Category Archives: the house

Made in England

nailhead trim chairs


dresser detailsWe had some major Craigslist scores lately! We picked up the Ikea Lillesand bed frame for $80 to put in our updated guest room. (Right now it has my old furniture from high school in there, and it’s not the right scale or style for the room.) We scored the nailhead trim chairs for $125 for the pair, and later found out they retail for $600+ for the pair. They’ll go at the future desk we’re going to build. Lastly, for my birthday, two of my sisters and my parents chipped in time/money to get me the John Widdicomb chest that is charmingly distressed for $225. Similar, unpainted chests go for $900. We are utterly in love, and hope to keep this piece in our family. Super excited to continue updating the house.


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


Last year, right after we moved in, we put up my parent’s tree in the bay window. It was magical and helped our sparsely furnished new home feel a little bit more homey for the holidays. Right after Christmas, I scoured Craigslist for a 7+ foot tall tree for the bay window for this year. Our ceilings are 9 feet, so the area can handle a substantial tree.


We bought a lovely tree from a guy off Craigslist for just $30 that we estimate would retail for over $100. It’s not pre-lit, but we actually prefer that because if part of the lights we can easily replace them for $5, not have to replace the entire tree or go through hundreds of bulbs to find the culprit. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

photo 2

photo 4

photo 1My parents ended up letting us keep the smaller tree, so I put it in other corner of the living room. Two trees… too much? Pfft. #YOLO

photo 3

One Year

A year ago yesterday, we moved into our house. Our home.

We kept it a secret from Andrés’ mom, and from most of his family, until she arrived about a month later and we surprised her.

In that year we: traveled to Colombia for 2 weeks, adopted Ruby, planned our wedding, and got married.

We started making our home ours in small and big ways. Truth be told, it didn’t really feel like home for me until very recently. We got a dresser for our bedroom, and for some odd reason that changed everything. It pulled that room together for me, and sealed the deal.

I expect to do a massive update to our house tour before the end of the month, but the biggest changes can be seen in the living room and dining room.

Dining room in December 2011:

The dining room more in October and November respectively:

table setting thanksgiving

The living room in December 2011:

The living room now:

Well that’s almost accurate… We have two Christmas trees up right now, but I’m going to update about that later this week.

The house is, by my estimation, at least 2 years from being even close to “done”. There are several rooms we haven’t touched at all, like: the middle floor bathroom, the guest room, the future nursery (the tan room), our master bedroom, the guest bathroom, the master bathroom.

We have so many plans, so many ideas. We just have to do them on our time, when we feel like it. And when we can afford it. I don’t feel weird about having a partially unfinished house. I think it’s charming to see the process.

I Promise I Won’t Build a House.

Earlier this I week filled out a general correspondence form on the website of the builder of our home asking for a copy of the floor plan. A customer service rep got back to me and said they couldn’t help me because the plans are copyrighted. I asked if I could hire an architect to map the house, producing the exact same thing, and he replied that I could do that but I just couldn’t build a house with those plans. I imagined us building a freestanding replica of our end-unit townhouse in the middle of nowhere. I manged to convince the guy I just wanted to frame a copy of it as art (as part of a gallery wall), which he said, in all his 20 years, he’d never heard of anyone doing (!) but that it was quite unique.  So he routed around and found me some PDFs of floor plans (not the blueprints — which I think he thought was what I was asking for) of our house, a house that is eerily similar to my parent’s house, and what I presume are other houses in the neighborhood. It’s fascinating to see the differences and the options. Because our home was one of two model homes for the neighborhood, we have things like an intercom system hooked up to the doorbell that has four access points. I didn’t know the vaulted ceilings in our bedroom and master bathroom were options, as well. When I update the house tour page, I think I’ll also include some of the floor plans so the layout  and the scale of the rooms make more sense.

The Ottoman Empire

Did you know that the Ottoman Empire lasted from 27 July 1299 to 1 November 1922 (623 years)? That blows my mind. And has nothing to do with this post.

