home decor/updates

entry ideas

Now that we’ve been living in our house for about 3 1/2 months, we are feeling pretty settled.  And now is the time I start getting ideas of what I want to change and update.  Non-renovation, decor updates are what I’m going to be making myself, without the help of a professional.  I think if I concentrate on one room at a time, I can make sure everything gets done.  It’s sometimes hard to shop with Z for home decor when he jumps all over the place, “This would be great in the living room”, “Where can we put this?”, “Can this go in the basement?”.  My mind doesn’t work well that way, and we end up walking out of the store with nothing.

First up, the entry way.  I thought the best place to start is the place that every guest sees first.  It also happens to be the place Z and I walk in and out of every day.  We don’t have a door into our home directly from our garage, so the front door gets used a lot.entry before 1

As you can tell from this picture, our entry leads into MANY areas, so this “room” definitely needs to be able to transition well into all parts of the main floor.  I plan to keep the floor tiles, front door, and light fixture.  The door and fixture have been recently updated and the tiles run down the hallway into the half bath, and it’s just not a project we plan to attack right now.  The terracotta-looking tiles weren’t my favorite at first, but they have been growing on me over time.  From this angle you can tell that we need a bigger rug.  Especially now that winter is coming, I want something that fills that entry space.  A 4×6 fits perfectly without overlapping into other doorways, so I’m on the hunt for one that has a subtle pattern and hides dirt stains.  Oh, I’d also love to find a wooden screen door to put up next summer.  The front of the house doesn’t have great air circulation, so it would be great to be able to have the door open, and the pupster would love looking out too.

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I am also on the hunt for a rectangular mirror to put on the empty wall next to the door.  It’s always nice to have a mirror by the entry to give yourself a once-over before heading out.  In case you haven’t been over, the little doorway here leads into the office.

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Here are our closet doors, which I’m considering painting.  There is a lot of wood in our house that makes it feel really dark, so I’m trying to figure out a game plan for all of it.  Some wood (like the wood in our kitchen), is pretty and high-quality, but most is boring 80’s trim.  These doors sort of land in the middle.  I need to sand one of the doors on the top because it sticks, so I might just go for the paint job.  I’d also love to paint the trim around the front door and the doorways to the other rooms, but it’s hard to figure out what to paint right now if I’m not painting the other rooms at this time.  What do you think?  I’d be painting them a soft white.

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Here’s the hallway that leads to the half bath and kitchen, which I’m not touching for now.  Also, the stair railings include railings that go all the way across the upper level, so those are a project for another day as well.

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Looking out from the front door, I’d love to add some art or photos to the empty wall by the stairs to add some more visual interest.  {Please excuse our rumpled sofa cushions, thanks to the pup}.

What are your thoughts on trim painting in a transition area?  I don’t want it to look partially done, but some lightness would make it feel fresh.  I’ll send out an “after” post when I’ve made progress, but don’t hold your breath on timing. 😉

Happy Wednesday 🙂


baby & bundles

We made it!  We moved into our new home and have been living there for about 10 days.  The move was exhausting, but exciting.  We quickly unpacked (most) boxes within a couple of days, but still have a lot of organizing and finding-homes-for to do.  It luckily didn’t rain much during the move, I tend to be famous for rainy moves.

We moved out of our old home on Thursday, then stayed overnight at Z’s parent’s house that night while we were homeless.  The next day, we didn’t close until 2pm, so I had the morning to relax and refuel for moving part 2.  I took P for a walk that morning and had a run-in with a coyote!  It was 9:30am and very sunny, so it was strange to see one so out in the open.  I was walking in the street when it walked down someone’s yard, across the street right in front of us, then into the woods on the other side.  It didn’t pause or even seem to notice us, so it didn’t seem scary at all!  Miss P seemed very alert, but didn’t move much.  Maybe she knew it wasn’t a dog?  The creature sightings continued when we moved in, two HUGE turkeys were walking across our backyard.  Those things are like 4 feet tall!  Then recently, I spotted a garter snake in my front yard,  I haven’t seen one of those since childhood.  Weird how these nature sightings come in groups.

