If you’ve been following along for a while, you may have remembered our laundry list of home renovation projects for 2020. We made a pretty big dent in that list over the summer and through the fall. Unfortunately, we did not complete all of the projects on our list so some have transferred over to our projects for 2021, making it a very ambitious list.
But as any homeowner knows, owning a house means there is a never ending list of projects and renovations that must be done. Luckily the 2021 list is a bit more glamorous than last year’s list (no more chimney, dry wall, or roof repairs!). We are aware this is quite the list, but we are going to take each project one at a time and see how it goes!
House Projects 2021
Paint the exterior of the house (I think I’m still leaning towards navy)
Install a new front door (If we go navy for the exterior, I’m thinking white, natural wood or light pink for the door)
Install light fixtures and ceiling fans in the upstairs bedrooms
Install new carpet on the stairs and second floor
Transition Lilly from her nursery to a big girl room (I have very mixed feelings about this!)
Organize and tidy up the laundry room and basement
Landscape around the exterior of the house
Plant a flower garden (I’m MOST excited for this project!)
I’m sure this list will change and evolve as the year progresses, but it feels good to have some ideas and goals written down on paper. I’ll share the progress of all of these projects on my Instagram, so be sure to follow along!
I find coastal home decor inspiration everywhere. Whether I’m scouring Pinterest, checking out other bloggers with a coastal style, or google searching “coastal home decor,” the one brand that never fails to inspire me is Serena and Lily. I will sit for hours and study their catalogues (one of the few print catalogues I still get in the mail!). Known for their coastal yet refined style, Serena and Lily is an absolute favorite among people who love that easy breezy, casual, and classic style associated with living along the coast. Everything they design is always so welcoming, something I always strive for in my own home.
When Rob and I realized we quickly needed to upgrade our pub style kitchen table to one that would accommodate Lilly, I grabbed all my Serena and Lily catalogues and spent hours looking for inspiration. Our kitchen in general is small. Our house was built in the late 1970’s, and although many modern improvements have been made, the rooms are small and the ceilings are low. I knew we were limited in the space we had for a kitchen table.
I found a few round, white tables from Serena and Lily (here and here) that I absolutely fell in love with. Unfortunately, my bank account cannot support the steep prices of this brand, so I took the advice of my friend Claire from Home With the Wileys: I identified the elements of the piece of furniture I loved and started shopping around on sites I knew we could afford (Wayfair, Target, Birch Lane, Pottery Barn, One Kings Lane, etc.) After several weeks, I found an almost identical style to the table I wanted at Birch Lane, at a much happier price point (sadly I can’t link it because it’s already sold out!).
The table arrived within three days, and although it took a little getting used to, I have come to love this table. It’s the perfect fit for our space. The white brightens up the space and the simple, modern style helps the space feel larger.
For the chairs, I knew I loved the Serena and Lily Tucker Dining Chairs in white. I love this classic look of a chair – reminds me of early American life (think Williamsburg). These spindle chairs are easy to shop for and I originally found some I liked at Target. But after two different shipments of damaged chairs and having to deal with the hassle of sending them back, I decided to start the process over again.
I had been eyeing some of these wood spindle chairs on Overstock from the Safavieh line and on a whim, we decided to try these in a curved back instead of the upright back. And oh my gosh. We LOVE these chairs. I think I love them more than the table. They arrived in three days and were UNDAMAGED. Plus, it took Rob about ten minutes total to assemble them. WIN.
I absolutely love the classic, coastal, and casual feel we created in our kitchen nook. The white brightens up the space so much and the clean lines help the space feel larger. I wanted this space to be a space where we hang out as a family and share special meals. Already, it’s one of our most used spaces and I’m so happy with it.
Although I love the Serena and Lily style so much, at this point in our lives we need to be more economical with our purchases. For anyone else in the same boat, you can absolutely get the Serena and Lily look for less. Just be specific in what you are looking for and you will find it. Thank you Serena and Lily for the endless inspiration. Someday I dream of owning one of your beautiful pieces!
