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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    I haven't decided if this ceramic lamp is awesome or awesomely ugly. 12 bucks, including an atrocious 70s shade. Cast your vote now. While walking around the neighborhood, I noticed two plants I like. But I have no clue what they are. Can you help identify either (or both) of these? Grow, my pretties. Grow!

Historic Photograph Art

Ben and I celebrated 8 years of marriage on Tuesday.  Eight years!  That seems crazy.  Several weeks ago, I was wandering through a local consignment shop and spotted an interesting black and white print of old barns and a butte in the background.

Historic-Montana-Print-at-BarI flipped it over and it said it was a historic photo of the town Ben grew up in.  How perfect!  I bought it and saved it until Tuesday.

Historic-Montana-Print-Detail

Adding meaningful art to our home has always been my goal.  This sweet photo is the perfect piece above the bar area.

Historic-Montana-Print-Above-BarThough I gave this as an anniversary gift, an old photo would also make a thoughtful Father’s day gift.  A google search has tons of options.  Like this St. Paul scene:

Or Minneapolis with horse-drawn carriages.

Of course, don’t print a photo with copyright, but there are options.  Or you could photograph a special place and turn it to black and white to look more reminiscent of times past.

Two Year Check Up

This month marks two years of living at this house.  Like last year, I’m taking you on a room by room tour to show you the changes.  Here’s the plain entry the day we closed:

New-House-Entry April 13 2012

Recently, we installed a tongue and groove accent wall, new front door and window, modern light, giant Longhorns and cute art.

Button-Picture-in-Entry-Top-Stairs

We now have a bright, light filled happy space we’re not ashamed of.  Especially because this is the first impression.  We still have to replace the uneven, stained tile and railing, but this space is nearly complete.  The living room had great potential, but it felt too traditional for us.

New-House-Living-and-Dining-April-13-2012

Much of this room is still subject to change, but it’s functional and more ‘us.’  Painted light gray walls modernize it, while still feeling warm.

Living-Room-into-Dining-Two-Years-Later Coffee table plans are in the works, and I want to find a new rug and chairs.  Art, too.

New-House-Dining-into-Living-Room April 13 2012

But the modern twist on a rustic/Western style is coming together.  The newly finished sofa is perfect in here.

Living-into-Entry-Two-Years-Later

Hopefully a leather sofa will replace this one, but it serves the purpose until then.

Living-Room-Sofa-Two-Years-Later

Our dining room has seen some progress, but it’s not looking so hot these days.  Though it really didn’t look to great when we bought this place either.

Dining-Room-After-Move-In-April-30 A window replaced the door, and we’ve got one sheetrock-less wall while we deal with electrical changes.

Dining-Room-Two-Years-Later One of the least changed rooms is the kitchen.  Maybe this winter we’ll have some updates to tackle.

New-House-Kitchen-from-Breakfast-Nook-April-13-2012

Aside from removing wallpaper and painting, no action going on in here.

Kitchen-Two-Years-Later

In the adjacent family room, we’ve refaced the fireplace, added an insert, built shelves for a little nookpainted the walls a soft beige.

New-House-Family-Room-from-Pool-April-13-2012

This room is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the back yard views and wildlife.

Family-Room-from-Kitchen-Two-Years-Later

Our first remodel here, the main bathroom, was a full tear out.  Though it was one of the most recently updated spaces, the dark, showerless layout didn’t work for our two young boys or guests.

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012

Replacing the tub with a tub/shower, it now functions for kids and adults.

Main-Bathroom-Finished-Vanity

Across the hall, the small guest room was very dark.  North facing, small window, and a wall of 70′s oak shelving sucked the light and life out.

New-House-First-Showing-Guest-Room

A new egress window lets in more light while the white shelves and happy yellow walls add cheer.

Guest-Room-Two-Years-Later

A beige box of boring wasn’t really a happy place for two little boys.

New-House-Boys-Bedroom-April-13-2012

After asking for their suggestions, I scraped off the popcorn ceiling, painted the walls a pear green, and filled the room with color and kid friendly decor.

Boys-Bedroom-Two-Years-Later

The master was completely opposite from the boys’ room starting point with obnoxiously bright blue walls.

New-House-Master-Bedroom-Front-April-13-2012

So far, I’ve only painted over the shocking blue.  Soon, we’ll get new windows.

Master-Bedroom-Two-Years-Later

 

The biggest interior project from the past 365 days is the master bathroom remodel.  It was a dated yellow and red room of yuck.

New-House-Master-Bathroom-Toilet-April-13-2012

Now, its our updated sanctuary complete with a walnut vanity, clawfoot tub, and pretty slate and marble tile.

Master-Bathroom-Two-Years-Later

A few big inside changes, but our landscaping saw the most attention last year.  I’ll get to that in another post.  We’ve been adding plants and greenery!

Sometimes, progress feels like it moves slower than a turtle, even though we’re most often working on something.  It’s nice to look back to see just how much we really have done; to be reminded of our excitement at closing.  And look back at the ugly and plain space we inherited.

The Rachael

Nope, not referring to the popular 90′s Jennifer Aniston hair style that took the country by storm.  Meet our new sofa, Rachael by Flexsteel.  She’s slim, clean lined, and slightly vintage styled to play nicely with the MCM bench.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room

We sold the old three-piece sectional and put that money toward the new girl.  With nine button tufts along the back, there’s just enough interest on the tight back.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Toward-Dining

The fabric color, Earth, leans more beige in bright light, but gray in overcast conditions.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Back-Detail

Ben really wanted leather, but I think this tweed like textured fabric adds a lot of comfort and warmth.  I paired with a faux cow hide pillow for a dash of Western flare.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Arm-Detail

Flexsteel offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, springs, and cushions, which should hold up to the four Y chromosome people in this house.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Toward-Entry

Now to find chairs to place perpendicular to the couch.  I’d love to add something leather here, assuming we find something we agree on.  Much easier said than done.

