As some of you guys have already discovered, we had the great pleasure of having our house photographed for the latest issue of HGTV Magazine. Well, our last house (we’d probably bat someone away with a stick if they tried to snap pictures of our new place just yet). And since a bunch of you have been asking for the behind the scenes scoop, here it is. That day was such a blur that we weren’t even sure that we had any behind the scenes photos to share, but when we looked back in iPhoto, it turns out we remembered to snap a few photos. This is Clara the editor. She’s telling us what we

Installing White Faux Wood Window Blinds


Our house gets really nice sunlight – especially upstairs and especially in the afternoon when the sun hits the front of the house directly. We love it for everything from hanging out to taking photos. And Burger, well, he loves it for just about anything: napping, grooming, sniffing things, more napping. But the beams of sunlight streaming in also highlighted a shortcoming of this house: no window blinds. I think we took it for granted that the bedrooms in our last house came with nice white faux wood blinds, so it was kind of a shock the first night when we realized we had nothing for privacy or to keep the light from creeping in

Reader Redesign: Move Over Sister


Cindy had fun making a room for her daughter Sarah, but then plans changed and she had to make a quick adjustment. We loved that she made a mood board to keep herself on track, and hunted things that she loved until she found some great deals. Here’s her letter: Hello John & Sherry! I want to share the latest update in our home. In the beginning of the year we decided to let our kids have their own room. Around March of last year this room became our little girl’s bedroom… A couple months after finishing this room we found out we were expecting #3 and since our home is a three bedroom home

So, There’s A Big Tree That’s Way Too Close To The House


In the words of Cher… “If I could tuuuuuuuuurn back tiiiiiiiime. If I could fiiiiiiiiiind a waaaaaaaay. I’d plant this pretty oak tree not on top of the house.” No doubt it started out a lot smaller, but it grew, and with it grew the danger of it messing with our house. So when the home inspector crawled out from having assessed the roots and their proximity to the foundation, we were sad (but not surprised) to hear him say “this tree has got to go.” Even if we could somehow do a root-growth-suppression-rain-dance to get them to avoid the house’s foundation, we couldn’t deny that about 50% of the tree’s canopy was precariously suspended

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Plants


If you guys have read this old post, you already know half of this story. For the rest of you, here we go. Way back in 2007, right before we got married – and before we even started this blog – my parents gave us a tiny Japanese maple. It was a little 24″ offshoot that had started growing near the large maple in their backyard. We planted the tiny little thing in our backyard, said a few plant prayers for it, and it grew a smidge in the 3+ years it lived there… though we don’t really have any photographic evidence of it. Since it was meaningful to us – having some wedding significance

Fab Freebie: Uncommon Areas


What fun is a house without a little weird in it? For those homes lacking some quirk, uniqueness, or “points of interest” then this week’s $250 gift card to UncommonGoods may do the trick. Their site is well stocked with home decor, servingware, organizing accessories and even kids stuff that has a hint of fun injected into it. Personalized family pillow? Check. Cardboard side table? Check. Terrarium-slash-table-lamp? Yeah buddy. Once again, we’re using Rafflecopter, so you should see a box load under this paragraph (might take a second) and that’s where you can leave your entry. This week the prize ships to the United States. a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Using Hot Water To Strip Wallpaper


Send out the ravens! (yes, that’s a Game of Thrones reference). Wallpaper stripping has commenced. I was actually really excited to tackle the half bathroom’s wallpaper removal project, because I am a strange breed of human and that’s my idea of a good time. And since we have five rooms full of wallpaper (the foyer, the half bathroom, the kitchen, the dining room, and the master bathroom), I decided that I would try a different removal method for each one and report back with the pros/cons about each approach as I went, all in the hopes of sussing out which ones bite the big one and which ones seem to work the best. I’m telling

You Can’t Take It With You… Or Can You?


