Silver Bells (And Pigs)

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Is Christmas in the air or what? Now that it’s our second “winter” in Richmond we’re used to the milder temperatures and the fact that some of our annuals are actually still blooming. But even though there’s been no morning frost (let alone snow) as of yet, we still hear the Christmas songs on the radio and see the Christmas trees at Lowe’s so we know that the 25th of December is just around the corner. And we’ve come up with a fun ornament theme for our tree this year that makes us feel mucho sophisticado: all silver. Not stuffy sterling silver ornaments or anything, just a firm rule that anything silver goes. We already

Playing Architect With Floorplanner (Making 2D House Plans)

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We’ve finally found a way to show off the changing layout of our house without actually inviting everyone over for a visit (although we’re always happy to give tours). The other day I was browsing RemodelingMySpace.com and saw a link to some free (!!) software called Floorplanner, which they had reviewed as an easy-to-use tool for creating 2D house plans. They also showcase software like Plan 3D and Google SketchUp if you’re looking to do more involved, 3D drawings. But I’m starting slow… Last night I cranked away on two very different floor plans: our old layout, and our almost-there new layout. Check each of them out below, but ignore the square footage and other

Special Delivery

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The cabinets arrived yesterday. Woohoo! The initial excitement of seeing the Kraftmaid 18-wheeler roll up outside was momentarily replaced by a fear that we hadn’t cleared enough temporary storage space for the boxes. Fortunately the truck wasn’t full. But I can’t say the same for our living room after the Kraftmaid guys finished moving box after box through the front door. So how does a box-filled living room turn into a cabinet-filled kitchen? First, our Home Depot project manager shows up today to inspect the delivery and make sure nothing is missing or damaged. Assuming nothing is awry (knock on wood- er, Thermofoil) the HD installer will start assembling the kitchen next Monday, Dec 3rd.

City Slickers

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After sitting in 9.5 hours of holiday traffic, we’re finally home from our whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend in New York. After a Thanksgiving gathering in Long Island followed by another family feast on Friday in New Jersey, we tackled New York City on Saturday to enjoy our old home turf. Between the two of us we lived in NYC for 8 years (in 10 different apartments and 3 different boroughs) before retreating south to my home state of VA. And the only time we lived even remotely close to each other was in Astoria, Queens. Which would’ve been great if we’d known each other then- and it hadn’t been 2 years apart. Details, details… So we

Sittin’ Pretty: We Bought A New Couch!

We ordered a new couch for the living room. And we can’t wait to get it and replace our soon-to-be-repossesed loaner couch from John’s sister. The only bad thing about the new living room couch is that it proves that we overpaid for our couch in the den. We got the den couch from Pottery Barn a few months ago in a time crunch. It’s the most affordable and timeless model they offer (the PB Basic) and we even got it in the least expensive fabric option (gorgeous and dog-durable twill in a light tan color). We heard from our friend who works at the decorating magazine that Pottery Barn couches generally hold up a

Kitchen Indecisiveness (Picking Our KraftMaid Bel Air Cabinets)

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Last week we got the call. Our cabinets are on their way! They’re arriving on Monday the 26th- which means we’re finally able to schedule all the installation details. So now it’s looking like we’ll have a kitchen before the end of the year. Happy New Year to us. When we first walked into Home Depot eons ago (i.e. September) we knew two things about our cabinets: we wanted white and we wanted KraftMaid. White because, duh, our dream kitchen says so. KraftMaid because our friend who works for a home decorating magazine swears by them. They’re close to the most expensive cabinet brand both Home Depot and Lowe’s carry, but Nancy Kulik CKD agreed

Richmond Gets Some TLC

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As I type this we’re watching a historic Richmond home undergo a dramatic restoration. TLC is airing a special episode of their “Flip That House” series (the first of its kind) called “Flip It Back.” The hour-long special documents the historic renovation of a 19th-century folk victorian duplex in good ol’ Richmond, Virginia. When the flipper bought it in 1999 it was only $11,000… and a crack house that was littered with “needles, condoms and porn” according to this article. Don’t worry, the drug den is nowhere near our ‘hood, it’s closer downtown in an area called Union Hill that, according to this show, has the largest collection of folk victorians in the US. If

Finally Fall

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Feels like it has taken a while for autumn to hit Richmond, but it’s finally here in full force. Its late arrival probably means it won’t be long ’til all the yellows, oranges and maroons are replaced with brown and more brown, so we were sure to capture the fall colors on film while we could. Enjoy!

Nice Birthday Suit

That’s what people are gonna say when they see John wearing the new charcoal gray Banana Republic suit that I’m getting him for his birthday. That’s right, John turned a ripe old 26 this morning, and I’ve picked out something fabulously practical (that suit) and something fabulously house-related (an amazing framed print). I actually found the print in a comedy of click through errors. I was on one site and clicked something only to find myself on allposters.com, which is where I saw a charming black and white photo of a couple kissing through the window of a subway. Not only is it gorgeous and graphic, it’s super significant since we met and fell in

Updating Our Bathroom (Third Time’s The Charm)

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To be honest, our bathroom probably needs a total remodel (or at least a new tile job and sink), but we thought a refresher was all we could handle during our lengthy (and expensive) kitchen remodel. So we decided (well, I decided, and then coerced John) to paint the blue walls a soothing tan, and to graduate from a dorm room shower curtain (made of plastic) to a fancy-schmancy fabric one (in a grown up white waffle pattern). We also thought it was time to remove our beast of a medicine cabinet (which actually had two lights coming out of the sides of it like arms) and replace it with an updated medicine cabinet with

Cut It Out

In my recent quest to unearth some fabulous art for our achingly bare walls, I’ve discovered Robert Ryan, a Brit with some serious scissors skillz. His intricate paper cuttings have been seen everywhere from Vogue to your media cabinet (he’s designed book covers, and even an album cover or two). And it’s easy to see why everyone’s enamored. Check out his disarmingly charming work here.

