Face Lift – Exterior Finishes

When we moved into our house two years ago, the exterior was very plain. The paint on the house and the trim were pretty much the same color, and there wasn’t anything that created much interest in the architecture. So we (mostly meaning I) got to work planning ways to spruce things up.

First up was a new paint job. Gray on the main part of the house and a cream trim brightened everything up a bit. Then as luck would have it, our ugly garage doors broke, so we got new “cottage-style” ones. Here’s the before and after – sorry the quality is so bad.

House Update

House Update

Next up, a new front door. I got this one from Home Depot for about $300, and I love it! I have had several people from the neighborhood ask me if I live at the house with the cute new front door. Of course, I have to ask them to repeat that in front of my husband because he thought the old door with dents in it was just fine.

New Front Door

New Front Door

I also had a co-worker make us some custom shutters. I do work for a construction company, so that comes in quite handy sometimes. When we had our house painted, the shutters and the door got a fresh coat of black paint. I have to say that I love driving up to the house each day. The face lift made a world of difference to the exterior of our house.

More Custom Shutters

More Custom Shutters

Custom Shutters

Custom Shutters

 

And finally, we needed some plants for the small front porch. Remember how Jill said yesterday that she has sort of a black thumb? Um…I would have to put myself right there with her. I adore swirly evergreens, and they seemed low maintenance enough even for me. Well, this one only lasted a year.

Dead Swirly Evergreen

Dead Swirly Evergreen

The ones I planted last year were in pots that just kept falling over whenever we had a big storm. So I replanted them last night in these larger square ones. Hopefully that will help keep them alive longer.

Front Door View - www.middleredefined.com

Front Door View – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

I had some help from little hands – he was looking for dinosaur fossils.

[caption id="attachment_796" align="alignleft" width="768"]My helper My helper

What sort of exterior face lifts have you done to your house?

Yard Work – Take One

Needless to say, I have always been the anti-work-in-the-yard type.  My oldest brother actually jokes when I am outside doing any sort of work that I am lost because it has never been my thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to getting my hands dirty but I have no idea when it comes to planting or growing anything outside.

I killed a cactus in college.

That is hard to do.  But apparently not for me.

SO, the past couple years I have left all the yard work up to the mister and he has been giving me subtle hints about landscaping and getting into landscaping.  Never worked.  We would drive my neighborhoods of beautifully landscaped yards and I wouldn’t pay attention in the least bit.  (Sorry babe.)

For some reason I decided to pay more attention to it and I actually went with him to look at plants and flowers.  It is sort of addicting.

Granted this is only a couple days out now so everything is blooming and alive but I am rather excited about the results.

Flower Collage 2

Shrub Collage

Flower Collage

Two Flower

Pretty isn’t it?!  I can’t say I have a green thumb by any means but I do love what I am seeing when I pull into our driveway and look outside.

Best yet, you can cut fresh flowers and bring them inside to enjoy!

Roses

I would love to hear your favorites…What flowers, shrubs or landscaping do you love?

Master Bedroom Redesign Commenced!

This past weekend I finally started working on the redesign of our master bedroom. The first two steps: 1) Order bathroom tile; and 2) Start painting. I decided to go with a creamy white for our bedroom walls, and I was able to get about half of the painting done. My plan is to hopefully finish up this next weekend – we’ll see how that goes. The bathroom will get a different wall color, which I’ll share as we get further along.

I also had to make the final decision on which tile to go with for our bathroom. Remember from my “Master Bedroom Inspiration” post that we have carpet in our bathroom??? Again, I have no idea why builders ever decided to do that. As you can see from the shot below, we have standard 12×12 tile around our bathtub. So instead of trying to match that tile, which would be difficult, we wanted to go with something that looked a bit more like wood flooring to create some contrast.

You can see our top three choices at the bottom of the rediculous carpet up the side of the bath tub.

Tile Choices

Tile Choices

As you can see, one is almost white, one takes on an oak look, and the larger of the three has more of a reclaimed wood feel. Since our woodwork, vanities, and counter tops are all white, we nixed the creamy tile. It would have blended a bit too much.

Closeup of Tile Finalists

Closeup of Tile Finalists

When comparing the other two, I preferred this one since the greyish hue blended well with the standard tile around the bathtub. So that was the winner.

