Rooms

Our Little Cottage in the City: The Final Home Tour

The day has come, my friends, to show you our final home tour on our little cottage in the city.  It is definitely bittersweet to share this post and video with you, since so much love and hard work has been poured into this home.  We were definitely never intending to sell it only a year and a half after we purchased it (if we had known, we never would have bought it in the first place), but opportunities much too grand to let pass by came up that we just had to jump on for the future of our growing family.

I explain in the video a lot of what we did as well as why we finished the basement right before selling, so watch that if you would like more detail.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the video with before photos, an emotional update, and a full home tour of the house at the time of selling.

Upstairs Floor Plan Before and After

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Entryway/Living Room

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Dining Room

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2014-11-26_0006Kitchen

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2014-11-26_0009Bedroom/Bathroom Hallway

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2014-11-26_0030Upstairs Full Bathroom

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Back Bedroom Upstairs

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Front “Master” Bedroom Upstairs

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Stairway Down to Basement Family Room

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Basement Floor Plan Before and After

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Basement Family Room

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Basement Full Bathroom

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Utilities/Storage Room

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Back Basement Bedroom

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Front Basement Bedroom

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I hope you enjoyed the final home tour!  We are very sad to leave this home, especially now that it is almost exactly how I envisioned it would be for us over time as our family grew, but it is just a house and now someone else can enjoy it.  We would greatly appreciate prayers for a quick sale close to asking price so we can move on to a new home hopefully before little Celia arrives.

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Another CRAZY Announcement

As if this year needs any more craziness, we have gone and added some more crazy to our lives.

We are very excited (and slightly overwhelmed) to announce publicly that . . .

That’s right!  We are moving!  We grew up in a small town a few hours from where we currently live.  We have thought about moving back closer to our families before, but the opportunity had never presented itself.  That is, until about a month and a half ago when San received a text from a previous coworker asking if he would be interested in a position as a Sous Chef with another company.

A couple interviews later and now our entire lives are upside down!  The end result will be completely worth it, and being pregnant is what really motivated us to jump on this because the idea of raising our daughter and any (hopeful) future children near family is important to us, but the timing is a little less than idea.  What about this year has been ideal, though?  I’m learning to trust God because he’s just doing some amazing things and I don’t want to stand in his way!

San already started the new job next week and has moved in with my parents who we are so grateful for!  They have a large house with a finished basement (which definitely doesn’t feel like a basement at all) that we can call home with a little kitchenette (a small fridge, a sink, and a mini dishwasher), a living room, a bedroom, and an exercise room.  The dogs will be quite at home with us down there.  As a nanny, I couldn’t just give the standard two week’s notice (well I could have, but I didn’t feel right doing that), so I gave about 5 weeks’ notice.  I have to find a job now in the new city, so that is my biggest concern right now.  I have a little over two weeks until I am done.

We met with our wonderful realtors a couple weeks ago to run through a few market analyses to see what our home would sell for given different scenarios.  Basically, the price we could sell our house at right now with no changes would be about $11,000 more than what we bought it for, but after all the fees of selling, we would only be left with about $2,000.  We put a lot more than that into the renovation, so it’s not worth it to us to not make anything back.  Plus, we would love to be able to have some extra money to put toward our next house.

We ran a few scenarios, but we ultimately decided on the whole shebang: finishing the basement, and bringing the upstairs to a “finished” standpoint.  When we renovated the main level of our house, we turned a legal bedroom (that made no sense – had four doors in it – and was being used as the dining room) into an open dining room to make the floor plan open.  By doing that, we took our house from a technical three bedroom/one bath home to a two bedroom/one bath home.

To the main level, we will be:

When the basement is finished, the house will have about 600 or so more square footage, another bathroom, a family room, and two more legal bedrooms.  It should sell for  A LOT more than we paid for it, and even with the cost of finishing the basement, we should have made our money back and then have plenty extra to put toward a new house.

