Thursday, October 1, 2015

Our Newly Painted House

I know there can be plenty of negatives when it comes to social media, but can I just say how great it can also be?!  The fact that I posted on Instagram and Facebook last week asking for help choosing a paint color for our house, dozens of people took the time to read about my dilemna and share their thoughts with me, and then all celebrated with me when the house got painted and I loved the color?  That is just so great, and my heart is full.  That is also a long-winded way of saying thank you!  Thank you for caring about me and the color of our little house :)

Shout out to Sesame Street seen through the front windows! 
And speaking of the color, I could not love it more.  When I put out my paint poll, it was encouraging to see that people's opinions were all over the map.  At least I felt like I couldn't really go wrong, but it also made it a little harder to bite the bullet and choose one.  Thinking back on the process, I think part of what had been holding me up was a lack of clarity over what direction to try to take our house in terms of style. While I'm not sure it truly qualifies as a classic midcentury home, it was built in the 60's and it certainly has elements of that era.  Hearing people's feedback on the colors and finding examples on Pinterest of somewhat similar homes that had used the color Kendall Charcoal (by Benjamin Moore) helped solidify in my mind that this was the route I wanted to go.

Truth be told, I really loved the greenish gray color, Sharkskin (option "A" in my photo), and would probably have chosen that color for a different style house.  But I am certain Kendall Charcoal is what this particular house was meant to be.  And I am so relieved that I feel that way.  Would it be a stretch to say that I feel that my soul has been revived as a result?  Perhaps not.  I'm happy to be the poster girl for why aesthetics and beauty matter because let me tell you--feeling excited about the way the outside of my house looks has done no small thing to my spirit!

It was an uncharacteristically cloudy day yesterday when I snapped these pictures.  You know I must love you all if I am including a picture of that sad yard.  I have no shame.

It was sort of a happy accident, but I love how the house color plays off the different colors in the brick and pebble patios.

I'd like to find something that can climb up that blank wall...

There is much to be done in terms of landscaping.  I am far from an expert on this topic, so I am hoping that a trip to a local nursery + some photos of my house with info on lighting (that's pretty easy as it's sunny just about every day) will yield me some good options.  I'd love to plant a bougainvillea in the large terra cotta pot and let it climb up and over the garage.  A house down the street has done this, and I really like the look.  We plan to move the bushes that are currently looking sparse (only because we hacked them all down prior to having the house painted) in the bed right in front of the windows to a different spot and do something new in their place.  Green + height + drought tolerant are the main priorities.  I think some window boxes under the small windows and the kitchen window (above the unpainted brick) could add some interest, so long as I can find a window box style that would work with our style house…

Don't you love my little gardener?  She's raking leaves on our turf.  Philip recently installed it, and I have to say, it looks really good for fake grass.  And it's always green! 

We hope to plant a winter garden in our raised bed!

Before we can attempt much of that though, it needs to do this thing called R A I N….we actually got our first shower in something like six months just yesterday!  Hopefully more rain will be on the way (East Coast friends, I know you are getting dumped on…please send it our way!!), and we can start more substantial landscaping projects.  Until then, I'll have to quench my thirst for green and color with some potted mums.  Mums always make me feel like I'm ushering in Autumn.

 **If anyone local is in need of a referral for a contractor, I'd love to put you in touch with our guy.  He painted our house and also has done most all of our interior renovations.  He's honest, dependable, does good work, and has the best prices in Davis!  Also--I joke that he is like a father figure to me out here in CA…he even brought me a cheeseburger when they were here working…what more could you ask for?!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Help a Sister Out! {Choosing Exterior Paint!}

I am in a major time crunch to pick the color our house will be painted tomorrow! Please, dear friends and readers, lend an indecisive lady your eyes and insight, won't you please?!

Everything has been pulled away from the house and it has been pressure-washed as of this morning!

I'll try to keep this short and sweet.  For various reasons, I've decided I want to paint our house a dark color.  Partly because I just want the chance to experiment with something different (and when you know you aren't going to live there forever, risky decisions seem a little less, well…risky.); partly because I think a dark, dramatic look may help our place stand out a bit.  In the absence of much architectural interest or charm (I honestly do not even know what style/era our house is?), I feel like a dark gray could add a little weight and gravitas to our humble abode.  I'm so excited to have it painted--once that's done, I've got big plans to spruce up the landscaping (if it will ever rain?!)

