Sunday, July 27, 2014

Adding Some Character: Part Two

So the kitchen wall paper project extended itself to doing some trim work in the hallway and around our front door.  My contractor, John took the left over chair rail and crown molding from the dining and office room projects and made a trim around our front door. Thanks, John for your creativity!

Next, I thought it would look funny to have the chair rail stop in our kitchen. So we added chair rail along the hallway. At first I thought I should have done some wainscoting but I had to stay true to the "feel" of my house. Although wainscoting is beautiful, I think our hallway is too narrow for such detail, especially for the cost.  I'm debating if we should add the wainscoting to our stair case. The idea of adding it there is to make our entry way more dramatic. But then again, I have my boxes on either side, and plan to find a really nice wall paper or even some fabric to put inside the boxes.  So, we'll see…

Enjoy the pictures below…and Happy building and decorating!
Picture of our hallway before paint,chair rail, and plantation shutters on our sidelight windows.

Paint complete, chair rail, and plantation shutters installed.  Note, I do know that my picture is too low on the wall, I have since moved it up.
Here is a close up of John's trim work over our front door!
Here is a few from upstairs, along with a glimpse of our window above. 

Speaking of my boxes, we completed these last October…but after painting them, they now pop! My next project is to take care of the foyer window. I'm in between do I just trim it or actually put a treatment there?  My gut says to do both…doing an apron  (or as I also knew it, placing a sill below the window) at the bottom and then a treatment at the top, what do you think?

Here is a picture of the boxes from our upstairs. 
Close up of our box, I plan to wall paper or put  a stretched piece of fabric. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Adding Some Character: Part One

The worst part of new a construction home is the lack of character. When we bought our house we did not select the trim package; as a matter of fact, we purchased our house with very little upgrades. 

In our model, the Savoy, the entry from the garage brings you directly into the kitchen.  We never use our front door to enter our house.  So, therefore, our walls were taking a beating.  I knew that even with getting rid of the builder grade paint, my walls would look bad again.  So, what could I do?  My contractor suggested wall paper on the bottom half of the wall.  I pretty much nixed his idea and thought I would do bead board or wainscoting. But after thinking it through, I thought bead board would be too "farm/country" of a look for my kitchen. My style of decorating is transitional--a mixture of traditional and contemporary.

Wainscoting is lovely, but the angle of our kitchen wall would make it pretty hard to do. So, I went back to the wall paper idea, and visited Atlas Wall Paper and Paint in Cherry Hill, NJ.  I met with Michael (a wonderful designer) and he immediately showed me this vinyl, durable, textured wall paper. All I can say is I'm very pleased with the product.  I selected to add chair rail to act as a boarder and to add some character too.  Below, see our before and after shots.  I can say that our "vanilla" builder grade house is finally starting to feel like my home!

Happy building and decorating!
Here is the sample of the wall paper against our selected wall color, Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige. 

Our kitchen wall before.

Here we have the wall in progress picture.  We chose a textured, vinyl wallpaper.  My friends at Atlas Wallpaper in Cherry Hill, NJ helped with the selection.  Pictures don't do it justice…it's a bronze color and it's really beautiful in person.

No chair rail yet and the brown shoe molding is still there.
Next we added chair rail. We also pulled up the brown shoe molding below. 

Here is a close up of the white shoe molding. 

Then we added some accessories.  I went "shopping" in my house and moved these pictures from my bedroom into the kitchen.
Final product…white shoe molding added.

This is the wall directly in front as you walk into the kitchen from the garage. 

The photo is a little dark, but this is the view from the morning room. into the kitchen/hall.

And here is the final look of the entryway from the garage into the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Curb Appeal!

 So grateful to SLS lanscaping for making our front yard look great! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

More Ryan Woes

Hi everyone,

We're now gathering bids to finish our basement. So far we've had two people come out and we're waiting for a third on this Friday.  The first contractor that came out informed us that Ryan installed our 3 piece rough-in WRONG.  Can you tell me how annoyed I was to hear this information?!? First, we paid $300 for a home inspector who MISSED this issue, and the ENTIRE reason we paid $1500 for the 3 piece rough-in was to avoid additional cost when we decided to finish our basement.

