Stay Or Sell

One question we’ve been asked by some friends since announcing our nugget news is if we plan to move into a bigger house.  While we’d love to upgrade to a larger home and more outdoor space, it wouldn’t be financially smart for us to make that leap right now.  And we’re okay with that for the time being.

We like our current home, but when we bought it we knew it was going to be our ‘starter home’– we’d live here for 5-8 years and move on to a bigger house with more land.  When we were house hunting in the spring of 2009 we knew we wanted a newer home that wouldn’t require much fixing up.  Both Brad and I were working demanding full-time jobs, and Brad was in graduate school part/full time (depending on the semester).  Needless to say, we didn’t have the extra time or money to put toward a fixer-upper.  Our house had 9 out of the 11 things we wanted, we bought it at a great price, and we also received the first time home buyer tax credit.

When the time does come for us to sell this house I hope that we won’t have issues getting it to move.  We’ve done various improvements to the house that will add value and hopefully appeal to buyers.

One area I know home owners will typically see a return on investment is the kitchen.  Personally, I pay a lot of attention to kitchens.  One thing I loved about our kitchen when we first looked at the house was the size and layout of it.  This past fall we were able to update the kitchen cabinets, and I like to think it’s made a huge difference.  We still plan to update the lighting, countertops, sink, and add a backsplash.  We don’t intend to update the appliances to stainless steel.  Our black appliances are only 4 years old, and I often joke that we don’t live in a stainless steel and granite countertop house.

kitchen cabinets before and after

Not gonna lie, the kitchen updates are making it easier to stay here instead of wanting to move right away.

kitchen island before and after

Since our house was only 7 years when we bought it we didn’t necessarily need to rip out stuff and replace it with better or more eye-appealing things.  So we did other things to make the home ours and ultimately add value to the house.  Like I said in this post, when we bought the house every single room was painted beige.  So I got busy painting.  And you know what’s weird about paint?  It’s so easy to change but house hunters pay SO MUCH attention to it.  Have you ever watched an episode of House Hunters?  It drives me absolutely crazy when the potential buyers say things like “I don’t really care for this color” or “I HATE the color of this room”.  Uhhh, painting a room costs less than $50 and takes a few hours.

While we’ve chosen colors we like, I’d like to think they would appeal to potential buyers in the future.  We intend to get rid of the beige in the great room and our bedroom this spring.  We’ll also paint Brad’s beige man cave as it will become the nugget’s nursery.

ikea expedit for home officehome office

green and blue bathroomguest bathroom

We’ve also replaced almost the entire heat pump system in the house, which was rather costly.  But the compressor and coil decided to short out and stop working our first winter in the house.  I blame it on the previous owners using terrible air filters.  The cheapo blue mesh ones are basically the devil, and shouldn’t be used.  Remember that.  It pays to spend a little extra money to get the higher quality filters.  We also replaced the water softener over a year ago.  The water around here is crazy hard, so a softener is not just a luxury.  And about a month ago we replaced the garage door opener.  These three repairs ranged in price from $200-$4,000 but were things that needed to be done.

I know this is going to sound kind of stalkerish but when a house goes up for sale in our neighborhood I go online and check out the selling price.  I also compare the house (square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, etc.) to our house.  Just to see how the market is doing in our area.  Anyone else guilty of this?  Another tool I like to use is’s home value page.

So, do you plan on staying in your current home for a while or selling?
What have you done to your place to make it your own while adding value to it?

Stalk away!

Home Office Details

Thanks for all your amazingly sweet comments yesterday about my home office makeover reveal.  You guys are the bomb diggity.

Today I’m sharing some more details about the makeover and where I purchased everything.  And you know how I like transparency, so I’m also sharing the approximate cost of the makeover.  I’m going to give the prices of things I specifically purchased for the makeover.

ikea expedit

Wall color: Voyage by Valspar… $30

Workstation: 6×6 Ikea Expedit shelving unit and Expedit desk… $200 + $50 = $250 (BUT it was technically free to me because I cashed out some credit card points I acquired through paying for our wedding expenses.)

