Archive | our house

my office is in better homes & gardens

The craziest thing happened …


My office made the pages of Better Homes & Gardens.

The photo shoot was all the way back in December {they did the playroom too, but no word yet on when that one will appear} and I’ve been super excited to see how the room looked in print after being styled and photographed by inspiring and talented professionals {janna lufkin on the styling; john granen behind the camera}.



Doesn’t it look so pretty and clean and organized?! Don’t worry, it doesn’t always look like this. But it was so fun to see a real stylist do her thing – pulling L’s off the L wall, an old typewriter from the entry table and little cards and trinkets, ribbons and papers from my collection to use in the photos. She brought in a bunch of props, but I was so flattered that most of what was used is actually mine.

Another crazy thing? It took over 8 hours to get these shots. This was our first experience with magazine photo shoots {we’ve since had one more done in our kitchen – which is slated to be published next spring} and we had no idea what to expect. When I take photos, I just snap a few and go with it; when professional photographers photograph homes, they snap, then adjust, then adjust some more and then again until everything is exactly perfect. I loved watching John and his assistant work that day and hope that my photos have improved just a teeny bit because of seeing them.

If you would have told me five years ago that part of my house would be in a magazine, I never would have believed it. I am beyond grateful to the blogging industry for the ways it has opened doors and presented opportunities to just a normal girl like me. So, so honored.


You can read the article in the September 2013 issue {which should be available in stores now}.

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a love note to our house

This week we celebrate our wedding anniversary.  I was going to write a mushy blog-post-love-note to my amazingly talented, handsome, smart, funny, wise husband for all to see, but instead decided he’d probably rather not the world know how thankful I am to be more in love with him now than when we first met when we were practically babies and how special I know it is that we have each other for support and laughter and long, long talks about dreams and goals and what it is the Lord wants for us. He’d like it better if I wrote him a card. So I’ll do that.

Instead, I have a few words for our house.

It’s our anniversary, too.

Seven years ago on our wedding anniversary, we moved into our new home.  Never did we imagine we’d love it so.


Dear house,

I’m afraid I have to start this note with an apology.  You see, without even realizing, I’m sure we’ve hurt your feelings. Over and over and over.

If you had feelings.

We spend way more time talking about how we’d like to change you – how if only you were more like this we might love you more – than we do loving you just as you are.  From the outside, it’s true. I would love you more if you had wide planks painted white instead of worn carpet downstairs. And I would love you more if our bathroom walls were clad in subway tiles and floors were slate and cabinets were white and we didn’t have that gigantic bathroom mirror but rather two statement pieces with stylish sconces. I would love you more if you had a larger garage to store all of our you know what and I would love you more if you weren’t backed up to identical homes on every side. I’m most certain that these things would make us love you more.

So we’ve made changes to you; we’ve painted and papered, nailed and trimmed. We’ve added molding, changed out light fixtures, replaced counter tops and gave you shingles.

And even still, even with all of these changes that have made you prettier in our eyes, you are still the same house we moved into seven years ago.

You are walls. You are a roof. You are a place to sleep and eat and gather.

And you do all of these things so well. Even without the paint and paper and nails and trim. You are perfect.

When we moved in, we never imagined we would still call you home this many years later. You were our second home, a BIG step up from our first tiny, practically falling down 80 year-old house with a rodent problem. It was cute, but you were new. And you had a dishwasher! You loured us in with your many rooms and never-been-used kitchen. I remember standing in the backyard on our first visit with the new sod lines still there and feeling in my heart that you were it. You were our new home and a place that we could share. A place we were called to share.

So we moved in. The four of us, at that time. Which quickly became five and then six. You’ve been a home to not only us, but to other families for months at a time as well. We are grateful for your ability to house friends who needed a home.

You’ve been a gathering place for parties, holidays, football games, playdates, bible studies, craft nights, poker games.

And you’ve been our canvas.

Maybe that’s what I’m most thankful to you for. You’ve given me a place to work out my creativity. Your walls inspire me.

They say that it’s not the house that makes a home but the people who live in it.

I sort of disagree.

Someday we will move away to a new home that maybe has those wide plank floors and a expansive view out our windows and we’ll learn to call it home. But it won’t be the same. We will miss you. Even though it’s our family and friends who have breathed life into you, it’s you that has given us a place to live. A place to love. To share. To rest. To create. To enjoy. To grow. A place to breath.

Thank you, dear house, for doing your job and doing it well.

Happy anniversary.


your family



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the boys’ room {design board}

Three years ago, the boys’ room looked like this:


But typical us, we decided to shake things up and move rooms around. First they moved into our large bonus room, and then into the back bedroom {still upstairs}. Don’t ask me why we feel so compelled to move entire rooms so frequently. It makes life more interesting, I guess.

Anyway, for the last year or so the boys’ room has looked like this:



Lovely, isn’t it? This bedroom is a little bit bigger than the striped room {now the playroom – update coming someday}, but I just have not taken the time to fix things up properly. My boys are 9, 7 & 5 years old – which are not exactly the ages where tidiness is valued.  But we all enjoy being in spaces that are interesting, put together, personal and have unique touches specific to the occupants and so I figure it’s time to give the boys a grown-up-ish room that reflects their interests {but still keeps in line with my style}. Hopefully having a finished room will have the same effect on them as redoing the laundry room did for me: it makes me want to be in there and keep it looking nice. We’ll see if that works on school-aged boys.

Here’s where we’re going with it:


{sources to come}

It’s a mix of vintage/outdoorsy/camp/adventure with a few whimsical touches {like the bright red floor lamp and the cardboard diy antlers}.

