The Dining Room is DONE!

When we moved into our home, it was a totally blank slate.

Mulberry before 05

This was the listing photo.

I bought a new light fixture… (I couldn’t bear to part with the old one, so it’s living in the attic.)


and brought in our furniture, and that was the extent of my focus on the dining room.


Over the last year, I’ve given the room some thought and made a few decisions.  I filled the back corner of the room with a bombe dresser from Hooker Furniture and a lamp I already had.


I added items to the dresser and wall above the dresser.


And just this week added a rug and made curtains for the window with Richloom Birdwatcher in Charcoal.

I’m calling this room done!

Not that I’m ever actually done, but these completed projects will hold me over for awhile.

Necessity is the Mother of… Rearranging.

I spent a week up to my eyeballs in kids’ clothes, going through eight bins and five boxes, and realized I needed to rearrange furniture so my two oldest girls could use small matching dressers from other rooms for extra storage of undergarments and shorts/jeans/skirts.

You may not be able to tell, but there was a system in all this madness.  Post-its everywhere: “Too big for S” or “Too small for A” and so on, so I knew into which bin it would need to be sorted.

The small dressers were previously in my other girls’ bedroom and the main bathroom, where they were either too small or not well utilized.  My older girls’ nightstands were also small and not well utilized, and toys littered the floor under their nightstands.  The new dressers-as-nightstands also freed up some much needed space in their tiny under-the-attic-stairs closet.

Form and function… aaaaahhhhh.  And a free project among so many money projects this summer… double aaaaahhhhh!

All Quiet on the SoVA Front

Um, can we say crickets?  It’s not that I’ve not been doing anything, it’s that I’ve not thought about sharing projects with you until it was too late.  And also, I didn’t think you’d be interested in pictures of heat pumps.  That’s where the majority of our money has been focused this summer.

We did do one BIG HUGE AMAZING outdoor pretty project.  And by did, I mean we hired someone to plan it and do it.  I can do outdoor projects, it’s just not my area of expertise and I know it can be done better than I have the time or energy to pull off on my own.

The brick wall used to be hidden by hostas I wanted to save mixed with weeds I wanted gone but never cleared because I had no idea when the project might actually happen. Otherwise known as procrastination.

The kids’ favorite tree on the left, and the patchy not-grass in front of it.  The area that looks mulched?  Just dirt.

Terrible.  But hey, there’s a shot of one of the GORGEOUS new heat pumps!  I never even went to this side of the yard.  Barren wasteland side.

Then this, plus three other trucks you can’t see from this stalking-from-the-window picture came to my rescue.  Yep, the tractor trailer is my way of giving the neighbors something to talk about.  It was full of…

SOD!!! And oh my goodness, when they finished, I just wanted to go roll in my grass.  My REAL grass!!

Backing up half a day, they first dug up, divided, and replanted all my hostas, then mulched in an arc in the corner of the yard.  I was surprised that they didn’t extend the mulch all the way down the brick wall, as it was pre-project, but I’m SO glad I gave total control of the project over to the landscaper.

And the icing on the perfect back yard cake?

After a couple of weeks to let the grass take root, it looks less patchwork and more dense carpet.  I didn’t even know when they finished, but the crew seeded the section they didn’t sod, so now we have baby grass against the front brick wall!

(The not mulched area beyond the pretty yard is the official “dog yard” where they can take care of their stuff without me freaking out that they’ll burn the grass.)

While I was taking pictures this evening, a family of deer were out for a stroll.  We love our deer, and we love them more that they leave our hostas inside the fence alone.

The landscaper said the closer the fire pit is to the house, the more often it will be used.  We’ve now had several hot dog dinners and so many s’mores from our fire pit.  Please don’t tell my dad, but we use the little baby fire logs to start our fires.  I can start a fire the traditional way, but by the time the hubby is home and the kids are begging for s’mores, there is not a single ounce of desire to be a Girl Scout.  I just want to listen to cicadas while lounging next to the fire in my adirondack chair.

Campaigning Again!

I made over a campaign desk earlier this year and love how it looks in my guest room.  So when I saw a campaign dresser in my favorite resale shop, I wanted it.  But I really had no way to incorporate a black piece of furniture into any room in my house.  I’m all earth tones.

campaign dresser

After playing Musical Furniture (again), I was looking for a wider – but still lower than the window – dresser.  I kept coming back to this dresser, then walking away.  For a few months.

Earlier this month, I purchased a table for my foyer and painted it an almost white.  It’s basically a smaller version of what was there before, but meant I had less space to fill.  Still on the hunt for new hardware.

