2020 game plan

it's january, in all of its first-page-of-a-new-notebook, fresh-blanket-of-snow, we-haven't-screwed-it-up-yet glory. we've recovered from a marathon three weeks of my husband's pto and the holidays and a quick visit from family. kids are back at school, christmas decorations are put away, shelves are freshly dusted, and it's now time to start the new calendar and to do lists for the coming year.

i'm resolving/intending/going to try to be better about sharing our projects. if i had staff or house cleaners or someone other than me trying to keep every ball in the air, it might be easier to bring a project to completion, clean, and photograph it. instead, i get 85% of the way there, realize i need to catch up on everything i neglected while doing the project, decide i can finish the details later, then we have to live in the space so it gets messed up, then there's never again time to brush off the last crumbs and make it look photo-worthy in the small window of time available between Doing The Work and Family Re-Invading.

like harper's room. remember when i finally got around to redoing that? (two and a half years ago.) i never shared pictures because of one unfinished thing: hemming the curtains. since then, things in the room have changed here and there, my daughter is ... not neat ... so it's never clean enough to photograph, and i gave up. but this year, i'm gonna deal with those curtains and show you the final project because it turned out pretty cute.

 

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and then there's my craft room. i teased it back in april, actually got it mostly done right away, but then dragged my feet on putting away the final stack of stuff that i really didn't know where to put ... so the room has never been officially finished. another build up and then ignore.

 

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and last summer, a whole patio situation happened.

 

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and nothing about it at all.

and this! what is this?

 

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i have so much to share.

up until this house, our MO was to move every seven years. we are now in the ninth year in the home we built, the home which we swore would be long-term ... and we're getting the itch. so instead of scratching the itch by moving, we'll scratch by doing some big-ish projects that either bring the vision we had back in 2011 more into focus, or update a room for our 2020 needs. in the spirit of that and january, and in the hopes that putting it in writing will keep us accountable, here is our punch list of 2020 house plans:

 

finishing touches

we have one or two things left on the list to cross off before these project can be declared DONE (until we get itchy again): marc's office, my craft room, the mudroom (need to hang some art), harper's room (hem those curtains, hang her high school swim team photos), our bedroom (curtains in 2020!).

 

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slighty more than minor tweaks:

tv room: this room will get an unintentional little update. we sold the keyboard (after harper got fired for the second time by a piano teacher, we realized the keyboard was neither useful nor beautiful), so now there is an empty corner in the tv room. i'm pretty sure i know what to do with it, but it will require a piece of furniture bought, another piece to be built ... which will likely cause us to re-paint the room, and there's a solid chance i'll choose to replace the rug, too.

storage: cleaning everything out of at least three closets this year and installing intentional storage solutions. and then putting nothing back in that we don't absolutely need to keep.

 

major-ish projects:

kids' bathroom: not a full-on reno, but we need to replace the sink, and that will trickle across the room to new fixtures in the shower. maybe more bead board while we're at it? and i'd love to have a light tube or two installed ... anyone have experience with those? do they really let in good natural light?

main bathroom: this bathroom has been on my hit list for awhile. like, for five years. i longed for the parakeet wallpaper for so long, before my husband gave me a not so subtle, "i'd rather you didn't." i've finally found a wallpaper he can get on board with, and we plan to replace the counter top, sink, lights ... mirror and faucet and shower fixtures are not ruled out. unfortunately, this project gets kicked down the road every time an unexpected expense pops up. (hello, trump tax bill, with cost us about as much as henry's college tuition this year. first time we've owed EVER. f*cking trump. but i digress ... )

 

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guest room: this project is the lowest priority, but i want it in the realm of possibility just in case. we really haven't done anything with either guest room since moving in, other than switch up the bedding on occasion. i would very much like to finish the basement guest room this year. ideas are always percolating. just need to make one stick and run with it.

 

and that's it. our big 2020 to do list. we're motivated, and are excited to feel like we have really moved in and made this home everything we always meant it to be.


if you give a husband PTO days

you've heard of if you give a mouse a cookie, i'm sure. it's a classic cautionary tale: one cookie, and things spiral.

well, i've written a new version, based entirely on actual events.