White boxes and magazine files: Ikea Kassett… $55

Pink boxes: Hobby Lobby… $35

Bridal bouquet canvas: Canvas On Demand (Groupon)… $45

ball canning jars used for craft storage


Clear Ball mason jelly jars: Goodwill… $12

Turquoise Ball mason jars: Yard sale and Goodwill

Bakers twine: eBay (18 spools)

Washi tape: Target

Vintage thread spools: Grandma

Buttons: JoAnn Fabric

printer cart

Printer cart: Gift

Greeting card organizer: Gift via (read about it here)

Here’s the before and after of the printer cart.  I used spray paint to spruce it up a bit.

printer cart before and after

home office makeover 2

Chair: Craigslist

Table: Goodwill… $9

Whale:  Kohls

Pillow: Home Goods

Blanket: Handmade gift

Curtains: Target… $20

craft room makeover 1

Gallery wall frames: Ikea (full details here)… ~$100

Katie Daisy print: Katie Daisy… $15

Sewing cabinet: Gift… but, the makeover cost around $40 (read about the makeover here)

Pink storage box: Kohls (read about the makeover here)

Apothecary jars: Micheal’s and Home Goods

Pink threads: thrift shop and grandma

craft room makeover

Fabric covered faux nailhead trimmed memo board:  Upcycled old cork board… $12 (read about the makeover here)

home office hydrangeas

Pink vase: Gift

Personalized lucite tray: DIY project… $15 (read about it here)

Gold polka dot candle holder: Target

Small white bowl: Goodwill

stenciled file cabinet

File cabinet: Gift (read about the makeover here)

Calendar: Anne Taintor via… $13

TOTAL AMOUNT SPENT: $651 – $250 (gift card from credit card points) = $401

A room makeover for less than $500?  Not too bad.

Who’s itching to go to Ikea now?
Any other questions?

two twenty one

Home Office: Before

Tomorrow I’m sharing my home office makeover.  You’re on pins and needles, right?  Well, today I’m showing you the former states of the room.

When we moved into our house in July, 2009 the every room was painted this shade of beige.  Here’s my office before we moved in.  Blank slate in my opinion.

home office before

I decided to paint my office purple.  My inspiration was a photograph I bought at an art fair the spring before we moved into our house.  Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking.  I’m going to blame it on being a young, excited, new home owner.

home office before

The room remained in its purple state from July, 2009 until September, 2011.  Throughout the months leading up to our June , 2011 wedding, the office became my wedding bunker.  I stored all of our wedding related decorations and other materials in the office.  After the wedding, I decided to purge and reorganize everything before I painted.  That meant putting everything in the center of the room– even the contents of the closet.

Hoard, much?  I had so much random crap in the room it was unreal.  Yes, you are seeing baby toys.  No, I don’t have a child you’re unaware of.  I work with toddlers.  So toddler toys are a must.

hoarders den

Why did I show you the above photo?  I’m trying to keep it real.  But notice how I didn’t watermark the photo.  I’ll share it with you, but I’m not putting my name on that hot mess.

So I cleaned up the room, sold the computer desk and corner bookshelf, and donated the barely recognizable TV stand.  Then I got to painting.

Speaking of painting, most of you know how hard it is to find a perfect gray.  Oof.  I brought home a few samples to try out on the wall.  The one on the far left is Gravity by Valspar.  Second to left is Voyage by Valspar.  I went with Voyage because I thought Gravity was too light.  I should have gone with Gravity.  The temptation to repaint the room came over me but I was tired of painting so I accepted the color and moved on.


Voyage is OK, but in color tends to look more blueish gray than gray.  Darn tricky grays.  At least it’s better than the purple.


My sewing cabinet makeover was the next big thing to hit this room after the new coat of paint on the walls.  All of those gray paint samples came in handy.  I used one of the samples (Grey Porch by Valspar) for the accent color on the sewing cabinet.

sewing cabinet before and after

white and grey sewing machine cabinet 1

My file cabinet also received a makeover in preparation for the room redo.  Again, all of those gray paint samples came in handy.  I used the Gravity sample to stencil the file cabinet.  Paint samples, people.  They’re your friends.

how to stencil furniture

And a few weeks ago I finished my gallery wall.  No paint samples were needed for this project.

gallery wall with white frames

Now that I’ve teased you with a few projects I hope you’re excited to come back tomorrow and see the room in its entirety.

