Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Croix's New Bathroom - Part 1

The Croix is moving on in literally moving upstairs. More details on that later, but before we start working on his room, we decided to tackle his new bathroom first. The bedroom upstairs has an en suite bathroom with a tub/shower and we are giving it a complete overhaul! This is our first EVER bathroom remodel. We have done mini face-lifts at Brent's Atlantic House and our last house, but never a full gut job. We are excited slash a bit intimidated, but because this is going to be our long-term home we really want to slowly work our way through each space to make it our own.

Let's take a look at what we started with...

The view as you walk through the door from the bedroom:

Tub/Shower view:

Vanity view from the tub/shower:

It's definitely not the worst, just not at all our taste. So, on Saturday we brought out the hammers and started DEMO! It was messy and loud, but only took us about 4 hours off and on.

One item we were on the fence about was the tub. Originally, the plan was to keep the tub, but during the demo a piece of tile/durarock fell and put a few dents in the tub so we decided to just replace that element as well while we were at it. Of course it is possible to have tubs resurfaced, but this tub was on the small side to begin with, so after discussing we decided upgrading to a deeper tub with a bit of curve on the front would serve Croix better, especially at this age when he takes only baths.

Welllll this turned out to be a way bigger pain than we had imagined. To start, the tub was hard to get out. Brent ended up having to literally cut it into 3 pieces to remove it from the bathroom.

With the tub out, Brent added a few pieces of durarock and now we are ready to set the new tub in place and begin tiling the floor.  All of the supplies are purchased and ready to go. Now, we just need another weekend to knock it out. Stay tuned....I have a feeling things are about to get pretty. 

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Me, Craig & His List

Hi! Long time no talk. Sorry about that! February was a busy month with Brent out of the country in Asia for a week + lots of planning, sourcing and scheming about several big projects we have coming down the pipe at our house. We are kind of in this in between stage right now. We have a lot of projects and plans on the horizon but nothing is quite ready to share. Hopefully, things will fall into place soon so I can start updating you. In the meantime I thought I would tell you a little bit about my friend Craig. Craig is a longtime friend who helps me sell items around my house in addition to buying treasures from others. He keeps things organized on his list and I'm a fan.

Yes, I'm talking about Craigslist and guys....I'm good at it. Like, I can and have sold so many random things. Not only is it fun to make money on stuff cluttering up your house, but it's a fun high for me to see how quickly I can sell something and how good of a haggler I can be when looking to buy for myself. Did you all catch my latest purchase on Instastories last week?

I happened upon this antique Pyrex "cooking set" as the buyer listed it, and knew instantly these pieces could be great to use for staging on projects or even at my own house. There is a tea pot, coffee pot, double boiler and single boiler. He was asking $75 for the double boiler and $55 per piece for the other 3 items. We emailed back and forth for a few days negotiating price and finally ended up at $140 for the set ($35 each). I was so excited to see the near perfect condition the pieces were in and really felt like I got a great deal.

Below are a few of my top tips for making the best of this great resource!

Tips For Selling:

1. Don't underestimate what will sell on Craigslist. Remember, that one mans junk can quite literally be another man's treasure. I've sold everything from a ceiling fan, old refrigerator, boob lights, a bike, a cradle, a dryer to my most recent sell - a popcorn cart we bought for Croix's 2nd birthday and a baby gate we never used. It's always the random items that sell quickly. Like the popcorn cart, it sold almost instantly and I had more than 10 people asking to buy if the buyer dropped out. Anything is fair game on Craigslist. So, even if you can't imagine why someone would buy something, list it anyways and just see what happens.

2. Be flexible on price. You are not looking to retire from the money you make selling stuff on Craigslist (hopefully), so be open to negotiating the items you list and never expect to get your list price. Some money is better than no money as far as I'm concerned and if I have it on Craigslist it's nothing that precious to me to begin with, so getting paid anything just to de-clutter my house is a win-win to me.