When we bought our sofa, we splurged for the matching ottoman (footstool). That worked for a while, but as the room started having a more focused direction (mostly when we got the rug), I started itching for a nicer ottoman that a) wasn’t so matchy-matchy, b) had a storage compartment, and c) could hold glasses.  I added a tray from Ikea for part “c” so we could put glasses on the ottoman, but certainly didn’t feel too secure, and the tray/ottoman are at Ruby’s height.

I fell in love with Noah Tufted Storage Ottoman offered on Joss & Main, but it’s pretty expensive (and non refundable) and didn’t over a solution to the “places to put cups” dilemma. But it’s gorgeous.

I started looking all over for large square storage ottomans in white. It was tough. Andrés found another option, the Durango Four Sectioned Ivory Leather Cube Storage Ottoman on Amazon for $267. That’s down $133 from the Noah (and the Durango ships for free and I think returns are possible), and it offered the storage and the flip trays are perfect for holding drinks and remotes.

We were pretty much decided on the Durango when we went out shopping last Sunday — we were just deciding when we would purchase it. Andrés turned in near Target to turn around to avoid waiting at long light, when I asked to stop in so I could get zit cream (true story). As we drove near Target, we passed Value City Furniture and they had a bunch of their patio table sets outside (something we’re also sort-of shopping for). Andrés checked those out while I ran into Target, and then I joined him at Value City. We decided to check out the store since we had no where else to be immediately.

And then we found this baby:

The Axis White 5-Piece Ottoman Package. Market down from $129 to just $100. We jumped on the deal. The ottoman comes with four smaller ottomans inside of it (kept in the storage spaces are under each of the trays), and four flip top trays like the Durango. The FOUR extra ottomans would be great for extra seating (which I don’t think we’ll ever need with the gigantic couch and the table for 12) or they can float around the room as-needed. I like that this ottoman doesn’t have the dark stitching that the Durango has (our carpet has a lot a movement — I was afraid the dark stitching might look too busy) and I like that it doesn’t have the chunky dark base of the Noah. It meets all the criteria: not gray, adds storage, adds a safe space for drinks, and comes in waaay under budget.

We borrowed my parent’s van to pick it up on Friday (so we didn’t have to pay the $80 delivery fee).

Here’s the before:

And here’s the after:

You can see one of the baby ottomans on the right side of the sofa. I hope to make a tree stump side table to go there (of about the same scale — maybe a little taller?). I just need some help actually getting a stump.


Top: On Sunday I whipped up some of my World Famous Guacamole (also known as The Best Guacamole in the History of Ever). The avocados from the Spanish grocery are perfect right now.

Middle: Ruby, smiling. She’s slept in the last couple mornings because we’ve been wearing her out with squeaky tennis balls.

Bottom: The living room, now. We actually have a fun piece coming on Friday that’ll switch up that sea of gray.

Peacock Teal

We were pretty much settled on the 8′ x 10′ Diamond Trellis Dhurrie Rug in Peacock Teal from Shades of Light (which sells for $599 before shipping).

& then, few weeks ago, a gorgeous, huge (9′ x 13′) rug came up on One Kings Lane (the teal rug on the bottom left):

I’d had my eye on these types of rugs for a while; they are (or are based on) the Fallon pattern by Jill Rosenwald, which sell for a whopping $1,238.

I’d seen them on Overstock, but they were always prohibitively expensive (& currently sold out):

But on One Kings Lane, they had the SAME rug for $829. I used a 20% off discount code & got an all wool, 9′ x 13′ teal trellis rug for…

We saved $906.  That’s a lot a double cheeseburgers. But enough babbling, right? Get to the pictures, right? Here you go:

I love how much it softens the room. We’ve got a lot of angular lines in room: the couch, the parson’s desk, the TV table, & the console. The curves make it feel more balanced. Can’t wait to hang some curtains!

We also started painting (with generous help from my parents!). It’s not all done yet (hence why the TV wall isn’t in these photographs) but when it is I’ll post more about it. We’re painting in Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore in Valspar Satin paint.