Have you ever painted a room a color and later on thought “what was I thinking?”
Do you hoard paint samples so you can use them on future projects?
Plan on coming back tomorrow?

two twenty one

2013 Home Goals

I’m sharing my 2013 home goals today in order to hold myself accountable for getting stuff done around the house this year.  It’s like those people who resolve to lose weight and tell you to slap the donut from their hand if you see them indulging.  Seriously, I need to be held accountable.  Slap the proverbial donut from my hand.

Now, onto the goals.

Goal #1: Paint the bathroom vanities.
I’m over the honey oak.  The end.

green and blue bathroom

Goal #2:  Revamp our master bedroom walk-in closet.
We want to move the current clothes racks higher and add some lower clothes racks and extra storage.

Goal #3:  Finish the kitchen make-over.
I painted the kitchen in August.  Now it’s time to paint the cabinets and island and add a back splash.  I have some other ideas floating around in my head, but I can’t share them because I want it to be a surprise.

mint kitchen

Goal #4:  Organize our pantry.
Seriously.  It’s a hot mess.

Goal #5:  Get the dining room section of our great room together.
This includes finishing the 7 piece dining set I’ve been working on for four, yes, FOUR months.  I’m the worst at starting projects then going all ADD and moving on to another project.  Maybe this should be one of my New Year’s resolutions– get a handle on my DIY Project ADD.  I also need to move my late grandparents’ antique buffet into the dining room (it’s currently in the garage with the dining set) and decide if I want to paint it.  Like the kitchen, I have some other ideas but they will remain a secret.  Here’s a before photo of the dining set.

dining set before

Goal #6: Add shelving in the laundry/utility room.
Now that we have a new water softener, there’s an empty space in our laundry/utility room where the brine tank for our old water softener used to be.

Goal #7: Finish my home office/craft room.
Uh, I’ve been working on this room for well over a year now.  I’m telling you, I have a severe case of DIY Project ADD.  But seriously, I’ve been working on this room the past couple days.  I’ll hopefully finish it by, hmmm, May.  Here’s a before photo of the room.  Please don’t judge me.

home office before

Goal #8:  Add additional shelving in home office/craft room closet.
I need more storage for all of my sewing, craft, and home decor stuff.

Goal #9:  Freshen up our master bedroom.
I don’t want to share my idea because I’d want it to be a surprise.

Goal #10:  Paint the great room.
I would have done this a long time ago if I didn’t need scaffolding.  With the vaulted ceilings, the walls are 12-13 feet in most places.  Anyone know how expensive it is to rent scaffolding?  I’m afraid to use a tall leaning ladder because I don’t want to risk damaging the walls.

So there you go.  My lofty goals for 2013.  I figure I have a year.  But we’ll see how much I can get done.  Feel free to tweet or Facebook message me and ask me if I’m doing work.  Just don’t be annoying about it.

What are some of your home goals for this year?
Do you suffer from DIY Project ADD?  We should start a support group.

two twenty one

Living Room Picture Ledges {Picture Ledge}

I’ve said it before, I love the vaulted ceilings in our great room, but they plague me.  It’s hard to find the right wall art or furniture to fill the large sections of wall.  Well, score one more for me because I figured out another area of wall– the space above our love seat.

A few months back I saw some picture ledges in a magazine, and I was all “Oh, I can make those.”  Then, on my last trip to Ikea I spotted these 45 inch, white Ribba picture ledges.  For $15 each.  Sold.  Sometimes it’s easier to pony up the cash than to do-it-yourself.  If I would have done this project I probably would have spent close to $30 on the wood and paint.  And not to mention the 2-3 hours of work I’d have to put into them.  There’s a little DIY cost-benefit analysis for ya.

ikea ribba picture ledge

Before we get into all the details let me show you what I was working with before.  The before and after image made me laugh because it totally looks like one of those weight loss before and afters.

I was basically trying to work with what I had.  But as you can see, it definitely wasn’t working.  To say I love the ‘after’ is a definite given.  The white ledges and frames and the colorful prints brighten up the space.  Even the throw pillows I swapped in made this small area more fresh and less dated.

living room picture ledge before and after

Securing the ledges to the wall was pretty easy.  Each ledge comes with three pre-drilled holes.  We managed to get the middle screw into a stud, and we used drywall anchors to secure the other two screws.  If you plan to install these ledges I highly recommend getting your middle screw into a stud.  I don’t think the ledges would hold if they were installed with only drywall anchors and screws.

living room picture ledges

Putting up the picture ledges was a breeze.  Styling the ledges was another thing.  You wouldn’t think it’d take much time but it did.  My need to create visual triangles can be time consuming.  So pairing my perfectionist ways and my will to include only images that have some sort of meaning to us resulted in an hour or so of switching photos around.

ribba picture ledges 1

Here’s a breakdown of all the photos I used, in case you’re interested.

