Tag Archives: house

The Living Room, Living Room.

Hi. It’s been a while.

People keep asking me if I’ve stopped doing this blog.
Apparently, yes.
But, no, not intentionally.

You see, the thing is, when we moved into our new, 80+ old, bought “as-is” home, I was really excited and thought, there’s so much to do here, I’m going to have soooo much to blog about! But in all reality, there’s been so much to do here, there’s been no time to blog about it! The irony has settled in.

Combine that with finding out within a month of moving that there would be a new family member joining the home this September, and posting about the house got even more challenging. Especially considering I thought I could be super mom-to-be and have this blog and a baby blog…while also maintaining that old full-time job I have as a writer, too. Oh, and I’m still trying to figure out my new camera

Anyway, enough excuses. I owe the blogoshere a little peek into our home thus far.

And since I’ve titled this blog Living Room, it seemed only right to show you….the living room.

So, this is a look at it before we even closed. Luckily, this room was free of the wallpaper that had taken over the rest of the house. But the walls were incredibly bare. The floors, though hardwood, needed to be freshened up. The fireplace was brass. The window curtains had seen better days.

And a few shots with our stuff thrown around, but no “decorating” accomplished.

Now, 6 blood, sweat and tearful (yes, there have been tears…I’m pregnant, too, peeps) months later — it finally feels like our bright, fresh, liveable home.

– I painted the walls Behr Pismo Dunes, which is a grayish, clayish sort of color. I didn’t love it at first, but it’s growing on me.

– We also gave that trim a fresh coat of white to help it pop.

– I painted the fireplace black (transformation and steps here).

– I found the beveled mirror  above the fireplace at Pottery Barn

– We replaced the curtain with blinds, to help show off the beautiful molding around the windows.

– We had the floors in the entire first level refinished for a richer, warmer look.

One of the challenges from the beginning was working with the long shape of the room. With my mom’s help, we found just the right pieces to create a cozy, yet attractive little sitting area in front of the fireplace.

I found the mirrored table immediately, for $40 at Marhsalls.

 And, might I add, it looks awfully similar to this one at Pottery Barn for $250:


The chairs didn’t come so easily. I knew I wanted something simple, and not too large. I love the built-in bookcases, and the last thing I wanted to do was block them. Finally, after months and months of searching, I found ONE chair that I loved at, once again…Marshalls. But, they only had ONE. I bought it anyway, and called my mom and told her how half-way thrilled I was to have THE chair(s) I was looking for. I told her I would have to start searching HomeGoods and TJ Maxx’s across the city until I found its match…or else it would have to go back. Then, the very next day, I got home from work, and guess what was there? The second chair!! My wonderful mom went out on her own and found me the second! You guys don’t understand what a pain in the a$$ this search for the perfect chairs has been for both of us. So I can even tell you how thrilled I was to finally have them!

Then, behind those chairs are the awesome, solid wood, built-in bookcases. And probably the first thing I loved about the house. It’s actually been pretty fun trying to figure how to make the most of them.

One thing that I think is incredibly cool are the antlers (and if you know me, I’m typically not one to find pleasure in the sight of animal remains).

But, Lucas had actually been storing these in the basement of our old home. His dad is a biologist for a local college, and had found them out in the woods in the 70’s. Somehow Lucas ended up with them and thought they’d look cool on our shed in the backyard. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him that I would actually like to have them in our living room.

On the other side of the fireplace, I have a random little mix. I got fancy and created that artwork in Word. I had the birdcage leftover from our wedding, which we used as the envelope drop box. And I found that fish a while back at a local shop called Moonbeams.

I’ve also found a new love for Overstock.com. AKA, the TJ Maxx of the internet. That’s where I got our farmhouse coffee table.

And our apothecary-style TV stand. I was flattered when my aunt ask me if it was an antique, which totally reminded me of that episode of Friends when Rachael keeps buying things from PB but tells Phoebe they’re from flea markets…I digress.