It All Falls Down

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Consider it our home’s hangnail. A big, ugly, rusting floodlight protruding off the back corner of our sunroom. A good idea in theory – cast light across the beautiful backyard, right? – but pretty crappy in reality. The thing buzzed like a giant, vibrating cellphone and the sickly blue light that it gave off was totally unnecessary (thanks to three other, more attractive lights in the back). In the 18 months we’ve lived here it’s been used, um, never. Sunday morning = time for it to go. With my barely-tall-enough ladder I teetered while managing to unscrew it from the exterior wall and snip & cap the wire. But I couldn’t reach the part where

This Really, Really, Really Old House

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I surprised Sherry on Sunday with a day away from the 50-year history of house for the almost 300-year history of another. We spent the afternoon at Shirley Plantation, established in 1613 on the banks of the James River, just 30 minutes east of Richmond. Not only is it Virginia’s first plantation, but it’s the oldest family-owned business in North America. It’s also a pretty cool place to poke around on a sunny, fall afternoon. They don’t allow photos inside the main mansion (where the 11th generation of the family still lives), so we can’t show you the crazy “flying staircase” or ornate moldings and windows. But we did catch plenty of moments around the

Turning Vacation Photos Into Art

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With a house full of newly painted neutral walls, we’re psyched to have plenty of rooms begging for some art. So hopefully you’ll start to see several posts about good artsy-fartsy finds. We’re starting with a John & Sherry original. When we went on our Alaskan honeymoon in July we took tons of memorable photos, including the one below during a private seaplane flight to a remote volcano several miles outside of Anchorage (yep, I said volcano in Alaska). That field of blue and black in the foreground is a glacier speckled with deposits of volcanic ash. Definitely not something you see everyday. On a whim, I desaturated the pic in Photoshop to see what

Hunting For Granite For Our Kitchen Remodel

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Do you ever feel like there are too many options in the world? If so, DO NOT attempt to pick out new counters. Or just make sure you’ve got a wifey with extensive internet research skills. (And if you don’t, hands off – this one’s mine). Here’s what I learned from Sherry’s quick crash course. Laminate and marble were immediately out of the question. We already had laminate and wanted to upgrade to something more natural and less plastic-y. And as gorgeous as carrera marble can be (we loved it in our inspiration kitchen), it eliminated itself from the mix thanks to being much too expensive (about $100 a square foot) and not nearly as

Finding The Perfect Pendant For Over The Sink

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In the interest of full disclosure, I might have a minor to moderate lighting obsession. So I couldn’t wait to show you my latest lighting purchase. She’s a sleek seeded glass pendant lamp- perfect for over the sink. The rest of the overhead lights are going to be recessed, but she’ll be a nice little accent fixture to shed light on our gorgeous new faucet, eh? We got her at West Elm for 99 beans (actually less cause we had a gift card- thanks Emily!) and couldn’t be happier with our choice. She’s not too out there (we thought a big chrome lamp might be too loud in front of the window above the sink,

A Dinner Party Sans Kitchen

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Why cook when you can call Papa John’s? Last night when our friends Noah and Jessica came over for a meal/intense game night, the evening was full of firsts. Like actually using our dining table (we’re embarrassed to admit that we’ve been eating out A LOT lately, and when we do dine at home it’s usually Hot Pockets in front of the TV). After our sophisticated adult dinner of pizza from the box, we made our way into the den and played some raucous rounds of Racko (one of our favorite new games) by the fire. They even brought over some tasty treats: Chocolate Chip Skullies. Noah runs an uber cool website called skulladay.com, so

Our New Addition

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No, it’s not an actual addition. Or a baby- don’t get any ideas! It’s a new rug that we snagged this weekend at Pier 1 (for $40 off, no less). Our fabulous new 5’x8′ looks nice and comfortable in our living room, and helps define the living area from the dining area (since they now share one big space). It’s a tightly woven jute that’s actually soft to the touch (a lot of the textured rugs we like are just too crunchy to actually live on). And at only $79, marked down for $119, it was one of the most affordable rugs of its size. Plus the color is pretty similar to the new wood

Backyard Update: Growing Some Green Grass

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Eons ago we promised you updated photos of the new grass-tastic backyard after the Craigslist success story. Well, the grass has FINALLY decided to grow, so instead of sitting around and waiting we can post these pics for you. Here’s the before- which was perfect for our backyard wedding, but waaaay too much work to maintain: So we put an ad for free bushes and gravel on Criagslist, and this is what we were left with: Now that the grass has finally filled in, we have a wide-open (and super easy to maintain) yard that’s perfect for Burger’s bug hunting expeditions: It’s not exactly “lush” but it’s getting there, and by next spring it’ll be

Young House Love: The Movie

You’ve seen plenty of photos, but it was ’bout time we got all 21st century up in this mother. Here’s the minimally-anticipated world premiere of our first video house tour. Sherry plays Vanna while I take on the role of Spielberg…and keep an eye out for a cameo by Burger. Enjoy it HERE on YouTube.