 

IF YOU GIVE A HUSBAND PTO DAYS

 

if you give a husband pto days a week before christmas, he's going to decide to rearrange his office.

 

if he decides to rearrange his office, all of the contents of the office will come out of the room and go all over your basement.

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if everything comes out of the office and goes all over the basement, the husband will then decide to dismantle his desk, shelves, lights, etc.

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if he decides to dismantle everything, the room will be empty.

 

if the room is empty, he will see how dirty the carpet is.

 

if he sees how dirty the carpet is, he will call zerorez and schedule them to come the next day to clean the carpet.

 

if they come the next day to clean the carpet, they're going to have to clean something else too, because they won't clean just one room.

 

if they won't clean just one room, now you have to drop everything to clear out and clean three bathrooms so zerorez can clean the grout.

 

if they clean the grout, you might as well re-seal all the grout, because now it's clean.

 

if you have to re-seal all the grout, you might as well re-color the grout in two bathrooms, because the white grout has bugged the shit out of you for eight years.

 

if you have to re-color the grout, you have to wait three days for dove gray to be back in stock.

 

if you have to wait three days, you won't be twiddling your thumbs, because remember that office? it needs to be painted ASAP, and you're the person who does the painting.

 

if you're the person who does the painting, you spend the next two days prepping, priming, painting, AND painting an accent wall, just to add a challenge.

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if you do all the painting, your husband will run to ikea twice and build new cabinets and paint all of the legs of his desk and wrap all four desktops with carbon fiber because, geek.

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if he does all that building, he can then use his remaining PTO to put the office back together.

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if he puts his office back together, you will decide the heck with waiting three days for dove gray, you make the executive decision to use black because it's in stock, and you spend the rest of the week lying on bathroom floors, re-coloring and scrubbing grout, and cursing your lot in life as The Person Who Does This.

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if you're that person, and your husband is on PTO, and christmas is now only days away, and your first born is coming home this very night for winter break, you might as well paint the mudroom and replace the light while you're at it, because you are insane.

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and if you're insane, you might just start to drop paint brushes and paint rollers and fall off the ladder because your hands no longer grip after seven days of holding a paint brush.

and you'll start to rue the day your husband decided to take the week before christmas as pto.


a new project | the craft room(s)

after nearly eight years of sharing an art room with my brilliantly talented daughter, we are both moving into our own spaces. actually, it's more of a "purge, clean, retrofit, and consciously uncouple" from the original craft room.

 

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(OMG how cute and little was she seven and a half years ago??)

when we moved in, we arranged the craft room into a space where harp and i could both work. i had grand notions of quiet days spent creating together. but like much of motherhood, the reality doesn't exactly match the daydream. harper is a bit of a slob (and by "bit" i mean omg so much slobbing!), and her part of the craft room is mainly drawers and bins of crafts she has abandoned over the years. there are also remains of the last few projects she's started, then ignored, then pushed out of the way on her desktop, creating sedimentary layers of ideas with which she became bored then moved on. the floor under her desk is a minefield of perler beads and bits of fabric and the occasional earring wire.

the solution seemed obvious: the loft space upstairs. initially, the space was for both kids' computer desks. now that henry is out of the house nine months of the year, it makes more sense for his computer to be in his room, which frees up the loft for harper's art takeover.

she is fine-tuning her interests toward graphic art and pencil sketching, and has big plans to try her hand at doll makeovers, with some latent interest in felting and clay. she needs more desktop space and access to her computer in her art space. what she doesn't need are all the drawers for all the craft supplies she's collected over the years. time for the outgrown media to find a new home, and to streamline her space into the things she loves and wants to do.