It finally occurred to me that I could *gasp* paint the already painted dresser.  The heavy beast was purchased and loaded into my van, taking up an entire row of the bench seats and having only an inch or so of clearance. I managed to unload it from my van, but couldn’t even move it from the driveway to the house.  A dolly went on my Christmas wish list.

Did I mention the hubby was coming home from a week long work trip THAT DAY?!  “Hi honey, how was your trip?  I have no idea how that large black object appeared in our driveway.  You want to help me carry it upstairs?”

After procrastinating for a few days, and therefore making my children walk around the dresser and drawers, which were removed in an attempt to make the extremely heavy piece slightly less heavy, I got around to painting.

I let the girls put their clothes in the dresser last night and put the hardware back on this morning.  I think it looks great in their room!

The Finished Campaign Desk and a Proper Guest Room

I said I’d been working on the house but not blogging, and I wasn’t lying!

Several months ago, I showed the progress I’d made on the campaign desk in the bare bones guest room.  When it came into my house, it looked like this:


It received a couple of coats of CeCe Caldwell’s Emerald Isle, with careful painting around the brass details.

The hubby surprised me while I was out of town by removing all the brass pieces so I could clean them properly, which meant I got to paint the parts I’d missed.  I scrubbed until my fingers ached, but some of the brass was too far gone.

I ordered Krylon Short Cuts spray paint and went to town on all the brass pieces and nail heads.

Put on a top coat to protect the paint, let it dry, and now it’s finished!  Seeing the beautiful desk in the unfinished room, I was anxious to work on the rest of it!  It helped just a little that I found out I’ll be hosting an out-of-town speaker for several days over the summer for a local homeschool event.

Because gold and brass are making their way back (hopefully in a better way than in the 80s/90s), I incorporated a bit here and there.  I picked up the large mirror at a consignment shop for $25.  The chair, which belonged to my mom, was one my husband refinished several years ago.  The clock was a cute little thing from Marshalls.

I bought the highboy at a huge indoor charity sale for $30, and decorated it with things I already had in other places in the house.

The globe is one my aunt bought for my sister and me when we were very young.  I grabbed the book box from my sister’s donation pile when she decluttered her living room.  The vase was previously in the girls’ now coral bathroom, and the painting was one I bought while in Bulgaria.

My mom has claimed this room as hers, and bought a duvet and shams for the bed as my birthday gift!  I love it!  Still on the hunt for throw pillows.


I bought paint for the boys’/guest bath at the same time I bought the girls’ bath paint, and my best friend couldn’t believe I was waiting to paint, so she stopped by, threw on her painting clothes, and knocked out the job in an hour.  Well then.  The boys’/guest bath isn’t finished, but it’s at least not white and has had something done to it.  The sink is not my favorite, so I’m looking to swap it out with something more squared off.

I love walking into the guest room now and seeing the end result of several months of putting it together!

A Darling (Coral and Gold) Bathroom

I’ve been absent from blogging for too long, which seems to be the recurring theme.  If you’re still reading, I’m still working on the house, just not posting much about it.

This weekend, four of my six kids were at the beach with my mom, so I took advantage of being practically kid-free and knocked out a couple of projects!  I have two girls with June birthdays and was running short on gift ideas.  I knew all of the girls would appreciate something happening to the bathroom they all share.


I essentially moved the things that were in their last bathroom into this bathroom and called it done.  Not the best I could do, but I also wasn’t ready to tackle replacing the sink (will take a plumber due to the way it’s hooked up) or retiling the bathroom (which I’m so undecided on how to handle).  So, I needed a happy medium, and these birthdays gave me a great opportunity to find just that.

First, it was choosing a direction to take the room.  Like everyone else in the world, I love the coral and gold I’m seeing everywhere (and even wearing right now), and with the antique light fixture I’d chosen for the room, it was the perfect choice.

A trip to Sherwin Williams, followed by three coats of paint, followed by trips to Lowes, Marshalls, World Market, and Green Living Resale.  And the result is fantastic!  Not finished, but also not bare bones like it was.  I’m waiting to find the right pieces (mirrors, paintings, ???) for over the tub.  I’m not in a rush to hang just anything, I’ve got to love it.  The girls are thrilled, although one of my daughters, whose birthday is not in June, says it needs to be purple.  Can’t please them all, but 3 out of 4 isn’t bad!


Several months ago, I installed the light fixture above the mirror, but no one ever noticed it.  When I invited my best friend over to see the bathroom, she asked if I just put up the light.  When my mom brought the kids home from the beach, she asked the same thing.  This gorgeous fixture was hidden in plain view, but not anymore!  It’s getting all the attention it deserves!

