Tag Archives: House Projects

Spring Projects

Someone asked me recently if I’ve gotten the “nesting bug” yet. I don’t think I have, rather, I think I’m just in normal spring cleaning mode at this point. Each spring {and usually fall, too} Alex and I create a massive list of things to clean and projects to complete and this year is no different.

Over the last month or so we have completely re-designed and modified three of our four bedroom closets. It has allowed us to become better organized and store more of our things appropriately. This project has been a long time coming and has been paying off enormously.

{Guest room closet before was a total free-for-all with only one shelf - makes it kind of hard to stay organized!}

{Guest room closet before was a total free-for-all with only one shelf – makes it kind of hard to stay organized!}

{Shelves! Amazing concept!}

{Shelves! Amazing concept!}

{Now our guests can actually use the closet to hang their clothes if they want. It's so handy that the extra blankets are nicely displayed now. And hopefully after this weekend we'll get the outdoor cushions and pillows outdoors instead of in this closet.}

{Now our guests can actually use the closet to hang their clothes if they want. It’s so handy that the extra blankets are nicely displayed now. And hopefully after this weekend we’ll get the outdoor cushions and pillows outdoors instead of in this closet.}

{The office closet was probably the biggest transformation. I work from home and have a TON of work stuff in the closet - these cardboard shelves were great for storing educational resources, but they were falling apart and there was a vast need for better shelving.}

{The office closet was probably the biggest transformation. I work from home and have a TON of work stuff in the closet – these cardboard shelves were great for storing educational resources, but they were falling apart and there was a vast need for better shelving that didn’t bend and break.}

{We added 5 rows of shelves across the whole closet and this allowed us to use about 1/3 for personal storage and the rest for my work stuff.}

{We added 5 rows of shelves across the whole closet and this allowed us to use about 1/3 for personal storage and the rest for my work stuff.}

{Far from cute or beautiful, but definitely functional and more organized.}

{Far from cute or beautiful, but definitely functional and more organized.}

One of Alex’s recent projects has been the ceiling repair from the water damage we had from our bathroom leak. That’s been a learning experience for him, but he loves trying to fix things around the house first before just calling in someone to do it for us.

{Turns out the ceiling sagged so much because there was 28" between studs in the ceiling and the drywall in the ceiling was installed with nails instead of screws. Oops!}

{Turns out the ceiling sagged so much because there was a 28″ gap between studs in the ceiling and the drywall in the ceiling was installed with nails instead of screws. Oops!}

{Now we've got a flush ceiling and all it needs is some sanding before the texture and paint get applied.}

{Now we’ve got a flush ceiling and all it needs is some sanding before the texture and paint get applied.}

Last week I took on the project of cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. I got rid of quite a lot of stuff and installed some new shelf liners. It always feels SO good to scrub the kitchen spotless! And now we have more space to fill it with baby bottles and kid stuff… hurrah!

{Ahhh fresh and clean cabinets!}

{Ahhh fresh and clean cabinets!}

Our next big projects include:

  • Preparing for the painters to come this week – we’ve got to get rid of some furniture and do some moving of other furniture to get ready for the office and downstairs to be painted and transformed. After that is done, we’ll move the TV and stuff from the media room down to the office and start working on getting the nursery set up. I expect we’ll get some new furniture in the new space, perhaps this summer.
  • Getting the outside areas ready for spring! We need to clean off our chairs and tables and set out the pillows/cushions to get our outdoor seating spaces ready to sit in once the weather turns {next week!?!?!?!!!!!}.
  • Paint/stain the front and back steps – this is becoming an annual occurrence with all of the traction, claws/paws, and mud that gets brought up the front and back stairs.
  • The yard…. I’m not quite sure what this will entail, but certainly some crabgrass elimination at a minimum. At a maximum it will include the building of a new patio. We’ll see what reality looks like down the road…
{As much as Alex and I love our new closet, the biggest fan of it is Henry cat. We made a special space for him on the shelf after noticing he was interested in that spot when there was a box there.}

{As much as Alex and I love our new closet, the biggest fan of it is Henry cat. We made a special space for him on the shelf after noticing he was interested in that spot when there was a box there.}

Holiday Weekend at Home

It is so nice that Alex’s employer has added President’s Day to the list of company holidays. Those extra days off make such a difference. We had a thoroughly relaxing long weekend at home and enjoyed taking Monday off.

