Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finally...the nursery

Of all the rooms in the house, the nursery is the most dear and near to my heart. It has definitely been the one I've waited for the longest.

When Jesse and I got married, I had a feeling it would be difficult for us to have children. Call it a sense, or the fact that I just knew my body and what it was telling me. However, like most young marrieds, we wanted to wait a while and become "financially secure" (whatever that means) before we brought our little ones into the world. So...we really didn't think about it. Our first four years of marriage were some of the happiest I've ever had. And...then the "parent urge" hit.  No, we weren't "financially secure" (it never happens) and we were still in renovation phase. It didn't make sense. But...we had a longing to be parents.

After trying with no success, our suspicions were confirmed by the doctors. It would be very difficult for us to get pregnant. Actually, they gave us a number-3%. We considered adoption. We cried. We prayed. We cried again.

We started sharing our struggle with family and others and discovered a lot of other people that went through this same struggle. They supported us. They asked how I was doing, coping, without asking "are you pregnant yet?"  On July 7th Jesse and I went to a family gathering. The entire family gathered around us and prayed over us, anointing us with oil. It was such a powerful experience. We went home that weekend and finished putting on the last touches to our house. We were done with one crazy, stressful part of our life only to be going through another. A few days later, we started another round of treatment. Guess what? Well, you know the ending :).

I share this personal story not having all the answers. I don't know why God answered our prayer for a child when so many others have been praying longer. All I can say is that this experience opened my eyes to the very real pain many couples secretly have. I encourage you, if you know someone who is going through fertility to encourage them, pray with them, pray for them, cry with them, hug them and love them. They will treasure this friendship.

Okay...all of this to say that this room has been long awaited for. When we first moved in, I knew this room would be the nursery. It's the smallest room but it's adorable. So...during every step of the renovation of this room, I've thought of my future children. It's been prayed over, it's been cried over and it's been loved.

Here's what this precious room looked like the day we moved in:

It had very old, cracked plaster with white/blue flowery wallpaper on it. The green "carpet" is actually a rug that came up to reveal layers upon layers of tile and linoleum flooring. What we can say is, it needed some work.

We started this room after we had just come off a nice, long summer break from doing anything "reno." Needless to say, I was not thrilled about starting the whole process back up, as you can see in this pic while taking out the tile flooring.

We stripped the room and then hired some contractors to "skim" the plaster. If you're not familiar with skimming (I sure wasn't), it's where they take drywall mud or plaster and place a thin coat on the entire span of the walls to fill in any cracks and make it smooth. Ahh....smooth walls are such a blessing I've come to appreciate.

Like I said earlier, we finished the room before we knew about Baby Allison. I painted it a blue-gray (same as our bedroom) because that's the color we had on hand. Hey-beggars can't be choosers and paint can be expensive! Plus, I liked the color. If you've read this blog at all, you know that I love stripes. So...that's what this room got as well.

When my parents heard the news of Baby Allison, they bought us a gorgeous crib as a gift to their first grandbaby.

And...here's what the nursery looks like now. We went with a gray/cream theme and then made a bold move and added in bright red accents.

This room has "family" written all over it.
My mom bought the gorgeous cream quilt,
Jesse's mom knit the adorable gray and red blanket,
I made the shelf with her name on it and
Jesse painted my grandma's old chair red.

Here is what my grandma's chair used to look like:

I ordered some custom cushions from Theresa at Etsy (she did a fabulous job) and Jesse spray-painted the frame red. Here is what it looks like now:

I love that it's keeping a little of my grandma close.

On the other side of the room, we bought a dresser and hutch to match the crib which can also be used as a changing table for now. Gotta love things with double purposes!
 That adorable little door (it's so vintage-looking!) is Aislyn's closet. Right now, we're incredibly blessed that it's stuffed full of diapers. It even smells like diapers! The gray storage bin hangs over the door and makes it easy to grab bibs, wipes and other essentials.

On the other side of the crib hang three frames with verses/prayers that were prayed over Aislyn. We love being reminded that she is a gift from God to us and we want her to know that as well.

