Friday, September 27, 2013

31 Days 2013

Just a quick post today since I haven't blogged all week. 

Next week The Nester's 31 Days series begins. The deal is that you blog for the entire month of October. Every. Single. Day. All seven days of the week equal a blog post. 

Now it might seem odd that someone who has so little time to blog that she hasn't posted in a week would even consider such a challenge. And yet here we are. What I have found in life is that repetition is king. The more you do something the better you get. 

Quite honestly trying to find my voice after not blogging for a week, or even a few days, is a huge struggle for me. But when I write everyday it flows much more naturally. 

via Arkpad

Of course then there is the issue of topic. I am leaning toward "bling for a buck" or "style for le$$"--both of which convey that I don't like to spend a lot of money to get a good look. What do you think? Do either of those titles wow you?

Whatever I choose, they'll be short posts. The other thing I have noticed is that when I don't blog for awhile I tend to write an epic novel. I may also choose not to do anything at all because I have also learned it is best when I can give a broad margin to my life. To un-pack my schedule. 

FOR SURE leave me a comment if you are planning a 31 Days series so I can follow along!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Before

So I teased today that we had gotten the house, but then showed you pictures of a totally different house... WHO does that?!  :)

Here are the photos of the house we are planning to buy. The inspection is next week; things could still all go to hell with the deal, but I am going to practice having a little faith in things working out.


We weren't even sure we wanted to see this one initially, but the clock was ticking. We needed to find a house and get the process of buying underway since we were definitely selling our house. This one was #7 on a list of eight houses we powered through one night last week after work. 

All of the ones before it were just not quite right. Too busy. Too expensive. Too much work. Wrong area. This one felt way different, though. In fact, even driving through the neighborhood to get to the house felt different. Quieter with wider streets and bigger yards.

It's a tri-level built in 1959. Above is the view from the front door looking through to the door to the backyard. The dining room is on the left, kitchen to the right.

It doesn't have a dishwasher. Or a microwave. I don't mind washing dishes, though, and I've already introduced the kids to the idea that it will be their new chore. I swear, they are excited! :)

This room is on the other side of the bar in the kitchen and next to the front entry. We are calling it the den.

Down a few steps is the laundry area, which doesn't feel like it is in a regular basement since it has the egress windows at ground level. 

Up a few steps is the living room. This is one half of the room with a fireplace in the center. And if you head up the stairs in this picture you will get to bedroom level.

Four bedrooms total. One will work as our office for now.

I have loads of ideas for how to decorate this space and think it's going to be a lot of fun! Of course, first we have to close on the deal and move in.

Oh, and to keep my mind off what I cannot do yet, I'm madly redesigning for everyone else. Like Sandy Coughlin, the Reluctant Entertainer, and one of my favorite famous people, who is repainting her kitchen and asked for color suggestions on FB. 

I know she likes greens but since she's already done that, I suggested something wildly new to make it worth painting. 


Enter Valspar coral peach (mixed with white--a lot of white--to tone it down to a subtle neutral). That shade would play up the reds in her cabinets and floor, and make it feel really warm, as well as coordinate with the accessories she already has. For the photo wall, though, I would contrast it with a bright blue like Valspar's classic royal blue. Note that's just about the same color as the dutch oven on her stove. 

What do you think? And do you have a room I can re-imagine?? Please let me know!

We Got It! And Another Design Plan...

Hello, Friends and Happy Friday! I am feeling a bit like Tinker Bell today. Instead of clapping to keep me alive, you all thought nice things so our seller would accept our offer. And it worked! Thank you!

As obsessed as I am with the details for our new place, I actually want to show you another house that we looked at and loved just a teensy bit. 

This house is on Grand River Avenue, which was the main trunk line between the capital city (Lansing) and Detroit in the early days of our state. It's the route I take now to get from our house in the village to my job near the capitol. And it's quite a busy road. Not that you can really tell that from this photo. 

Real Estate Listing
While backing out of this driveway presents a challenge, this house is close to lots of great things in East Lansing. It's an easy stroll to the park where the farmer's market, folk festival, and summer movies are shown. It's on a busy bus line. And most other destinations could be easily biked to.

We came in through a side door off the driveway so this was not actually our first view of the house, but it is a stunner! The in-person feel was even better. I absolutely loved that front door and those are the original floors, refinished.

Here's a shot of the Art Deco fireplace. I wish I had a close-up to show you the bas-relief wagon and oxen that was carved into its facade.