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Friday night we went out for dinner at none other than Bottlehouse. Prior to dinner, though I spent some time in the kitchen whipping up some salted caramel brownies. Alex is a MAJOR chocolate lover, whereas if I have chocolate it’s got to have something with it, like caramel or almonds or cherries… I am more into the fruity sweet desserts, so I thought this would be a nice Valentine-ish dessert we could both enjoy. The brownies sure were tasty, especially alongside the divine sea salt caramel gelato we happen to have in our freezer!

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Saturday morning started quite early. I woke up before the sun and enjoyed my one cup of coffee in Alex’s leather chair while he snoozed away. After a while he rolled out of bed and decided to take Jackson on a “stairs” run – there are all sorts of staircases in our neighborhood that are basically vertical {our part of the city is quite hilly!}, which provides the perfect ski training exercise. The run completely wore Jackson out for the remainder of the weekend and he was nearly a perfect dog!

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That, unfortunately, is where the good news stopped. Just after Alex got out of the shower after said run, he came downstairs and realized there was an enormous leak in the ceiling directly below our brand new bathroom. After hours of deliberation, counsel from my father, investigation and waiting it out, we found the leak and were able to make it stop, then today, a plumber came and fixed it for good. Now we have some ceiling repair to do, but I’m happy to have the full use of our bathroom again! {In the above photo, you can see the ceiling is sagging from the water build-up.}

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{Excuse the dark photo – I didn’t want to use a flash when the babies were being put down for bed!}

We got to spend the evening with these two babies and their parents, along with our friends Carrie and Patrick. It was a great to catch up with everyone!

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One of the elements of pregnancy that has been the most fun for me has been scouring the internet looking at all the adorably cute nursery furniture and furnishings and imagining what our baby’s nursery will look like. Sunday marked the day when we headed to Pottery Barn Kids and made some final decisions on things we wanted to see in person, like a crib, dresser and rocker. We made some great choices and I am excited to get started on our nursery in the coming weeks! {And no, we are not registered at PBK, despite the best efforts of the sales ladies at the store.}

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A big precursor to the nursery is doing a major closet overhaul in our house. Starting that process was on the docket for the weekend, so we spent some quality time cleaning out unnecessary stuff that had accumulated over time. After we were done de-cluttering we took some measurements and put together plans on how we will re-organize the closets. We’ll need to get new shelving for the closets in the guest room and office and make some minor changes in the shelving in our bedroom. Hopefully next weekend, if everything goes according to plan, our master closet and guest room closet will be finished!

20160215_193538244_iOSThe weather on Monday provided a perfect opportunity to get cozy in the living room and catch up on some reading. Until this weekend I was feeling like Alex and I hadn’t really done much to prepare for this little one’s arrival, but we both started reading our first parenting books {I’m reading “Bringing up Bebe” and he’s reading “The Happiest Baby on the Block”}. I’m looking forward to comparing the theories discussed in both books and figuring out what we think might work for us.

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{I absolutely adore my Glassybaby collection… the red one I got for myself, the white one is from my dad, and the pink one is my first Glassybaby and is from my friend Carrie. These are so fun to mix and match and change for the seasons, and I love that the glass is blown 3 blocks from our house!}

It wasn’t a hard transition back into the work week today, but boy was it nice to enjoy some time at home together and celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Living Room Overhaul

We’ve been busy re-decorating our house and remodeling our bathroom for the last two months or so and we’re so close to finishing. Our dining room and bedroom are pretty much done at this point and our bathroom is making great headway. I can’t resist posting photos of our living room, though. It’s probably 94% done but it’s the room with the most dramatic change and we are SO proud of it.

