Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Room

I've been working in our guest room this week, trying to make it more livable. Last week it was just a bed in a white room, so I'm pretty happy with how things are progressing.

I finished painting the dresser that we got from Kevin's mom. I think it looks really pretty. We painted it white and picked up some brushed nickel pulls to put on it.  I wish I had taken a before picture, but hopefully you can imagine. It's a pretty big difference, from orangey oak to clean white. We are in the process of finishing painting a nightstand that is similar. I got the distressed white mirror from TJ Maxx on clearance and I will hang it above the dresser soon.

Then, I finally bought a chair that I have been thinking about for a while. A while back I saw this chair at HomeGoods and it reminded me of the vintage French upholstered chairs at Restoration Hardware, like this one. I love the French country style and to me this chair is so elegant and feminine. I think it has just the right amount of distressing, which gives it character. So, I brought home the chair at HomeGoods which cost less than half of the price of one at RH, lol. Plus the one I got seems to be a little wider and more like an arm chair than a dining chair.  Here are some pictures of it in the room. I love how the dark wood pulls out the dark color out of the curtains and the cream cushions coordinate well; plus it has white distressing which ties in nicely with the trim and furniture.

So, what do you think? Should I keep the chair or go for something different?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photo Updates!

So, yesterday I posted an epic post with no pictures :( Sorry! Today, I'll show you what I was talking about.  I took a few pictures last night so I can show you the progress. All of these things are kind of a work-in-progress rather than complete, but you'll see what I mean.

So first, the backyard...  We put a lot of pine straw down along the back border of fence and grass. It helps clean the area up and it is a huge improvement over what it was.  Sorry, there's not really a good before pic. And then there's a picture of what the rosemary bush looks like AFTER pruning and attacking it. It's still unruly and kind of ugly, but at least it's not as crazy as it was.  I haven't really figured out what to do with it. I have another normal sized rosemary plant that I use for cooking because this one is really woody, but it seams like it'd be a shame to cut down a 10+ year old gigantic rosemary bush.  So, it stays for now. And yes, we have really bad grass aka weeds/mint/raspberry... boo. We'll hopefully be tackling this in the fall or next spring.
the rosemary bush
We also re-did the stone walkway to the gate in the backyard. Here's a picture of what it looks like now. I think it's a big improvement!

On the front of the house, we trimmed the boxwood shrubs a ton, but you really can't tell, lol.  These things have grown a lot since the early spring, so they needed a trimming badly. We decided we're going to wait until later to really cut them down and try to get control of them. Eventually, I'd like to make them a lot shorter and one continuous hedge, rather than individual huge bushes.  Then, I could add some shorter plants in front of them to add some dimension to the front of the house. But, that's going to have to wait a while.

Back inside, I finished painting the guest room last night and hung the curtains. This room still has a long way to go, but here are some pictures.  The comforter/set on the bed is from the guest room in our last apartment. It will stay for now, but i think it might be too busy and overwhelm the curtains. I'll probably switch it out eventually for something a little more simple. But before then, I need to figure out a headboard and other decorations in the room.  In these pictures you can also see the dresser that we're redoing. We're updating a dresser and night stand by painting them white for some more contrast in this room. I love the way the wall color(SW Oyster Bay) looks against the white trim and furniture.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy, Busy Weekend

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We really had a busy one. We spent time with friends and family and did a lot of work at the house.

On Saturday morning, I weeded the back yard and trimmed back some of our unruly plants, the gigantic rosemary bush and lanky roses. I also planted three new knockout roses in the garden and placed path lights along our stone walkway.  I'm really excited about how everything looks, when the plants mature it will look really lush.  Then, Kevin and I went shopping in Raleigh for the afternoon. I've been so focused on decorating and doing stuff at the house, I haven't bought clothes for myself in a whiles. So, I used my birthday money and gift cards to get some cute new clothes. I also got a new case for my iPad 2, which I'm really enjoying.  It will be even better when I can use it on the wifi at home ;) ...we are finally getting cable and internet installed tomorrow!  Saturday night we went to dinner for Kelsey's surprise birthday party at Angus Barn. It was fun and delish as always!

Sunday morning I woke up early to paint a dresser that we're working on for the guest room. Then, we went to La Farm, our usual weekend breakfast place, lol. Afterwards, we went to church for our pastor's last Sunday.  He's moving to a new church at the coast next weekend. It was an emotional morning and afternoon for everyone.  He was the one who married us last year and we were sad to see him go.

On Sunday afternoon, we came home to a long list of things yet to be done.  We first stopped at Sherwin Williams to get paint for the guest room. We picked SW Oyster Bay. It's one shade darker than Comfort Gray and I think it kind of looks like a really pretty muted sage color.  More on this later.  Then, I went to Lowes to pick up a ton of things for the yard. I managed to pack 6 bags of mulch, 4 bags of dirt, 10 bales of pine straw, and a couple other random things in my car. The guy loading the pine straw didn't think it would all fit, but I managed to find a place for it all, lol.  While I was at Lowes, Kevin went to his mom's house to pick up some stone from a pathway she's changing around.  When we found out that her stone was very similar to what we already had on our stone walkway we decided to take some of her stone and beef up our walkway.

So, late Sunday afternoon we got to work putting down pinestraw in the back yard. Then we attacked the large boxwood shrubs in front of the house. They were huge and looked like they haven't been pruned in years... so we trimmed and cut them down. It took a long time and a lot of work to get them into shape.  Then we ripped up the old walkway in the back yard. We placed the new stones along the path and debated over placement for a while, it was like a 3D puzzle with really heavy pieces. With the stones in place, we had to excavate under them in some places to get a level-ish walkway and make room for the gate to open.  We filled the room between the stones with dirt and worked for a while to get everything how we liked it.  I'm really excited how this looks, I'll post pictures tomorrow hopefully! We're not done with the walkway yet, I'm hoping to plant some ground cover between the rocks, but that may have to wait a while until I find the right plant. We also placed new path lights on the front of the house. I think it really helps to make the front walk much more  inviting, the porch light just wasn't cutting it before.

