Previous month:
September 2010
Next month:
November 2010

one less beige in my life!!


from this:

(boring ... bland ... blah ...)

to this:

sooooo much better.

the perrenials took a hit along the front of the house, but they'll grow back next year. house-wise, though? come on ... who wouldn't want to buy this?

RszIMG_9991   RszIMG_9997


and by that i mean, please god let someone buy this house. not so fast that we have to find an alternate place to stay in the interim, but fast enough that i'm not freaking out in july that the house hasn't sold and we'll have a double mortgage in september.



blog vs october. october wins.

ye olde blog has been neglected. 365/52 has been abandoned. even my camera, which i love as much as my right arm, has gathered dust.

october is here.

and for once ... marc hasn't traveled every week. it hasn't been too cold or too hot. we haven't been living and dying by the calendar.

we've ... enjoyed.

the first week was crazy, what with the house painting and me getting sick. but after that, things improved drastically. granted, we haven't had a free weekend yet, but that's okay.

emma krumbee's

harper's new kindergarten friend, ella, and her family invited us to join them on a trip to emma krumbee's, a highly commercial fun-filled popular orchard near our town. we've never been there before (we were scared off by the highly commercial, fun-filled promises), but it sounded like a fun outing. it actually was. the kids had a good time, and it was nice to get to know harper's new friend and her family better.



marc sold some old computers to a guy who lives in northern minnesota, so one saturday we packed up the kids and headed to duluth to meet up, deliver the computers, then spend a family day by lake superior.

the drive up was gorgeous - the trees were brilliantly colored, and as soon as we came over the hill just south of duluth, there was the lake: deep navy blue and sparkling.

we got waylaid by road construction and detours, though, and ended up taking a side trip into wisconsin ...

IMG_9745 IMG_9749

whereupon we immediately u-turned and headed back to minnesota, duluth, and the mcdonald's where we were meeting this guy ...

after a quick lunch on the harbor, we set out to walk across the famous lift bridge and spend some time wandering around the park.



(henry, using his dsi to take a picture of a seagull. harper, mocking henry.)

(family picture)

(eternally grateful i missed the huge-ass spider.)

then the kids chased seagulls, threw some rocks in the lake, and he left for the 2.5 hour jaunt home, made even more fun by a 40 min traffic jam heading out of duluth.

minnetonka orchard

this past weekend, my parents came up to visit for a couple of days. the weather was gorgeous, so we decided to head to one of our favorite orchards to get some pumpkins.

IMG_9897 IMG_9900

oh, and ...

another reason my parents were up? to give marc and i a date night. because we've been hitched for 14 years.

happy anniversary, mchotness!


and now, it's time to think halloween and marc's birthday and a super fun maternity shoot coming up. hope i'm not too rusty, and hope my photo mojo returns. but regardless, it's been a nice october so far.

sometimes being present in life and not rushing through it is a good thing.



compare and contrast

we went parade of homing again. granted, it was two weeks ago and i'm just now getting to it, but i've been a little busy. today? i started painting brick. i painted brick for three hours. i got about 1/8th of our brick done.

painting mortar sucks.

anyway, to pry myself away from a paintbrush for a little bit and get to something i've put off for two weeks seemed like a good idea.

the builder we plan to use has a parade home in the new neighborhood. i got a call from our rep, inviting us to come check it out. the parade house was built for a buyer so it is their aesthetic, but she said i might want to see some of their choices. she also recommended two others houses, and said one in particular sounds very similar to what i have in mind.

so two weeks ago we again loaded the kids in the car with their gameboys and headed out.

since we got to the neighborhood a little bit early to head to the house, we left the kids at the park and marc and i walked to the far cul-du-sac and back, keeping an eye on the playground and our happy kiddos the whole time. it was so quiet and breezy and peaceful ... it was nice to think of taking family walks out there. when we got back to the park, harper was playing with a little girl from down the street who was the same age, and as we talked to her dad i realized just how nice it will be for both kids to have friends in the neighborhood and kids with whom they can ride the bus to school. (one of henry's classmates just moved into the neighborhood as well.)

on the way to the parade home we grabbed the kids and headed over to our dirt. we waved at our former/future neighbor who was in the backyard talking to another neighbor who was building a raised bed garden. then marc took off down our side yard hill while harper and henry looked for dragonflies and woolly worms. (found both.)

