Archive | our house

the spot that represents my style

I have a favorite spot in our house.

the spot

While our kitchen, Audrey’s nursery and my office are really wonderful spaces, for some reason this little hallway just makes me happy.


It lies between our living room and the front parts of the house and is the half wall of the stairway. If we would have purchased our home just a few weeks earlier in the building process, I would have asked for an open rail staircase. But the walls were already framed and dry walled and the builder wanted something like $3000 to tear them out and add a railing – as you can see, we opted to keep the wall as it was.


One of the very first things I did to ‘customize’ our house when we moved in was add the book pages to the wall.

IMG_9671 ripped-paper

I just tore the pages out of an old book then used my tape gun with double stick tape to adhere them to the wall.  They’ve been up for nearly five years and still look great : other than the spot nearest the edge of the wall where an unnamed baby who lives in our house takes great delight in pulling the paper off the walls.

I like to change out what is on the table – but a tray to hold my keys and other random things is a must. Most often an assortment of hair clips, ponytail holders and stray bobby pins can be found there {do you wear bobby pins? If so, do you find them all over your house? Not sure why I take them out so often and leave them in random places :}. My Stella & Dot flower ring usually lives on the tray too. It is just too pretty to hide away.



Lately I’ve been in to collecting things with the number six on them {because I have six people in my family}.  I really love anything with a graphic number or letter on it.


I popped a new art print in an old frame without glass and love the hint of color it adds.


Other favorite collectables are old books and {particularly} bibles.

old books


bird house

I posted the space last summer {you can see how it was decorated for the summertime here} and at the end of the post asked this:

Do you have a favorite spot in your home that best represents your design style?

I think it’s a pretty fun question.

This spot is a good representation of things I love – old books, vintage silver, fresh greens, natural baskets, a slightly modern table with feminine and meaningful accessories. I have no idea what to call my style, but it is represented pretty well with this little spot.  I think that is why it is my favorite.

So how about you? Do you have a place in your home that best displays your style? Do share!

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Several months ago, this was my finished office:

office 1

But in true ryan-and-emily-fashion the room didn’t stay that way for long.  Because Ryan was working with me so much on my blog and business, we decided he needed a workspace in the office as well.  So we moved a few things around, changed out art on the walls and here is where we now work:


I’ve always loved the idea of two desks back to back and it is very functional for us. Ryan and I spend a lot of time at our computers and it is nice to be face to face while we work.


I added some of my favorite pictures and artwork to the wall in a semi-organized but mostly haphazard manner.

art wall

art wall left art wall right

A sample of my favorite wallpaper, bird poster, photos of my darling boys, botanicals from my mom, silhouettes of the kids, a family photo, my lamp print, linen bulletin board and wall hanging card holders. Everything on this wall has special meaning to me and I loved putting it together.

pin board


red bird

On the other side of the room is the chalkboard wall and an armoire that we brought in from another room in the house. It now houses all of my decorative paper and envelopes.

chalkboard wall 1 chalkboard wall 2white birdpaper


A while back I decoupaged sheet music to a funky Goodwill painting. My three-year-old and I watercolored over top to ‘age’ the paper, then I painted my favorite word on top.

twirl 2

And that is our rearranged office for two.

{If you are interested in details from the office, read THIS post and THIS one too.  If you want to learn more about the painted wallpaper, read THIS one.}

FYI: the desks were a gift from a family friend who no longer needed them. I don’t see any markings from the manufacturer, so I can’t give a name to them. So sorry for the lack of information!

The wall hanging card holder things are from Pottery Barn about three years ago. They no long carry them and I couldn’t find them online. I know, I’m really helpful.

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kitchen follow-ups

Thank you for all of the nice comments on our kitchen. I know I’ve shown it a million times, but I realized that my old post from my old blog didn’t transfer the photos when we moved to this new site, so I figured I should do a new one.  Anyway, thanks for looking {again}.

