Welcome, fall!

The weather is definitely cooler here, and fall is in the air. I would love to be the person who decorates the whole house for the season, but to be honest I’m doing well to get my fall-themed wreath hung. :-) I picked this up a few years ago, and I like how the vibrant oranges look on our front door.

Welcome, fall!

Fall wreath

Welcome, fall!


Well hello there!

I haven’t blogged here in ages! I’m going to try to highlight a few of our projects that we’ve done, but mostly we haven’t really done much to our house recently. Here is the main reason why:


Caroline joined our family this past July. She was born in our home and is now almost 3 months old. How did that happen?? Time just flies.

We had to take updated pictures of our house for our homeowner’s insurance, so I thought I’d share here.

Our house

Side of the house

Back of the house

My sister-in-law is doing a 31 Projects in 31 Days Challenge for the month of October. I love the concept, but unfortunately this month isn’t going to work out. Between having events taking up our Saturdays and Paul’s work schedule preventing either of us from being productive during the week, I think 31 projects would just be too stressful.

However, I did make a list of 31 projects and I’ll see how many I get done this month, and I do hope to put them here. I should get two projects with each one – one to actually do the project, and one to update the blog. :-)


daydreaming about the bathroom

I spend a lot of time daydreaming about what I want to do with our house if I had unlimited funds. It gets me through the dry spell where we can’t really spend a lot of money redoing anything until we get our foundation fixed.

Barring an emergency, probably once we fix the foundation we’ll turn our sights to the bathroom and kitchen. The idea is that we’ll focus our efforts on things that are necessary to being able to sell the house. We don’t have plans to sell, but we want to not feel “stuck” if an opportunity came up. Also, with such a long to-do list, it helps us place priority on things. We’ll focus on the red flag items that came up during our home inspection, as well as taking care of smaller cosmetic details that will make a difference. For example, I want to put in all new baseboards throughout the house and perhaps crown molding as well. (Both of those things are waiting for the foundation repairs, of course.)

After the foundation, we’ll probably tackle the bathroom next since it will hopefully be a cheaper task than the kitchen. They say bathrooms and kitchens are very important when it comes to selling your house, which is why we’re putting them at a higher priority than other things. This might all change once we actually get there… I figure we’re still at LEAST 12-18 months away from the foundation (maybe longer), and then more time after that to save more money.

In the meantime, I’m daydreaming about what I want to do in the bathroom. I figure this is good for two reasons. One, it helps me get an idea of what I really want in there, and it will help us estimate our budget for the reno. As a bonus, it’s getting me through the boring stuff like foundation repairs!

If you can’t remember what our bathroom looks like, you can get a quick refresher here.

First of all, we plan to take down all the weird faux tile on the wall and the mirrors. We’re not sure what’s behind them, so we’ll be prepared to perhaps install drywall if needed. We also want to close off the door that goes from the master bedroom into the bathroom. We never use the door and if you’re in the master bedroom, you can hear EVERYTHING going on in the bathroom (which is not very private in my opinion). Also, there is valuable space in front of the door in both rooms that can be used for something else. Hopefully it won’t be a problem to cover the doorway with drywall… We’ll have to consult some professionals when the time comes. I hope to paint the walls something like a sage green or a grayish blue… It’s hard to describe what I have in my head, but most likely paint color will be chosen after everything else.

I don’t think we can do anything about the layout of the bathroom without incurring great expense, and it’s fairly functional as it is given the space restrictions. I’d like to go dark color wood for the vanity and other accents. We have space for a 30″ wide vanity, and here is what I currently have my eyes on (I might change my mind later):

I love the dark wood color, and I would want the matching mirror as well:

And above the toilet, I plan to put in matching cabinetry for odds and ends and perhaps some linens:

Here is another cabinet option. This one isn’t part of the set like the other ones, but I like the style of it:

I’d have to see it in person to know if the colors match well enough.

Storage space in our bathroom is an issue, so I thought about getting some sort of linen cabinet like this one:

Perhaps putting it where the door currently is? I’d have to measure the space. We do have a linen closet, but it is in the hall outside of the bathroom. I’d love something in the bathroom as well, if it doesn’t make things too crowded. Another option is built-in shelves, which is another possibility. I definitely want to have plenty of towel rods (we don’t have any for bath towels currently).