1.  Sketch of Jack I created in Photoshop.
2.  Reprint of watercolor painting I picked up in St. Martin while on a cruise we took in 2008.
3.  Wedding print (where we got engaged and had our first look).
4.  I made this custom monogram on the Wedding Chicks blog.
5.  Black and white photo of a street sign– it’s where Brad and I met in Bloomington.  Well, not on a street corner– Brad’s fraternity live out house was at the corner of 18th and Lincoln, so the house was always called ’18th and Lincoln’.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a Pretty Woman love story.
6.  Wedding print (again, where we got engaged and had our first look).
7.  Wedding photo of our rings with Scrabble tiles that make out the word ‘love’.  Awww.
8.  Our wedding guest book tree.  I flippin’ love that thing.
9.  Black and white photo of Jack as a pup.

All of the frames are from Ikea.

white picture ledges

In the end, I spent less than $75 for the entire display.  I haven’t figured out how to secure everything to the wall yet.  But we’ve had this up for over a month and nothing has fallen off.  I’ll get around to the securing part eventually.  But if you happen to come over and sit on the love seat, you’ve been warned.

Beautiful picture ledge display!  And it only cost $75 for everything!

What do you think about the picture ledges?
Have you ever purchased a piece rather than doing it yourself?

Card Catalog Styling

I did a little switcheroo in the living room area of our great room this past weekend.  I gave our dinky bookcase, that housed our DVDs, the boot and replaced it with the card catalog, that was living happily in the dining room area of our great room.  And so far I’m loving the bookcase eviction action plan.

I didn’t think to take a before picture, so I scoured my computer in an attempt to find a photo.  Here’s the best one I found of the bookcase… lightly decorated for Christmas 2009, our first Christmas in this house.  Doesn’t it look sad and alone?  I’m happy to report that the bookcase is enjoying its new home in our closet, where it’s housing my shoes.  (Can you spot the lazy dog?)

The size of the card catalog is perfect for this area of our living room.  We have vaulted ceilings in our great room, so the card catalog provides good height.  It’s going to be hard to take down this set up when I get around to redesigning the card catalog, but I’m already planning the card catalog’s replacement in this space.

Most of you know that I scored the card catalog for $85 from Craigslist (read about that here and here).  I also purchased the blue chair from someone off Craigslist for $40 almost two years ago– a little pricey, but it’s a great chair and was barely used.  Buying from old people has its benefits:  they take care of their stuff.  I stole the chevron pillow (purchased from Home Goods earlier this year) from our guest bedroom.

I adopted this adorable elephant from Home Goods yesterday.  His name is Percy.  He was free to me because I used a gift card, but he came with an $8 price tag in case you’re wondering.  The Readers Digest book was a Goodwill Outlet find from yesterday ($.69). The pink and white book is a thrift store book I covered with fabric leftover from my fabric covered message board.



I’m calling the white wire basket the Goodwill Outlet score of the month.  I came across 10 The Container Store elfa wire baskets (5 tall and 5 short) at the GW Outlet yesterday.  Score.  I brought home 5 tall and 3 short (two of the short baskets were too rusty for my liking).  The tall baskets were about $1.75 each.  My original plan was to use them in the garage, but I think I’ll put them to use in our master closet.
I filled one of the tall wire baskets with my great-grandmother’s quilt and the afghan my great aunt knitted for Brad and me.  It’s the softest blanket ever.  I have to fight to keep Jack off it when I use it.


Kroger keeps spoiling me with $.50 tulips.  Seriously, who turns down half a dozen tulips for two quarters?  I put these beauties in one of my thrifted hobnail milk glass vase.  I may or may not have three of these same exact vases.



What do you think of the new set up?
Isn’t Percy adorable?  Love that little guy.
Could you say no to fifty cent tulips?