{This was what our living room looked like for the first year we lived here... no coffee table or anything!}

{This was what our living room looked like for the first year we lived here… no coffee table or anything! We did get a coffee table and a console table, but other than that our living room hadn’t gotten much attention until this fall.}

{This is how our mantle looked for at least four years.}

{This is how our mantle looked for at least four years.}

 

{Sorry it's so dark, but here is our new living room!}

{Sorry it’s so dark, but here is our new living room!}

{We're really excited about the new leather chairs, the funky side tables, the new rug and the awesome new lamp. We're so pleased that we were able to pull it all together!}

{We’re really excited about the new leather chairs, the funky side tables, the new rug and the awesome new lamp. We’re so pleased that we were able to pull it all together!}

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{We've even updated the mantle a bit.}

{We’ve even updated the mantle a bit.}

{Here's a close up - the framed photos are of Deer Valley, Jackson Hole and the Matterhorn, three places we've been to and love.}

{Here’s a close up – the framed photos are of Deer Valley, Jackson Hole and the Matterhorn, three places we’ve been to and love.}

Now we just need a fire in the fireplace and we’ll be set to enjoy our new room!

Bathroom Update 3.0

And then, just like that, we have tile!

{Our tile contractor, Misha, used such precision to lay out the tile in the shower. We continue to be amazed and impressed by how wonderful and thoughtful he is!}

{Our tile contractor, Misha, used such precision to lay out the tile in the shower. We continue to be amazed and impressed by how wonderful and thoughtful he is!}

{The shower floor without grout.}

{The shower floor without grout.}

{...and the shower floor is done and grouted! We ended up selecting a much lighter grout than we expected to based on how the different grouts look and the recommendation of the tile contractor to avoid something too dark.}

{…and the shower floor is done and grouted! We ended up selecting a much lighter grout than we expected to based on how the different grouts look and the recommendation of the tile contractor to avoid something too dark. Note: this photo was taken just after he spread the grout out, so he hadn’t washed off the grout from the tile surface, so it looks a little cloudy.}

{And now today we have tile on the floor too!}

{And now today we have tile on the floor too! I think the yellow levels should stay, no? Nice pop of color ;)}

{Much to our surprise, our vanity components arrived today, as well - all but the countertop. I can't WAIT to organize those amazing drawers!}

{Much to our surprise, our vanity components arrived today, as well – all but the countertop. I can’t WAIT to organize those amazing drawers!}

Bathroom Update 2.0

Our bathroom renovation is majorly underway! The prep and demo work is basically done and the actual tile work should start tomorrow. It’s amazing to see the progress since last week

{at the end of last week, our tile contractor had shimmed out the framing of the bathroom to ensure the walls would be flush and level. He also laid out the coils for the in-floor heating and poured cement to set the shower base.}

{At the end of last week, our tile contractor had shimmed out the framing of the bathroom to ensure the walls would be flush and level. He also laid out the coils for the in-floor heating and poured cement to set the shower base.}

{it was really fun to see what was behind the drywall! where our bathroom currently sits used to be the outside of the house. now there is another room on the other side.}

{It was really fun to see what was behind the drywall! where our bathroom currently sits used to be the outside of the house. now there is another room on the other side of most of it.}

{the new cement floor base is being poured!}

{The new cement floor base is being poured!}

{on Monday I had to make a trip to the slab "graveyard" and pick out a large-ish slab of marble to be used for the threshold into the bathroom, as well as the curb getting into the shower, the shelving in the built-in storage niches and the window sill. the contractor advised this so that all of those surfaces would be the same look, since marble can appear very different. It was an undertaking since all of the slabs in this photo were stacked up next to each other and they were not easy to handle.}

{On Monday I had to make a trip to the slab “graveyard” and pick out a large-ish slab of marble to be used for the threshold into the bathroom, as well as the curb getting into the shower, the shelving in the built-in storage niches and the window sill. The contractor advised this so that all of those surfaces would be the same look, since marble can appear very different. It was an undertaking since all of the slabs in this photo were stacked up next to each other and they were not easy to handle.}

{Here is the slab I picked out. it is placed next to the hexagon tile that will be on the floor. I'd say it's a good match!}

{Here is the slab I picked out. It is placed next to the hexagon tile that will be on the floor. I really like the contrast and think it’s a gorgeous piece of marble.}

{Over the weekend we painted some swatches of different colors we are deciding between. What's your favorite??}

{Over the weekend we painted some swatches of different colors we are deciding between. What’s your favorite??}

{Cement board is in on the walls and we are ready for tile... fingers crossed!}

{Cement board is in on the walls and we are ready for tile… fingers crossed!}

Bathroom Reno Update 1.0

We are a week into our bathroom reno and have only hit two snags. I’d call that a success! Demo went very smoothly and things are happening FAST!