Here is what the basement floorplan is currently:

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The laundry area is on the back wall of the house under the dining room and the utilities (furnace, water heater, etc.) are positioned right about where our upstairs hallway is.  There are currently two “bedrooms” already sheetrocked, but they are not legal because only one has a closet, there is only one entry into that area, and there are no egress windows.

Here is the plan for the basement when we are all done with it:

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Under our current upstairs living room will be a family room.  Behind that will be the bathroom and behind that, the storage/laundry/utilities area.  We will add a little hallway off the family room to the two bedrooms.  The front bedroom will use the closet that currently has a doorway into the back bedroom (which will be closed up).  The back bedroom will then get a brand new closet with only one bifolding door since the electrical panel is on that wall.  The two windows on the back of the house have been replaced with the same size vinyl windows.  The two windows in the bedrooms that are on the right side of the floorplan will be replaced with 36″x36″ egress windows.  Thankfully, our house sits up high, so not much digging will need to be done to add the egress windows – just a lot of cutting cement blocks.

The list for the basement seems almost endless, and I think it’s pretty obvious by the changes in the floorplan that there will be a LOT of work.  Thankfully, it is in an unused space and there is not a lot of altering the existing structures, which is what made the upstairs renovation take so long.

I’d like to give a shout out to my amazing parents, by the way!  Whenever I say “we will be _____” what I really mean is, “my parents will be _______ and San and I will be helping as much as we are able.”  My dad is a contractor and together, my mom and dad have turned an Amish house into a beautiful farmhouse (with added electricity, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, etc.) and have built a house from scratch, with countless other house projects under their belts that I haven’t mentioned, plus all the work my dad has done during his 30 years of carpentry experience.  They feel very strongly about helping us live the “American dream” of owning a home, and have helped us build equity through renovating our home.  We could never have done the initial renovation without them, and there is no way we could ever even attempt the basement renovation without them.  We are very lucky they are not only letting us stay with them, but they are working as quickly as possible during their own spare time to help us make money off our house.

Wish us luck as we get to this new chapter in our life!  We hope to update as much as we can, but it certainly won’t be as often as we had been.

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We are One Room Away From Being Swatch-Free!

Something about spending most of a year renovating your house makes one a little hesitant to take on more house projects.  Even easy ones!  Although we have added board and batten to our dining room, added a gallery wall, and other small updates to our home’s decorating, we still had yet to paint the bathroom, master bedroom, and second bedroom.  They had swatches all over the walls for well over a year, but now, I’m happy to report that two out of the three rooms are swatch-free!

It only took bribing one of my best friends and her fiance, who has painted for a living before, to help us paint the bathroom and master bedroom in exchange for pizza and beer for us to finally get this project done.  Thank you so much, Megan and David!

We went with a pale blue-green in the bathroom.  It’s so vintage and crisp in person.  We love it!  It’s Valspar Belle Grove Sorbet.  We exchanged our yellow shower curtain for a white one with some stitched detail, and it is just so light, bright, and happy like the rest of our house.

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The master bedroom was a bit of a conundrum when it came to picking a paint color.  We had various shades of blues, teals, and grays before realizing that none of those were our choice.  The rug in our master bedroom looks gray, but it is actually more of a taupe.  We had it in the living room originally and it looked horrible in there because the brown tones came out when it was against the light gray walls.  So, we decided to go with a very pale taupe color.  It has some gray in it, but it looks like a very pale tan.  It’s Olympic Canyon Trail.  I’m not in love, although I don’t hate it either, but we don’t spend our waking hours in there anyway, so it’s not a big deal to me.  It’s neutral so now we can add some color.  I’m thinking of changing out the comforter with something colorful and recovering the headboard.

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I’m so happy to not have any swatches on the walls in these rooms anymore!  It’s funny how we can grow used to things if they stay the same for long enough.  We didn’t paint the nursery yet, because although I’m pretty set on a color whether the baby is a girl or a boy (we are thinking neutral walls with pops of color – big surprise, right?), we don’t want to make a final decision until we learn the baby’s gender at 20 weeks.

What’s something small you’ve done to your house recently that gave you a sigh of relief when it was done?

