Pretty Pillows and Curtain Calls

Ok – so remember this post? With our blerg bedroom. And then this post with our slightly less blerg bedroom with some lamp action?

Confession. I got my shop on y’all. I mean – Homegoods/Target style – but it happened. And it was pretty much a glorious thing. Sometimes the shop gods are just on your side and when they are – you roll with it.

It started with these little ottomans. They’re technically storage ottomans – but that’s just funny talk since they have like 2 inches of interior “storage” capacity. But they’re cute, right? And they cost less than $30 each. WOOOT.

Ottomans at End of King Bed

I love, love, love how they look at the end of the bed and added bonus – the little human thinks they are da bomb for climbing up and snuggling like a ninja. Another added bonus, Mom and Dad no longer have to lift the nugget up since he can climb up all by his big self just like a little dog with their little bed steps. It’s so cute.

So, when you give a moose a muffin… I found these winner winner chicken dinner pillows at good old HG. I lurve them. They are my one most favorite thing that I’ve ever owned in my life. I love how they look up against the white duvet. And that pattern – divine.

Tribal Lumbar Pillow

And then – same trip – I found 96″ curtains! I have only ever found 84″ curtains at places like TJ Maxx and Target so finding out that HomeGoods now carries long curtain was the cats pajamas. Did you all know this? Have I been living under a rock?

Homegoods 96" Curtains

This is what they look like up close.

Sources for Inexpensive Curtains

Here is a view of our little room that could with all our spicy nicey going on.

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Oh and I also got this little blanket for the end of the bed. It was 20 bucks. I couldn’t help it. I could help it, I chose not to help it. I know I have a problem. It’s hard to see from the photos but the blanket has a cool (subtle) geometric pattern on it and it’s incredibly soft.

Here is another view of everything meshed together. I know it’s a lot of different colors and patterns, but so far, I’m liking it!

Revere Pewter in Bedroom

Oh my gosh – it’s so much better than what we had before!

Master Bedroom Before and After


Ok – so for the longest time in our living room, we’ve had a white rug. Which is like dangerous before a child and after a baby it’s just really nutto. I mean – truth be told – the cat was the main problem with all the vom action he had over the years. He would like go out of his way every. single. time. to puke on the carpet. And then along came Henry …

Benjamin Moore Pale Oak

This rug has been with us through many a house. As we were recently bidding adieu to it, Jay said kinda nostalgically that it was the first real rug we ever owned. lol. And it kinda was and it’s literally made it into (4) houses now, and really, I can’t say that for many other pieces of furniture. Here it is below in our Master Bedroom in our second house.

Emmie Spets Sheets IKEA

But y’all – I was pegging for a persian rug. I’ve just had it in my head that these beauties like immediately help your house to look lived in and collected. Being a constant mover/purger, that’s something I’ve struggled with the most with our decorating – the concept of a collected over time space. We had a persian in our kitchen up north and I loved it (hides stains like a champ, too)

Antique Persian Rug

So I started the mad hunt. Craigslist, of course. Nothing. Ebay, some options (lots of them actually), but it seemed like all the ones I like were just far enough out of our price range, and I also had some analysis paralysis about spending loot on something I couldn’t see in person first. So one Saturday, I made Jay and H load up into the car for a country extravaganza to hit up an antique store out in the boon docks and it paid off big time. For anyone local to the area, the antique locale is Raleigh Furniture Gallery and they had a ROOM OF ANTIQUE PERSIAN RUGS. And y’all – wouldn’t you know it – right when I walked in, there on the floor in the main room staging some furniture was the prettiest persian I’d laid eyes on with dimensions that worked with our space to boot.

Here are a few shots of the new addition down in our living room.

Collected and gathered look, right? It’s got some super dark navy and black in it, which, ya know – the darker the better since baby and voming cat, but also, the dark navy goes so well with our little chair we found on craigslist. I love the detail on it, and think once we purchase a seagrass rug to layer underneath it that it will fill in the space perfectly.