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Our tile has arrived and it is patiently awaiting its installation. It’s hard to see it all in boxes and not get excited and want to lay it out on the subfloor to get an idea of what it will look like. I’m being pretty patient, I think, though. And supposedly our vanity has arrived in Seattle and we’ll receive it this week. I’m not holding my breath on that one because we still don’t have our new chairs for the living room…

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The snags we are faced with are simply due to the old age of our house and the numerous renovations the house has seen. The wall in the shower ended up basically being a wave from top to bottom. The crown in the 2x4s that are framing the shower walls is upside down, which means that the wall bows out the wrong way. To make up for the inconsistencies, the framing along the entire wall {inside and outside of the shower} must be shimmed up to be “plumb” {aka “level”} so that the drywall is even across the whole wall.

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Additionally, the floor has seen a number of renovations and it appears that with each renovation a chunk had been taken out of the subfloor and patched with a different thickness of plywood. The {original 100 year-old fir floor + patches} floor ultimately had to be cut out and they replaced it with plywood that is even and smooth throughout.

{we have floors! and a drain!}

{we have floors! and a drain!}

All of these “snags” were fairly expected, with the exception of the wall. It would have been a miracle to have gotten through this renovation without any surprises, so we were anticipating having to deal with some unexpected changes. Our tile contractors are absolutely fantastic and it turns out that our tile installer is a former carpenter and drywall contractor, so he is highly capable of fixing the wall and the floor. We are in good hands and things are coming along really nicely!

{you can see the difference of how much the "shimmed" wood sticks out from the drywall how un-level the wall is!}

{you can see the difference of how much the “shimmed” wood sticks out from the drywall how un-level the wall is!}

Bathroom Renovation Starts Today

When Alex and I bought our house in August 2010 we knew that our main bathroom had to go. Some people like how it looks but we not only detest its appearance, it simply doesn’t go with the look of our 100 year-old house and it lacks in functionality and quality. Now, five years later, I am about to swing a sledge hammer and begin the demo!

{These sinks are my least favorite part of our entire house. The faucet on the right cracked a few months after we moved in and we never fixed it because we knew we'd replace the whole thing, so we've literally had one non-functioning sink for FIVE years!}

{These sinks are my least favorite part of our entire house. The faucet on the right cracked a few months after we moved in and we never fixed it because we knew we’d replace the whole thing, so we’ve literally had one non-functioning sink for FIVE years!}

Our bathroom renovation starts today and we couldn’t be more excited. It will be a work in progress for about 5-6 weeks, as it’s a major overhaul – we are completely gutting the bathroom and starting over. We hired a local tile contractor who will be coming in for the first 3-4 weeks and handling the demo and working with a plumber before actually doing the tiling. After that wraps up, my brother, who is a contractor in Minnesota, will come out for a week or so and finish off the details, like installing the vanity, mirror and light fixtures, along with painting, doing some trim work and installing all of the plumbing and accompanying fixtures. He’ll have his work cut out for him!

{The layout of the new bathroom will be the same. We'll paint the walls a soft blue/gray to pick up some of the contrast from the Carrara marble, and our vanity will be white with a Carrara marble countertop. We are opting to reduce to one sink as a way to increase our counter space.}

{The layout of the new bathroom will be the same.  Our vanity will be white with a Carrara marble countertop. We’re opting to reduce to one sink as a way to increase our counter space. We’ll paint the walls a soft blue/gray to pick up some of the contrast from the Carrara.}

The goal in this project is to make the bathroom look like it fits with the rest of the house and make it more functional and an aesthetically beautiful space. We’ve certainly chosen some fancy extras, like heated floors, but mainly our choices were based on bringing the bathroom back about 100 years. I’ll try to post some “during” photos over the next month and a half to keep you updated.

{Our new tile will be 4x8" white subway tiles on the wall and 2" Carrara marble hexagon tiles on the floor. We'll be using a gray grout. I'm also pretty excited about our new toilet - it's really nice looking!}

{Our new tile will be 4×8″ white subway tiles on the wall and 2″ Carrara marble hexagon tiles on the floor. The tile guy will build out some custom shelving in the shower so we don’t have to have a rusty shower caddy as our storage option. We’ll be using a gray grout. I’m also pretty excited about our new toilet – it’s really nice looking!}

So far the process has been absolutely overwhelming in terms of the number of decisions we’ve had to make, but it’s been really, really fun to be able to finally make this happen. Alex and I enjoy doing projects like this together – it’s a lot to manage and keep up with, but we love to work together on improving our home. Now we just can’t wait to see what the finished product will be like!

