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…

Kitchen Organizing and the Peggy Umbra Organizer

One of the many, many things on my list for 2022 was organizing our kitchen. Every time we open the Tupperware drawer or the water bottle drawer, the crazy mess inside is so disheartening. It’s silly, I guess, to let something like that affect one’s mood, but I can’t help it. A few days ago when I emptied the dishwasher, the crap in the drawers finally overflowed, and I couldn’t close them. I took it as a sign to purge and organize! First up, I tackled our random collection of plastic cups…

DIY

DIY Serena & Lily Poetto Vase

Serena & Lily has the most beautiful home decor, but it’s so pricey! Their catalog arrives at our house every few months, and I love to sit down with a cup of tea and leaf through it. One of my favorite bloggers, Nesting with Grace, uses a lot of Serena & Lily items throughout her home–if you haven’t seen her blog, it’s drool-inducing–and she often features the gorgeous Poetto vase. I’ve coveted this vase for a while but can’t justify the price tag. This weekend…

DIY

how to paint interior doors

When we moved in, I added some personality to the main level by painting a few of the interior doors. I started by painting a few of the doors Tricorn Black, and I love the way it turned out! I think the black paint makes the hallways look more pulled together and adds to the historic feel of our very old home. About three years ago, one of our sons requested a green door for his bedroom. With the four kids and the dog running around the house and even playing basketball in the hallways (can you believe it??), the…

new counter stools – simple design, natural materials

We finally broke down and ordered new kitchen counter stools. The seat on one of our old stools had cracked in two, but we continued using it for months and called it our “trick stool.” It was all fun and games until a visitor almost fell off the broken stool, and then we had to address the problem. Because our house is so small, the counter stools back up to the dining room table. We already have a lot going on in the combined kitchen and dining room, so I wanted something neutral. Plus, to allow for more…

Visiting San Francisco

We spent a wonderful weekend in San Francisco! John’s dear friends’ daughter was becoming bat mitzvah, and we attended the ceremony honoring this beautiful young woman. We spent the rest of the weekend wandering around the city, eating and drinking. It’s such a magical place. Everywhere we went, I was blown away by the architecture. Seriously, I was standing on street corners gaping at people’s houses. The whole place felt like a movie set. I hung out the window of a cab to photograph some of the beautiful homes on California Street! The…