The Space Between

In our home, the kitchen and living are open to each other. You can stand in the kitchen and see into the living room and vice-versa. The open space great for entertaining, especially for get-togethers focused around sporting events. You can stand in the kitchen enjoying a few delicious treats and still see into the living room to watch the game. It’s a win-win!

A few years ago, we painted the wall that connects the kitchen and living room. But there was a blank space still left between the two rooms. Here is a photo taken right after we painted the wall in between the two rooms. (Check out that crazy couch. 🙂 )

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Earlier this year, we added a functional organizing area between the kitchen and living room to connect the two spaces.

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BJ and I looked at several options for this space before finally deciding on this Ikea Hemnes sofa table. Here are a few of the tables and benches we considered.

 

 

 

Threshold™ X Console Table Threshold™ Fretwork Console Table

Threshold™ Storage Bench with Slatted Doors Unfortunately, with these tables and benches we encountered two deal breakers. First, the tables and benches weren’t wide enough for the space and second, they didn’t offer enough storage. Our goal for this space is to connect the two rooms and still be functional.

We chose the Ikea sofa table because it met our criteria for the space and it also looks great with our Ikea Hemnes coffee table, and our kitchen island. The white really stands out against the blue wall and dark cherry kitchen floor.

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To make our sofa table more functional, I added these large chalkboard crates from Target. We’ve divided the crates into my mail, BJ’s mail, coupons and take out menus. These are items that we traditionally store in the kitchen, or that we inevitably pile up on the kitchen island making it unusable. With the large milk crates, we can store all of our mail, menus and coupons so they are easy to find and tucked out of the way of our daily kitchen use. If you are looking for a DIY alternative to these crates, you could find old milks crates and paint them with chalkboard paint. We decided to go with the option at Target because they were exactly what we were looking for.

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On the top shelves, I added some of our colorful coffee table books, and added a tray on each end for BJ and I to store little odds and ends.

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Our mail bins even have their own bouncer. Don’t mess with Zoey.

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Now this is a fully functional and fun space for us to enjoy. What area of your house to could benefit most from a functional space like this one?

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Picking the Perfect Palette: The Loft

Fall is on its way and soon we will be diving in to our indoor home improvement projects. When it comes to painting our house, we always wait until the weather is cool enough to open the windows and pull in some fresh air. Fall is usually a great time because the air is not too moist and sticky. In the meantime, we are deciding on the color that we will paint our half wall in the loft and hallway. I chose a palette of yellow, blue and blue/green paint chips for our alma mater color scheme and taped them to the wall using painter’s tape. Now we can see our choices on the wall while we make our decision.fbfs_colorchoices (6)With this palette, I chose complimentary colors to our existing room colors. We have several different shades of blue in our room which is why I chose the blue and blue/green chips for our palette. I chose the gold and yellow chips to complement our maize yellow pillows. I like the idea of the golds being closer to the shade of the pillows because we do not have several different shades of gold existing in the room.

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The color that we choose for the loft will carry around the half wall and down the catwalk hallway. With that being said, we need to choose a color that compliments both the loft and the hallway. I think I’m leaning toward the golds,  but I can’t make up my mind. I also really like the blues. Decisions, decisions.

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On another note, you might’ve noticed that we have new curtains in our loft. I liked the previous curtains, but they were slightly to short. Some folks like their curtains to be just above the ground but I prefer the curtains to touch the ground. Finding out the curtains I bought were too short was definitely a lesson learned. Always measure before you buy! fbfs_colorchoices (4) copy

When I went back to West Elm, where I bought our gray curtains, I found the same pattern in dark blue. I like the dark blue even better than the light gray and this time I made sure to buy a longer length. fbfs_colorchoices (2) That’s it for now. I’ll keep you posted on our paint chip selection process!

Fun with Instagram

It has been some time since we’ve updated you on all of our projects but in the meantime, we’ve been posting our progress on Instagram.

In honor of Social Media day yesterday, I wanted to share our recent Instagram posts.

Our Instagram posts (in no particular order) include a trip to Ikea, guest bedroom updates, new wall art, curtains, and a fun new coffee table arrangement.

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And of course, our recent Instagram posts wouldn’t be complete without a photo of Zoey!

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New posts coming soon!

