the line and add matting. The frame actually matches the bed frame perfectly. Win.

Vintage Mountain Landscape

Here is a close up. It doesn’t fit perfectly, but I’m calling it good enough for now 🙂 Not bad for a buck!

Antique Art Print

My last one dollar find at Kiwanis was this guy, that I decided to put above the dresser in our living room. It’s in the same frame as the one in the guest room (they were buy one, get one free! :)), but I think the rooms are far apart enough that it isn’t too distracting. It’s not like we are the Louvre here people. 😉 We initially had intended to pop this guy up above the couch, but it just looked too small there. On to plan b.

Vintage Art Print

My final find at Kiwanis this weekend, was this awesome dude. Still trying to find a name. Thinking Geoffrey, or George. he he. One of my friends mentioned that he’s kinda scoping out anyone that comes in the door and protecting us – see how he’s looking right at the door! 🙂 He was a SPLURGE at $6. Overall, (4) pieces of art for $10. That’s my kind of shopping.

Antique Painted Portrait


La Grande House Tour

Since the house is looking mighty different these days, post kitchen reno and post floor refinishing, I thought it was high time to give y’all an update of the house and a new lay of the land.

The main floor has definitely seen the most change since we moved in almost a year ago, in October 2012. Notably, we refinished the floors and gutted the kitchen, along with the bathroom reno and lots of other fun things. On this level, I don’t think we will have any huge changes going forward other than some additional decorating and sprucing. Biggest change of them all, no wall between the dining room and living room. Use your imagination to magically remove that from the floor plan below 😉

First Floor Layout


Got to leave a good first impression, right 😉 The foyer had baby blue walls and a mural on the ceiling when we moved in. We painted over the mural like the first week. I actually feel moderately bad about that, since I think it was a pride a joy type of thing for the previous owner, but Lordy, there was just no way I was going to keep it around. Different strokes for different folks.

  Entry Before and After

These days, we’ve got our dark walnut floors greeting you and some fun artwork on the wall. I think it would be awesome to find a gorgeous vintage rug for this space, but since I’m a cheapo, that’ll have to wait until the stars align and I find one for a steal of a deal. For now, the entry is looking like this.

Minwax Dark Walnut

Living Room

Other than painting and refinishing the floors, the room has not seen a ton of dramatic changes. The previous owner had kind of an odd furniture configuration, so that was a quick fix! 😉 Here is the before:

Living Room Before and After

And here it is now! One thing I’ve learned about myself decorating this house is that I LOVE big rugs. I feel a song coming on … I like big rugs and I cannot lie, you other home DIY decorators can’t deny, that a big rug just fills up that space and makes you want to cel-e-brate. Ok – had to … 😉 Here it is now, with the BIG Pottery Barn Owen Jute rug.

Large Jute Rug in Living Room

Downstairs Bath 

Our first true full renovation in this house was the downstairs bathroom. Here is how this bathroom looked before we moved in. Kinda like the water closet for kermit, ode to green. More than anything, this bathroom lacked any storage space. No vanity, no spot to put your toothbrush, just a little rinky dink shelf that led to lots of clutter up in here.

Bathroom Before and After Now we’ve got ample storage, mainly due to the built-in we decided to install between the studs in the tub surround. It’s turned out to be the perfect location to store all of our toiletry goodies, we even had some extra room for some bathroom beautification. Holla.

Traditional Marble Bathroom

Master Bedroom

 This one has come a long way since the days of our oreo cookie walls. Very chic, very not our style. We decided to go with something a bit more understated in this space.

Master Bedroom Before and After

Here is a recent snapshot of how the bedroom is looking these days. We painted, refinished the floors, bought these curtains and did some general sprucing.

Emmie Spets Sheets IKEA

Dining Room 

Wall, schmall – who needs it. Not us! It’s gone off to wall heaven while we enjoy our nice open and airy dining/kitchen space. Here is how the dining room looked the day we moved in, with the kitchen over to the left.

Dining Room Before and After

W’ere pretty ga ga over the new space. Every few days we look at each other and say – I can’t believe we almost didn’t take out the wall. I can’t even conjure up an image of what the renovated space would have looked like without the wall removal and I’m pretty glad we go the random charge of energy and guts to just go for it. It wasn’t easy, it was mega dirty and at times made us want to go in a corner in cry, but ya know what, it was so worth it.

Refinished Antique Table


Oh the kitchen. The land of faux finishes and wall murals. After 8-months of owning the house, we knew big changes had to happen in this space to make it the kitchen of our dreams. This is what the space looked in the beginning.

Kitchen Before and After

A wall removal and a total gut job later, the abode is looking like this. You could say I’m in love. We still need to add a few deets before the space is totally done (crown, etc), but we are on our way.

White Shaker Kitchen Cabinets