This discussion is for another post, but let these pictures serve as evidence that the struggle is real out here in Cali…we are in a drought, hence my sad "yard" where everything is dying.

I've basically narrowed it down to three options.

Option A is Benjamin Moore's Sharkskin, a grayish green.  When I look at the swatch on my house, in certain light, it reads pretty green, and I'm not sure if it's maybe too green?  But when I saw it painted on this house, I loved it and just had to find out the color.


Maybe a gray that has a little color to it (in this case, green) wouldn't be such a bad thing?!

Option B is Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal, a darker gray with brown undertones.  Here are some examples of houses that have been painted Kendall Charcoal (at least according to Pinterest--hope the captions are accurate!).



source: Pinterest

Option C is Benjamin Moore's Amherst Gray, which feels the most like a true gray to me, with less undertones in it.  I was leaning toward going this route, and I think it's a pretty safe choice, but maybe safe is not always better?!


A couple things to consider--most everything will be painted whatever color we choose…there will be a little bit of white at the windows and around the garage (not pictured), but I've decided I want the trim at the roofline painted the same as the body of the house.  To me, a flat-roofed house doesn't do itself any favors by having the trim stand out.  I was thinking of having that little block of brick painted, but at least for now, we may leave that as is…

So, what do you think?!  Time is running out!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Talented Friend Carson

One of the highlights of my trip home this summer was getting to spend time with a talented friend and relative, Carson Price.  We officially met years ago when we both lived in Richmond and instantly bonded over our love of interior design and our shared affection for a local midwife, Nancy Giglio, we both used for our home births.  Come to find out, we are even related--third cousins once removed!

All of that to say, it was so fun to reconnect with Carson and get a peek at what she has been up to lately.  She has gotten back into painting, and I'm so glad she did!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this gorgeous painting of what I'm going to guess is the James River.  

She focuses on nudes, landscapes, and abstracts.

I love the way she uses color in her nudes.

These are just a few favorites I pulled from her website.  When I visited her at her home in Richmond, I could not help but snap a few pictures (with my phone…definitely not the best quality to capture how truly beautiful it all was!) of her lovely home!

What is truly amazing is that so much of what you are seeing are DIY projects Carson has completed.  You know you have got some skills when it looks like you paid a professional big bucks when really you whipped it out on the cheap!

That credenza?  She lacquered it herself!

Not wallpaper my friends…Carson hand stenciled these gorgeous walls.  Do you spy that nude over the potty?  Love that dark background...

She has a show coming up at Ruth & Ollie in Richmond on October 1 from 6-9 pm.  Her home is bursting at the seams with beautiful pieces that will be on display there.  As if I needed another reason to miss Richmond…

Lucky for me, I got to bring home a little piece of Carson with me to California.  Check out my very own Virginia-inspired landscape!

I love it!  The bright colors are so happy!

(To anyone checking out my bookshelves…of course I've read Systematic Theology, cover to cover baby..where is that winking emoji when I need it?)

Be sure to check out Carson's website and check out her work at Ruth & Ollie starting in October!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cookie Bites and Ottoman Covers, Oh My!

I posted this picture on Instagram recently, and a number of people asked me what exactly it was and if they could have the recipe.

I figured it would be easiest to share the recipe here, so here ya go!

Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites*

1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
8 oz. chocolate chips (about 1 c.)
1 tsp. coconut oil or shortening (for thinning the chocolate)

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together on medium speed until light and creamy.  Add the milk and vanilla.  Mix.  Add the flour and salt all at once and slowly mix until everything is moist.  Add the mini chocolate chips and mix.

3. Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2-2 tsp. of dough per sandwich, depending on desired cookie size.  Sandwich balls between two pretzels and place on baking sheet.  Freeze for 20 mins.

4.  While the pretzel bites are chilling, melt the chocolate and the coconut oil or shortening in microwave for about 1 minute, stopping to stir every 20 seconds.  Dip the pretzel bites halfway into the melted chocolate and place back on the baking sheet.  Refrigerate the dipped bites for at least 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.  Cover and store pretzel bites in the fridge for up to five days.