So now, a few before and after looks:


I would still like to get a new couch at some point. But, with the dogs, cats and baby on the way, we’re going to go ahead and hold off on that one. And I would like to find a rug that adds a little more splash of color at some point, but that one works for now. Once again dogs, cats, baby…

Overall, I’m so happy to have this major room completed. It’s so nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the living room I’ve been working for!



Filed under before and after, cottage, decorating, DIY, painting, remodel

Fireplace Transformation

A few people have come to see the house and said, “you’re lucky you have that black fireplace, we have one of those old brass ones, and it’s like $500 for a new one.”  Actually, friends…it was brass. But for $9, and about 45 minutes of my time, I was able to give it a much needed update.

The trick is high-heat paint. It works on surfaces that can reach up to 1200* and is also great for grills, radiators and fire pits.

Once I got the paint, I used painter’s tape to protect the glass and a thin paintbrush to make sure I covered every inch. And, just FYI, this isn’t like your normal latex paint. It’s super runny, so it takes a little getting used to at first. But pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

Once it dries, you have a brand new look…at a totally great price!

And here’s a final peek at where I am with the whole mantel. We have a gorgeous mirror to go above, but due to the old plaster walls, it’s still in waiting to actually be properly hung.
Now I just need some cozy seating beside it, and a good chimney sweep so we can heat it up!


Filed under before and after, decorating, DIY, remodel

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…It’s Ours!

It’s been 5 days since we’ve moved into the new home. And I love it. I do. I love the street, I love the yard, I love the little touches of charm that we’ve been discovering every new day we’re there.

photo taken before Lucas, my dad and cousin raked those billions of leaves

Unfortunately, I’m not sure it loves us back. Yet.

Why? You ask.

We moved in on Friday – the most beautiful day you could ever ask for in December. It got up to nearly 50 degrees, was sunny, dry, every mover’s dream.

Day 1. Saturday – it dropped about 45 degrees (resulting in a total of FIVE degrees F), it snowed and froze. And our 2 car garage? Still packed with boxes.

Later on Saturday, the Direct TV guy came to set up the cable. And he left about 10 minutes later. Turns out our beautifully wooded backyard doesn’t lend itself so well to a satellite signal. Day 1 without TV.

Day 2. Sunday. Go to take a nice warm shower in our shrine of purple disco power. Two minutes in and I realize my warm shower has a chill. A bitter chill. An “oh F” this shower is COLD chill (luckily, the chill was soon cured with a twist on the hot water heater. Still, it was cold in the meantime).

Day 3. On Monday, I was ready to do some laundry. So, I connected the hoses to our washing machine and threw in our first load at the new home. Well, about a half hour into it, Lucas mentioned that something “didn’t sound quite right,” which led me to go downstairs to discover a very soapy, very flooded basement. Turns out the water in the washer doesn’t just evaporate on its own, there’s a hose for that (one I happened to skip over)…at least the floors are clean?

Day 4. Tuesday, since Direct TV shot us down, we went with Uverse. The guy gets there at 2:30 pm. Leaves at 9 pm. After almost 7 flippin’ hours, he’s still not done. It’s sad, but true — 5 days sans TV are truly painful. It’s hard enough to get out of bed in the morning, but without Matt, Meredith and Al there to greet me, it’s been nearly impossible.

Day 5. Things are looking up. Nothing too drastic has occurred, though I did get a call from Lucas’ mom saying she couldn’t make it in town this weekend to help paint :(. But, she’s coming in a couple of weeks, and I’m sure there will still be plenty of items we’ll need help with.

