Baby Steps

We had a fairly full social calendar for a working weekend at home, so it may seem like we didn’t accomplish much this weekend, but a little progress is better than no progress! We utilized Saturday morning to pick up some supplies at Lowe’s and Ikea. David finished off the baseboard trim of the wall patch, and used wood filler to patch holes in the headboard and a select portion of our baseboards. I cleaned, laundered, and together we kept Estelle safe from harm. Sunday brought an early morning car share reservation to cheer on Dave’s mom in the SheRox Triathalon. Yes, she’s one amazing Grannie Annie (pictured here, in between her triathlete buddies)!

It was hot, and horribly humid on Sunday. I was worn out just watching these gals. We ate a lot when everyone was done, so we all sat comatose for a couple hours. Anyways, we didn’t really get a chance to tackle our room until the late afternoon, but look what we did! We purchased a new FJELLSE pine bed, from Ikea. Then, David sawed off the headboard, we ditched the old Ikea Malm bed, put the new bed together, and reused our old slats (saving us $50).





Just a subtle change for now, but eventually (next weekend) the bed and head board will all be white. While we were assembling the bed, Estelle was “helping” by hoarding the instructions. She was looking them over, and noticed that the instruction illustrations were missing a kid. Noted, but I’m quite sure Ikea would be held liable if their instructions included children. Toe amputations, screw swallowing…those are just two possible scenarios that come to mind.

Look, no kids!


But wait! That wasn’t all that we accomplished this weekend. I nearly forgot about the custom blocks David decorated with gold alphabet stencils. I call it industrial glam.




We’re really hopeful that next weekend will be very productive. We haven’t purchased our Palladian Blue paint yet. We’re going to do the white half of the wall first to see if we like the faux wainscoting look, so we know if we need one or more gallons of color. Here is an updated to-do list copied from last week’s post.

  • Fill screw holes and sand the headboard
  • Install baseboard at wall patch area, install quarter round throughout the room
  • PAINT – headboard will be white, walls will be white and Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue (top swatch), trim will be white
  • Find an attractive extension cord/power strip for our lamp, it will be hidden behind the headboard
  • Buy the FJELLSE pine bed from Ikea, chop off the head board, sand, paint it white
  • Buy plastic bins for headboard storage
  • Move the two file cabinets down to the basement
  • New window treatments, probably some inconspicuous white cellular shades
  • Rework existing wall art and restyle the headboard contents
  • Maybe a new duvet cover, and dye existing off-white duvet covers and blankets

Is anyone else looking forward to fall? We most definitely are. This humidity is challenging…I say this as my arms stick to the desk.

Stay cool, and have a great week. Hopefully, I will be inspired by something fun this week to report back to you!




Bedroom To-Do List

This weekend was primarily devoted to cleaning and visiting with friends and family. No home projects, which was fine by us! We enjoyed it!

This is our bedroom from last month. If you want more images, you should check out the Our House link above! Yes, that is lazy…our computer is achingly slow tonight. My apologies.

We are letting three paint samples stew on our bedroom wall for a little while until we can agree on a favorite.

A = Benjamin Moore Blue Heather

B = Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue

C = Benjamin Moore Serenata

At the moment, we are using the photograph by Christian Chaize in the image above as room color inspiration. It was difficult to photograph due to the glass reflection. You can find something similar by the same artist at 20×200. The print we have is sold out. Basically, we’re going for something blue and soothing with pops of color.

We have some other inspirations too!

We got the idea of Blue Heather from our local Capogiro Gelato store. David  asked the girl at the counter if she knew the paint color. She went down to the basement to get the name and number, so nice. I love the bright blue and orange with the Blue Heather walls, but I’m concerned that the art we have on our walls isn’t nearly as cohesive as the black and white photos on these walls. The wall color definitely changes depending on the light, and is reading more grey here. It’s David’s favorite, and my second favorite (meaning I could be convinced).

