String Art

Our cousin Jackson has been doing some really cool things lately.  He’s making string art, and he’s really good at it!  He’s done a few pieces for some family and friends and has decided to start selling them.  He takes pieces of wood and stains them, then creates designs with nails and string.  He made us one for Henry’s nursery that I just love!!  It goes so well with all the other wood and rustic pieces I used in the nursery decor.  He’s about to work on a really big piece for Greg’s new office.  It’ll be the Vehicle Media logo, and I know it’s going to look really awesome and unique.

If you’d like one of these art pieces for your home, contact Jackson Schnell at  Just let him know what you have in mind and he can whip up a design just for you!  Here’s a few pieces he’s made so far…

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Bath Reno- Take 2

I worked yesterday, but Greg kept me updated on bathroom demo!  There was lots of progress made on day 1. All the demo was completed and the plumber moved the bath drain, raised the height of the shower faucet controls and shower head (tall people can now comfortably shower in our home 😉 ), and began prepping the toilet and sink plumbing.  So here’s how the first day of renovations went…

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Today, the guys came back for another long day of hard work.  The walls went back up, the shower floor was prepped and concrete was poured, and the bathroom floor tiles were laid.  It’s coming along!  Tomorrow is tile day in the shower (I’m really excited about that part!).  Greg had a good idea to do a border around the shower walls, so I took a trip to Lowe’s today to get some of the same marble subway tiles we used in my bathroom.  The walls in the shower will be solid white subway tiles with 2 layers of marble tiles around the middle perimeter. The shower floor will be herringbone marble tile.  This project has been such a breeze compared to last time.  Here’s how day 2 unfolded…

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Here We Go Again…

Remember that other bathroom we have?  The “master” bath…which is so far from being masterly.  We’ve had it on our to-do list to renovate for years.  We did the hall bathroom first (because it’s the one people see the most and the one I use on a daily basis).  But the other bathroom has been needing some attention for quite some time.  We had planned to renovate it during my Christmas break from school (ya know, when things were a little less chaotic).  haha, well, Christmas break came and went and here we are. But our true motivation has been to get it done before Henry arrives so that all major house renovations would be done by the time there was a baby in the house.  So we found a new guy this time.  Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our hall bath from reno #1. It turned out fantastic…but, what was supposed to be a 2 week project really took about 2 1/2 months, and we endured lots of headaches along the way.  And maybe a few crying meltdowns. Yep.  So, new guy, new plan, hopefully a new bath in 1 week! 🙂

We actually did a small update to it in 2011 shortly after we got married. We repainted, installed a new sink, toilet (which is terrible), fixtures, and medicine cabinet.  And while that was ok for a few years, here’s where we stand right now.  It’s embarrassing, please ignore the yucky mold around the bathtub.  I don’t use this bathroom, so it’s the only part of the house I don’t bother trying to keep clean.  It’s the “boy” bathroom…for now 😉  Hopefully that will soon change when everything is fresh and new.  So here we go, the BEFORE pics:

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We took a trip to Lowe’s yesterday to pick out all new tile.  We’ll keep the sink and faucet, but we’re definitely putting in a new toilet.  Other fixtures in the room will get an update but overall, it’s mostly just demo the old tile and sheetrock and start new.  I would love to put in a glass shower door, but for budget purposes, we’ll just do a curtain for now.  Oh and the tub is coming out.  Since we opted to keep a tub in the hall bathroom, we’ll convert this one to a shower space.  Here’s what we picked out at Lowe’s and the other pictures are some of my Pinterest inspiration 🙂  It’ll be similar to the hall bathroom, but with dark tiles on the floor to add some masculinity to it.  The herringbone marble will go on the shower floor and white subway tiles will be on the shower walls.  We’ll update the paint color with a fresher white, not the “antique white” that it is currently (which looks yellow/beige).

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Nesting Begins

This weekend was my last weekend off from school before starting spring semester.  I knew I wanted to get the future nursery room totally cleaned out and ready to begin decorating for the baby over the next few months.  I knew once school started my free time would be limited again.  When I was telling Greg about my plans, he said “well let’s just go ahead and get it all painted too.”  He also knew if we didn’t do it now, we’d be struggling to tackle the job later.  Life is about to kick into high gear again with me doing school and clinicals, so it was now or never.  haha.  Well, I am SO thankful for the hard work Greg put into this weekend around the house.  We got WAY more done than I ever imagined getting done anytime soon.  Not only did we get the nursery completely cleaned out, but it is painted, and all the furniture that we planned to swap from the guest room into the nursery is done!  And, all of Greg’s items are now officially set up in the guest room.  (He was using the old office/nursery room for all his clothes/shoe storage.  But now, not only have we cleaned out a ton of stuff (which will be going into a garage sale later this spring), but we are super organized and completely ready to fill the nursery with baby items.  It also looks 1000x better than it did before!  Here’s some time lapse “before” shots of the room to show how it’s looked over the past year and Saturday morning right before “nesting day” began…   😉