Bedroom Re-Decorating

The next phase of our big re-decoration and renovation was our bedroom. Aside from the bathroom, this is the room in our house that has taken us a really long time to get to a more complete state. I wouldn’t quite call our bedroom “complete” but it’s getting close and we’re happy with how it looks now.

Here is the progression…

{BEFORE: right after we moved in - August 2010!}

{BEFORE: right after we moved in – August 2010!}

{BEFORE: this was taken in late 2013, so there were some improvements since then.}

{BEFORE: this was taken in late 2013, so there were some improvements since then.}

{BEFORE: this was also taken in late 2013 just after we got the rug, but before we got curtains.}

{BEFORE: this was also taken in late 2013 just after we got the rug, but before we got curtains.}

{BEFORE/AFTER -  new curtains! Still looks the same, minus the table in the corner.}

{BEFORE/AFTER – new curtains! Still looks the same, minus the table in the corner.}

{AFTER - I have learned I am not a photographer! It is really hard to nicely photograph rooms! Hopefully this looks halfway decent...}

{AFTER – I have learned I am not a photographer! It is really hard to nicely photograph rooms! Hopefully this looks halfway decent…}

{AFTER: our funky new nightstands which we LOVE. It is so nice to have more surface area and bigger drawers for storage. These nightstands help jazz up the room and we're loving the new lamps as well.}

{AFTER: our funky new nightstands which we LOVE. It is so nice to have more surface area and bigger drawers for storage. These nightstands help jazz up the room and we’re loving the new lamps as well.}

{AFTER: I wish I had a better "before" photo of this space because it's dramatically different, but my photo taking skills are not at their finest here. We got a new mirror which ties in with the nightstands. Who knew how handy it was to have a mirror in your bedroom!? Really, before we'd walk all the way into the bathroom to check ourselves out, so this is really handy!}

{AFTER: I wish I had a better “before” photo of this space because it’s dramatically different, but my photo taking skills are not at their finest here. We got a new mirror which ties in with the nightstands. Who knew how handy it was to have a mirror in your bedroom!? Really, before we’d walk all the way into the bathroom to check ourselves out, so this is really handy!}

{AFTER: another perspective.}

{AFTER: another perspective.}

Still to come in the bedroom:

  • A new bed for Jackson
  • Further styling on the dresser – proving to be a bit challenging
  • New duvet/bedding probably
  • More art?!

Dining Room Makeover

One of my favorite parts of this blog is when I am able to refer back to previous posts I have written and remember things I had completely forgotten about. It also motivates me to take more pictures, which then in turn jog my memory when I’m trying to figure out what to write about.

In today’s case, though, I wanted some “before” photos of what our dining room used to look like, and lo and behold, I had already used some in a previous post.

Before I share these photos, let me set the stage for you…… Five years ago, Alex and I bought our quaint, charming little Craftsman home. We were 24. I wouldn’t go as far as saying we were broke, but we sure didn’t have enough cash to completely furnish our house. Boy am I glad for that because we would be re-furnishing our house now if we had made those decisions at age 24. Our styles and design taste has changed and grown up a little bit since then.

While our house on its own has a ton of character, it never got to the polished/finished point we’ve dreamed about since moving in. Enter our five year anniversary with our house, which we celebrated last month: we decided to take the plunge and move forward with our goal of finishing the decorating projects that we have been planning for over the last few years. Because we’ve struggled with how to pull everything together we opted to take advantage of Pottery Barn’s free Design Services program where they essentially send one of their designers to your home and help you select furniture, accents and different pieces to complete your home decor.

We had such a fantastic experience with Laurie, our Pottery Barn Design Services designer from the Bellevue store, and I can’t wait for you to see the outcome! Our house has come a very long way in these last five years. We’ve done major changes in the living room, dining room and our bedroom, and our big bathroom renovation is kicking off late-October. I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to say it’s “finished” but it sure is close.

