Fall Home Preview & Mudroom Reveal!

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I truly love Fall. When I think about pumpkins and crisp nights and crunchy leaves and soup and cider, I am like a giddy schoolgirl. Jeremy has rolled his eyes every time I have come home with a new pumpkin in the past few weeks…which has been often. I just keep buying all the pumpkins!

That said, nothing says fall like cozy clothes. Boots and scarves and jackets and cardigans. While we are still very much in “transitional” fall weather here in middle Tennessee, I look forward with anticipation to the weeks ahead when it’s cool enough to layer up before heading out. Fall comes later here than in the North, but we get to experience a extended, gradual changing of leaves and crisp, lovely temps from about mid-October through the end of November.

With all those layers often comes a mess in our house, however. We come inside and shed the jackets and scarves and boots and scatter them around the living room and the basement. That’s why I am so excited about the newest completed project in our house: a mudroom. As soon as you enter the basement, there is now a spot to hang those sweaters and kick off those dirty shoes.

I don’t have very good pictures of the “before” from the angle of the back door, but this is a really awful photo of what the basement looked like for the first two years of us owning the house. When you walk into the basement from the carport (the door we use 99% of the time), there used to be an open L-shaped room in front of you.

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Then we decided to construct a half wall in order to create more separation between the entrance and ceiling overhang (thanks, air ducts).
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Then we installed a light fixture, hung shiplap and let it sit for a few months.
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Finally, Jeremy built a bench last week, and we hung hooks below the light, and we have a designated mudroom space! Usually, I invite you in from the front porch. But, come on inside our home from the carport door. Kick off your shoes and make yourself comfortable!
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I decked out the mudroom for fall with white pumpkins, my favorite booties, a cozy plaid throw and a pillow, and some fall accessory essentials. Also, dried hydrangeas from the yard are one of my favorite ways to deck the house at the end of summer and early Fall.
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The hooks were a flea market find, and the light fixture was on clearance at Home Depot.
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Jeremy built this bench one afternoon while I was at work. We stained it with “Dark Walnut” from Miniwax. I originally wanted a built in bench, but now that we have this one, I can’t imagine liking a built in bench more!
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Here is what it looks like from the basement staircase that leads up to the kitchen.
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And an evening shot with the light on…
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Mittens always wants in on the photo shoot.
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Thanks for coming over! Soon, I’ll do a full fall house tour!

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Hagood Home Before & After!

I am so excited for this post! My very first “client” reveal! Some of my very dear friends, Mary & Philip Hagood, recently did a major overhaul on their cute condo, and they asked me to help with shopping, arranging, color choices, and overall design! As soon as they asked me, I enthusiastically agreed. That’s a job I won’t turn down!

Back in February, Mary & Philips’s home was flooded due to a malfunctioning drain pipe outside their condo. When they realized all the floors would need to be replaced, they took it as a prime opportunity to completely renovate the space and turn it into a place that would feel more like them!

I have to give major props to the Hagoods. I served as a consultant, but they have some seriously good style! Also, they endured some major headaches and setbacks in completing this project (just ask me about their painting contractors and I can tell you who NOT to hire). But ultimately, they made great design decisions and have a new space that they can enjoy! 

There are still a few finishing touches like pillows and a couple of art pieces that we are still hunting, but I’m proud to show you the dramatic before and after!

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This was after they already got rid of their big leather couch.
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And after some new paint on the cabinets and the walls, almost entirely new furniture, new light fixtures, new floors, and new accessories, here is the lovely AFTER…
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Amazing difference, right? It almost doesn’t look like the same place!

Their cute pup, Ron, wanted in on the glamour shots. He’s the master of the house and a great model, so I had to agree.
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A few more details…

I was so excited about this handmade farm table that I found for a steal at an antique store in Chattanooga (Knitting Mill Antiques). Also, light fixtures make SUCH a big difference.
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Philip MADE that Tennessee art! Isn’t that amazing??
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One final before & after…
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THANK YOU, Mary & Philip, for the joy of helping with your renovation! Here are some sources for you!

Living Room
Paint color: Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams
Couches: West Elm
Coffee Table: Wayfair
TV Stand: Wayfair
TV Stand Baskets: Target
Rug: Rugsusa.com
Curtains: West Elm
Distressed Mirror to the Right of the TV: Home Goods
Metal Wall Baskets: Magnolia Home
Table lamp: Target
Dining Room
Table: Knitting Mill Antiques in Chattanooga
Cage Light: Shades of Light
Chairs: Target
Serving Tray: World Market
Pitcher: World Market
Artichoke Figurines: Target
Table Runner: World Market
Pendant lights: Ferguson Lighting Gallery
Industrial Shelving Unit: World Market
Accessories: Target, World Market, Home Goods
Barstools: Target


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Italy…Video Montage.