Tile for Master Bath Redesign - www.middleredefined.com Tile for Master Bath Redesign – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

And the best part is that our local tile shop was running a Memorial Day weekend sale, so we got it all 20% off! If you’re wondering what we’re doing with that crazy carpet running up the side of the bathtub, that will end up being wood.

 

Really excited that this project is finally under way. Can’t wait to be able to share more photos once we make some more progress!

Memorial Day Weekend

Phew! Where did the last three days go?  I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend.  I know we sure did.  We relaxed cleaned the garage.

WHAT??!

Well, when you are 32 weeks pregnant and one kiddo down for an entire day (Liam was at Papa’s helping plant soybeans) you have to take advantage of the time to CLEAN!

Don’t get me wrong – we did attend a fabulous wine tasting (sparkling grape juice for me) get together with friends, our nephew Pete’s super hero birthday party and I did take a glorious nap on Sunday while it was pouring rain (gauge said over 2 inches!).

(BEWARE before you read any further: these are NOT glamourous photos – but this is real life organization/cleaning challenges that we all DO NOT want to clean – but it MUST be done!)

We deep cleaned the garage.  I say ‘we’ because the mister was an enormous help during this project.  This is his MAN SPACE so I let him have his space and do with it as he wishes.  BUT when it starts to look like this:

GARAGE BEFORE -

Garage Before - Holy MESS

Garage Before – Holy MESS

Garage Before - DANGER ZONE

Garage Before – DANGER ZONE

I had to intervene.  First step was admitting there was a problem and once I mentioned storage units and bins the mister freaked out a bit.  Grumpy a bit at first he then gave in and a few (probably 6) hours later we ended up with this:

GARAGE AFTER:

Work bench AFTER

Work bench AFTER

If I had it my way I would have everything in bins but we got really excited about that Husky work bench organizer diddy so I let him have his MAN SPACE.  He refinishes and builds so many DIY projects for me it was the least I could do.

But I did get my bins:

Garage After - BINS - STORAGE

Garage After – BINS – STORAGE

And why wouldn’t we add some DIY art to the garage??

DIY Art - not being used in the house so we hung it up in the garage

DIY Art – not being used in the house so we hung it up in the garage

I will add some custom labels to the bins to jazz them up.  For now I don’t have to walk to the car with my eyes closed trying not to get anxiety from the mess.  Huge shout out to the mister for being a rock star and cleaning up his man space.  At one point I walked out and he was disinfecting the garbage bins!  I am officially rubbing off on him.

We also did TONS of yard work which I will share with you all soon.  YES, I actually planted flowers.  Two days and they are not dead yet.  Amazing.

For now, here is a pic of our helpers doing yard work this weekend…

Yard Work Helpers - Dax and Liam

Yard Work Helpers – Dax and Liam

Have  a great four day work week!

Bloggers that Redefine: A Piece of Toast

Interview with Molly and Sally from A Piece of Toast - www.middleredefined.com

Interview with Molly and Sally from A Piece of Toast – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

I couldn’t have been more thriled when Molly and Sally from apieceoftoastblog.com agreed to have lunch with me in Dallas while I was visiting their hometown this past weekend. When Jill and I first started talking about starting Middle Redefined, she told me about these ladies and how much she loved their blog. I was instantly hooked as well. Unfortunately, Jill wasn’t able to join us because she’s about to pop out another little munchkin, so flying on a plane isn’t happening.

Since these ladies have inspired us, we wanted to share some fun tidbits from our discussion. During our lunch, Molly and Sally talked about how success didn’t come easy for them. It took about a year and half before they really started getting noticed by big brands. Their turning point was when they were asked to go to fashion week! They said they just looked at each other and said, “What are we doing here? We don’t belong here!” But they did. And ever since then, their blog has continued to gain popularity and both big and small brands work with them on a regular basis.

Focus on the Content, Not the Traffic

Molly and Sally attribute their success to the fact that their main focus has always been on creating great content. They have never proactively sought out partnerships with brands, but rather, everything has happened organically. Even during our conversation, they didn’t talk about their visitor numbers because they feel that writers and small business owners should put their efforts toward engagement with their target audience – not just the sheer number of people checking out their site. So insightful from such young entrepreneurs.

