Posts Tagged ‘cottage

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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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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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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Spring/Summer 2014 House Tour

It has been just about a week past the one year mark of moving into our house.  What a year it has been!  It has been about six months since we finished renovating with the amazing help of my parents over weekends and holidays.  We posted a tour back around Christmas when it was all decorated for the holidays, but now that we have tackled a few more projects and it is FINALLY not winter here in Minnesota anymore, we thought it was time for an update home tour!

 

And, here are the updated photos!

Entry Way

Here is the “entry way.”  We don’t have a formal entry way that is a separate room, but we do have a little landing just upon opening the front door with a closet, stairs to the basement, and then it steps out into a little walkway with a storage unit before opening up into the living room.  We haven’t really done anything new to this part of the house since we last showed it except add a rug to the landing.  We plan on painting the light fixtures so that they are no longer brass but instead, oil rubbed bronze.  We also would like to take the shade off the window over the stairs and frost the glass for privacy while still letting light in (because it is too high for us to reach the shade to open it).  We also still have to paint the trim and doors.  Some trim is primed white already because we had to add new trim or replace it when doing the renovation, but all of it still needs to be painted Cloud Cover by Benjamin Moore to match the rest of the white paint in the house.  The walls in the entry, living room, dining room, and bedroom hallway are all Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.

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Here is a view of the wall opposite the front door.  We still need to do something on the space to the left of the half wall (we are thinking a giant, retro, coastal, wooden clock or something with a lot of impact.  On the space to the right of the half wall, we used to have a bookcase (that is now in the second bedroom), but I want to add a couple shelves to decorate for the seasons/holidays as well as a little piece of furniture painted a cool color (maybe coral?).

Here is the view from the front door.  You can see how the entry way is part of the living room and it all flows into the dining room.  We have an Ikea Expedit 2×4 storage unit/console table behind the couch to drop our keys.  We plan on adding an accent chair to the right of the table for sitting to put shoes on and to make it more welcoming.

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Living Room

 The living room is one of our favorite rooms in the whole house!  It has a ten-foot-wide picture window that overlooks a lake (no neighbors across the street), so you can find the dogs or us just laying around looking out the window more often than not.  We have an Ikea Hemnes entertainment center that we LOVE!  It just brightens up the room and is so cute.  The shelves are not decorated or styled the way I want them to be, but they are fine for now.  We recently added the yellow striped curtains and the gray curtains.  They are both from Ikea, but the striped ones were just plain white.  I painted the yellow stripes on them.  The couch is an Ikea Ektorp couch that has a white slip cover.  I plan on doing a review of that couch soon, seeing as we have two dogs, are messy people ourselves, and many look at us like we are crazy when they find out we have a white couch.  The gray side table is from World Market (LOVE LOVE LOVE it!).   The ottoman is not staying.  It will be replaced eventually by a nice rustic, wooden coffee table.   I made the lamp shade a few years ago by gluing some fabric to an existing shade.

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We love this little side table from World Market so much!  I found the vintage fruit crate a few years back and use it to hold our blankets.

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Here is a great view of how everything is open to each other.

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Dining Room

Ahhh…the dining room!  Our newest big project!  We absolutely love the coastal cottage decorating style, and when I think of that style, I think of board and batten.  I knew this room needed something big and kind of flashy because it can be seen from the front door and the living room, and it just felt so bare without room for more furniture on the right side of the table.  I envisioned board and batten in here the second we opened up the wall between the living room and dining room.  After one weekend, some hard work by my parents and me and San, we had this beauty!  The chandelier now looks even more outdated.  It will go one day.  It makes me a little sad to get rid of it because it is one of the few remnants of the old house and its history, but it just doesn’t go with our decor (it is brown and orange and very autumn looking).  The table is from JcPenney originally, but we scored it on Craigslist for $80!  The chairs are Ikea, but they are far from permanent.  We would like to add some white x-back chairs to the sides of the tables and maybe some upholstered chairs on the ends.

