Archive Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Week in Review | August 26-30

Here’s my favorites from the blogging world for you to peruse over the long weekend! Enjoy!

Week In Review

  1. The DIY Network’s blog Made+Remade featured some incredible stone fire pit inspiration pics. There’s no denying it- fire pits rock. But a fire pit on the beach is simply the best.
  2. Melanie from My Sweet Savannah completed her dreamy master bedroom makeover. I’m completely jealous of her barn doors into a closet and bathroom. How fun!
  3. Paloma from La Dolce Vita pondered different options for her client’s stair runner. We’re not planning on a runner in our home but this pic above with its lovely tie downs definitely got my attention. Future project?
  4. Ashley from Rustic Living turned a simple wooden side table into an adorable piece all designed around those cute bird pulls.
  5. HGTV’s blog Design Happens made me really want an invitation from Nicole Richie to a backyard barbecue. I’ll bring the veggie burgers Nicole!


Want to Feel Better about Buying a House?

I know it’s getting pricey out there but what if you or your spouse had your heart set on the most expensive house in America? Want to know what that looks like?

Copper Beech FarmIt’s Copper Beech Farm on the Gold Coast of Connecticut. Forty feet above sea level in Greenwich, Connecticut, the next owner of this estate will come home to a 1,800 foot driveway, two islands, a mile of shoreline, walled gardens, a 75-foot pool, grass tennis court, greenhouse, stone carriage house, and cottage all for the low low price of…


Copper Beech Farm Greenwich Dining at Copper Beech Farm Back Porch Copper Beech Farm Pool with Ocean View Greenhouse at Copper Beech Farm

So that’s what the one and only fifty acre waterfront estate looks like. Just in case you were in the market. Pity there’s no helipad on the roof. Wherever would my pilot park the chopper?

Yes, Another Kitchen Post

Are you getting sick of our kitchen remodel yet? I’m not! It’s getting better and better every day! After tiling the entire bathroom, Jared brought his mad tiling skills to the kitchen. We purchased these 2″ x 3″ beautiful marble tiles from the Tile Shop. They have subtle blue, green, and grey tones that look gorgeous next to our white IKEA cabinets.

9592628611_fa6cb815dd_o9592628913_330197f034_o 9592629447_57fb2508d5_oWe carried the tile all the way up the wall around the kitchen window for a big impact. The window will be trimmed with the same rosettes and belly casing as the rest of the house but have a large sill made with the same butcher block as our countertops.

DSC_0032And did you catch the cabinet hardware? I’ll forever be receiving marine catalogs thanks to my order of 38 four inch galvanized steel boat cleats. But they’re super cute and really functional. Again, it’s all about textures. I love the rigid steel next to our sleek white cabinets. Plus, if anyone needs to dock a boat by our house, we have a couple tie ups available!

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House Stalking

When improving your own home, it’s impossible not to notice homes around you. I’ve always loved walking in random neighborhoods, looking at different homes, seeing the way people keep them up (or don’t!) So when my friend Jamie and I set a date to meet up for a stroll every month, I knew she’d be up for a little house stalking!

This time, the neighborhood was just outside my door. Winthrop is full of interesting homes. Some new, a lot old, grand estates, and tiny cottages. In fact, Winthrop used to be filled with cottages. It was settled in 1630 by English Colonists as Pullen Poynt but later got it’s name from John Winthrop, the second governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Bordering East Boston, Winthrop is a peninsula with 7 miles of shoreline. With the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Boston Harbor to the west, Winthrop became a popular vacation spot and summer weekend retreat for prominent Bostonians. Many of their cottages have been remodeled and almost all winterized to become year round residences but the town retains it’s coastal charm.

Take this lovely front porch for example. I love the nautical lanterns and sky blue door and porch ceiling.


This home has an adorable cupola with a lighthouse weather vane perched at the top. The pergola surrounded by greenery seems like the perfect little quiet retreat.


Another cupola above the garage. I think this one was a lobster. Oh sorry- lobstah!


And talk about an ocean view. Most people in town would recognize this beauty of a home complete with it’s own pier.


There are so many great porches in Winthrop- like these lovelies.


DSC_0007 DSC_0019And looks like I’m not the only one obsessed with a statement mailbox. We saw a couple of these old bronze letter boxes.