Here is another close up shot of the pattern on the rug. Delicious.


This is how the room looks now when you come in from the garage.

Persian Rug Sources

It has some discoloring on one of the sides from what look like water damage at some point, but meh, kids, husbands, me – it’s bound to get some additional character marks over time 😉

Vintage Persian Rug Raleigh

Things are finally starting to feel like home!



Bar Stool Beauties

If I ever was to have a woman cave, a retreat from my crazies around here, than it would be our perfectly primped little guest room. I mean, it just feels cave like … I guess it’s cause we’re usually watching TV up here and it’s all moody with the lights out and dim. Ummm can I just say I know I’m behind, but Parenthood y’all. I’m so obsessed. It’s like any night we’re just sitting around I’m up here with a bowl of ice cream just crack a lackin or crying my eyes out. One of the two.

Remember our bonus room? And all my plans for it? This room?

Living Room and Bedroom

Right now we have no seating up here other than the sofa, and I’d love to add in some bar stools eventually to give some extra space to park the party for a bit. As obsessed as I am with craigslist (I seriously need to dedicate a quick post to show you some of the treasures I’ve been getting on there), sometimes you have to call the national forces and look beyond your own little hill in this world. That my friends, is when my eyes wander over to Chairish which has tons of vintage and way chic goodness. I mean quite frankly, most of it is way chicer than anything we be swinging, but a girl can wish, right?

Vintage Barstool Kitchen

Arteriors Home Henson Counter Stool | Rustic Wood Iron Pair |  Arthur Umanoff Bar Stools | Industry West Bar Stools | Wicker Bar Stools | Contemporary Reclaimed Wood Barstool | Restoration Hardware Barstools  

Since my perfect woman retreat would obviously have a full kitchen in it (he he), I’d pop the stools in for a look like this. Lake house, cottage, lived in vibe. Love it.

Vintage Wood Kitchen Stools


I also love these barstools. And that island. Stoooppp it.

Vintage Barstools in Kitchen


Y’all. Superficial life goal here … have a kitchen large enough for an island.

If I was going to style away for my dream kitchen/woman retreat/room of my own, I think it would look sorta like this.

Farmhouse Living Room Mood Board

Y’all dreaming and scheming along with me? One room at a time, we’re slowly getting there. Psst – next week you’ll see some laundry room progress!

Dining Room Plans Are Served

As soon as we found a house I was (of course) immediately drawn to the corner of the interwebs I think we all know too well, full of all types of juicy things to look at. Yes, pinterest, my fellow house renovation addicts. This is the land of obsession and alllll kinds of inspiration.

Ever since our offer was accepted, I started thinking about how I wanted our Dining Room to look once the space was finished. It’s the first room you see when you walk into the house, and right now – it’s screams 1992.

Dining Room with Built in

I LOVE built-ins. I do not love these built-ins.

Dining Room Built in

That being said, even though they look sorta funky, I’ve found even after just a few weeks of living here that they’re functional. Really great storage and with a small kitchen, they’re a perfect place to store those huge casserole dishes you pull out like twice a year.

So although I know we’ll be getting rid of these particular built-ins, I do think I’d like to keep the concept going with our new dining room plans as we continue to renovate down the road. So with my pinterest obsessed way, I stumbled across this gem and it’s officially become my inspiration for what I’d like to do with the space.

Built-ins in Dining Room

I mean – if I ever find this style table on craigslist, I’m going to literally die and stop whatever I’m doing to go and get that sucker. I swear, it’s just the loveliest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. And truly, as much as I love those linen chairs, with a one-year old, that’s just not happening. Unless your going for a modern tie die effect via spaghetti sauce everywhere.
Grasscloth in Dining Room

We’ve also got chair rail in this room, so this dining room photo caught my attention, too.  Eventually we plan on adding in some nice trim beneath the chair rail to make the room look a bit more polished and finished. In the more immediate term, we’ll just plan on painting it white though.

