The Next Project: Our Home Office

Posted by John on December 5th, 2013

Even though we’re still wrapping up some work in our sitting room (paint and some decor still to-do), we wanted to let everyone know what project we’d be starting after we finish.  We’re psyched to be switching gears soon and finally getting to work on our home office.

If you took our home tour, you may have noticed that the office is not shown.  There’s a good reason for its absence.  It’s one of our catch-all spaces.  Whenever we get packages delivered, they get opened in the office and the boxes usually get left there for a few weeks.  What else is in there?  Grad school books and binders, craft supplies, the rest of the books we own, an old computer… you get the idea.

What I’m getting at here is we don’t really use this space appropriately.  We spend very little time in there and when we do it’s very task oriented.  I go in to fax or scan something and leave.

We’d like to change that with this room refresh.  That’s my main goal for this space.



You know what, the space doesn’t look too bad in these photos. We’ve since shifted the office desk to the wall and threw a bunch of crap in there. Consider these photos the high water mark.

So what are we planning to do with the office?  Good question.  We’re still kicking around some ideas in terms of layout and looks.  You can follow our Home Office Ideas Pinterest Board to see what direction we’re heading.

We know we’re replacing the carpet and adding hardwood floor.  That’ll probably be the first thing we do with the space.  Of course, we’re going to be designing and building our own office cabinets and built-ins as well.  The debate at the moment is whether I build the cabinets first, then do the floors and install everything or just do the floors first.

You can expect us to cover the entire remodeling process from design ideas to completion.

Should be fun.

Posted in DIY Projects,House Tour. Tagged in ,,

Our Master Bedroom and Sitting Room

Posted by John on January 2nd, 2013

Two posts in a row!  Talk about a New Years resolution.  It’s like going to the gym everyday for a week… that’s what two posts in a row is like… at least in my head.  I haven’t been to the gym since around 2005.  It’s been 7 years.  I was 26.  Wow.  Anywho, about our master bedroom and sitting room.

As I mentioned in our 2013 To-Do list, we’re planning on making use of this sitting room that’s attached to our master bedroom.  I don’t think it would be proper to just show you the sitting room, so we’ll show you both.

***Remember, we haven’t done ANYTHING to these rooms other than throw in some furniture.  They need paint, decorating, the works.  Also, I hate decorating.***

Here’s the first thing you see when you come up our stairs…

master bedroom 2

Is it normally that cleaned and freshly vacuumed?  Um… yes (no).   I picked a crappy day to take these photos.  It was heavily overcast even during the normally bright hours, so I had to use the overhead and room lights, which washes the room over in a warm amber glow.  If you’ve tried to take interior photos at night, you know what I’m talking about.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

Moving into the room…

master bedroom

We have our bed.. it’s king sized.  I would make a crack about being a king or something, but if you’re married and have a schnauzer you need all the room you can get.

This entire furniture set came from Mealey’s.  It’s held up well.  Nice stuff.  The carpet, not so much.

Lisa’s dresser…

woman's dresser

My “gentleman’s chest” … thankfully they didn’t make me provide references or otherwise prove I’m a gentleman in order to purchase it.

gentlemen's chest

If I’m not careful, several t-shirts will roll out onto the floor when I open the side door.  It’s like a spring loaded peanut butter brittle can.  Stuff pops out.  I need to add a system to this thing.  Not high on our list, but on the list nonetheless.

Moving onto the sitting room…

sitting room 2

It’s actually a decent sized room.  We’ve yet to do any actual “sitting” in said room, but we are planning on it.

There’s a nice sized long wall where we’ll put a couch…

sitting room 3

sitting room

We’ve actually already bought a couch for this space from Ikea and we’re using an older flat screen we have from our first home.  I’ll be doing a couple posts on hiding the TV’s cables using a slightly different method than the Powerbridge we used at our neighbor’s house as well.  Beyond that we need a TV console which we haven’t picked out, lighting and ideally some built-in shelving.  Hopefully painting this space will carry over into the rest of the master.

Remind me never to take pictures in this room with those lights on again please.  It’s giving me a headache.

What’s your first project of 2013?

Posted in Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,, , ,

Ceiling Fan Installation

Posted by John on June 22nd, 2012

We hope everyone is managing to stay cool during this little East Coast heat wave we’ve been having.  It was supposed to go up to 100 F yesterday!  I love the summer, but I’d rather be a little cool, than a little hot, ya know.  We have a blow-up pool we’ll be setting up for the baby, which I’m really looking forward to.

With this hot weather in mind, Lisa finally was able to talk me into installing a couple ceiling fans in our spare bedroom and the baby’s playroom.  The playroom isn’t quite where Lisa wants it yet, so a post on that room will be forthcoming, but not quite yet.  However, we can show you our guest room.

The bed is a queen sized MALM from Ikea.  I bought it for myself right after college.  It was a huge improvement after sleeping on a twin sized mattress on the floor of my fraternity house! After we got married, we kept this bed for a couple years, until we moved into our current house and bought a new one.  That’s also our bedspread we had when we first got married.  Actually the whole set it the from when we were first married.  I only had the bed, then we picked up the other two pieces.  I don’t believe they are from the same set, but, it’s white lacquer from Ikea, so it’s close.

