Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ten Things

I decided to take a cue from other bloggers and share a few things I'm into right now...
What I'm loving...

Springtime & the arrival of warm weather

Isn't everyone?  I'm so blessed that I live on the coast and our temperatures start to get into the upper 70s in March/April.  I think we even hit 80 on Monday - at least according to my car.  I'm a summer time girl and I look forward to days spent on the waterThe sunroof on my Jeep has been open A LOT lately and I'm loving every minute!!  

What I'm listening to...

Miranda Lambert's Momma's Broken Heart - Miranda has done it again.  How does she come out with so many great songs?  This one has been on repeat in my car.  (And it is by no means a reflection of my own momma!)

What I'm eating...

Lean Cuisine Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms so ordinarily I would have never even given this a second glance.  But a few weeks ago, at a new pasta restaurant in town, Mirko, our friend Harry got their mushroom ravioli and it was really good.  So when I saw this grocery shopping, I decided to try it.  OMG - this is so good!!  I don't say that often about frozen dinners.  Usually they serve a purpose and I try to find the decent ones, but they aren't exactly something I really love to eat.  I wanted to lick the plastic tray clean.  And at 290 calories, you can't go wrong!

What I'm Watching...

Downton Abbey

Yep, I've been sucked in.  I'd been hearing/reading about this show a lot, but I'll be honest, it sounded boring to me.  When I saw it on our On Demand, I decided to try it.  I'm hooked.  I've only been watching a couple weeks and I'm already midway through season 2.  Cameron, however, is less enthusiastic...

Cameron & I are not huge movie watchers.  We tend to wait for movies to come out on DVD and pick them up at the Redbox rather than spend $20 to see it in the movie theater.  We're cheap like that.  But our friends were going to see Oz and I actually wanted to see it.  They did a really good job developing the backstory of how the characters came to be in the Wizard of Oz we all know.  I doubt it's going to win any awards, but I really enjoyed it.

What I'm buying...

Monogrammed iphone cover
I originally purchased an Otterbox commuter case for my iphone 5 when I got it in December.  Cameron broke it trying to get it off about a month later.  Otterbox sent me a new one no questions asked, but the new one had rough edges that scratched my face.  So I finally decided to just get something different and keep the Otterbox as a backup.  I've been eyeing the monogrammed cases for a while, so when popped up on Groupon, I jumped on it.  I have to say, I've been very pleased!

What I'm Reading...

The Paris Wife
I've been working on this book for a while.  It's the story of Ernest Hemingway's first wife and their relationship.  It's actually really good, the problem is finding time to read.  I struggle reading at night because once I start, I want to keep going, and before I know it, it's the wee hours of the morning.  So I tend to read blogs on my Nook at night before I go to bed, because it's easier to come to a stopping point.  However, I really want to finish this book.  With the summer coming up, I know I'll have plenty of boat/beach time for reading.

What I'm Wearing...

Mint Jeans

I decided to join the colored jean trend.  I'm late, I know.  I'm not really a trendsetter, I tend to wait and see if trends are really going to stick first.  Why not pick my favorite color for spring to start with?

What I've accomplished...

Ran a 5K

This weekend, Cameron & I ran in the Azalea Trail Run and I actually ran the whole 5K, a personal goal.  If you remember, last year I just wanted to finish, so this year I wanted to actually run the whole thing.  I've really been working on my running lately so I felt confident I could do it.  I was by no means fast - I finished in 43 minutes 50 seconds, which is actually slower than my time last year when I ran/walked!!  I was so focused on keeping a slow pace so that I wouldn't lose my endurance.  Oh well, I still accomplished my goal and now I can focus on improving my speed.

What I'm planning...

A DIY project with chalk paint

This dresser originally belonged to Cameron's parents before he took it off to Auburn with him.  We then used it as a newlywed student couple.  It has seen better days, but we kept it when we moved into our home because I think it has "good bones."  It is solid wood and has pretty curves, but needs some "love."  I've always intended on painting it and replacing the hardware, but just never got around to it.  It went in one of our guest rooms and stayed there.  Lately, I've been having the itch to try out some chalk paint, but the nearest place to buy Annie Sloan is an hour away so when I found Cece Caldwell's chalk paint at my favorite local antique store, I decided now is the time to do it.  Of course, I have three 6-day work weeks ahead of me so I'm not exactly sure when I'm going to get around to it....