 

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this weekend i'm going to give the walls of the loft a fresh coat of paint, then we'll get intentional storage installed on the wall and make her area perfectly suited to her needs.

which frees up the current craft room for me to stretch out my arms and embrace as my own space.

and ... just for a sec ... my. own. space. the kids each have their own room. marc has his office (and, inadvertently, the entire basement). but i've always shared space. and now? i get a whole room just for me. things will stay where i put them. i don't have to work around someone else's space and needs. it will be my own. and i can't wait.

once harper's stuff is moved out, the remaining components will be reconfigured. we're planning to work around existing shelves because we're lazy and don't want to fill holes and repaint and re-level and re-drill, but the layout of the moveable parts will change.

the existing ikea alex drawers will remain, and will provide the foundation for the entire back wall of the room. however, that is all that will remain the same. here's where the rest of the room will go:

 

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currently, there is an 8x10 red rag rug in the space that was recycled from its life in the sun room of our last house. it's been fine, but the red isn't my favorite. it has worked this long because of the red vintage metal gym locker with wire baskets that's in the room, but that's getting a coat of olive green paint. so the red rug goes. in its place will be these tiles from flor, in the colorway "smoke."

 

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three boxes of these tiles have been sitting in my garage for three weeks. it's time for them to see the light of day.

also taking up real estate in our garage for months is the campaign desk from world market.

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i bought it months ago, during a great online sale, thinking this project would get done sooner rather than later. well, sooner didn't happen, so now it's later.

the biggest splurge for the room is this amazing ceiling light from neiman marcus.

 

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i planned all the things in the room to work with the existing light - an ikea maskros pendant that i customized by painting all the elements silver and gluing pale green plastic dessert cups to each flower.

 

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i sat in our previous home's dining room for hours, painstakingly trimming each flower petal and painting everything. and i love it so much. but the light it gives off just isn't bright enough for crafting or arting of any kind. i hope to find it a nice home, but it's time for something more substantial.

and that capiz shell-covered, three-tiered, scalloped beauty holds three light bulbs. that sounds sufficiently substantial to me.

a new desk chair, shelving unit (yes, more ikea), a lamp stolen from the entryway (which means i'm on the hunt for a new lamp for that spot), and some baskets and storage will finish it off.

i'm giddy. and i'm antsy. i want it done now. but first thing first: get harp moved and settled. hopefully, that will be done within the next week or two, and my space will be fully put together before may is over.

it will feel so nice to scratch two things off the "to do" list! about as nice as having my own room ... have i mentioned that i'll have my own room?


when the world goes to hell ...

you throw caution to the wind and build a deck.

or, at least, that's our attitude.

when we moved in six and a half  years ago,

(and ... okay ... just for a minute: our first house was lovely, but at the seven year mark we knew it was time to move. our second house was lovely, but at the seven year mark we knew it was time to move. now we're staring down the seven year mark in this house, and we find ourselves thinking that we just got here. what kind of crazy wormhole did we cross that made seven years go so damn fast?? anyway ...)

when we moved in six and a half years ago, we knew building a deck and screened room was the next phase. we assumed we would get on that a bit more quickly than we did, but decks and screened rooms aren't cheap, right? finally, last spring, we realized that in one year we would be hosting a bunch of people at our house for a graduation party, and we needed somewhere to put them that wasn't, actually, IN the house. so we called six different contractors/deck builders, met with them all, some got our vision, some did not, some called back, some did not. in the end, we decided to go with our builder, because we knew the architect would make the aesthetic perfect for the house, and we knew the siding and shingles would be seamless.

we provided a few guidelines and inspiration pictures. what we knew: maintenance-free decking (who wants to spend their summer sanding and re-staining?), gray and white colors to go with the house and other porches, open ceiling with exposed beams, casual/rustic but not rusty/farmhouse/cozy.

we showed the builder ...

 

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and my favorite ...

 

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the builder took all the info, and came back with this:

 

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and just before christmas, they showed up and started to rip off siding and put up beams.

fun fact: when you put a screened room off the back of your house, which happens to be where your kitchen is, and you have open shelves in the kitchen, you're gonna need to take all the stuff off of those shelves or the vibration from the siding removal will do that for you.

the more you know.

the guys worked so hard for about three weeks ... all the structure went up, roof and shingles went on, decking was laid, railings were installed ... and that's where we sit right now.