In addition to the rough-in problem our stoop is literally crumbling.  We had our Ryan rep come out to take a look and he claims it is from us putting salt on the concrete.  My astute husband questioned, well, if salt did that to the stoop, is the sidewalk and walkway material different from the stoop? Because he pointed out that we used the same material on the sidewalk, walkway, and stoop and the other items are not crumbling.  Remember Arsenio Hall's skit…"things that make you say, Hmmm?"  Well, we were informed by Ryan that they'll put some compound on the stoop (but they can't give a date when) to smooth out the surface.  The Ryan rep, Steve Herring said, just to let you know, my manager looked at the stoop and he agreed with me that it was salt. Whatever, dude!  Just fix it so it looks better than what it looks now. As far as the 3 piece rough-in…they subcontractor that did the work for Ryan is coming out on 6/13.  We also need the floor subcontractor to come out AGAIN to replace some of the floor planks and  to replace the damaged baseboard.

Now in hindsight, I'm really regretting doing new construction.  Our walls are bumpy, the seams suck, and the sub floors really stink in this house.  Initially I thought we'd be here until my daughter graduates from high school…not too sure about that now.  We may be moving out of this house sooner than we thought, but we'll see.

Now onto some fun stuff…my side light shutters were installed today!  They look great, and definitely provide privacy.   We are still painting. The family is now finished.  We're wall papering our kitchen/garage entry way hopefully this weekend. Once the project is complete, I will do a post. We are getting landscaping tomorrow.  Can't wait to have the curb appeal updated.

Family room is painted...Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


We had our runner installed last night.  I was a little nervous of how I would like the pattern, but I have to say I not only like it, I love it! When we first moved in I thought I didn't want to compromise the steps by putting carpet over it. But having a toddler changes things, it's all about safety! Now that we have carpet on the steps, I don't know how we lived for almost two years without it.

We are still in the midst of other home improvements, so stay tuned for more pictures to come.

Here is the runner.  Again we went with Smart Carpet, a Costco vendor.  We paid $862 for the carpet, binding and installation.  I also received a small runner for my hallway, all included in the price above.  The carpet we chose is by Milliken and the style is Modern Flair, Nickel.  The carpet is nylon and has a basic pad underneath.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Wreath Project

Now, I'm not Colette of "Moving to the Country" but I did try my hand at making a wreath for our front door on my own. To my surprise, I enjoyed doing it too!

For what seems like forever, I've been searching for the perfect wreath and didn't find it until I went on BUT I didn't want to pay the price of nearly $100. So, I did some research and found out that I could easily duplicate the wreath.  So here is what I did:

I went to Michael's, which lucky for me has an 35% off coupon  that week, and I got the following:

  • Three 6 ft vines of artificial boxwood leaves (it is plastic, better to have this over silk for the elements). I paid  $11.99 per vine (all prices below show the coupon discount).
  • One wire wreath frame at 16 inches for $2.99:
  • One Fleur De Lis wreath hanger for $4.99
Then I found the other items at Kirklands and Home Depot:
Total savings for doing it myself is $40.00!

Here is a comparison of my wreath (on the right) to that of Etsy (on the left):

Here is a full door view:




Friday, May 16, 2014


What a difference paint makes!  It's been almost 2 years, and we finally started  to paint our house. We waited for the year nail pops and for seam repair work. We're painting one room at a time.  But here are a few pictures of our rooms; the office and the dining room.  We also changed out the light fixture, added molding and chair rail--bye-bye builder grade!  It's hard to see in the picture, but our office is Sherwin Williams, Repose Grey and our dining room is Comfort Grey.  The dining room in person is more of a green-blue grey and the office is a traditional grey.  One of these days I will break out my professional camera opposed to using my iPhone.

Stay tuned for more fun pictures to come as we continue to paint. Happy building and decorating everyone!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Hi everyone!

So much has been happening over in our neck of the woods. First, my daughter turned 1!  Man, it feels as though I blinked and that she went from a baby to now a full fledged toddler!  We had a "Sweet Shop" themed party and I enjoyed all the party planning aspects of the event.   Below, is a picture of the yummy and awesome cake that my neighbor, Alicia Baker made.  Alicia is not a professional baker, but from the taste and the look of this cake, I think she needs to go into business.

Our floors were replaced last Thursday. Although the creaking is gone, the process of  ripping up the floors was a pain!  I am most annoyed that now I have to show how baseboards are cracked, walls are dinged, and I also have glue on my new floors.  It makes me think that had Ryan did the floors right in the first place we could have all avoided this drama.

Now, we're onto the next issue, seam work.  We have bumpy ceilings, walls, and some cracked areas where  the metal framing is poking through the drywall. We are scheduled to start the work next week. I hear the dust is a pain in the butt!  I guess I will need to get a cleaning crew out again to handle the clean up.