Progress on the Desk!


When I saw this campaign style desk in the warehouse for my favorite resale shop, my first thought went to a blog post I read a couple of months ago, where several bloggers had “The Great Crate Challenge.”  I loved the emerald green against the brass, and knew I’d found the right piece to finally incorporate green into the house!

Green Living also sells CeCe Caldwell paint, so I grabbed a quart of Emerald Isle and planned to use the rest of the Endurance top coat from another project.

I removed the handles, but couldn’t get the brackets off.  After two coats of paint, and a chance to dry overnight, I already saw a big improvement.  This picture makes the desk appear aqua, but it’s more kelly green.  Of course, it was after I painted the desk that I realized I had Bar Keeper’s Friend in my laundry room and decided to start scrubbing the brackets.  As careful as I was, I kept rubbing off the paint near the brackets.

Two brackets down, eight to go!

Since I wasn’t making fast progress on the brackets, I decided to work on the drawer pulls.  What a difference a few minutes of scrubbing makes!

When I got home from Bulgaria, my hubby said he had a surprise for me.  As soon as we turned the corner into the guest room, I squealed.  It really doesn’t take much to make my day.

Even though he says he doesn’t like the desk, he’d made it his mission to get the brackets off so I could really clean them.  Maybe it’s growing on him?

So, since I have a Saturday with NO PLANS, I’m working on finishing this desk!  Once it’s finished, I’ll be able to decide on some other things for the room, like bedding and curtains.

A Room for Two

My 11- and 4-year old girls were not only sharing a room, but sharing a full-size bed.  This wasn’t really a problem until recently, when my 4-year old decided she needed all but 6″ of the bed, and would kick and toss and turn, keeping my 11-year old awake.  I’d planned on them having their own beds, and they used to have their own beds, but with the addition of adopted children, I did a lot of rearranging furniture and ended up one bed short of finding beds I like and that fit my style.  (Truth be told, with the boys having bunk beds, I’m still short two beds I like, but they have their own space to sleep, so it’s not as big a deal right now.)

This past weekend, I went to an antique store and bought two mismatched but similar beds, and then began the hunt for bedding.  The girls have some decorations in turquoise that I knew I wanted to work around, and I also knew I wanted a bold floral pattern.  The bedding sets came in (minus one sham, with the replacement on the way) and went right on the beds, and they’re exactly what I wanted!

The secretary from the guest room has been moved into the girls’ room and fits nicely between the closet and bathroom doors.

I still need to find a chair.  Oh, wait.

There it is.  This is controlled chaos, people.

I still have other things to do in this room, like buy blinds for the windows, make curtains, and ideally find a different piece to serve as the nightstand/dresser.  I’m toying around with the idea of wall-mounted lighting for the beds, which I’m sure will just make my husband’s day!

It’s progress, and progress feels so good!  Plus, the girls are both saying they’re sleeping better!

Playing “Musical Furniture” Upstairs

When we moved in, my husband put every piece of furniture exactly where I asked, without (much) complaint.  At the risk of sounding mushy, I adore that man.  I mentioned in my last post that I was shopping for two twin beds to replace the full bed two of my girls had been sharing.  Well, I found them, drove 45 minutes to pick them up, drove home and dropped off my husband, kids, and beds, then drove to the mattress store to buy mattresses and bunkie boards.

I managed to order mattresses and bunkie boards, but the ones I wanted weren’t in stock.  I’m waiting for a call anytime now, since they’re supposed to be in today.  Which means the girls are still sharing a bed, but only for a couple of days.

Anyway… while I was shopping for mattresses, my husband was at home putting the beds together.  When I arrived home, I found the assembled beds sitting in the middle of the room, waiting to be told where to go.  The full-size iron bed had been moved to the guest room and was already set up, so that was one big job done.  I started playing with the beds, and realized that the highboy my girls keep their jeans and shorts in just wasn’t going to work in the room.  Leaving it in its place meant the beds had to be scrunched on the other side of the room, and arranging the beds how I liked meant the highboy looked out of place on either of the walls it could live.  I like that piece too much to have it look like an afterthought.

I mentioned to my husband that I’d just have to find another room to put it in, and his immediate response was “On this floor, please.”  Well okay.  The guest room had a small secretary against one wall that actually belongs to one of the girls in this room, so I brought the secretary into the girls’ bedroom and moved the highboy into its spot in the guest room.

At first I felt like I was losing so much storage space for the girls, because their closet is the smallest of all the closets upstairs.  The nightstand they’d used previously was much too small for the space between their beds, so I moved the nightstand into the guest room and moved a chest from the upstairs landing into the space between the beds.