Apr1-office Nov16-bedrooms (2) Nov16-bedrooms (1) Jan4-Nursery (2) Jan4-Nursery (3)And then workday began!  Since I didn’t need to be in the room with all the paint fumes (although we did get the low-VOC paint), Greg basically did all the painting for the entire room!  His friend Michael came over to help for a few hours, which was hugely appreciated as well.  Everything in the room got repainted- walls, baseboards, the built-in bookshelves, and ceiling.  It needed it!  We knew the room was going to feel brighter with the lighter paint color, but OH. MY. GOODNESS!  The difference is like night and day!  We also installed a new light/fan fixture.  The whole room got a major upgrade.  It looks SO GOOD!!!  Oh, and I should also mention…we picked out a name!!!  🙂

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The other part of nesting weekend was to get Greg’s stuff moved over to the guest room and out of the nursery.  Here’s some “before” shots of that room (that last one is a few years old, but somewhat still accurate of how the closet area looked up until today)…

Nov16-bedrooms (6) Nov16-bedrooms (3)Nov16-bedrooms (7) Mar 10-framing projects (22)Now Greg’s dresser and my desk are in the guest room. The little white dresser and armoire were moved to the nursery.  We also did tons of organizing today!  The desk area still needs some work.  I have tons of frames I’ve been meaning to use to create a gallery wall.

Jan4-Nursery (10) Jan4-Nursery (11)So that does it!  Baby Henry has a room all to his own ready to decorate and fill with baby goodies (below are a few baby items we got for Christmas).  Greg’s setup is more organized and separated into the guest room. And the back of the house is much more updated, which is always a good change.

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the Construction Chronicles- Bathroom is Complete!

Wow, somehow I never posted pictures of our completed hall bathroom! Whoops.  I think I was so excited to FINALLY be done with it (it was a looooong 2 1/2 months) that I just breezed past documenting the big finale.  So here it is…the bathroom that I thought would never be finished.  It’s beautiful.  And 2 years later, we are still loving it 🙂

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the INSPIRATION- bathroom edition

Now that you have seen what we’re working with, let’s move onto more fun topics- like where we hope to be at the end of this renovation journey.  Let me show you my inspiration!

But wait, first there are some stipulations.  I have to keep myself from going overboard with what I really really want, and stick with some basic upgrades that I know will add value for re-sale.  Because in the end, we don’t plan to stay in this house forever.  So it doesn’t make any sense to design and put a lot of money into making this our “forever home”  with all the fun character I hope to have in a home one day.  But luckily, a lot of things I do really like and do hope to have in our family home one day, are things that are popular and other people really like right now too.  Secondly, we live in an older home. The city of Homewood has been around for a bit.  I know my house I bought on Raleigh Avenue was built in the 1950s (if I remember correctly).  And I know this home (which Greg bought about 5 years ago), isn’t quite that old, but it’s certainly not new, chic and modern.  So it doesn’t make sense to put a bunch of sleek, super modern elements into our new bathrooms, because they would just stick out like sore thumbs from the rest of the house.  So I have to gently introduce our new babies in hopes they mix and mingle well with their elderly counterparts 🙂

I don’t know the proper name for the style I like.  It’s a mix of Pottery Barn, flea market, antique shop, cottage-rustic look.  Not too country cottage, although Greg has called my style “grandma” at times.  I can appreciate some modern things, but I love wooden accents, whites, florals, grays, antiques…you get the idea.  So one of the first things going into our bathrooms are subway tiles.  I’m in love with them right now, and thankfully, so are a lot of other people (and hopefully our future home-buyers!). haha.  For our particular rooms, I think we’ll stick with white, but I do love colored glass subways tiles, especially for kitchens!glasssubway glasssubway2 glasssubway3And while we’re talking tile, let’s move to the floor.  Our contractor suggested mixing patterns, so if subway tiles are going in the shower, he suggested a herringbone pattern for the floor.  But I think I’ve decided on hexagon tiles instead.  Again, it hints towards retro but I think a cool white and gray tone will keep it modern at the same time.

flood2 floor1Today in Lowe’s I found this combination of options.  Looking good!floor3Moving on…sink and toilet.  We currently have a vanity sink.  Which is great seeing as how storage is kinda limited in our house.  But honestly, we only keep a plunger and a few bottles of bathroom cleaners in the vanity storage.  So I think we could nix the vanity, use a pedestal sink instead and as a result, open up the floor making the room feel bigger.  And in this tiny bath, bigger really IS better 🙂 sink1

