So much baby love on the blog continues this week!  I was so excited to be a part of Lindsey & Adam’s gender reveal photoshoot.  Lindsey is due in August, and even though she’s still little, it was fun to get some shots of her adorable baby bump that we now know is a girl!!  So excited for Lindsey & Adam!

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Enjoy!

mallory

 

Follow-up to the sneak peek last week, here is a few of my favorites from Vuthy and DeAnna’s maternity shoot with their 3-year-old Collin.  She is due any day now, and I can’t wait to hear if it will be a boy or girl! :)  (And eventually shoot a fun newborn session with them!)

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Enjoy!

mallory

 

Can you believe it’s been a year already?!  Vivienne is one!  Here is a sneak peek at her fun first birthday photoshoot.  “Reading” book is one of her all time favorite things to do!

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Let’s do a throwback to her newborn session at 6 days old for fun- so much change in just 1 year!

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More 1 year photos to come soon! :)

 

 

DeAnna & Vuthy managed to sneak in a maternity shoot a mere 9 days before her due date.  They don’t know if they are having a boy or girl yet, but I’m excited to take the newborn photos soon!  In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of the maternity shoot with their adorable 3 year old, Collin, who is very excited to be a big brother!  (He thinks it’s a boy :) )

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More to come soon!

 

 

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Alright, I’m taking a leap of faith with these babies.  Let me fill you in my current lamp situation to catch you up to speed:

Our living room (where we spend most of our limited time at home relaxing together) has zero overhead lights (Dear 1960s:  home design-fail.)

We are currently lighting the room with 2 desk lamps in lieu of making any decisions/movement on the direction of the room.

The living room also has a nice bay window, but we typically keep our curtains closed because, well, frankly it just seems weird to have people watch us live our lives (Is that weird?  Hey, I grew up on 10 acres where we had no neighbors, I blame that).  I digress.  Therefore, the natural light that WOULD come through those windows is minimal/nonexistent.

Our future plans will be to take down the wall between the kitchen and living room for the open concept we desire, but that’s a ways down the road.  Reason being that it will be a complete domino effect of remodeling:

1) Take down the wall (debris, giant beam header- it’s obviously structural, blah blah blah)

2)  Fix the ceiling (and put in recessed LIGHTS!)

3)  Re-do the kitchen

4)  Fix the floor (because we can’t do that before we re-do the kitchen layout)

Oh yeah we were talking about LIGHTS.  So since we don’t have our open concept living room/kitchen layout YET, the living room is a bit “cave-ish”.  I need to brighten that baby up.  (Maybe that will help to force Matt to not fall asleep on the couch at 9pm-while I then stay up till midnight?  Probably not.)

Enter: lamps. I have been on the hunt for big lamps, which p.s. can be expensive.  I wanted larger, substantial lamps since they will be the main sources of light in the room (and smaller lamps in the rather large, long living room would look pewny).  Also, I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the lamps since per the list above, you can see that we eventually would like recessed lighting (but don’t want to live in the “cave” until then).

I stopped by the trusty Goodwill, a mere few miles from my house (WAY dangerous), and found these lamps, which p.s. I know are currently pretty dang ugly.

When I was trying to describe them over the phone to Matt/my sister/my Mom at Goodwill, I said “They are like Spanish, plaster, ‘Arizona-like’ material, but they are nice and big, there is a set of 2, and they are $10 each, and they work”.  Yep that pretty much sums them up.  The question will be how to transform my $20 investment (plus 2 new lamp shades) into fab lamps for our living room.

The wheels are already turnin’….

Here is some inspiration, what do you think?!  Can I make transform these guys into something fab?!  Here’s to hoping!

Lamp-Inspiration-Board

Sources:

1.  http://www.marthastewart.com/273143/rope-lamp?czone=home/diy-decorating/room-accents

2.  http://www.bellemaison23.com/

3.  http://makingitwithdanielle.com/2014/01/23/gold-dipped-lamp/

4.  http://www.designsponge.com/2013/04/sneak-peek-nicole-sutton-of-workhorse.html

Enjoy!
mallory

 

Blizzard on April 3-4, 2014.  Let’s turn this thing around, Minnesota.  Some of us have spray painting to do.