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Gallery Wall and Curtains

Remember my big plan for our dining room after the board and batten was installed?  I planned on adding a gallery wall above the board and batten as well as finally adding some curtains and changing out the chandelier.  Before we did the board and batten, I made a Photoshop rendering of what it would all look like:

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Last time you saw the dining room, it looked like this:

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Of the three things left to do, we can check two of them off the list: adding a gallery wall and curtains!

It now looks like this:

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We ended up going with simple navy curtains after trying out quite a few in this space.  I found some that I loved (finally), but realized that the standard 84″ panels were just too short.  The curtain rod would have sat right across the trim at the top of the window, which just looked horrible.  I have learned years ago about hanging curtains high and wide to make a window seem bigger (and to let in more light), so I definitely wanted to go that route.  It’s funny that we don’t have tall ceiling but somehow standard curtains do not work for us. Maybe our windows are higher than normal?  I’m not sure.  We ended up going with my favorite and most affordable option – Merete curtains from Ikea.  They don’t seem to have the navy panels online, but they were in the store.  They are actually the same curtains we used (only in white instead of navy) in our living room that I painted stripes on.  I like the style and the way they lay.  They were about $30 for two panels, which as a huge deal compared to the other ones we were looking at!

The reasoning behind the gallery wall is simple.  I loved our gallery wall we had in our hallway right when you entered our last apartment.  I would stare at it often.  It was such a beautiful reflection of our marriage and life together.  So, I really wanted to add one to our home.  Why the dining room?  Well, first of all, the wall opposite the buffet has two eyesores on it: a vent and a smoke detector.  Not exactly beautiful, and definitely not easy to work around.  Sure, we could have painted the vent, but it is not recommended to paint smoke detectors, and the positioning of them made it nearly impossible to spread any other kind of art out in a way that would look nice on the wall.  So, instead of working against the eyesores, we worked with them!  By filling the wall up with frames, the vent and smoke detector go unnoticed by most who enter our house.  We plan on changing the smoke detector out for a white one (it is currently cream) so it blends in even more, but it works for now.  We also decided to do this in our dining room because it is the center of our home.  It connects the living areas (kitchen and living room), it is where we spend a ton of time, and it is visible from most places in our living area.  We love that where we come together to spend time together houses a beautiful collection of photos, art, and special keepsakes that we adore.

Now for more photos!

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I’m not going to go through every piece of art, because most are photos from our past, our wedding, or photos I have taken.  Some were cut out from magazines.  Some were created by me in Photoshop.  Some are paper goods from our wedding.  Some are stock photos I found online for free and printed.  Some are special pieces I bought for San.  Some are pieces of art or greeting cards we have accumulated over the years.  There really is no way for me to source everything, but if you have a question about something you see, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!

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At the center, I placed a wide, thick frame I believe we picked up at a garage sale years ago.  I thought it would be the perfect frame to have in the center and to build all the other frames off from (if it looks uncentered in other photos, it is simply because I used a wide-angle lens and am shooting at an angle – the frame is centered on the wall).  I thought it would be fitting to create an “established” sign with our last name and the year we got married since that is what this wall is a reflection of – our marriage.  I simply measured the frame, found some nice fonts and created a document in Photoshop.  I then sent it to Staples to be printed for $7.  It’s perfect and we love it!

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As for the frames, they are mainly Ikea, but many are from dollar stores and garage sales.  I simply bought some Krylon white spray paint that can be painted on any surface and gave them all a couple coats so they wold match.  I love the diversity of size, shape, matting, and design.

In our last apartment where most of these hung previously, I used the method of measuring the space I was using, laying all the frames out on the ground to see what they would look like, and then hanging newspaper cutout replicas of the frame on the wall to make sure the sizes would work on the wall.  This time around, I didn’t bother laying them out on the ground first.  Instead, I traced them all with newspaper again and assigned them all a number.  Then, I hung all the cutouts on the wall, shifting, adjusting, and rearranging as I went.  Then, starting in the middle, I started hanging them.  I started in the middle because I knew for sure I wanted that long frame there, so if frames didn’t end up looking good next to it, I could change them before getting half way through with the whole project and having to start over.  I changed a lot as I went, so I’m happy I did it this way so I didn’t have to feel locked in to a certain configuration.  At the end, I looked for gaps and then measured those areas and searched for cheap frames to fit.  The dollar stores and stores like  Menards and Home Depot were great at helping me gather the last frames (some of them very small) without spending  a ton.