In answer to some questions:

1. We do drink coffee {you know, being from Seattle and all} and it is kept in the butler’s pantry {between the kitchen and dining room}.

coffee  coffee 2

Don’t judge too harshly the fact that the butler’s pantry is unfinished {and has been for the past two years : we are really great at starting projects, but not so great at finishing them}. One of these days we’ll get around to adding the molding and putting the light switch plates back on. Geesh.

2. We also eat food. It is stored in the pantry that is across from the coffee station in the butler’s pantry.


Our enormous microwave lives here.  Because it is not an appliance we use on a daily basis, we really didn’t want it taking up space on the counter. So we stuck it in the pantry.

pantry jars

Ryan went on an organizing kick one day and went crazy with the jars {from IKEA}.  It is really nice to be able to see everything and the jars have rubber seals on the lids that keep things surprisingly fresh.

3. Our table looks like this most of the time:


I enjoy a tidy space, but for some reason paper, pencils and markers strewn about the table doesn’t bother me too much. We like that the boys are artistic and making these items easily accessible is important to us. Glue, stickers, paint, etc. is kept in a bin in the pantry for other crafts, but mostly the boys just like to draw. And use tape. We go through lots of tape.

4. The files were a find from Goodwill. Ryan inherited an eye for treasures from his mom. It was originally the most terrible hot pink you’ve ever seen so we sprayed it with a million coats of white paint to cover. I just added stickers for the numbers.


I haven’t found anything just like this, but here are a couple of hanging wall files that would work equally well:


{ballard designs}

pottery barn

{pottery barn}

5. That big picture above the bench is a topographical map of Mt.Rainier.

mt rainier

Ryan has summited the mountain a couple of times because he is amazing like that and someday he is hoping to take the boys up the mountain with him.

6. We kept the white appliances that came with the house. Of course I love the look of fancy stainless commercial grade ones, but a} we didn’t have the budget b}our appliances were brand new and c} I actually like the look of white appliances with white cabinets. They blend in well.

7. Other than the granite installation, we did all of the work ourselves. I sanded and painted the cabinets {with oil-based paint using a small foam roller} and Ryan did all of the demolition and construction. I am pretty thankful that my husband is so handy. When we don’t know how to do something, we just sort of wing it. So don’t look too closely or you may see that things are not perfect. But it works.

8. Our {approximate} breakdown of costs:

kitchen cost

I’m pretty sure there are more expenses that I did not account for {nails for the nail gun, electrical wiring, many trips to the hardware store picking up some little piece of trim or screw that we had forgotten}. A remodel is always more expensive than you think it will be.  We tried to come up with a less expensive counter surface {we played with the idea of pouring our own concrete countertops which is what I really wanted, but it was too risky} and without the granite, the kitchen facelift would have been very affordable. But the granite was worth it as it is sturdy and looks nice and will hopefully add value to our home when we sell it.

Okay, are you kitchened out? I will not show any more photos of it for a while.

Or at least until I redecorate the shelves. 

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our kitchen

As I mentioned last week, we remodeled our kitchen just a year or two after we moved into our house. It was a fine kitchen and believe me, we were thrilled to have such a luxurious place to cook and eat coming from our previous teensy old house that didn’t have a dishwasher, let alone any counter space to set a dish. junejuly 188

{photo taken before we moved in}

autumn 001

So we decorated and added our style to the space {hanging pot rack, giant chalkboard, ticking fabric folded and stuck on the window frame in a fake roman shade – the Nester would be proud of my curtain mistreatment – or maybe she wouldn’t : it really looks terrible}.

But it just wasn’t doing it for us. After searching through tons of magazine clippings and coming up with a sketch of our own for what we wanted it to look like, we took the plunge.

kitchen sketch

{sketch by Ryan}

With a bit of muscle {tearing off the tile, removing the upper cabinets} a whole lot of patience {rolling the lower cabinets and waiting for the oil based paint to dry}, some expert craftsmanship from my handy husband {the bead board backsplash and built-in bench} and the nice guys from the granite place, we have a whole new kitchen.