Hope you've enjoyed a little insight into what I'm loving/doing/buying right now!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Before & After: Guestrooms & Upstairs Bathroom

So I decided to lump the upstairs rooms all together because we have done the least amount of work here.  Our primary living spaces are all downstairs and honestly we don't use the upstairs much except for the treadmill (which we only use if we can't run outside), my craft space (I'm still working on that New Year's resolution...), or when guests are here.  Out of sight, out of mind right?  Upstairs we have two bedrooms and a bathroom.  The previous owners chose much lighter colors up here so I wasn't in as quite a rush to change everything.



Both of the guestrooms have beadboard ceilings and I love that cottagey feel.  I really didn't mind the green in this room and it actually stayed for a while.  But it didn't really go with the bright green quilt I had for the room.  I still had a whole gallon left over of the Behr Pensive Sky from downstairs so I just went with it.  The striped fabric on the bed is not actually a pillow - yet.  It's a P.Kaufmann fabric I found at a local fabric store.  I plan on making some pillows, curtains and cover the desk chair with it.  I'm searching Craigslist for a cheap armoire I can paint to go in here and store all my craft supplies



No, I didn't mess up the pictures.  We've done nothing in here.  Well, I shouldn't say nothing - we did replace the blinds in the window, but that's not in the photo.  The walls in here are a disaster.  Remember when I talked about how uneven the downstairs bathroom walls were - like wallpaper was peeled off then just painted over the glue and ripped off drywall?  This room is way worse.  To the point that I thought it would be easier to just re-drywall.  But I actually have a new plan.  And I'm hoping to get to work on it soon.  I'm going to sand the walls like we did downstairs, then hang beadboard wallpaper

Yep, it's wallpaper that looks/feels just like real beadboard when it's hung.  You can even paint it.  I'm hoping that will help mask any remaining blemishes on the wall.  I thought about planking the wall, but couldn't figure out how to make it work without removing the vanity and I'm hoping to salvage that.  On that topic - I'm going to sand and paint the vanity too.  Colors haven't been chosen yet, but will be based on whatever shower curtain I chose, and I'm leaning towards this one from Pottery Barn.



I know the wall color looks a little different in the photos, but we didn't change it.  In fact, it's very close to the color we chose for the stairwell/hallway.  This room has had nothing done to it either, except for furniture moved in.  I'd like to make an upholstered headboard for the bed and work on the decor, but nothing major need to be done, just give it some attention!

So now you've seen the house tour.  I promise to update as we make changes.  Hopefully, sharing this will motivate me to get working!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Before & After: Master Bedroom

The master bedroom.  Your retreat from the world.  If I had my way, it would be floor to ceiling white and muted linens, but according to my hubby - that's too girly.  Plus, we have a couple of fur-babies who like to snuggle in bed, so white probably would not have been the most practical choice anyways.  Oh, compromise.  So we started with this...



The furniture was actually our first big purchase for the house.  I know in an ideal world, you don't buy the matching set, but instead accumulate coordinating pieces over time for a "collected" look, but we weren't working with a whole lot - money or furniture - and this set from Ashley fit the bill. I did opt out of the side tables and ordered the Charlotte tables from Pottery Barn.  I've really liked them since they don't take up much space, but still have some drawers for storage.  The lamps are from Target, but I'd really like to replace them with something different - maybe missmatched lamps, or even mounted sconces.  The bedding is from Bassett Furniture.  It's hard to see in the photos but it's a neutral paisley pattern and has held up well to our pups.  Unfortunately, it does stay wrinkly, which is explained in the second photo.  The rug is also from Pottery Barn, but is no longer available.  It's a herringbone pattern surrounded by a brown border.  The paint color is Valspar Patina.  If you notice the curtains aren't exactly hung well, it's because I have a bigger plan for them and haven't gotten around to it yet.  I want to make cornice boxes out of molding and have the curtains hanging from the inside.  Since I wouldn't need a pretty rod, I haven't spent money on one, so they've been on cheap rods that are a little wonky for the last 3 years.  Now that I've shared it with the world, hopefully, I'll actually do something about it.  We'd also like to hang crown molding, but that's a large project we have yet to muster of the courage to tackle.  Decor wise, I haven't done much.  I hung several of our wedding photos in here and the 3x3 collage made its way with us from Auburn.  And of course the giant black dog crate is always a beautiful touch. :)  I love our bedroom, but it still needs a little "finishing."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Before & After: Downstairs Bathroom