We’re working with what we already have: navy bunk beds {from costco five-ish years ago}, a beat-up white dresser, gray striped duvets {west elm}, sisal rug {ikea}, wicker laundry hamper {super old from potterybarn} and awesome Lindsay Letters be brave canvas {see it here}.


Then we’ll add in a few purchased things and a handful of diy projects.

I’m hoping to get the boys to help as much as they can and keep it a fun, boyish and organized space for them to dwell.

Of course I’ll keep you updated as we make progress. Hoping to have this one done before they head back to school in September. Maybe having a deadline will keep me on task!

Stay tuned for lots more to come in the boys’ room …

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If you have not already, would you answer a few questions to help make this blog even more fun to read?


Thanks a bunch!

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our living room with the finished shingled fireplace

The best way for us to decorate our home is in phases – not always well-planned out, carefully calculated steps – more of a fluid figure-it-out-as-we-go type of decorating. Like you, we’re constrained by budget and thoughts of resale value and functionality for our young family.  We like a neutral space with lots of texture and a mix of traditional and country, eclectic and industrial, but you can’t really get that by ordering everything out of one catalog. It has taken us seven years of living in this home to get our living room to this point – a place where the room really feels collected and layered and like us. There are still a few things we’d like to do in here: wide-plank wood floors would look amazing, and a giant chandelier would be dreamy, maybe some more art on the walls and a larger rug. But those things will come. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, we have enjoyed the process of creating a space that’s personal and pretty, comfortable and welcoming, even if has taken a few years.

So, while this room will undoubtedly go through more changes, I’m so pleased with this current phase and excited to welcome you into our living room.


The fireplace really became the focal point with the new shingled/stone surround {you can see the before here and the step-by-steps of the shingles and stone work here and here}.


Like I mentioned last time, I created a custom stain for the shingles to give it a slightly faded, naturally weathered look. I was nervous about covering the natural beauty of the cedar shakes, but it was the right decision for the space as it tones down the wood color and lets the stone be the star. There’s a lot of texture happening on that fireplace and it’s not a look for everyone. Thankfully, we love it and it gives our living room the dose of creativity and personality it needed.


The chesterfield sofa is amazing – so comfortable and a very durable oatmeal-colored fabric.


This room is right off of the kitchen and so it is our everyday living and entertaining space.

jdc-living-room-full    living-room-from-up-above

We’re just about ready to tear up that carpet – it is showing it’s age. And I’d like to replace the tile and extend the hearth to span the entire fireplace surround.  Non-essentials that may or may not make our to-do list.



living-room-with-shingled-fireplace-back-of-chairs   shingled-fireplace-in-living-room


sofa: andella home
tufted chairs: ethan allen
coffee table: wisteria
mirrored side tables: target {similar}
metal side table: urban outfitters
glass lamps & shades: target {no longer available}
pharmacy floor lamp: target
jute rug: ikea
stag head: restoration hardware
floral & black & white made by me
yellow trellis: zgallerie {no longer available}
linen and blue on chairs: target
striped throw: ikea
curtains: ikea
paint color: wind’s breath by behr paint


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fireplace makeover {part two}

Last time we left off with the fireplace makeover progress looking like this:


Cedar shingles along the top portion of the fireplace, a new chunkier mantle, decisions to be made for the fireplace surround.

What probably would have looked best is something really simple and flat to balance out the texture up top, something like concrete, which would have looked really modern and sleek. But that’s not what we chose.

Instead, we went with more neutral texture in the form of stone.


Again, we did the work ourselves {actually Ryan and two of our very wonderful friends} and it was surprisingly DIYable.

We bought our manufactured stone product and all of the supplies at a local stone supplier.


There were many different colors and textures to choose from, but we went with a manufactured stone veneer called Country Ledgestone in Echo Ridge by Boral.


To prep the fireplace surround, first Ryan installed cement board, then stapled on a special wire mesh for the stone veneer. He then covered the wire with a thin coat of mortar, let it dry and then started placing stones using more mortar as glue.


The stones came with corner pieces and lots of varying sizes of straight pieces. Putting the pieces together was like one gigantic puzzle. Lots of picking and choosing through the stones, breaking them into the right sizes and trying to get a good mix of sizes, colors and seam placement.




Didn’t they do a fabulous job! We were so excited with how it all came together.

Next came my part: painting. I repainted the lower portion of the living room walls a lighter gray/white called wind’s breath {behr paint from home depot}. We loved the dark slate color that has been there for a few years, but it was time to lighten up.  The mantle and bookshelves received several coats of a custom-matched oil-based white.


And this is where the fireplace has stayed for the past six months. 90% done. The shingles were great in their natural state, but with the gray stone, they appeared especially orangy/brown. There is so much texture and something about it just wasn’t sitting well with me. We talked about a few different options for the shingles and what we wanted was for them to look like the naturally weathered gray shingles we love.  So I grabbed some sample pots of stain and tested them on a few spare shingles to see what would look best.


All three were fine, but {of course} Ryan and I had different favorites and our friends were all pretty mixed in their votes, too.

The one of the left was out, the dark was too dark, the light too opaque, but then Ryan had the genius idea to mix the two together and see what happened.


Thankfully, we were both sold.

So this past weekend, I climbed up very high on a ladder and stained those shingles.


{via my instagram}

It was stinky, it took forever, I messed up once and had to go to the hardware store twice mid-project, but it is now DONE!

Come back friday for our fireplace reveal with a tour of the current living room arrangement. I’m so so happy with how it has turned out.

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