While we were at the furniture store, we noticed another Flexsteel brand sofa, the Dana, in the clearance section.  Priced at $600, we took Frank from American Picker’s trick and bundled to save over three hundred dollars, including a fabric warranty plan on the Rachael.

Flexsteel-Dana-Sofa-in-Family-Room-Toward-Kitchen

The fabric is slightly darker and more on the gray side, but a real upgrade from our old couch.

Flexsteel-Dana-Sofa-in-Family-Room

Slightly rolled arms are more traditional in style than I usually like, but still small enough to fit the space.

Flexsteel-Dana-Sofa-in-Family-Room-Arm-Detail

Taller legs on both couches make vacuuming under a breeze, too.  So far, I’m pleased with the new additions.  Fingers crossed we can say that years from now.

The Ole Switcharoo

Unfortunately I’m still not finished painting the entry, living and dining rooms like I had hoped.  However, I did get a first coat on the ceiling and walls.  We hauled the big furniture out so I didn’t have to work around it.

Painting-Living-Room-Ceiling-Empty-Room

While the sectional was out, I fully realized how much the big beast closed off the room.  Though I still have another coat to put on the ceiling, we moved the sofa, chairs, and coffee table to the living room.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Overall

When we replace the sectional, I want a normal sofa and two chairs.  It’s amazing how much bigger, brighter, and more open the living room feels now.  Walking completely around the couch is possible when it wasn’t before.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Overall-2

Seeing the open railing, and those coming in the door, is a great perk, too.  And having easy access to end tables?  It’s so convenient.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Toward-Stairs

Cozy upholstered chairs would be nice along with a long, rectangular coffee table.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Toward-Dining

After nearly two years of living here with the same furniture arrangement, this feels so fresh and inviting.  And gives us an idea of what we want as replacement stuff.

Sofa-by-Living-Room-Window

For now, the sectional awaits its fate in the family room.  Where it awkwardly fills the space.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-Toward-Fireplace

Though there’s still enough walking space to get to the back door, it’s much more cut off than the previous layout.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-Walking-Space

Most strange is the focal point it has to face.  The wall and entry.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-Direction

The behemoth is 10 feet wide by 7 feet long, so it won’t fit in the 14 foot wide family room any other way.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-from-Kitchen

Another annoying thing about this?  If centered on the rug, it’s close to the fireplace when lit.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-from-Stairs

Finally moving things around has made us even more sure we want to replace the sectional with a standard sofa and chairs.  Now to agree on the perfect couch, which is more difficult for us than it should be.  Ben wants leather, I want something with removable, flippable seat cushions.  Typically those two don’t go together, so a compromise must be made.

Rug Exchange

Over a year ago, we added large-scale floral rug to the living room and put our old grid rug in the family room.  It certainly brightened things up, but I’ve never been completely happy with the large rugs we currently own.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

Especially after we bought a clean lined Mission style dining table.  The floral pattern felt too busy and didn’t match the table style.

Christmas-Home-Tour-Dining-Room-and-Living

This weekend we made a simple switch.  While working on the family room ceiling, I pulled all furniture out-of-the-way.  Before putting it back, I tossed out the idea of swapping the grid and floral rugs.  Ben and I moved the table and laid the simple rug under.

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room

Wouldn’t you know, I love the change?!

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-Close

The geometric design pairs nicely with the dining set and balances the dark wood better.

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-Chair-Detail

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-from-Living-Room

But I’m still not satisfied with the remaining rugs.  While I’m happy with the quality of the floral rugs, the look doesn’t fit in with my end goal.

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-with-Living-Room

For the living room, I’d really, really love the Marquis Wool Rug from West Elm:

In my head, the Marquis rug with the Flexsteel Rachael sofa would be a great base for our living room.

Another light, simple geometric rug.  Should pair nicely with the dining grid rug.  Just enough pattern to add interest, but not enough to draw attention.  And the beige/gray/cream mix can go with anything.  With select rugs 30% off right now, I was close to pulling the trigger, but the 9 by 12 size isn’t currently available.  Womp womp.  Back to the rugs we do have.  The displaced floral rug is in the family room, for now.  You know, until I find something I love.

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-with-Fireplace

I do like the added interest and color, but I had gotten used to the simpler look.

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-with-Entry

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-Overall

Maybe a jute rug to calm the space?  Oddly enough, I’m trying to convince Ben we should layer a cowhide rug in.  He’s not into it, which is strange because this was the situation when I met him:

Living Room

While this house was mostly typical plain 70′s (later installed inlay diagonal wood floors and six panel doors excluded), I’m trying to add in more rustic pieces.  After all, this is Montana, even if we are in the city.  Working in the dining set, Longhorns, our DIY console, and popular (around here at least) Craftsman-style trim are just a few touches so far.

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-Toward-Windows

I’m naturally attracted to modern furniture.  The clean lines get me every time.  I find I like a mix of the two a lot lately.  And the cow rug could look really fun with the modern chairs and coffee table.  What do you think of the options?  Any rugs you love that would work well in either of these spaces?

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