Registry Dos & D’ohs: What We Registered For (And Skipped)


Q: Hey guys!! I find that I often look to you all on things DIY related, but more often than not, on things life related. I would love to hear items in or around your house that you are so glad you own because it helps with the day to day. I really enjoyed reading about how you saved money with Clara (what items you skipped out on or decided to go back and buy) and how you saved money with your wedding. I am getting married next June and it would be super helpful to hear what things my fiance and I should register for (and what we shouldn’t). You guys are my favorite!

How To Build A Deck: Building The Base


“Can’t we just lay some decking already?!” That quote’s an homage to this kitchen post from last December about all of the little annoying prep steps we had to squeeze in before we could get down to painting cabinets – and I feel like we just hit the same stage in the deck project. Which means we’re making progress, but we’re impatient little DIYers. After getting all of the joists set in place we were soooo excited to finally lay down the decking… until I realized I had a bunch of nitty gritty details to take care of first. Womp womp. But not to worry, you’ll actually see decking going down at the end of

Fab Freebie: All That’s Fit To Print


***This giveaway is now closed – see who won below!*** And our random winner is… Robyn R (who’s in luck because her fantasy printer prints photos – which she says would save her so much money). Looks like your dream is about to come true, Robyn. Congrats! Having a wireless printer is one of our favorite tricks to keeping our office looking put together (well, if you ignore the messy stacks of paper on our desk). So we jumped at Epson’s offer to give away one of their most versatile new models – the $499 Epson Stylus Photo R2000. It’s built for creative types, not just because its 8-ink process shoots out glossy archival prints

Making Over An Old Egg Chair


I have officially hatched my evil egg chair plan (mwah-hah-hah). Sorry, couldn’t resist an ovum-related pun. Anyway the $30 thrift store can’t-believe-it’s-mine egg chair that I mentioned late last week got cleaned up, first with a nice liquid deglosser wipe down, and then with some spray primer + spray paint. About ten minutes after I snapped this grody before photo with the old cushion on it in our sunroom… … I had him out in the yard ready for a little somethin-somethin. Although the orangey-wood tone above doesn’t actually look bad in the picture, in person he just looked dated and a bit dilapidated (thanks to the caning that was missing on both sides of

Is There Such A Thing As House Foreshadowing?


It all started when I was going back through old posts looking for a link to something when I came across this old forgot-about-it mood board of yore. It was made about a month before we moved into our second house (back in 2010) and featured this board with the words “we have no idea what our future living room will actually look like, but today this is what I’m loving.” I thought it was pretty funny that 20 months later, after completely forgetting about making it, we have lots of gray and green going on, and even specifically have a big gray sectional, a green rug, and the exact same zebra pillows (scored about

Reader Redesign: Green With Envy


When we opened this reader email, our first thought was that someone had stolen photos of our guest bathroom and just adjusted the color to turn our yellow tiles green. Seriously, how similar are they (our yellow guest bathroom is here on our house tour page)? But it turns out Susanne was just lucky enough to have a real-life green-tiled bathroom of her very own. Here’s her letter. Hi John & Sherry! We just completed a total DIY renovation of our 1956 master bath. Prior to the renovation, the bathroom looked a lot like your yellow bathroom…. lovely green tile up to your eyeballs (well, your eyeballs when you’re 5’2″). Three different patterns of green

I Am The Egg Man


Ok, I’m not really an egg or a man. But I have been obsessed with egg chairs for at least a decade since seeing this hanging one in Domino magazine back in college and this guy from Marie Claire Maison (their French house-related magazine) who has also been in my desktop inspiration folder for at least five years. So as you can imagine, every time I’m in a thrift store I’m on the eternal egg chair hunt. I dream of hanging one in our sunroom next to the daybed for Clara (or me) to swing around in without killing ourselves. Not sure if we can handle it, but the universe has taken some safety measures

The Color Run And Some Powdered Art For The Hall


Feel free to file this under “a small house-related project that we did while enjoying a little – well it was actually pretty big – local event.” You already know Sherry and I are trying to embrace color more in this house, but this weekend I might have taken things a bit too far… That’s my “after” Instagram photo following a 5K race that my younger sister and I did this weekend called Color Me Rad. I’m not sure what maniacal genius came up with the concept, but it was awesome. Basically you and your white t-shirt run 3.1 miles while people periodically douse you in technicolor cornstarch. They’re being held all over the country