 

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We just love how it turned out!  We have plaster walls, so I have been intimidated ever since our renovation about hanging anything on them for fear that they will just crumble to pieces.  An employee at Menards tried to convince me that I would need to anchor every little frame, even the tiny, light ones since I was working with plaster.  I’m so glad I didn’t listen!  I simply used a picture nail for most of the small frames and anchored only the larger, heavy ones.  For the small ones that were likely to shift, I cut the Command picture hanging velcro in half (so each strip could be used twice instead of using two strips on one frame) and stuck it to the bottom center of those frames and the wall to keep them from shifting.  I haven’t had to adjust any of the frames even once in the two months since I tackled this project!

Since photos are great, but a video is much better for showing what a room actually looks like, I’ve included a video!

Where do you keep your sentimental photos/keepsakes? Do you display them or keep them hidden away for safe-keeping?

Entryway Update & Hidden Office Storage

It is almost laughable how excited I am to finally be able to share this update with you!  You see, in our last home tour video and blog post, we had started turning our second bedroom on the main floor into an office.

See?

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Little did we know that three days after posting that home tour, we would conceive our child, so needless to say, the second bedroom will not become an office anymore.  I definitely was excited about creating an office, but that was mostly because I needed something to look forward to when my greatest dream of having a baby seemed like something that might never happen.  Now that it actually is happening, I am very excited to move everything out of that room and design a nursery!

When I overhauled the now-navy lateral file cabinet in the photo above, I knew that it would have a use even if we got pregnant or adopted down the road.  Although we don’t have a space for an entire office right now since the basement remains unfinished, we need the capabilities of having an office on our main floor since I have a photography business and we do normal office-related tasks at our home such as bill-paying, budgeting, filing important papers, preparing our files for taxes, and so on.  So, we had to get creative about how we would make our living area, which is definitely not huge, function as a living room and dining room while also functioning as an office.   However, the office part had to be secret because we don’t want our home to look like an office when we have people over, so we had to get creative.

Enter our newest addition to our home: an entry way drop zone and little decorative nook.

We brought the file cabinet out of the second bedroom and placed it next to the half-wall on this blank wall that we see upon entering the house:

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Now it looks like this!

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The file cabinet does not look office-y at all and ties in perfectly with our navy rug in the living room.  We absolutely love how this little nook sets the tone of our colorful, quirky, happy house.

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On the file cabinet, we have a little pedestal vase filled with some decorative vase filler from Target.  Next to that, we have some candy for guests to take when they enter and leave our house.  I just love those little details!  Stealing the show is my favorite print we own that I got for Christmas two years ago.  It’s the Michelle Armas Trellus print.  I love how it ties in so many of the colors in our house and is just so vibrant!  I can’t help but smile when I see it, and now I get to see it all the time!  I also put a decorative blue frame San got me probably six years ago for my birthday from one of my favorite local stores, Patina.  It holds one of our engagement photos.  In front of that is just a little quote plaque.

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I am in love with decorating shelves.  We love the ones we have in our kitchen, but those do not get changed up very much because we love them just the way they are.  Because we don’t have a fireplace/mantel, I have always wanted a place to decorate for the seasons, to hang stockings from, and to change out whenever the mood strikes.  What a better place than in our little entryway portion of our living room?  Right now, the shelves were somewhat decorate for Independence Day, but the colors work in our house so I’m just leaving it for now.

Most of the little nicknacks were collected over time or were gifts from friends.  I grabbed some of our blue books to add some color and used nicknacks as book ends.  The red horse chess piece was a gift and the white ceramic owl (Owlfred as we like to call him) is from a cool Australian store that is in the Mall of America, called Typo.  The other wall plaque was a gift, the mason jars I purchased at estate sales and were used in our wedding, the vintage Pepsi-Cola can was found at a thrift store on our honeymoon, and the lantern was purchased at Target, I believe.

