Three Themes

Life is such a joy with Luna!  We have been going to the dog park more often and I spend most of my time with her.  Sadly now I am dealing with her diarrhea issue.  I switched her diet to chicken and rice and she hasn’t gone in a day.  I don’t know if she was stressed by leaving her in her cage for a few hours, or if she ate too much of a bully ring, or something else.  There is no telling.  We play and she is my buddy.  We sleep together and I just love her so much.  We are going to Florida for Spring Break and have to leave her with the breeder.  I am so sad about it.  I take her everywhere and as much as possible leave when someone is here to be with her.  She is my best friend.


Still working on my daughter’s chair that matches her table.  This has been quite a project.  I didn’t realize how frustrating it would be to have the seat stained and the rest painted.  There are so many options for winsor chairs, all wood, painted, and even the two toned.  I’ve never seen the two toned with a painted wood that has a glaze.  It looks kind of messy, but it makes the paint less of a contrast and more antiqued.  This reminds me of the colors of dark coffee and light coffee.  My daughter said to just go with it.  I put on a clear finish that turned milky!  I panicked and sanded it down and re-stained the seat.  I keep having problems with the meeting of the spindles and the stained seat.  You don’t want paint on your stained seat and you don’t want stain on your painted/glazed spindles.  There is no way this will be perfect.  I will say it’s a labor of love.  I hope it turns out nice.   The struggle is real when you live in 90% humidity, drying is an issue. The chair is in the bathroom so the dog won’t get it. 🙂


I love the fact that I got this chair for free from a friend and re-purposed it.  I learned a lot about the style of this chair and it’s history for this reason.  Isn’t it cool to have a story about the very pieces of furniture that occupy your home?

Today we visited our new house to see the floors that are now in!  They look amazing!  I have dark wood floors throughout the house in the kitchen and most of the living spaces.  The bedrooms have carpet and the bathrooms have tile (as well as the laundry room).  I have learned on the first floor that as much as you can do without carpet, the flooring will last longer. We decided to stop by a furniture place I remembered passing on our search for neighborhoods.  We have looked at the regular more popular furniture stores and not found anything that we like.  This place was different.  And they charged a minimal fee to have a designer help us with the size and spacing of furniture.  I am so excited to have a designer help with our living room, dining room and my office space.  I didn’t realize how important the living room design was until I asked a design student to help make my living room in my previous house cozy and then had a stager help with selling the home.  Can’t wait to see how this turns out.  I think with someone that has an eye for design, it will be great.  The lady I met, Dawne, said her design experience came from her mother and that her mom worked in a fashion store from a young age and had a natural talent for putting together patterns.  I looked at the store’s website and found their blog.  I think it will workout perfectly.


Three Themes

30 days to close

Just about.  The house is coming along.  May of last year we chose to build a house, setting in motion a year long project.  Most of the time it doesn’t take that long to build a house.  We delayed the builder as long as they could go.  We put our house on the market in September, sold in a few days and moved into an apartment.  We dealt with the Design Center and choices with the builder, very confusing as to who does what with Toll Brothers.  We took advantage of a national sales event which gave us credits to use during the building process .  Most of the credits were used towards the extended kitchen island, exterior covered patio, and master bathroom.   For the most part we stuck to our budget.

The results are that we are happy with the exterior.  Adding corbels was extra for the elevation we chose, once painted dark,  they should pop.  My husband made a good choice with the double door entry.  And I’m happy with the changes we made to extend the kitchen island, move the fire place so that it isn’t centered on the wall, have a large covered patio and what the builder considers a luxury bath which gave us a short hallway to our bedroom off the living room.


And I like the vanity nook too (we converted the linen closet to a vanity nook for $700 bucks).  This idea solves the problem of a place to put on make up.  The nook idea worked.  All of the linens can be stored in the cabinets.  We are liking the floor plan!