Unfortunately, our house does not have a true master bathroom, so the downstairs bathroom serves as both our bathroom and the one our friends use when they are hanging out at our house.  We do, however, have a separate vanity area between our bedroom and closet where we get ready in the morning so our "stuff" isn't all over the bathroom.  Makes it much more liveable!  So if you haven't noticed, the previous owners liked red & brown...



This little room took a lot of work.  I chose the wall color first.  I wanted to match the shower wall as close as possible because it is so prominent.  I felt like when the shower was tan and the wall was red, the room looked very choppy.  So I picked a tan paint.  The tough part was that the walls were terribly uneven.  We think there may have been wallpaper on them before, then it was stripped and painted over.  We ended up sanding - A LOT.  It's still not perfect, but much better.  Then, I went in search of a shower curtain.  You'd think it would be easy with a tan wall color, but I'm quite picky.  I ended up falling in love with this fabric
Waverly Chippendale Fretwork Quartz
So my wonderful mother made me a shower curtain out of the fabric.  The vanity had been darkly stained previously, and not very well.  So I opted for painting it a dark chocolate brown (sorry, I don't remember the color).  We changed out the light fixtures and all the hardware for brushed bronze.  I picked up the framed mirror at TJMaxx instead of the boring builder grade mirror.

The one thing left to do in this room is install quarter round.  The previous owners installed tile themselves (at least I'm hoping they didn't pay someone to do it!) and the tile doesn't quite meet the baseboards.  Again, this isn't our permanent house, so I"m not looking for a tiling project, so I think installing some quarter round will cover that gap and make it look more finished.  Something that I'm sure most people don't notice, but it irks me every time I'm in there!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Before & After: Living/Dining Room

One of the things that sold us on this house was the open-concept floor plan, not exactly common in the 80s.  The kitchen, dining area, and living room are all very open to each other.  But it was a whole lot of brown.  Brown walls.  Brown trim.  Brown floors.



We got to work painting this area right away.  The walls are Behr Pensive Sky and the trim is Behr Ultra Pure White.  We switched out the Pizza Hut style chandelier for something a little more my style.  We also changed out the ceiling fan for one with a brushed bronze finish.  I also made valence curtains to hide the blinds on the french doors.  The fabric matches the cafe curtain in the kitchen - Waverly Stripe Ensemble in Robins Egg.  That's really about it.  As you can see - paint goes a loooong way!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Before & After: Kitchen

Oh the kitchen.  By far the most intimidating part of our house.  I loved the charm of the house and could deal with many of the outdated aspects but oh the kitchen.  With it's 80's oak cabinets (albeit solid wood), brick floors, fluorescent light fixture, yellow formica countertops, and hobby woodworker embellishments...  Not quite my dream kitchen.  BUT the appliances were updated, so there was a plus!



Oh what a little paint can do!  Because this is our starter home (and not exactly the best economy), we opted against the full gut option.  Like I mentioned before, the cabinets were solid wood, just dated.  We decided to paint the cabinets white - Behr Ultra White.  We were newbies to the whole DIY thing and didn't exactly do it the way the professionals do.  We did use a sprayer on the doors so don't get me wrong, they look great, but durability hasn't been the best.  After nearly 3 years, it's about time for another coat, especially around the knobs.  When we finally get around to round two, I will look more into the sealant side of things!