DSC_0013I think a prominent front door is key. It’s your home’s first impression. Make it a good one! Love this cedar looking front door and steps.


And this turquoise door is a cheery surprise.

DSC_0020I hope all homeowners didn’t mind my photos and compliments! Kudos to you Winthrop homeowners! You make us look good!




Before & Current

We’re not quite at Before and Afters but we’re pretty close. Here’s those same angles from the day we got the house back in April and this past weekend.

View in Living Room looking into Dining Room2013-04-15 14.51.23DSC_0028

View in Dining Room looking into Living Room

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View in Kitchen looking at sink & basement door

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View in Kitchen looking at Front Door

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And finally, here’s the view from my gorgeous flowers that my gorgeous friend Jamie brought over this weekend! It’s amazing how much more the house is feeling less like a construction site and more like a home!



The Week in Review | August 19-23

So much to love in the blogging world this week! Here are my favorites…

WhereWeAreBlog Week in Review

  1. Melanie at My Sweet Savannah made her own wine barrel serving tray. Very impressive Melanie!
  2. And speaking of wine… Renee at Cottage and Vine took a trip to Charlottesville and visited my favorite winery in the world- Blenheim Vineyards. After Jared asked me to marry him at Carter Mountain Orchards in Charlottesville, we celebrated with friends at this winery. Memories!
  3. Ez at Creature Comforts got me all excited for fall and apple picking with this recipe for Apple Crisp with Pecan & Oat Topping. Mmmmmmm!
  4. Desire to Inspire showed off this beautiful Charleston home with it’s lovely front porch. Imagining I’m on that porch swing right now.
  5. And finally Jenny showed off some mad DIY skills over at the Little Green Notebook with a faux bois paint technique on her laundry room countertop.

Kitchen Update

We’re getting there! Let’s go through the checklist…

photo (1)

  1. Demo entire kitchen including wall to back hall and wall to dining room
  2. Frame new walls, insulate, plaster
  3. Prime and paint walls
  4. Build cabinet boxes level on floor
  5. Install hardwood floor
  6. Build IKEA cabinets and put in place
  7. Tile marble back splashphoto (2)
  8. Frame window
  9. Hook up sinkphoto (4)
  10. Hook up new stainless steel appliances
  11. Install cabinet hardwarephoto (3)
  12. Add fascia and crown molding above cabinets
  13. Sand and stain floorsphoto
  14. Move in and unpack
  15. Open bottle of champagne
  16. Drink champagne

Picture1That should do it! Won’t be long now!

Kitchen Decor

When it comes to kitchen decor I have very strong opinions (like when do I not, right?) This is a highly functional room and I believe there should be nothing taking up valuable counter or wall space that doesn’t serve a purpose. That’s not to say your kitchen has to be void of personality or color! One thing that I don’t think people realize is that the kitchen bin can finish the look of the room. Here’s some of my favorite (and useful!) kitchen accessories.


Fruit 3Encourage healthy eating and add a pop of color with bowls or platters of fruits and veggies.

FruitFruit 2



Whether displayed on the counter for easy access or in the pantry, playful canisters liven up a kitchen and keep your dry goods… well, dry.

French CanistersDISH TOWELS

Dish Towel

A solid color works fine but there are so many fun designs out there. Educate yourself on knot tying while you cook, show off your city pride, or my favorite- turn a handwritten note or recipe into a towel by following Emma’s instructions here.

Boston Dish TowelDish TowelHERBS OR SUCCULENTS

Windowsill Garden in Tea Tins

Planting an herb garden or succulents on a kitchen windowsill brings life to a kitchen- plus the herbs are quite handy when cooking! I love these little tea tins or tea cups as planters. Though most herbs are pretty hardy, just remember that modern windows are so energy efficient that they block UV rays making it difficult to grow plants in a windowsill. Succulents on the other hand, can grow in the harshest of conditions.

Succulents in Tea CupsWindowsill Garden

Here's My Numerar, So Call Me Maybe

After much debate, we decided on IKEA’s NUMERÄR oak countertops for our new kitchen. I think it’s the best budget and design choice and honestly, I’m not worried about performance because I’m the biggest neat freak I know and go out of my way to maintain my things.