 

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 we're just waiting on the weather to warm enough for everything to be finished at once - siding, bead board, paint, screens, install lights, pour the patio area. once we get to the finish stage, it will go quickly. and it will have to ... we're two months from that graduation party.

hopefully, the next update will be the finished product. we've started to order the furniture to put in it, and we're already dreaming of the day we can sit out there to eat a meal ... enjoy a morning coffee ... swing on a hammock in the space under the deck ...

this is the vibe:

 

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the table and chairs are sitting in a warehouse until we have somewhere to put them, the armchairs are on the way, the lights and fan are sitting in the living room as i type. it's going to be fun to load it all in and grill some burgers and enjoy sitting outside without sitting outside.

(as long as it's done before the graduation party. that's literally all i ask. minnesota needs to warm up and the snow needs to melt asap.)


all herby up in here

confession: i'm a little obsessed with my gardens right now. i wander out a few times a day just to see if anything has bloomed.

so far, the only thing that has are the little eggs ...

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so while i wait, i decided that our porch needed an herb garden. somewhere i could just open the door, snip off some stems, and make dinner that much better.

i ordered a cute tiered plant stand from world market, along with some copper plant tags, and then ran to the nursery for nine of our favorite herbs.

a few days later, the box arrived, and i couldn't wait to get started!

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(mario was obviously just as excited to supervise.)

building the stand was pretty straightforward ... any ikea-phile should have no trouble. three shelves, two long legs, two smaller legs, and a couple of brace pieces, along with screws and an abundance of allen wrenches.

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the multiple wrenches came in handy with the two-piece bolts. one to hold the bolt tight, and the other to screw in the second piece.

and, of course, there was the one screw that just didn't want to go all the way in.

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and mario just gave me that cat look, the one that said, "seriously, human. one screw? you're just going to leave it like that?"

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and yes. yes, i left it like that. (until marc got home.)

in less than an hour, it was built and ready to hold herbs.

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which it did. technically. still in the box from the nursery, though.

aaaaannnndddd ... five days later, i finally planted them.

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mmm ... thai basil ...

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hello, mint. can't wait to use you in iced tea and lemonade and mojitos ...

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my little herby stand makes me happy.

also making me happy? the peonies are about to pop. any day, man ... i can't wait!

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the show's about to start

summer is nearly here, the school year is winding down, the days are longer and warmer, and the garden is about to enter Act II.

 

the lilacs and bleeding hearts are on their way out,

 

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and my shade-loving friends (ie everything along the front of the house) are gearing up for their big show.

the hydrangeas are budding, both the annabelles and the fire & ice:

 

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the hosta have begun to unfurl ...

 

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and the astilbe are about to show their colors.

 

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the spurge is adding some needed brightness,

 

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but they've got nothing on the dianthus. those overachievers.

 

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the coral bells are gorgeous, even if they are the wrong colors.

(when we did our landscaping, i specifically said to the designer, "the only color i really don't like is maroon/burgundy.")

(which, of course, translated into two burgundy crab apples, and coordinating coral bells that will find a new home in a different part of the garden next year.)

 

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i am soothed by the fact that my beloved peonies are getting so close to blooming ...

 

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even though the salvia will beat them to it.

 

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and i added a few new friends this week: the columbine, and the daisies

(who were supposed to be in the garden since Day 1, but ... again ... the designer heard me say "daisies" and gave me "black-eyed susans".) ...

 

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the lady's mantel is full and about ready to take over the joint,

 

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and some bright lantana are now hanging out with the trumpet vines.

 

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and amidst all this new life, there is a tiny nest in the wreath on our side porch door, full of little speckled eggs.

 

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i can't wait for the next act!

 


51 months in (the christmas edition)

i get so many emails from people who have seen our house on pinterest and ask for floor plans, who built it, do we love this choice or that choice, what have we changed/added since moving in. for the interest: thank you! this house truly was a labor of love for us, and continues to be our happy place in the world.

so if you are coming here from pinterest or, specifically, the one month in post, welcome to the future!

while the house was all clean and christmasy and waiting for guests to arrive last week, i took some new pictures of the space. not every room was photographed, and i will definitely be better about documenting things in 2016 ... i've found a real love for answering emails about our house, and want to offer more to those who are working on their own build or redecorating projects. and once the holidays are put away, i will try to do a more complete tour, including the rooms i didn't photograph last week. i will also update on the projects we have in the works (whether plans only or baby steps being taken) for '16.

without further chattiness ... our house, 51 months in and dressed for the holidays:

 

main floor

i'll start with the entryway, because this post on the craigslist dresser is one of the most pinned things i've posted on the ol' blog.