Palladian Blue seems to be pretty popular in the blogoshpere, so we have plenty of inspiration. For the sake of my sanity and a decent bedtime, I will limit our examples to one. I think Katie’s new office over at Bower Power best shows what a neutral Palladian Blue can be. She uses so many great pops of color. We had already agreed to paint the bottom portion of our walls white to mimic a wainscot when we realized this room had a white wainscot too.

Palladian Blue is my favorite. It looks too sea-foam green next to the other two blue samples, which is David’s major hesitation.

Serenata was quick pick when I was in the Benjamin Moore store. Unfortunately, I have no visual examples!


Thanks for your input! Here is the promised to-do list. We don’t actually have one in writing, so this might help us get moving.

  • Pick a wall color
  • Buy paint and supplies
  • Paint walls and trim
  • Design and build a headboard shelf in the bed nook
  • Repaint a couple of canvases
  • Hang stuff on walls
  • Neutral/sand color rug
  • Move two file cabinet side tables to the basement
  • Find new side table, something bright?
  • New comfy corner chair?
  • Ditch the curtains, and get white cellular shades
  • Buy new low-profile platform bed, maybe a new mattress, eventually

What’s this headboard shelf in the bed nook I speak of? Here is the image that sparked the idea, granted it’s a bathroom…just use your imagination. We haven’t sketched anything out yet, but it will span the nook where our bed currently is.

The rest of the list hasn’t really been researched much. I have researched beds a bit, but mostly because ours is on its last leg. I haven’t found anything that lines up with what we have in mind and in our wallet!

Hopefully we’ll have bedroom news to report soon. Get your mind out of the gutter, Mom:) It’s a realistic goal that we might be able to pick a paint color, buy the paint, and sketch the headboard this month. I have a lot more bedroom ideas and inspirations on my Pinterest board.

I should be back later this week with a City Pretty post!

Have a good week,


Grads and Dads Gift Guide

I was a little slow in getting this posted, but blogging takes too dang long. We had a lovely graduation weekend in the mountains of Virginia. As always, the weekend was too short and the drive too long. Speaking of driving, David suggested I cover some aspects of our life without a car. Gladly! Stay tuned for the first of many Car-free and Carefree posts in the next day or so.

Ok, let’s cut to the chase. Graduates first because college graduations are happening as I type this, and high school graduations will be here before we know it! I always struggle with graduation gifts, especially high school. Generally these people like need money.

Do you know where they are moving? Try a gift card to the local grocery store.

I have one high school graduation gift that I still use to this day. It’s an address book. The binder type with extra pages has worked well for me, and don’t forget to use pencil. People move, marry, divorce, have kids, and die all the time. Maybe even include some classic wood pencils to get that message across.

Reminders of where they spent the past few years will be nice to keep the memories alive. Unless they hated their school…in which case, just give them money.

studiokmo’s Blacksburg print (and money) was our gift of choice for the Virginia Tech graduate last weekend. Karen also has hand-cut paper maps that are spectacular (if your budget allows). No time to get it framed? She can do that too, one stop shopping. Karen is a college friend (go Hokies!), and we love hearing about all of her success with studiokmo. She hardly needs this little shout out, but I know she appreciates it.

Vintage license plates abound on Etsy and other sites. This would be an especially nice reminder of fun times if the graduate is moving out of state. Also, they can be easy to hang from pre-existing nails in apartments and dorm rooms.

I guess a 20×200 gift card applies to just about anyone, especially for the college grads moving on from the emptied booze bottle décor of college apartments nationwide. Let’s put some real art on those bland apartment walls! I like the colors in National Treasures by Amze Emmons.

Are the grads headed off to college? What about a Target or Homegoods gift card to stock up on dorm room essentials? I remember that long list of stuff you need to have for dorm life. Scary!

Speaking of, I vividly remember using my electric kettle in the dorm room. That would be useful combined with some nice Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s noodle packs. The Rival Hot Pot kettle below is from Target.

Are your grads moving to a new climate? What about gear for the new weather, be it snow, rain, or sun? Warm socks, sturdy umbrellas, nice rain jackets, rain boots, or a gift card for a new bathing suit?