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Sorry for the delay folks!  We have been in house project mode!  I’m so excited to reveal our chalkboard wall–  I just love how it turned out!  But like any typical project, it was quite the process in getting there (it didn’t go as planned?!  No way.)

Let’s back up to where we started with.  Two words come to mind:  Holy. Orange.  (p.s. ignore the messy kitchen, hey we just moved.  Keepin’ it real).

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Yep, when you walked into our house from the garage (which is our main point of entry at this point) you were greeted with this, umm “bold” wall.  Hey, I’m not an orange-hater, I think it can work in some instances.  Here is why it did NOT work here (or at least my theory).  The dark paneling + the orangey linoleum floor + the orange tone kitchen = orange overkill.  The tone in here was just so, well, orange.

So, it was time to paint.  This was an emotional rollercoaster for me.  All of a sudden you come to the realization that you are painting a wall black.  NOT OK!  Is it?! Maybe? Not sure?  Well can’t go back.

Here is my paint tray (yes, lined with tinfoil, I just hate cleaning up after painting!)  And Lewis, also questioning the choice to paint a wall black- thanks for the support buddy (I imagine this look says “really Mom, this was a debatable choice”.)

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The result:  A scary shiny black wall.  Ahhh!  Walking into the house from the garage made Matt & I both question the entire project while the paint was still wet and shiny, it was like walking into a black hole.  But, I had faith (or just really didn’t know a plan B) so we kept trucking along.

Chalkboard-Wall_Process2*p.s. after it dried with a matte finish it was TONS better and really did restore our faith.

Next we needed to tackle the shelf I envisioned.  We toyed with whether we should do a floating shelf or a shelf with brackets.  We ended up going with a bracket setup because this wall really is our facelift vs. our big huge reno (we didn’t want to put giant anchors into the wall for a floating shelf).  We bought a 2×10 board at Home Depot for the shelf.  I liked how substantial it was and initially thought I could throw some stain on it like the Master Closet (here) and call it a day.  Well, not the case.  We bought “Doug” wood, which has a red tint/undertones to it.  The Master Closet was Pine.  These two woods take to the stain VERY differently.  Plan B was to whitewash it, which didn’t cover up the red tone either.  Here are my visuals with my samples I tested trying to visualize:

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Strike 1, Strike 2, Strike 3– we were out.  Hrumph.  I didn’t love any of the options (and yes, Matt hated me for forcing him to hold the huge heavy board while I took a photo, but no pain no gain honey :) )

So back to the drawing/re-finishing “board” (ha! Get it?!) for the shelf.  Actually, this meant literally DOWN to the basement with my board to try to figure out a finish for this red-hued wood.

Ta-da!

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I love the outcome!  It was the perfect combination of making the new wood look old/weathered.  We purposely chose a board with some character/cracks to help us achieve our desired look.

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Solution:  Basic (very light) coat of white primer + using the oil (same as in the Master Closet post) to fake some wood grain (see below for the side x side before & after wiping the stain on the white painted wood).

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And finally here are the finished photos of the completed project.  We were able to display some fun wedding gifts, install some wine glass holders, and style it to be casual yet “put-together”.  The two chairs on either side of the buffet were killer Goodwill finds at $8 and $6 each, they are in great shape.  I have plans to paint and reupholster them to give them an update.  Finally, we want to paint all the wood paneling to white to brighten up the space- more projects of course!  :)

Again, we are so happy with how this turned out and love walking in the door to see this wall :)  You can see we even swayed Lewis’ reservations and he has officially come around.

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Enjoy!

mallory

 

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Welcome our Master Closet!  Is it beautiful and fabulous?  Yes.  It is done?  Nope. :)  This closet is how I would say “naked” (hehe).  I still need to do all my styling and accessorizing and there are a few spaces that are still a work in progress but I just had to share since the last closet post you saw was a bunch of boards being gloriously stained!