 

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because of its status, i probably should have taken more than one photo. anyway ... moving on.

 

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the great room is still one of my favorite spots in the house. we literally never use the fireplace (makes the house too hot), but i love the mantel and the built-ins. they remind me of what i loved in our first house - a 1925 bungalow in south minneapolis, and missed in our second house - a 1965 ranch in the 'burbs. and yes, i should have made sure the blinds were equally open before taking the picture.

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i know ... i told you months ago i would share the gallery wall process. i will do that in january. making myself a note Right Now.

 

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(i was inspired by the glass box of travel ephemera in the asid design house that i toured with erin from house of turquoise back in october, and knew a similar box would be perfect for christmas cards. the box is from west elm.)

 

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(blending my old school crosley with marc's new school mp3/receiver/buttony tech.)

 

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(the mantel seemed boring this year ... new garland took up too much real estate and i couldn't put other things out. luckily, i still had a bunch of paper snowflakes from last year - our elf brought them - and added them to the wall around the picture of the kids. perfect filler, zero cash involved.)

 

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moving on to the tv room ... this room has gone through the biggest change since i last blogged about it. four years ago, the room was empty of all but boxes, but i did have some ideas for where it might go. the rug i wanted sold out shortly after falling in love with it, but we moved forward with the white couch and the cabinet of my dreams. and then ... stuck again. we had the couch, we had the cabinet, we had a tv, but the room needed some warmth - a rug, some curtains. so again, i brainstormed. and eventually, it came together. we went with the graphic yellow rug from west elm, and some adorable white curtains - also from west elm; i may need a 12-step program - with translucent circles in the fabric, and sweet little pom pom trim. then i attended junk bonanza with a girlfriend, found a vintage german periodic table school chart, and my life - and this room - was complete. and today, it looks like this:

 

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and ... i took no photos of the kitchen or other areas on the main floor. like i said, post-holiday complete tour is on my To Do list. so, then, let's move

 

upstairs

 

the only room i really photographed is the guest room. it has gone through several looks in the past four years. it started with harper's ikea pull-out bed

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but when she wanted her bed back, we switched it out for the two jenny linds we had put in her room. however, when we upgraded to a king bed over the summer, we did a bedroom furniture shuffle, and put our bed in the basement guest room (more on that in a minute), and the guest bed that was in the basement moved to the upstairs guest room. and that's where we are right now.

 

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more about this room when i do the actual, factual tour.

and ... a brief tease of the master bedroom:

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yes, the new bed ... black and white. the the $50 craigslist chair also got fancied up in new black and white fabric. shocker, i know.

now it's time to move on to the

 

basement

 

a quick glimpse at where the past four years have brought this space.

when i last shared pix of the basement, we had pretty much just moved in all the main furniture from our last house and called it good. with the exception of finally buying a piece of furniture for the tv (instead of the old desk i found on the side of the road in college that we HAD been using), and some bookshelves, this space is largely the same, just more finished.

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(a star wars tree. because, yes. i found it at treetopia, and it is a black-to-silver ombre tree, which in my mind meant it was a dark side to light side ombre. of course. i really should have gotten one that was a foot taller, but we'll make this work.)

 

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on to the guest room, where the old master bedroom bed now resides ...

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usually, there is flannel snowflake bedding on the basement guest bed at christmastime, because it can get pretty cold in this room when the door stays closed. but truth be told ... i couldn't find it. the linens got lost somewhere in the mess of the upstairs guest closet, where all spare linens go ... to never be seen again. organizing that closet is *also* on my To Do list for 2016.

i have a lot to do in 2016.

 

and there you have it.

hope you liked the little holiday tour, and i hope it will hold you over until the official tour of All The Rooms in the coming months.

 

later this weekend: actual christmas photos and re-cap. because it was super fun.