Pinterest Picks: Summer Table Settings

Summer is almost here and I’m so excited! The first official day of summer is still a few weeks away but I’m already thinking about BBQs, picnics and pool parties.

I’m looking forward to enjoying dinners out on our patio again. To spruce up our outdoor decor, I bought this yellow-green hurricane for our patio bistro set during the Crate and Barrel 20% off outdoor sale.

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Inside of the hurricane, we added an indoor/outdoor battery-operated led candle from Target.

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Our new hurricane inspired me to put together a fun summer table arrangement for our bistro set. To find some ideas I searched for “summer table setting” on Pinterest.

Here are a few of my favorite pins:

I love how the table setting below incorporates red, white and blue as well as a coastal theme with the seashells. The yellow flowers also give off a bright summery feel.

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This table setting incorporates a few of my favorite summer colors. I love the bright yellow and green dinnerware and patterned napkins.

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I love lanterns and this table setting reminded me of our wedding. For our wedding, we incorporated lanterns as our table arrangements. We still have the lanterns and use them in our home decor.

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This summer table setting is simple and classy. The clear milk jug vases and white flowers are an elegant touch. I could definitely see us incorporating a simple flower arrangement in our own summer table setting.

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This last table setting is a fun way to use fresh fruit in a centerpiece. You could even put a cute little sign in the fruit arrangement that says “please enjoy.”

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After I looked at all of the summer table settings on Pinterest, I put together this setting  for our bistro set. What do you think?


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Signs of Spring

It may not look or feel like spring outside, but inside our home, signs of spring are all around.

Even with the snow falling outside our window, these daffodils on our kitchen island make it feel like spring is finally here. Daffodils are often signs of new beginnings and that Easter is right around the corner.

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It will be a few more days before we see spring-like temperatures outside, but in the meantime we’ll keep celebrating the start of spring inside.
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Welcome spring!

Photo Finish, Part 2

Last weekend, I started planning the addition to our foyer photo collage. As you saw in our last post, Photo Finish, we added a few new photos to our stairway wall leaving our two collages looking a little disconnected…

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To connect our two collages, I chose three different frames from our “stock pile.” I chose one 11 x 17, one 8 x 10 and one 5 x 7 frame. Next, I made patterns of the frames using white printer paper and painter’s tape.

After I finished making the frame patterns, I started the process of arranging the photos on the wall. Of course, this proved to be more challenging than I planned because it felt a bit like I was playing Plinko on The Price is Right. (I love that game!)

Okay, I’m kidding, but that would be fun!! (Well… Until all the frames crashed to the floor, right?)

To place the patterns on the wall, I leaned over the upstairs half wall and taped the patterns down using more painter’s tape. Once I taped the pattern to the wall, I ran around the upstairs hallway to the other side where I could see the entire collage. I did this several times before I was happy with the patterns’ positions.

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As you can see, I went through several arrangements before I was satisfied. After staring at the collage for awhile, I realized that I needed something at the bottom. To balance the overall collage, I took the 8 x 10 pattern and added it to the bottom right corner of the foyer wall. Perfect! IMG_3775Now that I’ve decided on the locations for the frames, I need to choose new photos and decide if I want to change any of the existing photos. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Do you like to hang photo collages in your home? If so, what is your favorite type of photos to hang… portraits, scenery, flowers, etc?

Playing Hallway Dress-Up

Before the appraisal last weekend, we decided to dress up our downstairs hallway. It was looking a little lackluster and needed some love.
Last year, we hung the coat rack/shelf on the left side of the hallway, but the right side remained plain, bare walls.

During a recent trip to Target to peruse the clearance racks for great deals on home decor, I came across a few shelving sets that were on sale. From the selection, I found a set of two white Threshold shelves that I decided would be perfect for this hallway.

I also picked up a mail organizer to store coupons and mailers.

Have you seen Target’s new Threshold brand? I love it! Their stuff is sophisticated looking, yet inexpensive.

Here is the after of the hallway with the shelves and mail bin installed. It gives this space a little more character and allows us to decorate for the seasons, if we like.

On each shelf, I placed a frame with a photo taken near our home.

On the shelf pictured below, the framed photo includes a backyard sunset I captured while we were painting our big blue wall. I also added a votive to the shelf that I saved from our Thanksgiving table display last year.