3. Be up front and honest about what you are selling. I sold a refrigerator a few months ago and was very clear in the description that the freezer had never worked very well since we moved into the house. I priced the refrigerator to sell and was happy to find a buyer that felt confident he could fix the freezer. Awkward interactions at the time of pick up due to misleading items are not ideal. Honesty is the best policy to ensure a smooth transaction.

4. Good Photos. Professional photography is certainly not needed. I use my iPhone for all of my shots BUT do try and take well lit photos with a clean background. With anything in life, we buy with our eyes so the better the picture, the quicker the sell.

I love to sell to de-clutter my house, and making a little money along the way is icing on the cake. But I also love to buy because Craigslist truly is a great source for finding unique items that not everyone else will have.

Tips For Buying:

1. Check-in regularly. I peruse Craigslist at least once a week. Sometimes I'm looking for something specific and sometimes I'm just looking to see what jumps out at me. Earlier this year I bought the Magnolia umbrella holder from Target for our mudroom area. I was on the hunt for cool umbrellas to fill it with and was kind of disappointed with the findings on the Internet. Then one night I happened upon a listing for a "Gentleman's Umbrella" that looked to have a really cool handle. It was listed for $20, I haggled the price down to $15 and now my umbrella stand is in business! 

2.  Have exact cash. During my umbrella buying transaction (above) I did haggle the price down to $15, but on the way to get the umbrella the seller told me he had no change and I only had a $20 so I ended up paying "full price". Womp, womp. Most sellers won't have change, so be prepared with the exact amount so you don't end up paying more in a pinch. 

3. Ask. Regardless of the price, ask if items are still available and if price is negotiable. 9 times out of 10 it is. Also feel free to ask to come see an item before committing. I purchased a great antique rug for our Bell Cabinetry & Design Showroom last year, but definitely made a point to go see it in person to ensure the coloring and size was what I had in mind before letting the seller know I wanted to purchase. 

4. Don't give up. If you are looking for something specific, be patient. My long time dream is to have a SMEG refrigerator in my laundry room. They are expensive and some  may find them impractical, but a dream is a dream people. About a year ago Brent found one on Craigslist! I'd never even thought to look on there and was so excited to see one listed. That particular refrigerator didn't work out because he wasn't wiling to budge on price, but it gave me hope that maybe one day I will find another one. So, now part of my CL routine is typing in "Smeg" to see if anything is listed. I know the chances are pretty good that eventually something will pop up again. Fingers crossed!

They say great homes are those that feel collected and finding treasures on CL is a great way to find  pieces that can give your space that edge.

All photos are my own. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ding Dong

Having a pizza delivered has been a little awkward at our house for a while now. Odd I know, but when you have a doorbell that looks like something out of a serial killer movie, it's no shocker the delivery guys give us the side eye as we open the door to get our goods.

The culprit:

It wasn't pretty and due to it's sharp and unappealing nature, delivery people, trick-or-treaters, carolers and guests had to either knock really loud or call us to let us know they were there. 

Embarrassing, ugly, many adjectives to describe our predicament. It's one of those issues that we have been aware of for ages, but never made a priority to fix. Then, one day I saw some really cool doorbell options ON SALE over at Rejuvenation and is the day we make a change. 

The boys got to work un-installing the old doorbell.....

And then boom, the new one was installed. 

15 minutes and $15 bucks later we made an update that will save the finger tips of our guests for years to come. I'm going to go order a pizza now to show the delivery guy we've got at least some part of our life together. 

Get your own - here. And don't pay full price, they go on sale all the time!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pizza Pizza


Our Pizza oven finally makes the perfect wood fire pizza!
Photo via Sometimes I Draw Things
It has been nearly a year since I last checked in with an update on the pizza oven. Last we chatted, I filled you guys in on a few of our dilemmas, the main one being...the pizza oven looked legit but the pizzas were not cooking evenly. The edges and top of the pizzas would be close to burned while the center would remain doughy. Over the course of a year we increased the height of the chimney, added a ceramic fiber blanket and most recently laid pizza stone tiles across the floor.

