The End of an Era

After living in and perfecting our first house for eight years, we found a new fixer upper that stole our hearts.  Our first house will always be our first house love, but we’re officially back to owning one house.  It’s a little sad,  but we’re so happy in the mountain house.  Even more so, we’re happy the buyers are happy in our old home.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane with a reverse before and after picture tour.

Living room before, recently opened to the kitchen:

After our move out:

Dining room before:

An empty after:

Kitchen, just after finishing a complete gut and remodel:

And after the after:

Guest bedroom before:

Now ready to house a cute little girl:

Main bathroom before:

After, emptied out:

Boys’ bedroom before:

And now, ready for the new owner’s stuff:

Master bedroom before:

And after, complete with the custom-made bed built (our buyer bought it from us):

Master bedroom before:


When Ben bought this house, the basement was completely unfinished.  Here it is after finishing it while I was pregnant with Everett:

And two years later:

My office, stocked and ready for work:

Now sad and empty, but ready to work for someone else:

The basement bathroom before:

We never did finish the steam shower under the stairs, but that can be a project for the new owner:

Laundry room and Ben’s reloading office before:

And after we moved everything out, including the washer and dryer:

The small basement bedroom as we had it just before moving:

And after moving:

The large basement bedroom pulled double duty, acting as both a bedroom and a storage room before:

When emptied, it feels even bigger:

Seeing the house empty is especially strange to me because I’ve never seen it this way.  Ben bought the house a couple years before we met, so he had already moved in.  If we’re in this house again, we’ll be visitors.  We’ve become friendly with our buyer, and we’d love to see how the house evolves over time.

Have you been a house after selling it?  Was it odd, or cool?  Did the new owner make any changes?

P.S.  To see true before and afters, check our Our First House page.

New York

Today, I thought I’d share an art piece I made for Patricia from PVE Design.  If you recall, she painted a beautiful picture of our home and was kind enough to trade art with me.

Patricia loves New York City, particularly Central Park, so I suggested a cut out map piece similar to the one I made of Savannah, Georgia.

With her approval, I started cutting, and cutting, and cutting.  It took a while, but it was well worth the effort.

It’s a large one, too measuring about 18 inches by 24 inches.

Patricia recently wrote a rave review on her blog and I couldn’t be any happier with her reaction.  Thank you so much Patricia for your beautiful art.  We hope you enjoy yours as much as we enjoy ours!

Map Lovin’

Whether vintage or new, maps and globes are a weakness of mine.  Along with birds, built-in shelving, anything colored Sea Green (like our guest bedroom), and chocolate.  I have several vintage globes on a shelf in my office. 

This small United States map to share places Ben and I have traveled together sits on my bookshelf.  

A large, modern-day world map poster hangs on a wall in my office.  The colors are always fun and it’s interesting to see the landscape change over time. 

In a little more artsy fashion, I recently added a paper cut out of the Great Lakes, too.

Well, I did it again.  This time, a road map of Savannah, Georgia, where Ben and I honeymooned nearly five years ago.  I decided I wanted something bold and graphic, so I bought two large sheets of cardstock, one cream, one charcoal grey.  Then, I used Google maps and Photoshop to piece together modern downtown Savannah.  After printing my template (on several 8.5 by 11 sheets taped together), I taped my pattern to my cream cardstock.  Two days later, I had a complete cut out.  I didn’t have a frame ready, and I also didn’t want to damage the design, so I taped it to the wall.

Then I remembered that I had an empty frame sitting under the bed.  The only problem?  It didn’t have glass.  So I called a few local hardware stores and found that Ace Hardware cuts glass.  I ordered a sheet and picked it up later that day, excited to frame my hard work.  I wasn’t too excited when I realized it was about 1/8 inch too large for my frame.  So, Ben to the rescue.  He scored the back of the frame and cut the wood out for the glass to fit.  As he cut my frame, I cut a mat.  After attaching all components, we had a new piece of art for our guest bedroom. 

It hangs between the entrance and closet doors.

It’s not perfect, but I love how it looks. 

What are your weaknesses?  Do you share the same affinity of maps and globes?  Perhaps you like nearly everything from a specific store?  Any chocolate cravings?

Top Projects of 2010

Even though we’ve only been blogging since May, we’re here to share our top projects of the year. 

By far, our most viewed posts, thanks to Young House Love, are about building and the completion of our DIY welded steel and marble dining table. 

I have to say, it’s one of our proudest DIY projects, too. 

Another fan favorite is the coffee filter pendant that is in our guest room. 

A simple, affordable art from magazines is another favorite.

Our painted rug was an affordable solution to join the chevron craze. 

Rounding out our top five is how to update brass using Blue Magic cream. 

Did any of your favorite projects crack the top five?  What is your proudest DIY?  If you have an idea you’d like us to tackle, please send an e-mail to for consideration.

Pier-fect: Pier 1 Holiday Decorating

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

I should start off by saying that I was thrilled when I was contacted by Pier 1 to write a post about holiday decorating featuring items from their stores. I initially thought I would peruse the Pier 1 Website, pick out my favorite holiday items and that would be all. Later, I was informed I would receive a gift card to do a little shopping. Then, the bad news came; I wouldn’t be getting the $50.00 gift card after all. The good news? I would get a $100.00 gift card instead! Holy cow! Almost immediately, I decided to focus my holiday entertaining primarily on Christmas decorating.

