Thursday, March 29, 2018

Our Easter Table

Easter is this Sunday!!! How is this possible? Where is time going? Well, ready or not it's here and WE ARE HOSTING! 

We will have 12 guests and plan to seat everyone in our dining room

The more events we host the more I'm convinced setting your table in advance is the way to go. Not only does it give me the opportunity to snap a few pictures, but it allows time to recognize elements you still need (for me, 2 more stemless wine glasses) without those facts slapping you in the face at the last minute. In addition, it leaves me feeling somewhat on top of things which is a high like no other ;)

We kept things simple and fresh with a lot of items we already had. I was excited to find these pretty place mats inside a lace table cloth set my Grandmother gave to me a year or two ago. I went to open the tablecloth and found the place mats in the packaging as well. We decided to go with the wood table + place mat look instead of the full tablecloth. Felt less formal and more organic. 

Nothing crazy, just a simple spring happy scene over here on my table. What does your table look like? Are you Easter ready? 

All photos are my own. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Shower Niches + Heated Floors - Croix's Bath Part 2

We've got some catching up to do! Last weekend was less about pretty progress and more about behind the scenes prepping. On Friday night we headed to Home Depot to pick up our tub.

As I mentioned in my last post we were kind of forced into upgrading the tub and after looking over the options we decided to go with this Delta tub. We were sold on the depth and the curve, both of which will give the Croix a more comfortable bathing experience and give the bathroom a more updated look. Getting the tub installed was no easy task. The tub is literally the same size as the opening it was to fit in to, so maneuvering this beast into place was a struggle.

In the image above you can see we started installing the durarock immediately after the tub was in place, but before we went any further we had to finalize our niche placement. A niche is a recess in the shower wall built to hold shampoo, soaps,'s essentially a built-in alternative to sitting your bottles on the edge of the tub or adhering a basket to the wall with suction cups. A built-in niche can be whatever size or shape you choose and will be tiled to match the rest of the tub/shower surround for a cohesive look. This is a feature you can only really add when you have your shower walls down to the studs in a remodel like this or a new construction situation, so we definitely wanted to take advantage of our current state and add a niche.... or two.

That's right, we added two! Why? Well, number one, why not?  If Croix grows up to be anything like me he will likely have a plethora of bottles and soaps in the shower. And two, the long term plan is for this new bedroom of Croix's to be a shared space with a sibling so we wanted to be sure to have enough storage space for multiple people to utilize this bath.  (and no... that is not a hint towards any future announcements...)

Next, we took care of some sheetrock patching and then got busy with the next big install - heated floors. Just writing the words "heated floors" in a post about a 2 year old's bathroom makes me feel all kinds of ridiculous, but like shower niche's, this type of install is only really possible when a bathroom floor is gutted, so we thought, let's give it a whirl. We purchased the Sun Touch Floor Warming System from Home Depot.  The installation was pretty straight forward....Brent used his dremel to cut a box for the controls right next to the existing outlet. He pulled power from the outlet and then cut a another small hole at the bottom of the wall to run the wiring to connect to the coils at the floor.

Next, he and Croix rolled out the coils and we were ready to lay the tiles right on top. Here's a sneak peek of our new floors!!

This weekend we were able to knock out the floor tile and plan to grout one night this week. We have a plumber scheduled to come out tomorrow to hook up our new shower valve and then we can get started tiling the shower. We are rolling right along and can't wait to show you the finished floor and other tile elements next time we chat!

All photos are my own. 

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.