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Show Us Your House: Front Porch

This week’s tour takes us to the Front Porch! We made a huge change to our house a couple of years ago by replacing the old blue hardboard siding with gorgeous tan premium siding. I love it. The blue was just….very blue. Take a look at the house in 2010 before we did the renovation.

See. It’s very blue. Of course, the landscaping was top notch back then before Matt started working a gazillion hours a week. I always have grand plans for what I want to do with the front porch but other projects always seem to come first. Anyway, here’s what the house looked like after we did the big renovation.

Isn’t that so much better? The color is kind of a light khaki with a burnt red accent in the front door and the shutters. I love the change. It felt like a brand new house once we made this change. Just ignore the people who refused to get out of my way so I could take a picture. And also ignore the half dead landscaping, this picture is from the beginning of this year when it was still technically winter time.

This is the only picture I found on this computer of the front porch area. Don’t look at my sad half-dead plant, ok? It’s well documented that I have a black thumb, and there is the evidence sitting on my front stoop.  And see that bench up there on the right side of the door? The one that’s waiting for me to find time to actually paint it the same burnt red as the door? My dad made that himself out of scrap wood that he had lying around his workshop. He’s amazing.

So that’s the front porch! Come on in!



Show Us Your House: Laundry Area

I finally tackled the Laundry Room….er…Laundry closet, I mean. I wish, really really wish, that I had made a true laundry room one of my must have’s when we were house hunting. But we only had 3 kids way back then and it didn’t seem like a big deal to only have a laundry closet. Now that our family is bigger and I do what feels like 500 loads of laundry a week, it’s a nightmare. Hindsight, my friends, hindsight.

So after we purchased Stella and Frank and had them delivered, we discovered that because they were front loading, they were too big to fit in the little closet. Ha! There’s a tip for you- measure your laundry closet depth as well as width before buying a new washer and dryer. Live and learn. So our only option was to remove the closet doors, which meant a complete redo of the space. I decided I might as well go all out and do it properly since it would be visible to guests once the closet doors came down.

This is the laundry closet before, and I’m keeping it real and showing with the clutter that always seems to collect there:

Sigh…I know, right? Horrible. So my first step was to paint the laundry closet the same color as the rest of the bathroom. Luckily I had a half gallon of paint leftover from the previous owners so I didn’t have to paint the entire bathroom. 

I went back and forth with leaving it just like that but I really didn’t like the white cabinets. I decided to paint them black. First I primed them with tinted primer and then started on the first coat of black paint.


It became painfully obvious that it was going to take more than one coat of black paint. The primer helped but there were too many brush strokes with the first coat.

So I did a second coat of black.

Still seeing brush strokes. By this point I was ready to just set fire to the entire area and start over but I soldiered through and did coat number 3.

Success. I needed to add some extra storage so I had Matt cut an older leftover shelf to fit the space. I painted it black and had Matt hang it up for me. Viola. Instant storage space. I also wrapped that ugly white clothes rod with black grosgrain ribbon to make it blend a bit better.

I did not like the totally open look once we took the doors off the closet. So we hung a curtain rod and some black tab top curtains that I can close when we have guests. It was the perfect solution.

Finally, I added 3 black baskets to the shelf to hold the hot tub towels and swim stuff and the dirty laundry that seems to accumulate all over the downstairs.

The last step is finding something to put in front of the ultility box. I’m thinking, maybe a plant. Fake, of course, because I have a black thumb.



Show Us Your House: Foyer

One of my other least favorite places in the house is the foyer. It’s small. It is 2-story but I wish it were laid out better. Another thing on my “if I had to choose a house again” list. That list sure is growing. Too bad my wallet is growing right along with it. Ha!

The door on the right is the front door to the house. See how small the foyer is? The previous owners chose black marble for the entryway and I cannot wait to change it out to hardwood when we do all the floors. Please excuse the blue painted racetrack on the wall, the living room used to be the playroom.

I haven’t painted over it yet because I have no more of the paint that matches the living room and the color is no longer being made. I am planning to repaint the entire living room this year anyway so I just put the black cabinet in front of it for now. I know, totally classy. That’s my whole semi-domesticated side shining through.

I also want to give the black cabinet another coat of paint. I also plan to replace the plate rack and those horrible floral plates above the closet. I haven’t found the perfect thing just yet, but I know I will. My other planned project in this area is to paint the banisters on the stairs. I hate the wood so I’m going to give the entire stairway a remodel with cream paint when I redo all the trim work. It should really brighten up and modernize the stairway.

