A Little Christmas Project Nostalgia

Hey Ya’ll!  We’re decorating the new pad for Christmas today and I’m totally stoked about it, too.   It’ll be a day full of decorating in our pajamas while watching Elf and eating cookies.  Living the dream, people.  Plus, the fact that we’re in our new house just MAKES IT for me.   I’ve always thought that this house would be great for the holidays and this was unexpectedly confirmed when my Aunt Terry walked into our living room for the first time and stated (with zero prompting) “This is a great Christmas house.”  BAM!  That’s right.  It’s not just me!!!

Anyways, being the nostalgic sap that I am, I decided to cruise through some of my Christmas posts from last year for inspiration.   Since this is a new house with different decor needs, looking back at old projects helps me visually inventory what I already own in one fell swoop (and provides me with ideas for new ways use these items in our new home).  So, in case these may benefit ya’ll as well, here are a few snippets…

Our Christmas trees.

For our larger tree, I stuck to a silver, burgundy and green theme last year.  Lots of glittery snowflakes, garland and wire ribbon.   In lieu of a tree skirt, I just used faux sheepskin rugs.  I love that look.  It’s like a little snow mound beneath the tree.

Our “Charlie Brown Tree” is a simple silver tree that I purchased on clearance from Walmart years ago (Humph… that cord makes me twitchy.  Just try to ignore it.  Or tell me you don’t see it to make me feel better.) …




I stuck him in this painted basket for a bit of style, then added some stockings and wood ornaments with burlap bows for style.   These guys adorned our hallway nook in our last house, but need a new locale and look for this house.   Hmmm…. Wheels are turning…

Adding pizzaz with free Christmas Printables


This was one of my favorites.  It was free, easy and added a touch of whimsy to our Christmas decor.   I ended up using four different printables throughout the house.  I still have them and will likely reuse them again.   See the other printables that I utilized here.

Christmas centerpiece ideas, PLUS, creating inexpensive snowflake window hangings...



A few simple, cheapo purchases lead to a sophisticated “winter wonderland” feel.   The window hangings tied in perfectly to the trees and centerpiece and really were the icing on the cake!  At least I think so.  ;)

Some quick, low-maintenance outdoor decor...




I reused my DIY frame wreath and jazzed it up with a few simple tweaks.  Plus, I used a gorgeous live wreath in a non-traditional way to add a little Christmas spirit to the seating area on our covered porch.

And lastly, this isn’t Christmas decor necessarily, but since gift ideas are always a good thing, here’s how I created simple busts of Lucas on burlap for gifts.  We gave one to each of the grandparents last year…


So, now that I’m officially in the Christmas spirit, I’m gonna go get my decorating on.   Ya’ll have a great weekend!!  Let’s start this holiday season off right!  :)

Lucas got a brand new(ish) bed!

I’ve literally been talking about getting Lucas a new bed for years now.  YEARS!  The bed that we’ve been using for him was a hand-me-down gifted to us from Joey’s grandfather.  It was a simple metal bed frame with a trundle bed beneath.  No headboard or footboard.  Useful for sure and much appreciated, but very basic….

As functional as his bed has been, I’v been craving something a bit more stylish to help set the tone for his room. A good, chunky “boy bed”.

Back when we were in the process of buying our house, my uncle graciously offered up an old bedroom set that was previously used by my cousin Bryan. It was a simple, solid wood set including bed, dresser, and nightstand. For free. Um, Sold!

We didn’t need the dresser or nightstand in Lucas’s room, so we’re utilizing them in other parts of the house. But the bed, oh the bed. It was exactly what I wanted for him in terms of style and simplicity. The only issue was the oaky tone that didn’t quite jive with my plan for his bedroom….

I was originally planning to use Polyshades to darken the wood tone.  I’d assumed that the pieces were oiled or finished with something that would prevent stain from penetrating without prep.  But, after a little experimentation, I realized that the wood readily accepted the stain WITHOUT a stitch of prep work!!!  Total miracle, right??? (Insert victory dance, circa the Snoopy dance from A Charlie Brown Christmas.).  So, with that, I proceeded to apply 2 coats of Minwax Ebony stain that I had on hand….

I left about 12 hours between coats to ensure that the first coat was dry, thus allowing the second coat to fully penetrate the wood. Then, I applied two coats of my newest obsession tung oil following these steps. The result was a beautiful, ebony stain with a luscious, natural looking gloss. I really love that the tung oil lends a beautiful finish without any drips or brush marks.  And it’s basically foolproof!!  If you can wax-on you can achieve a beautiful finish. We’re total BFFs now.  Me and tung oil.  Picture us twirling in a field of daisies.