Even though Molly and Sally are approached on a daily basis by brands that want to sponsor them or advertise on their site, they are very particular about their partnerships. Molly said, “You have to be able to say no to brands that don’t align with you. It’s important that the companies and people you work with are a reflection of who you are.” Both Jill and I work in marketing for a living and couldn’t agree more with what Molly’s saying. This sort of mantra goes beyond just blogging and is just as important for anyone building a brand.

Show Support for Others

The other big takeaway from our discussion was the notion of actually showing support for other bloggers, small business owners, and women entrepreneurs. This is truly one of the reasons that Jill and I relate so well to Molly and Sally. Anyone who reads their blog can see from the way they write, the topics they discuss, and the way they promote others that they understand the importance of connection and collaboration vs. sheer competitiveness. They said, “You have to take a step back and realize that these are real people writing their blogs. Staying positive and supporting others in our industry has not only been good for our business, but some of our best friends today are other bloggers.” People in all facets of business could take a lesson from these two.

I enjoyed my time with Molly and Sally so much! The only thing that would have made it better is if Jill could have joined us. Another time hopefully. We are so incredibly grateful to them for taking the time to share their thoughts with us and hope they inspire you as much as they have us!

 

Not only are they fabulous inside and out, they have great style! Here are a couple photos from their apartment.

Um, didn’t I tell you that mounted deer heads are awesome?

[caption id="attachment_725" align="alignleft" width="682"]Bedroom Appeal - A Piece of Toast Bedroom Appeal – A Piece of Toast

Love the “Lust” pillow and sunglass display

Sunglass Love - A Piece of Toast

Sunglass Love – A Piece of Toast

How adorable is the bedding from Biscuit?

Interiors - A Piece of Toast

Interiors – A Piece of Toast

The pig just takes the whole jewelry display over the top. So cute!

Jewelry Display - A Piece of Toast

Jewelry Display – A Piece of Toast

“Desk” Organization

I use the word “desk” lightly.  We have no stand alone desk nor room that we deem our office.  We simply have an area in our kitchen that has a built-in “desk”.  This is a bare minimum shot of the built-in desk area during our kitchen renovation.

Three drop down pendant lights - replace ceiling fan

And moment of confession, before Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013, it looked like this…

Built-In Desk Area Before - Doors Open

Built-In Desk Area- Before

Built-In Desk Area Before - Doors Open

Built-In Desk Area Before – Doors Open

I know, I know.

AWFUL.

Very embarrassing.

So, I decided enough was enough and I went and got these baskets.

New baskets - found at Home Goods

New baskets – found at Home Goods

Three baskets all for 12.99 - used for desk storage

Three baskets all for 12.99 – used for desk storage

Three baskets for 12.99 a set – and 12.99 times two and I have a great solution to a massive unorganized mess for under $30 total.

I still have some minor adjustments but between playing outside with the kiddos, eating dinner, bath time, kiddo bedtime and a solid hour or so reorganizing, this is the after:

IMG_4943

Built-In Desk - After

Built-In Desk – After

I still need to figure out how to make those bottom two shelves work but I am SO happy with the progress.  For more organization projects click here and here.

Now to find a desk chair…

YEP, we currently sit on a big exercise ball.  Hey, one benefit – I am working my core while I type.

Navy and Fuchsia Wedding

I am so excited to share with you photos from my friend Katie’s fabulous navy and fuchsia wedding (BTW…how weird is the spelling of fucshia?)! It couldn’t have been prettier, and all the details were  perfectly coordinated.

All of her stationery had this chic square look, and our bridesmaid bouquets were the perfect shade of pink.

Navy and fuchsia wedding details

Navy and fuchsia wedding details

 

Katie surprised us with navy clutches as one of our bridal party gifts to go with our navy dresses. How cute is the ruffle??

Navy clutch and fuchsia nails

Navy clutch and fuchsia nails

Cocktail hour fun – a few of the bridesmaids with our friend Jamie who also got the navy memo. I wish I would have gotten a picture of our fuchsia shoes!

Navy bridesmaid dresses

Navy bridesmaid dresses

 

You saw part of the table setup in my post from Monday…

Navy and Pink Wedding - www.middleredefined.com

Navy and Pink Wedding – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

and here’s a wider view.

[caption id="attachment_675" align="alignleft" width="683"]Navy and fuchsia wedding - www.middleredefined.com Navy and fuchsia wedding – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

She had a dessert bar instead of a traditional cake, which was so incredibly fun.