I think the best decision we made was extending the counter on that right hand side. The little beverage fridge is a great addition, but I mostly love having more counter space to work on.

kitchen 2

We also extended the island so that we could fit three chairs and added the bookshelf on the side for cookbooks & the kids’ workbooks/crafts.

kitchen 3


The built-in bench was a feature we’ve always admired in other kitchens and it is so useful in ours.


The boys spend a lot of time at the table drawing {hence the basket of markers and colored pencils}.

file  drawing

We keep their drawings in these numbered files until they overflow and their terrible mommy takes them to the recycle bin.  Although I would not think of tossing that darth vader picture. Nope, not me.

kitchen 4

I am often asked if I like having open shelves. My answer is a resounding yes! We are very happy with them.

kitchen window

I like having our dishes so easily accessible. I like seeing our simple white dishware and clear glasses – I think they are pretty.  And I like being able to decorate them with the seasons.

kitchen left

Sure, some items get a little dusty. But if you give it a quick rinse, it’s like that dust was never there. Or at least that is what I tell myself.


The brackets & shelves are from IKEA. We purchased the birch wood shelves then sanded and painted them the same color as the cabinets.


Love this print from Vol. 25.


I like our big sink too. It is by Kohler and the protector inside is a life {or sink} saver


This is our breakfast station. Life cereal {my fave}, oatmeal, brown sugar & baby formula.

frige  side

Are you a fridge minimalist or the magnet type? Ryan prefers a clean fridge, I like photos, invitations and the kid’s drawings. So I use the side to hold all of my random things {although my stuff often creeps onto the front as well}

kitchen 7

kitchen number

Another fun touch are these glitter numbers that line the wall above the doorway. You hardly notice them, but they make me smile. And they come in handy when the boys need to know how to write a number.

Let’s look one more time at the before:

autumn 011

and after:

kitchen 9

Ahhh : much better.


shelves & brackets  : IKEA

wall paint : Benjamin Moore Texas Leather

cabinet paint : custom white matched to our existing trim.

granite, sink, bead board, faucet : Home Depot

Table & bench : CB2

pendant light & striped rug : IKEA

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our entry

Well, hello. Welcome to our home.



This is what you see when you walk in the front door:


A jute rug from IKEA, an old cane back chair that desperately needs to be reupholstered and a large hanging window.

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The curtains are from IKEA {of course – I think ALL of my curtains are from there} and hung from clips. We love having so many windows at the entry, but in the evenings it is nice to close the curtains for privacy {and it keeps 8pm solicitors from knocking on the door!}.


I like having a dresser right inside the front door. Our hats, gloves, scarves are stored in the drawers. It is an old piece with authentically chippy paint and I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to paint over it.  The mirror was a funky oak piece {probably from the 70’s} found at Goodwill and then painted Rushing River by Sherwin Williams {the same color as Audrey’s bed}.  It is kind of ugly, in a pretty way.


Looking through the window that separates the entry from the dining room.


The lamp is from Walmart and then I recovered the lampshade using this Waverly fabric.



I made a new print for the entry in honor of the season.

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Can you tell I like monograms? I really do.


And these vintage word cards make me happy.


Looking from the entry into my office {and a little sneak peek at the changes in there – I know, I just finished the office and I’ve already rearranged it : welcome to my life}.


Ryan bought me this photo carousel {from Potterybarn} a few years ago and it works perfectly for holding stationery. Kind of random that we have a display of notecards in our entryway.

Some updates I’d like to do someday:

Continue Reading →

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the kitchen {Autumn}

It was time to reorganize the kitchen shelves and pull out some Autumn accents. I feel like I’m a little behind fluffing my house for the season {I usually do this September 1st due to my absolute love of fall} but it is nice to at least have the kitchen reflect the current season.







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I’m loving the added contrast of the brown and am happy to see those Spode dishes again!