On the top shelf, the lantern with a candle was a gift, the Bless this Home frame was a gift and I just painted it with coral paint, and the silver vintage jug was also used in our wedding.  The flying pig is actually very special to me.  I have always had a thing for pigs (I’ve always wanted a pig named Disco), and I even had Vans shoes with flying pigs on them in high school.  I adored those shoes.  I don’t remember where I saw the ceramic flying pig, but I had to buy him that second.  We named him Edwin, naturally.  Anyway, he is signed by John and Sherry from Young House Love during their book tour.  Funny story, I was actually mentioned on their blog twice (once in photo form, and once I got an actual mention) because I posted a funny photo of myself holding their book in front of our gallery wall in our old apartment in my pajamas because I was so eager to pick up the book that I walked through our apartment building looking like that to pick it up.  I chronicled all the madness and excitement on my photography blog.

 

Here are some closeups of the decorative goodness:

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Now, the file cabinet is not the only way we conceal office storage.  In fact, our beautiful buffet we added during the renovation is full of office-related supplies, even a huge color laser printer (WHAT?  WHERE?), but you will have to watch the video below to see how we conceal our office supplies in the buffet (and you can see more of the entry way nook as well).

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Decorating From Photoshop to Reality

I don’t know how most decorators or just decorating-lovers plan their projects, but I have learned over the years that I am a very visual person when it comes to designing a room.  I usually have an idea of what I want, but it really helps me if I draw out what I want, make a mood board, use tape to “sketch” my idea on the wall or floors, or look at photos online of something similar.  I’ve been lucky enough to have used Photoshop for many, many years, starting in high school when I just had a hobby of making fangirl art of almost-celebrities like Jesse McCartney (facepalm).  Yeah . . . lame, I know.  However, this dorky teenage phase turned into something useful when I started my photography business because I already knew my way around Photoshop pretty well.  Now, when I really want help figuring out what I want to do with a room or a certain nook of our home, I turn to Photoshop and play around!

For example, I really wanted yellow-striped curtains for our living room, but I was really worried about how they would look with everything, so I Photoshopped them into a photo I had of our living room!

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Pretty cool, right? It was the encouragement I needed to go ahead with painting them.  here is the after with the real curtains:

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Obviously, they aren’t exactly the same, but that would have been nearly impossible.  For fun, I also changed out the ottoman with a gorgeous wooden coffee table and added a navy lamp to the console behind the sofa (with the fake rendered curtains):

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Here’s a little before and after gif so it’s easier to see the difference:

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I’m so excited to add some wood into this room because I just feel it makes it feel more cottage-like, adds warmth, and is just so beautiful!

Before we added the board and batten in the dining room, I played around with it in Photoshop as well to figure out the spacing of the battens.  Here’s the Photoshop version:

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And here’s the real deal:

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Pretty crazy, right?

Originally, we had meant to paint the dining room a darker gray than what was in the living room because we thought it would balance out all the white, but through color matching certain colors, the color ended up being almost exactly the same as the living room color (it is virtually impossible to tell the difference without knowing they are really two paints from two different cans).  Before we added the board and batten, I also tried out adding a darker gray paint color to see what it would look like along with the gallery wall I want to add, some curtains and a different light fixture (just for fun – we still aren’t sold on any curtains or chandeliers yet).  White curtains:

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Blue curtains:

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And gray curtains:

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We decided against the darker gray after seeing these renderings and after installing the board and batten.  We really like the lighter gray with the white (since the white pops so much more with the walls than it seems to in these renderings).

So, for fun again, here is the room with the lighter walls, the gallery wall, a fun chandelier, and different colored curtains.  Blue curtains:

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Gray curtains:
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White curtains:

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And here’s a gif to see the difference between the blank walls and somewhat of the direction we are headed in:

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We also plan on switching out the black chairs for white x-back chairs and possibly upholstered chairs on the ends of the table, but for now it is just so fun to play around with all the possibilities!

