HOME: TODDLER GIRL ROOM

One of the biggest projects we are tackling this spring is converting our current guest room/catch all room into Lilly’s big girl room.  The nursery is already blue and white, so I really don’t have to do much besides swap out some artwork and the wall of wallpaper to make it original to baby brother.  Thankfully that leaves me more time to spend on making Lilly’s room special for her.  

My inspiration for this room is really coming from two sources. The first is from Caitlin Wilson Design. This is one of my favorite interior designers to follow and in the past year she launched a kids collection that is full of preppy florals and bows. The entire collection is just darling. Because we have so many home projects and a new baby on the way, I’m trying to be economical about my purchases. I may only buy a one or two pieces from the Caitlin Wilson line, but most of the items I purchase will be inspired by their beautiful style.

The second form of inspiration is Lilly herself.  Lilly is quite the vivacious two year old who is just so full of life.  She is such a bright light in our lives and I want her room to reflect her bold, lively nature.  Lilly and I both chose this gorgeous, bright floral watercolor wallpaper for one wall in her room.  Lilly’s favorite colors are purple and blue and this watercolor is the perfect blend of her favorite colors. The walls are currently white with a white chair rail down the middle.  I want to keep the room bright, but I do want some color.  I’m going to pull the lightest shade of pink from the wallpaper and paint the upper half of the walls in this color, which turns out is a sweet light pink – a perfect representation of Lilly’s sweet side.  

Because I feel sort of bad about kicking Lilly out of the nursery (she loves her room!), I’m trying to make her big girl room as special as possible.  So I’ve been asking her to help me in some of the decisions, like the wallpaper and paint colors.  I’ve been showing her options for bedding and artwork and I let her choose her favorites (for a two and a half year old she is very in tune to what she likes!). 

Below is a mood board I quickly created to help visual the direction I’m going with the room. Although the colors are slightly different from the Caitlin Wilson Designs, I think the direction I’m going still matches the floral, girly, and classic look of the Caitlin Wilson rooms that I love so much, but match Lilly’s beautiful personality.

Floral Wallpaper | Toddler Bed | Caitlin Wilson Quilt Floral Pillow | Lavender Bedding | White Dresser | Lamp | Floral Artwork 

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: HOUSE PROJECTS 2021

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! 

Slainte,

Shannon 

HOME: SERENA AND LILY INSPIRED KITCHEN TABLE

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!

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: HOW I KEEP OUR HOUSE ORGANIZED WITH A TODDLER

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: 

Pottery Barn Beachcomber Handwoven Seagrass Large Tote 

Pottery Barn Havana Handwoven Seagrass Utility Basket (I have about 8 of these all over the house!).  It also comes in a lighter shade.

Pottery Barn Metallic Woven Wool Storage – we have one similar to this in pink and it’s my favorite basket! 

Target Decorative Toy Storage Basket – we have this in pink in Lilly’s room and I love it!  

Target Large Woven Storage Basket – we have four of these in white under L’s changing table.  They are perfect for storing diapers and blankets! 

Colonial Mills Boca Raton Basket – we love this for storing L’s stuffed animals! Amazing quality. 

Tidy Up Before You Leave a Room

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!

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: HOUSE PROJECTS 2020 UPDATE

A few weeks ago I shared a list of house projects for 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.  

COMPLETED PROJECTS

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!

Slainte,

Shannon 

HOME: HOUSE RENOVATIONS SUMMER 2020

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.

New Roof

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. 

Landscaping

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!

Slainte,

Shannon