(can you see the bits of lake down the hill?! i'm so excited about that!)

marc explored our yard and checked out the grading of the lot next to ours, then started the hike back up our side yard hill. that side yard is going to be crazy steep.

another fact about a yard that steep? makes our lot seem huge. and i can't wait to sled down it.

another thing i noticed while standing there? there is a crapload of brown in the neighborhood. the vast majority of the houses are some shade of brown or "dark and earthy." hope our white farmhouse/medium gray new england style considerations won't look too out of place. but i will make one declaration right now:

there will be no brown/beige in my house. none. every house we go through or see online tends to be full of wood and browns, which i know is a way to feel warm and cozy during the winter months, but i just can't do that. i need light. and color. our house will not be an oak-and-brown mcbuilder house. the tile in my bathrooms will not be mcbeige. the tile in my mudroom will not be mcbeige. the carpets on my floors will not be mckhaki. the wood on my trim and doors and floors and cupboards and stairway and fireplace will not be mcoak. it will not. no brown. no.

and no granite. hgtv has killed granite for me.

but i digress.

we rounded up the kiddos and walked over to the model house.

i have to say that every time i see a house by this builder, i feel so much better about our decision. the workmanship seems quality, and every house we've seen has been just enough different from the others to make me think that we truly will get the house we want. we won't be forced into a mcbox.

here's the kitchen:

the backsplash is truly yummy. there was a huge double fridge/freezer combo that i don't totally get, but i guess if you have lots of kids or like to cook eight-course meals every day, it's a good thing ... ?

one thing marc and i both loved: the floors and the sliding doors.

the floors were scraped something ... very dark and textural and pretty. i asked our rep if there was such a thing as scraped bamboo and - yay! there is! there are cons to scraped, so we'll have to think it over. but they were gorgeous floors. and the sliding doors ... see them by the dining table? they look like french doors but they slide. beautiful.

after we finished up at this house, we headed to a different suburb to see the next model. when marc and i pulled up we both gave a little gasp: it was so, so cute! then we realized: it looks almost exactly like the plan we went through last year and really liked.

i think the gray is a bit lighter than what we're considering, but the fact that marc and i both liked it shows me that we're on the right track with gray. (and ... wait ... didn't we just paint our house gray last week? oh yeah ... we did.)

walking in the door, i could immediately see why our rep wanted us to see it: the style is so very much in line with options i've discussed with her for our build.

the kitchen?

gorgeous. and look: carrera marble with white and gray granite and shiny nickle hardware and lighting. so pretty. (oh ... and there's that full-sized fridge/freezer thing again. am i the weird one who doesn't like that? all i can see is how much storage space it eats up.)

love the drawer/door hardware.

and the great room had great style ... love the fireplace/surround, though i'm not in love with the arch above it.

but it's pretty darn close to what's in my head, except i'd love to use 1x3 glass subway tiles as the surround, and have open shelves on both sides in lieu of a tv cabinet.

we went home that day feeling even more sure about our choices and options, and totally giddy about getting this show on the road. then four days later we went through a house from a builder about whom i'd been reading and really love their philosophy on space and resourcefulness, and this house made us momentarily doubt ourselves.

the reality smack that brought us back? this house was smaller than the one we'll build, and cost more than twice as much. granted, much of that price was the lot and where it's located, but dollars-per-square-foot was much higher. so even though style-wise it's practically the perfect house, we might have to find a way to bring elements of this house into the plan we've picked when it comes time to start building.

