Friday Favs: Perfect Porches

The weather (up until this past week anyway) was absolutely gorgeous for March.   Even though today it went back to 30’s and snow flurries, it still got me thinking about spring.

One of my favorite things of the nicer weather is having a huge (screened!) front porch. Ours in need of a little TLC though and since I’m sure I’m not alone I though I’d put my Pinterest Daydreaming to work!


I absolutely adore how fun and colorful this space is while still being bright and airy.   Plus, those chairs!


Via Martha Stewart

This one’s positively dreamy if you’re a sucker for a porch swing.  The primarily black and white palate looks oh-so sophisticated and makes the plants really pop.


Via McGrath II

This one’s a little more formal, but you could definitely tone it a bit with some more casual plants and accessories.  It’s definitely the kind of space where you could curl up with a book or chillax with your friends and a bottle of wine.


Via Zillow

I love the relaxed style going for this one.  It’s informal but still sophisticated.


Via Brit+Co

Pops of bold color, Panton chairs, and a raw-edged table?  Yes please!  I’m a sucker for some good eclectic styling.


Via Tumblr

… and I love me a touch of Boho too!  Vibrant colors and loads of texture–it’s like tropical paradise even if you live in the Upper Midwest.


Via Decorating Your Small Space

Short on space?  No problem.  This tiny balcony is still a fantastic little retreat.

AT January Cure Week 4

This was a really light week for me since most of it was addressed when we moved over the summer.

Monday: Media Fast

Ugh, I HATE the media fast.  I tried.  I did.  I spent and hour measuring and hanging curtains in our dining room, I did dishes in a timely fashion… and then I went back the the computer.  Fail.

Tuesday: Lighten up the Living Room

The focus on this one was paring down your accessories… which we did when we moved.  Our decorative objects sat packed away for months after we moved so I was able to be a little more objective when I unpacked and placed them.

Wednesday: Cabinet Clean-out

Again, done during moving.  Nothing makes you more willing to throw stuff out than the prospect of packing it up and hauling it with you.

Thursday: Look Through Your Linens

My closet clean-out choice was our linen closet… but we don’t tend to collect linens anyway so there wasn’t much that needed to be done.

Weekend: Flowers + Bathroom

Wow… I failed at the weekend…or won the weekend… I’m not sure which.  Friday night We decided to try and get into to the concert at Paisley Park.  It was announced on Twitter, tickets were only at the door, and there was no mention of whether or not Prince would be preforming (but I guess sometimes he just randomly does).  But it was funk night with Pho and Graham Central Station so Matt really wanted go.  Participating in a party at Paisley Park with a possibility of a Prince performance is just one of those things you should try and do if you live in the Twin Cities.

So we went, we got in, we danced, and Matt even saw Prince wandering around*.  We left around 1:30 because my feet were killing me** (and it was after the scheduled bands were done) so we didn’t get home until after 2.  As far as we can tell we didn’t miss an impromptu Prince performance, so I don’t feel too bad about being the one to make Matt leave.

Why am I mentioning this all when I should be talking about Cure progress?  Because I usually go to bed around 10 so this was a crazy late night for me.*** I woke up on Saturday feeling mildly hungover, and I had only had wine with dinner the night before.  I then proceeded to accomplish absolutely nothing on Saturday.  After dinner Matt suggested a trip to the hardware store to pick up outlets so we could try and fix that fiasco on Sunday, but I declined because then I would have to put on real pants.

On Sunday we actually Got Shit Done.  Some shit at least.  We went to the hardware store, got new outlets, found a new light fixture for our pantry, and picked up so extra storage bins for the basement.  We also picked up another sheer panel for the dining room and weekend flowers while we were at Target.  I got 3 different vases out of these $5 spray roses and the greenery left over from week 1.  Pretty sweet, huh?


Matt attempted to replace the kitchen outlets and then we discovered that they’re on the one breaker in our house that’s a 20 amp instead of a 15.  Doh! This might explain some of the earlier issues.  We’re just so goddamn brilliant sometimes. We didn’t want to head back out so Matt tackled the pantry light instead.  We had to convert a wall mounted lamp to add a pull chain and there was success all around!