Zin Home
I would add a chesterfield sofa like this one to the living room for some glam. And then some caramel colored club chairs for even more luxuriousness.

Restoration Hardware
I don't know that I have seen anyone else put these two styles together, but I don't think that's wrong. I think it's fun, and waayyyyyyy more interesting than matching chesterfield-to-chesterfield (not that there's anything wrong with that).

For the dining room I would add a big beautiful antique table. Local antique stores or flea markets, Craig's List, and even eBay are great resources to find these. This beauty is from Toledo, Ohio, which is not too far from East Lansing, Michigan.

It comes with a buffet and six chairs for $900, but I would swap out the chairs for six lucite ones like this and no rug.

This butler's pantry would also make an ideal spot for a banquette, across from that counter, which could be used as a bar. {I also see some paint in the future of that knotty pine paneling.}

Something cozy like this sophisticated nook would work in here. The tulip table adds yet another fun element to the overall design.

Finally on the first floor is this back room. It could be used in many ways but if it were my house I think it would make an ideal mudroom. This is where the now-avid cyclists could store their bikes. There could be a long bench (maybe even a reclaimed church pew?) for putting on & taking off shoes. A huge rug to trap the mud. Hooks on the knotty pine paneling for hoodies and backpacks. The door on the left is a powder room and the single French door leads to the backyard near the garage.

Upstairs are three bedrooms. The master, shown above, opens onto the roof. And the bathroom, though small, has the most amazing tile.

So somebody please buy this house and give it some love! And if you want to hire me to bring my eclectic talents to life, please send me an email at :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Small Kitchen, Dark Cabinets

It's Tuesday?? 

Honestly, the days have been so full that my head is spinning. Today is not any less busy. There is cheer camp for the second grader after school, then curriculum night and an ice cream social at the fifth grader's school. We won't get home until after bedtime.

We made an offer on a house this weekend, but it has been countered. :(  Let's all keep our fingers crossed that this works out! It's not a perfect house, but it did seem perfect for us.

I forgot to mention in my post about Havahd House (don't you hear JFK's voice when you say that in your head? I do.) that I wanted to paint the cabinets in the very small kitchen a great greyish-green color. Then House Beautiful went and posted this room...

House Beautiful

I am planning to show you a design plan for at least one more of the houses that we DIDN'T buy later this week. Totes different than Havahd House... or our dream house. (My big deep thought for the week is that things happen the way they are supposed to happen.)

Check out this house I ran across this morning. It was originally designed for the grandson of auto manufacturer RE Olds (remember the Oldsmobile??). It's huge at nearly 4,500 square feet but will need A LOT of updating. I'm sure I can come up with a design plan if someone wants to come up with the $339,000 to buy it.

Here are some of the links I love this week:

The How-To Mom offers nine ideas for re-connecting with your kid(s).

Positively Present teaches us how to fall in love with ourselves.

The Reluctant Entertainer writes about letting our homes be good enough to share with others.

Round 4 (?) of the One Room Challenge begins next month as well as the Nester's 31-day series (this year with categories!). The Inspired Room has a series going already: Falling for Fall with link-up. 

And... I just posted a picture of my ring on Instagram and have un-secreted the weddings board on Pinterest. Go check it out!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chairs in Room

In my design plan for Havahd House I used a pair of blue ikat slipper chairs from Wayfair. Imagine my surprise when I saw this room by Texas sister-designers Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford. 

The room is part of the "eclectic charm" in their portfolio and was published in the February 2012 issue of Veranda magazine. 

In this room they certainly don't look like they cost only $264.34. 

What do you think? Do you love the look of a pair of chairs?? Still digging ikat?

Havahd House and Wayfair

Last night Phil and I went out with our awesome realtor and saw SEVEN houses. We saw another three with the kids over the weekend and two before that. The good news is that we found one that we both like and that feels like home. Hooray! Now to ensure we have the right financing and submit the offer. There's always something, isn't there??

Until I can tell you about this new home sweet home, I thought I would show you some of the others, because who doesn't like seeing houses, right?? Especially when you don't have to pack up and move all your stuff at the end...