As exciting as it has been to move into this new house, it was certainly sad to say goodbye to our old house and leave behind all of the parts (and projects!) that we couldn’t take with us. The penny tile backsplash. The deck. The fireplace. Wait, scratch that last one. Let’s zoom in a bit closer on that little item sitting on the mantel. Well, what do we have here? That, my friends, is an amazing miniature replica of our fireplace. Miniature as in completely portable and yes-it-totally-came-with-us-to-the-new-house. It’s the creation of Lisa Harrold, a recent fine arts graduate in the UK who specializes in miniatures. She emailed us to say that as a

Ripping Up A Rug & Removing The Rug Pad & Tack Strips


We named the rug in the sunroom Stinky. We were feeling literal, and it was damp in the corners from moisture seeping into the sunroom from bad seals in the old sliders and some wood rot. The previous owners knew there was a moisture issue (along with a serious smell issue) in there, which definitely came into play when they set the low-enough-to-be-in-our-range listing price, so although this rug sounds like a curse, we actually consider it to be a blessing (heck, if we can take care of something that might turn off other buyers and it helps us afford a house that we LOVE, we’re all about it). So here’s how we got that

Reader Redesign: A Little Rug Inspiration


They say inspiration can come from anywhere and Sheena’s story definitely had us smiling. Here’s her letter: Hey John and Sherry (and Clara and Burger too!) I just wanted to write to thank you for some unintended inspiration you gave me recently. After reading about Clara’s dollhouse, I fell in love with the pattern on the fabric-sample-turned-rug in the tiny room and I just had to replicate it. So I did – with a plain rug, some foam insulation, paint, and a sponge brush. Think “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” in reverse and decor style!  :) I used a 3/4 inch thick piece of insulation styrofoam to make a stamp and stamped the design over

Updating Interior Doors By Installing New Doorknobs


Alternate post title: Come And Knob On Our Door. Don’t you love a good forced pun on a Wednesday morning? Ever since we shared a bunch of doorknob options last week (and ordered the ones we liked the most), we’ve been waiting for youuuuuu them so that our upstairs doors could finally have some closure. Literally, we couldn’t close any of the doors. So when the box landed on our porch, we got right on installing them. Like many DIY projects, adding the new knobs was a bit more complicated than we anticipated. The latch assembly was bigger than the existing holes in our doors, so I had to use a drill to carve them

Replacing An Old Furnace & Getting A New Roof


When we bought our house, there were two big issues we knew that we needed to deal with right away: the ancient furnace for the first floor was so poorly maintained we weren’t sure it would run the 32 year old roof was at the end of it’s life and there was a hole in it (it was actively leaking into the attic every time it rained) Thankfully we knew about both of these issues when we bid on the house, and we were able to negotiate thousands of dollars back at closing to go towards those updates (since a new roof and a new furnace are hardly cheap fixes). Then it was just a

Fab Freebie: Fix It


Happy (ever so slightly belated) Father’s Day everyone! To honor all those guys (and gals) out there who have that intrinsic need to fix things, we’re giving away some tools this week. And they’re coming from some folks who know a thing or two about fixing stuff: They’re a great resources for the parts, materials, and even the how-to when it comes to repairing your tools. So this week’s winner will get their choice of two of these three DeWALT tools: a circular saw, a jigsaw or a hammer drill.  That’s over $300 worth of DIY bounty! And since last week’s debut of Rafflecopter was so well received (thanks guys! It saved us just

How To Remove An Old Sliding Shower Door


Don’t eat while you read this. Seriously, don’t. This is the story of removing the sliding shower doors in our master bathroom. It was one of those can’t-do-this-soon-enough tasks that was at the top of our list. Not only did they enclose the tub in a way that a soft white fabric curtain wouldn’t, they had seen better days. So there were lines of rust around them… … and pretty impressive amounts of caulk that seemed to be holding them together. Plus their height was oddly low, so John hit his head (not once but twice) while climbing in. Fool him once, shame on the shower doors – fool him twice, shame on John. Here’s

A Little Office Organization (& Sorting Books By Color)


Our office looked like this when we first laid eyes on the house. Then it looked like this on moving day.  And here’s what it looks like about a week and a half into living here. On one hand, it doesn’t look THAT crazy. I mean there could be a llama standing in the middle of the rug eating popcorn. But on the other hand, this room has a LONG way to go before it’s functional for two working adults (yup, we currently only have one desk going on). And the whole all-furniture-against-the-wall-with-a-little-round-rug-in-the-middle thing is a little weird. As for what we’re envisioning down the line, we’d love to have some sort of double desk

Twelve Time-Consuming Tasks When Installing Hardwoods


After excitedly declaring “the hardwood floors are done!” just in time to move in, we got a bunch of requests for a follow up post with details about the “tricky stuff” like how we handled transitions, cutting boards shorter, cutting them thinner, how we addressed the top of the stairs, and how long it all took. So let’s dive back into floor world for a second. The entire floor-laying process took us about 6 days from the placing of the first board to the nailing of the final strip of quarter round. Sherry was able to help me for some of those days, but other days were just me myself and I while Sherry was