I’m seriously slightly addicted to this!  I’m working on one right now for the exterior of our house to plan out some of the landscaping, but that’s not a project we plan on tackling any time this year, so I’ll probably share it later after stewing over it for a while.

So, what do you think?  Are you a visual decorator?  What direction would you go in the dining room?

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Two Dogs, A Messy Eater, and a WHITE Couch?

I think it is pretty obvious by looking through our blog at photos of our house that we love the color white in decorating. Although I love cottages filled with white walls, white furniture, white just about everything, I am also a huge color girl! I love pops of color! So, we use white in our home to balance out the color, to add more light (since white reflects the light from the windows and just makes our home so bright and happy), and to make everything feel very neat and clean.

Most of our favorite features of our home are white.

White entertainment center.
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White board and batten.
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White buffet.
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White kitchen cabinets.
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White closet system.
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No one has ever said anything about us being crazy with the amount of white we have. In fact, most people who come over or look at our blog comment on how bright and happy our house looks because of the white. And, we agree. However, there is one piece of white furniture that has some people scratching their heads and questioning our sanity. Any guesses?

Our white Ektorp sectional couch.
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Yes, our white couch.

We had planned on buying this particular couch in this particular color a long time ago and knew it was the right decision for us, but I kept that decision from most people because I knew I would get feedback I didn’t want to hear.   Sure enough, after we bought it and people saw it or heard about it, they said things like, “You will need a new slipcover when you have kids.  White just won’t work,” or, “I would never have a white couch . . .”  or, “What are you going to do when your dog comes in and she is all dirty?”  I think people seriously thought we were nuts.

We have had our Ikea Ektorp 2+2 Corner Sofa in Blekinge White for about six months or so, and I think it is high time we did a little review on it.

 

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Let’s preface this by stating that we are “normal” people.  We make messes.  We have pizza dinners on the couch as a cheap date night.  We have two dogs.  While overall, they are very clean dogs (especially Clem who has magical fur that never traps dirt), they still go to the bathroom outside on rainy days and come in with messy paws no matter how much we try to keep them clean.  Our house has dust.  Our three new rugs shed all over the place and the fibers love to attract to anything touching the floors.  San is a chef.  Sometimes he comes home with food splattered all over his pants and then he sits down on the couch.  Life happens.  I am definitely not going to tell you that our couch stays clean 100% of the time and it isn’t work to keep it looking beautiful.

Dust, hair, and shedding carpet along the skirt:

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Some faint dirty paw prints by the pillow (even though it is white, dirt doesn’t show up that much on here):

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Some hair and dirty from paws in the middle of this cushion:

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Before this couch, we had two brown couches.  Let me tell you, with a dog with white hair, those couches looked gross most of the time when Clem’s hair would cover them.  They didn’t clean up very well, they were impossible to lint roll or vacuum, and it was just frustrating!  With a white couch that isn’t made of a material that hair naturally sticks to very much, we just don’t have that issue.  Lucy’s hair shows up a little since a lot of her fur is black, but it comes up really easily with a vacuum or a lint roller.  We have lived with both a dark couch and a white couch, and hands down, the white couch wins for us.  Because this couch has a custom slipcover that is tailored to fit it perfectly, it doesn’t pull away from the cushions when vacuuming or lint rolling, which makes cleaning it between washings so much easier and keeps the couch looking great most of the time.