On the shelf at the end of the hall, the photo is of our petunias this year. Despite the drought, we had really great luck with our petunias. They are still hanging on too. They don’t give up easily. It may be December before we see them turn brown and fade away.

I really liked our new mail bin. I didn’t buy it with the intention of using it as a drop off location for mail as it comes in the door. Instead, it is a place to store coupons and mini catalogs that we can easily retrieve before shopping trips.

And instead of using the hooks for keys, I hung two heart ornaments that we found at Ikea as well as a door hanger for our favorite team!

We still have more updates to come on some of the smaller projects we accomplished over the past few weeks, so stay tuned!

Feeling the Love, Home Style

Our house is certainly feeling the love and so are we. It’s been a busy few weeks getting our home ready for a reappraisal and even though we are far from finished with our home improvement, DIY and decorating projects, we are proud of how far we’ve come since we moved in. It takes time to make a house a home and I’m enjoying every minute of our journey.

The appraisal is now officially over and as promised, here is an official wrap-up on our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

We did it! We finished all of the items on our list before the reappraisal.

Number 3 on our list was to organize and clean the spare room and BJ’s office. Just a few weeks ago, these room were stuffed full of boxes, papers and Goodwill donations. After spending a day hauling stuff out and reorganizing, these rooms are once again usable.

With the addition of the his and hers bookshelves in our bedroom, we moved the white shelving cubes to the spare bedroom to be used as storage. Our very first dining room table also found new life as a craft/project table.

In addition, the old coffee table from the living room is now a game and puzzle table.

BJ’s office was daunting when we first started reorganizing the chaos. There were still unpacked boxes in there!
Now all of the boxes are unpacked and we can see the floor again. Our next project with this room is to add bookshelves to give BJ more space to further organize his stuff.

The last, and the biggest project on our reappraisal to do list, was to finish the crown molding and baseboard projects. If you remember, we started working on the crown molding in the living room and kitchen around the same time that we tiled the floor in the dining room.

And drumroll please… Here are the before and after shots.

Here is the kitchen before the crown molding was finished:

And after:

Here is crown molding cap that BJ install in the living room to finish off the molding.

We also finished the baseboard in the dining room.

Here is the before, looking into the dining room. Notice the visible white drywall line in the paint on the far wall.

And here is the after. We decided to go with a taller more dramatic trim. This is just the baseboard before the quarter round was installed:

Now for the finished product with quarter round:




Since the rest of the house has a smaller baseboard installed, we bridged the gap between the taller baseboard in the dining room and the shorter baseboard in the foyer and kitchen with a thicker trim cap. We also added the quarter round to the baseboard to give the trim a finished look against the tile.


Since the tall white baseboard looks so nice against the slate tile floor, here are a few close ups for your viewing pleasure.


With the reappraisal over, we’ve decided to shift our focus to smaller projects for awhile. We are going to work on dressing up the loft, hanging some photos and I also have a fun Pinterest-inspired project planned for the coming weeks.

Did you wrap up any big projects this weekend?

Showing Our Home Some More Love

As promised, here are our fabulous Ikea finds from last weekend.

Along with the coffee table for the living room, we also brought home a pair of Poang chairs for the loft. The loft is a good example of the “design and use a room for how you live” lesson I learned during the YHL panel session. For months, BJ and I talked about all the possibilities for the loft. After many discussions about how we could use the room, we realized it would often be just the two of us (and Zoey, of course) spending time in the loft. Why worry about seating multiple people? We have plenty of entertaining space downstairs in the living room. Instead of an entertaining space, the loft will be a place for us to relax outside of our master bedroom. Even when family and friends come and stay with us, they can use this space to read or relax.

To kick off the loft transformation, we bought two Poang chairs with black brown frames and blue cushions.

Originally, my design plan for the loft was to hang yellow chevron curtains and make yellow chevron pillows for the chairs. After I searched the Internet for yellow chevron curtains, I couldn’t justify the price. Even to buy the fabric and make the panels and pillows myself seemed too pricey. I decided to reconsider my idea and instead I found some reasonably priced yellow chevron and gotcha lattice patterned pillows on Etsy and curtains from West Elm.

