day 27// a beautiful home.

Tommy and I love working on our house.  I’m sure you know that if you read here often.  It started out of necessity with our first house.  Serious necessity.  We loved that house, but no one else seemed to love it like we did.  I miss that house a lot.  But more than the house I miss our neighbors and our friends in Maryland.  It was a great place.  When we moved back to Tennessee we were pretty tired — we had a 5 month old and had done countless hours of projects on our house.  So we decided to look for something newer.  Our house now is new.  We still call it new even though it is 10 years old now.  Our first house was built in the 1940s, so a house built in 2004 seemed entirely new to us.  It didn’t need a lot of work — or any work really.  It was basically as bland as the way it was built.  Seriously.  The kids bedrooms upstairs were painted, but other than that not one thing had been done to the house outside of the way the builders left it in 2004.  It took a little while but we got over our “we’re tired and just want a new house” attitude, and we have been working on turning this house from a completely builder grade house to something that more reflects us.


My very favorite thing that we have done so far is the laundry room.  I spend a lot of time there, and because of it’s location, it’s a room we see all the time.  It’s on our main level, so we walk past it many times a day.  I love that it’s a pretty room now!  I cannot get over it.  We negotiated the washer and dryer in the purchase of the house, so these were here when we moved in.  The previous owners had them stacked and had a tall metal shelving unit beside them.  They used it as storage, and while I can definitely understand the need for storage space, I also really need laundry space.  So as soon as we moved in, we moved that unit out to the garage.  To kick off this project, my brother and sister came over to help Tommy move the dryer down.  I wanted the machines side by side and not stacked.  Apparently I didn’t take a picture of what it looked like stacked, so here are some in progress pictures.






I showed Tommy a picture of what I wanted for shelving, and he made it happen.  This is a Restoration Hardware knockoff project.  And this project was cheap!  I decided I wanted to go dark for the paint color, and I’m so happy I did!  I absolutely love it, and now I want to paint all of our rooms dark!




Here is my updated laundry room!


laundryroomreno laundryroomrenoinprogresss laundryroomrenoironingboard


Beautiful rooms in my home make me smile.

one year ago.

One year and one week ago we closed on our house in Maryland.  It was brutal.  It exhausted us emotionally, physically, and financially.  We learned a lot in the aftermath — like it’s OK to say no to an offer or you don’t have to work with a certain realtor just because you feel like you have to.  Especially when they aren’t working in your best interest.  And I beat myself up for awhile after the sale about whether we did the right thing and handled things right.  I would frequently ask Tommy “what if we’d done this or this or this”.  And he told me I had to let it go.  It was over and we were glad not to have to keep up with a house over 10 hours away.  And he was right.  In the last year I have let go of it.  It took some time, and I’m still a bit bitter about the whole house selling/buying/real estate agent/negotiating thing.  But it’s long over, and we have to look at the experience  and learn from it.


So in a last look of sorts at our first home — the one where we poured sweat, blood, and tears, I’m taking a walk down memory lane.  Seriously, if anyone ever pulls up that kitchen flooring they will be disturbed at the amount of Tommy blood on the floor boards.  Lots of work done there [I wrote about here, here, and here].  That whole house was full of lessons.  From the day we started looking for it, to the day we sold it.  And it will always be a house that makes me smile when I remember it.  We brought Jack home to that house after wondering if we’d ever get to bring him home.  We had the best neighbors there. We raised 2 puppies there.  We had some sweet times with dear friends there.  It was where our marriage started.  Lots of sweet memories that I hope I never forget.  So to commemorate it, I’m filling this post with lots of pictures.  Some are before/during/after pics.  Most are just of every day things that I love to remember looking back through pictures.



new headboard2

Our first DIY headboard.  An easy, cheap, fun project.








The guest bedroom…


guest bedroom

From this after we moved in…



guest bedroom4

To this after some painting and sprucing up…




To this…




To this [getting better]…




To this!


And this!


With a sweet, new little bundle in place.




The back door entry way…


back entry

From this…




To this!  [ignore the paint on the floor.  it came right up]




The kitchen…



From this…



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To this!





















