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We had a minor causality in the war of making our home pretty.

Our bedroom door.

I had a very pretty Fleur de Lis hook I wanted to hang on our bedroom door. We knew the nails it came with were too long for our door, so we searched our nail stash for ones that would work. Hubby measured two I found, but they wouldn’t work. Then we found two significantly shorter nails, and assumed it would work.

Not so much.

Of course, we discovered this after the nails went through the door.

Whoops.

So, now it’s off the hinges, wood filler and a new coat of paint for our door.

On the upside, it really needed a sanding and a new coat of paint.

On the downside, still no pretty hook.

From a line on a stick

To a sort of human looking blob on an ultrasound:

To a little boy-to-be:

To quite the baby bump:

To a fresh from the womb newborn:

To a great, big three week old:

Some days, I think life moves to fast.

At Longbrake Living, we’re all about small makeovers that are quick (hopefully!) and make us fall in love with our furniture and rooms all over again. Enter our desk:

DSC03008When we first moved into the house.

When I married Hubby, he was using a folding table as a desk. There was nothing in particular wrong with that, but we lived in a small apartment and needed storage space. We had a small budget, mostly because we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that would work in our apartment, but not in the house we knew we were ready to start looking for.

Off we went to our local furniture warehouse, where we found our desk. I wasn’t crazy about the styling of the assemble yourself desk, but of all the options, this desk offered the largest amount of storage, so it became ours.

I’ve been thinking about painting it white and changing out the hardware, but Hubby’s not ready to make the painting plunge. So, I decided to add a cork-board to the largest back panel, which was more cardboard-like than wood, and perferated.

Hubby had a leftover bulliten board from his office, so we used that, pulling off the original metal trim, and creating a larger border with $14 worth of white trim.

DSC04486It took a little longer than I thought it would to get everything finished and attached, but I love it. Not only does it break-up all the wood grain, but it adds functionality, allowing me to display photos and notes that are special to me, creating a more functional and enjoyable workspace.

DSC04490To ensure our new corkboard wasn’t going anywhere, we bolted it to the orginal backing, and then painted the bolts white to blend in with the trim.

DSC04491Since I have a laptop, I usually work on the sofa, but with my new desk area, I think I’ll be spending more time working here.

So, would you paint this desk white? Black? Only paint part? Leave it? Chime in and tell me what you would do — I need guidance!

Recently, thanks to the birthday money my parents and grandparents so generously gave me, I purchased the Richmond Pendant for our dining room. While there was nothing “wrong” with the fixture that came with the house, it just wasn’t my style. I love this one infinitely more, and I especially love the quickie makeover it allowed me to pull. A half-hour of Hubby’s time gave a whole new feel to our dining room. Check it out!

BEFORE:

Before

AFTER:

AfterMuch better, no?

When we were house hunting, I wanted to find a yard that was fairly low-maintenance. When we found what would become our house, we were excited beacuse the front yard was made up almost entirely of ivy. Score! Um, except that ivy is not low maintenance. It grows like crazy, and you always have to clip it back, and it will over-run your plants. Not to mention that over a year later, I’m a little sick of seeing bushes surrounded by ivy, because they are just about the same color green and have the same texture. No thank you ivy! So in the fall, I removed some of the ivy from the bushes by our front walkway. I love it! Now, I want to erradicate the ivy in the planter by the front door. Easier said than done! But, this weeked, I managed to liberate the bushes living deep in ivy overrun territory. Here’s the before and after of one afflicted bush:

Before, the ivy was growing out of the poor bush!dsc03761

After, you can see the holes in the bush where the ivy was.

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Even though I trimmed a considerable amount of ivy away from the bush, there isn’t a particuarly noticable difference between the two plants. I really want to add some verigated hostas and/or grasses to the area for a texture difference and for some color variation. I’d also like to have an area where I can plant some anual flowers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very fond of the ivy growing up my lamp-post, I’d just like a little less of it.

Any good ideas on how to make the ivy stay away, especially in isolated areas where I don’t want ANY? There are some areas I know I’ll just have to keep clipping it back, but what about those areas where I’ve decided there should be none? Would a herbacide kill the other plants growing in that area?

After dumping most of our available money into our kitchen make-over, Hubby and I were a little low on funds for any other major home-improvement projects. So, we concentrated on low-cost make-overs and finishing up some long-standing projects; while Hubby was out of town one weekend, I decided to paint our bathroom.

