Dinner for Two

Y’all TODAY IS THE DAY. Not yo momma’s birthday, not the day Abe Lincoln was shot and not Goldfish appreciation day. It’s closing day!! WOOOOOOOOTTTT. Apartment life has been fun, it’s been adventurous, it’s been efficient, it’s been cheap – but ya know what – I’m pretty excited it’s also fading into the memory banks and officially becoming a “remember when” chapter of our lives. I’m SO ready to grab the keys for this next house, and take on all the beautiful adventures that await us.

I’ll definitely be back next week with all sorts of fun details on what we got to tackling in weekend numero uno, but while y’all are waiting on baited breath for those adventures, I thought it would be fun to continue on with the house styling plans. Aka, let’s all escape to dream land, where rooms are done and all prettied up. Today, let’s talk about one of my favorite rooms, the room we eat in. 😀

For a refresher, this is what the dining room looks like pre-movin.

Taking Out Wall

I love the look and feel of this dining room (below), I’m especially digging the color with the nice crisp crown up top, and the wainscoting down below.

Traditional Dining Room

Although I love the color in this space, the furniture is a bit too traditional for my taste. I’m thinking I’d really love to tackle building a farmhouse style table with Jay bird in this space. I’m (giddy) excited about how much space we will have in this house for chowing down. Our last house was more of a combined kitchen/dining space, so it never really felt like we had a formal dining space for entertaining. Even though this room will still be close to the kitchen (with a wall removed…) I’m really looking forward to giving this space it’s own identity and vibe.

I’ve always gone a little too white (IMO), since it’s safe and neutral, and easy to decorate around – but I’m looking forward going a bit darker in here. I’m thinking that the white wainscoting below will help support a darker color a bit better. Right now I’m leaning toward Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. Here’s the color in Rhoda’s house, from Southern Hospitality.

Buffet and Lamps

Love the board and batten treatment in her house, but we’ll probably only go half way up the wall, vs. 3/4, like she has it.

Just like the living room, I put a board together to help guide my style evolution for this space, as well. Here’s what I have so far.

Dining Room Mood Board

I like the idea of going more mismatched in this room, with lots of the same elements to help tie the space together. I’m considering (not certain if we’ll do this or not) bumping out the counter on the island in the kitchen in order to make room for some additional seating – if I do that, I’ll definitely be using bar stools like the one pictured above.

Here is a snapshot of the layout, so you can see what we intend to do with the wall adjoining the kitchen/dining room.

Removing Wall Between Kitchen and Dining Room Timmmbeeer, it’s coming down. Now, since we’ve done the whole wall removal rodeo before, I’m pretty sure we can pull this off. That being said, I’ve got a few lingering concerns, namely – is there HVAC or any type of plumbing in the wall. The rest is pretty easy to deal with, but those two variables could really impact our overall bottom dollar. Like the last house, we’re majorly crossing our fingers that there isn’t anything too significant in our way when we grab the good old sledgehammers and start working away.

Since we haven’t been able to answer those big picture questions quite yet (don’t think the current owners would be too keen on us creating some exploratory holes during our final walk through…), I’ve been working on some of the smaller details around here – to the tune of a massive thrifting expedition. I’ve got a confession to make. I seriously spent $45 at the goodwill, which to me, is crazy town since I didn’t buy any furniture. I usually spend like 10 bucks at goodwill, but the good times were rolling man and I just kept adding things to my cart.

For the dining room, I found a few winners.

Artwork for Dining Room

For $2 each, I thought this artwork would look fun nestled on a small space on the wall. I’m thinking a good spot for it will be on the wall between the built-in and the basement door.

I’m also seriously in love with these salad servers I found.

Unique Salad Servers

If you can’t tell from the zoomed out picture, they’re little zebras, just chilling at the top of the servers!

Zebra Salad Servers

Probably my take the cake thrift/craigslist find so far though, has been these (2) slipcovered dining room chars that I scored for $25 – for both!! Huzza!! They a tiny bit beat up, but I think we can remedy most of the problems they have with a deep steam clean.