Just to answer some questions:

The paint color for the top of the walls is Texas Leather by Benjamin Moore.

The little jack-o-lantern plate was a gift from my mom – probably from a store like TJ Maxx because she always finds the cutest things there {and I never do}. It says M Studios on the back in case you wanted to know.

The glass jars are an assortment from IKEA and Cash & Carry. They are what we organize our pantry with. Someday when I straighten it up, I’ll take some photos. It makes me happy.

The shelves are from IKEA. We sanded and painted them the color of the lower cabinets so that they would match. Love them. They are sturdy and simple and slightly industrial looking.

I really like having open shelves. Sure the things get dusty, but it isn’t so bad. Our everyday dishes and glassware are on the lower shelves which we use so often that they don’t have a chance to collect dust. The stuff on the top just needs to be wiped down before use. If you like the look of shelves and have dishware you like to see, I say go for open shelves!

Melissa at The Inspired Room shared about her open shelves here.

And I really love how this gal styles her’s:

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audrey’s nursery – part two

I really loved the way the nursery turned out :


: but it didn’t quite feel finished.

Granted, I still needed a chandelier and was looking for the perfect rug to fill in that gaping space on the floor.  I loved it, but something about it bothered me.

So yesterday, in a spurt of sudden inspiration, I made some changes.


This room has strange dimensions with those poorly placed three little windows throwing the whole thing off.  By moving the bed to the center of the room and placing the dresser under the windows, I think they make a little more sense.


I bought this sweet paper last weekend not really sure of where I’d put it:

sweet treats

But it has all sorts of sweet treats and my baby girl is pretty sweet, so seemed fitting to add it to her room.


And because of the touch of golden yellow in the print, I decided the room could use a little touch of golden yellow as well {in the form of a fabric bunched-up flower pinned to the pillow}


It works well with the gold frames, the wallpaper and old painted chair



I have been trying to decide how to put Audrey’s scripture verse over her crib.  I wanted it to be it’s own piece of art {not directly painted on the wall}, but I also didn’t want it to be something heavy that could potentially fall on her in the middle of the night.


So I embroidered her verse in a piece of {what else?} IKEA curtain fabric and mounted it to foam core {with some upholstery tacks added for fun}.  I think it does the trick.


Oh, husband, how I love you for hanging this chandelier.


with a little glittery bird clipped on.




So there’s the room as of today.


I think I like this version.

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specifics & a mini-tutorial

Thank you so much for the kind & encouraging comments on yesterday’s office reveal.  It was a fun room to put my personality into and to try some new things and I think it turned out better than I had hoped.  And did you like the fancy photos? Those were taken by my husband who very kindly dealt with my over-controlling nature when it comes to these types of projects.  Thanks dear.

Now, on to some of the specifics of my current favorite room in our house.


The wall paint is the color that our entire house was painted. It is actually a pretty nice neutral grey/beige/wheat color {Rodda HFH09}. The pattern is painted with a custom white we had color matched to the trim in the house.  The dresser {one of my favorite things in the room} is from my m-i-l {of course} and it is painted Sherwin Williams Rushing River {also the color I painted Audrey’s bed & shelves – love it}.


I borrowed the chair from our living room and will hopefully replace it soon with an upholstery project that I’m excited to tackle.  I really love these chairs : my husband : not so much.  They are from #1 Allen and he gave me the go-ahead to chose what I like and I really thought he would like them so I splurged. And alas, he does not like them. They are sort of petite and have a great taupe mohair-like upholstery.  Actually, I think he likes them okay, but he was hoping for a more ‘sink in and fall asleep’ type of chair, which this is not.   Wow, that was too much information about a chair. Sorry.

The ruffle pillow was made by me and I’m hoping to put up a tutorial soon on how to make one.


A few of you asked about how difficult it was to hardwire in these sconces.

Ahhh how I tricked you!