My requirements: 1. Get the best deals possible. Hello, clearance! 2. Buy items that flow seamlessly from Christmas to year round decor. You know that I hate storing unnecessary stuff, so I tried to keep Christmas specific items to a minimum. 3. Try to get decorations for the most-visible-by-guests-areas: outside, living room, dining room and guest room. 4. Stick to my color scheme of silver, white, blue and green. With my goals in mind and gift card in hand, Everett and I took a little (2 hour) shopping trip to our local Pier 1. Before I show you what we returned home with, I’ll show you some items I loved that didn’t fit all requirements. First up, these cute owl and bird salt and pepper shakers. Cheap? Yes. Cute? Check, but my other requirements weren’t there. I also loved so many of the Pier 1 dishes and drinkware, like these beautiful silver stemware glasses. I don’t have much in the way of kitchen storage, nor do we do much fancy entertaining, so I took only a few items home with me from that department. If you didn’t know this already, Pier 1 has such a fantastic candle and candle holder selection. This angel tealight holder is beautiful, but doesn’t transition easily from Christmas to year-round. These ornament candle holders are really cute, but red wasn’t in my palette. I know I’m really picky, but are you ready to see what did make the cut? I’m sure you are, I won’t keep you waiting any longer.  Yep, all of this for $101.98! Sa-weet! I decided to splurge on two items because they were perfect for Christmas, but also year round. Splurge number 1: this mercury glass pillar holder. It was $22.00, but it’s timeless and says, “Look at me. Here I am, love me.” You CARS fans should know that one. Splurge number 2: the beautiful silver leaf bird tray for $29.95  Ain’t she a beaut? (as the Australians would say). It spoke to me: “Take me home! I fit ALL of your requirements!” So, I listened. I love the generous size, bird design and the splash of silver. Perfect for Christmas and beyond. Here’s a breakdown of everything else I walked out of Pier 1 with:

6 metallic gold place mats for $.98 each

1 metallic silver charger for $4.00

1 glittered golden Christmas tree decoration for $4.95

1 small silver candle lantern $4.98

1 large silver candle lantern for $10.48

1 short glass pillar candle holder for $3.88

1 golden bird ornament for $4.95

1 nest ornament for $2.95

2 small leaf bowls for $.98 each

2 golden star ornaments for $1.00 each

4 jingle bell ornaments for $1.00 each

Now, let’s continue to the decorating, shall we. First, let’s visit our doorstep.  My one-heck-of-a-deal clearance candle lanterns are accompanied by a few evergreen branches, faux snow (Epsom salt, a trick I learned from Better Homes and Gardens) filled drinking glasses turned tea lights. Yes, I know my candle lanterns are missing the candles. Forgive me. A silver ball ornament wreath, inspired by this one from Pier 1, hangs on our door to greet guests. Nothing says “Christmas” like silver glitter. We don’t have a mantle to decorate, so I treated our entertainment center as if it were. Here’s what it looked like BCD (Before Christmas Decorations): And here is our entertainment center now, decked out in glitz and glitter: The books, picture frames, magazine file, monogram ceramic balls (from a previous Pier 1 trip) and some candle holders stayed. To infuse Christmas cheer, more glass and silver candle holders, including the Pier 1 mercury glass pillar holder, were added along with glittered snowflakes, my Pier 1 glittered Christmas tree and silhouette ornaments. Don’t fret, I’ll provide more details in later posts. Along with our Christmas tree, decorating the entertainment center completed the holiday decorating in our living room. To decorate another guest visible room, our dining room, I hung our stockings from hooks hidden behind the quarter round moulding. The silver charger and golden star ornament turned napkin ring add some sparkle to our everyday dinnerware.  The mercury glass candle holder, glittered Christmas tree and apothecary jar filled with monogram ceramic balls at the center of the table add height, texture, and Christmas cheer to the tablescape. This centerpiece arrangement is rounded out by the golden bird and nest, to add layers of height.  Here’s another tablescape option I whipped up using assorted silver toned candle holders, my Pier 1 clearance gold metallic placemats and jingle bell ornaments as napkin rings. Two things that could make this setting better? Metallic gold salad plates, like these, to replace the blue ones and a few brass or gold candle holders to bring the gold throughout the arrangement. I kept the decorations in the guest room simple and functional with the pretty silver leaf tray topped with a few guest essentials and a special treat.  A white IKEA planter contains travel-sized guest essentials such as toothpaste, soap, and a washcloth. A Christmas-y reindeer print in a silver frame and votive holder turned vase add sparkle without competing with the silver leaf pattern. Another faux snow filled candle and the Pier 1 small leaf dish filled with M&Ms round out the tray. The items are strategically placed to show off the most of the beautiful pattern possible. Want to know what else is on my Pier 1 wish list? Here are a few more of my favorites:

Silver Paper Star Lantern

White Snowflake Pillow

Short Gold Tumblers

Silver Mosaic Reindeer Decor

Green Bird Plate

Circles Citron Pillow

Ruffle Pillow

Visit Sponsor's Site