On top of that we considered it was possible the pizza oven just needed to heat up longer before we attempted to cook anything inside. However, regardless of how early we lit the fire, the oven itself would get to 600-700 degrees but the floor would only be about 400.

A few Sundays ago we decided to buckle down and figure this thing out once and for all. Brent started the fire around 10:00 a.m. Back inside he made two different doughs and some homemade pizza sauce. Around 2:30 the first pizza went in. Out it came 10 minutes later, with similar results. Soft bottom, doughy middle and near burnt top. Over the next 5 tries we played with increasing the fire, decreasing the fire and letting the overall oven heat up more but nothing seemed to work.

Finally Brent did what any red-blooded american millennial would do and googled it. And just like that the answer to our year long quest for perfect pizza was found in a video titled something like " Is your pizza oven floor not getting hot?" The trick? Are you ready for it?

Build the fire directly on top of where you will be cooking!

Then after a short time, move fire over to the side and place pizza where the fires was just sitting. This rapidly heats up the floor/cooking surface, bringing it to 700 degrees (approximately), consistent with the rest of the oven.... then.... 90 seconds later...POOF...the perfect pizza, cooked evenly and deliciously through and through. It's so obvious.... the hottest part of the floor would be where the fire was sitting. How did we not think of this?! It was equal parts embarrassing and thrilling, but mostly thrilling because now our pizza oven works!

I realize this is not a post filled with beautiful imagery, but you guys have been along for this ride so I wanted to share the good news. I also wanted to document the "how to" here in hopes that someone else, just getting started on a DIY pizza oven can be spared the long road of trial and error and just zip right to the part where they were enjoying yummy pizza!

All images are my own

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Kevo = Keys No More

Happy Wednesday! It's a snow day here for us in Atlanta, our second one this winter, which is pretty unusual and exciting for us southerners.

Tonight's post is a riveting one all about our new door lock. I'd say it's a fair assessment to assume you are officially getting old when upgrading your door lock is a blog worthy event! Ha!  But last year we installed a Kevo Smart Lock and WE LOVE IT!!

Kevo is a digital door lock that operates off blue tooth. No keys, no codes. Just easy-peasy access. Brent knew of Kevo and suggested we install one for our new Bell Cabinetry & Design showroom last summer. Our entire design team needed access to the space and we felt this was the best avenue to give unrestricted access to those that would need it without making a dozen + keys and then having to change the locks should one of the keys get lost. The set-up worked so well that Brent and I opted to add Kevo to our house when we upgraded our garage entry door last fall. 

The perks of this thing were even more apparent on the home front. As the administrator you can see who and when the door is locked or unlocked right on your phone. If you are anything like us, as we are pulling out of the neighborhood one of us usually questions the other on if we locked the door. Even if you are SURE you did, you become instantly less sure when questioned. Well, now we can open the app and clearly see if the door is locked or unlocked.

Another highlight is the ability to issue temporary keys. The housekeeper, a babysitter or even a friend who might be staying for the weekend can all be issued a key for a set amount of time. No more leaving a key under the mat. And finally it all comes down to convenience. Between the push start car and this Kevo lock I literally never have to take my keys out of my purse. Any Mom can attest that carrying a kid, a purse, a work bag and a diaper bag into the house at the same time whilst trying to finagle your keys out of your purse and into the door lock is no easy feat. Now Croix can run ahead of me and simply tap the link and POOF the door is unlocked.

We got the Kevo 2 which retails for around $230. We went with the Satin Nickel finish for the showroom and the bronze finish for our house so it would blend in with the door hardware throughout the rest of our space. It's a small thing, sure, but the busier life gets the more I appreciate any and all conveinances I can create around me.