Real Estate Listing
The first house we saw was on Harvard Street, or Havahd Street as my Bostonian friends might say. A quiet cul-de-sac on the western edge of the city, closest to the state capital, it is five minutes from Phil's work and walking distance to one of the kids' schools. Best of all, when you walk out the front door, to the left is a huge shopping area with Dunkin' Donuts, Home Goods, and World Market, not to mention all the restaurants! To the right is one of the prettiest houses in East Lansing and private wooded walking trails.

The house is full of nicely refinished hardwood floors like the one in this living room. You can get a nice idea of the neighborhood from the view of the street through the huge front window. And I love the little slot for mail in the front door. My plan for this room was to make it a welcoming room. My desk would be here and this is where the kids would be able to spread out and play. 

In fact, I had an entire vision for this room, and shopped for all of it on Wayfair (again, not sponsored by them, just pleased with their My Clipbar program and the vast array of products they sell). 

Everything is so dang affordable! My cart including a rug, but not the drapes which are out of stock, rings up at about $1,050. Shipping is free and I would have earned $31 cash back. A pretty good deal, in my opinion. Clockwise from top: drapes / sconce / pair of lamps / slipper chair / garden stool

This is the second living room at the back of the house. Somehow in this house hunting process a screened porch became a necessity. It really expands the space visually. 

In my mind I already had Indian corn hanging on the back door and this banquette under the windows.

The kitchen was small but workable. The door near the stove goes to the basement. Although there was pool table and ping pong table down there, the basement was not a selling point of the house.

To extend the counter space in the kitchen there is a drop-leaf counter next to the sink. An idea that I had just read in House Beautiful as a good solution for a small kitchen. Meant to be, I tell ya...

There were two bedrooms on the first floor and then this room upstairs. The space you see on the right is four small closets built into the eaves. On the left is a full bath. It was truly the most efficient use of space I have ever seen in the second story of a cape cod. (And a cape cod on Harvard Street?? How much more perfect does it get?!)

Finally, the money shot. Private, tree-filled backyard. That's a brick patio off the screen porch, just right for our grill. I would have ripped out the plantings next to the garage to put in our vegetable garden. And the branches of the tree in the immediate foreground would have held a tire swing. 

Yet, as lovely as this house and my vision are, this is NOT our dream house. And I'm fine with that! But I hope somebody will buy it and give it the love it needs (including, at a minimum, a new roof on the garage, new windows & doors, and landscaping). 

Thank you all so much for your kind words on our house hunting!! It is so nice to have so many friends out there wishing us well!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday, Monday

Holy smokes!! Another week is upon us! I have a hunch that life is just going to keep racing like a runaway train for at least a few weeks as we prepare for the inspection of our current house and continue the search for our new home (which is to say nothing of jobs, school, and a super cutie's seventh birthday). 

It's not all work, though. We did make it to an MSU football game and tailgate this weekend. 


We have to be "out" of our house by Halloween, so just about seven weeks from now. 

Martha Stewart

Quickly and efficiently de-cluttering is going to be at the top of my agenda... if I don't totally lose my mind. I did get several nice, big boxes on Friday and have started packing things we don't use on a regular basis like board games and flip-flops. Now if only we could find a house like this in our price range...

But, on the up-side, this gorgeous bracelet is on sale again. Normally $199.00 it is marked down to $24.00 today (I have no idea how long that will last, nor do I get anything for sharing with you other than good will! :)

Victoria Emerson
What do you have planned for this week? Once I got this out of the way this morning, my day brightened up considerably!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back-to-School Link Love

Where in the world has this week gone?!

The good news is that we managed to survive two different schools including one who now rides the bus. We bought all of the supplies for Bela's 7th birthday party next weekend. AND we got an offer on our house. Which of course means now we'll have to find a house to buy... Not an easy feat.

Here are the links I am loving this crazy busy week while I catch up on my regulars.

Sarah is a third of the way through decluttering her house. She has some advice and inspiration picks of empty cabinets to motivate me to let go of a ton of s**t some things around our house.

Jones Design Company

The new school year has me embracing Fall. Emily has put together an adorable print for free download. Ah, pumpkins, boots, and falling leaves. What's your favorite part of Fall?

Tsh provides a brief history of Syria. All the more interesting, to me, since I discovered that the Syrian President's glamorous wife is the same age as I am. The beautiful & brilliant CEO of Yahoo is also my age.  I think this means I should be grown up now.

Just in time for the new school year is this backpack wall from Bethany. She provides great instructions on how to build it over on her blog, but I most love that she has a son named Griffin.  :)

Hope your week is going well!!


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