If my budget allowed for grass cloth, I’d be all the heck over that, but alas, a gallon of paint is a whole lot cheaper, so for now I’m thinking Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter which should give the room a similar look. Not nearly as classy, I know, but hey – it’s the look for less, right?!

Since this room also opens up into the foyer, I want to keep the color consistent in both spaces.

Entryway landing

My heart is so drawn to entries like this. Swoon. That picture is enough to make me want to buy a country farmhouse with 200-year old pine floors.

Farmhouse Entry Way

Or something like this … an old dresser off craigslist with some sweet little lamps on it?

Entry Way

So these days, you’ll find me with paint brush in hand, doing some hard core craigslist searching on the side 😉 Next up I’ll have some after photos of our Dining Room. It’s in progress now – can’t wait to share the changes with y’all!


I’m personally all about cramming as many children into one room as possible. To start off, they’re small, ya know. A 4′ (or considerably less) sized person and their life goods should not take up much space. Plus, for the longest time I shared a room growing up and it was fun! Hiding in closets for the scare factor, traumatizing my younger sister and through it all, having another warm body in the room (I’m a wimp).

So although Henry get’s to be king of the castle for a bit, if we decide to pop out another human or add to our family though adoption down the road, he’ll be chilling with a sister or mister.

Remember this layout?

Nursery Layout

For now, our little twin bed will most likely be a spot for my madre to sleep when she visits, but later, this space will be a bed for Henry when sister or brother inhabits the crib.

This weekend, we found a steal of a deal on some beautiful antique twin bedroom furniture, so in the name of having one more thing checked off the list in this room, we sprung for it.

Antique Twin Bed

For it’s age, the bed is in great condition. We bought the set from the original owner, who’s father used it over 80 years ago. So. Cool.

Antique Twin Maple Bed

The end of the bed has the same simple design and the headboard. I’m seriously loving how it looks in the room.

Large Wicker Basket End of Bed

For now, I added some thrift store find blankets to warm things up a bit. We’ll have guests in the house over the holiday’s, so it will also be nice to have an extra bed made up and ready to go.

How to Layer Blankets on Bed

As with anything soft, warm and cuddly. Malcolm has made himself right at home 😀

Cat on Bed

In other nursery news, the crib has officially been ordered. I think that means we’re having a baby, or something crazy like that.

Posh Planning

Right now, Jay and I tromp downstairs to suds up whenever we feel like be all squeaky clean. Our upstairs bathroom, although a nice spot to use the loo, has actually never been used for bathing. 2 feet outside our bedroom door and we still prefer the downstairs bath. Go figure.

In a few weeks though, my sheestteer Rachel will be moving in and we’ll more or less lose that bath as it’s connected to her room and although if we knocked on the door and batted our eyelashes and said please – I bet she’d let us use it – we wanted to give the upstairs bath a bit of a makeover before she gets here, so that we have a good go to option for us, too.

And you know, Jay and I chatted about it, and in the name of actually having a tres functional bathing locale, we both decided that instead of just buying a new shower curtain and calling it good, that we were going to do a full fledged (albeit not expensive) reno in the room. Get excited. Right after Christmas, we’re turning our bath from this.

Bathroom Upstairs Before

To this.

  Bathroom Renovation

Needless to say – I’m pretty excited about this pending transformation. I owe you a full post on the bathroom’s current state, and why we’ve decided to give it all the heave ho, but for today, I’m just sticking to a quick post on the fun stuff!

We’ll start demo right after Thanksgiving, so look for updated posts on the baths progress soon!

Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer

Remember when I said Henry’s nursery had some feminine touches. Well ladies and gentleman, we just got done painting his room Ballet White. Snicker.