Anyhoo, the bed didn’t come with hardware, so we purchased some corresponding bolts and washers from Lowes.  Then, we assembled the bed and proceeded to bask in its glow of awesomeness…

I’m ecstatic about how well the bed coordinates with his dresser.   In these pics, the dresser appears a bit more red-toned due to the lighting, but in person, the two pieces coordinate perfectly….

A little before and after bid-ness…



Before the bed (after we changed the carpet and painted)…

And now…

Sorry about the insane glare in these shots… I’m planning to retake them in better lighting soon and post them to Our House tour page, so keep an eye out for that.

Another view…  Before


The bed is a total game-changer for this room.  It’s streamlined and masculine with bonus storage beneath!  It gives the space so much style and function. Plus, the bed is lower than his last, which means he no longer needs a step-stool to get in it. I’m changing out the wood drawer handles beneath the bed for stainless knobs to mesh better with the other furniture in his room, so I’ll post a little update once that’s done.  Now that the main-players of the room are in place, I can focus on wall-art, his desk area, adding curtains and otherwise fine-tuning the space to bring it full circle…. And the fun can REALLY begin!!!!  (Insert crazy cackle) 

Time for a tour!

So, the other day I realized that I’ve been a bad blogger. We’ve lived in the house for almost 2 months and I haven’t shown you many of the rooms as they currently stand. Now, I’ll tell ya… We have a TON of work to do still. But, really in the time we’ve lived here we’ve done a lot. New windows were installed in the bedrooms last week, new insulation and radiant barrier before that, new flooring in much of the house prior to move-in, etc. So, now that some of the Need-To-Do things are checked off, we’re finally reaching that sweet-spot where we can start focusing on style and decor.  I’m going to break up the tour into a few posts to keep it from being too overwhelming.  This time around I’m going to show you the kitchen/breakfast nook, the foyer and the secondary bedrooms that you haven’t seen yet.

So, here’s where we started with the kitchen…


And here’s we’re at now….

All we’ve really done here is accessorize. Obviously, this room needs plenty of work down the line. The appliances are old, mis-matched, and builder-grade.  Our black fridge sticks out like a sore thumb.  Plus, the stove works only part of the time. We literally have to jam the burners in and smack ‘em around to get them to heat up. These will be replaced eventually, but we’re trying to make them last as long as possible to allow us to really consider what we want to replace them with. Oh yeah, then there’s the rest of the full-reno.  ;)

On the other side of the room, we have our breakfast nook, which started here…


And now is here…

The large red painting was created by my mother in law, Mac. You’ll see several of her pieces throughout the tour. The table is off center to allow better flow of traffic (although looking at this pic, I can definitely move it a bit closer to center.  Noted.).   The lighting fixture is off center in the opposite direction, which drives me batty.  Plus, it’s way too close to the french doors to allow a table to sit directly under it, so we plan to relocate the lighting fixture over the table (I’m lobbying for a chandelier.  Joey remains unconvinced.).  Speaking of the table, I really think the space is screaming for a round pedestal table to allow for better flow.   I’m keeping an eye out for potential candidates.

Over in this little area by the French door….

We have a charming Ride print that Joey purchased a long time ago. I framed it with a $4 poster frame from Target. Below that we have my chicken-wire Ikea hacked cabinet with the painted baskets that I adorned for our previous mudroom. The baskets hold sunscreen, bug spray, and other outdoor must-haves so we can just grab-and-go when swimming.

A little view from beyond the breakfast nook (You can catch a glimpse of the dining room… I’ll have another post for that)….

And don’t even get me started on that fluorescent light.  It will be so very gone.  One day.

Moving onto the foyer, we started with this…


Which now looks like this…

I’m not convinced that that art will stay which is why I haven’t hung it yet.  I’m still marinating on that.

The other direction…


I’ve simply added a vase with sticks and another awesome painting by Mac (that hallway leads to the kitchen)…

Here’s the view of the painting from further down the hallway… \

I’m still at a loss for what to do with the wall that’s directly across from the front door (this pic is from before we moved in)…


It’ll come to me eventually, I’m sure.

The next two rooms I have done absolutely NOTHING to decor-wise. They both currently boast the same scuffed-up, flesh-colored paint that’s just BEGGING for a change and ZERO style.  But, in the interest of keepin’ it real, I’m showing you guys anyways.  I figure, every room has to start somewhere.  Both spaces have had carpets replaced and new windows installed.  So, they’ve got that going for them.  Which is nice.

The first bedroom looked like this…


And currently looks like this (brace yourself)…

Pretty bad, right?   This is the room where the pipe burst.   You can see the sheetrock work that was done behind the bed.    This room holds a haphazard bed, my beloved desk chair and every wall art piece that I own that has yet to find a home (they’re all unceremoniously leaning against the wall next to the door). It’s kind of a glorified storage room/office right now. I have a bunch of work to do here. Like, a lot.  I’m still deciding how I wanna proceed in this space.