Oh and finally, late Sunday night, I edged and painted most of the guest room. I need to go back with a roller and brush to finish it today, but it's almost done.  I got new curtains for this room on Saturday, they're this Waverly scroll print. Can't wait to put them up and see how they look with the rest of the room.

So yeah, it was a crazy busy weekend. But, we got so much done! I can't wait to post the pictures and more details of these projects. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Deck & Landscaping Progress

One of the things Kevin and I love most about our house is our backyard. The size is just right for us and Darcy and there's a great deck to entertain on.  When we first moved in, I knew it was going to be a big project, but I was so excited to be able to call it our own.  Here are some pictures of what the yard looked like in February and April of this year.
Feb. 2011
Feb. 2011

April 2011
April 2011
April 2011
April 2011
So, we needed to: stain the deck, work on landscaping around the edges of the yard, tame the weeds and 4 different types of grass growing in the yard, tackle the gigantic rosemary plant in the back, and oh yeah get rid of the mint and raspberry patch growing in the middle of the yard. We haven't done some of those things yet, but it's a work in progress.  I've been more focused on getting the deck and side landscaping done so we could entertain and have friends over. Especially since we're having a big 4th of July party soon! 

We stained the deck a dark brown/mahogany color. The stain makes the boards look so much better and it also protects them, it's really nice now that it's done. But, let me tell you, we took on that project thinking it would be really easy and could finish in one day.... not.  It took us a few days (and a few more gallons of stain than we thought) to get all of the boards, rails, spindles and outside, but it really makes a big difference.

So, with the deck stained, I focused on what we should do for patio furniture. I loved the look of some of the high end outdoor furniture sets that look like couches, but I didn't like the price or the fact that they don't really fit our space.  Since we don't have a covered patio or area that is really protected from the elements, I was really afraid to buy something that would just end up rusting or warping after it sits outside for a while.  The deck gets full sun almost all day long, so it's important that whatever's out there can handle it.  I mixed a black wrought iron table and similar chairs from Home Depot and Lowes for the dining space.  Then, I found a deep seating set in a very similar black wrought iron from Target and decided it was perfect! I ordered it online and was unsure about how the quality would be, but so far we really like it.  I also got these great navy outdoor pillows that are Imperial Trellis knockoffs from Target. They're really cute and so affordable.  I'm really excited with how well the pieces fit our space.  Here are some pictures...

Kevin's new grill
And, here are some more shots from our garden. I'm really enjoying using my DSLR camera to photograph all of the flowers and things in our yard. Some of these aren't the best pictures, but I'm getting better. 

We have a huge butterfly bush, I mean HUGE. It was cut back in the spring, but omg, it's exploded. I love it because it really attracts a lot of butterflies and they're so fun to watch. 

So, that's our "Back Yard Tour" for today. We have a lot of work to do in the actual grass and back of the lot, but that will come eventually. For now, I'm just excited to be able to sit on the deck and relax with all that we've done so far! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kitchen Reveal!

** Update, we've made more progress since this post! **

Our kitchen is finally (mostly) finished! We had the appliances installed last week and we were busy moving our furniture into the house this weekend.  The kitchen is pretty bare in these pictures, but we've since moved a lot of our things in and have a few more decorations out.  These after pictures were also taken late in the day, so it looks a little darker than it usually is, but during the day it is so bright and airy in the kitchen... we love it! We haven't done the backsplash yet, so that is our next big project.  Here are the pictures of the kitchen and details on everything we did. 




What we did:
- Painted Cabinets with CabinetCoat in Benjamin Moore Snowfall White according to these directions
- Granite countertops, 3cm Steel Gray from Absolute Stone
- New kitchen appliances, KitchenAid from hhgregg
- Crown molding added to top of cabinets
- New cabinet hardware, Home Depot
- Removed cabinet shelves and doors above fridge (for future wine lattice)
- Painted kitchen & living room walls Benjamin Moore Smoke

More Pictures:

It was a long and tedious process, but we are so thrilled with how everything turned out. We think it's a major improvement over where the kitchen was when we bought the house. Let me know if you have questions or comments! :) Hope you like it and it can be an inspiration to those of you who might be thinking about painting your cabinets!

If you're looking for the posts with all of the information and progress we made painting the cabinets, go here:

The Lettered Cottage

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Bobbi over at Shoestring Sophistication nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award last week! She has a wonderful blog with lots of amazing DIY projects and house decorating ideas. Definitely check out her blog!

For these awards, the blogger must:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award &
link back to their site in your original post.
2. Tell us seven things about yourself.
3. Pass along the award to five newly discovered bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know they got this award.

Seven Things about Myself... 
1. I just started the third year of graduate school Duke University. I'm getting my PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

2. I love interior decorating and event planning and I think these would be amazing jobs to have.

3. I really enjoy cooking and baking, but I need to get back into it. Life has been so busy recently that I haven't had as much time to try as many new things.

4. My husband and I met in high school chemistry class. We were even lab partners for a while. We didn't start dating until about a year after that.

5. We have a bichon frise named Darcy who is almost 2 years old. He is the sweetest dog in the world! :)

6. Pinterest is my new favorite place to search for ideas and projects in general.

7. I definitely have a Type A, perfectionist personality. It makes me very ambitious with projects, but it's just who I am. ;)

5 of my favorite and newly discovered bloggers:
According to Ashley

Thanks Bobbi! :)
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