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Breakfast Room - PLANKED

My first house related post of 2018 is a little project we had done at the verrrry end of last year...

We added planks to our breakfast room walls!

Our breakfast room is a space we use a lot, but you have seen very little of here on the blog. The area sits right off the kitchen and is a highly utilized area of our home. We eat there, we work there, I fold laundry there, it's really a central hub for us. The space is big and currently holds our china cabinet and a large 6' round table we purchased right after we moved in.

The Before:

Not bad, just a little plain. 

This house is full of giant walls and this space is no exception. I've done pretty much nothing in this area since we moved in because I am stumped on how to decorate the big blank wall. One element that really helped add life and interest to another big, blank space in our house was the shiplap or planking we added in our mudroom area, so we started talking through the idea of adding it in this space as well. Not only were we sure the planks would up the cozy factor, but we thought it would add some nice balance to the back of our house. We have an open floor plan and the breakfast room is in the same visual area as the mudroom; So, the addition of planks here would add cohesiveness. 

This conversation got kick started as we made plans to have our first floor painted. We didn't want to pay to have the wall painted only to cover them with wood. So, Brent asked the painters if they did trim work. Turns out they did and were able to provide us with a very reasonable quote to add 1 x 8 planks to our breakfast room.  It caused us a little heart ache to pay for something we knew we could do ourselves, but at the end of the day it just made sense to go this route this time. Time being the main reason. 

Much like the mudroom, the results were instant and we are SO happy with the vibe now

Still no art, but the room feels 10x's warmer and more interesting. The crisp white color and additional 4 chairs we got for Christmas help too! Oh, and I'm testing the universe and TRYING to pull some of my plants out of the hospital to see if they can thrive in other areas. Fingers crossed!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Croix's 2nd Birthday

On Saturday we celebrated Croix' 2nd birthday with a Croix Town Party!!

Croix is obsessed with all things car and truck. Specifically red cars and red trucks. So much so in fact, I actually wrote him a song last year. Wanna hear it?

*Set to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star*

Red car, red car where are you?
We've been looking all through town. 

Up, up, up the road we go.
Down, down, down but no one knows. 

Red Car, red car where are you?
Red car, red car, We love you. 

It was an instant hit :) 

As we started thinking about what to do for his birthday, one thing was for sure...He was getting a red car!  And what does any car need? A town to ride around in of course! So, Brent and I went to work and built him a town full of places he frequents often.  Places like......


Complete with popcorn and apples - his favorite items to purchase !

And Home Depot:

He got this little workbench and tools for Christmas and he has been obsessed! Now he can officially pitch in on all of our projects around the house.

And lastly, there was a Starbucks, a bad habit he picked up from his Mom. 

One of the cool things about this car is it can be operated with a remote control. So, everyone took turns maneuvering Croix + friends (Hi Aria!) around the town. 

Even his cousin Gates enjoyed some time on the road with a red car of his own!

The town turned out to be our last DIY of 2017 and was relatively easy to put together. Weeks ago we made a run to Michaels and picked up wooden letters to spell out our 3 stops (Target, Home Depot & Starbucks). We also picked up some foam pieces to form the Target symbol + the red balls that sit outside of Target.

A few days before the party we started getting everything painted.

For the roads we cut out strips of brown paper and painted them black. Once dry, we used white spray paint to make the lines. The day of the party we cleared everything out of the garage and put the town together. It was relatively simple and super cute and most importantly Croix was all about it, especially THE CAR. When we brought the car down he said"wow!" Genuine excitement, it was so cute!

It's hard to believe how much he's grown in a year. The night of his first birthday he was able to stand by himself for the first time and now only 1 year later he can say whole sentences and run, skip and dance anywhere and everywhere. He's growing up and it's equal parts thrilling and heartbreaking to watch. But from what I hear that's what this whole parenting thing is all about. Happy Birthday Croix or as he says it "HAPPY DOO-DAY!!"

All photos are my own.