We also got some assorted crap moved out of the living room, did a general clean of the bathrooms (no deep clean needed since we did that as we did the makeover) and tried to corral the paperwork that has a tendency to accumulate in the dining room… so it’s not like I completely slacked off this weekend.  I also worked on a couple mini-projects that will be putting an appearance later.

Oh, and because it’s bathroom weekend (and I clearly haven’t rambled on enough yet…) here’s my current though for the micro-bath.



*I saw the silhouette of a short guy with a big afro with his back to me, so I guess I did too?

**Matt is under strict orders to never let me wear those shoes again if we’re doing any significant amounts of standing/walking.

***Yes, I know, I’m old.

Bathroom Sources

Liked the bathroom reveal? Wondering where to get any of the things we used? Wonder no more–here’s our source list.



Wainscoting + trim: Benjamin Moore Simply White (BM Advance, satin)

Walls: Benjamin Moore Opal Essence (Behr, eggshell)

Vanity cabinet + tub base: Benjamin Moore  French Beret (BM Advance, satin)

Tub feet: Martha Stewart Titanium (craft paint)



Vanity: Lowes

Faucet: Kingston Brass

Knobs: Anthropologie

Light fixture: West Elm




Window panel: IKEA + a little DIY

Shower curtain: Urban Outfitters (no longer available)

Bathmat: IKEA

Towel Hooks: IKEA


Wall Shelves: Home Depot

Hamper:  Home Goods (not available online)

Print: Flying Mouse 365 (this print no longer seems to be available)




Up Next: The Dining Room

So we’ve tackled the Kitchen and the Bathroom, now it’s time to move on.  I was pretty sure I was going to end up working on the bedroom or living room next, but I kept waffling over which one to pick.  During a discussion with my mother-in-law I realized that my ideas for both those rooms hadn’t fully gelled yet, but I did have a good idea of what I wanted to do with the dining room.  Problem solved!

So, the dining room.  It’s…. functional.


It also probably wasn’t designed to be the dining room, hence the built-in bookshelves. They’re not functional for a dining room (too narrow for good storage, too tall for a buffet).  This room also has a very unfortunate acoustic tile ceiling.  That will need to go, along with yet another unattractive light fixture.

Now for the plan:


The fugly ceiling tile will get covered up with faux tin panels. This not only add some visual interest to the ceiling, but it also means we won’t have to worry about the state of the ceiling under the existing tiles.

We’ll also switch out yet another questionable light fixture. The bookshelves will also get demo-ed and replaced with free-standing buffets (not necessarily the one shown, but the plan is for something similar). One of them we’re pretty sure is basically free-standing, but the other is definitely more attached and doesn’t have plaster all the way behind it so that will be a joy to patch.  After the bookshelves come out we’ll then have to replace all the baseboard molding since I think it will be near impossible to find a perfect match to patch it with.

For the walls I’m thinking of going dark–the same color I used on the kitchen cabinets.  The room gets a lot of natural light and will also get with trim, white buffets, and white curtains so it should end up dramatic but not overwhelming.  Or I’ll regret it all and repaint immediately.  Sometime you just need to take a chance with bold.

Our existing dining table (a simple black shaker-style) will be staying for now, but I would lovelovelove to replace it with a parsons table some day. I am however hoping to swap out our cheap IKEA chairs with some Eames shell chairs.

I’d like to add a rug in the dining room as well, mostly because it’s the one room where the wood floor isn’t looking so hot so I’d like to draw some attention away from the wood.

The artwork is still up in the air, but I found these prints at IKEA awhile back and really like the colors and abstract-y fruit/foliage pattern.  I have an idea to spruce it up a little bit too… but I need to see how the rest of the room starts coming together first.

Christmas Roundup: Metallic + Mod

I’m not usually a glitter and sparkles kind of girl, but the winter holidays  have started to bring out my blingier side big time. Maybe because it’s the upper Midwest so all is gray, frigid, and depressing for a solid 5 months, sometime longer.  Sparkles are kind of like sunshine, right?