And as for paint job, well I haven’t really dug deep into that category yet.  I really like light blue and green hues in bathrooms.  And we have some pretty sage green bath towels I picked out and we received as wedding gifts.  So I may try to match those.  If not, I’ll probably stay neutral and play with color using a rug and towels, which I can always change out….ya know, for holidays 😉  Of course. bathpaint bathpaint2 bathpaint3

I’m totally loving that floral yellow shower curtain!  haha, Greg would totally call that grandma!  It’s so cheerful though 🙂

And as for Greg’s bathroom, we may or may not do similar elements.  All the fixtures in there are a rubbed bronze color (more manly, ya know).  He talked about doing some sort of stone in the shower, but budget will determine if that’s possible or not.  I certainly don’t want to do anything too dark.  There’s no windows in our bathrooms, so dark walls will definitely make it feel cave-like.  I’m really at a loss right now for his bathroom, but maybe something like this would work…


the BEFORE- bathroom edition

For months (actually 2 years, really) Greg and I have been discussing renovating the bathrooms in our house.  We’ve known they both need updating in order to sell the house (which isn’t anytime soon, but one day).  Well we’re finally getting there.  We got 2 estimates from some contractors, picked one, and now we are ready to pull the trigger.  And the first thing to go is this loud and playful fella… Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (10)

Sorry dude, but ya gotta GO! We actually did some updates to Greg’s bathroom (off the master bedroom) before we got married.  He ripped down wall paper, repainted, and installed new toilet, sink, medicine cabinet and fixtures.  So it certainly looks better than before, but now we’re really gonna spruce it up!  You can read about that project HERE and HERE.

So let’s take a tour of the bathrooms in their current state, cause you won’t be able to truly appreciate our transformations without a look at some before shots.  We’ll take it slow…here’s the semi-updated “master” bath (and yes, I dare call it a master bath, only because it’s privately tucked away off the master bedroom).  Believe me, there’s nothing “master” about it…

First of all, it’s tiny…which you can tell simply from the fact that it’s almost impossible to get good pictures of the room cause you can hardly move around much!  The floor space is literally 4 1/2 ft x 5 ft!

bedroom,bath,guest (11)bedroom,bath,guest (20)Then we have this lovely, cracked tile with stained grout. I know, it’s gross, and I can’t believe I’m showing it off like this.  :/

Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (1)And around the tub/shower the sheet rock is pulling loose.  The plan is to turn Greg’s tub/shower into a standing shower.  We figured we’d keep the bathtub in the hall bath, and eliminate the one in the “master” bath.  So depending on how budget goes, we’ll either get some sliding doors or a frameless door unit.

Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (4) Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (6) Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (7)So for the master bath overhaul we’ll get new drywall, tile, toilet, shower unit and a fresh coat of paint.  We are hoping to save the sink, medicine cabinet and light fixture (which were all bought new on the previous DIY reno).

Then we have my bathroom (aka the hall bath).  That’s right. Have you figured out yet that we don’t share bathrooms?  They are simply too small, and the master bath literally has ZERO storage.  So, I use the hall bath.  Let’s take a walk…  (sorry for the yellowy pic, I forgot to white-balance initially!)

Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (8) Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (9)Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (29)Initially it doesn’t look too bad (the light fixture and medicine cabinet are only a year old).  But the vanity is a little old, worn, and has some weird column-like woodwork.  And it is actually rotting some at the bottom (we’ll have to figure out that cause). Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (13)Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (12)The one good thing about this bathroom is it actually has storage!  It’s not a ton.  I actually have to store spare towels and all our bed linens in my closet.  But it’s better than nothing!Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (18)And we’ve already met this guy.  Someone please tell me when having a fish mosaic in the hall bath floor was cool.  An upstairs kids’ bath?  Maybe.  But your one and only guest bath of the house. I don’t think so.  I usually keep a rug over it, and now that I look at it more, I realize it’s not even centered!!  Come on, people.Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (10)We even have matching friends on the storage cabinet doors. Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (23)The next problem is the tub situation.  First of all, we are totally losing our outer layer.  Our sad white tub is becoming increasingly blue.  Pun intended 😉 Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (24)

And we are also sinking, as evidence by the growing gap in our grout job.  I just re-grouted the tub about a year ago, but somehow, we are sinking.  Our contractor will investigate once we get the bathroom gutted.  He’s hoping he can install some sister boards to the floor joists which would be an easy fix.  **Fingers crossed!** Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (21)

Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (26)Next we have some really fun ceiling and wall texture going on.  At least I’m assuming they used to be fun.  Yep, we’ll get new drywall in here too. Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (17)Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (28)

And lastly, do you notice something that is NOT in either of these bathrooms?  I’ll give you a hint:  I have to do my hair in the guest bedroom.  You got it.  Electrical outlets.  There are no outlets in either bathroom, which means my hair dryer, curling irons, and straighteners are all in the guest room.  So it’s really fun when we have guests spend the night and I have to go into their space to do my hair 🙂  NOT.