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I scored that mirror above the buffet from a thrift shop for something like $5.  The mirror itself is warped, so I will eventually be replacing the glass, and I plan on painting the frame a different color.

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The floors make it very obvious right now that the stairs to the basement used to be where the buffet is.  When we hire someone to refinish them, it will be much less obvious!

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I’m in love with the way the board and batten curves around the corner here.  So pretty!  So classic!

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Here’s a view of the dining room from the kitchen.  You can see the back door and the little “cleaning” closet where we keep a lot of our cleaning products.  Like I said, all trim and doors will be painted, and all the old handles will be updated.

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Kitchen

 The kitchen has had an incredible overhaul since we bought the house, but we haven’t changed much since the last home tour.  We did add this little coffee station between the window and the back door.  There is a large walkway here, so we figured we could get away with adding a piece of furniture.  The shelving unit and bins are from Target.  We will be adding art and probably a shelf with a place to set or hang mugs above the coffee pot. The garbage and recycling will eventually be going in the cabinet next to the dishwasher, but for now they are still hanging out by the coffee station.

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We still need to replace the lights in here.

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And, we will be adding a built-in microwave most likely above the stove one day, as well as replacing the white appliances with stainless steel to match the dishwasher.

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I’m rethinking the chalkboard here.  I’m just no good at decorating chalkboards.  I thought about hiring a professional to decorate it permanently, but that is very expensive.  Instead, I’m thinking of hanging a little shelf with hooks for some vintage aprons and decorating the shelf.  Thoughts?

We did add this coral rug from Target. I love it!  This room was made for the color coral!

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Bedroom Hallway

The only thing we have done to the bedroom hallway (that is accessed from the living room) is rip out the carpet (as well as in the bedrooms, too).

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We plan on adding a full-length mirror to this wall to make it brighter and to allow guests (and us) to see how we look after leaving the bathroom.

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Bathroom

Nothing has changed at all in the bathroom since the last home tour.  We still need to paint the walls a pale aqua blue.

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Second Bedroom

 Ahhhhh….a room!  In the past, I haven’t shown this room because it was basically just a futon with a bunch of random stuff that didn’t go anywhere else.  I couldn’t take it anymore, so last week, I cleared everything out and brought up any office stuff we had in the basement or other parts of the house.  We don’t plan on decking this room out anytime soon because we are holding on to hope that we will need to convert it into a nursery soon, but for now, we like that it has a purpose, even if it isn’t the office of our dreams.

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I am in love with this navy lateral file cabinet!  I bought it in its once dingier form as a laminated Goodwill find for $10.  Some primer, paint, brass corners from the hardware store, and some Rub-N-Buff on the handles and it looks like a campaign chest.  I will probably do a more in-depth look at this file cabinet because the inside has been organized beautifully as well.

 

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Master Bedroom

From this view, it is hard to see the major change that has rocked our world: a new closet system!   The rug is from Rugs USA

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Here she is!  We bought two Pax closet systems from Ikea in chunks when things were on sale or in the “as is” section and save probably about $200!  This opens up both the bedroom closets that were being used by us for our clothes, so now we can use them for other things becasuse 95% of our clothes fits in these closet systems.  My dad added the crown molding and helped us add filler strips to the wall and between the closets so that the doors could open fully.

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And, here is the swatch graveyard we have stared at for close to a year.  We have the paint already for all the unpainted rooms, but we just haven’t found the time to dedicate to painting them.  This room will be a gray-beige (greige?) because the rug in here is taupe and doesn’t look good with a true gray wall (we tried it in the living room) but we want something nice, calm, and neutral so we can add more color throughout the room.

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We hope you enjoyed the home tour!  Let me know if I missed any important information!  Also, I’d love to know what your favorite part is or what you might have done differently (or would still do with the unfinished parts)!

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