October 2013 | Around Here

Things have been so busy since we moved into the house that I haven’t had much time to post updates here. However, we’ve been making a LOT of progress on the house and I can’t wait to share more of that in detail soon! Until then, here’s a little update on how things have been going in September and October.

The house is coming along! Stephen and his dad redid all of our kitchen cabinets, we got a new oven, we set up the living room and got our bedroom mostly settled. We still have a lot to do, but we’re really happy with the progress we’ve made in the last 2 months since we got the keys.

All the animals! We got a new dog, Pippa, who is a corgi-terrier (we think) mix. She has a ton of energy and has gotten Jezzie to play more! Roscoe doesn’t really like her too much but they are learning to co-exist peacefully.

Stephen and I are trying to spend time together as much as we can even though it’s hard with our schedules. We got brunch at Empire Cafe (we went there on our first date!), checked out Food Truck Friday, finally updated our phones (yay iPhone 5S!) and enjoyed ourselves at Stephen’s mom’s rehearsal dinner.

Speaking of which, there were 2 big weddings in September and October! Stephen’s mom got married and I was maid of honor in my friend Cortney’s wedding (and I took her bridal portraits). I was really excited that I got to rock some Lady Mary wedding hair courtesy of Lindsey at Do or Dye.

And finally, fall is here! The weather has been amazing the last week and I’ve really enjoyed taking the dogs for walks in the cooler temperatures. I also went to a Dynamo game with some friends and it was absolutely the perfect day for a soccer game in an open-air stadium.

24. October 2013 by Rachelle
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Inspiration: Bedroom

After seeing our living room and kitchen plans (plus possibly my Pinterest “house” page, if you’re into that), it’s probably no surprise that we love very clean, simple, almost Scandinavian-inspired interior designs. Lots of white, a bit of black, some natural wood tones and a few bold colors here and there.

When it comes to our bedroom, though, I think we’re looking for something a little more traditional. The idea of a sparsely made up mattress resting directly on the floor in an all-white room with books piled on the side into a makeshift bedside “table” – while lovely to look at – just doesn’t appeal to me when it comes time to tuck in at night. I love high, upholstered beds with plush headboards and fluffy, warm bed linens piled on top. I don’t need a lot of color or crazy patterns, but I want something that mostly resembles a fancy hotel room.

For reference, here’s what we’re starting with:

70s bedroom before photo master bathroom renovation

The room is a really nice size. We should have plenty of space for our queen sized bed and a little sitting area with a chair for reading. We’re still trying to decide if we should center the bed on the window or put it against the other wall. The curtains aren’t staying, of course. Nothing major needs to be done in here except for painting the walls.

The bathroom is small but it’s been completely redone very recently. The cabinetry is all custom built and high quality. The sink and faucet are gorgeous. The shower (which you can’t really see in the photos – it’s across from the toilet) is large and fully tiled with frameless glass double doors. The bathroom is far more traditional in style than what we would pick if we were doing a renovation but it’s beautiful, functional and – best of all – completely finished. The only things we want to do in here are small – turning the sink the correct way, moving the towel rods, adding a little more storage, getting baskets for the shelving to conceal our stuff and putting a larger mirror over the vanity.

For inspiration, we’re looking at rooms with a lot of neutral tones – whites, creams, greys and black. Adding in shapes that are a little more traditional (in the lamps, side tables, headboard and curtains) should bring help make the room feel more indulgent and spa-like but the monochromatic colors will ensure it still feels simple and relaxing.

grey bedroom inspiration grey bedroom inspiration

Canadian Living // House of Turquoise // Tumblr

And here’s our mood board:

master bedroom inspiration

curtains // fabric // chair // bed // side table // quilt // duvet cover // paint // handmade quilt

We already own the curtains, side table, quilt and duvet cover and love them all. They all seem more neutral in person – I think it’s hard to capture the undertones of grays correctly in photos. We have a swatch of the paint and we really like it with all of our current furnishing. It looks much more blue on the swatch than it does on the screen. We currently have a homemade upholstered headboard that hangs on the wall behind the bed but I think we will either recover it with a more modern fabric or get a whole new bed with a built in headboard. I absolutely love that handmade cross quilt and hope to add some items like that to the room soon!