Today’s post is short and sweet. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 months today since our final day in Rome when we marveled at the Colosseum and the ancient ruins and finished off the day with a fancy dinner of spaghetti carbonara, mushroom risotto, and veal with prosciutto.

I know nobody else cares as much about our travels as we do, but this blog is as much for my memories as anything else, so I wanted to post a little montage video we created from Go Pro footage we took on the trip. It’s fun to remember…

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Lighter, Brighter Kitchen Part 2: Cabinet Makeover Complete and a step-by-step breakdown!

If you follow me on Instagram and if you read my last post, you know we have been working hard to update our kitchen with some paint on our orangey-brown cabinets and a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling. Well…we are FINALLY done! Someday I hope to replace our countertops and install subway tile backsplash, but for now, I am calling Phase 1 complete.

There are so many cabinet painting tutorials on the web (my favorite is Young House Love here) that I won’t spend too long detailing every little thing. I will say that it took me much longer than I expected…and it was more difficult than I hoped. But, in the end, I’m SO happy with the results. We recently had some friends have their cabinets professionally painted, and I think mine look almost just as good!

Tools I used:
Orbital Sander (we have this one)
Sanding block (medium grit)
Foam rollers
2″ Angled Brush
HomeRight Finish Max Paint Sprayer (see here)
Liquid Deglosser
Zinnser 1-2-3 Primer
Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Cloud White
Construction Paper

Step 1: Remove All Cabinet drawers and doors from boxes
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We used dropcloths to turn the office right off the kitchen into a painting studio and I used plastic cups to set all the doors up off the ground. you want them to sit on top of something so they don’t stick to the ground.

Step 2: Sand away!

Some people don’t sand…they just prime and paint. Some people just paint. Some people just sand and paint. We decided to do all three. I want this finish to last! So I sanded all the cabinet boxes and backs and fronts of the doors with a medium grit sandpaper to rough it up and remove the varnish. Then I wiped everything down with a liquid deglosser that I bought at Lowe’s.

Step 3: Prime time
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The final pre-painting step is to prime everything. I rolled the primer onto the boxes with a small smooth foam roller, and it took two coats. The paint sprayer uses more paint and generally requires fewer coats, so I did one coat of primer on each side of the doors. Here was my method for spraying. Always spray/paint the backs of the doors first so that if there are any drips you can fix them on the front before you paint it. The backs don’t matter as much. With the sprayer, I would pick up a door and set it upright along a piece of paper or my old work chair and spray it and set it back down flat on the ground to dry before picking up another door and setting it upright. You can’t use the sprayer at a 90 degree angle, and it’s best to let the doors dry flat so the drips don’t run vertically. I did a coat of primer on the back,  let it dry the amount of time listed on the can, and then flipped all the doors over and did the fronts.

Step 4: Paint.
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I am a cheap paint girl. I have had great success with Olympic One from Lowe’s, and I generally color match my Benjamin Moore or Sherwin William’s colors to the cheaper paint, but for cabinets, I did not want to mess around. I wanted them to have a factory finish that lasts. So I splurged on the recommended Benjamin Moore Advance Paint for $50 a gallon, and it was worth every penny. This is an alkyd paint which I understand means that it has an oil-based finish with a water-based cleanup. It is recommended by so many people for cabinets. It is self-leveling and really did give us a factory finish.

It took 3 coats of paint on the boxes and two coats with the sprayer on the doors. I actually pulled out the sprayer in the kitchen and sprayed the sides of the boxes for the final coat, but be careful when spraying vertically to watch for drips for about 10 minutes after the coat.

The thing about this paint is that it has a LONG cure time. Read the back of the can, but I waited a full day in between coats to be extra careful, so this painting process took me about a week.
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Once again, I did the backs of the doors first and then the fronts. And here is my assessment of using a sprayer. The finish was WORTH IT. I would use a sprayer again, but I would do it better now knowing a couple things.

First, WATCH FOR DRIPS, and don’t look too closely at the edges of a few of my cabinet doors. I couldn’t avoid all the drips, and I should have watched more carefully.

Secondly, the sprayer is messier than you think. Often I didn’t realize how much overspray I was really getting until I turned around and my Keurig Coffee Maker was covered in white spots. Yes…we have a few souvenirs of white speckles of paint around our office and kitchen now. I covered areas directly around me, but I should have been more meticulous.

Thirdly, you need a big space. The office was NOT big enough for my 24 doors, and I messed things up a couple times tripping over doors or knocking them over. We currently don’t have a garage, however, and it was the best space I had.

In the end, the sprayer gave everything such a smooth finish, and it was worth the hassle!

Step 5: Hardware
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We didn’t have hardware before, so I started from scratch in drilling the holes. We ordered our hardware from Build.com (half the price of Home Depot or Lowe’s), and we bought a hardware installation template to install the knobs and pulls. Adding hardware adds SUCH a higher end look.

