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    Hey there! I'm Amanda and I'll be your co-pilot today. Along with my handy husband, Ben, we're remodeling our second house. We're avid DIY-ers, tackling large and small projects while raising two rambunctious boys. Thanks for following along on this wild journey!
    Photo by Jana Graham Photography

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Jute Herringbone

Right around this time last year, I switched rugs around.  Originally, this grid rug was in the family room, but we moved it to the dining room.


A large-scale floral rug took its place, but felt off.  Especially after I added a large stump coffee table to our family room.


At some point, I’d had enough of it and pulled it out, exposing the bare wood floors.  I searched for a replacement, spending more time than necessary internally debating before settling on a replacement.


Preferable something neutral, but with a pattern for interest.  West Elm’s Jute Herringbone rug has long been a favorite and their current rug sale pushed me off the fence.

After a short delay in Texas, the new rug safely arrived on Monday.  As soon as the UPS guy left, I moved the furniture out-of-the-way, vacuumed the wood, and unrolled the carpet.


Mark this as the first step toward real, grown up furniture.


Pairing the jute with chenille feels soft underfoot, and reduces shedding.


After deciding on this rug, I deliberated colors.  Natural and ivory or natural and platinum.


Getting the rug flat under the heavy coffee table took two people.  While Ben lifted, I tugged the rug straight.


With spring right around the corner, I plan to add more green to the room.  One can never have too much green.


If I were brave enough, and didn’t have more house to remodel, I’d love to have a colorful velvet sofa.  The Paidge has clean lines and their Moss velvet is beautiful.


That’s a grown up purchase for another time, leaving me plenty of time to debate and change my mind.

Green Velvet

Not to harp on our living room, sad little guy, but it feels lack luster and boring.  Almost completely devoid of color with the exception of plants and a few pillows.  I usually prefer a touch more color.  In addition to framing out the recently replaced windows and adding a new rug (any suggestions?), curtains are on my list.  The dropcloth panels are fine, nothing amazing, but get the job done.  All the gray on gray is getting dreary.

To shake things up, I’ve placed an order for green curtains.  Before pulling the trigger, I photoshopped some color over the current set.  Perhaps an olive toned set?  I know where I can get a similar linen.


Deeper, almost emerald could look nice?


Or cheery kelly green…


Then I saw these green velvet panels at World Market.

At $35 per panel, they’re cheaper than I could make.  Sign me up for skipping sewing large panels!  Seriously, I loathe sewing curtains.  Cumbersome pain in the butt they are.

Online, the color didn’t get me too excited.  So, I stopped in our store to take a look and walked out with six 84″ panels.  Including the floor model.  Cleared them out.  At home, I tossed one over the rod to get a better peek.


Other than the panels being a few inches short, I’m diggin’ it.


I’d say the color is less deep green than the description and more leafy green.  Very similar to my fiddle leaf fig, actually.


I’ve already placed an order for eight 96 inch panels (need four to cover the front window) and have returned the original six.  Hopefully they’ll arrive in a few weeks and we’ll have a happy new look.  Just in time to offset the winter blues.

Panoramic Views

More often than not, Ben and I are totally fine working on projects together.  By now, I know how he thinks and am usually decent at predicting what he’ll need and how I can help.  Then there are times that I feel completely and utterly useless.  As was the case when removing and replacing the large living room window.  Here’s an older picture to help you remember what the wooden gridded window looked like.


It’s huge, measuring 10 feet wide and 5 1/2 feet tall.  Even though it’s divided into three sections, that middle piece is heavy.  Long story short, getting that big piece out without causing us or surroundings damage was stressful, but well worth it.  Not only does it match the rest of the windows now, it’s no longer a focal point.


(How am I just now noticing how off center the couch is?)  Before, the darker wood looked heavy and the grids broke up the view.  Without the break up, it feels bigger and brighter, while putting the attention on the views.


Framing, trim, and touch up paint still happen soon, too.


The new window isn’t the only panoramic view going on now.  We finally have a real dining light.  Specifically, the Panorama Chandelier from West Elm.  Not sure why, but it says no longer available.  Strange, I just ordered mine on the 14th.


It caught my eye months ago while browsing, but I nixed it because I thought the open bottom would cast a harsh light directly into our eyes.  Almost with laser beam precision, burning our retinas.


After sharing other options, a few lovely ladies asked why this one wasn’t on the list.  Which made me reconsider my quick nix of this beauty.  Then I saw the 20% off lighting sale, and I had a 15% off coupon, so it hopped in my cart for $300 with shipping.


It doesn’t disappoint.  Straight lined and simple, but the speckled mirrored glass is slightly glam and looks much like mercury glass.  Dark metal is a nice match to the West Elm entry light, too.  (See one of the arms in the reflection?)


Inside, there’s a slightly golden tinted layer that bounces the light around and makes the glow warm and soft.


Without a diffuser, the light still isn’t in our eyes when seated.  In fact, even I have to crouch down a little to see the bulbs.


Three 25 watt bulbs are adequate to light the table, but not overpowering or blindingly bright.


We can finally eat in here now that the sun is setting earlier.  Three cheers for function and beauty.


We’re nearing the end of our siding, so hopefully that wall will get a spray of texture and paint soon.  Good thing the light helps draw attention away from the unfinished-ness.

Gimme a Giveaway: Minted

This giveaway is now closed.  Our lucky winner is Arell!  Congratulations, please check your email.

