Thursday, December 29, 2016

c r o 1 x

Well, folks it's official....Brent and I have a ONE year old! On Tuesday, December 27th Croix turned one and we had a big party to celebrate the occasion. There was cake, there were presents and there was a mini-Brent running crawling around in Superman underwear and a red cape.


Croix wasted no time digging (literally) into his cake. :)

It's truly hard to believe a whole year has come and gone. As we were celebrating Christmas a few days ago I kept thinking back to this time last year and reminiscing about how much can change in 365 days. People are always saying "they grow up so quickly" and "enjoy them while their young, because it's over before you know it" and until this year, heck maybe until the last few months, those sentiments felt so cliche, but you know what?? They, you, everyone who has ever said that, is 100% right. This year has flown by and while the whole parenthood thing has been an adjustment for sure, it has mostly just been a lot of fun. Every milestone, every hurdle and every first has been so cool to witness. 

Croix is busy and smart and fun and curious and cute and funny and sweet and cool and mischievous and fearless. Croix is all things good in the world piled up inside a 31" high, 22 lb 13 oz little boy and we are so grateful to get to hang out with him while he does this whole growing up thing.

All photos are my own. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday House Tour 2016

This is our second year to deck the halls of this house for Christmas, but our first to decorate as a family of 3. This time last year we were waiting for the arrival of Croix who at the time we didn't even know was a boy! It's crazy how much can change in a year. There have been so many firsts this year, and now maybe the most exciting first of all....Christmas!

It's been a whirlwind month for sure, with several out of town trips, work and two different trades coming in to install some exciting new items to our home, but we have our priorities in order and Christmas decor was on the top of that list! My mom helped us get off to a good start last year with wreaths and candles for for the windows and a flocked tree in the dining room so this year we took what we had and added a few more fun touches.

Let me show you around...


We always go for a real tree  in the living room, so the whole house smells like Christmas all season long.

I added some mini-Christmas trees to the succulent wall:

And a cozy fleece blanket for the pouf:

Growing up I had my own tree in my room. Each Christmas the "Christmas Fairy" would leave a new ornament and a little poem the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Each new ornament would go on my tree. Last year my parents brought my little tree and box of ornaments to my house so we decided to give Croix his own tree in his room. Brent vetoed most of the ornaments saying they were too girly, and generously gave Croix some of the superhero ornaments we had on the main tree. 

Dining Room:

The dining room is still in a transition phase right now, but we were so excited by the progress we had made (marble hearth!!) that we couldn't resist throwing some garland on top of this regal beauty! 

I also cut some holly and magnolia leaves to fancy Brenta up....

The JuJu wall even got a little holiday love. 

A house never feels as alive and charming as it does at Christmas. 

Family has started trickling into town, and so far we have 8 people and 5 dogs running around getting ready for the big day. This is the first year Santa will be visiting our house and I'm not sure who is more excited the grown-ups or the baby....HA! Oh and speaking of the baby.......


 From our family to yours Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

All photos are my own.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ju Ju

Now that you all have seen how we successfully treated the big ol' wall behind our couch I thought it might be fun to let you in on a little secret....Our big, beautiful map panels were not our first attempt at this wall. Nay, a few months ago, we put more than a few holes in that wall in an attempt at a totally different solution that turned out to be...............well, let's see how can I put this......A. DISASTER.

So, way back at the beginning of the year I spotted this wall decor at Target. 

Photo from google search

The "Palm Leaf Fringe Wall Art" or Ju Ju's as I call them were from the Nate Berkus Collection. I loved the texture, shape and pop of black. In my mind I could see a bunch of these ju jus layered atop each other over the couch. So, I did what any smart Target shopper does and I waited for them to go on sale and then loaded a bunch of them in my on-line cart and waited for them to arrive on my doorsteps.

Once they came in we got to installing and the plan was.....are you ready for it?  There was no plan. Literally, my smart self just thought, layer, one on another and go wide and tall and BAM little heart eyes would pop from my eyes.


You can't get it right every time right? 

Oy. It wasn't the worst thing I'd ever seen but it wasn't good. The whole concept read as sloppy and just kind of weird. The pieces also seemed to bring a bit of a tribal vibe to the space when mixed with the rug. I don't know, it just did't feel right. So, I took them down one by one, Brent rolled his eyes and we just kind of hit the pause button for a few months. Then, one day I decided to focus less on what to put over the couch and more on what to do with all of my ju ju pieces I had stacked in the corner of my master bedroom. I had a lot of these guys and with a diameter of  20" I needed a big wall to fill them with. 

Insert the large landing wall at the top of the stairs. 

