19 October 2015

Living Room Changes

We've made some significant changes in the living room since I last shared any photos. You can see previous posts here, here and here for comparison. 

The first change we made was adding two bookshelves as you can see above. Since everything in the room was low (couch, coffee table, console sale, bench, etc.), we needed to bring some height into the room. While I honestly really liked the collage of white frames we had on that wall, there was no furniture under them and I felt like we were wasting a huge piece of space in that room that could be better used. 

We purchased two Ikea Billy bookcases, built them and mounted them side by side to the wall. Now we have a nice balance in the room and a ton more storage. I also feel like it gave the room some purpose and a much cozier feel by having some books and personal photos. Since we don't have a television in this room, we tend to use it more for socializing when we host parties/dinners or to relax with a good book or magazine.


Of course I have to add the staging photos for comparison to really show how much the space has changed. Above is how the room looked when we purchased our house. We initially stuck with the layout that the stagers used, having the couch facing the fireplace. It made sense at first, but after a few cramped birthday parties and a year with that layout, I felt like we were wasting all the space behind the couch. 

I decided to purchase a larger rug (taking advantage of a great deal from RugsUSA) and pull the furniture out to fill more of the space. Now we have a more open layout where people in the living room can socialize with those in the kitchen at the table. Also, there is a ton of floor space for the kids to play in my eyesight when I do things like cook dinner or clean up. You may remember this room is where we have our toy closet so having them play here is convenient and makes for easy cleanup. 

I was very hesitant to put the couch under the window because of how close the window is to the fireplace. I thought the room would be unbalanced and heavy towards that side and the corner would be crammed. Once we added the bookshelves to the room, moving the couch under the window suddenly looked totally different other than times I had tried before. Things were much more balanced and I was surprised how much I really liked how it looked. I also took that opportunity to raise the curtains to the ceiling. I don't know why I didn't originally do that, but floor to ceiling curtains really open up a space. 

I love these bookshelves. It took me some time to get them arranged in a way I was happy with, but the storage below is a huge upgrade. Plus the chair in front creates a cozy little reading nook in an otherwise open floor plan.

One part of the room where I still feel stumped is the fireplace. First, a before photo.


The fireplace is beautiful and I really do love it, although we have yet to make our first fire! Soon after moving in I put some fresh white paint over the cream that was there before. The wood shelves are gorgeous and the built in nooks provide a ton of storage. Still I struggle with ways to functionally use and style the fireplace without junking up the space. I'm wondering if a more neutral staple piece like a mirror in place of the napkin artwork might do the trick, even though this is one of my favorite DIY projects. So much that the other one is currently hanging above our bed. 

The small black square next to the fireplace is actually a door to a wood storage nook. We had all our wood stored on the bottom brick shelf until we used it all in our fire pit outside. It's an odd space to fill that I haven't quite figured out. I thought about putting a plant there like the stagers did, but I love the snake plant where it is and don't want the living room to feel like a jungle with a ton of greens everywhere. We use the top brick shelf in the fire place for our record player. Now that the wood is gone I'd like to find a clean, safe way to store our records on the bottom shelf. The girls and I listen to music in that room every day so having a good space to store our collection would be beneficial. The two wooden shelves up near the ceiling are kind of pointless and I've tried candles or knick knacks there but don't really like how it looks. 

Any suggestions for our fireplace are welcome!

I love, love this console table we received for Christas from my parents last year. It's from CB2 and I chose it after seeing it in Sarah Sherman Samuel's living room.  It's almost like it was made for this tiny wall because it's super narrow (10") and hardly takes up any space. I'd like to find a larger, round or similar silhouette mirror to replace the rectangle one above the table. I'm currently digging the Parsons mirror (herringbone and bone) from West Elm.

If you look closely you can see I haven't filled two of the pictures frames, but secretly I love the pretty paper Anthropologie uses to display them and sometimes just keep them that way for a while.


I still need to purchase a matching pillow for the other white chair.  My go-to shops for great, vintage pillow covers are Boho Pillow and The Mod Boho. This particular cover is from The Mod Boho and I love the subtle pop of color it provides. 

Another small change I made was swapping out the bench from the mud room. I like the idea of having a place large enough for the kids to sit and put their shoes on or drop my purse when we walk in the door. I always really liked this bench and keeping it hidden in a mudroom that no one sees felt like a waste, so it moved here. The bench that was here before now resides in our bedroom. The narrow space between this bench and rug creates a faux entryway so people don't necessarily feel like they are walking right into our living room.  

And of course another shot of our beautiful front door.

Certainly not completely where I hope to be in this room, but it's definitely quite an improvement from where we started when we moved. In the end, this room just feels comfortable to hang out in and the girls love being able to dump toys all over the rug and play. 

16 October 2015

New Front Door

Long time, no blog! Turns out being a work from home mother of two is seriously a FULL TIME JOB. I have little to no time to blog, but that doesn't mean we aren't still working on and fixing up our home when the time allows. I'm just popping in today (and hopefully will continue to do so as often as I can) to share some of the major changes we've had in our home lately.

First up is hands down my favorite project we have tackled in this house so far - our front door.

Honestly our original front door didn't look bad. It was a nice dark blue painted to match our shutters. Sure, up close the paint was a bit sloppy, but that's not really a reason to replace an entire front door. 

The sidelight lacked any beauty. It felt cheap, was super glare-y, and you could see the sloppily painted layer upon layer (apparently it was once red).