Allow me to introduce you to a super site for all things paper, including limited edition prints from independent artists, Minted.  Seriously guys, there are some fantastic pieces.

To help narrow your search, you can organize by style, shape, type, or color.   In photography art, I found some of my favorite pieces, including, but not limited to:

King of the Forest


and Queen of the Forest by Glenn Carroll.  I think this pair would be perfect for either side of our entertainment center.

Staredown by Amy Carroll, because it reminds me of my Longhorns and I just love the feel of the photo.

A Shadow in a Storm by Leslie Le Coq, if you’re a horse lover.

If paintings are more your flavor, check out my favorites, and many others, Mid-Summertime by Emily Jeffords.  Movement and color, but still simple.


Splendid Spring II from Makewells, for a bright abstract to perk up a dark corner.

Rural Midwest created by Robin Ott Design, cute and charming.

Drive Bye Grove by Jeff Preuss, bold and poppy, to make a statement.

Quirky and fun drawings like 4 Robins by Kim Johnson, a conversation starter.

Forsythia from Vanessa Wyler, for fall color you can appreciate after the season.

Grass with Seeds by Jorey Hurley, unfussy for a busy room.


Field of Waves from Papersheep Press would look adorable in a nursery or little boy’s room.

The Goods: A $50 Minted credit good for or toward any product, to add some art to your walls.  

To Enter:  Leave a comment telling us which art print(s) you’d most want to hang in your home.

For additional entries:

1.  Like Our Humble Abode on Facebook.  Come back to leave a second comment.

2.  Follow Our Humble Abode on Instagram.  Make sure you let us know you’re following.

3.  Vote for our master bath in Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color contest, then leave another comment.

Contest Closes: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Number of Winners: Just one, chosen by Random.org.

Ships: Anywhere in the world!

Other Info: We will select the winners using random.org and announce on Friday, October 10th.

Forecast: Shade Plants

Shade is a hot commodity around our house.  Very few areas are considered full shade because the length of the house faces north/south.  Afternoon shaded areas are usually sunny in the mornings.


So, we have a thin strip near the back of the house (off the edge of the deck) that can grow part shade or full shade plants.  Which is fine with me, because there aren’t as many shade plants to choose from.  I’ve imagined a hosta/bleeding heart/lily of the valley/hydrangea/coral bells garden.  So that was my starting point, but I wanted to find a few more to add more interest.  Here’s my list:


1.  Bleeding Heart is a delicate, arching spring blooming perennial that can grow up to three feet tall.  Prefers cool conditions and is deer resistant.  After blooming, foliage dies off.  To prevent a bare spot, plant near other perennials.

2.  Hostas are the most popular shade perennial in the United States, and for good reason; easy to grow, low maintenance, and striking leaves.  Best in zones 4-8, typical height is 12 inches to 30 inches wide.


Thanks to a friend, I’ve already got a few hosta plants in the back.  And one nice hydrangea, but another isn’t looking too hot.  After we wrap up the siding, I can fill in areas closer to the house with more hosta plants, and perhaps a few more from this list.

3.  Hellebore plants bloom in late winter and early spring, making it a fun choice for gardens.  These deer resistant flowers grow in zones 4-8, reaching 24 inches tall and wide.

4.  Creeping Jenny is a low-growing ground cover with round bright green leaves.  This fast grower prefers part sun and grows about 4 inches tall and 24 inches wide in zones 3-9.


A few Creeping Jenny live in the rock planter.  When the large shrub fills in, the branches give the plants enough shade to thrive in an otherwise full sun area.

5.  Astible has large flower clumps that bloom in the summer.  Can reach 36 inches tall and wide in zones 4-9 and are deer resistant.

6.  Wild Ginger grows, well, wild in the Eastern half of the U.S.  It can be difficult to track down at a nursery, but are easily transplanted from forests.

7.  Ajuga is also tricky to find locally, but plants can be purchased online.  Thrives in part shade and can tolerate full shade and moderately dry areas.  With a mature height of 6 inches, this groundcover attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Great in zones 4-9, and can stay evergreen in areas with mild winters.

8.  Heucherella is a low-growing (8 inches) groundcover, but is also used as spiller in potted arrangements.  Fast growing, and sprouts short spikes of coral flowers in mid-spring in zones 4-9.

9.  Coral Bells are similar to Heucherella, but are easier to find at large home improvement stores.  With a mounding habit, these colorful leaves don’t overtake a garden.  Grow 24 inches wide and tall in zones as cold as 4.  Also have delicate flowers in spring.

10.  Lily of the Valley has dense green foliage with dainty white scallop-edged flowers in the spring.  Spreads rapidly in moist soil, but dry soil can help prevent spreading.  Performs best in zones 4-8.


Below the windows, I plan to add some low-growing plants; lily of the valley, coral bells, and creeping Jenny.

11.  Sweet Woodruff is a fast spreading, low growing ground cover.  With shallow roots, it is perfect under shade trees where grass can’t thrive.  Mature height of 8 inches with tiny white flowers in late spring and early summer in zones 4-8.

12.   Epimedium originated in Japan.  This part sun plant has large heart-shaped leaves with spiky flowers in the spring.  Reaches 14 inches tall and is best in zones 4-8.  I have yet to find this locally, but have found great options online.

If you’re looking for full sun plants, here are twelve that are on my radar.  Of course, feel free to add your suggestions and favorites, too.


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