When we moved in, our downstairs bathroom was newly updated, with a new sink, toliet, tub/shower combo, and floor tiles. It was, right when we moved in, a lovely white oasis.

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But the floors were tan. I’m not sure if the wall tile is orignial to the house or not, but I suspect its older than the tan floor tiles. I like the tan, and the previous owners made an attempt to tie it in with the rest of the room by putting a tan tile border around the medicine cabinet, but it always seemed strange to me to have a tan floor in an otherwise sea of white.

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So I painted the white walls above the tile a creamy beige. Unlike the other two times I had painted, I loved this color as soon as a put my first stroke on the walls. It made the ceilings feel taller, brought out the tan, and make the room feel more spa like.

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Underneath our towel bar, where our scale is now, we had large storage cabinet. It did provide some “counter” and extra storage space (we don’t have a linen closet in our bath), but made our small bathroom feel smaller.

Removing it, adding the textured white towels and a green hand towel (which matches mine and hubby’s towels behind the door) added to the spa-like feeling. Are there still things I’d like to do in our bathroom? Absolutly! I can’t wait to install some shelves above the towel bar, get new shower curtain rings and some other things, but for less than a gallon of paint and a little organizing, you can make a big difference in the look of a room!

Of all the projects Hubby and I have tackled during our first year of home-ownership, the kitchen has been our greatest! Its also the only one we’ve called in for back-up from the pros.

p1010023See that tiny amount of counter? We had that, and another piece the same size on the other side of the sink.
dsc02779I don’t miss that color, or the “island” stove.

When we first moved in, our kitchen was bright red. Now, the color was nice, but the room didn’t get a ton of light, and the red seemed to suck up what little made it in the room. It was pretty depressing to cook and wash dishes in a semi-dark room. So, we primed and painted until we thought our arms would fall off to transform our kitchen into an oasis of buttery delight. needless to say, we love the new color!

dsc02963Old kitchen, new paint color.

After painting, we tackled the cabinets. The 6-foot stretch of cabinetry that housed our dishwasher, sink, two drawers and teeny cabinet was original to the house, and just wasn’t cutting it. Though the previous owners had spruced the kitchen up by refacing the original cabinets and installing a new counter top, the 4 feet of prep-space and complete lack of storage simply wasn’t conducive for cooking. We knew the kitchen wouldn’t work for us when we bought the house, so this was one of the earliest projects we took on.

dsc03326Hubby with two of the pot holders he found while ripping out our old cabinets.

Hubby ripped out the cabinets himself, and we found behind them, 4 potholders, an old (unused) tea bag, and HARDWOOD FLOORS! Yes, beneath our tile, beneath a layer of yellow and bright green linoleum, are the original hardwood floors that run throughout our house. Since we didn’t have the budget for a gut-job, we’ve let the hardwoods lie, but I still have visions of revealing and restoring those floors someday.

dsc03330Our new cabinets and counter tops are here and taking up our living room!

Working with our budget of $5,000,which included labor, we decided to keep our floors, appliances, fixtures and upper cabinets, and install new lower cabinets and counter tops. We worked with Lowe’s, and although I’m happy with our outcome, I wouldn’t work with them again (but that’s another story). Since our stove had been floating off by its lonesome, we decided to anchor it with white thermofoil cabinetry on either side, including a Lazy-Susan cabinet in the corner. The new cabinetry on that side also features 2 12-inch cabinets, perfect for storing baking sheets and pans as well as serving trays. The cabinetry on the opposite wall includes another Lazy-Susan cabinet, a cabinet of drawers, a cabinet with pull-out shelves, and a pull-out trashcan.

dsc03524Cabinets where there were none! Under the pot rack is our pull-out trashcan.

I think we went through about four or five different counter top selections before we finally decided on the final black and white combo. I’m glad we really thought that out — I love it!

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We still have some projects we’d like to do in the kitchen, like eventually adding new upper cabinetry for additional storage when we have kids and need a place to store sippy cups, plastic plates, and all the other kid accoutraments. But right now, we have more than enough storage for all the gagets the two of us can accumulate.

dsc03523I especially like how the new color coordinates with the new dining room color!

I’d also love to get an indoor/outdoor rug, and a small butcher block island to go on top of it. Hubby would like to install a light over the sink, and I’d like to bring in a few more accessories. But, I’m sure you’ll agree we’ve already made an improvement!dsc03525

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

E-mail Me!

Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.