Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happenings Around the Abode - December 2015

Long time no chat friends!  I apologize for my sudden disappearance… As much as I wish I had been away doing something amazing like skydiving with a celebrity or Christmas Party hopping or even hiding at a relaxing spa retreat, we were hit with a trifecta of illnesses and spending time curled up in blankets, taking hot baths, eating soup, visiting the Dr. office and combating chills and coughs.  Three kids in three different schools managed to bring home strep throat, the stomach flu and a sinus infection paired with bronchitis, and it just kept coming in waves.  And when one goes down, we all start tumbling after.  So as much as I was excited to create a stress free holiday, now that we are all finally on the mend, I just realized there are only about 10 days left before Christmas arrives.  #justbreath #tistheseason

I mentioned here that I have a few new series ideas for next year.  One of the things I would like to do is a monthly check-in to share those in-between moments.  The small switcharoos that don’t necessarily warrant an entire post, but are still changing how we live in and enjoy our home.  I also think it will be a good place to share something new that we have tried; whether it be a new recipe we love or an organizing product or adding a new plant.  Finally, I would like to use it as a way to set a few home goals for the following month and do a check-in on those as well.  A little mix of everything to recap happenings around our home.

This first post may get a little lengthy as I have a lot of filling in to do, but hopefully these types of posts will find their rhythm and evolve as I go.  And this series needs a catchy title.  I have been pondering on this for about a month now and I still have nothing…. Bueller?

Because many of the rooms around our home stay the same from month-to-month, the purpose of this post is to tell the story of the rooms we have made small changes to and show how we reuse items from space to space.  Let’s dive in with the most requested room update first.


What’s new?  Very little since my last kitchen update.  The kitchen/living room renovation is a touchy one for me.  We put so much heart and energy and excitement into the update, and we have SO much to love.  In fact, we couldn’t be more smitten with how the changes have impacted our day-to-day routine and lives for the better.  And don’t even get me started on the joys of entertaining now!  We have hosted a few gatherings and they have gone off without a hitch and have really allowed us to share our home with many of our favorite people. But there are a few lingering things that we are working out and the longer things take the more frustrated I get.  That said, I never want that to come across as us not loving what we have done and sounding negative about the entire update.  I think we all know that renovations come with added expenses, things that go wrong, headaches, lack of sleep, set backs, and even a little heartache.  I went into the process thinking I could minimize most of those things from happening and I now wave my white flag.

I have shared a little here and there about the range/cooktop/downdraft dilemma and I really want to do an entire post on the problem and our ultimate solution to document the entire story and hopefully prevent others from making some of the same mistakes we made.  The range/downdraft is really the only item we have left to finish to have a 100% complete and working kitchen.   Although I wish I could say that by now it is all solved, which I believed it would be in our last post, it turns out there was some incorrect information provided to us by the new downdraft company (twice), so our second attempt at ventilation still didn’t work.  The good thing is that we were able to install the new gas range and we are also not required by code to have any ventilation at all, so we have been able to cook meals with the luxury of a stove again (we are just careful about what we cook for now).  We would never call this a long term solution, we always knew we wanted some sort of proper cooking ventilation for all of the obvious reasons, but the actual system we have ultimately determined to be the best for our island setup is a product that won’t be released until spring.  Instead of rushing things and spending any more money on the wrong items, we have been working directly with a company to help us rectify this once and for all (crossing all fingers and toes at this point).

Also, after some pondering and looking at our kitchen photos, we decided to remove the chunkier crown moulding on the pantry and fridge sections and update it with the IKEA stock moulding (seen above) for a more finished look.

Otherwise, as I mentioned, we have done absolutely nothing else with the space.  I really wanted to just live with it for awhile before I dove into selecting dining chars, window coverings and backsplash tile.  I also think I was just ready to be done with all of the technical and install items, that my brain needed a break. 

While traveling in September to a Better Homes & Garden’s event that I attend each year with my friend, Grace, we got to chatting about how we could partner up again.  You may remember that I flew down to Texas to work on her beautiful guest room with her, and it was truly one of my favorite projects to date.  Not only do I consider Grace to be a very dear friend, we also spent time doing what we both love; organizing and designing.  Truth be told, Grace’s home is nothing short of extraordinary.  She has put so much thought and soul into her spaces, while also taking risks and playing with fresh ideas.  She isn’t afraid of color (I bow to her for that) and dares to be bold with her design.  If you haven’t seen her most recent bathroom reveal, drop everything you are doing and go fall in love here.  I will wait.

Grace agreed to help me put the finishing touches on our space.  She has been helping me look at tile options, problem solve a few of my dilemmas and come up with a design to create cohesion within the newly open area.  I can’t wait to share more of our plans after the holidays.  I mentioned to Bryan the other day that now that the renovation is winding down, it feels like we just moved in and things just don’t quite feel like home yet.  It has been a little unsettling, so Grace’s help is just what I need.


The boy’s shared room is probably one of my favorite rooms in our home.  It has slowly been layered with pattern and color, and always feels so fun and relaxed.  It is also where many brotherly stories have been whispered and late night mom snuggles have been cherished…. Our youngest two have always been extremely close, so sharing a room has worked out really well.  They recently heard me mention the idea of moving one of them into our guest room within the next year or two, and now they both have bedroom visions swirling.  Parker wants to keep the shared room just as it is so it is always sleepover ready, and Peyton is excited about the idea of creating a space to call his own. 

I really wanted to find a new home for our navy blue curtain panels, and on a whim one day decided to clip them up in the boys room.  Instant love.  And they really liked them also (as much as kids who really don’t care that much about curtains will like curtains).

