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2016 House Tour: Family Room

The room we spend the most time in is the family room. Last year we bought an amazing sectional U-shaped couch that is finally big enough to fit our whole family plus a couple of extra people for movie nights! The couch is huge, y’all and it takes up a lot of room so I’ve spent some time in the last few months simplifying this room and re-arranging stuff to make it as open as possible. 


This is the view from the hallway. The dining nook is over to the left with the kitchen and the back deck is through those french doors. This room is so hard to photograph with all the light coming in, this is the best I could get from this angle. 


This is the view when I’m standing in the kitchen. I love being able to prep dinner and watch TV at the same time. Man this couch is huge. It doesn’t seem that big when I’m standing in the room but it’s huge in pictures. Ha! 


I finally did away with the huge family command center that took up the whole wall on the left of the fireplace. I just got tired of it and needed a change. I found the narrow bookcase on sale at IKEA and snapped it up for $29. All the decor came from around the house so it was a great change that cost me less than $30! We also redid the fireplace surround this year. If you look back at the last family room tour you’ll see the awful gold & glass 80’s fireplace doors that were so ugly. We removed them and added a free-standing fireplace screen instead. Instant update for less than $60!


This is the view from the french doors. Through that doorway is the second family room. Don’t mind the baby gate, it keeps the dogs from trying to run out the door whenever the doorbell rings. They’re like a herd of stampeding elephants when that door bell ding dongs. 


I moved the black cube unit to the long wall, added some lamps that used to be in the master bedroom and that big silver mirror came out of our master bathroom when we did our big remodel a few months ago. It works perfectly in this space and adds so much light to the room!


A couple of months ago I added the indoor/outdoor rug from Target and found some awesome cushion covers on clearance at IKEA for $1 each! I love all the light pouring in from the kitchen and dining nook but it sure does make it hard to get any decent pictures. See how massive the couch is? But it’s so comfy! I’m about ready to change up that gallery wall but I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. 


The colors in the space make me so happy. I love the teals and aquas with the orange accents. They’re just bright and cheerful and they make me smile. I’m enjoying them while I can because I know when we put this house on the market in a couple of years I’m going to have to tone it down.

You can see past family room tours: 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009


The Differences Between My Dream House & His


Matt and I spent another weekend driving around to various neighborhoods and checking them out. We’ve begun to narrow down our choices with regards to which areas we want to focus on and that’s a start. We also have been talking a lot about what we want in our next house. I know what I want- everything. Clearly I am so easy to please. But honestly, this will hopefully be our last move. I don’t want to move again. Ever. I want this next house to be the house where our kids bring their own kids to visit at the holidays. I want a forever house. That means I have some requirements. And Matt and I don’t seem to be 100% on the same page with those requirements. Let me give you a taste of what I’m dealing with here.

My Wish List:

Mudroom or space for a landing zone off the garage
Lots of natural light & bright spaces
All hardwood flooring on main level
Large laundry room
Master on main level
5 bedrooms & 3 full baths
Master with large closet & soaking tub in bathroom
Flat fenced backyard with space for a hot tub (a pool would be awesome)
A bonus room or loft
A foyer (I hate walking right into my living room now)
Great amenities in the neighborhood

I don’t think that’s an unreasonable list. Now here is Matt’s wish list:

A man-cave
A wall big enough for a 73″ TV
A 3-car garage

Anyone see a discrepancy here? Basically he wants a frat house. I’m thinking about what will work best for how our family functions. Matt’s thinking about where to store his toys. I married a man-child. So needless to say, our home search might take all 2 years that we’ve allotted ourselves. Of course, those are the things on our wish list. I know I might not get everything on my list. But I do have a few items that I consider to be non-negotiables such as the laundry room, 3 bathrooms, hardwood floors on main level, flat fenced yard, natural light, and great amenities. Matt’s only non-negotiable is the 3 car garage. Which if this house hunt plays out the way I see it going in my mind might not be a bad idea because I’m going to make him live in that extra garage space. 