Not sure we are loving the the cabinet and interior wall paint selection.  The builder grade paint has very little pigment.  Hopefully with neutral you can’t go wrong? My husband thinks it looks like we couldn’t make a decision between warm tones and grey tones.  I wish the builder would have had a little more options in customizing the kitchen cabinets.  They are a little plain.


The fireplace stone is from Eldorado stone and the color is castaway.  At the last minute, I went for a warmer tone on the stone choice.   We won’t get the exact living room setup as my idea picture I had posted a while back, however it will be close enough.  To get the firebox off the ground and narrow is really expensive for some reason.  And I though it was expensive enough just to make the change we have.  The fireplace is not wood burning , it’s just gas, so there is no need for a hearth which sticks out too much in this space.  For now we are leaving out the mantel as well.

The wood floors are to go in this week.  I still can’t believe we are this close.  For four months we have been living in the apartment.  I can’t see us living in the house, however I am looking forward to it.  It will be a major change in routine. Everything will be different.

So much to do before then.  I submitted all of the paperwork they requested for closing which was a lot.   Who doesn’t have things they don’t want to do?  Who knows how long we will be in the new house.  I remember when we moved into our previous house, I had hopes that my kids would go to school there and that we would stay in the house for their entire school years.  We were really fortunate to achieve that.  I wonder what it would be like to know ahead of time how it will work out?  We still went through hell with my daughter and had to change schools, for the most part it worked out.

Who knows what life will bring in this new location.  The best advise is to not be tethered to anything.  God provides what you need and you need to go with it.  I really wish I would have fully understood this earlier.  Still, so happy we were able to achieve our life in one place for a long period of time.  That is done and can’t be taken away.


30 days to close

The battle to get to market in the storm

Sounds like a great title for something pertaining to business.  It is business, just personal business.  We met with the realtor and setup a meeting with the stager.  The stager doesn’t actually decorate your home for sale, their job is to let you know what will help sell your home.

Candy came over and spent just over an hour with me.  I took notes!  She started with the outside and mentioned that curb appeal will get buyers in.  Our yard is a bit over grown so she suggested removing anything dead, trim and mulch.  She also recommended power washing the walkway to the door and polishing/painting around the door jam.  ( Might need a new door mat too).

Next she mentioned something about a 10 second rule.  Once a buyer walks in the door they decide within 10 seconds whether they love it or hate it.  Wow!  So, standing at the doorway she looks and smells.  I’m looking at her intently with a puzzled look.

ten seconds

She says immediately that she wants to see through to the living room.  I’ve always wanted that room out of view from the front door, but she says no.  She is the expert.  We spent a lot of time in the living room.  She took out a runner, removed a large side table, a love seat, couch table and re-arraned another table and few decorative pieces.  Now I can only sit 4 instead of  6 in my living room.  Ok, if it sells fine.  She suggested to remove personal stuff, pictures, anything with our name on it, anything that would point to a religion or ethnicity.  My husband’s office decor screams a very in your face sports fan. So I removed his prized framed jerseys and borrowed a globe picture from my neighbor.


Candy suggested that we add some kind of room sent like vanilla or clean linen near the front door.  We went room by room noting changes that needed to be made.  For the bedrooms she asked for a couple of pieces of furniture be removed.  In the master closet, she asked for everything to be off the floor and moved up.  In the bathrooms all personal stuff, tooth brushes, etc. be placed out of sight.  Same thing with the kitchen, bare countertops.  And everything in the pantry off the floor.



I need to fix a cabinet that separated from the wall in the kitchen.  Some one came out and said I have to have the whole thing brought down, repaired and put back up.  Ugh! I’ve spent the week painting (touching up) and scrubbing.  (I’ve actually washed the doors).  We had the carpets cleaned and now my house is as pristine as it’s going to get.


