Trinity Park Home Tour

You guys know how much I love crashing my neighbors houses, so when we got an email a few weeks back about volunteering for the bi-annual Trinity Park Home Tour in exchange for some free home tour tickets – I was all over it. Some civic goodness and some jaw dropping houses all rolled into one afternoon, it was almost more than I could take.

Of all the homes we toured, you better bet I had a favorite. It just happened to be the first one we went through and it was fine. The details on these homes were absolutely out of the ballpark.

Trinity Park Home Tour

All of the homes we went through were property’s that had been extensively renovated. Many we’re well over 100 years old and they all just exuded so much character.

This house had a fireplace in virtually every room. This one in the Living Room was one of my favorites – don’t you just love that color on the tile?

Original Refinished Fireplace

Without a doubt, my favorite room in this house was the kitchen. This is a glimpse of it off of the oh so gorgeous butler’s pantry (and you know I love a good butler’s pantry).

Butler's Pantry Off Kitchen

Now I know y’all would be wanting an up close detail shot of this beauty and it does not disappoint. Between that wine cooler and those gorgeous counters, I pretty much want to put this lovely looker in my pocket.

Butler's Pantry

Here is a view of the kitchen, so you can see the whole kit and kaboodle. I love how they mixed marble counters on the periphery and put in a soapstone counter on the island.

Renovated Kitchen Marble Counters

One of my favorite details in the kitchen was a built-in bench they had added in under the window. A kitchen can be so nice to hang out in, but it’s often short on seating, so that’s a perfect solution for reworking the space to me!

Kitchen with Fireplace

Ok, one more shot of this room. 🙂 Check out this amaze-balls detail with the exposed brick in the corner of the room. Loving the open shelving, too. Swoon.

Exposed Brick in Kitchen

Downstairs, the home was renovated throughout, with large and open rooms. This is a shot of their dining space, which connects the living room and kitchen.

Modern Dining Room

Upstairs they had a cozy Master, that led into a fully renovated bath and walk-in closet. This house was full with lots of people touring it at the time, so this is the only shot I got of that room. You can see another fireplace, peaking in on the corner. How cool would it be to have a fireplace in your bedroom??

Cozy Master Bedroom

In addition to the Master Suite, the upstairs also had another finished bathroom that was a jaw dropper. Check out this beauty.

Red Bathroom

Not going to lie, going through these amazing houses kinda sorta made me want to burn my house to the ground and start over. 😀 Not really, but kinda! Most of the homes we toured are $1 million properties, so I guess I can’t really get too jellsy about it. If I win the lotto though, you’ll know where to find me! 😀

A Tour Through Blogland

I seriously get the biggest kick out of other blogs reaching out to me to collaborate and to feature my humble little abode. Heidi, over at Kruse’s Workshop, reached out to me a few weeks back and asked if I’d be willing to be featured in a little tour through blogland, which is a fun way for readers to mix and mingle and see all the amazing renovations happening out there on the interwebs.

This is Heidi’s sweet house. You know I’m a total sucker for a tree lined street, so her little bungalow had me at hello.

Kruses Workshop

Heidi and her husband are renovating rockstars. As soon as I read up on her wall removing ways, I knew we were kindred spirits 😀

This is a shot of her beautiful kitchen, which she renovated on a dime. Like $200. Bam.

Kruses Workshop Kitchen

Seriously, stop by her blog to see all the amazing renovations and her cozy, comfy home. It’s legitimately delicious 😀

Kruses Workshop Dining

Y’all know my house for the most part, but to continue to tour, here are a few snapshots of what our home has evolved to over the past 4+ months of us living here.

Our kitchen has definitely come the farthest. Although we’re not done in here yet, per-say, this room is so. much. better. There are cabinets, there are counters, there’s a floor! Believe it or not, that’s progress!! Ha!

GE Cafe Oven Review

In the most improved category, we’ve also got the hallway. This little entry into our abode. It was a bit – well – busy, when we moved in. 😉

These days it’s been classed up a bit with some fancy pants wainscoting and a fresh coat of sparkly paint.

Revere Pewter in Entry

But enough about me and more about … Sarah!

This lady seriously has one of favorite homes in the blogosphere. Many of you have already virtually met Sarah with 702 Park Project – but y’all seriously need to scope out her house if you haven’t yet.

I’m seriously crazy inspired by this women’s vision to breath new life into a gorgeous (huge!) old house, right here in NC.

702 Park Project

Best part – this house has been in Sarah’s husband’s family, and they serendipitously landed up buying it after it went into foreclosure via an owner in between. Whoa. Cool beans, yo.

Check out this banister. Yummy.

Foyer Dark Banister

They’ve been hard at work restoring this home into it’s original beautiful state and every detail is absolutely perfect.

Subway Tile Bathtub

You can follow along with Sarah’s journey, here.

House Stalking

Since I’ve been in such a vegetative state lately, progress has slowed down a bit on the house. Ok, a lot. 😉 Pretty much all we do every night is lay in bed and watch Soprano re-runs. Maybe go for a walk if I’m feeling up to it. I know I’ll be feeling better soon, but y’all, I’m missing my pre-pregnancy days like whoa this week. Missing my energy, my appetite and my ability to walk into a room without vomiting from some smell that hits me wrong (kitchen, I’m looking at YOU). All in the name of growing this little fetus into a real boy/girl/monkey. Someone has got to do it.

We have been working on sprucing our upstairs bathroom and I’m excited to debut that little beauty to y’all next week, but in the mean time, I thought I send over some of the prettiest little pictures of the prettiest little cottage that I’ve ever seen. Do you guys follow Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo of ABCD Design? I found her on twitter a few months back and her style is to the nines. Her New England cottage is currently for sale and I’m pretty much head over heals in love with it.