The other bedroom started off here…


And now looks like this….

Again, blank slate. A flesh-toned blank slate that mocks me every time I walk past. This room is going to be painted a similar tone as the rest of the house. A nice, light grey. Since we plan to make this a secondary entertainment space I thought it’d be nice to extend that common-area color into this room as well.  Then, curtains, art, TV will be hung, etc.  Again, I’ve got my work cut out for me here. Lots to do.

Ill show y’all the hall bath and mudroom soon. And once I repaint the master bath AGAIN (finally), I’ll update you on that as well.  Oh yeah, and the dining space has had some changes… and Lucas’s room.  OMG.  You guys.   I’m so behind.  I’ll get you up to speed soon.  :)

DIY Large Scale Italy Art

You guys. This is totally happening right now…




After a week or so of freezing our petoochies off to the tune of freezing weather, our paper-thin windows are getting replaced!!! I read somewhere (where was that??!) the description of 1970s windows as follows “If you lean your head close enough to the window pane you can feel your hair blowing in the breeze”. Very true. True statement right there folks. So, we are more than thrilled to be crossing this task off of our to-do list. Anyways, while that’s getting done, I thought I’d tell you about our new DIY artwork.

Remember when I painted our master bedroom?  I mentioned that I wanted to change up the feeling of the room with different modern/quirky art??   Well, I found one that suits us to a T.   Ya see, I was just minding my own business, checking out Pinterest, when I came across this pin….


Now, I’m not much of a wordy decor person (Wait. Rephrase… I’m wordy.  I just don’t often gravitate towards word ART.  Boom!  Nailed it.), but this quote resonated with me.   I’m 75% Italian.  My grandparents on my dad’s side immigrated from Italy when my Aunt was a baby, so I grew up listening to them speak Italian and hearing stories about the small village where they hailed from.   When I graduated from high school, my Aunt Sera took me to Italy and it was everything (plus more) that I hoped it would be.   It was stunningly beautiful, as were the people.  Not.Kidding.  Seriously, we were amazed that there were no ugly Italians to be found.  The less attractive folks all seemed to be tourists.  Heehee!  Anyhoo, the beauty of the country was rivaled only by the incredible food.   Good gravy.  I would move there for the food alone.  I still dream about the potato and vegetable soup I had in Venice.  Twice.  And don’t even get me started on the gelato.  I ate it at LEAST daily throughout our trip.  So, when I came across this pin, I just knew that it was right.  And the simple, modern style was fantastic!

I followed the pin to the source which lead to this blog post on Brittany Makes.   Brittany actually created the art in Photoshop and had it printed at Kinkos in her preferred size (29.5″x 39.25″ per the largest Ikea Ribba frame).  And much to my delight, she offered it up to her readers as a FREE printable!!   Since her post was published, Kinkos in our area had transformed to the Fed Ex print/copy shop and for a higher quality print, they quoted me around $90.   Not in the budget.   AND they didn’t offer the exact size I needed anyways (I’d followed her lead and purchased the same Ikea Ribba frame).   After doing a bit of research, I found that I could have the good folks at Staples produce an engineering print for around $8 in 36 x 48″ size, which I could then cut down to fit my frame.   (If you do this, be sure that the box that states “Fit print to Frame” is unchecked, otherwise the art will be too large to cut down).

Once I got my frame home, I simply laid the frame’s plexi-glass over my print, traced around it and cut it down with scissors.

Now, here’s the deal with engineering prints… The paper is super thin, so you must back it with solid white paper so that you cant see through it.   Unfortunately, the paper that came with the frame had printing on it…

So, I just scotch taped computer paper to both the cardboard frame backing and the opening in the matting….

I secured the frame and hung my new art on the wall only to realize that the flimsiness of the paper caused it to wrinkle beneath the plexi with the pull of gravity….

So, I removed it.  I thought about adhering the print to the frame’s backing with spray adhesive, but I was afraid that the adhesive would stain the thin, white paper.  In the end, I ended up taping the print to the matting with more Scotch tape to prevent any further drooping. This helped a lot, but just keep in mind… this is why such a large print is $8.   I’m okay with imperfection due to that.   But if it really bothers you, you may wanna spring for a higher quality print.    In any case, my new Italy art is hung and she’s a beaut (albeit somewhat hard to photograph due to it’s reflectiveness)…


It adds a pop of modern sleekness to the bedroom which compliments the lines of my mid-century ottoman and painted wicker chair.   This is exactly in line with the direction I want our bedroom to go.  Personal but modern.  And also, ignore the conflicting brown tones.  I’ll get there.  Eventually… :)

Hey Al, It’s Christina

Warning: This is not a home-related post.  It’s for my brother, SSGT Alex Viola.  