The time when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and needed IVs to help me get fluids and keep things down.












Tiny patch of a front yard made it look like mowing was easy, but the almost half-acre backyard made up for it.












The view I so often had of the dogs out the kitchen window.  They loved that yard, had plenty of room to roam, plenty of animals to hunt and chase, and plenty of shady trees to keep them cool in the summer.  It was pretty much a perfect backyard, except for the 35 dead animals buried back there — but that’s a story for another day.




So many pretty things popped up in the spring.  I loved the colors and surprise of not knowing what was going to come up after 60+ years of things being planted there.











The time we chopped down the holly tree because it was ugly and poked Tommy every time he got out of his truck.  The two of us tackled that thing and hauled it off bit by bit.  Then we put this lovely little garden there instead.






Our dining room.



birthday presents
















Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs, and milestones.



tommy shoveling

Shoveling.  Lots of shoveling.  I thought when I married Tommy that I would never have to shovel snow since he’s done plenty of it having grown up in Colorado.  And then he traveled.  And we got 3 blizzards our first Maryland winter.  So I shoveled and shoveled and shoveled.  For this little snow, I left it for him to do when he got home from a business trip.  Tennessee girls are not made for shoveling.  Lesson learned.




This was Lady’s perch where she could see the street.  That bay window was her territory, and this scene of Tommy plus dogs was a common one.




My favorite kitchen floor which Tommy worked so hard to install.  And my favorite golden lab lounging in one of his many spots in the old house.



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Tommy, remember when we used to have breakable things around and actually did this on a Saturday?  Yeah, me either.





The house where we brought Jack home.

















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Waiting out our first hurricane — for all 3 of us.  Jack was scared but we only got a tropical storm after all.



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Tommy used to spend many hours out on the front porch with Jack.  Whenever Jack was fussy, the fresh air, sunshine, and Daddy would always do the trick.



Thanks for taking a stroll down memory lane with me.  Now that it’s been a year since we sold the Maryland house, I really feel like time has moved forward so much.  We are so settled in our lives in Tennessee and have grown and changed so much in that time.  But I love to remember.  I love looking back and seeing where we were and where we are now.  So I would tell you this will probably be one of my last recaps of Maryland, but in all honesty, it probably isn’t.  But for now, while I enjoyed the memories, I’m turning back around to be very much in the present.  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Happy week ahead to you!













our old house part 3: the mudroom

This week I’m on the our old house train and jogging down memory lane thinking about all the work we did in that old place.

This is the back door of the house.  You walk out into the back yard and a very, very sketchy “patio”.  We let our dogs in and out here, which worked really well for us.  Because of the location of the door, a lot of dirt, mud, grass, leaves, etc. got tracked into the house, so Tommy decided to tackle one of my favorite projects and built us a mudroom!

Yep, this was our back door in all its glory.  Look at those lovely curtains and the mismatched silver and gold door latches — breathtaking.  Classy, people.  Classy.  Anyway…  You can barely tell here but when we bought the house there was carpet in this hallway and all downstairs actually.  We ripped the carpet in the hallway up and installed some really pretty Pergo flooring which classed things up a bit.

Notice the closet doors on the right.  The first closet was very small.  It had shelves in it but was really not a practical space to us.  The second closet [closer to us in the picture] was much bigger.  It had 2 sliding doors and long shelving.  I’m sure some people would love closet space like that but it felt closed-off, cluttered, and impractical for us.  So we demo-ed the closets!  We ripped out everything.  The doors, the wall between the 2 closets, those door frames, all of it– gone, gone, gone!  And it really opened up this space like crazy.  Next step, Tommy got to building a custom mudroom.

The pups chillin by the work-in-progress mudroom.  Here Tommy had the wood all in, including the bench [which he also built].

This was before the bench went in.  He built every piece of this and it could not have been more beautiful.

Shiny, pretty, sparkling white mudroom.  I LOVED this area of the house.  I was so proud of the job Tommy did.  This added such a nice, modern touch to our old home.  Who knows, maybe we’ll add a mudroom in this house one day…

Part 1:  the kitchen

Part 2:  the bedroom/back room

our old house tour continues.

