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renovation update: the study

I’m a terrible blogger this time of year.  The lack of sunlight means it’s impossible to take good pictures around the house and projects start to languish because I’m ready for bed at 8:30pm, which is stupid early.  When I should be painting the upstairs foyer and hallway, instead I’ll snuggle the kids down in our bed and be like “Who wants to fall asleep next to Mommy while I read a magazine?”  There are always takers and it’s the snuggliest, squishy-cheeked, delicious kid breath bomb.  Yes, I still need to smell my kids faces every day, like a mother seal.

January through May also feels like a wasteland, design-wise.  Maybe that’s because of holiday-based decor on Pinterest and in magazines.  I swear that Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter egg wreaths actually burn their eyes.

Despite my general lack of motivation this time of year and loathing of four-leaf clover themed door decor, we’ve managed to make tons of renovation progress in our “study”…as I’m calling it now.

First, we popped off the scallop trim that was hiding a track system for curtains.

This made a hella mess and we had to go into mudding/sanding mode to smooth it out.  Then we added crown molding around the whole room.  The woodwork is BM White Dove and the doors are BM Mopboard Black.

The zig zag chair is getting a white slipcover next month, if I can fine a fabric gauge thick enough to cover it.

The ceiling fan came down too.  A ridiculous square hole was revealed (what?) so we covered it up with a ceiling medallion from Lowe’s.

The biggest elephant in the room was obviously the built-in.  While the exact design of these shelves wouldn’t have been my first choice, we definitely want some kind of built-in here.  So instead of tearing it out and building something else that looked very similar but with minor tweaks, we decided to keep it and paint them.  The scallop trim came off too and we added a flat fascia board and crown molding.

Initially I wanted to paint the built-in green but after testing a few samples, I realized that a dark blue made the green in the toile wallpaper pop out more (BM Polo Blue).  The blue also butch-es up what could be grandma sweet wallpaper.

Lots of styling to do, lots of books to snag from yard sales but at least it isn’t a pea green monstrosity anymore.

This thing is screaming to have brass picture lights on the fascia up top…but we aren’t dealing with any electrical stuff right now.

I found the vintage faux bamboo (Thomasville?) ottoman on Craigslist for $25.  It needs a tufted chartreuse velvet cushion.  For sure.

Clearly this unit was designed specifically for a ginormous TV.  Notice the gaping TV-shaped hole in the middle there?

But until the day this is a TV room again (we can see that happening down the line)…..that lonely hole needs to be filled.  To break up the big cavern, I’m thinking of leaning a piece of modern art behind the bar tray and adding vintage glasses on those weird half shelves.  Plus the bar tray itself needs to be tricked out.  You know, actual booze and what-not.  Oh and have no fear, I’m steadily murdering that maidenhair fern every day, no matter how much water I give it or sweet-nothings I whisper.

The bar tray is from Container Store.  A frigging steal for the size.


The color of the built-ins, doors and floors are cool tones (black and blue) so I want to warm things up with other elements, like brass, orange-spined books, old issues of Nat Geo, an antique persian throw rug, etc.

The silver peanut I found at Acushnet River Antiques (my go-to spots) is my new favorite and one of the reasons I love thrifting/antiquing/estate sales.  You never know what amazing stuff you’ll give a new home to.  Should this peanut have gone to the landfill and then Pottery Barn mass-produces a replica?  Hell no.

The other side of the study is our/my office

desk // storage cube

Lots to do with the end of the room – hang art, put up a cork board for inspiration tear-outs, etc.

I added mid-century style legs from Lowe’s to the Ikea storage cube.  Stained them in Minwax Special Walnut first.

This room was one of the (many) things that sold me on the house when we first looked at it.  I’m happy that we finally got rid of all the nasty green woodwork.  And all it really took was primer and paint.

What do you think about the color of the built-in?  Was blue a good choice?


new year, new updates

Happy New Year, everyone!!!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  I’m seriously looking forward to 2017, despite our current, ummm, political situation.  I’ll be turning 40 this summer (gulp) and hope that 2017 brings a lot of positive growth and changes.  Blogging took a backseat during the long holiday season but we were still working on projects around here so there’s plenty to update you about and of course talk about 2017 projects.