This wall leads you to our master bedroom and is 14' wide. Instead of trying to recreate the original layered vision we decided to go with a traditional grid install. I worked the math (scary!!) and Brent worked the drill and in about 30 minutes we knew the Ju Ju's had found their home. 

Oh mistakes....they sure are brutal, but when you get on the other side, sometimes you just have to laugh and learn, but mostly laugh. 

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

We've Got the Whole World....In Our Living Room

Y'all we are making moves and have actually started nailing some art to the wall! 

I've talked before about the extreme difference in scale between our 1st house and our 2nd. Not only is our current house bigger, with more rooms, baths, etc..but everything is bigger scale wise. For example our kitchen table in house #1 is now the entry table in the foyer of house #2. The couch that was in the living room of house #1 is in our master bedroom in house #2. The size/scale difference is not a problem per say, it has just taken some time to re-think/find places for the the pieces we have and then try to figure out how to fill some of the bigger walls with new pieces of the proper scale. One wall that has been in particularly trying is the ginormous wall behind the couch in our living room.

This wall:

At 20 feet long and 10 feet tall we have really struggled to figure out what to do with this huge space. As the room as been slowly coming together we have been tossing around options and keeping an eye out for the perfect solution.

A gallery wall? A series of large mirrors? Picture ledges? We thought and thought, but nothing felt quite right. Then, a few weekends ago we were in Chattanooga for our annual 4th quarter birthday celebration and stopped in one of my favorite stores - Southeastern Salvage. It's one of those places you just pop in, never knowing what you might find. As we were perusing the isles Brent happened upon a map of the world broken up into 4 large, individually framed pieces. He pulled me over to take a look and I was instantly interested. The green and blue coloring + antique mirror detailing were really striking plus we had a feeling the scale was perfect for our XL wall in our living room. Plus, Brent and I both love to travel and have always liked the idea of incorporating a world map into our home in some way.

Each panel is 24 1/2" wide x 60" high. The plan was for the art to hang over the couch and because we didn't have the exact dimensions of the couch with us we were a little skeptical the pieces would be too large. However, Southeastern Salvage is not the kind of place you leave something you might be interested in with plans to come back, because it is almost always long gone by the time you figure out it's perfect. So, we talked to the associates and found out we could return the pieces if they didn't work within 30 days, so we decided to take a chance and bring them home to try. 

Well, guess what..........

They fit like a glove. The colors bring all of the elements in the space together - from the olive green bolster pillows I had made last year to the blue hues from the ocean painting over the left built-in. It's crazy what a full wall of color, texture and interest can do to make a room feel so much more complete. As much positive impact as some of the elements we had previously added (rug, couch/pouf/pendant lights and new built-in doors) to the space have contributed to this rooms overall vibe, nothing holds a candle to the way these framed pieces make this room feel equal parts cozy and refined. 

All photos are my own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fall Front Porch + DIY Buffalo Check Door Mat

Welcome to my fall front porch! 

Of course we have pumpkins......

.....and topiaries adorned with skulls and last but not least the perfect floor mat situation complete with a buffalo check backdrop. 

Go ahead and soak in the fall goodness and then settle in for a little story because nothing is easy folks.

About a month ago I saw this image by Julia Marcum (Chris Loves Julia) on Instagram and instantly became obsessed with recreating the look at my own house. 

The first step was snagging a buffalo check rug, but unfortunately, the rug linked to the post was from Overstock and was sold out. I requested to be notified when the rug became available again, but each time I was emailed it was back in stock it would be sell out again before I could enter my credit card information. Womp, womp! The chase made me want the rug even more and before long I was obsessed. In my mind Trick-or-treaters had to stand upon this setup to get their candy. Croix's first halloween had to be captured on this buffalo check goodness. I was determined so  I googled and googled trying to find other buffalo check options and while there were some, most were too expensive to be worth it and or all of the applicable sizes were sold out as well. I got so desperate I was even considering spray painting one when Brent suggested just buying some buffalo check fabric and folding it over to create the look of a rug. Ummm....genius! We  were at the fabric store Sunday anyways, and found the perfect fabric for $16.95 per yard. SOLD! 

As soon as we got home we folded the fabric over to fill the space between my planters and then set this Welcome mat from Target on top and wah-lah! 


Needless to say I'm in love. Oh, and the best part? Buffalo check not only works well for fall happenings like Halloween and Thanksgiving, but nothing says Merry Christmas like a buffalo check mixed with some red and green. At the end of the day this $33.90 (2 yards) investment will hopefully serve me and my front porch well for the rest of the year! 