Although I will say, I have a lot more elbow room in the guest room that I ever will in the bathroom.  So who knows.  I might actually keep this routine.  Either way, a bathroom needs an outlet!

I think that about covers our little home tour as of today.  Demolition is set to commence in 2 weeks.  In the meantime, I am scouring the internet for pictures, materials, prices, reviews, and ideas for everything we plan to do.  I know what I want to do, now I just have to find the right deals to actually do it 🙂  So for all you DIYers and recent home renovators, recommendations are welcome!

It’s beginning…

…to look a lot like Christmas!  Our home is completely decorated for the holidays, and I love it so much 🙂  With all the lights and garland and wreaths and of course, the tree, the house feels so warm and cozy. I wish I could keep these decorations up all year round.  But then again, I guess it wouldn’t feel as special doing it that way.

Each year I try to arrange things a little bit different (if I can), just to mix things up a little.  Obviously, the tree will always go in the same spot.  And since we don’t have a fireplace with a mantle, I make do using the media stand.  Oh how I wish we had a fireplace and a mantle!

Anyways, let’s do a little Christmas home tour 2012!

These are some of the newest ornaments on our tree this year.  The first 2 are from our anniversary trip to Charleston.  Then I got one for each of the dogs, Lily, Jack and Sophie.

This one I got on our Disney trip in January 2012 (it was exactly 1 year after we had gotten engaged on our Disney trip 2011).  So, I got this ornament and had it engraved to say “Engaged” and “01-08-2011” on either side of the middle pendant.

And these little jingle bell ornaments came from my Nana’s house.  I love the little things I have of hers 🙂

I asked my mom if I could have a few items from her Christmas decorations that I remember being in our house growing up.  She and I both know there’s no way she can put all her decorations out that she has collected over the years.  So, she let me have a few memorable pieces…and I love seeing them around our own house now!

But I think my favorite thing this year is the display of vintage Christmas prints I printed and framed for the dining room.  The botanicals that normally hang there just didn’t seem to fit for the holiday season.  So I found some vintage prints online, cropped and edited them to fit in the dining room frames, and I think they look GREAT in the dining room!  There’s an elegance to them that fits perfectly with the holiday decor.

Welcome fall

Fall is here!  I’m so excited.  We are getting closer to cooler weather, which means I can almost bust out the boots and scarves.  And of course I loooove the holidays creeping around the corner.  I’ve been itching to get my fall decor out, so last weekend I packed up my summer decor and filled my house with pumpkins and gourds, cinnamon scented candles and fun little Halloween items.  But first, I needed to get some pumpkins.  Mom, Katie and I went to the Finely Avenue Farmers Market and they have soooo many pumpkins to choose from.  We spent a good hour and a half picking out pumpkins, and man, did we do some damage.


 Yep, that’s our load in the car.  Kind of outrageous, but they’re so pretty 🙂  And now for a little home tour for fall 2012…


love birds

One of my favorite keepsakes from our wedding day was our bride and groom bird cake toppers.  We (well actually, mostly my friend and bridesmaid Dana) made them and they turned out so cute.  I got all the materials from Hobby Lobby, and here’s how they looked on our big day.

 I had plans to keep them and display them since the moment we made them, but I actually sorta lost them for a few months.  Somehow in all the craziness of packing all my wedding decor up that night after our wedding reception, my mom accidentally placed them in a random box of non-wedding items at her house.  So for months we couldn’t find them, and I was convinced they must have gotten left behind at our wedding venue.  In the meantime, I made this wedding shadow box, but desperately wished my little love birds could be included.  Then one day this summer my mom found the box which I had labeled “Graves/Boggs wedding topper.”  Yay!! They weren’t lost after all.

Well, I quickly figured out they were actually bigger than I had pictured them before, and would not fit in my other wedding box.  So, today I decided to just make them their own box 🙂

Here’s what I did.  I got another small shadow box (5″x7″) from HobLob (and they were 50% off, whoop whoop!).  I cut off a small piece of burlap (from our stock of leftover wedding burlap) to make a backdrop for my box.  I just used some E6000 glue to stick it to the back board of the shadow box.

 Then I thought about getting some twig-like stuff from Hobby Lobby to make them a nest of some sort they could sit on, but then I remembered I had a lot of this peat moss leftover from my “mossy B” wedding project, so I decided that would do just fine.  I just tore off a little strip and glued it to the bottom inside of the frame.

The next several steps just involved a lot of trial and error gluing to make the birds stand upright, make the heart sign stick to the backdrop, and just make everything stay where it should.  I would have taken pics, but my fingers were caked with glue at this point.  Here’s the final product though!  Oh, and I made the paper banner with our wedding date on it to add a little more significance to the piece.  I love it!