DIY

replacing window screens

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been cleaning and fixing up our screened-in porch, a glorious spot that our whole family loves. It’s been neglected for a long time, so we have a lot of work to do! We need to fix the screens, clean out the cobwebs, fix the jalousie windows, and touch up the paint. When we bought the house, the porch was quite a fright. Right away, we cleaned all the walls and painted them Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. We hung a few photos printed on canvas and bought some wicker furniture…

visiting New Orleans

One of our favorite places in the world is the Big Easy! I love the music, the heat, the food . . . the city seems to pulse with energy and joy. John visited New Orleans many times before we met (he had a good friend who lived there), and he’s introduced me to some fabulous places that are off the beaten track. I loved experiencing the real New Orleans–so much better than Bourbon Street!–and today I’m sharing some of his best recommendations with you. Listen to live music outside the French Quarter From the…

mother’s day tea

As you may know, Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, May 8. (Isn’t it amazing that it’s already May?) We had an early and impromptu celebration for my beautiful mom last week while my parents were visiting. Our menu was incredibly simple, but the table was pretty and I think she felt very loved. We used the same tablecloth as in our Easter pictures (it’s an extra-long tablecloth from Amazon, so it fits our very long tables). I pulled out our mismatched, chipped tea sets and some beautiful linen napkins we…

adding a DIY stair runner

We’re back! After spring break, an unfortunate run-in with COVID, and a visit from the grandparents, we’re back with a fantastic DIY project. Installing your own stair runner is a way to instantly elevate the look of your house without spending much money or time. Plus, it makes the stairs safer! Both John and I slipped on the stairs before the runners were installed, and we find that the runners offer much more traction than the bare wood stairs. Take a look at the photos below to see how much personality and coziness the runners…

Last-minute Easter table

Easter is one of my favorite holidays, full of lots of family traditions. It’s a low-stress holiday for us (unlike Christmas!), plus the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming. We go to church in the morning and then come home for a leisurely, relaxed Sunday dinner. We pop some champagne, sit outside, and enjoy deviled eggs, pimento cheese, and cornichon pickles. I usually put out sandwich fixings, John makes gin and tonics, and we always have some kind of silly dessert. A few years ago I tried my hand at this famous Betty Crocker cake…

from scary basement to cozy family room

Our basement has been such a LONG work in progress! When we moved into the house in August 2017, the basement floor was filled with asbestos and there was mold inside the walls. So unpleasant. We quickly paid for mold rehabilitation and for someone to cover the asbestos floors with a concrete-like substance that sealed in the asbestos. My parents moved into the basement, and they laid grey laminate flooring and added a built-in desk along one wall. After they moved out in August 2018, we didn’t do much to the basement, and it quickly became…

DIY

refinishing an outdoor patio table

Last year we bought a patio coffee table from Article. It was pretty expensive, and I was very disappointed when the finish quickly started to peel off the top of the table. We called Article several times, and they refused to refund our money, claiming that the table wasn’t intended for outdoor use (despite the description and photos on their website). For the past six months, every time I stepped outside and saw that table I felt a twinge of annoyance . . . so we finally decided to take matters into our own hands! (Please excuse our lack of plants…

Our work-from-home space

Now that John and I have been working from home for almost two years, we’ve settled into a good routine and created a cozy space for both of us to work. Luckily, we renovated our house right before the pandemic and reconfigured the upstairs to create this sitting room off of our bedroom. When the pandemic started, this room transitioned to a shared office. But, because the room is basically part of our bedroom, we didn’t want it to feel like an office. We wanted a happy and cozy space that could serve as an office…

Transforming an unused nook

I’m having so much fun thinking about the best ways for my friends to transform their living room! Earlier this week I shared some ideas about how they could redesign the main part of the living room. The living room has a half wall separating it from the kitchen. Usually the kitchen table is on the side of the wall shown in the photo below. I’m focused on the side of the wall that faces the living room, as shown in the photo below. As I mentioned in this post, they plan to sand down the…

A cozy, light-filled living room

Two dear friends of mine moved into a new house and are in the process of making it feel more like home. They have two little boys, so they don’t want anything too precious. But they also want to feel comfortable and cozy in their living room, which is the main hangout area of their house and opens to their kitchen. They use this room to watch tv, read, and hang out as a family. They don’t use the fireplace very often, and they love looking out of the windows. As the pandemic winds down, they…