Money towards a new suit or business attire would be nice too. A Banana Republic gift card can be used at both Banana Republic and Gap. This is a nice segue into gifts for Father’s Day, since dads need updated work wardrobes too.

Ok, on to Father’s Day gifts. If I were a man, I would really like this Big Poppa sweatshirt by Chris Piascik for Society6. It’s not for everyone, and certainly not for the dads in my life, but just let it be known that I would want this for Father’s Day if I were a dad.

Dads are the original hipsters. Need I say more?

OK, it’s a few weeks later, and I’m back with more ideas. I just had to let them marinate for awhile. There is nothing like a deadline to get my creative juices flowing. This is a disclaimer for David, you may or may not be getting any of the below gifts. You may or may not even read this. It is much more likely that Estelle will spill the beans on all of your gifts anyways. She’s known for ruining surprises, in the most adorable ways.

I like the Tervis Tumbler for purely selfish reasons, I need a good iced coffee and sweet tea container for everyday use and for the beach. That is why IF I go with this, I will get two…or maybe even three. Warning, the Tervis Tumbler website is addictive. There are so many choices! If you don’t like mustaches, they have bacon cups and sports teams cups and the list goes on. Prices vary depending upon the cup size and accessories.

Ties, honestly? Am I really going to go with ties? Yes! Because maybe your guy has switched to slim cut suits, pants, and shirts. Maybe those big fat old ties he has are too big and fat with his new slim cut style. Maybe it’s time for a cool guy slim tie upgrade! Urban Outfitters has some nice ones that are affordable, and I’m sure there are other retailers with unique options (vintage stores). I really like this Madras Plaid tie.

David has requested a hammock and time for naps this year. A hammock…in our back patio? And what is this time thing he speaks of? We will see what Estelle and I can come up with this weekend and next! My dad is the hardest to shop for, so I’m still pretty stumped. Aside from time spent with family, the man doesn’t want for much (that we can afford).


Wash n’ Fold

A woman on a neighborhood group forum was seeking new dishwasher suggestions, complaining that she has had to hand wash dishes for a week because her dishwasher broke. Um? Seriously? It took all I had not to reply to her post. Not everyone has a dishwasher, in fact, we should rejoice in just having clean water and soap. Sorry, that is a little preachy.

I feel the same way when I look at people’s really lovely laundry rooms. Yeah, I’m a little jealous, but I don’t let it get to me. I have a washer and dryer in my house, which is still very much a luxury to me. Before moving to our house three years ago, we did laundry at Laundromats. It’s a chore, but you get all of your laundry done in about 2-3 hours! Bonus!

Our current laundry set-up is in the basement. It has a nice dungeon/hoarder/practical vibe going on. Hey, everything works right now, so you will hear no complaints from me! The front doors to these small row houses and the doors to the basements are very narrow (30″). Most washer and dryers won’t fit, which leaves us with the few that can be assembled in your home. The washer came with the house, and the dryer was purchased from a local appliance store. In the case of small dwellings, I would recommend going with someone local who knows what will fit and how to assemble on site.


Why did this topic of laundry even cross my mind, you ask? Well, we just received a fresh shipment of my favorite detergent, Charlie’s Soap. It’s an old standard we used to wash Estelle’s cloth diaper covers. I like it, so I order it when I can. I also needed dryer sheets, and was overwhelmed with the variety on I opted to go green this time around and try out the Meyer’s Lavender Dryer Sheets. I could smell them before I even opened the box, and I immediately had laundry on the brain. They smell great! Clean and fresh, so much so, that I put one upstairs to freshen up the air. I’ve never been so excited to do laundry, dungeon and all. That’s probably a really dorky thing to admit, but I never claimed to be cool.


You will notice some spray paint projects sitting on the dryer. Those are frames (and a birdcage) to spray paint. I got as far as partially organizing frames and wall art last weekend, so at least we’re ready to paint when we carve out some time.

I am posting this from my brand new iPhone! It is an early birthday gift from David and Estelle…thanks, you two! I really am living in luxury.