Nope – not kidding! Truth be told, this white has no pink undertones and is actually the perfect (IMO) grayish white color and I LOVE how it turned out. Even if I was popping out a girl, I can tell you one thing, pink would not be making a debut in her nursery, either. Not my thang. 😉

After lots of hemming and hawing, I decided that light and bright was best for this room. Our house is very shaded by trees; a-mazing for utility bills, but the house can feel dark at times and I wanted to let the sunshine in for this space.

Benjamin Moore Ballet White

Isn’t it so sweet and soft! I’ve been thinking hard about how I want this room to flow, and I’ve come up with this general layout that I think will work nicely.

It’s not a huge room, but I think it’s going work perfectly for as many littles as we want to stuff in there.

Nursery Layout

I more or less, wanted to leave the main area in the room totally open so that we can play with toys on the ground as Henry gets bigger, and do tummy time on it, when he’s small. Since we live in a 1,600 square foot house, all our rooms have to function double time. This will be a playroom/bedroom as he grows.

For now, I’m thinking about tucking the dresser/changing table combo into the dormer. As Henry gets bigger, I might open this up for a little nook for him to play in, but for now, it’s just the right dimension for a dresser.

Nursery Ballet White

To the left of the dormer, I’m planning on putting the crib. It actually just fits in the space, so I’m taking that as a sign that it’s meant to be 😉

Ballet White Nursery

For the largest expanse of wall in the room, we’re going to put a rocker and side table for storing baby gear. I think we’ve finally narrowed down our hunt to a chair that Jay finds sufficiently comfy and I find sufficiently chic – more on that soon!

After Henry is past his nursing days, we can definitely use this corner of the room for reading time before bed and general chillin.

Ballet White in Nursery

Speaking of reading – I mocked up a little idea on photoshop to show how I’m hoping to convert one of our last free chunks of wall space. 🙂 Pinterest for the win (so many fun nursery ideas on there!

Book Wall In Nursery

Less than 21-weeks to go before there’s a babe to go with the room. The best accessory of all, no? 😀

The Grit and Polish | Guest Post

Hi there! I’m Cathy the old-house-loving, renovation-crazed blogger behind The Grit and Polish. My husband and I are serial renovators living in Seattle with our young son and energetic pup. We’re just wrapping up our third full-house renovation, a 1926 tudor we call “the Ravenna House”. When we bought the property last year, it was un-livable. There was no heat or operable windows in the house, and a colony of rats lived in the attic. It’s taken us 12 months but we now call this giant fixer our little home.

Mary asked me to do a house tour for you guys today, so let’s get started in the living room. We didn’t need to do a lot of work in this room – just paint and refinish the floors – but this room has been a little contentious for my husband and I. I want a couch. He doesn’t. And what do you know, there’s no couch in there, but I’m not giving up yet.

Ravenna House - Living Room Mantle.jpg

Ravenna House - Living Room Layout.jpg

And here’s a peak into our kitchen. This space has seen the biggest transformation over the past year. We removed the original cabinets, demo’d a wall, re-plumbed and wired the room, had custom cabinets built, bought new appliances, infilled and re-finished the wood flooring, and tiled the enormous backsplash. Phew, I’m tired even thinking about all that work, but it’s beautiful, right?!

The Grit and Polish - White and Marble Kitchen and Flowers

The Grit and Polish - White and Marble Kitchen

The Grit and Polish - White and Marble Kitchen with Professional Stove

I’ve received a lot of great feedback on the herringbone backsplash, but if you want to know the truth, it was a pain in the ass. It took us two days just to lay the tiles. And I’ll have nightmares about those custom, angled cuts for years to come. This will be our one and only herringbone tile install.

Let’s move on to the bedrooms. The Ravenna House has a small footprint – about 800sf – with only two bedrooms on the main floor. Here’s the “master”:



And here’s our son’s nursery:



Truthfully, those photos are a little outdated. I’ve been working on a little update of my son’s bedroom but haven’t quite gotten it finished yet. You can expect new photos of the nursery up on the Grit and Polish in a month…or so.