I believe the dressers are from the same set, although I couldn’t name it off the top of my head.  Since they are only a few years old, they’ve held up fairly well.  You can probably tell that when we don’t have company over, this room is sort of a catch all.  We’re working on that a little at a time though.  That large carpet roll in the corner is the other half of the wall to wall carpet we had made into an area rug.  We haven’t decided on a paint color yet and since we haven’t even painted the master bedroom, the master bathroom, the powder room, etc… we aren’t planning on painting the guest room anytime soon!

The ceiling fan we’re installing is a Bellevue made by Harbor Breeze.  It’s a very simple five blade, white ceiling fan.  It’s the same fan that’s in the nursery.  We like it because it’s simple… it doesn’t require a lot of thinking or coordinating, it just works well with the rooms.

Installing these fans is a real breeze… (ba da ching).  Terrible pun, I know.  Sorry.  Actually, what makes this a lot easier, is when we built our house, we opted to put in a lighting box in each bedroom ceiling.  We had to pay a little extra for that option, but it means that we won’t have to fish wire through the ceiling or any of that nonsense.  If you’ve ever done that, you know it’s a PIA.  A little planning on our part saved us me a ton of time.

To install this fan, I used a basic set of tools that most homeowners should own (if you don’t own them yet, plan on getting them, trust me).  They are, from left to right: a pair of wire strippers, wire cutters, needle nose pliers, a current detector, electrical tape, a flat head and a phillip’s head screw driver.

I’m going to refer you to the directions included in the fan box for specifics on how to install a ceiling fan as I’m avoiding specific electrical instructions.  For ceiling fans, the gist of it is the number of conductors.  Ideally, you should have a black, a red, a white and a bare copper ground wire in your ceiling box.  If you don’t have the red wire, you’re probably going to have to relinquish control of the fan/lighting to the pull cords on the fan itself as you’ll only have use of one wall switch at that point.  If you have the additional red wire, then you can have  two wall switches; one for the fan and one for the light.

The body of the fan can be pretty awkward to hold up in the air while you try to wire it together.  For the guest room, I had Lisa hold it up, while I made the connections.  For the second fan, I just used some zip ties to hold the fan up.  It made it much, much easier.

The only part of this installation I truly hate is fastening the light to the ceiling.  The holes tend to not line up well for some reason.

It’s definitely worth any aggravation though!  This ceiling fan installation really helps keep the air moving upstairs even with central air conditioning.

So how are you beating the heat? 

Posted in Electrical,Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Our Kitchen

Posted by John on January 23rd, 2012

Believe it or not, Lisa and I are just getting over our brutal weekend a couple weeks ago where we installed hardwood floors in our family room!  I think my last splinter just came out.  I had about a dozen of them AND I was wearing gloves!  It was ridiculous.  I had three bandaids on my hands for a couple days.  Anyway, while we were resting up for the last two weeks, we’ve been taking our time and doing some painting and picking up some furniture.  The whole reason we’re doing all of this work over about a month’s time frame is because we’re preparing for our daughter’s first birthday party.  Lisa will be blogging all about that soon enough so stop by early and often! 

We finished up the painting in our Family Room and Kitchen a few days ago.  We still have to paint our Dining Room and finish up some trim in the living room… Oh and Lisa just added painting our powder room to the “Honey Do” list before the party… among other things.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to post about our kitchen, since we’ve never formally posted about it yet.  Lisa did a couple posts about her plate walls here and here.  I also just assembled our daughter’s rocking moose in our last post in our kitchen, but we never actually discussed it yet.  We DID feature a couple pictures of it on our Home Build Page, but that was taken before we moved in.

So, here it is… all painted and ready for prime time.


Couple things I’ll mention. We opted for an upgrade package with the builder that included the Bordeaux stained cherry cabinets with the double wall mounted range. The double oven is sweeetttt and I barely use it.  Lisa, however, frequently uses both.  She roasts in one while simultaneously bakes dessert in the other.  It makes holiday get together’s more efficient from her stand point.  And if she’s happy, I’m happy.

Our countertop is a laminate.  I know what you’re probably thinking… you don’t have granite?  Well… we decided to invest our purchase dollars into some items we KNEW we wanted but didn’t want to go through the hassle of adding later.  For example, we got some surround sound speakers installed into the family room ceiling.  WELL worth it.  We thought about maybe skipping it, but I dreaded the idea of running that speaker wire after the fact… what a PIA.  Plus, we weren’t thrilled with the price that our builder wanted for granite.  We had just put in granite in our first home so we know what the going rate is…. and we thought the builder’s price was a bit much.  We’ve seen a few of our neighbor’s granite counters and they are definitely gorgeous, but we just decided to wait on this one.