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our 2nd House - Year 1

Happy 1 year Anniversary to us and our 2nd home!

Here's a question: are you still allowed to refer to your house as "our new house" when you have lived there a year? I guess it just feels "new" to me because it looks almost exactly the way it did after we moved in last October.  While we have gotten some random momentum as of late, I often find myself feeling like such a slug when it comes to progress at the house. Here we are at the 1 year mark and we have made very little progress on the whole home improvement front especially as compared to the progress we made at our first house in the same amount of time. It's like, now that we have a house that we can actually stay in for a long, long time (forever?) I've found myself slow to commit to ideas or projects.  It's frustrating and exciting at the same time. I like that we are taking our time and thinking through things, but I also long to have a few rooms feel more complete and "us". We will get there I know, so in the meantime I thought it could be fun to acknowledge the progress we have made. Progress like...

OK, this was the first room we tackled upon moving in last Fall and for good reason! We were down to T-Minus 2 1/2 months until Croix's arrival when we moved in.

This is hands down the happiest room in our house and not just because of the tiny human that sleeps in that red crib. The space is bright, colorful and our one and only 100% completed space in the whole house.

Living Room:

This room has seen a fair amount of love this year. From new furniture and textiles like the giant sectional, Love Sac and rug, to new pendant lights  and a TV niche to our most recent add - some custom doors for the built-ins. Overall this space is really starting to come together and we are excited for all the progress we have made! Next up - curtains! 

Oooooh the patio project. This guy has definitely taken up a LOT of our time, energy, sweat and first bites (croix and the concrete debacle) this year. We are still wrapping up final decisions but overall we are feeling good about this space. It has definitely come a long way and I'm happy to report not only are we grill ready at this point, but as of Monday night our pizza oven can make pizzas too!

Dining Room:

The progress in the dining room has been both mental and aesthetic for us this year. The wheels really started turning for us when we made the decision to turn this big open room into our dining room as opposed to the formal living room it was was for the previous owners. Since making that decision we had our dining room table custom made from a guy Brent found on Craigslist, scored these beautiful wing back chairs from Scotts Antique and inherited a beautiful 100+ year old mantle from my PapaJack and Grandmother. It's been slow, but I think this room could really be beautiful and rich with texture and history once it's all said and done.

We celebrated our 1 year anniversary this year by welcoming in some house guests - my sister Candace, her husband Jimmy and their pup-daughter Piper! They recently made the move to Atlanta and are staying with us while they house hunt! It's cool to have the house and driveway full and I'm excited to celebrate all the fun things ahead - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Croix' 1st Birthday with them right by our sides!

A lot has changed over the past year, but all in all we are proud of the progress we have made in the midst of our new normal (family of 3!) and can' t wait to see what all we can accomplish before year 2!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

DIY Pizza Oven - Part 1

Well, our outdoor patio project is dragging rolling along.

Let me start by saying I realize we have been talking about this project for a long, long time, but guys WE HAVE A PIZZA OVEN!!!!!!!! And a gigantic pizza oven at that. Let's dig into the process...

To get things started we drew out a 54" diameter right on the concrete countertop with a pencil to be sure the scale felt right. Then, we started lining our pencil marks with bricks. 

We stacked a few levels up and then created the forms for the entry. We wanted the arch of the entry to mimic the arch of the fireplace below.

Once our entry form was in place we began setting the bricks around it. 

We continued adding layers and layers of brick to create the walls of the oven. As we got higher we had to use shims to create the pitch. 

The steeper the pitch the slower the process, because we could only do so many layers before we had to pause and let the mortar dry.

Eventually the pitch got so steep that we had to reinforce the arch with flexible trim. 

After that we continued adding brick until the entire dome was filled in. Once all of the brick was installed we filled all of the holes with mortar so the smoke would be forced to exit through the chimney. 

With all of the mortar dry we began sanding down the exterior as well as the interior of the pizza oven. This meant smoothing down all of the mortar drips and uneven spots. At one point Brent was more than half way in the oven working on the inside and Croix was REALLY loving the sight! Ha! We often talk about how much things have changed now that Croix has joined our crew. While we may move slower than we used to, it's a lot of fun having this little guy buzzing around our projects with us. He's distracting and needy, but he's cute! :)

We are still in the sanding phase and then we have to figure out what material to use on the outside facade. We have considered brick. tile and stucco but we are still undecided. The good news? Once we get a chimney on there the pizza oven will be usable even if the facade is still TBD for a few more weeks. My stomach is growling just thinking about it!!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New Doors for our Living Room Built-Ins

We recently completed an update that has literally been on our "To Do List" from day one - new doors for our living room built-ins!

