house in the ‘burbs

inspiration overload

i worked from home yesterday (after dane’s 18 month check-up) and accomplished one amazing thing which is cleaning the hardwood floors. i stopped using swiffers a while back because i didn’t want to be putting chemicals on the floor that dane is now eating off of (not really but snacks, pacifiers, toys, etc are inevitably dropped and put right back in his mouth). so i googled an all-natural solution and got to cleaning with one part vegetable oil, one part white vinegar, and one part hot water. it worked great!
one of the reasons we were able to afford this house is because it was a short sale; sold “as-is” with some “tired” areas (as our realtor put it)… one of these areas was the flooring. we replaced the rugs, but the hardwood is still very knicked, scratched and marked-up. mike looked into getting them refinished. pretty expensive. so we’ve been living with them. after i scrubbed them yesterday, i looked around and thought.. they look good. or good enough anyway. we would be so stupid to put money into these floors while we have a dane monster driving trucks and tractors and pulling his little wooden chairs across them. o n e  d a y we will redo them. but not anytime soon. for now i am thankful for these tired floors that allowed us to buy this house that is now really feeling like home.
no i did not take a single photo of the clean floor, but here is the aforementioned monster in his natural habitat: 
otherwise, i am still wishing for more hours in the day to do more around the house. we are in the very early stages of a very major project, namely, refinishing the basement! i am reeling with ideas for this blank slate.

finally- just when this post couldn’t get any more random- here is a photo from allison’s wedding that i am currently obsessed with. it makes me so happy. i’m totally framing this for somewhere in the house. everyone is so happy. so free. so in the moment. pretty amazing cirlce of friends right here.

red sox this weekend. RED SOX!

hello yellow

in a few words…
new garden. needs some time to grow. dying shrub. needs to go (rhyming => delightfully unintentional).
old black door.

painted it.

old pot.

also painted.
a can of primer.

new yellow door.

playing in the ‘hood.

 love our ‘hood.

so does he.

in review:

you like?

also, dane ate dirt. he literally ate the soil.

front door painting plans

we have been spending a little time working on the curb-appeal of our house. we inherited, for the most part, a beautiful landscape. the brushy greens along the side of our front yard are so pretty and low maintenance.. but the front was a different story. mike went nuts one day and ripped out almost every overgrown, vegetative item along the front window.
so we hired a landscape company to put in some new stuff. its still looking a little sparse, but we are hoping when it fills in, it will be nice (i’ll have pics of the new gardening up next post).
in addition to the gardening, we thought we could give the old front-door-paint-job a try. i fell in love with this peacock/teal color. mike pointed out that its the same color as the brewster walls and i realized how predictable i am. i also realized this might look clashy with all the green out front…
so next i thought maybe yellow would brighten things up.
maybe not quite this bright… more of a mustard ish (?)
perhaps some Benjamin Moore’s Raincoat Yellow #2020-40 is in order? we will be hitting the paint store tomorrow, so i will keep you posted.
*disclaimer.. i typed this up over the weekend. the deed is done & i’ll get the pics up soon. i think i like it.
also – both door pics up there i got off of houzz which is pretty much the second best invention ever. right after pinterest.

severe eye sore to sweet silver circles

i’m not sure if you ever noticed this hideous track lighting in the kitchen…

awful. AW. FUL. one of the first things i mentally replaced when we moved in. it took me forever to actually do something about it because i was so indecisive about what pendants to replace it with. i finally ordered these silver circles pendants for just $99 each from shades of light (plus 10% off using the yhl discount code). they were back-ordered, so it was months before they were finally on our doorstep. happily, they came just in time to install before the birthday party.
oh and dane was adorable with the packaging. he was obsessed with the plastic stuff.

so our electrician came by and hung the two new pendants in place of the terrible track. it required two new holes in order to get them centered over the peninsula.

they are actually much bigger than i envisioned, but we absolutely love them.. maybe my favorite upgrade in this house to date.

check out the cool shadows they throw at night..

so much better. i’m glad we took our time with this… the right lighting can make a world of difference.