So, it’s been a year.

A whole year that you’ve been gone.  Wow.  And ya know, there are still times that Lucas’ll say something funny and I’ll think to myself “Alex’ll love this!!”, then I halt and rephrase in my head “Wait. Alex would’ve loved this…”.  Dang.  I really hate it when I do that.  It’s like a shock to the system every time.

One thing that I can say is that you’re definitely missed. By me, family, friends, everyone.  I hear, see, and read about it all the time.  You made an impact on so many people and I’m sad that I didn’t really get to see that until after you were gone.

I’ve been making it a point to talk about you to Lucas at least once every day to keep his memories fresh.   Even if it’s just to remind him that you gave him his bomber jacket.   It fits him a bit snuggly this year, but I’ll make him wear it until it no longer zips if I have my way.   He hasn’t complained so far, so I think we’re good for now.   It’s funny that even though he’s so young, he seems to really get it.   He says that you’re in “Kevin”.  Which I happen to think is hilarious and refuse to correct him on.  I figure, he’ll realize its “Heaven” soon enough, so until then, he can at least up the entertainment value around these parts.  Plus, I know how much you’d love it.  Heehee! ;)  I know that he thinks about you regularly…. The other night when mom and dad were babysitting, Lucas rearranged the peas on his plate and said “It’s a flag for Uncle Alex!”.  And last night, that missed call on your heaven-version-iPhone was Lucas.   He “called” and left you a voicemail.  He may have sounded a little drunk, but that’s only because he ate a lot of pizza.

In the year since you’ve been gone, there are some things that have happened that I think  you should know about:

1.  Your Santa tradition was and will be carried on.   Last year, Anthony took over in your honor and he did a great job.   And somebody will do it this year and the next, and so on and so forth.   I’ll make sure of it.   The Santa suit you procured will be put to good use as intended.

2. Lucas has become obsessed with the ninja turtles, just like you did.   When he started getting into it, I had flashbacks of you as a child.   He even likes Michelangelo best like you.  AND much like your kiddo self, he also has ninja turtle underpants.   I had to have a “serious” discussion with him, though.   When he first got them he was so excited that he would drop trou at any point in time for anybody so that he could show them his new ninja turtle skivvies.  We had to instill the golden-rule of “underpants are secret” and now he’s over it.  He dresses like a turtle all the time, now.  Shell, bandana, nunchucks.  Everyday.  He even sleepwalks with them.  He gets up, dons his gear, walks around, takes it off, and goes back to bed.  It’s SO funny.  You would love it.

3.  Lucas has reached the age of ridicule.  Seriously.  There’s this vile commercial for Lalaloopsy Diaper Surprise that I absolutely despise.   I’m guessing that they ban this ad in Heaven, so allow me to paraphrase… It’s this doll that, well… craps out a charm for a charm bracelet into her diaper after she’s fed water.   The commercials show these little girls getting all excited about the contents of the doll’s diaper, and next ya know, they’re wearing the charms on their wrists.   It’s SO gross.  Ugh.   What is this?  Training for little girls to look forward to dirty diapers??!!!   And the icing on the cake is the annoying jingle that plays throughout the course of the commercial.  Anyways, Lucas has picked up on the fact that I hate this commercial more than I hate celebrity baby names.  Thus, every so often he’ll approach me under the guise of “I wanna hug” and then proceed to softly sing the commercial into my ear.   HE KNOWS!!!!   He totally knows!!!  And I could totally see the two of you ganging up on me and having a grand ole’ time together.  You were waiting for him to reach this age, and I hate that you aren’t here to see  it.

4.  SO many funds have been raised for the Wounded Warriors Fund and Green Beret Foundation in your name.   Honestly, my brain hasn’t been all there this past year, so unfortunately, a lot of these efforts have kind of run together in my head.  But, there have been so many amazing, and generous people who have done such kind things to raise money.  Many have donated.   It seems like any time your name is involved, people line up to help.   It’s pretty awesome.   Our cousin Ryan created this incredible decal, the proceeds of which are being donated to The Green Beret Foundation….


Aside from that, not only did CrossFit gyms across the nation hold workouts in your honor last year when we lost you, many of them did it again this year.   Your old roommate Brett was the catalyst for keeping it going, and again, proceeds were donated in your name. It’s crazy-awesome. Just like you.

In any case, you’re in our thoughts all the time and I hope you’re in a nice, safe place keeping Nanny and Billie company.   Keep an eye out for Larry, as well… He’s a cool guy.  You’d like him.   Oh yeah, and if it was you that sent that wonderful lady scuba diving to find your memorial bracelet on the bottom of the Hawaiian ocean, thanks.  Mom really needed that.  So, anyways, I really miss you!  We all do!