New Pad, Still Glad


Amidst all the moving madness, we’re still taking our once-a-month pause to show how grateful we are to the sponsors who help make all of our other posts possible. So feel free to check out some things that caught our eye this month, and peruse our usual round-up of discounts at the bottom of the post: Fun finds on discount site, like this Bongo side table / basket storage. Royal Design Studio‘s new Khanjali Ikat stencil. You know we love a good ikat… Boutique decal collections at WallQuotes, like their selection of monograms. Shades of Light‘s summery striped rugs like this large scale aqua chevron. Lots of stuff in the Bright & Bold sale

The Thrill Of The Hunt


Since we shared our house wish list back in the fall of 2010, we wanted to document what was on the list now (I just found it scrunched up in a vase that was sitting on the bedroom floor, naturally). It’s actually the same list  – we just scribbled things out as they changed and added new things as time passed (even when we weren’t house hunting, if we thought of something for our “someday house” we jotted it down whenever we came across the list). Not surprisingly, many things were the same – although it does seem that after 7 years of home-ownership our nice-to-have list grew a lot (I guess since we keep

Fourteen New Interior Door Knob Options


Right before we installed the hardwood floors upstairs, we mentioned how we sprayed all of the blue trim and doors upstairs here… … but they’re now naked when it comes to knobs. We’re no strangers to ORBing things like we did here, but a lot of the doors here were rusted and pitted and some were even jammed/didn’t turn/didn’t lock. So in this case, it really makes sense for us to replace them with something befitting of our freshly painted six panel doors. On one hand, it was a bummer to have to shell out loot for new knobs, but on the other hand the doors are in awesome shape and look like new with

Fab Freebie: Office Space


UPDATE: We’ve selected a winner below (Congrats Bridget!) but we also wanted to share that Kacy has another prize for everyone – a $5 coupon code (5OFFYHL)to use towards a purchase of The Inspired Office Poster. Enjoy! Moving is just about the antithesis of feeling organized. Which is why we’ve lined up this giveaway from Kacy at The Inspired Office. She’s a professional organizer who specializes in turning your space into a functional, productive, and (dare we say it) pretty place as part of her virtual video consultation called The Blueprint. And speaking of pretty, she has taken nuggets of organizing wisdom from over 12 years of doing this and put them on a stylin’

Honey I Shrunk The Sofa


So… the living room. First it looked like this: Then it looked like this: Then it looked like this: And now it looks like this: Although the salmon pink walls, orange-brown bricks, and all of that dark wood trim & paneling is a far cry from our vision for this room down the line (we keep changing our minds, but today we’re dreaming of something like this for the brick, coffered ceilings like this, and this for the paneling someday) it definitely feels a lot homier already. You know, with a couch to sit on instead of a pile of non-sit-on-able furniture. Oh and we shared this picture on Instagram/FB a few nights back, but



We love being able to look back at the empty photos of our first house, because while they’re definitely bittersweet, it’s so much fun to reminisce. They’re a great reminder that a house is only a house, and it’s the moments that you’ve shared with the people (and the chihuahuas) that you love that really make it a home. So we wasted no time snapping empty photos of our second house. And although I thought “without furniture all these rooms will pretty much look the same” the funny thing is that none of them do. So it’s nice to know that we left our mark on this sweet home of ours. Here’s the dining room/office

Other Houses We Looked At Before Buying Our New One


Back when we were house hunting in 2010 we shared a series of posts that each profiled a different house that we looked at (you can see them here, here, here, here, and here). And even though our hunt is over this time around, we wanted to revisit 9 other houses that we casually toured (many of them just on Open House days) before we met The One. So we had fun driving around snapping pictures for you and reminiscing (“That was the one with the phone in the bathroom!” “That was the one with the family of deer in the backyard!”). The Lake House: The first house was very modest in size and located

Growing Grass & Building A Patio, Pergola, And Deck


In honor of moving week, we’re going to share a post full of empty house pics (and a list of what stayed with the house) in a day or two, but we also wanted to take a look back at our exterior progress one last time. We’ve done outdoor video tours in both 2011 and 2012, so this video that we shot a few weeks back (right before we started packing) makes it our third and final installment. *Before you press play, I’m intensely awkward when I’m the one holding the camera and talking, so be warned that I hit on the deck. And it doesn’t respond. Now that we have that out of the