I’ve been dreaming of a chaise lounge for our living room for about two or three years now. After much pestering on my part, I finally convinced Rob it was time to splurge on a new piece of furniture. And let me tell you. My dream chaise lounge was worth the wait.
I had saved tons of pins on Pinterest of chaise lounges that I loved, but I always came back to one in particular. Classic in style with blue and white stripes, the Wittrock Chaise Lounge was shopped on a daily basis for months and months. I was that in love with it. And having lived with it for almost a week now, I can say that I am still in love with this chair!
When I love something, I know right away. The minute we unpackaged this chair and put it in its rightful place, I knew it would be my favorite seat in the house. Somehow my cute little mini me has taken it over though and most days I hear, “Mama’s new chair now Lilly’s new chair.” I think that little affirmation says it all. We love our new chair.
Because a new piece of furniture is always an investment, I’m sharing my honest thoughts based on price, quality, and style.
Wittrock Chaise Lounge
Like I said earlier, I shopped around looking at chaise lounges from various retailers. I always came back to the Wittrock Chaise Lounge from Birch Lane mostly because of style, but also because of price. Retailing between $960-$1100, this chaise lounge is pretty middle of the road when it comes to price. It seemed like the best value for the size and plushness. And it’s definitely a customer favorite which helped in my decision. Shopping hint: it does go on sale once or twice a year, so when I saw it was on sale for Labor Day, I clicked that purchase button before Rob could change his mind!
One week in and I’m thrilled with the quality. It’s sturdy and solid. The upholstery is beautiful and very high quality. Comfort wise it’s just what I hoped for. Lilly and I can comfortably be together and read books, with me sometimes starting to doze it’s that comfy. Already we have had cheese curl fingers, mud, and glitter make its way to my new favorite chair and all three times I’ve been easily able to clean it up. We will see how it holds up after a few months of heavy traffic.
Style wise I love this chair. It’s the perfect coastal, Serena and Lily vibe I was hoping for. It’s classic in shape and perfect in size for our space. We were debating between the stripes and gray and I’m so glad we went with the stripes. It really brightens up our living room and the stripes will never go out of style. A+++ for the style!
I can’t speak highly enough about this chair. Luckily shipping was a breeze too (we didn’t experience any damages, which has not historically been the case when we’ve ordered furniture). I’m aware we have only had this chair for a week, but if you are in the market for a chaise lounge and have questions about this particular one, please feel free to message me and I will answer your questions as best I can.
Now excuse me while I go curl up with a cup of coffee and watch Lilly play.
I love to clean and organize. It’s probably one of my favorite pastimes and definitely my favorite chore. Before Lilly, I would spend our entire Saturday morning deep cleaning our house. Cleaning and organizing has always been my activity that de-stresses me, allows me to process whatever is going on, and it genuinely brings me joy.
Before kids, I always used to say, “my house is going to stay clean even after I have kids.” And guys, so far that’s been manageable with one kid (I can’t say what will happen if we have more). Below are some tricks that help me keep our home organized and clutter free.
Invest in Quality Baskets
Baskets are my best friend. I can’t have enough baskets. Baskets are so good at hiding clutter. We have diaper baskets in almost every room – that way we can have quick access to diapers, wipes, lotion and whatever else a baby and toddler needs. I love to store baskets under coffee tables and on shelves because it looks pretty and it hides the chaos inside the basket. I also use baskets in our kitchen to hide our aprons and cookbooks (we just don’t have enough counter space, wall space, or cupboard space). I also use baskets in closets, under sinks, in L’s playroom – literally everywhere. I also love to leave them out in the open and fill them with magazines, books, or blankets.
Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Pottery Barn have some excellent options. I also love the Serena and Lily ones, but those are $$$. Here a few styles that I love:
This is something I try to do, and it does work 90% of the time. Before we leave a room where we’ve been playing, I try and put everything away and in its rightful place. This might seem silly, but it’s so much better than spending a half hour going all around the house, picking everything up after L goes to bed. It truly makes a huge difference. Plus, we make a game out of it. Luckily Lilly is a helper so if I ask her to help me with something she is always willing and ready.