We made several changes to the back bedroom in the old house.  We had 4 bedrooms, and at that time we had set up a guest room, the master, and an office.  We didn’t have furniture for another guest bedroom, so we decided to make this last bedroom more of a den so that we could keep the living room more of a formal living room.  And by formal I mean pretty much the opposite of formal — it certainly wasn’t pretty and formal, but it didn’t have a tv and we did read and nap in there so that counts as a living room.

This was the first phase of this room.  Well, technically the first phase of this room was a painting area for our kitchen cabinets.  But once it became a real room it looked more like this.

We had to cut the legs off this couch to get it in the door.  It also had a few bumps and bruises from that push through the doorway, too.

The other side of the room looked like this.  That picture eventually went up on the walls.

And that cord is for the air unit.  Classy, I know.

We rang in the New Year of 2010 by painting this room.  It was a pretty big, empty-feeling room, and we thought some paint would go a long way.

It is one of those really fun memories for us.  We spent the day with games on tv in the background, listening to music, and painting.  And we went bold and were really happy with how it turned out.

We’ve never painted a room such a dark color, but it really worked in here.  I especially love the color we painted on the lower part of the wall.  It went so well together.  Tommy added the chair-railing around the room, which also added a really nice touch to the room.  The whole room felt warmer and more welcoming.

When we moved into the house we put our room in the room that had traditionally been the master.  It had a bathroom attached, so that was nice, but it was small.  The bigger issue with it was that it was right off the dining room and kitchen, which made it kind of awkward when we had guests over.  We decided to move our room on down the stairs to this one, which was much bigger and gave a better layout.

We kept paint colors the same and just moved our bedroom furniture down here thanks to the help of some great friends.  We finally had to say goodbye to that old red couch.  It served us well and was VERY comfortable but we had no where else to put it.

Apparently I have no pictures of that room as a bedroom.  This is the only one I could find, and it obviously doesn’t show the room but it is precious.

The first “old house” post I wrote was about our awesome kitchen renovation.  Read more about it here.

our old house.

This time last year I wrote a blog post on my old blog about the work we had done on our house.  At that time we had no idea that we would be moving in a month and a half and going on the journey of selling that house.

Now we are so happy to be in Tennessee.  We love our house and neighbors and community and couldn’t have imagined how our lives would be just one year after I wrote that post.  That old house– Pine St– will always hold a special place in our hearts.  It was our foundation in Maryland.  Our distraction from being far from family and friends.  Our never-ending project.  Our chance to grow in our confidence in ourselves– our abilities to be confident in our decisions, trust our guts, be proud of where we came from and where we were.

Big changes happened in our hearts in that house.  We learned not to worry what others thought.  Not too many people had positive words for our house, and that was OK with us.  We grew in that.  We grew when we made decisions about renovations — how to manage money as young newlyweds, what to agree on, what to do first, how to figure it out.

In honor of that first house and all it held for us I want to spend a little time remembering it.


The first major thing we did in that house was a kitchen renovation.  The house was not exactly up to our living standards when we bought it, so before we even moved in we worked on the kitchen, making it liveable.  It was about 2 months before we wrapped that project up since we were both working full-time jobs and could only do work on nights and weekends.

Starting at the top left:  Tommy starts taking out the first cabinet.  Goodbye old, ugly wooden cabinets!  He removed all of the doors from the upper cabinets and removed the upper cabinets above the stove.  He also wore knee pads, a lot, and wore those things down.  The original hinges were so awful.  The knobs were pretty but weren’t going to work with our look.  Hello, view of the old kitchen.  And yes, it was just as long and narrow as it looks here.  And ugly.

Bottom left:  More views of the original kitchen.  We actually moved the fridge over to the other side to help open the kitchen up.  We moved the fridge to right behind where I’m standing looking like a total goofball.  That was the day we did our home inspection.  I was pretty excited.