Onto better news--the rooms that don't need work done--the dining room and the office are currently being painted and we're having molding added to them too. Once it is finished I will add pics!

Still is a new table for our foyer that I ordered from West Elm.  I also found the fun shaped latern from you guessed it, HomeGoods!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chairs Update

So the chairs work in the room; the color is magnificent!  I don't need an 8 piece setting, so I will delete two chairs from the table. What do you think?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shop Till You Drop!

I don't really have much to post about the house except, I have chosen my paint colors! The palette will be gray, green/blueish and beige. But the project is placed on semi-hold because the hardwoods still need to be replaced---ugghhh! The good news is my contractor is very understanding and is willing to do the job in stages. So, we'll start with our foyer, and upstairs and then move down to the rest of the house.

So, this post is just about pictures. Here are a few of my buys from my favorite places--HomeGoods, Costco, Target, Pier One,  Ross, TJ Maxx, Macy's, and  Marshalls.  I also bought a runner for our stairs!   Enjoy the photos and happy building and decorating!
Spruced up my lamps with this top. I found this at Pier One on clearance for $9.99. It adds the right pop of color for the room. 

Full view...

Nate Berkus metal artwork. I found this at Target on clearance for $7.98!

Here is a sample of what my stair runner will look like (this runner only has two colors cream and beige). Below is a picture of the print up close (our pattern will have 3 colors--gray, beige, and cream). Just like this picture, our walls will be painted gray. The color, by Sherwin Williams is Repose Gray. 
Milliken "modern flair" print, the color is nickel. This will go on our stairs as a runner.  I found this at Costco. Costco has a contract with a local carpet store. In our area the store is Smart Carpet.  They'll come to your house, measure and will show you samples of carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, you name it.  I already knew what brand, color, and style I wanted because I did my research.  I was shopping around to see where I could get the best price.  And the Costco connection saved me $500 and will provide me with not only a runner for my stairs, but runner for my hallway.  Check your local Costco to see if they have the same program.   The carpet above is our standard carpet that we chose from Ryan. The color matches well.

Our family room is really starting to come together.  I have new window treatments  coming soon.  I will update once they arrive.  Leather furniture is from Macys, the Clyde collection. Small tables from HomeGoods, which were $49.99 a piece. Orange blankets also HomeGoods, $19.99 a piece. 

Artwork from HomeGoods... $29.99 each. 

This picture shows my dining room paint color, Sherwin Williams, Comfort Gray.  The color is really unique. In our dining room it appears to look blue/green next to my peacock pieces.  I can't wait to see it! 

I am debating on placing shutters on our sliding door in our morning room. If I get these, this will be another Costco connection.  I was quoted a price of $1600, which is about $130 cheaper than I was quoted from another vendor.  What do you think, do you like the look?

My buy for this week found at Marshalls.  These are Cynthia Rowley dining chairs at $99 a piece. The color is hard to see in the picture, but is teal. These chairs will compliment my peacock inspired dining room.  I have these chairs on a "paid hold" at the store.  I love this concept, I have a few days to think about it and if I see something different or think it will not work for my space, all I do is go back to the store and make an easy return. And in most cases, not hassle of lugging back cumbersome objects.   This really helps at stores like HomeGoods because you know if you see it, you better get it because nine times out of ten it won't be there when you go back.  Hopefully they will work in the room. The store had two chairs in this pattern. I think using these chairs as anchors at the end of the dining table would really transform the room. I will keep my four other  chairs that came with the set. Again, I hope it works…I will keep you posted.
Back of the chair, showing off the nail head pattern.

Office space storage benches.  These are faux leather, got them for $39.99 a piece from T J Maxx.  I placed them together and put a table runner (Tahari Home, HomeGoods $16.99) to make it look like one piece.  We store CDs and movies in the benches.  The tray on top is from HomeGoods, $18 on clearance, and the pedestal candles are from HomeGoods priced from $9.99-11.99. Finally, the silver candles are from Pottery Barn. 

Office art wall.  All these items were found at Ross.  NYC picture $29.99, @ sign $7.99 and family artwork $6.99.

Love these pillows!  Found them at HomeGoods for $16.99 a piece. The lamp is from Macy's, on clearance for $130.00.

Better picture of the lamps base. The lamps are solid wood, with a brushed nickel base.  I didn't plan to have two in the room, but Macy's decided to give me two for the price of one. Gotta love online shopping!