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Home Improvement Inspiration + Design

Home Office Progress

March 30, 2016
Home Office Inspiration

I love home offices. Put me in a beautiful, cozy little office and you can get me to happily tackle the most mundane of tasks. Since our last apartment was only a one bedroom and there was no room for an office, I built a wall unit so that I could have a cozy little place to blog and edit photos. I built it just a few months before we moved out of that place, but it was my absolute favorite spot in the apartment.

Wall Unit Desk

Ever since then, I’ve been home office obsessed. The tiniest bedroom in our house makes for the perfect office space.

Here’s the yucky room before:


Peaches kissing the carpet goodbye


Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you want a man to work hard, buy him a toy that he can’t use until said hard work is done. The toy in question here was our awesome new computer. Since Greg’s in school and I needed a good monitor for photo editing, we decided to splurge on an incredible Dell Ultrasharp monitor. Of course, with a new monitor we needed a new desk, too! The desk is on it’s way, so Greg wanted to hurry and get the office all set. He told me last night that he was going to get the floors done today but I guess I didn’t fully believe he’d do it.

He ripped up the old disgusting carpet and went to town. ((The floor heater thingy is going to be removed but Greg said something blah blah about wires. I wasn’t really listening, I just know I want it gone. They are in every room in the house but they’re no longer needed since we have central air. We’re removing them as we go.))


I started painting last night but there was a ton of patching to do, so we’ll finish that tomorrow. Three of the walls will be Valspar’s Bistro White and the wall that the computer is going on will be Mark Twain Gray Brick.

My vision for this office is simple whites, blacks, and wood tones with lots of plant life. Calm and clean!

Here’s a little mood board I put together with those things in mind:

Home Office Inspiration


Here’s where we’re at now! Home Office Black and White

And a side by side: beforeAfter

Decorating Home Improvement Inspiration + Design

Living Room Progress

March 23, 2016
Mid Century Modern Living Room Mood Board

Our living room floors are 98% finished! I’m so excited to finally fill this room with some pretty furniture. To recap, here’s where we began when we moved in: IMG_9741-600x400@2x-600x400@2x-1

I won’t dwell on the things I hated. Instead I’ll boil it down into one word: everything. The big window was the only redeeming quality about the room to begin with.

First order of business was to paint, and paint we did. We chose Benjamin Moore Classic Gray for the walls. At first, going over the green, the gray seemed so light that we were a little nervous that it looked too much like white. Thankfully, the second coat dried a lot darker.IMG_1280 IMG_1281 (3)IMG_1311

So after we were all painted up (kitchen too) it was onto the floors. We chose Antique Hickory laminate. We were searching around for someone to hire to install the floors for us, but then we realized Greg’s dad was our secret weapon. He renovated the entire kitchen in Greg’s parents house (I think he was hoping we’d forget that important fact so that wouldn’t ask for too much help, heh) He showed Greg how to install the laminate we chose (SUPER easy) and since the existing floors were so flat, we were actually able to just put some padding down and layer the laminate right on top. Some people may frown at that idea, but it saved us tons of money and time and nobody would ever know! (Except you. Now you know.)


March Madness was the perfect time to do this because I did a ton of jumping, screaming, spinning/rolling/beer spilling during it all. The floors passed all the tests.

IMG_1543 IMG_1283

Please lets never forget this hideous transition to tile.

And now…

IMG_1599 IMG_1593 IMG_1598

SO MUCH BETTER! For this whole room, the laminate cost ~$400. Not bad! We just need to get new molding, paint the back of the door, sheetrock the weird window in the middle of the wall, and fill the room with pretty things! That last step is my favorite part, so I made a mood board of the feel we’re shooting for in this room. Lots of color, plants, gold accents and modern style furniture.



Home Improvement Painting

The Power of Paint

March 3, 2016
Benjamin Moore Classic Gray

Greg and I have had our fair share of paint faux pas in the 3 apartments we’ve lived together. In apartment 1, which had very little natural light, we painted the entire living area a deep, deep red. We enjoyed it for a couple months until we started to grow fangs and crave blood and then we decided we needed to lighten it back up. In fairness, this was our first apartment and I feel like everyone goes through that ‘let’s-paint-every-room-a- different-color’ phase.

In our last apartment we won some and lost some. We had a couple of nice accent walls, but we also got a little cocky and decided to paint a big focal wall orange. It was actually a big enough fail that Greg painted it back that same night.