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten


You might have noticed it’s a little Target heavy…that’s mostly because Target’s Christmas decor selection this year is ah-maz-ing! I could have put half their frickin store on this list! I tried to mix in some other sparkly finds so I wasn’t completely playing favorites (especially since I don’t actually have any affiliation with these companies).  That tree topper from Michaels may be making my wishlish… I just don’t know if trust our cats not to break it… There are also tons of places to find awesome shiny ornaments like IKEA, CB2, more CB2, Overstock, Wayfair, or if you’re plagued with curious kitties (or dogs, or kids) the dollar store is usually a giant glitter bomb.

I’m also kind of in love with white trees at the moment.  Not flocked trees so much, but the solid white ones.  I’m a scrooge who actually hates real trees (they shed, you have to remember to water them, they’re pokey, and you have to light them… ugh).  Give me a pre-lit fake tree any day!  I love the white ones because they’re not trying to pretend to be real, they’re just trying to be glamorous (and often winning at it).

Happy Halloween!

As a follow up to my #lazygirl fall/Halloween decor round-up I thought I’d share how I decked out our house for Saturday’s party.


I cut zombie hands out of black poster board and taped them to the porch windows.  Then I tacked up some “creepy cloth” I picked up from dollar store (I had another idea in mind for it at first so didn’t buy enough for the porch so it looks a little wussy… next year I’ll pick up a bunch of cheesecloth instead) and topped it with some Halloween lights I got on sale at Joann’s.

  • Poster board: 50 cents
  • Cloth: $1
  • Lights: $6

Total: $7.50



I didn’t do much in the entryway.  I was sooo tempted to try the floating candle ceiling, but I opted for sanity this year.  Instead I found that awesome skull candle holder on clearance at Michaels since it was “broken.” I added an LED tealight (love these instead of open flames).

  • Skull candle holder: $3.50
  • Tealight: $1

Total: $4.50



I put more effort in the bar because booze.  I topped it with a leaf garland (Micheals) and a battery powered string of wire globe lights (Target).  For a festive Halloween flair I painted  laser cut craft wood pieces from Michaels and hung them from the top shelf.

  • Leaf garland: $3
  • Lights: $3
  • Halloween cutouts: $1.50

Total: $7.50



And of course, the food spread. It’s lacking in food in the picture because the cats would go after anything unguarded so we had to wait until the very last second to put anything out. Schmutz still managed to make off with a tortilla chip and Spencer pilfered a turkey-cheese pinwheel that some of our guests brought.  The tablecloth I picked up wasn’t labeled and ended up being round instead of rectangular.  Oops. The pumpkin bucket was from target and cage-like candle holders were more Michaels clearance (they’ve got all their fall stuff at 70% BEFORE Halloween).

halloween5The bookcases flanking the table got a general fall treatment that will get left up through Thanksgiving. The gourds were from Target and moss vase filler were all from the dollar store.  The garlands were more Michaels clearance.  I already the vases and branches.

  • Tablecloth: $3
  • Cage candle holders: $6
  • Pumpkin bucket: $3
  • Gourds: $4
  • Leaf garlands: $6
  • Candles: $4
  • Glass candle holders: $4
  • Craft moss: $1

Total: $31

That’s it.  The entire house got a festive air for right around $50 and the majority of the decor is reusable for next year.


Let the Bathroom Begin: Concept + Demo

Now that the bulk of the kitchen work has finished up and I can move on to the Brown Bathroom of Despair.  Seriously, this room is pretty bad.


I’m pretty sure it looks even more dismal in person.

First there’s the scary make-up mirror which looks like it was added in the 80’s and really only gets in the way. There’s also trim molding running along the perimeter of the room about half way up the wall, only it’s not attached vertically like molding, but rather horizontally like a little shelf.  A crappy, narrow, and slightly angled shelf.


Then there’s the fact that the medicine cabinet is not recessed into the wall and someone apparently cut a chunk out of the window trim so that absolutely fugly light would fit.


And then of course there are the walls themselves.  They’re covered with this rather nasty tile board stuff that looks like a bad vinyl floor but on the walls.


Plus everything is just brown… except the inside of the closet which is dark dark green.