Until we meet again,

Your sister

P.S. If you’d like to know the back-story about Alex, read this post.










November DIY Challenge: Wood Slice Tray

Howdy all!   Today I have a fun treat for you guys… remember The Great Crate Challenge that I participated in a few months ago??   Well, this month, I’m partnering with some of the same amazing bloggers, plus a few more for another fun challenge!   It was the same premise as last time, but this go-around, the required material was wood slices!


Mission: Just make something with them

This was the only rule.

Now, I’ll be honest… I had no idea what to create.  I meandered around The store for what seemed like forever, just pacing the aisles.   Staring at all of the glorious craft supplies with nary an idea to be found.  After about 45 minutes, I began losing hope and thinking of all of the cookies that I could be consuming at that very moment.  Which is when this wood slice magically appeared before me…


It wasn’t the traditional round shape, which I liked.  The squareness and cleaner lines definitely were more my bag.   And that’s when it happened.   This very special little wood slice and my undying love for trays joined forces.  And I realized that not only would I make a tray… I already had everything else I needed at home!  It was my very own Dorothy-Wizard-of-Oz moment.  If I’d only had my ruby slippers the entire time.   So, I adopted this badboy and took him home.

Now, remember that awesome hardware that I used on my children Brightey Whitey cabinets??   And how I mentioned that they came in a 6-pack, but I’d only used four for that project??  Well, never have I been so happy to have excess materials.  Those pulls were PERFECT!   I began the drawer pull installation by marking the center of the wood slice…


Then, I used this handy-dandy tool to mark where my holes would go (for a detailed tutorial on installing drawer pulls click here)….


And I drilled….


Which was followed by an epic Womp!Womp! when I realized that I’d marked the center incorrectly on one side, thus my holes were off by a good half-inch.   Oy.   I know that I should’ve known better than that… “Measure twice, drill once, Christina. Sheesh!”, but alas, I got cocky.  Note: NEVER get cocky.  It’ll never cease to bite you in the rear…


Fortunately, the metal pulls hid my mistake without my having to take further action, so I was good to go.  Total happy accident, for sure.   Next, I taped off the raw wood edges, and applied two thin and even coats of white paint with an eggshell finish…


And I attached my drawer pulls.  You can see the tray at this point in time in the shot below.  I liked it well enough as it was, but ultimately decided that it needed a little something extra.  A bit of pizazz, if you will.  After tossing around ideas like our initials and such, I decided to go with something more organic and personal.   Lucas’s hand-print.   I simply spread some blue craft paint on a paper plate…


Stamped Lucas’s hand in it and applied his hand-print to the tray in an off-center orientation…


Which left this…


IMG_7719 IMG_7724

Not too shabby for a total cost of around $10 (The wood slice with a 30% off coupon), eh?   I’m really happy with it and almost a little surprised at how much I love it.    And I adore that Lucas got to be involved.  It’s now not just a simple DIY project, it’s a keepsake.    I plan to write the date and Lucas’s age on back so I’ll never forget.  If you plan to use the tray for beverages or anything moist, be sure to seal it with three thin coats of Polycrylic.   The crystal clear formula will ensure that the white paint wont yellow.  I haven’t done this yet, as I’m only using it for decorative (read: dry) purposes, but I plan on on sealing it to be sure that Lucas’s hand-print is forever preserved.

Update: I forgot to mention when I published this post that this will be a monthly challenge, so tune in the second Wednesday of every month!!!  December’s item will be clear glass ornaments.  I’d better get that thinking cap on… :)

So, that’s my wood slice project!  Now, check out the awesome projects created by my fellow bloggers…

Lucas’s room = Painted

Wow, guys.   Just holy wow.  I have so many (fun) projects going on right now that I’m not sure what to give you first.   That’s what’s so crazy about these first months after a move.   Everything’s a little schizophrenic.  I want everything to be done all at once, so it’s an explosion of projects started in all corners of the house.   No rhyme or reason.  And what’s funny is, yes… I painted Lucas’s room this weekend.  But, no.  It totally wasn’t the plan.  It was a whim decision.  As in, I went for a jog, got back, saw Joey working in the yard (with Lucas “assisting”).  And said, “Hey!  I think I’ll paint Lucas’s room (rightnow)! “. I. Am. SUCH. A. Weirdo.  Several hours later it was done.   But not without a lone, sad pride casualty.  I give you my Facebook status from that day….

Oh, Lucas. (sigh!)