Slipcovered Dining Chairs


Big Bad List

T minus 2 days until we officially move into our new joint and I seriously could not be more excited. My finger is weary from all the sweet sweet images I’ve been pinning as inspiration for this new home of ours. Even though we’re technically closing on the house this Friday, we’ve got possession of our apartment for another 7-weeks, so we’re thinking the best plan of attack is to bust out some of the extra hairy projects first, so we don’t have to live through all the dust and general nastiness that comes along with tearing half of your house apart.

In part to give me some focus on what to prioritize and in part to spill the beans to all of you, I thought it would be fun pre-movin to review some of the before shots of the space, and chat about the big old list of plans we have to make this place a bit more like home.

Let’s start with the layout.

First Floor Layout

This house is a traditional cape cod, and has a pretty typical layout for the type of home it is. Some of our favorite features include a huge (to us) kitchen, with a little nook in the back. I seriously never thought I’d have an eat in kitchen, on top of a formal dining room. Can’t wait to have all that extra space to stretch out a bit!

We also really liked that there is a full bathroom and a bedroom right on the first floor. Now, if you notice, one of the things we didn’t like (as much) is that the only bathroom available on the first floor is through a bedroom. We’ve got some plans down the line to potentially convert our entry closet into the world’s smallest loo (like this). Here’s a complete list of “whole house” things that we’d like to tackle.

General/Whole House List

  • Take down wall between the kitchen and the dining room
  • Convert front closet to tiny little loo
  • Possibly convert side porch to room (down the line)
  • Refinish floors
  • Fix basement wall lean
  • Fix plumbing issues (low flow)
  • Add gas line
  • Replace all windows

Here’s a picture of the foyer as it currently looks.

How to Remove Old Wallpaper

A bit dated … our plans for this space are:


  • Add wainscoting trim
  • Either paint wall above, or add grasscloth wallpaper 😀
  • Convert front closet to small bathroom
  • Add additional storage and/or foyer table
  • Add stair runner
  • Replace light fixture

To the right of the foyer, is our main living space – a pretty generously sized living room coming in at 24×14. Unlike our last house though, this living room will also be our only family room in the house, so it will have to double task as an all purpose living space.

Living Room Before

This is what the living room looked like with the previous owners. Things we plan to change, include:

Living Room 

  • Paint
  • Add artwork
  • Invest in some nice furniture for the space
  • Add window treatments
  • Convert the fireplace to gas
  • Add a large floor covering (custom natural fiber rug?)
  • Update the fireplace surround
  • Perhaps add wainscoting to the fireplace wall

Taking Out Wall

From the living room, you flow right into the dining room. We’re super excited about this space (along with the kitchen) as we plan to take out that main wall between the kitchen and the dining room, making everything a bit more updated and open concept. In addition to taking out the wall, we plan to:

Dining Room 

  • Paint
  • Add wainscoting
  • Update the light fixture
  • Remove the built-in cabinet to make room for the new bathroom
  • Construct a new table (DIY!)
  • Add seating for (6)
  • Add artwork
  • Add a rug
  • Add window treatments

Kitchen View Before

The kitchen people, this is the room where some magical things will be happening pretty soon. Along with taking out the wall between the two rooms, we will also be taking on a complete gut of the kitchen. Although the cabinets are extremely quaint from a distance, up close they are in really, really rough condition. It pains me to remove these guys, but unfortunately they’re just not going to work. The good news, they’ve had a pretty good run since they’re original to this 1930’s home.

This is what we plan to tackle on the kitchen:


  • Replace all cabinets
  • Add custom crown to top
  • Install new appliances
  • Install new counters
  • Add gas line
  • Move location of sink
  • Add pot filling faucet behind stove top
  • Add backsplash
  • Add custom oven hood
  • Remove linoleum flooring and install new wood floors
  • Create custom eat in nook with storage
  • Add window treatments
  • Add updated light fixtures
  • Install new lighting above the island
  • Add artwork

Guest Room Before

The only other room downstairs is the bedroom/bath combination that I’ll affectionately refer to as Rachel’s suite. My kid sister Rachel is planning on coming to live with us soon (exciting!!) and this will be her place of residence. 😀 We’ve actually got 6-months or so to get the room ready for her, since she won’t be coming down south until she graduates from college in December.