22. August 2013 by Rachelle
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Stephen’s grandparents decided to take the whole family on a big trip together this summer. They all went on a cruise together 10 years ago but with many new spouses (including me!) and children added to the family since then, they decided it was time for another go. It was a little hard to find something that would interest everyone from age 2 to 80 but we settled on going to Disney World for 3 days and then driving out to Tampa to relax on the beach for 3 days.

I haven’t been to Disney World since I was in middle school so it was fun to experience everything again as an adult. We drank around the world in Epcot, rode almost every major ride in the Magic Kingdom and saw two of the most massive fireworks/pyrotechnics displays ever. The beach in Tampa was beautiful and although I did accomplish a decent amount of reading on the trip, we mostly just lazed about in our cabana between ocean dips and peanut butter sandwiches. Perfect.

holding up epcot disney epcot mexico disney epcot cava del tequila disney epcot margaritas disney epcot china disney epcot epcot at night magic kingdom florida_2013_0015 disney it's a small world tampa florida beach tampa florida beach tampa florida beach tampa florida sunset

19. August 2013 by Rachelle
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Inspiration: Kitchen

The kitchen is undoubtedly the biggest project we wanted to tackle and the only one that we felt we absolutely needed to finish before we moved in.

First up – the before photos, moving from left to right through the breakfast nook and into the kitchen.

kitchen breakfast nook before outdated kitchen before outdated kitchen before


The breakfast nook is mostly fine. I don’t love the light fixture but it’s new and looks okay for now. The blinds and phone are getting taken out as soon as possible. It’s hard to tell because of the lighting, but the room is painted a warm white that looks nice in person. I like the little chair rail and wainscoting. Mostly we just need to add some furniture to the space.

The kitchen, on the other hand, is pretty terrible. We almost didn’t put an offer in on this house because while the kitchen has been somewhat updated over the years, it’s really not our style at all and we spent weeks trying to figure out what to do about the tiny wall oven. The oven is weirdly placed in its own little cabinet and is only a 24 inch oven – you can’t even fit a regular sized baking sheet in it. Replacing it would involve buying a new oven and probably reconfiguring the layout of the kitchen. Every option to get a new oven looked too expensive – until one lucky Saturday we found a drop-in electric range marked down to less than half the original cost at the Sears outlet! Not only is it brand new (with a small bit of scratching that no one will ever notice), it fits perfectly into the cabinetry where the range is now.

Speaking of the cabinets, they actually look much nicer in the photos than in person. The doors were made by the previous owner and they are uneven and have knots all over them, making them look even more homemade. The cherry stain (they are also super shiny, by the way) contrasts terribly with the cream-colored cabinet bases (WHY) and the blue-gray laminate counters. The glass front doors were frosted with a pattern in them but the execution was very poor, leaving them blotchy and weird-looking.

The good things in the kitchen include: white subway tile, new stainless steel appliances, cabinet bases in excellent shape, great hardware and hinges that we can reuse and a very functional layout. With a little work, we know we can turn it into something beautiful.

The inspiration pictures I found really helped us visualize the potential in the breakfast nook and kitchen.

breakfast nook inspiration breakfast nook inspiration ikea kitchen inspiration white kitchen inspiration

Design Sponge // Houzz // IKEA // Houzz

Lots of bright white and simple lines to help the rooms feel bigger and more open. With these photos as a jumping off point, I created this mood board for the breakfast nook and kitchen.

white kitchen mood board

Curtains // Table // Light // Chair // Shaker Cabinet Doors (making) // Square Knobs (reusing) // Rug // Oven

We’ll be moving the curtains that are currently in our living room into the breakfast nook and using them as the color palette for the rest of the space. They look more avocado green than yellow in person, by the way. We will swap out our small wooden dining table for a white or glass top table with matching chairs and a more industrial light fixture. The cabinet bases (and the entire rest of the kitchen) will be painted bright white and updated with shaker style cabinet doors. We will use clear glass on the cabinets next to the fridge and paint the inside of those teal so that we can show off our simple white china. Add in a rug to warm things up a little (and hide some of the less-than-perfect tile) and a giant new oven and I think we will be set!