Anyways, the paint-fest actually came as a side-effect of Lucas’s new bed.   Ya see, my uncle gave us this great cargo bed that used to be my cousin Bryan’s.  Here’s the foot-board…

You intrigued?  ;)

I’ll have a separate post about the bed later, but the short of it was that after I refinished it darker, we started to move the bed into Lucas’s room.  And then I changed my mind.   I decided that I didn’t want to move the bed into the room before painting the walls and risk splatter drops violating the nice, new finish.  Thus, the room needed to be painted sometime soon so we could get the bed out of the garage.   At the time, I didn’t realize that “sometime soon” would be that very day, but it totally worked out.  So, we’re good.

When it came to wall color, I’d initially thought that I wanted to paint the walls a punchy green.  But, after throwing some green paint swatches on the wall to get a general idea, I wasn’t sold.   It clashed with some of accessories that I wanted to use in the space.  Then, I remembered that I had almost a full gallon of the gorgeous grey paint from the master bedroom leftover, so I threw that up there too…

And I loved it.   It took on much more of a khaki color in this space due to the difference in lighting.  It was perfect and would be a great backdrop for all of the bright colors I’m planning to bring into the space.    So, I did it.   And here’s where we are now….

Now, keep in mind that I haven’t even BEGUN to style the joint.   This is literally just move-furniture-back-post-painting mode.  I did, however, rearrange the furniture in the space which completely opened it up (aaaaand I’m now realizing that this means nothing to you since I neglected to take a before picture).  Just take my word for it.   Moving furniture around (FOR FREE) is one of the most crazy, game-changing moves to make a space feel so much more welcoming.    This is the layout that this room always wanted. There’s plenty of floorspace for Lucas to play and yet, it doesn’t feel cramped in the slightest. I just can’t wait to get his new bed in here (we realized that we need to purchase a few more bolts to fully assemble it first). But, this is a really great start for his room.

And here’s the ninja-turtle-donning man of the hour pulling off yet another Chandler-Bing-Smile (the towels on his shoulder are his “back-up nunchucks”)…

So, still up…. curtains (once the windows are replaced next week), a little special treatment for the built in desk area (not shown), new chairs for his little white table, wall art, styling. Lots to do, but we’re on our way!! :)

The Porta-Potty

I kid, I kid.   It’s not portable.   But, it is a tiny room with a toilet …


Literally. They call it a “half bath”.  But, I’d like to know where the rest of it is.   Oh wait, it’s in the laundry room.  The bathroom itself is only big enough for a commode. You have to wash your hands in the work sink in the laundry room.  Small price to pay for a decent pool bath, though.   I think it’ll function really well for this purpose when it warms up again.  It’s close to two of the entrances to the backyard and is wholly surrounded by tile which pretty much quadruples it’s useful-quotient. But still… a room with a toilet only.  Iiinteresting (taps fingers together)….

When it comes to decor, it’s a total blank slate.   Last year a pipe froze and burst in the attic above, requiring the previous owners to basically rebuild this portion of the house.  They simply sheet-rocked this little toilet room and (muchtomydismay) painted it the same dark purple tone as the master bedroom (before I painted it grey). While purple isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea, I thought I’d at least try to make it work before taking the plunge and painting it myself.  I mean, it’s a teeny room that I don’t spent much time in, so I figured that maybe the color would be more tolerable in this setting.  I decided to accessorize the space and then objectively reevaluate the color.

Among other things, the room is desperately lacking in storage.   Up to this point, we’d just been stacking toilet paper on top of the precariously rounded toilet lid… not the best of plans, especially being that the flush buttons are also on the lid.   It made for a toilet tissue Slip-n-Slide of epic proportions.   So, being the “use what I got” person that I am, I took stock and realized that the shelves that were in Lucas’s old room would fit perfectly above the toilet. Thus, I proceeded to install both shelves (ALLBYMYSELF! WOOT!)…

…then I tossed around some accessories that I already had.

I liked having a mirror up there to bounce light around, but wasn’t digging the dark frame.  In person, it felt very heavy.  So, I taped that sucker up with painters tape (we’re friends now, remember?) and plastic wrap and gave it several thin and even coats of spray paint in matte white…

And I ended up here….

In hindsight, I probably should’ve restocked the toilet paper in the basket before snapping pics.  But, that’s okay.   The shelving now allows space to PUT toilet paper, which is a vast improvement from the previous situation.  So, that’s enough to make up for it in my eyes.  I’m really liking the mix of white, black, green, and natural wood… not to mention, the stainless/gold mixed metals.    I still need to get an actual toilet paper dispenser for the wall so that that awful toilet bracket can hit the road (P.S. that isn’t ours… it was left by the sellers. So, uh, yeah. It’s gotta go.  Something about using somebody elses attached-to-the-toilet-paraphernalia gives me the heebie jeebies.).