We also replaced all the knobs and pulls with brushed bronze hardware.  I love the contrast between the dark and light.  And of course the countertops had to be replaced.  We started out looking at a nicer formica but for the size of our kitchen the price for granite wasn't too bad so we opted for it.  We figured we'd be happier with it and it would be better for resale.  We chose Giallo St. Cecilia, which is a common color.  I'm so glad we went with the granite.  I love it!
 We replaced the old stainless sink with a white cast iron one and added brushed bronze fixtures.  We painted the wall space between the cabinets in Behr Pensive Sky, a soft grayish blue.  We opted not to do a backsplash since we extended the granite up the wall several inches.  I know many people hate a blank wall without a backsplash, but it really hasn't bothered me and I've enjoyed having the little bit of color there.  It's not shown in the pictures above, but I promise we replaced the light fixture with something of the non-fluorescent variety.  Nothing special, just a basic flush-mount, but it will do until I find something that excites me.   I also made a cafe curtain to go over the sink using Waverly Stripe Ensemble in Robins Egg.

I love a good striped fabric and this one had the perfect shade of blue and the little pop of red to tie in my barn star that you will see more of soon!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Before & After: Office

Next up on the home tour is our office right when you walk in the front door.  Technically, it's the formal dining room, but since it isn't quite big enough to fit a long table and we needed an office, that's what we made it.  This is the room we did the least amount of work to.  I actually liked the color of the walls in here.  So other than a fresh coat of white paint on the beadboard, it was all ready to go.  One thing you may notice is the tile stops at the kitchen and switches to brick.  I'd love to have the same flooring throughout, but we've heard the brick is quite a pain to take out so it's staying.



As you can tell, we are quite proud of our Auburn diplomas - all 4 of them.  And yes, there is a litter box and mass of cords in the photo - just keeping it real.  I really want to address the cord issue (doesn't everyone?). I'm thinking about getting one of these from Amazon

or just trying this trick I saw on Pinterest
The chair I absolutely love.  I found it at an antique shop in Auburn before I finished vet school.  It was wobbly and the seat was looking rough, but the price was right and I liked the paint finish on the chair.  I ended up recovering the chair with leftover fabric from making the curtains (my first sewing project).  The fabric is Waverly Paddock Shawl Mineral.
   The desk is actually a table from an unfinished furniture store that I painted, and the rug is from Martha Stewart that I found at TJMaxx.

I talked about the bookcase that Cameron built for me here.  I painted the beadboard back the same color teal as the table for another pop of color.  It still desperately needs a little "styling," but it is what it is and I love having the extra shelf space.

For those who haven't been to our house or seen pictures on Facebook, you can see a little sneak peak of the kitchen update - by far the most dramatic in our house!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Beginning of the Before & Afters

When I started this blog, I fully intended to share more interior design/DIY stuff, but I really haven't followed through with that promise.  Life happens and sometimes it's easier to sit back and just look at all the beautiful images on blogs and Pinterest rather than do and share my own.  I figure my house won't be as pristine or my craft projects as creative or my photos as perfect.  But part of the purpose of starting this blog was to motivate me to do more around my house.  The other day I saw this posted over at the Nester and it hit home...
better to do something
So I decided there was no time like the present to start sharing the before and afters of our house.  We purchased our home, our first, almost 3 years ago.  We got right to work, painting EVERYTHING.  Then, we kind of stopped.  Is everything "done" - no.  (I mean, really, are our homes ever really FINISHED???)  But the pictures you see here are what it looked like when we moved in and what it looks like today (well, a couple days ago when I took the pictures).  I decided I will separate it into several posts and discuss my future goals for each space.  Hopefully, that will be a little motivation to get something done (what is it they say about writing down your goals?)  Oh, and be prepared for some pet photo bombs.  It's very difficult to get a photo without one of the 3 in it!

First up...

Foyer/Stairway BEFORE:

Foyer/Stairway AFTER:

As you can see the previous owners liked really dark brown paint.  I felt it made the stairway feel like a cave.  We (i.e. the painter - I was not teetering on stairs) painted over it with Behr Chocolate Froth, a basic neutral pale khaki.  I also painted the railing dark brown.  I'm still contemplating black, but Cameron likes the brown better since the front door is dark brown stained wooded.  I really like our gallery wall, but it needs some updating - I haven't changed it since we moved in - and I'd  like to add in some other art pieces/decor besides just photos.  We also changed out the light fixture, which I talked about here.

