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