Here are the things we love about our white slipcovered couch:

We typically follow these steps for keeping or couch looking nice:

I will be honest and say that the tag of the slipcover says not to bleach it, but I have read reviews (like this one from The Tiny Twig) that talked about how bleaching may break down the fibers over time, but with normal washing, it doesn’t seem to affect the fibers that much.couch7

To wash them, I simply unzip all the cushion covers and sort the covers into three piles: back cushions, bottom cushions, and frame cushion (that goes over the entire frame of the couch).  Three pretty small loads – not bad!  I then spray a stain remover on any largers spots of dirt or stains from food.  I use a gentle bleach, but am not shy about it and use the most they recommend.  I also use detergent with the bleach.  Normally, I wash it on a normal setting and then throw that load in the dryer.  If I go longer between cleanings or just really want the slipcover to shine, I will sometimes wash it again with a little less bleach just to make sure it is really clean.  Then, I always dry them for about twenty minutes and take them out when they are still slightly damp so they are stretchy enough to not rip when putting them back on the cushions.  Three loads of that and I’m done!  Seriously not a big deal at all!  I can do it all in about 2 hours, with time to do other things while the cycles are running!

I always sit and just gawk at our sofa after it is all freshly clean.  It seriously looks brand new every time and I haven’t noticed any breaking down of the fibers.  Even with two dogs who run back and forth on top of the cushions when they are on squirrel patrol, this couch has showed no signs of wear.  It’s awesome!

So, if someone were to ask me if I have ever regretted our decision to buy this sofa with a white slipcover, I would say, “Heck no!”  Honestly, with any other color, I wouldn’t be able to bleach it.  That means the stains would possibly never come out and would still show up sometimes (for darker things).  Or, there is always the possibility that it is not actually getting clean.  With our sofa, knowing it is bleached and that white will not lie about whether it is clean or not, I know our couch can be thoroughly cleaned often and look (and smell) gorgeous every time.  Sure, sometimes we have to live with some light brown paw prints on a cushion for a week or two before I clean it, but with dogs or children, no one ever is able to have a perfectly clean house all the time.  Our dogs are so worth it to me and knowing our couch is just three laundry loads away from looking perfect again is the peace of mind I love!  I often just clean the cushions and leave the frame alone because it stays cleaner longer, so really it is usually just two loads away from a pristine couch!

We love our home, and honestly, our couch is pretty much the heart of our home.  The dogs spend their days looking out the window, playing, and sleeping on this couch.  San and I spend date nights on this couch.  Friends and family come and we all sit on the couch.  It is where our memories are made.  Whenever we are able to have a baby, we will make so many memories with them on this couch, and I won’t have to worry about him or her spitting up on it, spilling, drawing on it, or anything else because it is completely cleanable.  This couch really does mean a lot to us, as corny as that sounds, and we would buy it all over again!

I never imagined I would ever get sentimental during this post, but now I have, so I’m off to go blow my nose because thinking about babies on this couch has got me all worked up.  I’d love to know what piece of furniture you or someone you know was apprehensive about you getting and what the outcome was!

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2013 Holiday/Renovation-Completion Tour

It’s definitely been far too long since we have posted, but this has been a very crazy year!  We wanted to update with posts for every step along the way during our renovation, but since that took up our weekends and many of our nights, there was really no time to update.  Instead of going step-by-step through the renovation (which we might break down a little more in the future if anyone is interested), we are instead showing you the “final” (right, it’s never finished) tour now that the renovation is done and we have it decorated for the holidays.

In this video, I explain what we did as well as what we are planning on doing, because there are still tons of things on our to do list.  Coming up soon, we will be posting a rundown list of all the projects dealing with our house, both finished and left to do.  Trust me, there are a lot more “to dos” then there are “finished” at this point, but most of the major stuff is out of the way!

Before you view the video, let’s recap what the floor plan looked like when we bought the house:

house plan before

And this is the house after the renovation:
houseafterreno_floorplan

What we did:

Please don’t mind the random music in the middle of the video.  I’m not sure how that happened and didn’t realize it until it was already uploaded.

We are so excited to finally share the results!  We have tons of projects planned for this year, but will be tackling them at a slower pace so we hope to update as we go this year!

We would love to know your thoughts on what we have done and what we plan to do.  I love being inspired by other people’s ideas and love getting input from others!

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and have an amazing new year!

Pros and Cons of Original Kitchen

I’m pretty sure shows like House Hunters and Property Virgins have made it clear that no house is ever perfect, especially a person’s first house.  I mean, even if we had unlimited funds, I don’t think I could design a “perfect” house because so many of the things I like are contradictory (love the functionality of a rambler but love the look of a two-story, want a neighborhood where future kids could run around with other friends but also would love to be out in the country with lots of space, you get the idea).  Every house has its pros and cons, just as each room does in a home.