Anywho, we moved in to our new home on Friday, and it seemed to take less than half the time than moving out.  Funny how that happens.  We spent that whole day putting away, organizing, putting together, etc.  We took little breaks to relish in our new home.  Do we actually live here?? I’ve been telling friends that it feels like we are kids living in our parent’s house.  We are officially old!

On Saturday I got to take a break from unpacking, actually take a shower, and attend a baby shower of one of my best friends from college, Emily.  She grew up around here but lives in Chicago, so it was great to see her and her adorable bump!

Me, Emily, and Amy (another college friend)

june 2014

Emily is having a girl in the next few months, and I’m so excited to meet her!  She’s going to be a lucky little girl with the most fun, sweet mom!

This last weekend was filled with rain.  In fact, there has been entirely WAY too much rain in our lives lately.  So much so that there is flooding, and event Lake Minnetonka put a “no wake” clause on the entire lake because of high levels. So if you want to go boating, you’re gonna have to go reeeeal slow.  On Saturday we had some high winds with our rain storm, and we lost one big branch and about a million tiny branches/sticks from our trees.

(Not a great shot of the big branch, my phone kept focusing on the screen).  Luckily, it landed on the walking path, and didn’t hit the house or any pretty plants.

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Z had a work event all weekend, so his dad was kind enough to come over on Sunday and help me bundle the sticks and cut up the big branch.  We bundled and bundled for way too long!  I was happy when that project was over.

june 2014 4I capped off that day of hard work with a trip to our peony bush, my favorite flower ever.  My old home had a tiny plant with white blooms, and this home has a much larger plant, but with dark magenta blooms.


june 2014 5

There is a lot more upkeep with this house, especially with the yard.  I am finding that I don’t really mind doing the work.  I want it to stay beautiful!  Z even picked up a dozen little gold fish for our pond, to try and keep away the algae that grows.  Turns out they keep hiding behind the rocks and I’ve only seen them once!  He might spring for larger fish this week.

Well, back to work.  Or as I should call it, listening-to-World-Cup-yells-and-screams-while-I-sit-at-a-desk.  Here’s hoping I can get some work done over the next month.  Goooooooooooaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!

june 2014 2


movin’ on up!

This is a LONG overdue post:  We’re moving!

Z and I had been looking on and off at houses for the better part of a year.  The market in Minneapolis has completely changed overnight, and now when a good house hits the market, it sells, immediately.  Most good houses aren’t even hitting the market, and selling before-hand through word of mouth.  We got a bit frustrated after losing a couple of houses to multiple offer situations, but then, finally, our new house hit the market.  There weren’t any interior pics posted, but Z did some detective work and found some old pics online.  The pics looked pretty good, so we set up a showing.  We were happily surprised that the house was even BETTER than the old pics, many more updates had been done!!  We put our offer in right away.  We found out the next day that there were 5 other offers on that house in just 24 hours, so we changed our offer to be more aggressive.  We had learned a thing or two about what it takes to get a good house in this market, so we weren’t planning on taking any chances.  Plus, we threw in a nice, personal letter with a photo to seal the deal.  Hooray!  It’s ours!!

It’s a 4bed/4bath with 3 gas fireplaces to keep us warm, a sun room, and a nice yard.  Some of the bathrooms need updating, but otherwise we love everything that has been done to the house.  I’m not including pics of the outside or sharing the exact location on the blog, but I will email friends and family soon.  Here are some pics:

Front door entry.

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Front living room that walks into the dining room.

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Small office just off the front living room.

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Main floor family room.

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Sun room that walks outside onto deck.

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Small deck next to a paver patio with pergola (Z and our inspector).

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Eat-in kitchen area (with wine fridge! eee!)

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The kitchen (my FAVORITE room).

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Can we all take a moment to sing like angels for this? Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….. ❤

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We could not be more excited.

You’re probably wondering, “what about your current house??”  Well, we sold it!  It only took two days!  Well, 2 weeks of prep work, THEN two days. 🙂  The joy of having our offer accepted on the new house was halted when I started to realize that we needed to put our current house on the market ASAP, and how much we had to do to prepare.  Thankfully, some hired help came to the rescue.  We had two weeks to do work, but within those two weeks included two weekend trips (one for fun, and one for Easter), and two nights of holiday dinners for Passover.  Plus we were both working full time during the day.  I was thinking there was no way on Earth we would get our house ready in time!

