Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EmersonMade's Fall Collection

How did you fare with Hurricane Irene?  We just got our power back late last night, but most of our town is still out.  No electricity, hot showers, internet, and cell service really makes you go a little bonkers.  The good news is that the post-Irene weather has been cool, sunny and brisk and has me giddy for fall.  Have you seen EmersonMade's new fall collection??  I am in love.  Here is my wishlist...

 The black day coat - so simple and classic.  Look at its versatility....

Or the classic white shirt....

Add this pockets skirt and tweed jacket....so quintessential fall!

A wardrobe isn't complete without a little 'dots'....

And, how about these bag o' dresses (sold in a trio of colors).....pretty please!!

Yeah, I think I'm ready for fall!  You?

ps:  thank you for all your input - i was surprised by the overwhelming response!  And, yes, I am keeping it.  You guys are the best!  Thank you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Your honest opinion, please!

This weekend I need to make decisions of whether to keep some of our furniture pieces;  most of which I've had from my childhood, one being this cedar Lane chest.

Would you keep this or sell this?

If I kept it, I could see it using in either my son's or the new baby's room.  It would be a great storage piece, the top lifts up and I could store blankets, heirloom items, etc.  And, it's cedar lined!

I think I would paint it, definitely get new hardware and re-upholster it, but what is bugging me are the traditional lines of the chest.  I'm not sure if I really love it.  But, it's a great brand and a nice piece.  I'm on the fence.

What would you do?  Don't worry about saying 'sell it' if that is how you feel....you won't hurt my feelings! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Selling Our Home: Lessons Learned

I have never been through the "home buying" process, since my husband owned our home when I met him.  But now I can say that I have been through the "home selling" process.  And I have learned some lessons to share with those of you that have not.

First, a quick update.  With our pending move, we decided to sell the house.  We put our house on the market this past Friday and received multiple offers by the end of open house day on Sunday;  we are now under contract.  I'm relieved because my biggest fear was having our house sit on the market for a long time.

So everything worked out perfectly, right?  Well.....the end result seems to be really good.  But, it was a bumpy ride.  Having just gone through the selling process, I thought I would share a few lessons learned for those of you that have not sold a home before.  For those of you that have, perhaps we can commiserate - or you can add your opinions.

Lesson #1: Don't wait to renovate!

If you're a regular reader, you know we just finished renovating our upstairs bathroom.  And, now we're selling.  I don't regret it because the updated bathroom made our house more attractive and helped us to sell quickly (so our agent told us).  But we will only get to enjoy the benefits of a newly renovated bathroom for a month or two. :(

Lesson #2: Fix the little things - they make a difference.

You would be surprised how easy it is to get used to things not working in your home.  For example, the entire time I've lived in this house, our doorbell has not worked.  It just was never a priority to get fixed.  Well, of course, we had to fix it before the house went on the market and it 30 minutes to fix it.  Thirty minutes!  When my husband was done, I asked him, "Why didn't we do this sooner?"

Lesson #3: Don't let your design ADD/indecisiveness stop you from moving forward.  

I am SO guilty of this.  One thing I've learned is that when you sell your home, your home needs to look completed.  So, in the interest of getting our house ready for selling, I had to sacrifice my design preference to just complete the room.  Get it done!  And, if you have time later, go back and play with the aesthetics.  You can't afford to have a room that looks unfinished.  People want to envision themselves living in the space.

Lesson #4: Farm out work, as necessary to stay on a timeline.

When we first had our upstairs bathroom appraised, the contractor quoted $27K.  Yes, that is right - $27K for a bathroom smaller than a jail cell.  That really scared us so we agreed we would do the work ourselves.  This was a great idea from a financial perspective but it really, really stretched out the project (longer than I even want to admit).  Obviously, we should have gotten a second or third opinion.

Well, two weeks before our 'go live' date (house on the market), our realtor said, 'you have to renovate your downstairs bathroom.'  With this compressed schedule and our experience, we knew we had to get outside help.  We aggressively contacted contractors and told them our guidelines - renovate in less than a week and under $2.5K.  It's amazing when you clearly and aggressively spell out your needs, how quickly things move.  One highly recommended contractor agreed to do it and he knocked out the work. It was stressful because we constantly monitored progress and he was here sometimes until 9 or 10 at night.  But, it got done properly and right before our 'go live' date.  It's definitely not my dream bathroom (see above), but it is a huge improvement for our small investment (will post before pictures in a later post).

So there you have it!!  Had we known these lessons earlier, I think we would have enjoyed this house more and the selling process would have been smoother.  Just sayin'.....:)  Stay tuned for pictures of our new place in Vienna!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stroller Giveaway

Over the last few weeks I've been struggling to figure out how my daily life in Vienna will unfold with a new baby and toddler.  Key to this is our stroller and currently, my BOB Revolution doesn't cut the mustard (great jogging stroller, but too heavy and bulky).  While combing the web I ran across The Baby Guy Gear Guide who reviewed what looks like a great stroller.  Bonus: He's giving one away!  Check out all the details here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Newly Renovated Bathroom

I wanted to post this earlier, but we had five showings and an open house since Friday and I literally was running around like a crazy woman.  Of course, wouldn't you know, I can't find our before pictures!  But, our upstairs bathroom was rough - really rough.  The kind that hasn't been updated since the 1940's (when the house was built).  I did manage to find some pictures mid renovation.

We had a sink that just jutted out from the wall like the ones you see in a jail cell.  No joke.  We had a gross medicine cabinet with two ugly sconces.  We removed them and took them immediately to the dump.  We had an awful ceiling with a huge crack and peeling paint.  My husband tore out the existing ceiling and installed a vapor barrier followed by beadboard, made by Nantucket Beadboard.  We used their MRI product, which is a premium grade moisture resistant fiberboard.  We primed and painted it with mold/mildew resistant semi-gloss paint (even along the edges, after they were cut to size).  Here it is, partially installed.