take a gander:

IMG_9563 IMG_9581

this stairway? this stairway is perfection. it's exactly what i want. is there a way to maneuver our floor plan to make ours like this? hmm ... and the styling here? minimal, industrial, yet with elements of cottage brought in with all the white ... it's exactly what i have in my notes for when we design: "industrial farmhouse." gorgeous.

that back splash? omg. gorgeous.

little baby hexes? omg. yum.


the kitchen?

stunning. though i learned something from the sink: it's a deep farmhouse-style single bowl sink, set in a quartz counter top, with about 4-5" of counter space in front of the sink. that won't work for me. by the time i lean over to get around that 4-5" barrier, then reach down into that deep sink to wash dishes, my back would be killing me. i think this solidifies my idea of an apron-front farmhouse sink, not too deep, with a gooseneck faucet. ease of use.

but one thing about this kitchen i loved so much that i've already made inquiries?

these pendant light. these. pendant. lights. omg. angels sang when i saw these.

speaking of lights ...

halloooo, gorgeous.

let's see ... what else ...

love this concept: instead of double full-sized windows, a horizontal row of smaller profile windows. lots of light, but added wall space for furniture.

and the master bathroom?


pretty pretty.

i'm glad we went through this house. it showed me and marc that we're on the same page about the style we're leaning toward, and what we're willing to put a bit more money into and what can be simplified. and really, all in all, the basic bones of each house - our plans/builder and this crazy-expensive, crazy-gorgeous one - are very similar. we can bring over some of the more sleek, contemporary elements, and bring in some green and vintage elements, and make our place something that we both will feel completely satisfied with in the end.

what i did last week.

well, okay: to be fair, it isn't what *i* did, per se, but it's what happened around here. i just took pictures.

back story: when we bought our house in '04, it was a bland, crappily-painted beige. a bland, crappily-painted beige ranch in the 'burbs ... i was so NOT excited about it. but over the past six years we've done many projects on the inside to make the house better. and now that selling is right around the corner, it became time to address that bland, crappyily-painted beige exterior.

i spent the past couple of weeks getting bids, then our realtor recommended a guy who works out of her office, he came out to give us a bid, i found him to be adorable reasonable and reputable and said, "you're hired. when can you start?"

the answer to that was "monday."

so on monday paul came out with his dad and brother and they got to work. and little by little, each day saw the bland, crappy beige give way to a beautiful, crisp gray ("intellectual gray" on the house, "porpoise" on the trim, both sherwin williams colors.).

IMG_9630 IMG_9638

(oh, and concurrently? i had a mother of a cold. also? we were supposed to get our wood floors buffed and polished, only to be told that there were wear marks too deep to buff and/or polish, so we opted to do a full-on refinishing. that was wednesday. our house has been chaos from the inside out for a week now. but the floors also look gorgeous, it was so worth the estimate tripling in price, and maybe later this week i can actually get the furniture moved back into the dining room and out of the sun room. maybe.)


the painting was a fun process to watch. i've always been a bit obsessed with paint chips and re-imagining rooms with a fresh color, so to paint a room or - hellooo - a whole house for real is kinda a thrill for me. harper had fun, too ... she was my front steps and back deck supervisor:

she liked to take her apples out and chat with whomever was painting there at the time.

by friday, the house looked amazing. so fresh and pretty and decidedly less bland and crappily painted!

we went from this:

to this:

even the underside of the sun room got a makeover:

(and yes, that was my last attempt to subtly slide in a photo of paul. eye candy for those of you who don't care about houses.)

i've picked out the front door color - the aqua on the right side of the middle paint chip. ("wythe blue" from benjamin moore, if you're playing along at home.)

this week? i'll get the door painted, get the brick painted, when marc gets back in town he'll hang the shutters and lights, i'll take more pix to show you, and then: ahhh!! pretty little ranch in the 'burbs!!