With that in mind, it’s time for a list. Once this is all in front of me, and I can start checking things off, the minor mishaps like the ones from our first few days will be a thing of the past. So…sometime in the near future we will:

pull down the kitchen wallpaper (thanks mom)

pull down the 1/2 bath wallpaper

go to the paint store to officially choose the paint colors

paint the living room (neutral)

paint the dining room (gray)

paint the den (blue)

paint the kitchen (blue)

paint the kitchen cabinets

get a new, stainless fridge

put up big shelves on empty wall of the kitchen

paint the foyer (?)

paint the 1/2 bath (?)

get cable and internet

replace the thermostats

pull up the carpet in the office

unpack every single box

organize the basement

make room for the cars in the garage

replace the vanity in the full bath

replace the toilet in the full bath

tear down purple disco wallpaper in the full bath

replace shrine/tub and tile in the full bath

buy a slipcover for our living room couch

hang up pictures in every room of the house

repaint the two big bedrooms upstairs

install ceiling fans

pull up carpet on steps (hardwood underneath)

configure beautiful display on our built-in bookshelves around the fireplace

get the items we were “temporarily” storing at my parent’s house

find the box with the dogs’ bowls and leashes and enjoy a walk in the new neighborhood

Okay, I think that’s enough for now. Whew. Yes, we’re going to be busy. But we knew that when we bought the place. And there’s no way we could have gotten this place if all of the above had been done before we moved in. I’m so excited to have a chance to do each of those things, and make the house our own! And there are many more items that I’m sure will come up soon. Not to mention the outside activities (which I am heavily relying on Lucas to pursue). Yep, we’re gonna be busy. And I like it. :)

Oh, and the family who was here before us, for over 50 years, sent us the prettiest flowers this weekend with a sweet note that read: Best wishes in your new home. May it bring you as much joy and pleasure as it brought our family.



Filed under before and after, decorating, DIY, painting, remodel, the great indoors

Color On My Mind

When we went to the inspection on our new house, I focused particularly hard on what I was going to do to bring some life to the blank palette before me.
After we left, I headed straight to Home Depot for some color coordination inspiration.

For now, I’m leaning towards a tranquil, yet warm, blue and gray scheme.

There are about 8 billion swatches to choose from –  creating quite a challenge in finding that perfect combination of colors. So I  decided to start where I last finished – my current kitchen. Since it took me 4 shades of blue to get to a color I loved, and I’ve only had about 2 months to really enjoy it, I’m going to carry the perfection of that “Rocky Mountain Sky” into our new home.

Yay! A starting point. So then I decided to keep something neutral for the living room. I (in an anticlimactic fashion) thought that the color of our current dining room matches that blue pretty well.

And though that line of Ralph Lauren paints has been discontinued (which I learned the hard way when we had to touch up around a new thermostat last winter), I found a Martha Stewart color called “Tobacco Leaf” that I think will have the same effect.

Now that I had those two figured out, it was onto the dining room and the den. For some reason, I’ve been craving gray lately. I saw this on Martha’s Stewart’s website and was instantly drawn. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me the color, only said it was a “mousey gray.”

Right now, I’m thinking this Behr “Granite Boulder” might do the trick in our dining room, as long as it’s not too dark. Or too brown.

And then there’s the den. To carry on my neutral grayish, blue theme, I thinking I need a blue that’s just a tad bit deeper than the kitchen, like Behr “Prelude.” It would also possibly work in the foyer.

So, to put it all together, I played around with a little paint-swatch blueprint. Hmmm. You get the idea.

Or, like this…

But now the dining room is looking more brown than gray, so I might have to rethink that. And there’s also the bathroom. And the upstairs will soon follow after all of this is figured out. Ahh, decisions, decisions.

At least I’m getting closer. And I have all sorts of great people offering to help get it on the walls in return for some pizza and wine. Plus, it’s only paint, so if one doesn’t work, we’ll (I’ll) try, try again!


Filed under decorating, DIY, painting, remodel, the great indoors

65¢ work of art

The wall in our bathroom has been horribly blank for quite some time. I had yet to decide what actually belonged there.

But, just the other day, I spotted this adorable monogram image on Etsy.