*recipe found under my "Sweet Treats" Pinterest board.

It's an added bonus that this recipe is egg-free, which allows Wade to enjoy them!  And enjoy them he did.  I can't say that I blame him; they are quite tasty.

Switching gears, I just have to share a fun little project I just completed.  Remember when I shared pictures of our entryway last year?

I'd always planned to come up with some sort of slipcover for those ottomans because I knew that some fresh fabric could go a long way with their nice shape.  (I was originally inspired by what Emily A. Clark did with a similar pair of ottomans.) I finally did it, and I have to say, I am so proud of myself!

Seriously, it is a minor miracle that I somehow managed to pull this off.  I mean, I sewed these babies with minimal mistakes along the way and very little frustration.  I can hardly believe it.  I honestly find it challenging to even sew a straight line, so I really don't know how this happened.

After I completed the first one, I was so tickled with myself, I may have giggled out loud with delight.  (Let me be clear--I was also quite tired because I stayed up way too late getting these done.  But I say, sometimes all a mama needs is to enjoy a finished project in the midst of the chaos, and the satisfaction that is found makes up for some of that lost sleep!)

The fabric I used is by Nate Berkus.  I had pinned it and then quite fortuitously found it for a very discounted price on eBay.  I ordered it through this seller.

Gosh, I love the feeling when my vision for a project comes to fruition!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our New Patio Set

Over the past couple weeks, Craigslist has been so kind to me.  Humor me and get excited with me, won't you?

I've been scouring Craigslist for a teak patio set for a while now.  (Did you know that when properly cared for, teak is said to last for generations?  Amazing!) The wrought iron set we had was decent enough, but it only sat four, which made it difficult to host friends and eat outside.  We were always wishing for more space and seating.

Definitely not my house, but note the beautiful teak furniture!

I have an alert set up through the Craigslist app (highly recommend, btw), so I am ready to pounce at a moment's notice when a post containing one of my keywords is found (in this case, "teak").  Can you imagine my horror when I inquired about a post literally six minutes after it went live, only to learn it was no longer available?  Apparently, I was not the only one in hot pursuit of some teak.  Not one to be easily deterred, this setback only intensified my drive, and a week or so later, a set was posted for sale for super cheap.  The icing on the cake?  It was located about 8 minutes from my house!

I'll leave out all the details of how obsessive and crazy I behaved while I waited to hear back from the sellers.  Here I am rolling back up to my house with my new teak set in tow.  Holler at my sweet neighbors who loaned me their van and trailer!!!

I love love love love love it!  It even has a hidden leaf that extends the table to provide for more seating.

grainy photo taken without enough light…

I've started cleaning it, and it's amazing what a little elbow grease will do!  I love the gray look of teak as it ages, but there was quite a bit of dirt that had to go.  Check out what a difference it made:

Our new patio set has given me much-needed motivation to address the rest of our back, so hopefully some improvements will not be too far off in the future.  And while I'm not going to show you just how rough the rest of our "yard" is, I will share some pictures of some gorgeous outdoor spaces I've recently pinned.  Our back yard looks about like the opposite of these images, just in case you were wondering.

all images and their sources can be found under the "Patio & Garden" board on my Pinterest page.  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Getchu Some Art! {Susie Bettenhausen}

I have so many amazing, new (to me) artists swimming around in my head, and I often think to myself, "I must share about such and such on my blog!"  It's really quite wonderful all of the talent you can discover through social media.  I kind of want to sell every non-essential thing in my home and fill every square inch of my little home's walls with original art.

Today I'm sharing some work by a friend (she counts as a friend in my book if you've "known" her through Instagram for two years!), Susie Bettenhausen, who is as lovely as she is talented.  She and her cute family split their time between the panhandle of Florida and way down in south Florida, where she creates the most beautiful art.  I love the color combinations she chooses.  To me, her paintings feel both energetic and exciting, while at the same time refreshing and calming.  Susie just released pictures of new works that will be available TOMORROW on her website!  Here are some of my favorites, all of which can be seen (plus many more!) on her website under the 'journal' tab.