That's it for today, but stay tuned for the next set of before/afters!

Friday, March 1, 2013

On the plains

Last weekend, Cameron and I took a quick trip up to Auburn.  I had fully intended to share the details of our trip earlier, but 3 migraines in 4 days left me with little energy for much of anything.  Yep, three.  A personal new record - one I hope to never beat.  Any other migraine sufferers out there?  Mine started back in high school.  I had them occasionally through college, but they got worse in vet school.  Think lack of sleep, plenty of stress, large amounts of caffeine.  Not a good recipe for a migraine sufferer.  They slacked off some since graduation because I've had more control over those triggers.  I've also been more aware of my "triggers."  Mine are very much hormonal and sleep cycle related.  The problem now is that they seem to be occurring in clusters more often and in the middle of the day.  It used to be that I would wake up early, like 4am, with them, take my medicine and go back to bed.  I was usually at least somewhat functional by school/work time.  And once I had one, I was usually "safe" for 4-6 weeks.  Two of the three this week hit me mid-morning - at work.  Nothing like laying on the laundry room floor of a vet clinic because it's the darkest room you can find...Awesome.  In light of the recent events, I've decided to start a daily preventative medication so fingers crossed it works!

Enough griping and on to our trip.  We decided to go to Auburn for 3 reasons 1) we love it and miss it so much (obviously)!  2) my friend Jane Ashley from vet school was going to be working at the vet school for 2 weeks as part of her residency so we would get to hang out again, and 3) Dean, our foster dog, was adopted by a family in Auburn.

One of Cameron's archaeology friends decided to adopt Dean, so we dropped Dean off as soon as we got to town.  The plan was for them to have a "trial" run to see how he fit in with their family.  We got a text later that night saying it was a done deal.  That dog can win over anybody immediately!

Then we headed to Niffers to meet JA for dinner.  Niffers is a local restaurant with a definite college vibe.  Their homemade chips are amazing!

Saturday morning was overcast and gloomy, but we still loved every moment being back in Auburn.  It's crazy how much the campus has changed in just 3 years.  Of course, I had to get a picture of the Toomer's Oaks, as they will be torn down after the spring football game.  The university is relandscaping the corner and bringing in new trees, but it will be a while before any celebratory rolling can occur.

We wandered around downtown all morning.  Jane and I shopped at all the cute boutiques, while Cameron sat on the benches like any good husband would do.  (We realized that there isn't much for a guy to do downtown!)  I picked up a few things, but became very well aware of my age!  It may only be 3 years since I lived in Auburn, but it's been 8 since I was in undergrad!  I caught a few girls looking at us, probably wondering who the old ladies were!

Lunch was at my all-time favorite - Amsterdams.

It was a hard choice between the turkey wrap and the crab cake & avocado sandwich (one of the top 100 dishes in Alabama).  I love them both.  I chose the wrap so my sweet hubby got the crab sandwich.  Sweet potato chips were non-negotiable.

After lunch, Cameron & I spent the afternoon visiting family & friends.  First, my cousin and his family, then Cameron's former boss/professor/mentor.

We met up with Jane again for dinner at a new restaurant - The Hound.
The restaurant is located where our old favorite, Ale House, used to be.  Think fancy American food + bourbon bar.  Very cool place.  We loved it!  It was so sad to say goodbye to Jane Ashley, but we had such a good time hanging out again and were already planning the next visit!

Sunday morning, we drove by our first newlywed "home," then we had to say our goodbyes to Dean.  We were so sad to give him up, but he is loving his new home!    They live on several acres with a few other dogs and two rambunctious little boys.  He fit in so quickly and loves having the room to run.  I have to admit though there were tears shed, but it helped to see him adjusted and happy! 

After an all too quick trip we headed home.  I love going back to Auburn, but I always have that pang of sadness when I leave.

Until next time...