This is a ridiculously long post, so buckle up.

The Living Room
The goal was to finish this room before our holiday soiree in mid-December….and we managed to pull it off!  Last time I shared our progress, we had just painted the floor and the newly-battened walls but the fireplace mantel hadn’t been built yet.


Designing and building the mantel was a major team effort with my husband, especially since we had zero experience and the design/trim was basically eye-balled from looks I loved.  Liking the look of something is one thing but executing it is quite another.  We  pulled this one out of thin air.  What trim do we get?  How do we build the layers of trimwork so it looks classy and not like inexperienced idiots (that’s us) slapped it together?  A lot of math, engineering, and freaky wood cuts went into this but the outcome is totally worth it.

First we built a flat wood base that encompassed the space the mantel would take up. Then we added the trim on top of that, along with the mantel shelf and dentil crown molding trim underneath.



Not too shabby.



This room is big and furnishing it will take time.  Plus I’m still trying to figure out what to furnish it with.  Most of it seems like pointless space.  Take this side of the room…..sorry this is the old  pic, I didn’t take a full view updated one….



We don’t really need a second seating area back there, so I’m thinking maybe two tall bookcases flanking the window with articulating arm sconces above them and a round, skirted table in the bay.  ???  The bay window isn’t full height so that nixes the option of curtains, which is why I like the idea of bringing in fabric with the skirted table to soften things.

Something like Maura’s room.


However, on the other side of the room I can totally picture pinched pleat linen curtains with this curtain rod from PB.  But would it be weird to have an asymmetrical curtain situation going on?




Let’s not talk about the TV situation (yes it’s from 1985, yes it was free, yes it’s covered in stickers) and this terrible over-lit picture.


It’s embarrassing.  I swear 2017 will be the year we come out of the dark ages.  Something like zees (French Kiss reference).


The Powder Room
For the past two years I’ve blabbed that we’re going to renovate the powder room during the next round of ORC.  But of course it hasn’t happened yet.  Basically we’re reluctant to spend money on this room when the tile – although YELLOW- is in perfect condition and there are so many other more pressing projects around here (i.e. fogged up, broken seal windows; wonky electrical issues, etc).  Zap.

Here’s the room the day we moved in.  Trust me, in person, the wallpaper was dingy and gross.  Not Anthro at all.

yellow bath

After stripping the wallpaper two years ago (and ditching the yellow toilet), I did nothing but prime the walls, thinking we’d renovate “soon.”  Since we’ve now decided to hold off on the renovation till 2018, I realized that the walls needed more than primer in the meantime.  Painting them black seemed like a good way to balance the sweetness of all that yellow.  We also knocked out that pointless vanity.



Lots of black and white art to come on these walls and a bamboo bookcase in that nook.

The Office
This is really flexible space and the way we use it will probably change over time.  We used it as an office (and loved having dedicated space for that) until the living room renovation happened at which point we moved the sofa, armchairs and TV in there.  That turned out to be super cozy, especially during the warmer months since the screen porch is right off it.

Notice the weird scalloped 1950’s trim.  It needs to die.


Anyhoo, the other side of the room looks like this.  Den central designed for a ginormous TV.  Hi, ceiling fan.  Also die.


Long term, this built-in probably needs to be re-built but for now we’re going to work with it, see how things pan out.  Painting it is a must, likely BM Polo Blue.  Not the green you see tested on the side.  Oh and the green toile wallpaper stays of course.


Again, inspiration by Maura.  If you’re not following her IG account, you’re missing out.


We need to finish painting the trim and doors in this room too, once my husband muds and sands the ceiling from our tear down of the scallop trim.  Spoiler alert, that did not go smoothly.  The ceiling behind the trim is a different height than the rest of it.  In part because, according to our neighbors, this ceiling was re-done around the trim, after the bathtub upstairs fell through the rotting ceiling.  So glad we weren’t here for that.