Two 18 x 18 Pillow Covers: Yellow and White Chevron Zig Zag & Gotcha Lattice

Okay, I digress…

Back to the Ikea finds. An exciting new addition to our bedroom are our his and hers cube bookshelves. Can you guess which one is which? 🙂

Those are our latest Ikea finds. As we continue showing our home some love for the upcoming reappraisal, we are slowly crossing items off our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

The Poang chairs were a huge upgrade to the loft, and as for the appraisal to do list, we can cross off number 2. We are still going to add some more touches to this room including the curtains, pillows and an entertainment center. But for now, we can call this one done.

We are diligently working on the rest of the list and are hoping to finish by Tuesday of next week. Fingers crossed that we get it all done in time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Showing Our Home Some Love

Yesterday, we went to the first stop on the book tour for Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love and attended the panel session for their new book, Young House Love, 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love. We also had the very awesome, yet very brief, opportunity to meet them when they signed our copy of the book. BJ scored the award for most awesome amazing husband when he left the panel session to snag a place in line so we could get a (very limited) copy of the book. Best husband ever!

Here is our copy:

And… confession… I was super dorky and nervous when I met Sherry and John. I was so excited to tell them that they inspired me to write this blog and how I really enjoyed their blog and projects. I kinda got a little shaky and instead of calmly signing BJ and my name in their book, I think it probably looked more like scribbles. But with all the dorky, nervousness aside, I was super-inspired when we left the book show and I was so glad we went to hear them speak and got a chance to meet them and get a copy of their book.

So what’s makes a book signing with your favorite home improvement and DIY bloggers complete? A trip to Ikea, of course. We left the book signing with me super inspired and recapping the entire presentation for BJ (We tried FaceTime while he was in line, but it didn’t work. Boo.) The great part about all the things that John and Sherry mentioned in their panel session is that we are actually in the process of trying to show our house some love for an upcoming reappraisal. With financing rates as low as they are, we are hoping to take advantage and get a new lower rate on our loan. Part of the process is to have the house reappraised since we are on the edge of a few financing rates.

Sherry and John’s advice during the session was invaluable and some of it I definitely needed to hear… such as “design and use your house for how you live.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your house to look a certain way because it’s what you think other people will like, but you should design your home for how you live. You’re the ones that live there every day and call your house your home, right?

So with a reappraisal on the horizon and me still inspired from the panel session, here is our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.” Or at least that what I’m calling it.

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

In September, I planted mums in our new pots out front and they looked great until the frost came in and killed them. They looked so pretty after they were planted. It was a bummer they didn’t stand up to the cold temperatures. I tried covering the pots with blankets on the nights they called for frost but it didn’t keep the cold from getting to them.

Today I went back over to Home Depot and picked up some new mums to replace the brown ones on our front porch.

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

Our loft is one of those challenging spaces that were not really sure what do with. But after listening to the Young House Love presentation, we decided to use the room for how we live. Here is the loft in its current state:

My master plan is to use our college alma mater’s colors in a tasteful way. While we were Ikea this weekend, we picked out some Poang chairs with blue cushions and I’m now on the search for some yellow-gold chevron fabric so I can make curtains and pillows We are also going to hang some photos of the stadium and campus. The idea is to make this space a movie/game area inspired by our college. But it has to be tasteful. We’re not about to plaster our school’s logo on the wall with a ginormous vinyl graphic and call it done.

While we were at Ikea, we also found our future loft entertainment/storage center:

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

I haven’t talked much about our spare bedroom or BJ’s office because they weren’t much to talk about. After we moved in to our our house, the spare bedroom and BJ’s office quickly became the two rooms that we stuffed everything into and then ran out and shut the door behind us. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

This weekend, we conducted a major overhaul of the spare bedroom and BJ’s office so they are presentable, usable rooms in time for the reappraisal. And we want to finally use those spaces for the way we live instead of just stuffing them full of items we don’t want to deal with.

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Last year, we started putting up crown moulding in the living room and kitchen and here is where we left off:

We also ripped out the trim in the dining room when we tiled the floor last year and we haven’t had enough time to replace what we tore out.

The remaining crown moulding and baseboard are now purchased and ready to sand, paint and install.

That’s our list! This week we are going to jump in and try get the list accomplished before we have the house reappraised. It’s time to show our home some love. Wish us luck because it could get crazy around here!