The inside of the door was boring white. Again, not bad, but not a show stopper. After a few months I purchased a cheap blind from Lowes to hang in front of the sidelight because I hated that people could look into our house from outside, especially since we don't have a proper entry and the girls are often playing in the front room. It wasn't a perfect fix and you could still see through the sides, but it was better than the alternative.

The main reason we replaced our front door was because it was SO UNSAFE. When we moved in a year and a half ago one of the first things we did was change the locks on all exterior doors. Our house had been a rental property for who knows how long before it was renovated and sold to us, so we had no idea how many sets of keys could be floating about. We have 4 exterior doors with locks and replaced them all to new satin nickel finish knobs with new locks/keys. Of course the front door was difficult to change and through swapping out the handle something was damaged and the knob eventually didn't work right (yup our new knob). 

Basically to shut and lock our front door you just pushed it flush and locked the deadbolt. The handle/knob was useless. There was no weather stripping so you didn't get that 'woosh' suction sound when a front door is shut and sealed tight. Just a piece of wood hitting wood. Because of this, it also proved to be pretty drafty in the winter. Our first winter in our new house was a chilly one downstairs. I used to joke that you could sneeze an the door would open, but bottom line was that it felt very unsafe.  

When we received our tax return the following year, Jordan and I decided that a new front door was a priority upgrade for three reasons - safety, warmth, and curb appeal.  When it came to what door and how it would look, Jordan didn't really have a preference. Of course I had very specific ideas.

This was the photo I had pinned as inspiration:

I loved the idea of a 'wood' door ( it's actually fiberglass but made to look like solid wood). The curved features were so unique and the door looked so different from any of the houses around where we live. I do love wooden doors that have windows cut into them at the top, but for safety purposes prefer to have a solid door where no one can look into our house when they come to knock. To save some of the cost, we briefly considered just replacing the door and leaving the sidelight as is, but we knew that down the road we would be frustrated that we did (even though the sidelight cost almost as much as the door!) I also insisted that we change the sidelight from half length to full with no dividers in the glass. The more light we let in, the happier mama will be. 

After getting some quotes and going back and forth making decision after decision, we ordered our door. I was anxious to get things started, but it took about 8 weeks to arrive. So it wasn't until early July that we finally were able to get our new door installed!

I was home with the girls the entire time so of course kept peeking in on the process. This was also the same time that I painted our kitchen cabinets so our house was in major renovation mode. It was pretty amazing to have the entire old door and sidelight taken out. It looked huge!

Installing the new door/sidelight was a two day process, so we did have to spent one night with a front door that looked like this: 

By the end of the second day we had a brand new front door/sidelight combo.

Isn't it beautiful?! 

Honestly I still tell Jordan how much I love it. We chose to do the same brown stain on the inside (as opposed to white like our previous door). We have so much white in that front room (rug, shelves, chairs, fireplace, etc.) that the brown in the door really warms up the space. It looks and feels like a completely different entryway.

It was a major renovation that came with a pretty big price tag, but considering our situation with the old front door this project was a no brainer.

One of my favorite features of our new door and sidelight is that the sidelight blinds are in between the glass. When opened, they roll up all the way to the top and are hardly noticeable. You can see the tiny bunch of blinds at the top of the window in the photo above. When closed, we have complete privacy at night.

I'll admit I was a bit of a brat and fought Jordan on the storm door. If I was paying for a beautiful front door, I was not going to cover it up with a big glass door and a huge glare. I argued that I would never have the front door open when I was home alone with the kids anyway so it would pointless. The company we used actually had a promotion where we got the storm door for free with our purchase. After going back and forth I eventually agreed, but said I wasn't going to like it. 

Ok, I was wrong. I love it.  

It's pretty, it's sturdy and it's practical. And from the street you can still see our pretty wooden door (contrary to the glare in the photo below). 

(excuse our blurred out house numbers)

A late evening shot with the blinds open.

The best part of having a storm door? All of that natural light! Turns out, I open the door a lot. Of course I keep the storm door locked since the girls are always in the front room, but even the dog loves having somewhere to sit and people watch. 

You may be able to tell from these photos that we have made some big changes in our front living room, including rearranging the furniture. I'm getting some photos together to show you all soon how different the room looks since I last shared. Until then, you can drool over our new front door. I know I am.

20 April 2015

Mila Jane's 1st Birthday Party

I'll admit I slacked on the monthly photo posts (although I did make sure to keep taking the monthly photos so still a win!). This past weekend we celebrated Mila's 1st Birthday with family and friends at our house. We lucked out with amazing weather (78 degrees and sunny all day) and it was just a really fun day overall. The birthday girl did great and even let herself be passed around (she tends to be a mommy's girl). No tears during 'Happy Birthday', unlike her big sister. Her actual birthday is on Wednesday so we will be doing something low-key as a family to celebrate the real day. 

I planned a Garden Party themed birthday party and let pinks and greens be the color scheme. I DIY'd most of the decor thanks to a faux floral sale at Michaels and tons of pink balloons and tissue paper from Target. I scored some paper goods on clearance from Target in different shades of pink and even used some pink Goldfish crackers as decor. I didn't have a full plan when I started, I sort of just let myself create things as I came pu with them. In the end I LOVED the decor of the party and it was exactly how I had imagined a perfect little first birthday garden party would look like. 

As usual, I was too distracted to take many pictures during the actual party (I'm hoping to get some from my parents and in-laws), but wanted to share some photos of the decor and our sweet girls. 

Thank you to all our family and friends who came out to celebrate with us!