 


autumn

it's here.

if you've read my blog for any amount of time over a year, you know that a) i adore autumn, and the coming holiday season, and b) every year my autumn, and coming holiday season, goes to hell.

this year, on the first day of autumn, i had to see a doctor about a painful eye situation, only to discover a blocked and infected tear duct, that had to be drained (with a needle, thankyouverymuch) and then "milked" (just as fun as it sounds), and then treated with antibiotics. and tomorrow, on the second day of autumn, i will go to a surgeon to see how to reconstruct part of my left nostril, which i lost 10 days ago to basal cell carcinoma.

the autumn, and coming holiday season, are off to a dubious start.

nonetheless, i can't wait to "autumn" all the things! some pretty pumpkins are now on the porch, i have the fall flowers for the window box, the summery pillows and photos are getting replaced with the autumny ones. and i'm starting to look around the house to see what projects are on the list. i will tell marc i want them done by the holidays. they may actually get done by next year's holidays. it's how we roll.

we've been in our house for four years now (what???), and we're pretty much settled in and squared away. but there are a few tweaks that are on the horizon, and a few changes that we're ready to make.

current inspiration for those tweaks and changes:

1. shelves like these.

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there is a wall in our basement that currently is home to an ikea expedit shelf. there is general flotsam and stash on those shelves. however, there are bundles of martha stewart magazines dating back to 1996 in the closet, just begging to be enjoyed again. i foresee some rustic, warm wood shelves lining that wall on some cool iron brackets, maybe get some lights installed above the shelves for a little spot lighting.

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2. now that my craigslist-find chair and ottoman have been restored, and our new king-size bed is here, our master bedroom is at about 90%. we just need to get some art on the walls and curtains on the windows. trying to figure out exactly what direction to go in ... art above the nightstands, flanking the bed? or art or a mirror above the headboard and nothing above the nightstands? still debating. but i'm pretty sure the curtains will be white, because ... well ... of course.

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3. put the guest rooms back together.

when we switched out our old bed, we moved it to the basement, which meant we moved the basement guest bed to the upstairs guest room. and we moved the upstairs guest beds to the garage. we still need to get the beds put back together (literally back together ... not just "i need to make the beds", but "i need to MAKE the beds"), which needs to happen before company comes, which means when i tell my husband that i'd like him to do it this weekend, it really means "for the love of god just put those beds back together since it's been a month." or something like that.

the downstairs guest room has warmer colors ...

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and the upstairs one has cooler ones ...

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so now i'm gathering art and stuff. but first the beds have to get MADE.

wouldn't a pretty guest room be a nice place to spend a holiday? i mean, especially if the bed doesn't fall apart  underneath you?

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4. we're also in the process of getting estimates to finally put on a screened-in porch on the back of the house. it won't happen until spring, but we need to know exactly how much money we're talking with this. and if it sounds straightforward, it isn't. marc threw a wrench in the works by declaring that our mechanical room is no longer sufficient for his geek needs, so we may need to add on a server room under the porch. and, if we're going that far, we might as well go a little farther and attach a storage room for yard equipment, etc.

i wasn't thrilled when i heard that. "screened-in porch" suddenly became "nah ... we don't need to send the kids to college." oh well. i just have to focus on the pretty ... these inspiration pix distract me from googling "how to homeschool for a college degree."

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once my face heals and things no longer hurt, i'll try to clean up the joint and take some updated pictures of the place. there are so many of you out there who have loved my home (thank you!) via pinterest, and have asked to see how it looks now that it's more complete. i'll do my best to oblige in the coming weeks!

until then, go pick some apples, pull out the flannel sheets, and enjoy a pumpkin muffin!


living the dream

i was sent a copy of "love the home you have" by melissa michaels, who is behind the blog the inspired room, and have been both devouring it and savoring it, if it's possible to do both. i read a chapter with eagerness, then realize at the end of it that i really want to read it again and take notes. so i do. and i'm going to share some of those notes and thoughts over time, but in the opening pages of her book, this little sentiment drew me in and hooked me, for there are no truer words that describe my relationship and mindset with regards to architecture, design, and the feeling you get when you drive through certain cities and neighborhoods:

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when marc and i discuss our "dream" houses, he says he would love to be in something ultra-modern: all concrete and glass and exposed steel and wood. sleek, clutter-free, and technologically superior to the average house. then he asks if i could live in such a house and i say, "sure ... maybe ..."

because the truth is, i want to live in about five different houses.

i want the 100-year-old farmhouse, with beautiful old trees, a split rail fence, overgrown lilac bushes, and a squeaky screen door. windows with glass so old that it's waviness distorts the view. a wide cast iron sink in the kitchen. a deep front porch. a tree swing in the front yard.