The last room on the main floor is the bathroom. When we began renovations a year ago, we were thrilled (THRILLED!) to find original hexagon tiles below the pink linoleum flooring. It was a real trick to pull up the linoleum, but worth every grueling, sweaty, second. We also relocated the sink, tiled the shower surround, had the original tub refinished, updated the plumbing and electrical, painted, and added wainscoting over the cracked plaster. Here it is, the great white bathroom.


Bathtub Refinish with Baby 3

In the year that we’ve owned this house, we also finished the basement into a family room, bathroom, and bedroom (a tour for another day), and completely transformed the backyard. Well that last bit might not quite be done yet, but it’s in progress! I mean, are you ever really finished with an old house?!

Thanks for hanging out with me today! If you’re interested in our renovations, you can get caught up here.

Sticking to It

Jay and I – I know in my heart this man belongs with my heart. I know that there is no other reality for either of us than, God willing, to grow old together, weathering life’s storms side by side, hand in hand. I’ve been feeling so blessed lately by his love, by his unconditional and unwavering love. I’ve also been feeling really reflective, and kind of been marveling at how far we’ve come – as a couple, as individuals. See a head strong girl, meeting a soft, gentle man – it was not always easy. It will not always be easy, I know.

I react, proclaim, live; unapologetically, I am 100% authentically me. It’s doubtful that you’d ever wonder where my mind sits on something. If this girl has got something to say, it’s just coming out. It’s the way the good Lord made me. Jay watches, absorbs, lives; quietly, humbly, passively. God, when we first got married I almost ate him. Neither of us knew what was happening but I almost ate that man alive. He just didn’t know how to exist, let alone thrive next to and support a women that had so much to say about this world. He lost himself, it happened so quickly that we didn’t even know how to react to it. It just depressed the living day light out of both of us. I knew, that by being me, I was diminishing him. He knew that by being him, he was uncontrollably falling into his own perceived pit of non-existence. We got angry with each other. I wanted a husband that could stand as my equal, support me, advocate for and enhance me. He wanted a wife that could stop long enough to listen, to love him, to nurture him.

We didn’t have a honeymoon phase because the first year of our married life was just brutally hard. We both wanted, so badly, to be so happy. Because we both loved each other. From the deepest part of our souls, we both loved each other more than we had words to say. More than we knew how to say. Most people, most couples, probably would have thrown in the towel that first year because every single day was a struggle. We both felt like we were spiraling out of control. We both felt like there was no conceivable way for us to right this ship. It was so damn heartbreaking for both of us to struggle like that.

But you know what, looking back on that sweet, young, confused couple – I know that there was one thing working for us every single day. We both woke up with conviction in our hearts to be married to that person another day. To never quit, to commit to that person, even when – especially when – it was difficult.

Once we realized that we had survived those first few months, that first year even, we kind of looked at each other and assessed the damage. We were both still standing. We were both still here. We were both still in this thing. And every day, as we realized this person was still standing beside us, despite our numerous and abundant faults – we grew closer, we confided in each other, we learned how to love each other, as the other needed to be loved. As hard as those first few months were, I wouldn’t change them for the world. They made us so much stronger, so much wiser, so much more appreciative of this other human by our side.

My Mom said something to me once that I’ve never forgotten. She said, “Mary, your Dad and I have not always had the easiest marriage. But you know what, your Dad decided to stick with me”. and she looked at me and just said, “Isn’t that the biggest gift in life, to have someone willing to stick it out with you”.

And even though I know Jay and I are still new on this journey, even though we still have decades to put under our belt, the long and short of it is there is no other human on this earth I’d want to walk through this life with. We learned a life time in that first year – and we continue to learn – through our conflicts, through our love, through our devotion, through our journey. How lucky am I that I found someone willing to stick it out with me? Like it or not Jay Thomas, I’m stuck like glue to you.