Here is the view when you walk in the room.  *Swoon* :)  Yes, this is my side of the closet!  You can see we did an upper and lower rod system for shirts and pants, as well as an upper rod for dresses next to my amazing shoe shelves.

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View looking into the room from the hallway and a close-up of the shoe shelves.

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We were able to use a large 5′x3′ mirror from Matt’s parents bathroom remodel.  We mounted it on the wall, but I am still planning on doing some molding around the frame to make it look more “finished”.

The chandelier was an awesome thrift store find this past weekend.  It was $26 and while I couldn’t confirm that it worked (not tested and no refunds), I took a gamble, and it worked perfectly!  I love it in the space and we are really glad we went with an island as that allows the chandelier to hang lower since we don’t need to walk under it.  It is a great anchor for the room!

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Shoes!  I plan to use the 2 regular size shoe shelves above my boot shelving for seasonal shoes that I will likely wear more often (aka: now you can see it is all closed-toe shoes).  In the summer/spring I can switch them out for the most frequent shoes worn in those seasons.

*p.s. don’t you just LOVE how the wood turned out?  It is the perfect color and pattern to give a rustic look, while still looking polished.  I knew this room could potentially sway very female so I wanted to be sure I used materials to make it gender neutral so Matt could love it as much as I do (well, OK that’s not possible, but didn’t want him to feel like he was in a girly room either!)

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Here you can see the whole shoe shelving system.  I love love love the boot shelves!  I keep my boots standing with rolled up magazines in them and I actually enjoy putting them away and seeing them “on display” in our closet.

You can see where we decided to put my vanity, in the “closet of the closet”, or my “nook” as I like to call it.  This is definitely still a work-in-progress but I have a ”nook” project in mind that I’m excited to post about soon!  Matt was able to put an outlet in my nook for my hair appliances as well as a switch for my own light for good makeup lighting.  I also opted to keep the nook white vs. painting it the charcoal gray to keep it nice and bright for my makeup/hair area.

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You can see Matt’s side below :)  He made out pretty well with an upper and lower hanging rod, his own dresser, and half of the island.  (OK, maybe I “lease out” a little bit of his space :).  Oh and more shoe-love below.

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Well, summary of moving:  I have a lot of shoes!  The top of the rod system was the perfect place to store all my “off-season” or “special occasion” shoes.  Plus, I love looking at them.  I think they double as utility & accessories!

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It is crazy to think how far this room has come in the first month we’ve been in our new house!  It was definitely a huge undertaking but we are so happy with all of our stuff finally organized and in it’s place!

Master-Closet-Progress_before-and-after

I am one lucky girl and am exciting to keep posting and keep you updated as we continue to put the finishing touches on our master closet!  This totally makes sense for our current lifestyle and it is a room that we use every single day. :)

Cheers!

mallory

 

 

 

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Nightstands.  Think of the important pieces in your home that you use/touch/look at EVERY day.  Bedding, shower head, coat rack, sofa…nightstands!  Every night it’s the same routine, the nightstand is a place for our lamps, charging phones, and water.  Such a utility piece, yet still needs to be visually appealing and compliment your room décor.

To revamp them, or to say I have easy used my $20 worth and move on, that is the question.  I snagged these two nightstands off Craigslist a few years ago after I had moved into the tiny house (by myself at the time).  The requirements at that point in time were: (1) That the nightstands came in a set (2) That they were cute-ish (3) That they were cheap.  Ding, ding, ding!  These babies cost be a whopping $20 for BOTH on Craigslist.  Couldn’t complain at $10 each.  Boom.

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Pros:

Sturdy – These nightstands are heavy and solid, I don’t worry about them tipping over (even when Lewis decides to crawl/sit all over them- which he does, every night).

Storage – I love that we have the ability to toss things in our drawers and close them away to declutter

Size – I do like the size.  The tops of the nightstands are large enough for a lamp, glass of water, and phone without causing mass chaos.