The warm wood tone will really warm up the high gloss white IKEA cabinets. Remember, this house is over 100 years old. The last thing I want is an obviously modern kitchen. But rather, an efficient kitchen with nods to the house’s history and character.

With our decision made and the countertops cut, we’ve done a TON of research on treating the wood. I was nervous about leaving the oak it’s natural color. It’s pretty light and I wanted a nice contrast with our white cabinets and a compliment to our darker wood floors. Thanks to the plethora of DIY bloggers, I was able to compile three viable options:

Number 1, we could do absolutely nothing but a mineral oil treatment. Mineral oil is a colorless, odorless mixture. Essentially it’s baby oil without the perfumes. Bloggers recommend the treatment nightly for the first week, then 2-3 times per week for the first month after instillation to get a good moisture/stain barrier in place. And finally, re-oil as needed but typically every 1-3 months depending on usage and humidity. The benefit to this is it’s food safe and water resistant and seems relatively easy to maintain. And the best part is if there is a mark on your counters from a scratch or a pen mark, you just sand the spot down and re-oil. Simple as that.

The second option was for those worried about water damage. A product called Waterlox could be applied to the counters for a permanent water tight seal. However, bloggers did warn of a yellowy hue.

The third option would definitely give us the color we were looking for and seal the counters water tight. If we applied a stain to the wood and sealed with Waterlox, the counters would look more like a piece of furniture though they would definitely be waterproof. This one is tempting since I am nervous about the color. However, I’m more nervous about the finish. I don’t want our countertops to look like a piece of shiny furniture. I want them usable and durable and natural.

Soooooo… option one it is! Dana from the blog House Tweaking gives a fantastic step by step process of her oiling routine. I especially love her kit that she’s assembled. When I know I have the right tools and tested instructions, I know I can handle this!

butcher-block-maintenance-suppliesDana uses…

A: Clean Damp Rag

B: Sanding Block

C: Mineral Oil

D: Re-Usable Oiling Rags

After making sure the countertops are void of all dirt, dust, or crumbs, she wipes it down with the clean damp rag. Once dry, a drizzle of mineral oil gets rubbed in with the oiling rags in the direction of the wood grain. After the oil penetrates the wood, there may be some excess to wipe away but especially during the first month, the wood will really soak up the oil.

There have also been a lot of reports of the oil darkening the wood slightly so all in all, I’m secure in our decision. Stay tuned for the countertop reveal!


Mastering the Bathroom

We’ve been saying for a while now that in order to move in we need to complete the kitchen, master bathroom, and bedroom. Well last week we made major steps toward finishing the master bath!

Now, there’s a lot of corners in this bathroom if you remember the floorplan I showed you, so it’s difficult to get the big picture (pun intended). But we had WA Assett The Bathroom Renovators come in and remodel our bathroom. Here’s an idea of all the beautiful bits and pieces.

The walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Soft Chamois. This pale cream color is the perfect mixture between all the white tiles with dark grout and antique bronze fixtures.

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Jared did all the tiling of the hexagon tiles on the floor and the subway tiles around the tub. For a first timer, I think he did a fabulous job. Especially since I insisted on these cubbies in the wall for all our shower products including and finally picked one of these shower heads to get installed.


Jared says that there is a definite learning curve but since we had heard so much from our contractors about how difficult tiling is, he felt it was way easier than expected. A straight and level start is key. From then on, it’s just tile by tile, one at a time, and patience, patience, patience.

Our white subway tiles came from Home Depot at a great price and the hexagon floor tiles are from the Tile Shop. We used a pewter color grout to give a nice contrast I think that along with our antique bronze fixtures give an antique, rustic industrial vibe.

I’m purposefully not showing the sink or vanity yet. We’ll have to make a custom vanity due to the space it’s in but we also want to build it custom to use some of the boards from our house that we removed when we took down walls. A reclaimed wood vanity will fit perfectly in this bathroom. For now, my Dad has built a temporary vanity which is hilarious because it’s good enough to go in any bathroom. White table legs with a white laminate top will work just fine now while we move in and build the reclaimed wood one.

We have lots of kitchen projects coming to fruition in the next few days. It’s going to be an epic couple of weeks so stay tuned!

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