Without further adieu, here are some before and after photos of our dining room…

{BEFORE: right after we moved in - didn't have much to work with.}

{BEFORE: right after we moved in – didn’t have much to work with.}

{BEFORE - taken in August 2013}

{BEFORE – taken in August 2013}

{BEFORE - taken in August 2013}

{BEFORE – taken in August 2013 after mini makeover where we added a few decorative accessories and some new placemats and napkins}

{AFTER! We are loving our new chandelier, rug and tabletop accessories. Somewhere along the line we got cushions for the chairs, but that was a while ago.}

{AFTER! We are loving our new chandelier, rug and tabletop accessories. Somewhere along the line we got cushions for the chairs, but that was a while ago.}

Here are some photos of the process…

{Jackson checking out the rug!}

{Jackson checking out the rug!}

{the new chandelier literally had 240 tiny crystals that we had to hang - and that was after mounting the chandelier from the ceiling. I'm really surprised it only took us 3 hours to complete the project.}

{the new chandelier literally had 240 tiny crystals that we had to hang – and that was after mounting the chandelier from the ceiling. I’m really surprised it only took us 3 hours to complete the project.}

{tabletop options... this one was too cluttered...}

{tabletop options… this one was too cluttered…}

{closeup of the chandelier}

{closeup of the chandelier – our labor of love}

Next up… the bedroom!

 

A Fall-ish Weekend at Home

This last weekend sure felt like fall and Alex and I were thrilled to have spent it at home. There is a definite crispness in the air. I brought back the down comforter for our bed since the evenings are getting really chilly.  Alex and I have both pulled out our puffy vests and I got myself a new cozy scarf for the occasion. The leaves are just starting to turn, so my fingers are crossed that the next few weeks will be filled with glorious autumn color.

{selfie with my new plaid scarf!}

{selfie with my new plaid scarf!}

In keeping with the fall-theme, I have been making some of my favorite fall foods: pumpkin bread, pulled pork, chili and stuffed squash.

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{slow-cooker pulled pork is one of my all-time favorites!}

{slow-cooker pulled pork is one of my all-time favorites!}

{we decided to become Seahawks fans this year, so last night we hung out on the couch with full bowls of chili}

{we decided to become Seahawks fans this year, so last night we hung out on the couch with full bowls of chili}

During our relaxing weekend I had two jaunts through the arboretum – one was my first “fun run” since my half marathon last weekend, and the other was a really nice walk with my cousin, Chris, and his family.

{super adorable and unbelievably happy little family!}

{super adorable and unbelievably happy little family!}

{baby Henry is going on 6 months already!}

{baby Henry is going on 6 months already!}

{fun to do a side-by-side comparison of my first 5-mile training run two months ago against Saturday's 5-mile run. During my actual training, my 5-mile run was one of the hardest to complete. Once I pushed past it, it was smooth sailing}

{fun to do a side-by-side comparison of my first 5-mile training run two months ago against Saturday’s 5-mile run. During my actual training, my 5-mile run was one of the hardest to complete. Once I pushed past it, it was smooth sailing}

The last several weeks have been big decision weeks for our house. Alex and I are currently undergoing a major home decor renovation and in about a month from now we will be starting our bathroom remodel. Here are a couple of sneak peeks – more to come in early-October:

{Jackson claimed the new pillows on the sofa}

{Jackson claimed the new pillows on the sofa in the living room}

{Major reveal! New dining room rug and chandelier, as well as all new tabletop stuff: napkins, rings, place mats and candles}

{Major reveal! New dining room rug and chandelier, as well as all new tabletop stuff: napkins, rings, place mats and candles}

{tile decisions... stay tuned to see the finished product in November!}

{tile decisions… stay tuned to see the finished product in November!}

{my homemade spider repellent! here in Seattle we have freaking gigantic spiders and I don't care for them in my house. I think I've seen almost 10 in the last 2 weeks, so I'm done with that. here's hoping this repellent will keep the creepy crawlies creepy crawling outside!}

{my homemade spider repellent! here in Seattle we have freaking gigantic spiders and I don’t care for them in my house. I think I’ve seen almost 10 in the last 2 weeks, so I’m done with that. here’s hoping this repellent will keep the creepy crawlies creepy crawling outside!}

Life has finally settled down for us, and all is well. It was really nice to catch up on small projects around our house over the weekend and we’re looking forward to a relaxing, low-key fall and winter.