The floors were covered with individual square vinyl tiles - how lovely.  And the plywood around the toilet was delaminating (breaking apart) after 60+ years of condensation around the toilet.

My husband did all the flooring.  He tore out the baseboards, the laminate tiles and cut out the plywood subfloor.  He installed a new cement board sub-floor.  I chose the tile and decided on the Daltile's porcelain hexagon tiles 2"matte white which came in square mesh sheets making it a tad easier to install.  We grouted in delorean gray.  Here's the floor post-tile but pre-grout.

We kept our existing tub and just had it resurfaced which ended up saving us a good deal of money.  Our shower/tub walls had been one of those cheap plastic inserts (ack!).  He tore that out, as well as the drywall behind it.  Up went more cement board, which provided the foundation for our tiled shower walls.  

And, now the afters!

The walls are painted SW Nonchalant White which is a subtle green.  We purchased the Del Mar 36 inch wide vanity cabinet which ended up being a perfect fit for this very narrow bathroom.  It is only 12.5 inches deep.  I love the toilet - it's a kohler.  

I can't remember where I bought the sconces, but I purchased the mirror from Lowes.  It was hard to find a narrow mirror and this one came with oil rubbed bronzed brackets which I spray painted chrome.  

My DIY greek roman shade which I love.  

Here is the beautiful subway tile.  I love how clean and bright it looks.  I bought a tension rod from Target because we didn't want risk drilling into the tile right before we put the house on the market.  It has held up pretty well and I don't think you can immediately tell that it is a tension rod. 

It was hard to capture a full on picture because our bathroom is so small and narrow, but I hope you got the jist of it.  I am very happy how everything turned out given our resources.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I totally planned to post my before and after pictures of our bathroom today, but I'm going to have to do it tomorrow.  I'm in such a rush this morning - I'm sorry.  In the meantime, I realized I never posted some updates to our family/living room.  This is last the picture I posted:



This is now.  I love my target lamps with the gray shades and my zig zag pillow with the chiang mai pillow.  I think the chaing mai pillow has seen better days - my son beats on those pillows non-stop! :)  I promise to post more pictures soon of our living/family room....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Favorite Room at Cottage & Vine

Today, I'm over at Cottage & Vine where the lovely Rene has kindly asked me to participate in her 'My Favorite Room' series.  Come over and take a peek at one of my spaces I chose as my favorites!!  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Surprise Party & Sneak Peek

This weekend my husband threw me a surprise birthday party (brunch) that he has been planning since this past April!  I was completely and utterly surprised because honestly, my birthday is the last thing on my mind these days.  But, it was the sweetest thing and I am completely humbled by all his effort, and the distances friends and family traveled to make the event.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures (as it was yesterday) and am waiting for friends to email me, but my blogger friend Casey, from Loft and Cottage was there and it was so fantastic to see her and her boyfriend, Michael!  So, I have this picture of us (from her post this morning)!!

Thanks Casey!! Doesn't she look so cute?

My husband did all the planning, made the invites, flowers and vases (he scoured etsy and got inspired) with input from his sister.  I told him he should consider a career change and go into event planning. :)

Yes, I'm turning 40 next month (two days after this baby is suppose to arrive!)

In other news, here is a sneak peek of our newly renovated bathroom.  I should have final pictures to post by the end of the week.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!!  Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Exciting News!!

I'm thrilled to finally spill the beans that we will be packing up (and selling) our house and moving to Vienna, Austria.  Kevin will be doing a sabbatical at the Technische Universitat in Vienna for 9 months.  We won't be leaving until end of December, so it'll give us a couple of months to sell our house,  have the baby, move into a short-term rental (if we sell quickly) and then spend the holidays with family before we leave for Vienna.

I can't tell you how excited I am to move to Europe AND to live in a city.  Kevin and I have identified a flat (3 bedrooms) right on the border of the first and sixth districts and next to Vienna's most popular open air market, Naschmarkt, that offers 120 market stands daily, trendy restaurants and on Saturdays a flea market.  If we get the flat, I'll share pictures soon!!  While the move is short-term, I very much looking forward to the change and experience.  If any of you find yourself in Europe (next year), you will definitely have to get in touch!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY: Greek Key Roman Shade

Sorry for the absence.  We're putting our house on the market and we are furiously (and frantically) finishing home projects.  I'm exhausted and blogging has taken a hit.  Anyhow, I wanted to share the DIY roman shade I completed.

It's for our upstairs (recently renovated) bathroom.  The greek key trim is from M & J Trimming.

Some white duck cloth from Joann's, Greek Key trim and a Home Depot (Providence) natural bamboo shade and viola: 

I was inspired by this photograph:

and I followed John's Journal tutorial.  If you haven't seen her dining room shades, they're amazing!

I would love to do this project again and the greek key trim made me so happy.  I was torn between the green or black greek trim, but I'm so happy I decided to go with the green.  

I do have 3 to 4 yards (60 mm) of the M & J Trimming's black and white Greek Key Jacquard trim if anyone is interested.  It retails for $9.98/yard and I'll sell it for $9.00/yard.  

Let me know if you're interested.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Completely Adorable

This idea, while not completely new, is completely adorable and I plan on doing some version of it when the little peanut arrives.  How cute are these onesies!

My girlfriend did a similar idea for her twins - she got very creative.  If she'll let me, I would love to post them.  I like the idea of taking monthly pictures to capture their growth and changes!

In other news, I'll be a little sporadic these days, lots going on - preparing to put the house on the market,  pending baby arrival, etc.  Bear with me.  :)