As for the paint color… Seriously, ya’ll. I’m trying. I’m REALLY trying. But, I just can’t do it. I really can’t.  It needs to change. So, I’ll be changing it. It feels way too traditional for my taste. I need a lighter, brighter, more modern-feeling hue to blow my skirt up. So, now this room is definitely on my “to paint” list.   I was tossing around the idea of a soft aqua-blue tone.  I thought it might feel nice and beachy given that this is a pool bath.   What color do y’all think I should paint it?


Grey is the New Purple

So, our master bedroom is painted.   And not a moment too soon.   Actually it was painted last weekend, but I ran short on time for taking pictures.  :/

Anyhoo, we started out a dark tone of purple…


And ended up a pretty grey…


I know… This looks mighty similar to our last bedroom.  Because it is.   It’s actually the same Driftwood Grey by Glidden that we used in our last house, but I had it tinted 25% lighter.    I just couldn’t get this shade of grey out of my head.  Its just so interesting and complex with it’s sexy green undertones.  In my mind, it’s the perfect grey.   So, I wanted to keep it, but lighten it up a smidge to account for the smaller window and dimmer lighting.   I actually think I could’ve even gone 50% lighter now that it’s up on the walls, but I’m happy enough that I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Here’s a progress shot which shows the difference in colors.  You can see how purple the walls were in comparision…

Here’s the view from the doorway (extra Brownie Points to anyone who can teach me how to take proper photos of windows)…


And for fun, here’s what it looked like when we took possession, before we changed the carpet…


I haven’t hung any curtains yet because we’re having our paper-thin 1970’s windows replaced in a few weeks (Woot!).  Once that’s done, it’s on.  I’d also like to get a bench or something for the end of the bed.   I’m not used to having a room this big, so I’m not really sure what to do exactly… maybe some kind of area rug for visual interest?

I decided to make this little corner a seating nook…


I’m absolutely digging the vintage Naugahyde footstool.  I found it on Craigslist and just had to have it.   The end table came with the coffee table in the living room.   I never finished it with anything because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it, but now I think I’m gonna Polyshade it darker to match the footstool.  I’d love to add a standing lamp of some sort, and that fake plant will get a different pot (or I’ll maybe chance the life of a real plant again).

I’d definitely like to get some different art for our room this time around.  Something modern and quirky that suits our personalities.  Maybe some kind of oversized framed posters or something.  I’ll have to just keep an eye out for what strikes me.   I think between different art, getting a new, sleeker bed/headboard (once I actually find one), and a few other tricks that I’ve got up my sleeve, the feeling of the room will change immensely.

On to the little atrium area… which is now the home for our new MCM dresser….


And it fits like a glove.   I’ve put no effort into accessorizing it again since moving it from the adjoining wall because I wanted a clean palette to work from.  Hopefully, I’ll glean some decent art ideas from the blankness. I do know that I’d love to add some interesting floor-to-ceiling wall treatment behind it.   I’ve seen some neat tutorials where fabric was applied to the wall for pattern, so maybe something along those lines.   Plus, I’m thinking either a mirror above it or some light, bright art.

In other news, I’ve also painted the master bathroom.  But thanks to the Home Depot providing me with the incorrect color, I’ll be repainting it before I show it to you.  Don’t worry… I’ll divulge the deets at that time, along with some always-fun blooper pics.

We’ve also been researching exterior color schemes for the outside of the house.   We were told during our inspection that the house needed to be caulked, sealed, and painted to make it more impenetrable to the elements and prevent further damage from occurring.  We’ve gotten estimates and would like to get that done before it gets too cold in case we have another harsh winter.    I’ll let ya’ll know once we’ve figured it out.

So, is everybody ready for Halloween??  We have a little Ninja Turtle roaming around these parts at any given time.  And he’s not Lucas anymore.  He’s Michelangelo.   He now introduces himself as such to strangers.   Though, strangely, he decided on Rafael for his costume.   I guess it makes sense, though.  If he truly IS Michelangelo, then Raphael is bit of a departure.   On that note, if the Ninja Turtles dressed as each other for Halloween, would we even notice??  Yes, this is what I’m thinking about right now.   Okay, time to go.  Ya’ll have a fun, safe holiday!!!   :)

TDC Before and After

Six reasons why I’m loving our closed floor plan

We’ve always figured ourselves for “open floor plan people”. I mean, open floor plans are great for many reasons….  They’re open, airy, and offer increased visibility which is fantastic, especially if you have young children. Not to mention, they’re great for interacting with guests at parties.   Our first two houses had open floor plans and we loved them. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever NOT lived in an open floorplan. My parents house is open. All of my apartments were open. And Joey reports the same. He’s only ever lived in open floor plans.

So, when we bought our 1975 ranch-style house with a closed floor plan (which I’m defining as having a separate kitchen), we automatically figured that we’d be knocking down walls to recreate that openness. And although we still might open the kitchen more up to the dining space eventually, we’re looking at it a bit differently now. Because, the truth is, we’ve noticed some unexpected benefits to having a closed floor plan since living here.