Step 6: Shiplap

For a little more custom detail, we installed 5″ shiplap around the back of the peninsula. I love the interest it adds!

Step 7: Lighting

We replaced the track lighting in the main part of the kitchen with recessed LED lights, and we replaced the recessed lights over the island with pendants from Lowe’s!

Are you ready for the final reveal?? SO excited to show off this room!

A little reminder of “before”
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Ta da!
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Wall paint: Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore at 50% strength
Cabinet Paint: Cloud White by Benjamin Moore
Cabinet Hardware: Build.com
Pendant lighting: Lowe’s
Recessed LED lights: Home Depot
Kitchen Table Pendant Lantern: World Market
Kitchen Table: World Market
Kitchen Chairs: Craigslist
Kitchen Cart: DIY from an antique desk
Metal Wall Art: Magnolia Homes
Hanging plates: Various thrift stores and Home Goods

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Lighter, Brighter Kitchen pt. 1: The Prep Work

When we first moved into our house, I knew from Day 1 that I wanted to paint the cabinets. Jeremy, however, said they were fine and just wasn’t convinced that painting them wouldn’t ruin them. Here is what they looked like…
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Overtime, however, both of our styles have evolved, and my sweet husband has realized that white cabinets would update and make the whole space look so much more like us. So, about a year ago we determined we would paint them. Then I have been putting it off because we renovated our basement and, well, painting them would be so much work and turn our whole kitchen upside down.

Why would I ever think that?
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Yes, this is what our kitchen looked like last week. All those OCD readers, shield your eyes. And all the cabinet doors are hanging out on our guest beds drying after being sprayed. But, it is going to look so fantastic when it is done that it is worth a week of absolute chaos to get there.

So, here is what we are doing in the kitchen.

1. Painting all the cabinets “Cloud White” by Benjamin Moore
2. Removing the existing track light and installing recessed lighting
3. Installing pendant lights over the sink
4. Reinforcing the ceiling which was sagging from the old installation process
5. Repainting all the walls and ceiling
6. Installing open shelving for additional pantry storage and decorative storage
7. Adding shiplap to the kitchen peninsula on the living room side
8. Adding hardware to the cabinets

Here is what we would like to do someday.

– Replace the countertops with granite
– Install white subway tile backsplash
– Replace the microwave with a decorative range hood

I can’t wait to give you a full kitchen reveal in a few days when everything is complete! It’s going to be such a big transformation for our entire main living space! Here is a little sneak peek :-)
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Kitchen Carts Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Friday was my birthday. Jeremy really made it a birthday week. The Saturday before, we spent the day in the country and had some really relaxing quality time and ate some amazing farm fresh food. The Monday after, we had a double date with some dear friends. Then on my actual birthday, I got pedicures with a best friend in the afternoon and then came home in the evening to a clean house, a sweet husband, and the coolest birthday gift I’ve ever received. I present…my new kitchen cart.
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When Jeremy and I were in Chattanooga, TN in June, we popped into a couple of antique stores (one of our favorite pastimes), and we stumbled across this adorable antique desk, and I said it would be the perfect size for a kitchen cart. Little did I know, Jeremy went back later without me and bought it and brought it home and hid it somewhere for nearly two months. Then he built a base for it and put it on wheels and created the coolest kitchen cart I’ve ever seen!
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I came home from work on my birthday to find it in my kitchen, and I gasped. My love language is gifts, and the fact that he put so much thought, creativity, and work into something for me was so special. Four years ago, my birthday present was a diamond ring on my finger, so that’s hard to beat, but this gift was definitely a favorite!
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Also, it’s gonna look so good in our newly painted white kitchen (that update to come soon!) The kitchen looks nothing like these photos right now…it’s a lot brighter, whiter, and messier at the moment.


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Basement Updates

It has been a long time since I updated you on the renovations in our basement. When I last left you, we had just finished our master bedroom–our biggest project yet. After we finished that room, we were sitting in our basement den and realized the room would become much more functional with the addition of a half wall, and armed with the skills Jeremy had recently acquired in electric wiring and wall building, we decided to build a mud room. We finished it to the point where it currently stands a couple of months ago. Then i painted the whole basement. Then I hated the color and painted it all again.
Here is a look head on before…
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And after…
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Here is what the room used to look like from the studio room.
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And what it looks like now.
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And here is what it looked like from the back wall when we bought it.
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And now.
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And a few more photos.
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This room is hard to take photos of because the natural light is minimal. But I think this gives you an idea. It is still very much a decorative work in progress. I have a lot of work to do to get it to the cozy space that I envision in my head.

Eventually this mudroom area will look something like this.
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Imagine a stained built-in bench and some antique hooks I got at the flea market. I think it’s going to make this basement so much more functional!

Up next…more details on the shiplap process. Stay tuned!
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