DIY

diy: creating built-in bookcases

We’ve been dreaming for years about adding built-in bookcases on the main level of our house. Both of us love books, and we had boxes and boxes of books in our storage unit . . . just waiting for this project to be completed! And we specifically wanted to add the bookcases to the wall below because we wanted to balance the living room. Directly opposite these new bookcases are two big windows, a window seat, and a glass door to our sunporch. There’s a lot of energy on that other side of the room, and we needed…

celebrating everything: the final baby tooth

Our oldest daughter lost her last baby tooth last week! The actual moment was kind of uneventful — we were in a diner when the tooth came out, and I wrapped it in a paper napkin . . . and then left it on the table. I was so frustrated with myself — I really would’ve liked to keep her very last baby tooth! Lately, as I feel time slipping by, I’ve resolved to celebrate everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. So a few months ago when the dentist told me she had one baby tooth left, I planned a…

DIY

living room: designing for traffic flow and conversation

Over a year ago, I told you that I planned to redo our living room. In the five years we’ve lived here, that room has never felt exactly right, and I wanted to make it shine. Plus, our house is small, so we need all of our spaces to be cozy and functional. Because that room never quite worked and was usually pretty dark, we almost never used it. When we bought the house, the room was painted sage green. The previous owners’ long sofa was against the wall, facing the fireplace, and two chairs flanked the…

Visiting Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

We just returned from a glorious week in Ocracoke! This was our third time visiting the island, and it gets better each time. I can’t recommend it highly enough. This place has the perfect mix of natural beauty, fascinating history, and welcoming spirit. There’s not a hint of pretension on the island, and I love that! This small island off the coast of North Carolina is accessible only by ferry, private boat, or private plane. Most of the island is a protected natural habitat where wild horses roam freely. But near the tip of the island…

DIY

adding caning to louvered closet doors

When we renovated the second story of our house in late 2019, money got a little tight toward the end of the project. So when it was time to make one of the last purchases for the renovation — doors for my new closet — I bought very cheap bi-fold, louvered doors from Home Depot. I figured I’d be forced to do something creative . . . and now, more than two years later, I finally did it! I have to admit, this project took us months to complete! We started in early spring and finished a few weeks ago…

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…