In Car

A+ Appliances

Someday – someday in the future Jay bird and I will go all out on appliances and get some shhhweeett viking action going on with a sub zero fridge to finish things out. And a mini fridge below the counter, with a wine cooling station.

Well, in my dreams, that’s happening anyway and y’all if you can dream it, you can do it. That’s what I’m telling myself!! 😉

But since $10k is not even close to what we’re looking to drop on a suite of appliances in the modern day, we opted to go the looks nice, performs pretty darn well, and costs significantly less category.

May I formally present – our appliances.

Affordable Professional Grade Appliances

Now, for this kitchen, we did some serious bargain shopping. From our last house, we knew we’d like to go with the GE Cafe line (for the most part). We were open to anything with a similar aesthetic, in all honesty, but once we started shopping we again came to the conclusion that the only mass produced appliance suite (that we could find) with the look and feel of professional grade appliances, was, GE Cafe.

And the thing is, I think they know it, because they charge a wee bit of a premium for these sparkly little numbers.

GE Cafe Fridge Review

The fridge, for instance. The cheapest we could find this guy was $3,099 when we started looking. WHOA, grab your cape batman – that’s a load of dough.

Funny thing about me: looks have me at hello. Funny thing about my husband: LED lights have him at hello. I swear to God, this man’s biggest beef about our last fridge was that it didn’t have LED lights – I’m like Willis, you crazy.

The good news is, we were able to pull some magic over Lowe’s eyeballs, since they not only price matched a sale online price, they also beat it by 10%. And we didn’t even ask.

Our total walk out the door price for the fridge, $2,336.08. That’s like almost $1k less than $3,315.93 we would have been on the hook for with no discount.

Jay and I kinda skipped to the car and looked at each other gleefully like, ommeerrgauuudd, did that just happen?

Another thing that made us all kookoo for cocoa puffs about this fridge. Not only does it have a water dispenser, which I personally think is like, mega fancy pants. It’s got a hot water dispenser. Now, coming from a girl that always used the kitchen tap for her water needs and never had a water dispenser, this is a giant leap forward.

Get this, it also has a slide show. Like, for really cute pictures of your cat! Baahhaaaaa. Yep. There he is in all his glory!

Slideshow on Fridge

Now our oven, from the outside, looks identical to our last house. But, and this is an important but, there is one crucial difference. It’s dual fuel baby. Gas on top, electric on the bottom. It’s gas, it’s electric, boogie woogie woogie.

GE Cafe Oven Review

They say it’s supposed to be the best of both worlds, and since we already had the 240 volt line right there from the last hook up, we figured, what the heck. Why not?

When we started shopping around for this guy, we were looking at $2,999, with some magical coupon waiving and a great memorial day sale, we got it down to $2,199. Much better, but still a chunk man.

Review GE Cafe Oven

Just like the last one, it’s got a convertible bottom drawer that becomes an extra oven, which is perfect for baking dessert, while the main dish is up top! 😉

How to Save on Appliances

So the dishwasher was the one place we decided to cut a few corners, you could say. Last time we pulled out all the stops and made everything super matchy matchy and spent, well, way too much on a dishwasher.

This time we decided that as long as it was the same brand (GE) and the same finish (stainless) that we’d be happy campers. We even found one that was sans a handle, so I think it meshes in with the rest of the kitchen pretty seamlessly.

Adding bonus. It cost us $400 with a great sale and some more coupon waiving.

Another penny pinching antic was our microwave. Once we knew we’d be getting GE appliances for the rest of the kitchen, we scoured craigslist for a stainless microwave option to match. We found this guy for a whopping $25. Not. Too. Shabby.

Built In Microwave

Sooo, at the end of the day, with all our appliances added and accounted for, we spent $4,882.93. Now y’all, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but overall, I do kinda think these pretty little lookers help to make the space, so we’re happy to have spent the dough. Doesn’t hurt that by shopping sales and cutting coupons, we were also able to save almost $2k in the process. Money in the bank, y’all.