East Coast Cottage

Her style is so gathered and eclectic. I love what she’s done with every single space and although it’s sad to see her leave this beauty behind, I’m sure she’ll do equally amazing things with their next abode.

That dark velvet sofa just looks perfect for snuggling in come those cold northern winters, doesn’t it. Delicious.

Eclectic Living Room

Speaking of dark, I’m totally in love with this galley kitchen. That inset custom cabinetry and contrasting marble counters are really perfect. Love the darker appliances as well, and how they blend right in with the cabinetry.

Black Kitchen Marble Counters

The dining room is a light and bright open space, right off of the kitchen.

I love the exposed beams in this space – the perfect rustic touch for this country home.

Dining Room Rustic

In contrast to the first living space downstairs on this house – this den is bright and neutral. I’m pretty smitten with the wainscoting details around the fireplace surround.

Rustic Living Room

Keeping that cozy theme, the Master Bedroom is dark and welcoming. Look at that headboard, y’all! Talk about a show stopper!

Navy Bedroom

As much as I adore the inside of this house, the outside grounds are full of wonderful surprises as well.

Although this perfectly groomed and landscaped outbuilding looks like a gardening shed, when you open the door, you actually find …

Outdoor TV Room

A cozy little TV room!

Rustic TV Room

And when you’re totally done enjoying all the amenities of this sweet abode, why not pull up a chair and dine al fresco under the stars. Sigh. Now that’s living the life.

Outdoor Pergola Patio

Tell me, which space is your favorite?

This house, along with a few others, are featured this week on the WSJ house of the week post (one of my favorites for gorgeous house inspiration). You can vote for your favorite, here!

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.

Howdy Neighbor: J Squared

Tell me, who doesn’t love a good house crashing post. Perhaps it’s my nosy nature, but I just can’t get enough of peeking my eyeballs into all the lovely abodes around me. This Howdy Neighbor post is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons. First – it’s my first o-fficial rendezvous with this post series, so that’s pretty spiffy to start out with. But secondly, and most importantly, this post features the home of two of my favorite human beings ever. Joel and Jessica – aka J squared. We left these prime examples of all the goodness of humanity back in Ann Arbor and my heart hurts just a little thinking about how far away these two lovely people are.

Joel and Jessica

The second you walk into Joel and Jessica’s house, you notice two things. First, this couple has got class.  Now, although Joel is one dapper dude, most of the lovely lookers around this house are the handy work of his lovely lady. See, Jessica is a thrifting FIEND. Never in my life have I met someone with the made skillz this lady has got. The second thing you notice when you trounce into their joint is that this couple is all about the American made find. Whether it’s thrifted and vintage chic, or straight from the American factory line, this couple loves to support the good old U.S. of A. Rock.

American Made

If you hang a right when you swing in the front door, you land up in their ginormous kitchen. Selling feature, people. It’s gorgeous.

Island in Kitchen

Although I pretty much wanted to smuggle half of Jessica’s thrifting finds away in my purse, her beautiful little Kitchen Aid mixer really caught my eye. It didn’t fit in my purse though … so I had to leave it behind. 😉

How to Style Kitchen

The kitchen opens right up to the Dining Room, which sits like 29 people. I’m lucky to fit me, the orange tabby and Jay at our table – so their’s feels awfully spacious. 😀 One of our favorite Ann Arbor traditions was a monthly Dinner Club we had with all our besties and their table was perfect for fitting the whole crowd, which is usually 10+

Dining Room Table

To the right of the Dining Room is my favorite room in the house, largely because of Jessica’s all time best thrifting find (IMO), which graces the center of this room.

Vintage Chesterfield Sofa

Do you see that chesterfield tufted sofa at 12 o’ clock. Guess how much she paid for it – seriously GUESS. It’s was fa-reaking FREE, people. Free!! My respect for this women went to new heights when I got the deets on that one.

Here is another view of this amazeballs room. LOVE.

Chesterfield Sofa

One of the best parts about their house are all the unexpected details you see pop through the space as you walk around. Jessica has so many thrifting treasures, each with their own, unique story. See that bull below, Joel won a bull riding contest to snag that bad boy. Nearly died. 

Accessorizing Bookcase

I kid, I kid. 😀 I just took a close up shot of it since I thought it was boo-tiful 😀

Now if you hang a left when you walk in the front you land up in their sweet little guest room.

Guest Room Layout

I love the attention to detail for each of the nightstands.

Styling Nightstand

I adored the look so much, I took a picture of both sides. Tres chic, right?!

How to Style Nightstand

Leaving no detail unturned, Jessica styled the hall between the Master and the Guest room with some more of her thrifting treasures.

Art Collage on Wall

No surprise, but Jessica’s propensity for having high style standards started back when she was a wee little one.  She told me this gorgeous pencil poster bed dated back to her pre-teen days! Talk about a classy big girl bed!

Vintage Poster Bed

Once again, the attention to detail in this room was bar none. I was cray cray about the lamp and bedside table – both thrift finds and dirt cheap (jealous).

Vintage Nightstand

Right off their Master, they’ve also got a sleeping porch. Perfect for hosting extra guests come a warm Michigan summer night! Also a great spot for Jessica to stash all her extra thrifting finds 🙂

Sleeping Porch

To cap off the tour of Joel and Jessica’s house (I know, sad but true, all good things must come to an end), I’ve got a few shots of their bonus/TV room. From the sweet monogram pillows with their initials on them to the amazing art work adorning the walls, I’d watch TV in this room any day. Class act.

Arranging Furniture around TV

No wall is without personality in this house. I love the little Southwestern corner they had off to the side of the TV room. In love with it all – aren’t you!

How to arrange Art

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