June Superlatives

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Note: This is a retroactive post that I cobbled together in December of 2011 so I could make this page full of monthly recaps for the entire year (our first in our new house!). Yup, I’m just a bit type A. So here’s what we tackled throughout the month of June – high school yearbook style. Most Improved: Finally painting our kitchen paneling Most Annoying: Priming the paneling (which took more than a few tries) Most Destructive: Removing a few cabinets & patching the floor (to make way for our impending paneling makeover) Most Goal Oriented: Announced a new initiative to clear the kitchen table of miscellaneous clutter every night before bed (we’re still hit

Single Sink Vs. Double Sink – Which Is Better?

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As our arms continue to recover from our recent kitchen priming and painting marathon (shared here this morning) we thought we’d take it down a notch or two with a post about sinks. That’s right, it’s like a slow jam following a spirited chicken dance or an energetic Macarena. One thing’s that been fascinating about owning our second home is comparing its features to our first home and noting pros and cons (especially as we think about what improvements we want to make). There are many things that we prefer over our previous digs – like the larger rooms, opens hallways, en suite master bath, etc. And of course some things that make us miss

Painted Wood Paneling – Woot. It’s Done!

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About a week ago (after we painted our brick fireplace) our kitchen looked like this: Then we removed the desk and upper cabinet (that will be in the way of our big future doorway to the dining room) and after one coat of not-covering-at-all primer it looked like this: Then we finally got the primer thing right after dealing with maddening bleed-through issues thanks to two days of applying coat after coat and three different types of primer (more on that here): And now it looks like this, although it reads a bit more yellow in these photos than in person (it’s a smidge greener in real life). It’s definitely a warm golden green tone

Priming Our Wood Paneling (The Bane Of Our Existence)

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And now, for the dang paneling update. Hold on to your hats ladies and gents. This post = wild ride. As you probably know, we’re no strangers to priming and painting paneling. Sure we could remove the paneling, but it would mean removing and rehanging all the cabinets since they’re hung in front of it – and revealing goodness knows how many scary issues behind it (they’re old plaster walls so that just felt like a big ol’ can o’ worms). And we could attempt to drywall over it (but it would mean drywalling around the existing cabinets and a lot more expense/trouble than just painting it). So we decided early on that we’d once

Hosting A House Party: What The Heck We Learned

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Paneling = oy. Update tomorrow. But while we’re here… Can you believe that Clara’s b-day bash was the largest party (weighing in at 25 attendees) that we’ve thrown since our backyard wedding almost four years ago? How lame of us. And I know, it’s been over a month – enough already about the party. But since a lot of our posts are actually just notes to self (how else would we remember what color we painted our old bedroom?) we figured we better record what we lizz-earned now (or forever hold our peace forget it all). 1. Keep the focus on a few carefully selected rooms (and don’t put stuff for guests to peruse in

Office Crashing: Inspiration Everywhere

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The bleeping paneling is taking a wee bit longer than we expected. Le sigh. Hopefully we’ll have an update for you soon. In the meantime… Every once in a while a shop or office inspires us so much that we decide to crash it (just like we did when it came to this fun kids consignment shop). And we weaseled our way into this office space for Towne & Reese (a jewelry company named after two Charlotte ladies’ kids) thanks to a house crashing adventure from a few years back. You have to remember this one, right? Here are a few shots to jog your memory: And here’s a pic of the cute couple with

Fab Freebie: Meet George Jetson

Roomba-Giveaway

*** This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Random.org considered all of your over 7,300 entries and dubbed our one lucky winner as… Cristy (who like many of you, is in awe of her iPhone). Congrats! There are a lot of technologies these days that make me feel like we’re living in the age of The Jetsons. But one that I can barely wrap my head around is that average everyday people (like you) can own a robot that cleans your floors. Did I say own? I meant win. Because this week we’re giving away the iRobot Roomba 560, which does the dirty work at the touch of a button.