Designated Play Area
Fortunately we have a designated playroom in our house. Keeping her toys, books, and stuffed animals all in one area of the house certainly helps with keeping the rest of the house organized. And it helps that this room is separate from the rest of the house (it’s right off of our entrance from the garage and there is a bathroom connected to it. I think it’s technically a downstairs master, but we use it as the playroom). Even if you don’t have a playroom, you can set aside a space in your house for the kiddo’s toys (use those baskets!) and it will definitely help with keeping things tidy.
Always do the Dishes
This can be an annoying task for sure, but my mom always taught me to clean all the dishes before you go to bed. If we use dishes after dinner, I always make sure I hand wash them and put them away before we go to bed. Most nights I do not want to do this task because I’m so tired. But every morning I wake up and I’m so glad I did. It truly makes a difference in the morning!
And that’s it folks. These are things I do every single day that keeps our home tidy and organized, something I very much value. Hopefully one or more of these ideas will be feasible for you. Happy organizing!
I love our home in the spring and summer. The blue and white color scheme always feels so fresh and calming. I love the peaceful vibe that the coastal details provide. But, come fall and winter, I struggle big time with decorating. I enjoy the cozy aesthetic that these two seasons bring, but sometimes I struggle to combine the darker and muted shades of fall and winter with my bright blue and white.
When it comes to fall decor, I will spend hours studying Pinterest for ideas. I’ve tried so many times to decorate using the traditional orange, yellows, and reds that come with fall, but it just never looks right in our home. And the same goes for Christmas decor – the traditional red and green just don’t spark that joy for me.
So I’ve completely switched to fall decor that is blue and white (I’ll occasionally throw in a mini orange pumpkin, mostly for L). This post is for anyone struggling to find a nice balance of mixing your vibe with seasonal decor, I’m providing some ideas that have worked for me. Please remember, I am not an expert in interior design – I just enjoy decorating our home and making it aesthetically pleasing to my eye.
Ideas for Blue and White Seasonal Fall Decor
Patterned Pumpkins: This year I made patterned blue and white pumpkins using a little Mod Podge and cocktail napkins and they turned out so cute! A fellow Instagrammer who I follow posted how to do this easy DIY project and you can find it here.
Colorful Pumpkins: Consider switching to ceramic pumpkins. Many retailers offer pumpkins in different colors and it’s a lot easier to find blue pumpkins than in year’s past. I’ve also seen green, pink, gold, purple – the options are endless!
Candles: Candles can easily transform your space into the cozy vibe that we associate with fall. I prefer to use tall, skinny candlesticks in varying heights. I have a few of these types of candlesticks in white, but purchasing some in gold or brass would be perfect for fall.
Colorful Plaid: As I learned in Scotland, plaid doesn’t have to be your traditional reds, dark greens, oranges, or browns. Plaid comes in so many different color options. Consider finding a plaid blanket with blue, gray, or even purple. Like the candlesticks, it will add an extra element of cozy.
Wheat Sheaves/Ornamental Grass: If you aren’t big on fall florals, wheat sheaves and ornamental grass or even a eucalyptus plant are a good alternative. Find some beautiful pottery or a vase in shades of blue, gray, and white and you are good to go.
A few other thoughts. I actually think that seasonal decorations can be expensive and some years I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on pumpkins and gourds. My mom always tells me to add a few new pieces to our collection each year and eventually we will have enough seasonal decor to fill the house. We’ve been in our house for four years now and I have enough fall decor to decorate our living room and dining room (the two rooms we use the least haha!).
Another idea – Target and Amazon offer bulk plastic pumpkins in white for super cheap. I bought a few bags of these and I love to throw them in a decorative bowl. This year I actually found some nautical rope pumpkins so I ordered two for our family room!