Brown is not really my favorite color for interiors, but it can be done very well.  This however is not one of those times.  I want a bright and airy, spa-light bathroom.  I want it to feel clean. The beige and brown and general dated-ness of the fixtures just make this room feel old and dirty.

So here’s the plan:


I want the permanent surfaces and fixtures to feel like they belong in the house so the hex tile is an absolute must for me.  I know subway tile is ridiculously trendy at the moment and trendy rarely overlaps with classic, but I think it will work really well with the hex tile for the vintage bathroom vibe.  I’m going to try and talk Matt into keeping the clawfoot too.

The medicine cabinet will get replaced with just a mirror since we have plenty of storage between the bathroom closet and hall linen closet. The fugly wall light will also get upgraded to this beauty from West Elm and the towel bars near the sink will get switched to wall hooks by the tub.

I’m going to remove the closet door and replace it with a curtain so the cats will still have easy litter box access without the litter box being all up in yo’ face. The incredibly haphazard shelves are going to get switched out as well.

We have the shower curtain and cat print already and I happen to really like them.  They’re fun and quirky without being too juvenile feeling. I also happen to like the white and aqua color combo for the bathroom since I think it works for the light and spa-like feel I’m going for.

The bathroom makeover is also going to be done in stages since ultimately we’re just going to gut the thing.  In the meantime though I’m going to demo all the gross non-permanent fixtures (medicine cabinet, light, towel bars, trim) and paint ALL THE THINGS.  Sometime (probably well into the future) we’ll rip out the tile board and floor, even out the walls, tile the floor and walls, and replace the vanity.

This weekend we tackled the demo work and after many stripped screws, and much swearing* we had a pile of this:


And were left with this:


Gee… I wonder when the last decor update was? The light is staying (temporarily) since the West Elm one is back ordered and I don’t want bare wires sticking out of the wall.

Stay tuned for paint!



*Those stupid trim crappy-not-really-a-shelf pieces were nailed in with 3″ nails.  Overkill much? The whole bathroom demo process was a great stress/anger management tool.  Stress at work?  BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF SOME FUGLY TRIM WITH A HAMMER.  Annoyed because your husband ruined one of your favorite paint brushes? SMASH THE CHEAP WOOD TOWEL RACKS TO BITS BECAUSE YOU CAN’T UNSCREW THEM.

Kitchen Dreamin’

Matt and I have been heading over to the new house daily.  We don’t fully move for another 2 weeks, but we’re hauling stuff, attacking the lawn, and getting the kitchen prepped…. then coming home, passing out and eating ice cream straight out of the container because it’s not like we’re fit to have company over anyway.

The kitchen is the big project I want to get done before moving because I doubt I’ll be motivated to pull everything out the cabinets once we get it put away.  We’re not doing a ton in the kitchen just yet, but I want to get the cabinets and radiator painted (the cabinets because they’re super boring builder grade things, the radiator because it is frackin brick red). Currently the cabinets have been primed!  Woot!  I have no pictures at this stage, partly because of the exhaustion cycle mentioned above, and partly because there is very little interesting about primed cabinetry.  It looks splotchy and white and that’s about it.

Instead let’s just skip ahead to the fun stuff.  This is my end goal for the kitchen:


Dark inky-gray cabinets, sleek copper hardware, pale gray walls, Corian Rain Cloud counters (possibly carerra marble since I’ve managed to fall in love with what is apparently the most expensive Corian pattern known to man anyway… but I like the low maintenance that comes with solid surface over stone) and a simple white ceramic tile backsplash.

Right now I’m just tackling paint and hardware. Depending on how long a time frame we’re looking at for replacement I may consider an interim DIY project for the counter and backsplash, but for now I’m just going to leave them as is. The faucet may get replaced sooner rather than later depending on what’s the cause of our low water pressure that’s currently happening in the kitchen. At some point I’d also love to replace the sink.  I’m kind of thinking an apron-front sink, but I really like double bowl sinks and they’re harder to find in an apron-front style.

As I was working on my kitchen design concept, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook posted this beauty and I felt pretty good about where I was heading with our kitchen.