Hurricane Harvey is hitting to the south of us.  My plans for mulching and taking care of the outside stalled.  The one good thing about the rain is that once the ground is saturated, it will be easier to remove weeds.  I already removed an entire outside trash can full of weeds behind the garage.  And around some equipment I need to wait for the 20 or so inches that are forecasted to fall, then those bad boy weeds will come out.  So the weekend will be spent inside.  I’m trying my best to look on the bright side.  There are so many people that will need to make repairs after this storm.  I hope we don’t have more to repair.  That budget keeps me awake at night.  I spent $80 on paint and $325 for carpet cleaning so far.

The battle to get to market in the storm

Want to test your marriage? Build a house together.

Continuing on this journey of moving on, we are moving through the process of building our new house.  The choices of neighborhood and house plan design seemed like easy choices at this point.  And it was not!   The harder part is when you come to choices and budget.  I used to love watching TV shows on this.  It is not as fun when it’s your money.

We selected a one story mediterranean style house and a builder (Toll Brothers).  Some of the simplier choices were how many rooms and a bathroom upgrade.   Even a kitchen upgrade to include a massive island counter.  The more difficult parts have included how to design the living room with furniture and a fire place.   In this plan we have a 12 foot 4 inch wall with the fireplace in the middle on one side of the room.  A wall of windows on the back side, a blank wall opposite facing the fireplace and the kitchen looking into this room.  I am not a fan of placing the TV above the fireplace because of the height.  And I don’t want opposite walls with competing focal points.  (you can’t set your couch in front of one or the other and I don’t want to turn my head).  I found a really cool design on the internet that I hope works.  The builder is going to let us know if they can move the fireplace so that it is not center, if so, I can place my TV next to it like this…(here is the design and here is an example of what you get in the house).  The extended stacked stone is an upgrade, I love it!


Another issue will be the fact that we are going to have maybe 9 inches of depth.  We are going to have 5.1 surround sound so we need to figure out a small form factor subwoofer.


I am not doing the extended fireplace hearth into the room.  The fireplace will just go to the floor (it’s gas).

Next is the vanity in the master bath.  So here is a picture of the bathroom as it comes. There is no vanity for doing make up.  Who came up with this plan?  Obviously not a female!  So I am adding a vanity niche (like the photo beneath it).  We are removing the linen closet and putting in the vanity niche.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out aesthetic wise, but functionally it will be better.  Usually people that try to do their own thing fail miserably, especially when they don’t have the education on design, porportion, etc.  However the two things I mentioned, how to set the furniture in the living room and a place to get ready for me are super important.


niche bath

Another challenge will be how to re-purpose a room that is currently considered the breakfast room.  With a massive island that will have bar stools and a separate dining room, I don’t need a third area for eating.  Yet there is one.  This room, called the breakfast room opens up to a small patio outside.  I am going to try and use the room as some kind of lounge.  Whether it be for coffee or a small sitting area, I’m not sure.  I’m hoping to get a designer involved to help make this space purposeful.  With the two of us, there is no need for a breakfast room, dining room and the sit in bar area.

This has been super stressful, yet you would think it would be fun. Building will start in late September and completion will be in April.  To add to the stress, we are selling our current house.  I hope to have it on the market by end of August.  The plan here is to move into a short term lease…somewhere until our new house is ready and my son graduates high school.

Want to test your marriage? Build a house together.

Moving on

After raising two kids, life has impeccable timing of changing things up.  My husband’s workplace is moving far enough to make the commute too long.  Plenty of people make an hour commute and think nothing of it.  We have talked a while about moving into a home with a more efficient use of space, just couldn’t decide where.  The job narrowed the decision for us.   To me it’s stressful uprooting from one place to another.  The logistics of selling and buying makes it almost impossible to time both perfectly.  We have looked at homes for sale and decided it works better to build.  Maybe if we could get Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer upper or the Property Brothers to transform a home for us, that would work.  However, that is unlikely.