Charm – I think these nightstands have potential and some charm.  I like the cozy vibe I get from them.

Here are some awesome Inspiration posts I found that lead me to believe there is hope in revamping!

Nightstands_5_Inspiration

Love the mint green paint job (well, duh it is my favorite color).  Also totally love the idea of doing something unique in the door to create some interest with contrasting color/texture!  Check it out at curbly.com.

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Love the idea of putting a pattern (contact paper/wall paper) in the cubby to create visual interest!  Check it out at behindthebiggreendoor.com.

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Love the bright “pop” of blue and the gold hardware on this baby.  Totally brought back to life.  Check it out at craftcrazymom.com.

Cons:

Real wood?  Not sure.

Missing a door – You can see that one of the nightstands has a cute wainscoting-style door under the drawer, the other nightstand is missing the door

Time to let go?  It is much easier to justify finding new nightstands considering the initial investment was about the cost of a dinner at Chipotle.

Season/Patience – If I do decide to revamp, well, it’s February in Minnesota, and it’s cold.  Either I fume-up the house again with paint (which I am SO not above doing) or wait till Spring to get going….hmmm patience & I don’t really belong in the same sentence.

What Do YOU think?!

 

Do you have pieces like this in your house?  Pieces that you are “so-so” on and can’t decide if they have potential or if it’s time to go?!  Email me a photo and description and as a third party outsider I’d love to give you my best recommendation and maybe provide some “inspiration” that could save them!  :)

Enjoy!

mallory

 

Picking-a-Mattress-Size

Matt & I embarked on a journey this President’s Day weekend: buying a new mattress.  (P.s. President’s Day is known for being a killer weekend for mattress sales, FYI).  We currently have a full-size mattress that came all the way from college-years.  Also, it was the only size that would fit in our previous tiny house bedroom.  We set out on our journey for more space, to buy a QUEEN mattress.

After a hearty breakfast of homemade pancakes & bacon (YUM!), we headed to Becker Furniture World in Burnsville, MN.  Becker has this really cool sleep diagnostic tool where you and your partner enter in a bunch of sleep information about yourself (if you sleep on your side, back, stomach, if you have any areas you are frequently sore, etc.)  Then you lie on 2 beds and they diagnose your body based on pressure points in the mattress (they also show you a video to keep you entertained/still for 5 minutes).  Our results were interesting, and confirmed our preferences when it came to mattresses.  Neat-o.

While testing out a queen bed, Matt had a (very realistic) realization.  The queen-size bed didn’t seem much bigger than the full.  Hmmm, he seemed to be right.  WELL, for a pretty penny of buying a new mattress we certainly wanted to get our money-worth!  As it turns out, upgrading from a full to a queen mattress gives you a whopping extra 6 inches of width.  (cricket sounds)- 6 inches! I know!  So not impressed.  6 measly inches.  Investing in a new mattress for upwards of some hundreds of dollars to only gain 1/2 foot was pretty depressing.  Then, Matt said, “Well, what about a king?”.  A king?!  That seemed excessive.  We didn’t need a king, did we?  Well, cnce we laid in one- wow, we were convinced and shocked at the difference between the queen and king.  The king had all the room in the world.  We went from gaining 6 inches from our full size bed, to gaining 22 inches in width!  (Love the diagram above from Serta, totally visually shows how much space you can gain with each size upgrade).  Everyone we talked to pretty much said the same thing about getting a king– “Hey, if you have the room…” – which we do.  Especially since all of our clothes are in a completely separate room, the bedroom really doesn’t have all that much it needs to fit.

We feel like the king was totally the right choice and well worth the investment.  I feel like every night will feel like we are at a luxury hotel :)  We can’t wait till Thursday when the giant gets delivered!

Now to move onto more exciting and fun planning- the master bedroom décor plans!  The possibilities are endless, starting with a clean slate and a huge bed!  Woot woot!

GOOD NIGHT! :)

mallory

 
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