“Perfect!” I thought. And I decided that as cute as it was, I could always save some cash and make one on my own. So I printed out a pretty “P” with “Puricelli” and headed to Michael’s to gather all the necessary pieces to make the perfect bathroom decor:
various sheets of patterned scrapbook paper ($.60 to $.90 a sheet)
an Exacto knife (3 bucks)

And then scrounged around at home to find the rest:
double sided tape
old picture frame

So….last night I sat down at the table and got to work. Or so I thought. I kept trimming up that “P.” Swapping out my fancy backgrounds. Attempting a frame to put around my initial….

Until realizing that all I created was a big, old “UGH.” This brilliant DIY idea was NOT transforming into the beautiful picture I had imagined.

I began to give up. My last hope was to frame this disaster, with the thought that it would somehow magically become the perfect picture I had in my head. So, I grabbed one of my favorite backgrounds, placed the “P” in, and took a look…

ummm, not so much.

But that was when I realized that the paper alone was really pretty.

Hmmm. I thought. What if…I took out the initial, trimmed up the paper, and let it stand alone. PLUS, the natural feel of the cardboard that was already in my frame added an organic touch…

hey! ….65¢ never looked so fine!

I put it up on the wall, and the design brought in the exact colors to pull in the brown on the walls with the sky blue in my bath mat!

I loved it. And, not to mention, the price.

I still have a place in my heart for that initial, so I might just have to find a spot for it. I’m thinking maybe it wasn’t meant to be right there on the bathroom wall…after all, our initial is a “P” and it’s kind of an ironic letter to have directly across from the toilet. :) ha. potty humor.

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Filed under DIY, the great indoors, this 'n that

Mild-Makeover Sunday

I’ve come to realize that all of this recent DIY blog-browsing has started to rub off on me. For example, this morning I took  a “quick” trip to return a pair of lampshades to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and 2 1/2 joyful hours later, I was headed home with a trunk load of goodies from Marshall’s, HomeGoods and (of course) Target.

Thus became the start of Mild-Makeover Sunday in our guest room.

To be quite honest, other than paint, I’ve never done much to our guest room. It’s kind of a mismatch of things, and a place for Lucas to keep all his clothes and stuff since I’ve taken over our master. It was time to give it a little bit of TLC…

The Guest Room BEFORE:

It felt a little dull. It’s also alotta brown.

Lately I’ve been feeling inspired by numerous sightings of simple, green, blue and white beach cottage-esque rooms. I decided a few little touches could get me closer to that sea-like harmony. It began when I found this little white and “worn” nightstand at Marshalls. I thought it would be the perfect start to getting over that brown-on-brown-on-brown effect I had going on.

I debated on a new comforter while I was there, but the one I had my eye on just wasn’t feeling quite right. So I headed over to HomeGoods and started to browse. I typically don’t have much luck finding duvet covers at HomeGoods, so I pretty much expected to come home with a quilt or a comforter set. However, while I was browsing, I heard a woman say, “hmmm, they have more duvets today than they usually do…” and at that serendipitous moment, I found my duvet (just $39.99 with matching shams :):

And while I was there, I also snagged this sea foamy, lolipop-like candle holder for $9.99.

To finish off the room, I felt like the wall to the left needed a little somethin’ somethin’. So, I strolled on over to Target, and found this simple 3-piece floating shelf set.

A hammer, some nails and a quick shopping spree around the house, and I had myself a new little spot that now does a pretty handy job of breaking up all that brown. (ohh, and those mirror window sconces? I noticed those in my basement on my way down to get the hammer. A couple new candles and those old babies from my condo long, long ago will be brought back to life.)

And tah-dah…just like that, in a few simple hours on a Sunday, our neglected guest room now has a new, cozy feel.

The Guest Room AFTER:




P.S. This $15.99 throw also snuck into the cart at Marshalls. I thought it would be the perfect touch for our master…


Filed under the great indoors, this 'n that