For hardware, I am in love with brushed nickel. I like smooth and simple lines – nothing too ornate or too geometric. I’d try to match the faucets with the same metal for the light above the vanity:

We’ll probably replace the bathtub as well, as it’s stained from the shower doors we had for years. We also need to replace the tile around the tub. We haven’t decided yet if we’ll do a tub surround or if we’ll try to re-tile it. Tile would look nicer, but also be more work. If we go with tile, we will probably pick a sandy color that will match the vanity top. I would have to see samples to figure out what would look best with the dark wood of the vanity, but I love the idea of something very light but not white. It looks beautiful in my head – hopefully it looks that way in person too. ;-)

Three other things we want to do to the bathroom: first, we need more lighting (it is very dark in the shower area), so we thought two recessed lights above the shower would be awesome. Also, we need a bathroom fan to help prevent mold growth. The attic is right above the bathroom so hopefully neither of those two things will be complicated. Another thing which I’m VERY excited about is putting an outlet in the bathroom – probably by the sink. I don’t blow dry my hair or use a curling iron or anything, but I really miss having a way to put a night light in the bathroom.

So what do you think of our plans? They might change in the next 2 years… I may end up with a completely different color for the vanity and the hardware style/color… Or this may be just a first step. I’d love your feedback.

(All items found on Home Depot’s website)


split-level houses

I found an interesting website last night called Split-Level Home Design Guide. It’s a bit wordy, but it has lots of ideas for fixing up split level houses to complement the architecture. I read the kitchen redesign with great interest, because I hope we can do that in the next few years.

I personally really like the split level look, but I do wish we had two full bathrooms and a bigger kitchen. I want to do more research into fixing up a kitchen that is only 10ftx14ft and has three doorways in it. I don’t think we’re going to have the budget to do any wall knocking down or moving doorways. (And to be honest, I think all the doorways are necessary – I can’t imagine cutting off access to the dining room from the kitchen, and it would be impractical to have to walk all the way around through the dining room to get to the den – I’m mostly thinking carrying laundry baskets down from upstairs!)

I’m going to be excited when we get this foundation taken care of so we can start on some of the fun projects!! But more on that later.


dirt under my fingernails

Well, I just came in from completing Day 4 of my challenge! I’ve done pretty well. Sunday, Paul and I both spent about an hour outside – he cleaning pine straw off the roof and cleaning out the gutters, and me picking up pinecones and sticks. Then I raked for about 45 minutes on Monday, and took yesterday off because it rained. Actually, the rain let up about mid-afternoon so I *technically* could have picked up pinecones at least (yes, we have that many!), but it was also rather chilly. Today I continued raking. All total, we put six 30 gallon bags of leaves out for the trash on Monday, and have collected seven more so far.

Certain areas of the yard look great, but overall it still needs a lot of help. :-) It feels good to see so many bags of leaves at the curb, knowing that my hard work is making a difference!


30 minute challenge

Okay, I am going to attempt a challenge for myself this week. We’ll see how this goes, as in the past I’m not very good at challenges. :-)

For the next 7 days (this upcoming week), I am going to spend 30 minutes a day outside, picking up pine cones, small branches, and raking leaves. (Yes we never really raked the leaves from last fall. I know, our yard looks terrible.)

Picking up pine cones and raking up pine needles is an endless job in our neighborhood, and I get bummed before I even start. I’m hoping that by breaking it into 30 minute increments, I’ll be less overwhelmed and the yard will look *that* much better.

The only exception is if it rains, which should just be Tuesday. Otherwise, I’ll be outside every day for at least 30 minutes. This counts as exercise, right? I’ll try to remember to take before and after pictures, in case there’s a noticeable difference. (I filled four 30 gallon bags of leaves this afternoon and you can hardly tell.)


magazine subscription

For my birthday, I gave myself a subscription to the magazine This Old House. I hope it gives me some ideas this upcoming year! I love flipping through magazines, too.

I got my first issue this week. It was fun to read, but I didn’t see anything that jumped out at me. I did see a few things that I’d like to save for future reference. I have heard of people keeping binders of clippings from magazines about home or craft projects… perhaps I should do the same? I have many, many old issues of Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens that would probably be more inspirational in a binder instead of complete issues sitting on the shelves.

Another project to add to my list… we’ll see. :-)