See that high 2-story ceiling? That’s the reason I have not yet painted this room. The whole scared-of-heights thing has given me pause. But it must be done. My mom found another chandelier at Goodwill for the foyer so we’re going to get that one hung soon. I’m not a fan of the brass, the new one is more of a rubbed bronze and I think it will really change the look of the foyer. I had the hardest time figuring out what to display on the shelf up above the closet but I’m really digging this huge plant arrangement that we were given as a gift.

One thing I do really like about our entryway is the large closet. It used to be a disaster of a mess but earlier this year we did a complete remodel! Now it’s organized and awesome.

See, isn’t that awesome? Space for everyone’s stuff and now my small foyer doesn’t get all cluttered up with bookbags and jackets and shoes.

That’s my small foyer tour. Sometimes, I wish I had one of those large grand entrances with the beautiful foyers but this one works just fine for our family. I call it cozy, that sounds so much better than small doesn’t it?



Show Us Your House: Mantles

This week’s tour is all about Mantles. I never feel like my mantle is exactly how I want it. I go from minimalist to cluttered and there’s no in between, apparently. Just a little bit ago when I did our Family Room tour, the mantle was in a minimalist phase. A few weeks later and I’m back to cluttered. I suffer from indecision, in case that wasn’t already crystal clear.

I’m never sure when enough is enough and creeps into the realm of “oh my gah, she’s a hoarder.” I’m totally digging this look….for now. The large clock centerpiece is one of my favorite finds. It doesn’t work at all but it only cost $5 at Wal*Mart about 5 years ago. It was marked down to $15 from $49 because it didn’t work. I talked the manager dude down to $5. My thrift-finder mama was so proud. I was going to see about getting it fixed but when the quote came in at more than the original price of the clock I just hung it up broken. Ha!

I even dusted for you guys, don’t you feel special? The big wooden tray in the center came from Target, on clearance for $3.98! I grabbed the candles in bulk at IKEA since they are so cheap. The blue matches the color in our throw pillows.

I love this black birdcage. I bought it years ago (seriously, like 13 years ago) when a home decor store went out of business. Paid a whopping $3 for it. Bam! The set of 3 boxes came from my sister’s house. I snagged them from her Goodwill pile.

The wooden canister is a souvenier that Matt’s brother brought back for us from their recent trip to the Philippines. The bowl of river rocks….well that came from IKEA.

I didn’t realize how much stuff I could fit on this mantle. Pretty impressive, no? That might be my inner hoarder talking.

The bamboo stalk came from IKEA and I’d like to point out that it’s still alive despite my well-documented black thumb. Bam! The shadow box picture is from Target and I love the quote –> “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” Love it.

The tiered candle holder is from Pier One- I’ve had it for years. I have IKEA scented tea candles in there right now- apple pie and cinnamon scent. Yum. The picture is Maia circa 2006. People are constantly mistaking that picture for Zoey. They look so much alike that it’s startling sometimes. I need to do a comparison post so you can see the similarities.

That wraps up today’s mantle tour. Next up will be our small foyer.



Show Us Your House: Master Bathroom

I showed you our guest bath and the bathroom that serves as the kids bath yesterday. Today I’m sharing our master bathroom, which is my favorite one in the house! This is one of the things that sold me on the house the very first time that we saw it. Well, the hot tub on the back deck did a lot of the selling but the master bathroom tipped the scales firmly towards signing the contract.

One of my favorite parts is the skylight, which also makes it difficult to get great pictures during the daytime with the sun streaming through. I also love the size! I’m not a huge fan of the color and it’s on the list to be painted this next year.

And here is my beloved bathtub. Isn’t it pretty? I love that the previous owners continued the Travertine tiling around the tub too. The previous owners had a radiant heat thing (don’t quote me on that, ha!) installed under the tub so the water stays hot no matter how long you are soaking. I love that. I wish the tub had jets, that’s on my renovation wish list!

I love how deep the tub is, it’s perfect for long soaks with a good book and large glass of wine! I debated about whether I wanted a television in here to watch while soaking but really, it’s the only time I get to read so I’d rather do that. Of course, no good soak is complete without a scented candle or two for ambiance. You can’t see them very well but the little glass bottles on the other corner of the tub are from The Philippines. My brother-in-law brought them back for me and I love them.

I wrote about our master closet remodel a while ago but never got around to showing pictures of the finished entryway. We took the closet door off because it swung inward which took away a lot of space that I need for my clothes! But I didn’t want to stare at the stuff inside the closet so I found this sheer panel on clearance!

The skylight made it tough to get a great shot from this angle. I love the mirrors and having double sinks is a necessity! Lucky for us, the previous owners updated the mirrors, the fixtures, and the lighting. I plan to paint the cabinets and change the hardware in the next year. I forgot to take a picture of our shower, you can barely see it in the mirror reflection. It’s just a basic shower and we plan to tile it and replace the old door with a seamless one. Another item on the renovation list. Poor Matt.