Changes we’d like to make to this room are:

  • Painting
  • Adding new window treatments
  • Adding crown molding
  • Adding large rug
  • Furnishing it
  • Adding artwork

As it stands, Rachel will actually have the best room in the house, since it’s got a full bathroom, complete with a walk-in shower! She’s never going to move out! 😀

Small Walkin Shower

Even though this bathroom is pretty nice, we’d still like to make some high impact changes in here.

Downstairs Bathroom

  • Paint
  • Install new faucet
  • Install new high efficiency toilet
  • Install glass tile border
  • Update lighting
  • Update mirror
  • Add new window treatments
  • Update storage
  • Possibly update the flooring and shower tile down the road

Here’s another shot of the same room, from a different angle.

Adding Bathroom to Master

To give you a lay of the land upstairs, here is the overall configuration.

Second Floor Layout

Notice that big old Master? 😀 Color me pumped!! I think my favorite thing about the second story is the big old front dormers on each of the bedrooms, which let tons of natural light into the space! We’ve got plans for some big changes upstairs. Let’s start with the Master.

See that flex space on the back end of the second bedroom? It’s a 9×6 room that we will most likely use as an office when we first move in. Since the master has that space available right now, we’ve opted to follow the same general layout from that second bedroom, by adding a master bathroom to the back of the bedroom. It’s a pretty perfect, since the existing bathroom plumbing is literally sharing a wall with the proposed new bathroom space. I’ve been totally inspired by the layout on this bath, and think we might even be able to squeeze in a double vanity in there.

Upstairs Bedroom in Cape Cod


Here’s a close up of all that wallpaper goodness … with matching curtains 😉

Wallpaper Matching Curtains

Master Bedroom

  • Update window treatments
  • Possibly re-work closet locations and/or add walk-in closet
  • Update lighting
  • Construct upholstered bed
  • Add nightstands
  • Find dresser
  • Add artwork
  • Purchase new linens
  • Purchase small chair for reading nook in dormer
  • Add large area rug
  • Add bathroom

Persian Rug in Bedroom

The second bedroom upstairs will someday be a nursery for our future mini-me’s. For the time being, it will just be an extra guest space though! Obviously, once it’s actually a nursery, this list of to-do’s will change quite a bit and be less generic.

Second Bedroom

  • Paint
  • Update window treatments
  • Add large area rug
  • Add sitting area
  • Add artwork
  • Fix door (currently sticks from basement settling)

Small Home Office

For now, the room right off the second bedroom will function as an office for me. If we have more than two kids down the road, the third one will have this as a nursery while the other two can share the bigger bedroom.

Alas, since there are certainly not any miniatures floating around right now, the immediate plans for the space are:


  • Build a custom desk or rehab a cheapy off craigslist
  • Paint
  • Add window treatments
  • Add organization
  • Purchase small rug
  • Add lighting

Black and White Bathroom

The bathroom is in pretty good condition, the black and white tile isn’t obnoxiously bad, so it will stick around for a while. That being said, I definitely plan on doing a full renovation further on down the line to make it super swank. Short term, we’ll probably just add some neutral accessories and call it a day. Long term, I plan to:


  • Complete gut
  • Add marble tile floor
  • Add subway tile to shower
  • Add new high efficiency toilet
  • Update lighting
  • Replace mirror
  • Update window treatments
  • Add artwork

Trinity Park Durham

Last but not least, we’ve got the exterior.

As far as the front, I personally think it’s as cute as a button. That being said, knowing me, once I start to get board with the inside I’ll inevitably turn to the outside. Here are some of the potential projects I see out here though.


  • Adding landscaping
  • Putting in new flower beds
  • Adding some ferns to the front
  • Adding a portico
  • If we do add a room to the side over the current porch, we’ll reside the house, too

Cape Cod with Back Dormer

The backyard, there I’ve got a whole barrel of monkeys planned. For this part of the house, I plan to:


  • Add a deck
  • Put in lots of landscaping
  • Add a raised bed garden
  • Add a storage shed
  • Install built-in grill
  • Add patio pavers to connect the driveway and the deck area
  • Put in fence against driveway on right side of house

All and all – I seriously CAN NOT wait to get crack a lackin’ on this new joint! We’re so pumped about the prospect of actually sticking around a bit longer in the next home and really making it ours.