And finally, I like to decorate our bookshelves with blue and whtie pumpkins. But it can feel crowded, so I lay out all my pumpkins and take everything off the shelves and completely re-style them. Anything left over goes into a plastic tote and I’ll bring it back out for spring and summer. Having the pumpkins mixed in with the books adds an unexpected touch.
Now, if someone could help me decorate our fireplace that has a baby proof foam edge protector surrounding it, please send your ideas my way!!
A few weeks ago I shared a list of house projectsfor this summer. We are in full swing in getting these projects complete and that is such a good feeling. We still have a very long way to go, but we are slowly checking the big projects off our list. If you are interested, keep on reading to see what projects we have completed and what projects are still works in progress.
It feels good to check the not-so-glamorous projects off our list. So far this summer we’ve been able to spruce up the landscaping, repair the chimney, and replace the roof – the top priorities on our list (and the most money sucking eeeeek). Relaxing at night is much more enjoyable though knowing that the chimney isn’t going to fall over and the ceiling isn’t going to leak anymore.
We chose pretty dark gray shingles for the roof and already it enhances the curb appeal so much. We think it will look so good against the (eventual) dark navy siding. Which leads me into our uncompleted list of projects.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
The two big projects we still have to complete are painting the exterior of the house and fixing the interior damage caused by the chimney. I’m a little concerned about the interior damage getting complete because of, you know, COVID-19. I’m just not comfortable having workers in our home while the pandemic is raging around the state, country, and world. Eventually though the ceiling will get repaired and the walls painted and our family room and guest room will feel so clean and fresh.
I’ve now added a few more interior projects to keep me busy (like I need any more projects in my life). If you follow me on Instagram you will have listened to me chat about the playroom gallery wall I’m working on. My goal with the playroom gallery wall is to find original artwork created by artists I admire and/or artists that have become friends. So far I have five original pieces and I’m deciding on one more (blog post coming soon).
I also decided to finally start the gallery wall up the stairwell. For YEARS I’ve talked about doing a gallery wall of family pictures going up the stairs (one of my favorite shows of all time is Brothers and Sisters and Sally Field’s character had the best gallery wall up her staircase. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to do the same thing). And I’ve finally decided to do it. It’s definitely a challenging project – trying to style and organize multiple frames on an incline is not easy. It’s like putting together a puzzle and it just takes time to make all the pieces fit. Once it’s done, I think it’s going to really brighten up and make our entryway feel so warm and welcoming.
I’m really looking forward to completing both those gallery walls. Artwork brings me so much joy and helps make our house feel like a home.
Thanks for following along on our home reno projects!
I love sharing my favorite brands, artists, and creatives with you, so I’ve decided to start a new series that spotlights all of these amazing companies and individuals! And to kick-off this new series, I’m shining a spotlight on Jaye’s Studio, a New England based company with a passion for details.
Founded in 1976, Jaye’s Studio is a somewhat newer brand to me, but I have quickly fallen in love with their products. Their perfectly curated collection of classic, bright, and preppy products are totally my style. They offer beautiful, high quality pieces for the home, as well as a pajama collection that has quickly become my new go-to for pajama sets. I love this brand and their mission and I am sharing some of my favorite products below!
Sea Life Sateen Capri Pajama Set
You guys know how much I love my summer pajamas and this adorable sea life pajama set is the perfect addition to my collection. I’m literally obsessed with the vibrant blue and white octopus print. I love all the classic details, from the cap sleeves to the ruffle capri. And, the capris have pockets, which are always such a win in my book. The cotton sateen fabric is so cool, lightweight, soft and easy to move in – perfect for summer mornings, sipping coffee or chasing a toddler (or both!).
Regency Anchor Tissue Box
It’s all in the details. I spend a lot of time searching for home decor details that bring us joy and that make our house feel like a home. I’ve actually been searching for a tissue box cover for years and this blue and gold one is literally perfect. The colors match our decor splendidly and the anchor detail adds just the right amount of nautical flair that I love.