When it came to the new house, I knew I wanted something simple I want to bring a lot of color into this house by way of decor + accents, NOT by way of paint.

Clearly the previous owner (who i’m beginning to think was Toucan Sam based on the chosen color scheme) had a different philosophy on the matter:


Go Green Bay…?

I don’t think I’ve ever done more research on anything in my life than I did on gray paint color. You wouldn’t believe all of the variations in undertone. If you follow on Instagram, I showed a photo where I used Home Depots Project Color app to see what the gray paint would look like in the space. I’ll do a helpful post and drop some serious gray paint color knowledge on you. I’ll call it the Jordan Arnold School of Gray Paints and Their Various Undertones.

Now, I am not patient enough to have done this the ‘right way’ (go get samples and put them on the walls and wait to see them in all of the different lights and blah blah blah), so I trusted the blogosphere and their many photos and opinions and I came down to two options… Benjamin Moore Collingwood & Benjamin Moore Classic Gray. It was a tight race and it consisted of me Googling pictures of the colors everyday for like 2 weeks. I don’t really know what made me choose in the end, but I went with Classic Gray. I think I was scared that Collingwood would have too much of a tan hue to it.

Anyway, we LOVE how the Classic Gray looks on the walls. (Thank goodness because Benny Moore is expen$$$ive)

Here are some before and after’s. The power of paint is amazing! IMG_9741-600x400@2x Benjamin Moore Classic Gray PaintIMG_9737-600x400@2x Benjamin Moore Classic Gray Paint

Decorating Home Improvement Inspiration + Design

House Tour (First Floor)

January 22, 2016

Okay, it’s the moment you’ve all a few close friends have been waiting for! Our big exciting house reveal (this post will just be showing the lower levels). It’s certainly nothing crazy and it needs a lot of love (and paint!) but I’m so excited to get started! Here are some pictures as it stands now, and the things I want to change.

Upper Living Room:


This is the upper living room and front entrance as seen from the dining room. I labeled everything we want to do, but the main project will be replacing the floors. The laminate is super scratched and it abruptly turns into an ugly tile walkway. Not only does it cut the room off and make it seem smaller than it is, it’s a really shoddy job that looks cheap. When we redo the floors, I want to rip up all the tile and have one cohesive floor in the entire first level.


Here’s another view where you can see the tile more. (and the ugly green door that will be painted asap)


Here’s the dining room which leads to the garage. (With a leftover huge bag of cat food- YES!) — The tile in here is the same as the entrance, but thankfully it was installed a lot cleaner. Still, we’d ultimately like to replace it so that the entire first level has the same floor.

The updates we want to make in here are the same deal as the living room – new paint, lighting, window treatments & floor. We also plan to replace ALL of the molding and old doors in the house eventually. Molding is one of those things that can easily be overlooked when updating a home, but it makes SUCH a big difference when it’s new and fresh. Especially around windows and doors.

Big dreams for this room: Built-in-bonanza! That little spot is perfect for some built-in shelving.


Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 10.43.14 PM

Next is the kitchen:IMG_9748

This will be a BIG project. I want to paint the cabinets, paint the walls, replace the tile, and replace the lighting. Thankfully, all of the appliances are pretty new & the countertops are Corian, so we won’t have to worry about replacing any of that.

The kitchen is the only room in the house that I can’t figure out. I know what I want to do cosmetically, but structurally, it’s a little odd. I HATE where the fridge is. It’s tucked inside of this T shaped wall that splits up the dining room and kitchen. It really disrupts the flow of the room and it drives me nuts. Hopefully someday we can change that. I’d love to take the entire wall down so that both rooms are wide open.

Here’s the deck off the dining room & a peek into the backyard:


I’m excited to give this puppy some stain and cozy it up with some nice lighting, seating, a tent thingy, the works.


Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.17.34 PM

Now we go down below to the lower living room. (Our house is a split level. I stuck my nose up at them before, but I’ve actually grown to love the many levels!) Hey, dad.


Must paint, paint, paint all of that wood and brighten up the room.


This fun little room is my FAVORITE!!! I am totally painting those built-ins (sorry wood lovers!) and making this into a cozy little reading room/office. The previous owners kept her….. lizards…. in this room.

Through the little nook room & to the right, there’s a half bathroom:


I cannot wait to do something awesome with this little bathroom. I already told Greg that this room is completely mine to design & he can’t veto anything! I think I want to play around with some funky wallpaper in here.