Phew, well that’s all for now.  Bless your heart if you’re still reading this tome of a post.  Lots going on here in 2017.    Thanks for your all support, dear readers of this lil’ blog.



re-painting the foyer with my tears

Alternative title – Why I’m an idiot.  So….I thought I was almost done painting the foyer.  It only took me 6 months.  At the time I picked Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray and had it color matched in Olympic One paint from Lowes.  But I only bought one gallon because in our old house we never needed more than one gallon per room and I figured I could always get more if I needed and it would perfectly match what I’d already slapped up there.  Right?  WRONG!  So so wrong.

Yesterday I grabbed another gallon of the foyer color at Lowes so I could finally finish painting.  My cousins are staying with us this weekend and I wanted to close the book on this project before they arrive.  Pat myself on the back.  Reward myself with 3 lobster rolls.  So I start finishing up with the allegedly-same paint and….what the french toast is this?!?!?  Different colors.  Only slightly but it’s noticeable.


And I like the new color better (#2) than the old one (#1).  Argggg.  So I head back to Lowes and grab two more gallons of the paint, mixed the three gallons together and will now begin painting the entire thing.  Again.  I officially give zero f**ks what color the foyer is.  Lesson learned – always buy more paint than you need.  Don’t be like me, kids.




in search of a blue ceiling

I’m on the hunt for a pale blue-gray paint for the ceiling in my client’s bathroom.  Nothing too sweet or bright or aqua or green.  And certainly not POW! there’s a big robin’s egg over your head.  I don’t want to ceiling to be the star, just a serene and subtle sky.

Like this only a bit lighter…


anna decker architects 

Here are some of the options I rounded up.  I’m grabbing some of these in sample size and test them out tonight on the ceiling.

cascade white

gray sky


icy cap

silver crest

Ugh.  Right now they’re all looking too dark on the screen.  Need to get some up on that fifth wall.  I’m leaning towards Horizon.   What do you guys think?  Have any suggestions?



removing oodles of wallpaper

Hi guys!  I hope you had a relaxing, cozy, food-and-wine-filled holiday!  I’m sooo ready for 2015.  We capped off 2014 with the move to the new house, which needs every update you can think of, and after going through the usual mourning/fear/paralysis phase, I’ve emerged on the other side, ready to face things head-on.  This house is now my bitch.

We spent a lot of time over the Christmas holiday removing wallpaper, in part because my aunt (who’s visiting) is an insane worker bee.

foyerRead More


update on the back deck

This project has been…oh…3 months in the making.  My husband got a wild hair this spring and started scraping our painted back deck, which just hemorrhages paint chips every year.  Not surprisingly, this turned out to be quite a PITA.  Although definitely the right move in the long run.


This is still an in-progress shot

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ode to the porch skirt

Our front porch remodel is still in progress (no reveal just yet) but during this renovation I’ve become slightly porch obsessed.  Mind you, this is on top of my normal level of house fetishism.  And yes, I’m fully aware that my house/architecture commentary isn’t as adorable as I think it is.  Who doesn’t want a peaceful walk interrupted by a *gasp* and death grip on their shoulder?  Oh my god!  Look at those quoins!  Or….that portico is bananas.  (Except Lauren Grant of course).

One thing that’s been catching my eye is porch skirts.  Here are a few of the varieties around my neighborhood.

Vertical Planking


Hint* we went this route for our porch

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our walls are hollow no more

I’ve never been so happy to see holes in our house.


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{laundry room makeover} Part 1

This hard-working space serves a few different functions at our house.  Laundry room.  Pantry.  Entry to the basement.  Walk-through to the powder room.  And it’s the only space in the house we haven’t touched, decorating-wise.


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bathroom renovation and reveal

A year ago, we finally took the plunge and renovated our upstairs bathroom.  It was the best and hardest thing DIY we’ve ever done.  (Keep in mind the porch and kitchen are still in shambles so we may have a new winner).  What a difference this renovation has made!  The project also gave us a lot of confidence because it was our first tiling and flooring experience.


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