Below are some items that are on my wish list.
Don’t Fret Blue Sateen Robe: This looks so cozy and perfect for easy, summer mornings or late summer evenings on the deck. Plus, it’s blue and white so it instantly caught my eye.
Interlocking Key Square Cachepot: This cachepot is so cute. I love the blue and white pattern. This would be perfect for plants, flowers, kitchen utensils – you name it! It’s so versatile and would be a perfect addition to any home.
Chang Mai Color Block Tray in Gold: A gorgeous bamboo tray, this would be perfect for displaying trinkets, holding amenities in a guest bathroom or hosting a cocktail hour. It’s classic, timeless, and versatile.
I’ll preface this blog post by fully admitting I am not a gardener, florist, or one who even knows much about landscaping, flowers, and tending to your yard. What I do know is what flowers thrive in our yard, and that is wisdom I can share!
Our backyard has two beautiful, gigantic oak and locust trees. These trees frame the back of our house and are so tall and old that they provide a natural canopy of shade over our deck and backyard. Although we appreciate these beauties, especially on hot days, I have struggled with finding flowers that will keep blooming all summer long.
I have done a little bit of research, but really the variety of flowers I’m going to share are those that I have found through trial and error. This June marks the fourth year in our house and every year I have at least one flower pot that doesn’t make it because the flowers I bought need sun and the poor pretties just weren’t happy.
But I’m happy to share that I have found three varieties of flowers that love an area that is mostly shaded with some bouts of afternoon sun.
I’m actually listening to Scarlet Begonias by the Grateful Dead as I write this and it’s making me so happy. Two years ago I read that begonias like partial sun and shade so I tried planting them and they thrived in my garden boxes. I actually love begonias but they are really hard to find in Ohio. I was lucky to find some bright coral ones the past two years, but this year the begonias at the nursery didn’t look so great, so I sadly had to pass.
Begonias love morning sun and afternoon shade. They don’t do well with cold temperatures and can quickly die with a frost, but they do love hot climates. I highly recommend planting some of these tropical, bright florals if you have shaded summer beds because they sure do look pretty. (Side note: These are not pet friendly so I don’t recommend it if you have a pet that eats your foliage. I planted these in my window boxes in the past so Gryff couldn’t get them).
Petunias are definitely a popular variety of flower here in Northwest Ohio. They are easy to care for, don’t need a ton of watering, and although it’s recommended they get full sun, my petunias always do really well. These are not typically what people recommend for shaded yards, but I’ve always had success with them. I always exclusively plant petunias in my front garden because it does get more sun, but they do surprisingly well in my backyard too. I think because we do get pockets of sun throughout the day, it’s enough to keep them happy.
These are a new addition to our flower boxes this year, so the verdict is still out. BUT I did do some research and pansies thrive in cooler climates and partial sun. Even on 90 degree days, the deck stays pretty cool because of the natural shade. We will see how they do come July and August when it gets hot in Ohio, but right now, these heart shaped beauties are loving life in their window box outside our kitchen. I bought purple and yellow ones and planted some hot pink petunias with them and to see these bright, happy colors through my kitchen window brings me so much joy. Also a fun fact, pansies are edible! You can use pansies as a garnish on salads or desserts.
I will say that almost every year I try to plant sunpatiens because I think they are so pretty and they always flourish in my mom’s yard. But they sadly do not like my yard and the lack of sun. Through my research I did find that black eyed susans, lily-of-the-valley, violets, and primroses love shaded areas, so if your yard lacks sun like mine, these varieties might be good to try.
I do want to point out too that I think it’s important you try to grow plants and flowers that are native to your area. Native plants are good for wildlife such as birds and butterflies. They are lower maintenance, require less watering, and don’t need fertilizers and pesticides. They also filter storm water which is really important for keeping our waterways (like Lake Erie!) clean and free from pollutants and algae. When we landscape next summer, I’m going to make sure that the plants we choose are native to Ohio – I’m already looking at blue vervain, columbine, and goldenrod.