When we moved in, I’d assumed that I’d have to “get used” to the closed floor plan. “Deal with it” until we had the funds for a full reno. But, I was completely taken aback when we moved in, and I actually kinda liked it. No, no… Not kinda. I DID like it. Granted, we’ve only lived here for a short time, but still… like is like.  And I figure, if I’m liking a layout with an independent kitchen this quickly, that’s a REALLY good sign. Why do I feel this way, you ask??? Well….

1. Family dinners are family dinners. This was one of the first things I noticed.   Meals automatically became about us and our food.   Not the TV.  Gone are the days of redirecting Lucas’s attention from the TV to his plate. Gone are the days of Joey getting irritated with annoying commercials and leaving his seat to mute the set. Gone are the days of meals with little conversation due to other distractions. We can’t see or hear the TV from the kitchen, so it’s pretty much out of sight, out of mind. Our new closed floorplan has opened our meals up to conversation, which is pretty much awesomesauce.

2. Speaking of TV, there’s been much less of it in general. With our open floorplan, the TV was always on. I mean, we could always see/hear it, so it was just second nature to wake up, turn on the set and then leave it on the majority of the day until bedtime. Even if we didn’t sit and watch it, it was always on. We started realizing that this maybe wasn’t such a good thing when instead of singing nursery rhymes, Lucas began singing State Farm commercials. Seriously. We would laugh and then wonder if it was funny or sad. But, we just.couldn’t.stop. The draw of the TV was just too much. We couldn’t not have it on and once it was on, it was hard to turn off.

Now, in our new house, there are days when we don’t turn on the TV at all for most of the day. If we’re doing stuff in the kitchen, bedrooms, whatever, the TV just stays off because there’s no point in having it on. We can’t see or hear it anyways. And, we’ve found that Lucas would rather hang out with us, rather than sit in front of the TV without us, so he’s exposed less TV as well. It’s very different, but good. And nothing that we intentionally strived for. Just a beneficial side-effect of our home’s layout.

3. In place of TV, is music. Before, unless I was in the car or on a jog, I rarely just turned on the tunes. Namely, because the TV was always on. Now, when I’m cooking or doing something in one of the bedrooms, I find myself busting out the Pandora. I’d forgotten how great it can be to just turn on some music. Lucas likes it, too. We’ve found spontaneous dance parties to be much more common around these parts.  Much moreso than in our previous homes.

4. Closed floorplans are ALSO great for having guests over. Just in different ways. We haven’t had a ton of people over yet, but in the few instances that we have, I’ve noticed several things.   With our open floor plans, I could see and talk to my guests at all times, but I’m so bad at multitasking that this would often result in burnt food, or me forgetting something major… Like putting all the food out, etc. Now, I can pre-plan and get most stuff done before guests arrive, then finish the last few things in the kitchen with focus, and have the rest of the night to chill with friends and family.  Thus, our guests actually GET all the food I’ve prepared.  And the food is relatively intact (relatively).  Also, the closed floor plan allows me to keep my mess contained to the kitchen, leaving a nice, neat dining and living space to entertain guests in. With our previous open floor plans, my cooking mess was out for all to see. It always made me feel scattered to have my countertops cluttered with stuff in front of guests.

5. I get my steps in. With an open floor plan, you can see everything, making things easier to find. With a closed floorplan, you must walk to find things. Some may see this as a downside, but as a lazy exerciser, I like it. Fitness is about overall movement and walking more contributes to that. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. ;)

6. I’m reminded of how much I enjoy cooking.  Sans distractions, I can actually focus on this task alone.  And I really love it.   I’ve found myself rediscovering creativity in the kitchen, which has been missing for quite some time.   I’m not sure if it’s the enclosed kitchen or the fact that I feel so at home in this house, but I’ve really noticed a difference in myself in this way since moving in.

Aside from that, I’m really finding our little, somewhat outdated kitchen to be quite charming.   Even the nose-cabinets are growing on me…


(Flashback to moving day… I’ll have updated pics for you soon. :)

And I’m feeling more and more tempted to leave the cabinetry and layout original to maintain that charm (although, who knows… minds are changing daily around these parts).  It’s just so relaxing to sit in our kitchen in the mornings, sipping my coffee, as I gaze at our yard through the french doors.   Quietness.   No distractions.  I think it’s fair to say that I love our new home and feel so very fortunate to be here.  Especially since something (ie: closed floor plan) that we originally saw as a downside is proving to be much more enjoyable than we’d originally thought.  So, I guess the moral here is that you just don’t know until you give it a chance.    And I’m really glad that we did.

TDC Before and After