We also added plaid quilts to their beds about a year ago now, and the navy in the curtains ties nicely with the updated bedding.


Preston’s room is the perfect example as to why I like to take things slow and let a space evolve.  As much as we continued to make small changes (painted armoire, diy headboard, diy study station), something still wasn’t feeling right.  Then, after we hung the navy curtains in our boy’s shared bedroom, I knew the second set was the missing link in Preston’s room as well.  I gave him the option between the orange and the blue and he selected the blue (YAY!).  The panels inspired me to re-paint the lower portion of his walls Ralph Lauren’s Adelaide Blue and his moulding Ralph Lauren’s Iron Blue.

Iron Blue is now my favorite navy and I also used it to update his nightstand.  It is stunning.  I also installed some new hardware on the front of the nightstand (YHL shoutout!) and it looks like a whole new piece!

We still have a sconce to install and some art to hang and then his room will be ready to share and one we will declare finished (for now).


We have officially started the process of swapping the playroom and my home office.  I just couldn’t take working without a window any longer, so I started moving things out of impulse one evening.  The goal is to utilize as much as we can from both spaces for now, just moving around furniture and storage.  I haven’t done any painting or designing and I am now working with a lovely stenciled birch tree wall behind me each day.  However, aside from the window, the biggest bonus was bringing back my aqua hutch.  I am pretty sure it is the happiest piece of furniture in our home.  I love that I now get to look at it while I work, and the kids are excited to start creating a “boy cave” that they can use for playing and entertaining their pals. I promised them a beverage fridge and popcorn maker in exchange for a window seat.  It should be a fun change for us all!

The biggest change will be moving the location of the closet door so I can continue to access my under-the-stairs storage.  The switch will be a little bittersweet; the playroom has been one of the most popular projects we have ever completed, but having the boys excited helps make the transition easier.  More photos and space plans coming your way soon as I unpack and get settled in. 


Last year we sold our leather sectional and moved down our softer sofa when the renovation began.  We also brought down our Moroccan shag rug and I have been playing with other furniture combos using what we already have.  Because we all agreed that the green patterned chair is the coziest in the house, it was moved to this lounge area to be used for movie nights, reading and video game playing.  We recently pulled the rug because it needs a good cleaning (still trying to figure out how to do that), so the boys have been using the space to build large train tracks.

Once I unpack the rest of the playroom, the kids will move their play things back there and we will work on finishing up this space with a few minor updates.  I would like to add board and batten from floor to ceiling to make the room feel taller (it is only a 7’ ceiling), and also source a soft, round ottoman for propping up our feet.


The last stop on today’s updated tour, is our master bedroom.  During the time of the year when people are putting out plaid prints and warming things up with cable knit throws, I go the opposite route and bring in a little color and feeling of spring to battle the short and gloomy days.

I mentioned that we moved mirrors around a few months ago, so here is the updated shot of our wood tray mirror over our white dresser.

Our ring pulls couldn’t hold up to the weight of the heavy, old wood drawers, so we upgraded to some beautiful brass cup pulls.

I finally settled on an updated light fixture to replace the out-of-place chandelier.  I played it safe and went with a sweet little drum shade fixture I found on Joss & Main.

The new art was created by using a photo I took at the Bloom Bash Workshop, which I uploaded to the Waterloug phone app.  The app turns any photo into a lovely watercolor image, which you can then save and print.

I also uploaded the prints so that I could share them with you!

Download HERE

Download HERE

Download HERE

We would still like to add some more moulding detail on the walls and crown around the room, and source two bedside sconces as well, but other than a few decor swaps here and there, the room is feeling pretty finished and is a nice place to relax at the end of the day.

A few others random things to share…

We recently tried simmering some apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, rosemary and cloves and our home smelled absolutely amazing for a few days!  I highly recommend buying into this fun home fad and playing around with different spices and oils.  I am planning to add some peppermint oil next time to jazz things up for Christmas.

I get excited about small organizing products just as much as the bigger ones, and these darling boot clips are my favorite new find.  They come in a plethora of fun colors and I can’t wait to hand them out as gifts for the holidays.

I don’t know about you, but I find music to be my number one stress reliever.  I recently downloaded this album and find myself putting it on repeat daily.

I have purchased a few of Parima Studio’s prints for our home, and now she offers free monthly desktop wallpapers when you subscribe to her email.  I look forward to updating my desktop to something beautiful and fresh each month!  Thanks Patricia!

And last but not least, I found this pillow a few months ago and shared it on Instagram.  Then I realized not everyone follows me there so I thought I would share it here as well.  I am not sure where the pillow will land as it currently makes its way from room to room, but the message is near and dear to me and how I feel about our home.



Although we plan to hang up our project hats for the rest of December, we are excited to get back to work in January.  Currently on our January “Home To-Do” List:
  1. Finally finish our stairs with an installed railing, touch up paint and maybe a few fun decorative additions
  2. Install sconce and art in Preston’s bedroom (and call it complete)
  3. Install french door from master closet to master bathroom

Well, I called it!  This post got quite lengthy, so thank you for hanging in there with me!  You can find past room photos in my home tour here, which I am hoping to update again this spring.

Feel free to let me know if you have any fun titles for this new series.  Also, I am trying to do some planning for 2016 posts, and I would love for you to take a quick and painless survey to help me better understand what brings you here and what you hope to find while you visit.  And thank you so much in advance for taking a minute or two to do that.  Smooches in advance!

Now, I am off to decorate the tree with the kids!  (Told you we were behind, yikes!) 

from IHeart Organizing http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2015/12/happenings-around-abode-december-2015.html

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