Down here there’s also a little storage room that we’d like to turn into a walk-in pantry.IMG_9726


Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.59.01 PM

I mean let’s be honest.. I don’t feel like I’ll ever have my sh*t together enough to have an actual pantry full of stuff that’s just.. extra. But some extra storage/shelving will be nice regardless.

Now we go down one more level to the basement: (Cue Nick Jonas ‘Levels’)IMG_9733

OMG LOOK AT THAT WORKBENCH!!!! NO MORE SANDING/PAINTING/BUILDING IN MY KITCHEN! I am SO excited to have a full, big basement and workspace. Behind the little office/library room, this is my second favorite thing about the house! I’ve literally been waiting for this moment since I was about 15.

So there’s the bottom half of our humble abode! Soon I’ll show you the upstairs. In the meantime, anyone wanna come over for some apples?


We have a Cortland apple tree in the front yard & a Granny Smith tree in the back yard!


Home Improvement Inspiration + Design

We’re Expecting…

January 4, 2016


No, my eggo is not prego, but our little bundle of joy vinyl siding is due to be our new dwelling in a couple of months! We’re still in negotiations right now after uncovering some iffy stuff during the home inspection, but it should all work out.

By “iffy stuff” I mean this:


That right there is a deliciously damp and rotted floor in the master bedroom from an unknown source of moisture. Don’t be jealous folks.

The main motivation for house hunting? We adopted a third cat a couple months ago and we decided that all of our cats deserve their own bedrooms. (just kidding… 2 of them will have to share)

So the story goes like this: I came across a house I LOVED one day. We weren’t even house hunting at that time, I just somehow stumbled upon it online. People, I was OBSESSED with this house. I mean, to an unhealthy level. I was completely naive about everything that goes into buying a house, I just knew that I needed to have it. (Spoiler: It’s not the house we ended up buying)

I became a full fledged stalker of this house, though. (Does anyone else do that?) In a whirlwind, we got pre-approved and saw the house in person. I marked my scent on all of the walls and when it came time for the open house 2 days after we first saw it, I hung around to see who had the nerve to come and look at MY house.

I could picture everything: where the christmas tree would go, where my children (who would obviously be named after Instagram filters) would sit at the breakfast bar eating only the highest end, top shelf, grain & gluten free cereals. I could even picture my entire chalkboard wall which would house all of the weekly meal plans for my family until the year 2023. I. was. crazy. It was way more than a housecrush, it was full-fledged houselove. (I wont lie, I definitely did some research into the people who live there now and discovered we have a mutual friend whom I probed for juicy information on the sale.)

On a completely unrelated note..anyone know what the statute of limitations for stalking is?

Annnyway, after actually taking a step in the adult direction and looking at the numbers and realizing there was no way we could comfortably afford my sweet palace, my dreams crumbled.

After forcing myself to accept that Valencia and X-Pro II would have to live a slightly more modest life, something amazing happened. (No, I did not set the house on fire so that nobody else could have it.) As we looked at more houses, I found that all hope was not lost and there were other places that excited me just as much as the Sweet Palace once did. My mom kept yelling at me to stop getting so attached because I would find a house online and proclaim that it’s the new “one” & I would go through the entire process of imagining my life & perfectly picturesque Pinterest sponsored death between it’s walls (DIY Casket Wall, anyone?)

The house we landed on (which I will show you soon!) is perfect for us. It’s livable, but not super lovable (YET!!) — There’s so much potential in it, and Greg and I have been going crazy with big ideas. We’re so excited to get in there and start making it our own.

During our search we looked all over the area, but funny enough, we ended up in a development that is directly across from an old apartment complex we used to live in. Greg and I used to jog in this development all the time. (by ‘all the time’ I mean like.. 3 times max) The night we found “the one”, we were actually looking at a couple of other houses in the area.  My realtor was selling a house nearby. He told us that nobody had any interest in it and he couldn’t figure out why. I remember he said, “I know you wont like it, but do you want to check it out anyway?” He said that maybe we could tell him why nobody seemed to be interested in it.

The second we walked in Greg and I looked at each other like “oh s*it, this could be it!” Turns out, my realtor had sent me the house in an email a few weeks before that. I went back to find the email and I had replied, “Thanks for sending that along, not too interested in that one.” to which he replied, “Nobody is too interested in that one.” HA!

So anyway, that’s the story. It was kind of a perfect ending to 2015 for us. We got married, adopted another fur child, and ended the year buying a house that we can’t wait to make our own. 🙂

Stay tuned for a tour!

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