Since we are in the process of some serious renovation, I thought I would share with you where we started at in the kitchen.  I’m kicking myself for not taking better photos of the house when we first bought it, but I just couldn’t wait to move in and change everything!

Before we get to the lists, let’s remember the layout of our house when we first moved in:

And, here are a couple photos:

Marital Glue House at Closing

The photo above shows the view from the living room/front door. There are cabinets on both side of this door way (although only one side is seen from this angle) and there is a very small open space that makes this kitchen considered an eat-in kitchen, even though that space was definitely not big enough for us, our table, as well as a walkway to the basement stair that were just around the corner.

Marital Glue House at Closing

 Pros of Original Kitchen:

 

Cons of Original Kitchen:

Whew!  That’s a long list!  Although we had a lot of cons to work with, I must say that there were a lot of pros for a sixty-year-old kitchen.  I will reveal that we are almost done with the kitchen part of our renovation, but we will be sharing over the course of many blog posts so you can see how it all went down.  Now that we’ve seen the transformation, I’m happy to report that we were able to remedy almost all of the cons!  That’s pretty good considering we definitely did not gut the whole thing and start over.  We worked with what we had, and even added a few extra bonuses in there!  I can’t wait to share over the next few weeks!

Check back on Friday to read about (and see pretty inspiration photos) our plan for the kitchen!

In the meantime, I’m wondering what are the pros and cons of your kitchen?

It’s All in the Plans

My childhood was filled with building houses with intricate multi-level floorplans out of Legos, playing house in real houses when my dad (a carpenter) was working on one, and drawing out massive layouts of mansions on paper for my barbies to spend their days. When my dad would come home with a briefcase full of blueprints, I would eagerly ask him to open them up for me to see. This Old House was my show of choice before cartoons and I would choose a decorating book over a children’s book any day. To say that I’ve been house-obsessed since birth would be far from an exaggeration. We closed on our first house on April 29th and we moved in last weekend. We decided to start a blog to share our journey of decorating, renovating, organizing, cooking, and gardening with ideally our family and friends who aren’t closeby to see every change we make, but if others can gain inspiration or amusement from our journey, then even better!

The name, House Made of Marital Glue, comes from something we talk about all the time. I am a love and marriage photographer and write a weekly “Marital Gluesday” post where I discuss anything marriage-related. I came up with the term “marital glue” when I was thinking about all the rituals, routines, and other bonding moments that make marriages strong. We named our blog after this because we are sharing just the daily little things we do together that bring us together. Picking up a paint brush, making a meal, or designing a special piece of art are all types of marital glue that secure us as husband and wife. Our house becomes a home because of all the marital glue holding it together.

Today we are sharing our house’s current floor plan. Notice how I said current, meaning it is not going to stay that way. We have all sorts of crazy amazing plans for our house that will unfold over the next few years, but because owning our first home is a major life dream of ours, we want to document every little change we make starting at the beginning. Currently, our house has three bedrooms, one full bathroom, an eat-in kitchen, a living room, and a hallway. It has a small front porch on the front and just a simple set of stairs off the back into the backyard. The garage (not pictured) is technically “attached” to the house but the door leads to the backyard, so there is no door that connects it to the house. Here is how our house looks right now, just two weeks after closing. Marital Glue Floor Plan At Closing

This floor plan is very common in our area – we saw many homes with a very similar layout. The basement is unfinished, but it is huge and just waiting for us to finish it. We plan on adding probably two bedrooms, a family room, and another bathroom down there. We intend on doing some major renovations that would open up the “Dining Room or Bedroom” (it has two closets so it is technically a bedroom, but it is off the kitchen and has a chandelier in it right now) into a real dining area off the kitchen with an entry into the living room as well.

We cannot wait to share the progress! Tell us, what are some renovations you did to make your floor plan more modern or functional for your family?