Anyways, I hope my experience with planting flowers in partial sun/shade gives you some more variety to choose from if you have a shady yard like we do.
When I started blogging for fun (almost!) three years ago, I never imagined that blogging would result in friendships from around the country. Literally. I have formed so many wonderful relationships and even met a few other creatives in person. I have often thought about quitting my blog, and even Instagram for that matter, but time and again the friendships I’ve formed with so many people and their never sending support keeps me going.
One of those people who I connected with instantly and who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders is my friend Sarah from Cozy Little Joys. Sarah and I have bonded over everything from classic style, to motherhood and raising our two toddlers, to blue and white obsessions, a love for stripes, gin and tonics,and so much more. She inspires me daily with her positive attitude, real-life honesty, and as of most recently, her courage to share a new passion during these difficult times.
I’m so excited to share Sarah’s newest venture – the Cozy Little Prints Studio! Cozy Little Prints started as a creative outlet for Sarah to help ease stress and anxiety during a very challenging time. Cozy Little Prints is a collection of original watercolor paintings, ranging from fresh blooms, to architecture, botanicals, ginger jars, classic style, and coastal art. You can purchase digital downloads of Sarah’s artwork on Etsy, as well as working with Sarah on commissioned pieces.
In honor of the launch of Sarah’s new venture, Sarah, our friend Caitlin from Lemonade Press Blog, and myself are giving away three watercolor prints from Sarah’s blue and white lemon collection! Head to our Instagram’s to enter to win!
The joy of home ownership. We definitely love owning a home. A home allows us to create a space that is all our own. But it’s also a money sucking time commitment. Built in 1976, we bought our house in 2016. The owners prior to us kept the house updated and modern, which has resulted in minor cosmetic changes on our end.
For the past year we’ve been dealing with some issues with our chimney. Long story short, our chimney base has disconnected from our house and water has been seeping into our family room. This has caused water damage in our family room ceiling, as well as our guest room ceiling.
We’ve had engineers, masons, contractors, insurance agents – you name it – out to our home to look at the problem and the damage it has caused. We have finally hired a contractor who will be building up our foundation to connect it back to the chimney and hopefully fix this problem for good. But because this chimney problem has caused so much interior and exterior damage, we have decided this summer is the summer of value adding projects.
We were told when we bought the house that the roof would need to be replaced in five-ish years. We decided that since we are already working on chimney and foundation repairs, we might as well replace the roof while we are at it. We are going with dark gray shingles to better suit another project – painting the exterior!
Painting the Exterior Siding
Our exterior siding is currently blue with black shutters and a white garage. We’ve always wanted to paint the entire exterior navy and then replace the black shutters with white ones. I’m currently researching paint colors and Hale Navy seems to be a favorite among many.
Painting the Family Room and Guest Room
Because of the interior water damage, we have to replace some of the drywall and ceiling and will need to repaint both of the family room and upstairs guest room. Our family room is currently a grayish blue and the guest room is beige. Because the family room has no windows and only sliding doors to the deck, I’m switching the paint color to bright white to try and brighten it up. Our guest room isn’t really a guest room right now – it’s more of a hodgepodge of random items. But eventually, Lilly will probably move in there so my plan is to paint it white for now and then later we can add some color above the chair rail.
We have a large deck right off the back of the house and one of the previous owners planted some very lush gardens. Unfortunately, the gardens are extremely hard to maintain and four years in this house has still not resulted in getting them cleaned up. This year though we are committing ourselves to clearing out the gardens – literally everything and just mulching them. Next year we will plant native, low maintenance plants to spruce things up.
These are the main projects, but we are also hoping to replace our front door and purchase a comfy reading chair for our living room. Plus, we want to finish the playroom by purchasing some fun artwork.
Phew. I feel tired just typing all of this out. Although these aren’t glamorous projects, they will increase the value of the home and we won’t have to deal with any more water issues! Stay tuned for updates along the way!