2016 House Tour: Dining Nook

Earlier this year I finally found the dining table that I’ve been wanting. We used to have a really old oak table that had been passed down to me from my childhood. It was fine but it just wasn’t my style at all. So I passed it on to my sister and bought myself a new one. I found a great dark wood table at IKEA that is big enough to fit all 6 of us with room to add 2 leaves and 6 more chairs! So when we entertain we can fit everyone around one table, which has never happened before! Here’s my philosophy about furniture- I refuse to spend a lot of money on furniture that shares a house with kids. One day I’ll have nice, expensive furniture. Until then I’m happy to spend less than $400 on a table and 6 chairs, accepting that it will probably only last 5 years. 


I love my new table and chairs so much. The dark wood is perfect with my gel-stained kitchen cabinets. I re-used the same placemats and candlesticks and left the art work on the wall. I know what I want to do on that wall in place of the artwork but I’m still working on that. It’s low on the priority list right now.



I love all the natural light that pours into this room but it sure does make it hard to take good pictures! I love sitting here with a cup of tea in the sunlight. It just makes me happy. 


Doesn’t the table look fantastic with the cabinets? It’s exactly what I wanted. And the light wood floors that I really didn’t like look so much better now that they are accented by dark wood furniture!


I’m really happy with how this room turned out. It’s simple, it’s colorful, and it fits with our house. 

See the previous dining room tours: 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009


2016 House Tour: Kitchen

The last couple of months have been full of reno work in our house. Some minor stuff and some major stuff. During the last house tour I when I shared my kitchen I mentioned that I was waiting to upgrade my appliances when one finally broke. Well clearly I jinxed myself because it was just a couple of months later when 2 decided to die- the oven and the dishwasher. Then the handle on the microwave broke. And obviously it was a sign, right? 


The stainless steel appliances are so much better against the dark gel stained cabinets. I didn’t realize how much they would lighten up the whole room! I’m so happy with the ones that we picked. And I finally got my double oven!



I’m totally in love with my new fridge. It’s so big! And the refrigerated drawer in the middle is the perfect place for the kids snack stuff. They can grab their snacks- fruit, yogurt, string cheese, jello, pudding cups, fruit cups, etc- without opening the main part of the fridge. 


My goal was to keep the counters pretty clear but once I cleared them off the room looked blah. So I added the decor to the tops of the cabinets and that added just enough pop of color. 



I added the stainless steel wine rack on the awkward corner section of the counter and it’s perfect. I keep all the smaller kitchen appliances like the toaster, blender, ice shaver, mixer, etc in the lazy susan. It makes the perfect appliance garage. 



I love how much natural light pours in from these big windows. It’s hard to get a good picture because they all turn out too bright. 


I love my little coffee station. It works perfectly for us. And it’s tucked out of the way so I don’t have to look at the coffee maker all day long. 


I’m really happy with how my kitchen turned out. It’s light, bright, and clutter-free. I did remove the free-standing island to give us more space. I typically am cooking in the kitchen with 3 dogs at my feet and kids running in and out. By removing the island I’m not tripping over them all the time. I still have a few things I want to do in here. Some minor things like adding a rug in front of the sink and replacing the trash can with a stainless steel one. And a few major ones like replacing the counters and getting a new sink. But there are some other projects on my list that I need to do first before the counters. 

See the previous kitchen tours: 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009


Bad Things Don’t Just Happen In 3’s

Y’all. It has been an ordeal around here for the last month. I don’t even know where to begin so I’ll just go back to the beginning when it all started falling apart. And by all, I mean our house. 

First, we’ve been living without a dishwasher for the last year because I wanted to upgrade to stainless steel appliances but couldn’t justify the cost when 3 out of 4 were still working. So I waited, and washed a whole lot of dishes, for a year. Then the microwave broke. I can live without a dishwasher. I cannot live without a microwave. So off to Lowe’s we went. We got a great deal on 4 appliances and set up delivery for that same week- dishwasher and microwave to be installed on Wednesday and fridge and range to be delivered Thursday. You know it’s just not that easy for us, right? It was a whole thing and we ended up having the fridge, range, and dishwasher delivered on Thursday. The microwave didn’t show up. The installer couldn’t come out until the next week to install the dishwasher and microwave. Then the fridge didn’t fit and the range bumped up against the big black plug in the back so it was sticking out a good 8″ from the wall. Of course.