The main reason for me painting the wall with chalkboard paint was that I wanted to hang these sconces {also from my m-i-l} but I didn’t want their black cords hanging down the wall. And I also didn’t want to learn how to hardwire them in.  So I painted the wall dark so that their cords would not be obvious. Looks like it worked.  Sorry to those of you who asked how to wire them : I am of no help.

IMG_4515 IMG_4487


This pendant light was a happy accident. It was previously hanging in #3’s nursery and when I started working on Audrey’s room, I took it down {actually, Ryan did} and stuck it in the closet. I happened upon it and figured I could recover it in something other than green gingham.



I bought it a few years ago on sale from Pottery Barn Kids.  I just tore off the old fabric and recovered using this stripe fabric from IKEA. Then I used seam binding to cover the edges.  Janell from Isabella & Max Rooms did a good tutorial here.


One of my other favorite things in the room is this sheep picture. My mom & new dad went to Italy and of all the A.MAZ.ING photos they took, this one was my favorite. I have a thing about sheep : perhaps another blog post about that one.


It is in an IKEA frame with a piece of frayed linen behind it. Simple, simple.


This old magazine rack was a gift from {you guessed it} my mother-in-law. Doesn’t she have the best taste?


It holds all my different white & cream papers.

Here is what’s in my closet:



And finally, the mini-tutorial.


I wanted to put my life verse {1 Thessalonians 5:16-18} up on my chalkboard wall because

1. it is a good verse and I like the reminder

2. i love typography

At first I thought I could just hand write it:


Not so much.

So then I remembered the technique I used to make my Jones Design Company sign and figured I could try it with chalk instead of lead. IMG_4327

So first, I printed out the lettering in the font & size I wanted.


Then I rubbed chalk on the back side of the printed words.


Taped them where I wanted them.

Then traced the outline of the letters with a pencil to transfer the chalk to the wall.



Next, I used this great invention to fill in the letters.



And there you have it. Letters that look like vinyl transfers but are virtually free.



Just a reminder: if you haven’t signed up for the just for fun summer giveaway, make sure you do so. There is one more week to go!

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my office

When you walk in the front of our home, to the right is this room.  It started as my office, then we switched it to be Ryan’s office, then a sitting room and now back to my office {can you tell we’re a little fickle about decorating?}

Anyway, here is the room when we first moved into our home.

office before

And, after hours of painting and a little fluffing, here it is now.


I wrote about the start of the project here & about the chalkboard wall here.









closetleft closetyourotherleft


paperrolls IMG_4454

The self-induced motivation seemed to do the trick {albeit a few hours late}.

I’m working on a tutorial for the painted ‘wallpaper’ so stay tuned for that.

Anything you want more details on? I’d love to share : ask away and I’ll post answers this week.

{I’ve linked with Centsational Girl’s “where do you blog party”}

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a little self-induced pressure

Anyone else out there who starts projects and then gets distracted by life and never finishes? It is the story of my life.   And, more specifically, my office. 80% is complete {maybe even more} but it’s that last little bit that I struggle to finish.


So, I’m putting some pressure on myself by telling you all that


on Monday morning.

Which means I better get off this computer and finish up the painting. 

Enjoy your weekend!

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a new {to me} dresser

As I’ve mentioned before, my mother-in-law has the best stuff.  And lucky for me, she is so generous to ‘loan’ us a few pieces from time to time.


This darling dresser was something she has had in the family for a long time and we used it as the check-out stand for the Summer Boutique.


The apple green color {with chalkboard painted back} was delightful at the boutique, but not as perfect in our neutral house.



So with my m-i-l’s approval, I decided to paint it classic white.


It took three simple coats of paint with a light sanding and it looks great!



It is very practical for this little hallway spot with its many drawers.  The bottom one holds diapers, wipes and burp cloths because really, who wants to walk all the way upstairs when the baby needs to be changed?

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What a cute little dresser.


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the boys’ room

Have you noticed that new category up there called ‘our house’? Don’t click on it, because there is nothing there. But I’m working on it. And by working on it, I mean cleaning one room of the house at a time, while the kids destroy every other room of the house, photographing and then  posting. It may take some time but it is great motivation to both finish rooms and clean them.