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but i also want the beautiful old home in the charming small town, with a lovely staircase, leaded glass windows, tall rooms. woodwork that recalls the days when skill mattered. a pedestal sink. period fixtures. a small but charming lot, and walking distance to the adorable town, where i know the name of the bookstore owner, the coffee shop guy, the baker who knows harper prefers bavarian cream donuts while henry prefers glazed.

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or maybe by "charming small town" i mean "nantucket." and i will ride my bike to the local market for lobstahs. and keep a jar on a shelf in the kitchen for seashells and sea glass that i find on my walks on the beach.

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then again, a lake cottage would be lovely. a small, cozy spot with a beautiful view and lots of trees. where i can drink my morning coffee in a kayak, and sit by the fire in the evening. maybe some exposed beams, a screen porch, bedrooms tucked under angled ceilings of the roofline.

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and i can understand marc's attraction to "modern", because there is a certain draw to streamlined simplicity. and if all the windows look at something lovely, and the exposed metal is dark and industrial, and the exposed wood is warm and reclaimed, with life still in it instead of stripped down and shiny, i could see the attraction. as long as the house isn't something that looks like an office building or a sci-fi movie set.

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and then there's that part of me that would embrace the industrial, urban aesthetic wholeheartedly if it was in an urban setting ... like a warehouse loft. preferably in boston.

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although i'm pretty sure my boston plans include a beacon hill brownstone.

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the thing is, i just love houses. and really, location means as much to me - if not more - than the house. because while a dream house is just wood and glass and nails, a dream "home" is the whole package. and truthfully, any home can be transformed into something beautiful, but a crummy location cannot.

on mother's day, i took my family for a walk through one of my favorite areas of minneapolis - a neighborhood near lake harriet. walking through those streets of old homes and large trees always makes me happy. i loved our years in our bungalow, but always wished that it had been a little closer to the lake and on the quieter, lovelier (ie more expensive) side of the highway. the homes are mostly well-kept, and the yards full of beautiful flowers. there is obvious pride of ownership. and every now and then, when we would see one that had seen better days, i would exclaim, "i'll love you!! just let me have you!"

okay: i love my house. we built as close to a perfect house as we could, given constraints of the location and budget at the time. and i really do "love the home i have". however, the location is - while great right now for the kids - not where we want to be. it's too neighborhood-y to be our long-term happy place. we want more age, history. maybe something prettier to look at than a park and the backside of our neighbors' houses. and while i would love to go back to minneapolis, i know we would be equally satisfied somewhere else. we never feel tied to any one place.

i don't know if that's good or bad.

but if our kids stay here, i think we would be happy to stay here, too. but head closer to lake harriet.

because it's lovely.

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we toss around new ideas all the time: the coast of oregon, boston, maine, minneapolis, italy (okay ... maybe that one is just me). and every time we talk about a different place, i get a different vision of what we'll live in. i am undaunted by the idea of fixing up something to be just what we want. loving the home you have is easy with a little patience and creativity. but what makes it a home is loving the life it gives you. and for me, that's more about the "where" than the "what."


practice restaint or run with it?

spring is (allegedly) around the corner, and it's time to shake off the winter funk. the heads-down, get-through-the-day mentality of winter and its few hours of daylight is gone (though it was more gone before daylight savings; now it's dark again when henry and i get up at 6. which sucks.), and i'm ready for light and color.

i'm also ready to finish off the tv room.

which goes hand in hand with light and color.

here's why:

the main floor is white. walls, trim, cabinets, curtains ... all white. and the couches are gray. and color is all in the accessories. and i like it that way. however, the little tv room off of the great room is my special little jewel box. it's my happy, colorful, quirky, whimsical place. and it's only about two-thirds done. time to finish off this mother and move on.

a couple of weeks ago, i grew tired of the artwork for the room being in a pile, propped up against the wall. so i hung it. none of it will stay where it is - i still have three more pieces to frame, and a deer head to move from upstairs (as one does) - but it got my groove on for finishing this space.