Removing Cabinets & Patching A Vinyl Floor Tile

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Sherry’s junk drawer switcheroo was actually just the beginning… the beginning of our kitchen makeover. At least the first phase of it. With our self-imposed six month waiting period running out earlier this month, we finally started putting some plans into action last week (we like to force ourselves to live with things for a while before doing anything drastic – you know, so we’re sure to remove/demo/open the right things after some thought). The plan: to do sort of a “Phase 1″ kitchen makeover where we work with as much of the existing kitchen as possible first (aka, keep the cabinets, the countertops, the vinyl floor, the paneling, the beams, etc). Then down the

Live From Our House, It’s Saturday Night

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Yup, it’s another random weekend post about stuff on tables (remember this one from a few weeks back?). I have a new mission in life: to keep our kitchen table clear of junk. Okay, maybe “mission in life” is a bit strong. This goal ranks far below real life missions like to be a good husband and father, put food on the table, and avoid aspartame (I’m mildly allergic). But just like my resolution last fall to make the bed everyday for a month, I recently decided I was fed up with how our kitchen table was increasingly becoming a not-so-temporary landing pad for shopping bags, unread mail, sewing supplies (notnaminganynamessherry) and other clutter. Meaning

Planting A Few Leyland Cypress Trees For Added Privacy

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Have we mentioned that our house has something lacking in the privacy department in certain areas? If not, consider this the first of several mentions. It’s nothing crazy, but coming from a home where we could practically strut around naked in the backyard (not that we did) to one where we can hardly go birthday suiting inside (not that we do) – let’s just say that we feel a bit exposed sometimes. Case in point – our lovely “alley” (first mentioned here) which is a straight shot to our neighbor’s back deck (see their umbrella in the distance?). The pic above is a bit old (from this post) and as you can see from the

A New Stroller, A Custom House Portrait, & Other Adventures

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Ah yes, the much awaited Father’s Day post. First off, thanks to all of those who wished me a Happy Father’s Day on Sunday. Here’s a belated one back to all my fellow man-parents out there. I had a wonderful weekend with my girls and my main man Burger. I learned from my own dad to think of celebrating these holidays not with things, but by doing things… together (like the trail run I took him on Sunday morning). That’s what fatherhood is all about, right? And this year Clara was old enough to participate in the weekend’s activities a bit more, which made it even more enjoyable. Not that she wasn’t fun to be

Move Your Junk – Some Major Junk Drawer Organization

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Sometimes one big drawer of junk isn’t nearly as easy to navigate as two smaller drawers full of half the junk each. So in that vein I decided to transfer all of the stuff out of our double-wide junk drawer, which has gotten increasingly “rowdy.” Especially in comparison to the obedient glasses, mugs, and vases in the upper cabinet: We have some completely empty smaller drawers on the other side of the kitchen near the office which should do the trick. We’re blessed to have more storage than we know what to do with in this kitchen – and putting this stuff near the office is so much easier since we use 99% of it

Weed Blocking Fabric & New Flowers For Our Mailbox

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Yeah, we’re those neighbors. You know, the ones who are so busy working on the inside of the house (slash baby-wrangling) that our yard is looking a little worse for wear. Check out the weed convention taking place under our mailbox: And hark, who is that sweet little guy peering out of the overgrown insanity? Why it’s a sweet iron squirrel left by the previous owners. And yes, I do love him and occasionally pet him. His name is Norman. So the first step of the whole mailbox makeover was clearly to weed. For the first time in half a year. Yup, other than this mom-assisted weeding event, we haven’t done it at all since

“That’s Richmond For Ya”

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First of all. This is Clara’s favorite video of the week (we find a dance song like Carmen Sandiego or this hand dance and boogie down). And yes, it does look like Burger’s brother from another mother doing some fancy footwork. So much so that the bean points to the screen and says “Burger!” the entire time while permasmiling. Adorbs (what, a guy can’t say adorbs?). Ok, moving on. Upon moving to Richmond 5 years ago, we quickly learned that “Oh, that’s Richmond for ya” is the appropriate reaction when one of those small world coincidences takes place. It’s meant to reference that despite being a fairly legit city, Richmond has a small town vibe

Making An Herb Garden In A Metal Tub

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Our (continued) indecision about where our vegetable and herb garden should permanently go at our new place means we missed the boat on planting anything this spring (check out our edible gardens of years past here and here). But in an attempt to grow something this year, we’ve come up with a temporary solution. And it involves this galvanized tub: We figured we’d just do a potted herb garden this year, with only a few “edible essentials” for our kitchen. Which is why we picked up a foursome of local and organically grown herbs (parsley, oregano, basil, and mint) at the farmer’s market this weekend for $12. Speaking of which, you can read more about

Fab Freebie: Tek For Dads

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***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** According to random.org, the winner this week is… Kat (who celebrated Father’s Day with cards, dinner for her husband and a called to her dad). Congrats! In honor of Father’s Day (yes, I realize it was yesterday, but why not keep the celebration alive?) we’re giving away – you guessed it – TOOLS. But these particular tools are Ryobi TEK4 tools, a series of ten cordless gadgets that look pretty darn sleek, are crazy durable, and run on a long-lasting 4V rechargeable battery. And come to think of it, ladies would look just as good slinging these guys (so they’re not just for