[caption id="attachment_677" align="alignleft" width="683"]Wedding cake and cupcake tower Wedding cake and cupcake tower

Katie and her groom, Parag, met while living in New York City, so of course they had to have some cheesecake!

Wedding dessert bar

Wedding dessert bar

And how adorable does their monogram look on these petit fours?? Katie had this monogram on several details throughout the wedding, so everything tied together.

Monogram on desserts

Monogram on desserts

 

The gorgeous couple as they enter the reception. Love them both so much.

Katie and Parag

Katie and Parag

Our table consisted of some bridesmaids, spouses, and friends. A good time was had by all.

Katie and Parag's Reception

Katie and Parag’s Reception

Lasting memories from an absolutely unforgettable wedding.

 

 

House Jewelry – Front Door Edition

It all started when I was getting married – the monogram obsession.  From the custom stamp on guest bags to our thank you notes, I loved using our combined monogram.  This hasn’t stopped – shown most notably here with our master room linens.

Lately, the monogram rage, although nothing new, has been seen in jewelry.  So, I thought to myself, ‘the house deserves some jewelry of its own.’

So here is my edition of “house jewelry – front door edition”…

Simple color - pops of color with ribbon

Simple color – pops of color with ribbon

This beauty is from Southern Proper Monograms.

Front Door Decor - double door monogram - during Holiday Season.

Front Door Decor – double door monogram – during Holiday Season.

Upon stumbling across the shop I immediately ordered one.  I knew my front door would thank me.

In the natural wood form, the wood grain is quite pretty, but I am thinking of painting it a fun color.

Of course, this is added to the “honey-do list” for the upcoming long weekend.  (Sorry honey, but there is a list and the list is growing by the day.)

Newest front door decor - wooden monogram - via www.southernpropermonograms.com

Newest front door decor – wooden monogram – via http://www.southernpropermonograms.com/caption

Liam’s vote if for “bright pink”.  Yes, my “almost four year old” toddler boy loves the color pink.  He actually thinks that girls needs to choose pink or purple when they pick a color.

After reading Erica’s post yesterday on the fabulous wedding she attended this weekend, I am thinking pink (fuchsia) might be a good idea.  Or at least the ribbon that it would hang from would be fuchsia.

I am also considering a subtle gold metallic to go nicely with the color of our house which would then contrast nicely against the navy door.

[caption id="attachment_661" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Wooden monogram - against current house color Wooden monogram – against current house color

What do you think??? I am up for suggestions.

And if you missed my other post on front door decor check it out here.

Stay tuned for pics on the finished look.

Navy, Pink, and Toast

My husband and I had a whirlwind and fabulous weekend. One of my closest friends got married, and the wedding was not only incredibly fun, but every detail was absolutely perfect. The colors of the wedding were navy and fuchsia - such a fun color combo that is really popular right now in interior and fashion design. Here’s a sneak peak and I’ll show you more photos later this week.

Navy and Pink Wedding - www.middleredefined.com

Navy and Pink Wedding – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

I also had the chance to meet some fabulous women who have inspired Jill and I ever since we started thinking about creating Middle Redefined. Molly and Sally from A Piece of Toast were kind enough to sit down with me for lunch while I was in their hometown of Dallas for some inspirational discussion. More on that later this week as well.

[caption id="attachment_650" align="alignleft" width="768"]Piece of Toast Piece of Toast

 

Can’t wait to share everything with you! Have a great week!

Deer head design

Meet the newest member of our family – a deer head wall mount. My little man named him Antler. We are all inundated with deer head design in magazines and catalogs. And these little guys had been growing on me, so when I decided that I needed something else for my powder room wall, I sought out a fun porcelain deer head to mount.

Deer head

Deer head

 

I think he’s quite fun don’t you? I think it’s funny that he’ll stare men down as they use the bathroom. I wanted to provide you a link to where to find it at Land of Nod, but I don’t think it’s available anymore.

Back wall of powder room

Back wall of powder room

 

My powder room has the same gray walls as my family room and kitchen, and our vanity is white with white countertops. The wall art under Antler is antique wrapping paper that I found at a flea market. I love the geometrical design.

 

Vanity in powder room

Vanity in powder room

Do you have deer head design in your house?

Happy Friday!

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