First, Z and I cleaned out any excess stuff from our house.  Every room was cleaned out, and super edited down.  We took all of the extra things and brought them to Z’s parent’s house.  They have a big storage room that they were happy to lend to us for a while.  While we were in California for Coachella (see previous post), we had our friend and his crew come in and do some updating for us.  Our friend is one of the hosts of the show “Renovate to Rent” on HGTV (season 2 is filming!), so he definitely knows what he’s doing.  They painted trim & doors, replaced door knobs, replaced carpeting in the basement, and put an apoxy over our 1950s rose pink bathroom tub and sink.  It looked so much more fresh when we returned!   A guy that Z works with owns a cleaning company, so we had them come in last minute to do a big show-house clean, since we just didn’t have the time.  We had about 6 showings, 2 paper offers, and 2 promised offers within 2 days!  We accepted one of them and chose the same closing date as our new house.

I’ll miss this house and our great neighborhood.  Everyone has been so nice and it was a wonderful first home for us, and a great learning experience.  I’ll take the memories from this house and be ready to create new ones in our new home!

Bye-bye house.  I’ll miss your flowering crabapple, your hydrangea bushes, your private yard, and your warm fireplace.  Be good to the new owner.

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fixture fumbles

This post should reaffirm our inability to be handy around the house.  This is the story of our dining room light fixture.

You may recall my initial post about this light fixture, back in January.  After our handyman came over repeatedly to fix this jumbo-sized hole in our ceiling, we were left with a big, ugly patch to paint over.  The patch was a grey color, so it definitely didn’t match the ceiling.  Like the smart, handy people we are, we went to our paint stash in the garage left by the previous owners, and found some white paint in a can labeled “interior”. This was our first genius move.  After the first coat, it still looked grey.  “It just needs another coat”, I thought foolishly.

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light fixture 2

After painting the second coat, it started to look like the paint wasn’t going to be the same color as the ceiling.  It was darker, and not only that, it was really shiny.  You could see this paint job from a mile away.

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Oh.  That looks good.

I actually thought that there must be some sort of “Ceiling White” out there, and it turns out there is.  DUH!  Thanks to the affirmations of my super handy sister and brother-in-law, I went out to the hardware store and purchased a can.  My first touch up paint session was late at night, so I found it a little impossible to see where I needed to paint.  You can see in the pic below where the new paint is and where the missed spots are.

light fixture 5

Ahh.  Much better.  After the second coat of the correct paint, it still doesn’t look perfect, but at least it’s not AS noticeable.  We are happy with how the fixture looks, and it updates the space a lot more than I thought.  Hooray for this finally being done!

light fixture 1


Shelf Stylin’

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Zach and I decided to make a nice dinner at home for Valentine’s day, then we enjoyed some wine and movies. For fun, we set up our comfy air mattress in the living room right in front of the fireplace and ended up sleeping there. It was so cozy and a nice treat. We also decided to finally plan our much-anticipated Europe trip, more details on that soon. I CANNOT wait.

This weekend I decided to tackle a project I have been putting off for waaay too long. Turns out, it only took about 10 minutes (go figure). We have a galley kitchen, and on the end, we have some open shelves. They have been sad looking and extremely empty ever since we moved in. The only thing I had on there was my recent Christmas gift, Pioneer Woman‘s newest cookbook, that didn’t fit inside the side cabinets.