the march of the rhino

first things first: we have a walker. he’s not really walking, but he is consistently taking a few steps at a time with his arms out mummy/zombie style – completely, utterly adorable and exciting. dane is always standing and walking along couches, coffee tables, peoples legs… he is happiest on his feet these days.

but when he really wants to get from point a to point b, his preferred mode of transportation is definitely the speed-crawl.

and if you take your eye off of him for one second, he is eating or destroying something. but he is SO much fun.

this weekend, auntie liz and cousin riley are visiting – which was good motivation for us to attempt to straighten out the guest room and bathroom. they are in shambles. mike recently painted this bathroom. it was long overdue. we picked a happy, buttery yellow (which i’m not sure was the best choice, but i can live with it). so the vanity still needs to be hung, along with toilet paper holder, the curtain rod and new shower curtain… we even got a good evening nap out of dane, however the bathroom still looks exactly like this:
so we’ll revisit this bathroom as soon as its less painful to look at.
speaking of eyesores, the guest bedroom has been abused and abandoned.

so we used the precious hour nap to move a few things around, hang a few things on the wall, and make the bed. now it is much more welcoming for baby riley. (excuse the terrible photo quality – the wall is not a different color… there was a lot of “autocolor” and “fill light” happening with these night-time pictures).
i swung the dresser and tree around to the side wall. mostly to hide this:
and as you can see, our dear rhino friend has made his way upstairs. the rhino and dots just weren’t doing it for us in the tv room. i wish i could say they have been replaced with something awesome – but we’re still trying to figure out what to put above the couch..
there is a random hook in the middle of the windows, so i just couldnt help myself from hanging this letter f.

i also found these three photos of shakey in the closet that we had from our southie apartment. they are way too small for this big wall, but who wouldn’t want to wake up to pics of the cutest pup on earth? you’re welcome, liz.

so nothing ground-breaking here. just a long overdue clean-up. as mike put it – it actually looks like a room.

and we can’t wait for our visitors!

dining room: before & after-ish

after 6 months of slowly putting this room together piece by piece, i am more than ready to call it a day and focus on the million other things on our home improvement list.

in somewhat chronological order, here is what went into our dining room design. a recap if you will:

and without further ado:

i will reiterate that we are definitely not done done.. we have a hutch in the basement that we will some day refurbish and put in here. i will eventually find two armchairs for the ends of the table… but they have to be the most perfect chairs in the universe with lots of character… hopefully thrifted.. i’m not sure – i’m going to let them come to me. no rush.

then there is this wall that is begging for art (?) floating shelves (?). something.

but for now, thats it! moving on….

dining room: the home stretch

this will be the second to last post before i declare the dining room “done for now”!  the final project in this room was installing (applying? adhering?) these decorative molding panels.

we wanted to add some sort of texture below the chair rail. i considered wainscoting and board & batten, but decided on these panels because they seemed like they would be the easiest. and thankfully they were pretty easy.

lowes sells these pre-formed, polyurethane panels in a few sizes (fyi – home depot does not carry these… at least not the one in our neighborhood). 13 of these did the trick:

EverTrue 1-7/8’L Paint Grade Plastic Panel

Item #: 364065 |  Model #: P 1823 ETPLY


i literally didn’t do the math until just now. $169 (13 x $13) is way more than i would have told you we paid for these… we bought them in a few different trips (first we bought some of the smaller ones which we returned and bought a half dozen of these larger ones, then had to go back & get more)… regardless, the convenience of the pre-formed shapes and the impact they have on the room is definitely worth every penny.
once again, mike did all the heavy lifting while i entertained this little monkey.
including all the thinking which he is way better at than me…

once all the planning was done, the process was pretty straight-forward. all we needed was one weekend, some wood glue, painters tape, and a neighbor with lots of tools.
 (i.e. this nail gun that made it all possible):

first, mike measured and marked up the walls with pencil lines where each shape would go.
i was the taper. my one job was to tape the rectangle in place after mike covered the back with wood glue and held it to his marks. then he shot 8-10 nails in each one with his manly (borrowed) power-tool.

he did half saturday and half sunday. they add so much to the room. i’m totally loving them.

there are still some finishing touches needed – like a little spackle-type stuff to hide the nails and a little touch-up paint where some of the glue is showing (both only noticeable if you get up really close).

i will be back in my next post with some “final for now” dining room shots and my favorite – the before & afters!

tree of my people

i’m not over it yet. i’m still not ready to let go of my fake mini-tree.
this is happening:

yes, sunday dane and i made a run to the dollar store and two dollars later, decked the halls with balls of shamrocks. don’t let the surname fool you, we are irish.