Finally, I made this shelf to hang with her name on it above her crib. "Aislyn" means "vision" or "dream" and we've definitely dreamt about this little one for some time! Hobby Lobby has some adorable knobs and Mod Podge does the trick of preserving the letters on scrap-booking paper.  ***Oh, and don't mind the photo frame-it contains the picture that came with it. Soon we'll have plenty of "real" photos to fill it with!

We feel so incredibly blessed :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Second Full Bathroom? Say what?!

You might remember from this post that when we converted our bedroom into a master suite, we lost the only full bathroom we had. Well, not really lost, but Jesse and I claimed it for ourselves (I know, we can be a little greedy).
Now our guests would need to travel through our bedroom to use the only full bathroom in our house. Not horrible (I actually grew up in a house of 6 with only one bathroom) but we really wanted another bathroom upstairs.

Wonder of wonders....there happened to be this huge, (yes ugly) but wonderful space directly above our current full bathroom!

It was sort of a weird space, you could say. Immediately upon arriving upstairs, there was this incredibly large landing that was not being utilized. Well, not for long. We had some plans for this space.

I've always been fascinated with magic tricks. Making something appear out of nothing is quite amazing to me. A rabbit out of hat, a dove out of your hand. I don't even try to figure out how they do it, I just watch in amazement.

I did a lot of watching the next few months as Jesse, my dad and a few friends did exactly that: Created a bathroom out of thin air. Well, at least it seemed like that to me.

First, we took off that oh so beautiful paneling.

Yep, it's dirty up here. Hang on with me though..it WILL get better!

Then, the amazing Jesse built walls to frame the new bathroom. This takes talent. Building square walls within a not-so-square house is no easy challenge.

Yay for drywall!

 Here's where the little sink will go!

And....voila! Here's what it looks like today!

To me, it's magic.

I can't wait to have you over so you can try out the new guest bathroom!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


This post is all about stairs-we love them, we hate them, especially walking up and down them numerous times.
But....did you know you can get really creative with your stairs? It's easy to forget these little guys when our feet are the only ones to make contact with them but it's really simple to make them stand out.

When we first moved into our our auction house, here is what our beautiful stairs looked like:

These little guys were way past their due date for a face-lift. The orange-speckled carpet that once probably did a decent job of hiding dirt was no longer functioning and the middle part of the stairs (the part that people use) was worn thin.
And please, can we just talk about the tunnel of dark paneling for a moment? At one point during our renovation, I thought we could open our house up as a haunted house and charge people for visiting. This stairway would definitely elicit some screams.
I personally don't like wood paneling but know a lot of people do. If you are one of these people, please don't install dark paneling in close spaces with minimal light. You will be doing all of us a favor by not installing a safety hazard.

The top of the stairs were no better. Even the banister was wrapped in paneling, making for a sort of scary optical illusion. Still dark. Still creepy. And I bet if I would have jumped out in a Frankenstein outfit, you would have screamed.   Loudly.

So what's a couple to do? Initially, we were just going to paint the paneling (which I am a fan of) and install new carpet. However, one of our amazing neighbors works in a wood factory and had some "scrap" maple wood treads that, if he didn't find someone who wanted them, was going to add them to his burn pile. By "scraps," I mean these treads looked absolutely perfect to me. Perhaps to the very careful eye, they could have spotted a nick in a few but we didn't care-they were beautiful (and free!).

So....we Jesse took the long route and decided to rebuild the stairs and install the new treads.

Before I start this description, let me add a disclosure. Jesse could probably tell you much more in detail how to install stairs. If you're interested, just contact him and he'll share the details...probably more than you bargained for!

First, he took the old ones apart and rebuilt the risers (that little box that you see).

He also built in additional support for this large stair before placing the tread on:

Next, he built a little ledge to prepare for the next riser:

And...voila! two stairs completed!

Can you already see how this is going to lighten up that creepy stairway?

It was still missing something though....I had always imagined the fruit of the spirit verse if we had wood stairs. Now that we had our wood stairs, I went searching and found this decal on etsy:

The thing I love about wall decals is they don't have to stay in their original position. They are usually sold on clear backing, so cut them up and change their shape! Have some creative fun with them!