We want to eventually update the flooring that runs through the whole left side of the house and swap out the laminate counters for something a little nicer but even without doing that, I think the kitchen will be significantly nicer with just these changes.

15. August 2013 by Rachelle
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Inspiration: Living Room

We’re now (finally!) only days away from moving into our new house. Of course, we’ve been over there every single day working on getting everything as updated as possible before we bring all our boxes and furniture into the space and have to, you know, actually live there. Lots of ripping out things, lots of sanding, a little electrical work and a LOT of painting. Always with the painting.

The best part of getting all these projects done is that I can start working on the fun part – decorating! Our house is a mid-70s ranch and we want to highlight some of the awesome features that made us fall in love with it and bring a bit of an updated, 60s/70s vibe to the space, especially in the living room. We’re still working on developing our “style” – a lifelong pursuit, probably – but we’re slowly figuring it out.

Here are a few before photos of the living room. ceiling beams 70s ranch ceiling beams 70s ranch

We love the vaulted ceilings and the beams. We also love the great moldings around the windows and the dark blond flooring. We hate just about everything else – the tract lighting, yellowy paint (on the beams too!), ugly fireplace screen, outdated built-in and cheap red window shades. Luckily most of the bad things are easily fixed!

Inspired by photos like these, we immediately started making plans to brighten the space and highlight some of it’s best features.

bright living room ceiling beams ceiling beams 70s living room 70s living room

Domino // Apartment Therapy // Home Adore

And here is the inspiration board I created for the living room.

70s ranch living room mood board

Fan // Frames // Art // Shelving // Lamp // Plant: Cat Palm // Grey Sofa (similiar to own) // Pillows // Rug // Coffee Table

Of course, we aren’t going to go out and buy all of these exact pieces – we have a mortgage to pay now, after all. But having a photo mood board to start from makes it easier to visualize whether or not random pieces at Goodwill and local thrift stores will fit into our new home.

We immediately wanted to paint the whole room bright white and restore the beams to a dark wood color. Unfortunately the wood isn’t in great shape so we decided to paint them instead of stripping them. Since the ceiling beams will be so dark and dramatic, we wanted to pull some of the darkness and wood tones down into the furnishings. I think we still need to add some bolder, brighter color to the room (I love emerald green lately) but this is the base we are hoping to create and build on over the years, adding in some unique and special pieces that we happen to discover along the way.

13. August 2013 by Rachelle
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Our House

I’ve been MIA from blogging for the last few weeks because (1) we went on vacation in Florida and (2) we bought a house! We went from deciding to start looking for a house to closing on our new home and picking up the keys in less than 2 months. That’s a pretty whirlwind pace! We are totally thrilled to start this new chapter of our lives together and have been busily working on fixing up a few things before we move in.

Our house is 1970s ranch with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a lovely old family-oriented neighborhood. We’re excited to make this house our own! Here’s a look at the “before” photos.

05. August 2013 by Rachelle
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Second Anniversary

Last year we celebrated our anniversary in Paris, but this year we decided to keep it a little more low-key. On June 12, our actual anniversary, we grilled some steaks on the patio, opened a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and finished off dinner with cupcakes from the bakery who made our wedding cake. Not Paris, but it’ll do! Then we took the day off on Friday and went out to a nice dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse downtown – the same restaurant we ate at after our wedding. The food and service were outstanding, just like we remembered. Then it was off to the Magnolia Hotel, rounding out our little recreation of our wedding. Perfect.

19. June 2013 by Rachelle
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Summertime Mornings

This is what my mornings look like around here lately. So happy it’s summertime!

18. June 2013 by Rachelle
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Wedding Part 2

12. June 2013 by Rachelle
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Wedding Part 1

12. June 2013 by Rachelle
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