And the after shots.  [Too bad I didn’t understand that I should pick up before I took these shiny after pics, so please excuse the junk laying around.]

And a couple of before & afters.  I LOVE looking at this!  I LOVE how our kitchen turned out and was so so pleased with it.

Here are the details:

The kitchen is small so we knew we needed to brighten it up with lighter cabinets.  We also knew we needed better countertops, flooring, and appliances.

The old details:
–  Tommy brought down the nasty hood over the stove.  NASTY.  That’s all I have to say about that.
–  Next he started disassembling the kitchen.  Doors off, taking out the old countertops, the sink, etc.
–  The knobs on the cabinets really weren’t so bad, I suppose, but at the time I really hated them.  They definitely weren’t modern.
–  The floors were nasty!  It’s disgusting to even look at pictures.
–  We felt the need to put in a dishwasher so we had to move the fridge as the dishwasher had to go by the sink.  Plus moving the fridge to the other side of the kitchen opened up the kitchen and helped it to not feel so small.
–  When we moved the fridge we could see all the different colors this kitchen has been over time.  It was built in 1948 after all.
–  Regret:  in that dorky picture of me, I  wish I had kept the light hanging right over my head.  Not in that spot because it hung way too low, but I have several spots where I would have put it.  Oh well.

The new details:
–  Painted the upper cabinets white and the lower blue.
–  Dark countertops — stock countertops from Home Depot, and my amazing husband installed them 100% by himself.  He says he’ll never do that again.  I tell him he did a great job.
–  Mounted a microwave above the stove.
–  New sink and faucet.
–  New dishwasher — first time this house had ever seen a dishwasher.
–  Hung my pots and pans where the fridge used to be to try and conceal that custom fridge-containing cabinetry.  I think it works pretty well.  At least I’m pleased with it.  [Sorry I couldn’t clean off the counters before I took that picture.  That picture is from 2 years ago and apparently I didn’t feel the need to clean up back in my pre-kids days since I was so busy and all]
–  Moved the fridge to the other side of the kitchen to make it feel bigger.
–  Painted everything with a nice, crisp, clean coat of white paint.
–  New hardware on the cabinets.
–  New floors.  The floors alone took the hubs about a week and a half to do because there were 4 layers of old flooring he had to pull up.  You used to have to step up into the kitchen because there was so much old floor piled up.  It took him forever, and he lost a lot of blood but he took care of it.  And I love our kitchen floors — hides dirt so well!
***Memory over***

a headboard with a heritage.

We’re not new to having a unique headboard.  When we got married we used the bedroom set my husband had used in college for our “master” bedroom.  It was fine for awhile, but it just didn’t suit our needs.  Our first master bedroom in our first house [confusing, huh?]  was pretty small, so it was a tight squeeze to get everything in there.  Tommy wanted to take the headboard and the foot board off the bed, and it ended up being a great move.  We had at least a good six inches of space to move around the bed after that.  But I had to have a headboard, so we got creative.

This is what our original bed was.  Could I be any messier?

This was the headboard we made.  It added some of our style and helped with our space issues.  Win. Win.

We decided not to use that homemade headboard when we moved to Tennessee.  It just didn’t feel right, but we also didn’t want to put the original bed back together, even though we do have more room here.  So we waited.  Finally, the world fell into place and the greatest headboard for us was born.

We turned my Mamaw’s picnic table into our headboard!

I am crazy about my Mamaw’s stuff.  I LOVE incorporating her things into our home.  I LOVE having a home where I can look around and find reminders of her.  I miss my Mamaw, and to me, this is just a small way of the remembering, the honoring.  This picnic table had been sitting outside folded up, unused at my parents house for over a year.  One day my sister said “hey, why don’t you make that your headboard?”  I was crazy about the idea!  Tommy got on board and helped get things going [and by that I mean, he did ALL of the labor to make this happen].  He took the legs off the table, cleaned it, sealed it, and stuck that baby up on the wall.  It makes our room feel awesome.  I’m lovin’ it.

I’m linking up with Tatertots & Jello for her Weekend Wrap Up Party here.

I’m linking up with The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursday here.