Pure Joy

Posted on | March 15, 2013 | 7 Comments

Fireplace Update – Love This House

Posted on | March 5, 2013 | 6 Comments

We’re in that awkward yet familiar to millions situation of living in a house we don’t exactly adore, yet finding ourselves unable to afford to move. We bought at the top of the market and while we’re so fortunate to still be able to afford our home, we can’t get what we owe on it in the current market, let alone anything resembling what we paid for it. I was talking to some friends about this last week, and Miranda’s awesome DIH (that’s Do It Herself) on her bathroom inspired me to finally put this post together.

Our house isn’t perfect, but it’s safe. And sound. It’s in a good neighborhood, close to family and friends. It has quirks we don’t love (I could write an entire post about the world’s most¬†asinine¬†hallway design award that this house surely has coming to it. We think drunken lab mice designed it.) and with three humans, 2 cats and a large dog it’s not exactly what I’d call spacious. But it’s ours, and it’s affordable and it’s time we start “fixing” what we can.

When we bought this house almost 7 years ago (!!!) we did some things right away. Most importantly we gutted the kitchen and replaced the cabinets, sink and countertops almost immediately, but we also painted several rooms. In fact the only room that still has the “original” paint is our master bathroom (we’re not talking about that room. We can talk about that room $5,000 from now. Otherwise known as never.)

But there’s one thing I never had the nerve to paint. “They” tell you not to. It’s not good for resale.

(Did you hear that? I know I know, it was loud and distracting! It was the tens of thousands of dollars that we’re underwater on this house laughing hysterically at “them” and their opinions on “resale value”.)

The fireplace! I have never liked it! I am not a bricky brick inside kind of person! I never have been! But “them”! And “their” professional opinions!! OH THE CONFLICT!!

Eventually I decided it was time. I’m not leaving this place anytime soon and man oh man was I sick of looking at that thing.

I Pinterested my way to a plan and decided to whitewash it. I primarily used the tutorial from The Yellow Cape Cod, and it really was as easy as they made it sound. My mom came over one Saturday and while she started out helping me, it quickly became apparent that this could easily be a one woman job, so she ditched me to play with the kid.

The mantel is the same as what we had before (You can see it in this post) but after painting the fireplace I painted the mantel black. It looks about a billion times better.

I can’t get over how much I love this one update. It took about 4 hours, plus an extra hour for painting the mantel and it completely changes the look of the room. More importantly it changes how we feel about it.

I’ve got a lot more updates planned for this house. Next up is the master bedroom.! There will be more paint, primarily because that’s affordable and makes a big impact. It’s also something I can do myself. I’m also working hard to get stuff out of this house that we don’t use. And by use I mean USE. If it’s doesn’t serve a serious purpose around here, it can get the hell out. I’ve got a not insignificant problem with hanging onto things like clothing and furniture that I just know will be perfect someday. But it’s time to face the fact that someday isn’t today, and the walls of this house aren’t moving. And frankly, staring at that armoire I’ve been lugging around for 12 years is not helping my attitude.

I know lots of folks are in a similar position, working hard to fall back in love with what we thought would be our starter homes or even investment properties.

I for one, am hopeful about our prospects.

Decking the Halls!

Posted on | December 5, 2012 | 1 Comment

My friend Mandy is doing a fun link up to show off holiday decorations, and I thought I’d join in the fun! I love seeing how other people decorate their homes in general, but holiday decorations put me over the top.

I am clearly WAY into birds this year. Sorry. I have no idea where it came from.

I LOVE my mantle this year (though I can’t put my stockings on until Christmas Eve, which is new for me). I finally went ahead and sprang for a beautiful fresh wreath when we got our tree, something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I love the way it smells and how lush and natural it looks. AndPlusAlso you can put a lot of birds on it. I also finally decided to buy the big star I almost got last year. I like that it adds a subtle element of faith to our decor, without being too cute or Christmas specific. (just because that’s not my style. yay for you if it’s yours!)

(Don’t worry, we have plenty of cute stuff around as well.)

One thing I do pretty much every year is hit up the clearance aisles at Joanns/Michaels after the holidays. I’d like to say that I plan my Christmas decor for the following year by buying a bunch of stuff at great prices, but it’s more like I wander through the store for 20 minutes throwing clearance stuff in a cart. Then I take it home and pack it all up immediately. When I open my bins to decorate the next Christmas it’s all “surprise! you bought a bunch of birds and fake fruit! make something happen, smarty pants!”

And then there’s my personal favorite, the tree. It has to be real and it has to be full. Also lights. I think I have at least 1,000 lights on our tree this year and every day I think about putting more on. We get ours at the same lot every year, from a Michigan grower. Since that’s where I’m from it’s special to me to have a little piece of “real” Christmas down here. Their trees are amazing and we’ve never gotten a bad one yet.

Link up at Harper’s Happenings and show off your stuff too! I wanna see!

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