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 The side cabinets aren’t very full either… one side houses our (small) collection of wine glasses, and the other housed my cookbooks and a couple of candy-making tools.

shelf styling 1

 I spent some time trying to think of ideas of items to put on the shelves.  It was a little difficult since the shelves aren’t very tall, two of them are 7″ tall, and the bottom one is only 5.5″.  I cruised Pinterest for ideas and found 3 cute inspirations:

pinterest shelf styling ideassource                          

 Then I headed out to Target and HomeGoods, my two favorite places for inexpensive home items.  Here’s what I ended up with:

shelf styling 3

While out shopping, I picked up the two clear jars, and the small wood tray. I already owned the “J” mug and the clear water jug, which made the “cute” cut and were swiped from other cabinets. I also decided to showcase all of my cookbooks, hoping I might use them more often. In the clear jars, I added Penelope’s favorite biscuits, and popcorn. Popcorn is a “thing” in my family. We made it all the time growing up, and every once in a while would have popcorn and apples (or something else healthy), for dinner, which we thought was a huge treat when we were kids. It has since become special to my sister and I as adults.

I threw them up on the shelves and this is how it ended up:

shelf styling 4

 I am happy with how it looks, and it makes our kitchen feel  just that much more complete.  Now I just need to fill those side cabinets, and get Z a mug! 🙂

Have a great week!


Entry addition

Our home the last few days has been hosting quite the germ party. First Z was sick with a bad cold, then Miss Penelope was sick as a dog (pun attended) after being boarded while we were away. Then I eventually caught Z’s cold and it has put me on the couch for the last 3 days, constantly in Kleenex. Thankfully, we are all slowly on the mend. Happy to have my snuggly puppy back!


While sitting at home, I finally got motivated to hang our entry hooks we picked up at HomeGoods a few weeks ago.


After patching some giant holes from the previous owners, finding the studs, and grabbing some nails, I laughed as I picked up the hammer. Two weeks ago Z and I, and our genius home owner skills, decided to tackle our ice dams with a hammer. Three hard whacks and the handle came flying off. It left us laughing, and our ice dams intact. Live and learn. LOL


I think it finally completes our little entryway. You like?



As of late – January in Minnesota

January has been brutal with a capitol “B”.  One day it’s a balmy 36, the next day it’s snowing, and the next day it’s -22.   In the past 9 winters I have lived here, there is usually 0-1 day(s) with a double-digit below zero temperature.  This year there have been 3 or 4!  It’s almost becoming laughable.  Z and I have been hovering in front of our fireplace in the evenings and I’ve been spending extra money on underground parking at work.

Currently, we are having our handyman Josh help us with some light installations.   Our current dining room chandelier used to be centered over a small round table, so it wasn’t centered (at the ceiling), for our larger rectangular table.  We were weary of cutting a big hole in the ceiling ourselves, so we called Josh to come help.  This is the fixture we are taking down:

light fixture

I was home when Josh was there the first day, and I came over to look when he said “What the hell?!?!”.  Never a great thing to hear from your handyman!  After removing the old chandelier, he found this:ceiling

Yup, that’s right.  A BATHROOM FAN was installed into our dining room ceiling at some point in our home’s history. I am still having a hard time figuring out what this thing was doing there. Because of this big thing, we now have a HUGE hole in the ceiling that is on it’s 3rd round of patching/sanding. So, the new fixture still isn’t installed. A few months ago, we purchased this from Pottery Barn when it was on mega-sale:

light fixture newI’m hoping it looks to scale because it sure looks large in the box! We shall see. We will also be installing a small pendant light over the kitchen sink, and a new fan/light combo in our master bedroom. We haven’t had the use of a working overhead light in our bedroom for probably over a year (I know), so it is overdue. Updates to come on those.

A couple of weeks ago when it was warm enough for a long walk, I decided to snap a pic of a new construction home on a neighboring street. (click to enlarge)

houseI love this house.  The exterior finishes aren’t complete yet, but you get the idea.  I have a thing for 1-story homes, and have noticed that not many are being built these days.  I love all of the windows and the contemporary feel.  I bet those windows on the top are going to let in some great light for the family room/kitchen (I am guessing).  Stashing this idea in case Z lets me build one day! 🙂

Today is one of those spring-like warmer days (high of 36!), so I am going to try to get out for a walk/romp in the snow with P after work.  She definitely deserves it after being cooped up during our frigid days!

P in snow 1

Also, I decided to chop my hair the other day to just resting on my shoulders.  Sorry for the hat, but you get the idea of the length here.  I am loving how easy it is.

new hair

Happy Friday!!!