To refresh your memory THESE are the built-ins that came with the house:

From the beginning I was  excited to have built-ins, but knew immediately that glass doors on those built-ins would never work for us. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of glass doors, but I definitely think they have their place and a living room is not on the top of that list. In my opinion glass cabinets are great for displaying dishes in a kitchen/dining room or special trinkets and collectibles in a study, but nobody wants to see  our DVD collection or a basket of blankets. With that being said the fact that I knew I wanted solid doors from the get-go did not help me decide on the design for those doors. Nope, for months I have pondered over this decision, but nothing ever felt quite right, until one day I saw a garage door (of all things?!?) that inspired an idea. I doodled up the concept to scale on my graph paper....

Gave the sketch to Richard, one of our awesome engineers at Bell and a few hours later he had programmed in my doors and presented me with 4 options for the diameter of my center circle.

I instantly chose the top option....... 

And he got the ball rolling on my doors. 

Because I was only replacing the doors and not the cabinet boxes, I took the doors home raw so that I could paint them on-site (at my house) to match the frame and wood top of the built-ins. Lucky for us the doors were ready just in time for a 3-day weekend so in between working on the pizza oven and playing with the Croix we painted the doors with our Husky Gravity Feed Spray Gun.

Before we got to painting we laid out a plastic tarp and then created some ledges with boards and cinder blocks to raise the doors off the ground.

Then, we got to spraying. We took our time and did a coat or two, let the doors dry and then sprayed again. We were not in a huge rush as it was a 3 day weekend plus we wanted the paint coverage to be as smooth and as even as possible so we painted the patient way and guess what.... No need to sand out any drips at the end....all was smooth! 

Once the doors were all painted Brent got them installed and adjusted in their new home. 

The next step was going to be the addition of hardware, but I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to use. After a few weeks of thinking, we have come to the conclusion we don't need hardware. The cabinets are 1/2" overlay construction which means the doors sit on top of the face-frame, making it easy to just grab the door to open or close them. Plus, the design of the doors adds enough visual interest that I fear any knob or pull would just make it all too busy.

Once the doors were installed I set my sights on styling the built-ins.  For months I had tried to wrap my mind around the best approach for these, very focal built-ins, but all the visual clutter of the contents of the shelves that showed through the glass really threw me off. With the solid doors in place I instantly became inspired by different ideas that could work to finish off this space.

We ultimately decided on a large painting from my Grandma's house (it hung at the bottom of the stairwell at our first house) with some (turtle!!) candlesticks we scored at an estate sale a few years ago and a plant on the left side...

 and our collection of corbels + succulents on the right side.

It's funny, how the smallest of changes can make the biggest impacts both visually AND functionally. Not only does our living room feel more complete, but now we have the freedom to really use those built-ins for storage. I think I'm going to dedicate one set to Croix and buy some baskets to house all of his toys so as he gets older things can be put away and stored when he is not playing with them...I dream big y'all!

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

They Painted the Front Door Blue....

When we moved from our first house to our new house we literally moved 10 houses down the street which means we literally drive by our 1st house at least twice a day. It's a stalkers paradise really....without even having to go out of our way we have been able to kind of keep an eye on the ol' house. Over the past 11 months we have noted small changes here and there to the yard, but nothing too drastic. That is until a few weeks ago when we drove by and the front door, our beautiful red front door had been painted blue. A light, airy pretty shade of blue. I wanted to hate it, I did. I mean, that was OUR front door that got so many compliments for it's red pop, but the blue, the blue looked good too. It's weird to think of someone making decisions for that house that actually enhance it's beauty but I guess that's how it goes, each owner adds their own touches over the years which only adds to the charm and history of the home.

With that being said I thought it might be fun to take one last walk down memory lane and look at the changes we made over the 2 years and 10 months that we owned that house.

*Disclaimer - Almost all of the Before photos are from the real estate website, so the quality is not very good.*

Dining Room Before:

Dining Room After:

Full story here. 

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

Photographed by Galina Coada. 

Living Room Before:
Living Room After:

Full story here.

Master Bedroom Before:

Master Bedroom After:

Full story here

Sunroom Before:

Sunroom After:

Full story here

Deck Before:

Deck After:

Full story  here

Full story here

Bath Before:

Bath After:

Full story here

The blue front door feels like the end of an era. The house is different now, not different bad, just different. We don't naturally identify with the house as much now that it looks different than it did when we left it. And I think that's good, it's not our house any more and it's clear from the good decisions being made by the current owners the house is still loved and considered. 

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.