Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Links


1 | These bins need to make their way into my office immediately. 
2 | A decorating tip I support fully. This and many more great home tips here on House Beautiful.
3 | Brownie cookie sandwiches filled with caramel creme – enough to break my willpower. 
4 | Cooper is in desperate need for a new leash. I love this marbled rope one from Grey Paw Design.
5 | J.Crew's March style guide is killing it. These sandals are on the top of my wish list!

Happy last day of February! Good riddance. It's 10 below with the wind chill right now. GET OUT OF HERE, COLD.

Stay warm, friends, and have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Home Series: Before & After | Master Bedroom

When it comes to naming which room in our house got the biggest overhaul, our master bedroom takes the cake—although just our hallway is a close second. You'd never think a hallway could be so much work, but that's a post for another day.

The inside of our house felt every bit of right and looked every bit of wrong. It's amazing how after seeing dozens of houses, you develop this ability to not take anything at face value—and I don't mean just looking beyond paint colors. You can look at a lackluster room and feel like the space is right, or you notice how cool a corner is, or you feel how firm and right the floors are beneath your feet. 

This was the bedroom before — need a little love:
As you can see in our progress post from our first week, we cut that small closet door open, installed new bars and shelves, ripped up the carpet, refinished the hardwood, and replaced that sad, cheap ceiling fan. The closet itself was quite big, but had that "cave closet" problem where the door is small and the closet is impossible to utilize fully. We expanded the entrance, replaced the doors, and actually reused the old closet door for our linen closet in the hallway. We really wanted to keep all of the original doors to the house, so I'm glad the door fit!

A nice master closet was something we hadn't seen in any of the Lakewood homes we looked at, so we knew a remodeled closet would be a great selling point someday (and a necessity for us now).

This is the closet after, with our DIY rope mirror:


Our progress at one year:
Curtains: DIY | Gold Tortoise Shell: Target/DIY | Nightstands: IKEA | Reading sconces and table lamp: IKEA | Duvet: CB2 (old) | Rug: Overstock (old)

For some reason, every single room in our house had {bad} ceiling fans, which we promptly replaced with semi-flush mounts, but we repurposed this one in our room for a little summer breeze. We might switch it out with something more fun (maybe a new DIY) but for now it fits the bill.

I really love the drama of dark walls and wanted to pull it off in our room with a super rich navy. We get a ton of light in our house so I knew it wouldn't be too dark, and we balanced it with lots of white and texture. The room has a tiny touch of nautical inspiration, but it's more relaxed and less literal.

There is still so much we want to add and change about the room (we're wanting a stylish new bed frame) but after a year, we're really happy with the progress. As it is with all spaces, "there's always something to do!" For now, it's an incredibly relaxing, rehabbed space that we're just enjoying.

Candle hurricane: DIY | Anchor dish: Furbish | Glasses: Lookmatic

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Home Series: Before & After | Outdoor

Welcome to our outdoor home tour! In the spirit of thinking spring, I need some sunny memories of our green grass and garden to restore my sanity. It's hard to remember that things looked like this only a few months ago! We worked all spring and summer long to give the exterior of our home a facelift, and we're relieved the majority of the work is done. Let's get to it, shall we?

Here is our "after": with a fresh coat of paint on literally every surface, newly built columns and railing, landscaping, and new hardware (mailbox, light fixtures, etc.) The gray is Sherwin Williams Dovetail and the mint is Waterfall. The house is sided with aluminum, so we had to bring in the pros to paint it for us – we hired Neubert Painting to do it. It was incredible to see the house transform a little more each day. They painted the exterior of the house, but we painted the columns, railing, and porch floor ourselves. Pretty much every day after work, I was coming home, grabbing a beer, and painting something on that porch. It was actually kind of a nice way to spend the summer.

This was the house before. This was taken in the late fall, so the dead plants definitely make it look worse. The color scheme, symmetrical bushes, and shutters looked straight out of the '60s. We were itching to paint it all of last winter. The inside was so warm and charming, the outside did the house no justice. In fact, when we did our first drive-by, Jim pulled up in front of it and I said "oh my god NO" (this was in our "choosy" phase of house shopping, which is a post for a different day). But remember kids – when it's yours, you can change it! 

We also did a number on the backyard. The garden beds were overgrown, which you can't see here since everything was dead at the time, so they needed lots of TLC. The little baby fence also had to come out, and also there was THIS:

A big, pointless concrete "patio" of some sort in the back of the yard. The baby fence had a gate that opened up to this space and the previous owners had an adirondack chair on it. It had been there for years, so I'm sure they were just trying to make the most of it, but...just rip it out. Which is what we did. 

We rented a jackhammer and towed away tons of solid concrete, while ripping out the other stones and the small tree that was in the middle of the yard. We planted grass where the patio had been and hoped for the best! It was terrifying to think the grass might not grow (first-time jitters) but obviously, it was fine. We watched it grow in and followed up by planting some new shrubs along the fence. 

Here is the "after" at the end of the summer. We still have some more shaping to do to the beds, but the work that's been done has made a huge difference. We've gained a ton of yard space by removing that slab, which Cooper loves! It looks more opened up, and I'm relieved to not have to look at that dumb fence anymore. 