We have a growing list of improvements we want to make to our kitchen, but we’re in no hurry.  We’d like to eventually add that solid surface counter.  The microwave isn’t vented to the outside, so it just recircs into the kitchen.  We have visions of a stainless steel or brushed nickel range hood, not to mention a backsplash.  If we get a range hood, the microwave will need to be relocated.  I do want to be clear about something because I don’t want this post to come across as whiny or picky or something…. Lisa and I feel extremely grateful for all the we have.  We’ve been very blessed.  At the end of the day, our house… this is just stuff… what’s really important to us is our loved ones, our friends and families and our relationships with them.  We’d be happy in a teepee (as long as I can get the Flyers on CSN anyway!).

Check out these photos:  Can you even tell the room is painted now?  This is what I like and don’t like about this paint: at times it’s very subtle.  Other times it’s noticeable; nice and cozy.  But you can barely tell it’s painted in these photos.  To see it, you really need to show something bright white for the contrast.



In our home, on a day to day basis, the kitchen island is a catch-all.  If you can’t find something, first place you check is the island.  Before company comes over, I take a shovel and clean it off so it looks like a nice place to have a glass of wine and read a magazine.  Just kidding about the shovel…


Lisa has all of our wine and champagne glasses in there.  We generally only use two at a time and even then we rarely drink.

My favorite part is near the end of the island…


This is where we keep the cookbooks. Surprisingly, these are mostly MY cookbooks. Back in the day, I used to cook quite a bit. Then I bought my first house and I only had time to DIY… cooking got back burnered (pun). I’ve got a few Jamie Oliver books, a Bobby Flay. My current favorite is the Anthony Bourdain Les Halles Cookbook. It’s a good read, even if you’re not into actual cooking. If you’re a fan of “No Reservations,” this book is filled with his edgy and comedic personality and you’ll definitely enjoy it.  It’s like “Kitchen Confidential” with recipes.

Lisa mostly cooks her family staples from memory. Anything new that she tries, she mainly gets from the food network or allrecipes.com.

So that’s our kitchen.  Any changes in your kitchen that you’re planning?  Do you have a solid surface that’s not granite?  What are your recommendations?

Posted in Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,,

Our Morning Room

Posted by Lisa on September 1st, 2011

As I made my daily cup of Tassimo latte this morning (well, not really daily anymore, more like a once a week treat now; super splurge, I know!), I looked over to our morning room just off the kitchen and I noticed the sun was extraordinarily bright and the light was coming through all the paper shades getting my creative juices flowing, so I decided to snap some pictures of our morning room and share.  Just that fact that the sun was shining at all was a major improvement over the previous week – let’s see, an earthquake, hurricane, oh and tornado (we all weathered just fine, thank goodness!).

The morning room was an “option” when we were building our home and we knew it was a must-have.  Although, without it, we could be eating at a round pedestal dining table (love!) with a slightly larger backyard.  However, the long rectangular shape is more practical (which is the mode my brain usually excels in HA!).  We also opted for the two additional windows on the right side, making the morning room completely lit on all three walls.

The floor in here is the same cherry stained oak as the kitchen, entry way, dinning room, and powder room.  We purchased the table from Raymour and Flanigan before the move along with the furniture for the family room.  They delivered all the furniture on the same day as the movers, Lowe’s appliance delivery, and the cable company (doing any projects without the cable TV on is a big no-no in this household).  The table is espresso color with four chairs and a bench.  I love tables with benches.. I think it’s because growing up my parents had a table with a bench (and still do).

Of course, the paper shades are temporary until we can decide on window treatments.  They certainly get the job done! I really like the look of white plantation shutters for this room and for the family room, but I am still mulling it over.  I want something neutral that can be shut completely but that also can be opened to allow a ton of light in.  Another project for this room (and all downstairs rooms) will be to put UV protective film up.  I’d like to protect the hardwood floors from color changes as best as possible.  UV films would def make a great weekend DIY project!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the ceiling fan light we added.  The room gets pretty warm during the summer between the sunlight and the proximity to the kitchen, so having a fan is a must.  We purchased an espresso paddle colored fan from Lowes with pewter finish metal.  We (John) also added a 32″ extension rod in pewter as well because the ceiling is vaulted.

Our dog, a miniature schnauzer named Mr Finegan, prefers to hide under the morning room table as his first choice whenever he’s snagged a neglected pusher (or as John calls it a “channel changer”??).  In order to retrieve said remote, Mr Finegan demands to be playfully chased for it or handsomely rewarded with treats in order to free his electronic hostage.  John goes immediately to the treats, but I prefer to run him down!  We love him, but he’s def in it for the snacks.


The Decor:

Here’s a great white pitcher filled with hydrangeas that’s always on the table… and my favorite quilted place mats (they’re Waverly).  It ain’t much, but it’s a start!

We’ll be running over to the paint store to check out potential paint colors for this room.  I am thinking .. ready … NEUTRAL!  Ha!  I would like a super creamy khaki color (like in the Pottery Barn catalogs).  The color has to coordinate well with the dark hardwood floor and our carpets.  I would also like to paint the entire first floor the same color (with the exception of the dining room).

Any design thoughts for this room? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

What about your home?  Do you have any rooms in the house that brighten your day and inspire you?  Do you have a dog that loves to be mischievous?  Do you have to negotiate with treats or is that just us?


Posted in Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,,

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