After painting the paneling and having fun with the decals, here is how our stairs look now:
And...it provides a great reminder of the qualities I should be displaying!

Jesse also rebuilt the banister to make it much more open at the top of the stairs.

Yay! Much less intimidating! Now, I can just have you over as a guest, not as a haunted house customer! =)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Master Bathroom

When we first moved in, we had one full bathroom and one half bathroom. We closed off the one full bathroom to make a master suite (kind of like a safe haven for us).

To give you an idea of the layout, you had to walk through this hallway to get to the one full bathroom:

Once you arrived, things went from bad to worse...

Let's break this down:

  • dark blue wallpaper
  • teal carpet-yuck! Carpet should never be in a bathroom. This stuff was quick thick and we probably had a few mushrooms growing under it. Moisture and carpet do not mix. 
  • the famous Allison pineapple lights. These light fixtures were quite popular with my friends who came over. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Someone bought them from us on Craigslist, which made Jesse and I very happy =). 

Here's what we did:
We peeled off wallpaper and patched up the drywall.

We closed off the door to the bathroom and instead made a new entrance from our bedroom. This made it much more "master suite like." 
We also tore out the carpet (ahhh....)and vanity and instead added tile. 

And here's what our little place of solace looks like now:

So much cleaner and brighter =).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Master Bedroom

I am finally ready to write about our master bedroom! Look at the date from the last time I posted. This lapse in time equals "it takes a while." My advice for anyone thinking of starting a renovation-
1. Figure up the amount of time you think it will be done and the amount of money you think you will spend.
2. Then multiply it by 5.

You'll be much more accurate if you use this little formula. However, after all the waiting, it is definitely worth it. You receive the character and well-structured support that comes with an old house and the "newness" and choice of design that comes with a new house. A win-win! As long as you're patient....

Take a tour with me and see the progress on our master bedroom. We did some changing of spaces (i.e. took out walls) which can sometimes make it hard to see in pictures.
Let's start at the beginning. On the day we moved in, the hallway to the master bedroom looked like this:

If you went to the left, you would enter the bedroom. Straight ahead is the only full bathroom in the house. And... on the right are some built in cabinets. Here is what we decided to do:
1. Take out the built in cabinets (which gave us a much bigger hallway).
2. Build a wall in-between. Now the only full bathroom will be accessed through the bedroom making it a master suite :-)
3.On the end closest to where we are standing would become a little coat closet (since it is close to the front door).

4. On the end closest to the bathroom would become a walk-in closet.

5. Build another full bathroom directly above this bathroom upstairs.

Yikes! Let's get started!

Okay, now that we've established how the space changed, let's go back to the bedroom. Here is what the bedroom looked like the day we moved in. It was complete with all my favorite things :-)
1. Gray paneling
2. Drop ceiling
3. Old teal carpet
4. Dark painted, awkward closet.

Here's a better picture of the closet.

So...we did what is starting to come natural to us: We ripped out everything.

This was about the time that we also ripped out the living room. We had a dumpster at the time so we thought we'd kill two birds with one stone.
You can almost see through the whole house! And...Jesse was doing some duct-work at the time. Can you spy him?
Here's me, complete with goggles and work boots, pulling out nails (I've very talented at this job, in case you didn't know).

Looking back at these pictures makes me wonder how I ever survived. A healthy dose of humor will get you through a lot!

Finally, around Christmas, we had drywall put in.

And here's the new opening to the bathroom!

Surprise! Guess what we discovered under the old carpet? A beautiful hardwood floor! Jesse and I just love little treasures like this and it continues to be one of my favorite parts in this house. We discovered that this bedroom used to be a living room. If only wood floors could talk! I bet they would have lots of stories to share about the conversations they heard over the last 100 years!


Once again, Jesse's mom comes to the rescue and sands down the hardwood.

And then we stained it a beautiful dark color. 

Isn't it lovely?! Wood is an amazing material. It can be 100+ years old and be made to look as good as new. Don't we all wish our skin could do the same?

Now, we are finally moved in and loving our space-we actually feel like we're in a hotel! I've never had a first floor bedroom but I've discovered it's very convenient, especially having our own little bathroom attached to it.

Thanks for coming along with me!