I’m not crazy about the chest as it is now, but my grandparents were getting rid of two of them, and I knew I could do something with them.  (The twin is in my bathroom, which had ZERO storage space.  Not even a place for my toothbrush.)  Ideally, I’d have a piece slightly shorter and wider to better fill the space beneath the window.  But it works for now.

Back to the subject.  The three drawers in this chest work just as well as the five drawers on the highboy because part of the highboy was used for linen storage.  I can keep extra linens for all of the upstairs bedrooms in the bottom drawers of the highboy, and still leave space for guests in the upper drawers.

I had some errands to run today and one of my girls spotted the mirrors that are now hanging over the beds.  The other day, I told her what I was looking for, and she asked if these would work.  Why, yes.  Yes they will.  (My husband just looooves drilling into plaster walls.)  By the way, I’ve tried many different ways to figure out how to hang pieces at the exact same height, and I finally figured it out.

First, my son held the mirror where I wanted it to be on the wall, and I measured the distance from the ceiling to the top of the mirror (19″).  I flipped the mirror over and measured from the top of the mirror to the places where the nails would hook in (8.5″).  I marked a spot at 27.5″ on the wall.  Then I measured the distance between the two hook-in places (11.5″).  I measured the total width of the part of the wall I was working with (between the window and corner), marked the middle, then marked 5.75″ out to the left and right.  Make sure your marks are level!  Drill into the plaster, put in the perfectly spaced nails, and hang perfectly level piece!  No guessing, and no sheepishly asking your husband to re-drill a hole a fraction of an inch away.  And easy to repeat on the other side of the window for a matching piece!

I can’t wait to see this room with bedding, bedside lighting, and who knows what other fun stuff!

Dressing the Windows

Our new house has great windows.  As in original to the house rope and pulley windows with big ol’ trim.  My husband asked if I wanted to replace them in the future (for energy efficiency reasons), and I reminded him that I’m a form over function girl, and he wasn’t going anywhere near my windows!

Covering these windows is not something I’m crazy about doing, but I realized two nights ago why I really have no choice, at least for the bedrooms.  The house next door has been under renovation for some time now, but apparently it’s finished and the neighbors moved in while I was gone.  As I was helping kids get ready for bed, I realized I could see our neighbors walking around, which meant they could see us!  Not what I want for bedroom windows!

The view from the boys’ room isn’t much better, as far as visibility and privacy are concerned.

What a dreary day with all of the not-snow we were getting.  But I digress.

I called Lowe’s yesterday to order Levolor faux wood blinds for all of the bedroom and bathroom windows, had them cut to fit, and arrived to find them all waiting in a cart with my name on it.  I love Lowe’s!  I moved the boxes upstairs so we could get an early start this morning.

We started in what will be the guest room since we wouldn’t have to move furniture.  Path of least resistance and whatnot.  We never use the screws that come with anything, because they almost never work as well as our own screws, so I can’t comment on the screws in the kit.  With the exception of the thank-goodness-these-windows-aren’t-even-a-tiny-bit-narrower tight fit, the blinds went in smoothly.  We did have to bend the clip on one bracket out to get the top bar in place, but it’s in!

the future guest room windows

We worked out a good system of me being two steps ahead of him at the start of each set of blinds so I could go back behind him and add the decorative trim to the top and pop in the little plastic pieces on the bottom bar without slowing him down on the next set.  We worked on the guest/boys’ bathroom next.

Who wants to use the bathroom knowing you’re that exposed!

My son was upset that we were hanging blinds on the window closest to his bed, because he likes looking out the window in the morning.  Once I showed him he could open the blinds while still in bed, he was fine.  Boys.  The blinds in the boys’ room and the girls’ room that faces the neighbor’s house were all tight fits like the guest room, so we had to convince the blinds they wanted to go up.  Gave my husband an excuse to use his hammer, at least.

It feels much better knowing my girls have privacy in their bedroom now!

Lowe’s was short two blinds, so I wasn’t able to put blinds up in the second girls’ room, but all of the windows that face other houses or the street are done.

After finishing the girls’ bathroom, I had my husband drill holes in the plaster to hang a few pictures.  May as well get as much as possible accomplished while everything was out!  Now, I’m heading to an antique store to pick up two twin beds to replace the full bed in one of the girls’ rooms.  My 11 and 4 year old girls have been sharing a bed, and my 4 year old is training to be a boxer in her sleep.  Time to end the suffering!  The full bed is moving into the guest room, so it will no longer be (almost) empty!

Things have been busy here since coming home, just the way I like it!