Last winter, we were so anxious for spring to come so we could tackle all of these projects. We moved into the house in October of '12, facelifted the inside, and sat waiting to do the rest. We are really happy  with how it all looks and can't wait to do more a bit more relaxing this summer – although there is definitely always something to do. Our next project is to furnish the front porch, and furnish our second-floor balcony that's situated off the office. You are all welcome to join me for summer drinking in any of these areas :) Are you planning any home projects for this spring? 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Home Series: Why To Buy

Today starts a little series of posts dedicated to all things HOME – specifically: homeownership, home buying, and our home's before + after. I have so many photos to share and thought the spring itch would be the perfect time to kick off this series on the blog. It's almost the peak time of year for listings to hit the market, so hopefully some of this will help + inspire any of you potential buyers out there!

As a relatively young, unmarried couple we were cautious about jumping into buying – in this economy homeownership has become more of a luxury than a necessity. However, on the other side of a burst real estate bubble, you have a rock-bottom market that's steadily on its way up. The timing couldn't have been better: home prices were low, interest rates were low, and our neighborhood was maintaining its value. In so many ways, it was the right thing for us and I'm glad we dove in and never looked back. 

These were the major and minor factors we considered when deciding to buy:

Investment – Really, this was #1. You're never too young to invest in your future. Homes follow the same rules as stocks: buy low, sell high. And we had a chance to buy low, on a house that we knew we could sell high just by sitting in it. Add in low cost/high-value home improvements, and you're sweetening the deal. After years of renting and tossing money down the drain, buying became the non-insane option. We knew we were staying in the area for a bit, so renting just made no sense.

Landlords – There's nothing like having total control over your space, and we are project people. If we don't like something, we want to change it. Asking permission? UGGGGH. On the flip side, the control comes at a price. If your pipes start leaking, it's your problem. Furnace breaks? Ka-ching. For some people it's ideal to not have to deal with this stuff, but any replacements you make can add value to your house. And you're the one who gets to choose what pipes/furnace/etc. go into your house, so you can make choices based on energy efficiency/performance that can lower your bills. We've been lucky, but it's still important to have to have a little cash pile somewhere for when these things come up.

Basement – As I said, we work on stuff. We needed space. We actually got in trouble many times at our old apartment for hammering too much and spray painting in the parking lot (would they prefer me to spray paint in our apartment? How am I supposed to DIY this lamp? #whitegirlproblems)

Basement Fridge – Yeah, maybe one of my favorite things ever about our house. A basement fridge full of beverages. You open it and BEER is bountiful. I might be a man.

Neighbors – Trust me, even in a house, you can (and likely will) have annoying neighbors. But I'll take anything over hearing my downstairs neighbor get screwed by a guy twice her age every night. Yeah...NOPE. TOO CLOSE.

Yard – We still joke that we bought our house for our dog. He has plenty of room to run, and I don't have to leash him each time he has to go potty. I'm lazy about that so I guess it was more for my convenience than his. Other obvious yard perks: we get to have a garden, grow herbs + veggies, and don't have to head to the bar to drink on a patio (although of course we still do).

Customization – This relates to the "landlords" reasoning...do you want to wallpaper that nook? Rip those bushes out? Re-tile the bathroom floor? Guess what –  you da boss, baby.

Noise – As a couple who favors music of the bass-heavy variety, we are quite happy with our freedom to crank it up.

Neighborhood – We love being a part of a neighborhood, and there's nothing like handing out candy on Halloween. For some reason, that's one of our favorite things to do and it's a reminder of how much we love where we live. We wanted to be more than transient members – by putting hard work into improving our house, we feel like we are helping to improve our community as well. We wanted to give an old Lakewood house some TLC and leave it better than it was left for us.

Everyones wants and needs are different, so I would love to hear about what motivated you to buy (if you have bought) or why you are hoping to buy in the future. Has it been a good experience? A tough one? Buyer's remorse? I'll be back next time to share some before + afters, and some tips/lessons learned about the buying process. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Links - Valentine Edition


1 | The most amazing pumps for a Valentine dinner by Charlotte Olympia.
2 | Lips print by Made by Girl (Jen Ramos)
3 | Too much champagne tonight? These chocolate-lemon ricotta pancakes should cure your love hangover. (How Sweet It Is)
4 | Sugar cookie hearts are a simple and perfect treat. (Everyday is a Holiday)
5 | A cute smooch bobbi clip makes a sweet gift topper. (ban.do)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you all have something sweet planned, whether it's a dinner out, a night with the girls...or a date with your couch and some chocolates! We'll be having dinner downtown at Chinato and will head back home for some late-night wine and a cozy fire (and some dog cuddles).

Have a fun night! XOXO



Monday, February 10, 2014

Fashion Flash


I had a little moment in the Plain Dealer yesterday – check out my Fashion Flash feature online here. It was so fun to talk style with the editor, Allison, and to shoot some of my favorite looks. It's inspired me to keep remixing the clothes I have, although I'm already itching to shop for spring. At least there's plenty of time to prepare (sadly).

On the bright side – February is almost half over! What spring things are you shopping for?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Free Printable Valentines

Happy Monday – and February, everyone!

Hope you've all recovered from your Super Bowl comas, and are ready for dessert! Valentine dessert, that is. The season of love is the season of sweets – so, it's kind of my favorite. To spread the love, I have some free printable Valentines for you. So save your money for candy – all you have to do is hit print and cut them out! 


These are perfect for friends or family, and can nicely accompany whatever treats you're giving out at work or school. The printable file is letter sized, and each Valentine is single-sided and fits an A2 envelope (about 3.75x5"). I recommend printing on a white or cream cardstock for best results. Click the link below to download the file, and be sure to let me know if you run into download or print issues. ENJOY, feel free to share, and have a lovely Monday!
Click here to download the printable file.