Window Shopping: Beachy Shops & Thrift Stores


Last week I promised a post about all the window shopping slash actual shopping that we did during our week at the beach with the fam. And that includes the two items we actually purchased: the whale sign for Clara’s room (made from wood, a five year anniversary material)… … and the thrift store basket that I’d love to turn into a hanging pendant somewhere in our house (more on those items here). But I owe you guys the rest of the eye candy that we perused, so here we go. As we mentioned, we stopped at the Ole Sale Barn in Maryland where we found the L-turned-7 in our office last Labor Day. And that’s

Getting Moody In The Bedroom


The deed is done! Rockport Gray is all up in this hizzy. We love how much more things like the extra thick crown molding and the trim around the doors and windows pops now that the color is deeper and more… sleepy? Can you describe a bedroom color that way? In love. It’s such a mutating color. Sometimes it looks lighter and grayer. And sometimes it looks moodier and more mocha. We think it looks especially good with our cheap-o Ikea curtains (Vivan panels for $9 a pop) and other crisp white things, like this old side table from our first house’s den and the white lamp shade on our floor lamp. So yeah, we

Fab Freebie: A Splash Of Color


*** This giveaway is now closed – see who won below!*** After quite a color-filled few days here on YHL, has selected our winner as… Daffodil (whose kitchen gets almost zero natural light, so she painted it a cheerful bright yellow). Congrats! And I think we have an idea of what color sink you might be choosing… Jonathan Adler has been a big inspiration to us lately, especially as we learn to embrace more color in this house than our first one. And as excited as we were by his new color-filled collaboration with Kohler, we were even MORE excited when Kohler agreed to give one of you a new kitchen sink and faucet

Slapping Up Some Swatches


Yup, we went for it. We slapped up two paint colors that we love (and already had on hand) in the master bedroom to see if darker walls (which is something John that has been campaigning for over the last few months) is the way to go. Remember when we poorly photoshopped it a while back? Except picture it more brown-gray, like a putty color (instead of blue-gray), since there are plenty of colors in the rug and the bedding already. We tried one of our favorite smoky gray colors (Gray Horse by Benjamin Moore) which is under the chair rail in the office and also tried the darker and moodier color that’s more of

Reader Redesign: Red Room


Okay, so maybe the red bathroom Melissa and Ian inherited with their house isn’t bad enough to deserve a nod to The Shining, but it was pretty killer on the eyes. Fortunately they remedied things with an awesome redo that they sent our way. Here’s their letter: Hi John and Sherry! We bought our second home up north in good ‘ole Canada in April of 2011 and started our DIY magic – or whatever you wanna call it ;) So far we’ve done 2 bathrooms, an office, a guest room, and our master bedroom and I still feel like we have tons to do (I’m sure you know the feeling). However, we’re really happy with how

An Ocean of Gratitude


**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but every month on sponsor shout out day we double up. So we’ll be back in a few hours with a bathroom-related before and after. It’s time for our monthly showing of thanks to our sponsors (the folks who help make the other 30+ posts happen). And since we’re still hanging on to the memory of our recent beach vacation, we pulled together items from each sponsor that reminded us of the sand, surf, and other sorts of summer fun (oh but we haven’t been gifted any of ‘em – here’s our no-swag policy). And as always, if you’re looking to save some cashola, don’t miss

Isn’t That Special?


Yes, that’s an SNL reference. But before I go any further I have to say thanks and I love you to you guys. Your kind words from this morning have literally lifted me up on a day that has been soggy and sad. You guys rock. Hard. Now onto a very important post that many of you have requested. Photos of what I put on our new craigslist buffet. I tried to pick a variety of items that are functional and special to us (hence the title of this post). So this is what the entryway looks like now: And just for fun, this is what it looked like when we laid eyes on our

Love & A Few Tears


Over the years of jabbering on about house stuff I occasionally get questions about my family. How many siblings I have, how I grew up, etc. I always say it was a somewhat un-traditional childhood… in the best possible way. I was raised by my mom and dad, who split up when I was very young (a few years after my younger brother Daniel was born) so we just had two houses and bounced happily between them. I remember when a kid at school once teased me for having divorced parents and I put the “I have two houses and you only have one and I get double the holiday presents” spin on it. Looking