Twenty Yards O’ Fabric

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That’s how many yards I knew I’d need to make eight living room curtains. It generally breaks down to five yards of fabric per window (or sliding door) for two floor-length curtains that I can hang high and wide over each one. So five yards times four windows/sliders = eight panels (two for the big back window, two for each of the two sliding doors to the right as you face the window, and two for the sliding door to the left (that leads out onto this balcony to nowhere). So that’s where the whole 20 yards thing came from. And yeah for those who can’t picture it, that’s a lot of fabric (60 feet

Mood Board Making: A Neutral Living Room With Citrus Accents

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It feels like years since I made my last mood board (you can see over 125 of them here). What the heck is up with that? So I’m breaking the dry spell with this just-for-fun creation that I tossed together with some cheerful and sunny summer color. I wanted to pick some fun accessories that anyone with a neutral toned sofa and neutral colored walls could use as a springboard for pulling together a room with a warm, happy, and inviting vibe: 1. The color palette for the room is full of warm tones like sunny orange and yellow along with some rich dark wood tones, some basic neutrals like mocha and tan, and glossy

Patio Cha-Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

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Don’t get too excited. It’s not so much aesthetic progress, as it is functional progress. We got our old spray painted metal and glass coffee table from our first house‘s living room… … back from John’s parents (they used it when their house was on the market and then it accidentally got hidden away in storage). Then it dawned on us that although we didn’t have a spot for it inside, a ton of outdoor furniture is spray painted metal and glass (like the round table that the old owners left on our upper patio). So out to the patio it went. Is it perfect for the space? Nope. Is it great for resting my

How To Prep, Prime, And Paint A Brick Fireplace

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We’re back with the fireplace update that we mentioned in yesterday’s post about removing our old not-baby-safe wood stove. This next step is definitely just the beginning of our fireplace makeover (as in step two of probably fifteen). We figure we’ll tackle this baby in stages (just like we do pretty much everything else around here) so the first step was to spend as little as possible to get it looking better for the short-term (since it might be a while until Phase Two kicks in). So here’s what it looked like yesterday morning: And here’s what it looked like yesterday evening: I know, I know – the orange paneling makes it look craZy with

A Maple Miracle: How We Almost Killed But Then Saved Our Tree

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We were sneaky. Before we put our first house on the market we dug up a Japanese maple that we had planted in the back. We planted it right around the time we got married and it was an offshoot plant from a gorgeous maple that grew in John’s parents’ house (the only house he lived in for his entire childhood which has since been sold). So it was kind of double-meaningful with the whole “wedding tree” and “John’s childhood house” connection. That’s why before we sold the house we figured we should dig it up and put it in a bucket and move that bucket right along with us. But since we moved in

The Beginning Of A Fireplace Makeover: Removing A Woodstove Insert

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As of today we’ve lived in our house for six whole months. How crazy is that? Can you believe this little adventure was half a year ago? And in all that time we’ve never formally introduced you to Bart. How rude of us. Bart, aka Black Bart the woodstove insert, is hard to miss in our kitchen. We know the previous owners got a lot of use out of him (although they did warn us that he made the house pretty smoky and coated a lot of nearby surfaces with fine black dust). We’d always planned to replace him down the road when we hopefully convert our fireplace into a double fireplace (that can be

Fab Freebie: Guiding Site

MyDesignGuide-Giveaway

***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Thanks to random.org, our winner is… Kari (who gets lost even with the help of GPS). Congrats Kari! It goes without saying that we’re big fans of decorating and design help through the magic of the internet. So of course we’re psyched that one of you is gonna score some customized assistance from My Design Guide. They tap into a network of real interior designers to help you out with everything from quick fix mini-consults (which come free just by completing their StyleFinder quiz) to full blown 3-D renderings with paint color picks, furniture selections, and a shopping list (see a sample here).

House Crashing: Lantern Love (And Lots More)

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We’re back with another house crashing adventure from our recent road trip through Charlotte, North Carolina. You already caught a sneak peek of the amazing kitchen, so we’re back to fill in the blanks. And oh man, this family couldn’t have been sweeter if they were made of sugar. Seriously. And their completely transformed 60’s ranch couldn’t have been more charming. Even the outside had us at hello (you know we love a brick ranch). Since they tackled such an amazing makeover, we decided to toss in some before pictures to show you just how far Kristen, Stan, and their one year old son Davis have taken it (well, Davis was in the belly most