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i want to replace the chest with a leggy ottoman, since we only really use the chest as a foot prop. and i think between marc and myself, we could make one. how hard can it be? the two wicker chairs that are currently taking up space by the windows need to go; we really don't have the space in the tv room to keep chairs in there, anyway, and i would prefer accent chairs in the great room that can be moved into the tv room if we need them. the little lamp by the couch is on a chest we bought from ikea years ago, which will likely go away ... it's too big and too low, and the table lamp needs to be replaced with something that has a bit more weight. speaking of lamp, we got a brushed nickel accordian light for above harper's keyboard, so she can see her music better. a month after we bought it? doesn't work. the knob you turn is stripped, and the swing arm part of the lamp is loose, so the whole thing hangs crooked.

so irritating.

and this after a kerfuffle with west elm before christmas, when i tried to order an accordian lamp from them, only to be told, a month later, when i called to find out where my lamp was, that it was discontinued and they MAY not be able to fill my order. so i bought a lamp on a discount site to just get it done.

big mistake. you get what you pay for.

so now i'm eyeing this puppy that i found on etsy:

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the windows? i've struggled with what to do with the windows. i love that they are bare, because this room is dark. it looks out onto the porch, which is covered, so there isn't a lot of light in the room. i toyed with the idea of curtains with a pattern, but that felt too busy and too heavy. then i came across this photo and fell in love. this is it ... what i want for these windows:

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simple, light, and would pull in that yellow-and-white combo that i love so much.

which leads me to rugs. the walls are palladian blue, the couch is white, the cabinet under the tv is wood with chippy paint in aqua, turquoise, yellow, green, and touches of pink and navy.

(from xmas ...)

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the idea of simple white curtains appeals to me so things don't get crazy, but the little touch of yellow seems needed to add the oomph that this room can hold. but then the rug ... go with yellow and white, to play nicely with the curtains? something with more color to keep things interesting? and what about that leggy ottoman i want ... how will that work in with the rug? if the rug is mostly yellow, will a solid color on the ottoman be too much? but do i want a patterned ottoman on a patterned rug? this is where i get stuck.

current rug contenders, so you can help me decide:

on the side of simple yellow-and-white, we have this safavieh number from overstock:

Osafacambridgei like the pattern, but the color may be too much.

then there is this other safavieah, also from overstock ...

Oversafachathamnice pattern, yellow is less YELLOW. but maybe not yellow enough?

then there is this guy, from rugs usa ...

Rugsusasunfloweri like the pattern, there isn't as much yellow, but maybe the color is too green-yellow? and there is a little gray outline around the yellow that you can't see in this picture. i don't know if i love it or don't love it.

west elm has this rug ...

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which i kinda dig. but might be a little too geometric for my taste. then again, it might be a large, simple enough pattern to be perfect.

the "out of left field" contenders in the running are from anthro. first there is this lovely ...

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which, honestly? i love. LOVE. but those purple flowers ... i don't think i can do it. can't do purple.

which brings us to bachelorette number five, who is coral.

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she could be either way too over-the-top or perfect. anthro has a yellow version of this rug which, inexplicably, has a taupey-beige border instead of the tone-on-tone of the coral version (and her sister, blue version). broke my heart; i love the yellow, but i hate taupy-beigey-khaki-brown about as much as i hate purple. maybe more, in fact.

so this is where i'm stuck. yellow seems safe, but those anthro rugs keep popping back up in my head. and then there's the ottoman ... part of me screams that we need one covered in a soft emerald green cotton velvet, but is that TOO much color for one little room? especially since the rest of the house is so, so different?

maybe i just get going on the curtains and figure everything else out once they are up. we've baby-stepped for two and a half years, at this point ... why not baby-step some more?