Because Nicki Minaj Said So


Last week we spent a lot of time reciting the first line of her song Starships: “Let’s go to the beach, each, let’s go get away.” Why? Because we were at the beach, that’s why. Surprise! And since a bunch of you have asked what we did for our fifth anniversary (which happened to fall over our family beach vacation) we’re here to fill you in. You know we love sharing lovey dovey stuff and road-tripping stuff alike. Last week was our annual family vacation to Bethany Beach along the Delaware coast (where we go with a bunch of relatives to spend time together as one big group). And since this year’s beach week just

Our $230 Master Bathroom Upgrade


The ceiling hole is patched (see more on how I get that done here, complete with a ridiculous video of the process) – although admittedly the paint is probably still drying. But we’re ready to call this turkey done. For now. This is one of those makeovers that wasn’t a total gut job, but was a series of smaller tweaks that added up to something pretty darn noticeable. In fact going into this we thought this just might be a “for now” fix that we’ll eventually redo completely (all that beige tile was hard to get behind) but now that we’ve made these upgrades we’re surprised how much we like the room – especially since

How To Move A Ceiling Light To Center It


Ever since we updated the light fixture in our bathroom back in April, one thing has been bothering us: its proximity to the shower curtain. Okay, two things actually: its proximity to the shower curtain AND the fact that we didn’t have the energy to remedy the situation back in April (when we switched out the old light for a new one and did some slight drywall patching and painting- nothing nearly as involved as relocating the fixture box by a few feet). So now that we’ve spent three months building up the energy to shift that light into the right spot, once and for all, we were ready to get going. The process began

Fab Freebies: Them Bones


***This giveaways has reached it’s cap of 10,000 and is now closed – see who won below!*** Wow, you guys really have an appetite for great pieces! After less than 24 hours of giveaway madness, we have crowned our random winner as… joyfulcanary (whose favorite piece is a tie between her $30 thrift store China cabinet and her great grandmother’s Hoosier Cabinet). Congrats on your big win! You don’t typically think of chemistry students writing home design books, but then we learned one of Sherry’s brother’s old classmates at Columbia wrote “Good Bones, Great Pieces” with her mother. It’s a beautiful book about how to combine seven essential elements, er, pieces of furniture in any

How To Build A Deck: Adding The Joists


Alternate punny post title: Joist to the world. (I’ll pause while you golf clap) Good news! My dad made it back from my grandma’s house in West Virginia so operation double-up the girders and bolt them to the posts was able to commence with him at my side. As I started to tell my dad “Okay, you’re going to hold the board in place in the air while I drill pilot holes…” he cut me off and suggested we just put both girder boards on the ground, nail them together and that way they’d both rest on the notched posts – no air-hold required. Smart. I knew there was a reason I picked him as

Window Shopping: PB Outlet & Mary Jo’s


Woot, I finally got through the 200+ photos I took at two of my favorite on-the-road-to-Atlanta-and-back shopping stops: The Pottery Barn Outlet (in Gaffney, SC) and Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop (right outside of Charlotte, NC). So here are all the things I loved the most (and yes, I actually got something, which I’ll call out at the end of this post). So fasten your window shopping seat belts, we have a lot of ground to cover. First let’s start at the PB Outlet. Does the building beckon you in too, or is it just me? Since we had Clara and Burger with us for the Haven trip, John very selflessly offered to stay outside and

Reader Redesign: Boy Oh Boy


Sherry and I were totally charmed by this room that Anna made over for her two boys. Partially because we don’t have a son (well, we do have a furry one, but he doesn’t have his own room) – so it’s always fun to see decor for the other chromosome combo. And also because she squeezed lots of cool ideas and details in a room that could’ve easily been overlooked. So keep your eyes peeled for a chalkboard closet, a cozy desk space, and some stylish storage. Here’s Anna’s email: I just finished making over my two sons’ room and I wanted to share. Here’s what the room used to look like (on a messy

How To Build A Deck: Posts, Notches, & Frogs


With my deck holes dug and officially blessed by the county inspection office it was now time to – well – fill them in. There must be some irony in there somewhere, right? As I had done when setting my fence posts last year, I started off by putting a couple of inches of rocks in the bottom for drainage since the deck experts in our area unanimously recommended it under the concrete that we’ll be pouring to hold the posts in place (we dug the holes at least 21″ deep, so that by adding 2-3 inches of gravel at the bottom, they still met the 18″ required depth for our county). Imagine my surprise