{oh hey, look, its the wallpaper that is still patiently waiting to be hung…}


diy quatrefoil mirrors

why do i hate using the ‘diy’ acronym? it makes me feel corny – i don’t know..

these three narrow mirrors were given to us by mike’s parents when they moved. i knew i could find a place for them, so they have been sitting around since the spring.

now that the dining room is painted, it was time to pull them out, dress them up, and hang them on the big blank wall that is visible from the tv room. there was 2 feet of snow outside when we woke up yesterday, so we weren’t going anywhere!
mike had spray painted them last week. so my project was to add a quatrefoil decal to make them look a little more modern and interesting.

i made my own stencil by tracing 4 overlapping circles onto cardstock (using the lid of dane’s earths best formula canister – it was the perfect size!).

i traced the stencil with this oil based sharpie paint pen. i’ve never worked with this paint/pen/marker situation before, so i had no idea what to expect.

after a quick trace, i was left with some pretty messy edges –
but i was able to go along them and clean them up pretty easily with my finger wrapped in a paper towel & dipped in windex.

they were so quick and easy and turned out great (my kind of craft)!

and look good against the dark blue wall.

we hung them off-centered like this because we have an old hutch living in the basement that we will be refurbishing and putting on the other side of the wall hopefully in this lifetime.. its also nice to see the mirrors when you look through from the tv room & kitchen..

so i definitely recommend using a pen like this to add a little something to an old or new mirror. because it was easy to wipe off, it was easy to fix mistakes.. but that also means that the paint is definitely not permanent and the mirrors are not exactly wipeable (is this a word?). so how will i clean them? very carefully. for more staying power, you can use a stained glass paint like gallery glass instead (if i find these shapes are wiping off or fading, i’ll probably trace over them with white gallery glass paint). 
getting something on the wall was a big step toward finishing up this room! can you tell i am still experimenting with window treatments? ha..


a tale of two desks

i have the sunday night blues. the patriots won, the baby is sleeping like an angel, i barely left the house all weekend, but i am craving just one more day of down time – unadulterated, do what i want, baby, house work, bulldog, stay in my sweats, winter weekend family time… i think i am a full blown home-body.

weekend highlights:

dane’s 3 solids a day schedule is underway. much to my delight, he will eat almost any finger food i put in front of him. while he rejects pureed peas, he gobbles down real peas. finger foods have been a lot of fun.

peas, chicken, blueberries…

we learned to use the ergo backpack-style. he was into it for a little while, but didn’t fall asleep like i hoped. i had to keep handing him toys/objects to hold to stay entertained. we’ll definitely use this method when we’re out & about, but i think the wearing-baby-while-he-naps days are over. tear.
the big accomplishment of the weekend was the conversion of the eat-in-kitchen area to part eat-in-kitchen, part office…
our house doesn’t have an office, but it has tons of space in the kitchen. we figured this area could mult-task to create a home for our laptop… (we are considering getting a desktop. the ibook’s days are numbered).
when i first decided to go this route, i had my eyes on the west elm parsons desk. i even came darn close to ordering it at one point when they had a “bonus points when you use your west elm card” promotion running. thankfully i shopped around and found the micke desk at ikea that i like just as much, if not better, for a fraction of the price. a FRACTION. i mean, i know ikea is what it is and they can sell stuff for so cheap because its low quality and comes in 5000 pieces and was probably manufactured by 12 year old swedish kids working 90 hour weeks – but i can’t imagine that west elm quality is far superior and i’m sure its not exactly made in the USA…. 
here they are. west elm “parsons” $349 and ikea “micke” $69.
no brainer.

this area is a perfect example mixing high-end with low-end… ikea desk, pottery barn table, walmart chairs, etsy custom cushions, and homegoods rug. 

its 9:15… bed time. hoping this week’s project will be wallpapering the music room!