We ended up having to raise up the cabinets above the fridge 1.5″ so the fridge could slide in all the way. Then I had to pull up 6″ of hardwood flooring in order to get the dishwasher installed properly. I ended up paying the installer to cut a hole in the wall to push the black electrical plug through the wall so the range could slide all the way in flush with the wall. I’m telling you, it was a whole thing. And I was stressed out. But my new appliances are amazing.

So we made a day trip the week after the appliances were installed to see my parents. While we were gone it poured with rain. When we came home we found the carpet in front of the big windows in the living room was soaked with water. Apparently it was raining so hard for so long that water came in through a broken seal in the top of the windows. I don’t know, I don’t really understand what happened or why. All I know is my carpet is ruined and it cost several hundred dollars to fix the seals in the windows. We decided to go ahead and replace the carpet with wood flooring. After spending way too much time in Lowes looking at our options we went with Pergo laminate flooring in a similar color to the hardwood we already have in the family room area. We’re doing the whole living room, Tyler’s room, the hallway between the living and family rooms and the upstairs hallway. So now I have a pile of flooring sitting in the living room acclimating before they install it this Wednesday.

That same week we had scheduled to have our chimney cleaned out so we could use our gas fireplace again. Again, it’s never that simple. While they were cleaning out the chimney they discovered several things- a squirrel nest in the chimney, the chimney cover was out of place, and something up there needed to be coated in order to be safe. I have no idea what most of that means but Matt did and said it had to be done. So $400 later we have a functioning fireplace again. I talked Matt into removing the horrible, gold trimmed, bi-fold doors and old screen that were leftovers from when the fireplace was originally wood burning. We (and by we I mean Matt) removed the old doors and sliding screen and replaced it with a free-standing modern screen. I love it.

Just when we thought we had it all managed, the washing machine broke. It was a 10 year old pain in the butt front loader that was a nightmare. So I didn’t even consider trying to get it fixed. Back to Lowes. I ended up with the Samsung Activewash with Built in sink washer and the dryer to match. They’re so pretty. And quiet. And I love them a whole lot. Of course switching from a front loader to a top loading washer means the existing shelves had to come down and now I’m re-configuring the whole laundry closet again. But I do get to put the bi-fold doors back up so yay!

Then the biggie happened. We went out for a few hours and came home to find water coming out of the ceiling in our garage. It wasn’t gushing like a waterfall but it was more than a slow drip. And it was everywhere. Our plumber couldn’t come out until the next day so we had buckets catching the water so we didn’t have to shut off water to the whole house. 

Our plumber cut a hole in the ceiling to find and fix the leak. And once again, not that simple. His first words after he peered up into the ceiling were “call your insurance”. Just what I want to hear. Apparently the water was coming from a pipe in the wall behind the vanity in the master bathroom. So he just cut the line and capped it. I have no water to my sink but at least Matt’s sink still works. We had a water remediation company come out Saturday to start drying it out and he found extensive water damage in the wall itself. So the insurance adjuster will be here today and we’re crossing our fingers that the damage is covered like they said it would be. I can’t take anymore, y’all. I’m at my stress limit. This will be thousands and thousands of dollars to fix- the whole master vanity has to come out, all the insulation in that section had to be removed, the water seeped through the wrap on our house and came out the siding on the outside. So that has to be fixed. Plus the leak happened on the wall with the electrical box so an electrician is going to need to check that out. In the meantime, our garage ceiling is open and drying out minus the insulation. And we’re supposed to hit the high teens for low temps this week. Because, of course.

I’m currently consoling myself by thinking about how nice it will be when everything is done and fixed and I can sit down. It will happen, right? If you need me I’ll be on the corner with a cardboard sign that says “Will Work For Food”. Sigh.

*Are you going to be watching the premier of Second Chance on Wednesday, January 13 on Fox? I shared my thoughts about the series premiere the other day and I’ll be watching it again!