So here we go with the boys’ room.

Here it is in its raw before state:

junejuly 195

And now:


Yes, they all three share a room.


Yes, it takes them a long time to fall asleep.  But their little chattering at night is one of the sweetest sounds {not so much the getting out of bed and asking for one more drink of water}.   We like that they have a chance to be buddies and we figure there really is never a time in life when they will have their own room {college roommates, apartment-sharing, marriage} so why set them up now? And, they are only 6, 4 & 2 so ask me in a few years if this theory still works and I’ll let you know.


Two sets of bunkbeds {from costco} fit just perfectly end to end in the room. If I had it my way the bed would not cut into the window, but what can you do.


Those red boxes are from IKEA and hold all the dress-up stuff and hotwheels.


Essential to any little boy’s bedroom is the door bumper. I’ve blogged about it before, but it is seriously a life {and finger} saver.  No more slamming doors.


My mom generously gave me her own dresser to use in Audrey’s room and it didn’t fit. So we moved it into the boys’ room and it is perfection. Thanks mom.


And above it, the darlings’ initials.


Custom name prints from my new collection taped onto burlap inside a big IKEA frame.

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Such an easy way to personalize their room.


And #1 really wanted me to take a close-up of his lego robot shooting fire at the alien.



And that is the boys’ room.

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swimming and dining

I love swimming and I love that my kids have all taken a liking to it as well.  Today was a HOT HOT day for us {in the 90’s : I know all you Texas gals are laughing} so we met up with my sisters and their kids at the pool.






Such cute boys being their silly selves.

And little miss was enjoying the shade with her auntie.




On a totally different note, thanks for all the fun comments on the dining room. In answer to a couple of questions:

1. The window does slide past that post.


2. The wall color is Benjamin Moore Berkshire Beige {a good lineny brownish taupe color}

3. The drapes are my favorite linen ones from IKEA. I used the material from these for the bumper & artwork in the nursery.  They are the greatest unbleached linen and come super long which fit our tall windows perfectly.

4. This is not what the dining room EVER looks like unless we are having a party.  Usually the table is either empty or has a couple of random things that get dropped {library books, mail, spare legos}.  I also use the table for sewing since it is so big and typically empty.  I struggle with what to do with a dining room table when not in use. Any suggestions? Are you a ‘set the table’ type or a ‘leave it empty’? Or maybe you use a centerpiece? If so, what do you use?

5. The chairs on the right hand side are old theater seats taken from a local high school auditorium during a renovation.  They move from room to room and really serve no purpose, but they are one of those things that are fun and unique and we couldn’t resist.

theater seats

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the dining room

The first room you see when you walk in our front door is the dining room.


While we don’t use it often, it is such a luxury to have when we’re hosting a big party or holiday meal {in fact, my mom got engaged around this table at our Thanksgiving dinner last year!}

We had been wanting to do something to separate the space from the entry and when we saw this window at our favorite salvage shop, we knew it would be perfect {if not totally impractical}.


Ryan hung it from barn door tracks so that we can slide it open if we need to {but mostly just because barn door tracks are cool}.


Fortunately the boys have not paid much attention to the gigantic hanging single-paned window because old window + three rambunctious boys will never equal anything good.



Our massive table {shown here without the leaves} is from Restoration Hardware {bought at the outlet store for a bargain}, the chairs are slipcovered Parsons from Ballard Designs and the seagrass chairs are from IKEA {although I don’t see them on the website so maybe they are discontinued}.

The big dresser {affectionately called ‘the black thing’} in the corner is one of my favorite pieces we have. It swallows our linens, napkins and serving pieces.

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The chandelier is also one of my favorite things : crystally, sparkly and old. We took it from our old house and guess it is from the 1950’s {although now that I think about it, we really have no reason to think that. Regardless, it is great}.

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The table is all set : I think we need to have a party!

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