We sold our first house to move into our current one and found success in selling then moving into an apartment during the build of the new house.  So this is the plan once again.  Searching for communities was the first step.  Where would you start?  We have plenty experience with what we like and don’t like about living in a community.  My first thought is space!  We have 4 cars now with two adult kids and parking is painful right now.  To top that off our neighbor across from us has 8 cars in their single narrow driveway.  In Texas you can really stretch out.  Maybe too much.  We found some home sites that are away from it all and on septic tank systems for waste.  We’ve experienced that and any problem with a septic tank to me is too much!  We’ve never had a problem being on a sewer system.  Next, an affordable master planned community.  Living in one has it’s pros and cons.  For one if you have deed restrictions, your property values should stay up. Sure it’s annoying to get a letter about your weeds in your flower beds.  However you won’t have to live next to someone who let’s it go too far.   Lastly, surroundings,  we narrowed the search to a few communities and the real deciding factor came down to the surroundings of the community.  One was a community that was buried in other communities.  It felt like an endless drive through communities to get to it.  And the other had a long road to it, you know sometimes you just like it or don’t and we just didn’t like it.  Maybe because there was no real business amenities that you need to get things done (grocery stores, restaurants, medical facilities, mechanics, do – it – yourself places, nurseries, etc.).  We found a nice community.  I’m concerned about it being close to a freeway, however it will make it convenient to get to all of the places we need to get things done.  Once in the community, you wouldn’t know there is a freeway close by.

We have picked a plan and a lot.  It’s hard to get exactly what you want, hence the compromise.  We will make it into something great!   To new beginnings!


Moving on

Not too Shabby Chic

This week my daughter, going through a personal transformation, decided she needed to change things up.  She really wanted to start with her immediate surroundings.  I admire the fact that when you are at the beginning of your life, you just change things and go with it, even though I can see it can be distressing.   I can also definitely say I’m happy to see the hippie decor go!  Yeah!   Bye bye!  Changing bedding, curtains and some decor can make a difference (as she says, change the vibe).

We spent a lot on furniture for the kids and that investment was to last until they leave home.  While my daughter is one year behind on that move, she will be ready next year. We went to a local craft store that has home decor, Hobby Lobby.  There my daughter was looking for cheap inspiration.  And there she found it.  She was picking up white things that reminded me of the shabby chic look.  I started to see her idea and thought that would look great!  So that piece of furniture that she hasn’t been crazy about for years, now has a new vision.  It’s going from a light pinkish wood stain with floral details to white and the knobs will be replaced with acrylic.


On with a project!  This time, she will be painting and I will help!  A quick turn to the oracle…Google and YouTube,  and now we know what we need to create the shabby chic effect.  The key ingredient is white chalk paint, more like off white/vanilla, some sand paper and wax.  I was happy to find the supplies in Home Depot, we got lucky and got the last two cans.  I was a little surprised that they only sold it in about a quart size…seemed small.  But when you apply with a brush, the paint lasts.   And as it turns out for the dresser project I only needed one can.   You have to do two coats to cover it and the cool thing about shabby chic is that you really can’t make errors!  It’s suppose to look imperfect!  I was a little concerned that the brush made lines in the paint, however you sand the chalk paint and then sand harder in areas to make the wood show through (that’s the distressing).  So here we have a part of life she is going through that is distressing and we distressed her furniture. She probably doesn’t get the irony in that!


When this weekend started, I had no idea that we would be doing a room change and painting a piece of furniture.  Needless to say it was an extremly busy, fun and rewarding weekend!


We distressed the drawers and haven’t finished the rest, but here is a preview of the almost finished….


That was a pretty satisfying project.  The cost to change a room, about $300. That is pretty expensive.  We got the bedding, a throw, some decor, the painting supplies and the knobs. It’s still cheaper than purchasing new furniture.  I might have been able to shop online for cheaper, however the need for change was immediate and we were able to make that happen.  Painting makes me happy!   There is another piece of furniture in her room that needs to change and the perfect place to make that happen is Round Top!  (Mentioned in a previous post)  Looks like I will need to make that trip in October!  Currently she has a chest from the 60s but I just don’t see applying the shabby chic effect to it.

Not too Shabby Chic