Toothbrushing time.

I was so proud of the boys the other night, because they brushed their teeth without needing me to ask multiple times. Furthermore, they actually brushed them for a long period of time, and let me help without fighting back. So I praised them and especially Julius:

Me: “Julius!! You’re going to have the best smile from here to Timbuktu!”

George: “Yeah…and I’m going to have the best smile from here to Timbuk-three!”

As you can tell, they are not competitive at all.

Finale Tour! Finally….the remodel (rebuild!) is complete!

We have everything just how we want it — so I snapped some pics and took a video of the final house presentation –> basically this is as good as it gets…WE ARE DONE!! We told our realtor slash friend “It’s been three years of blood, sweat and arguments, but we’re done.” Truly, we didn’t fight about it THAT MUCH. It was mostly the following points of contention:

I didn’t want to try concrete counters…because it was pretty experimental…we weren’t sure what it would look like at the end of the day, but they look amazing! I admit it, I was wrong for not wanting to do concrete counters.

Also, I didn’t want Ross to paint the leaded glass door for the upstairs bath. It was a beautiful solid wood door, and in my head I pictured a polished wood door with leaded glass warming up all that cold, sterile white tile. However, now that it is in and it’s painted white, the leaded glass is really the main focal point, and mimics the black and white patterns all over the tile, and the natural wood might have detracted from the leaded glass. In all honesty, either wood or white, it doesn’t really matter, the door itself is just killer cool. It’s stupid shit like that that we fought about that doesn’t even impact the house.

Ross wasn’t a big fan of my “hello” decal idea on the door — which I think adds huge curb appeal and gives the house personality. Now that it’s done, he admits it looks great — maybe he thought it was going to look like a small sticker on the door or something, but I actually painted it, so it doesn’t look cheap.

Ross wanted to build some sort of shelving or storage built-ins under the stairs, until I nixed the idea. Now that it’s nice and open under there, with hooks and a bench, he likes it and is glad we didn’t do all the additional work on that area.

Still on my list — I want to do side by side comparisons of areas that were overhauled in a big way, like the bathrooms, the staircase, the kitchen cabinets, the pantry corner, the grossly-carpeted living room…and the master with new walk-in closet of course!

I also have a concrete countertop post sitting in my drafts. I kind of feel like Ross should write it, but he refuses, so that’s why it’s been pending so long…I’m hoping he fires up the laptop and writes it himself. I’m going to sound like an idiot because I didn’t touch those counters, haha.

Here are the pictures of our fourth baby…and a walk-through video of course. It’s really satisfying to see it finished!! #alloureggs

Notice my “hello” decal on the door!

Shutters + window boxes added a lot!

We added some patio furniture to the back patio and our fire pit

The living room looks a lot bigger with furniture in it

The rugs and table fit perfectly, and it was just lucky because I bought them a long time ago

The downstairs bedroom is right off the dining room

The downstairs bathroom is now off the back hallway; we moved the original door which led into the kitchen

This built-in we put together from an antique buffet; it could function as a pantry to store baking goods or could store dishware.

We added a farmhouse table instead of an island – we definitely needed more “workspace” in the kitchen but didn’t want to close it in any more with more wall cabinets

I was nervous about breaking the “kitchen work triangle” design concept but it totally works!

I love the space under the stairs – the possibilities are endless!

We used Edison bulbs on the staircase fixture to [hopefully] add a little industrial look

That leaded glass door is a surprise gem at the end of the hallway!

We debated adding more storage to the right of the sink, but I liked how spacious it was and figured someone could always add a stand/shelf if they want later on

The opposite side of the upstairs bath has a clawfoot tub

I staged the second upstairs bedroom as a nursery

The shiplap makes the master super cozy and cottage-like

The walk-in closet space was the extra corner left over after the bathroom expansion

We expanded the chimney in the master in order to cover up the ductwork/chaseway that we didn’t just want to block out with drywall


Staircase refinishing

Refinishing the staircase took a looooong time but it is sooooo worth it! I assumed we would refinish the wood and stain it, but Ross actually suggested we paint the riser white along with the spindles. It does look very crisp and clean; it looks great! Ross ended up stripping the entire staircase to get rid of the pukey pink paint color, and all the carpet staples came out one by one. Take a look:

This is what the staircase looked like after pulling off carpet and a million staples

The staircase when we started

Painting the riser and spindles

First coat of primer on

The finished staircase

Where to start.

I was changing Jonna’s diaper (pretty constant around here…girlfriend pees a lot) and George’s curious nature showed itself…

“Mommy, why does Jonna have two butts?”

I don’t even know where to begin. Except maybe, that’s not a butt.

Progress update!

We’re getting so close! The minute the trim went on, I started getting excited. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t excited about the studs and garage floor and roof (pssst: I wasn’t) but the finishing touches are so much more impactful! My mother-in-law stopped over and she nearly walked into a wall upstairs because she was so distracted by the bathroom finishings, haha. That’s what we’re going for…we want everyone to walk into walls because they’re so busy swiveling their head around! Here’s some photos of the current progress and a shnazzy video tour (don’t worry, the music is just the intro, not through the whole video).

All that’s left is window flower boxes and shutters (I have some big flower pots full of annuals for the stairs)


Understair storage

First coat of primer on the stairs

Upstairs hallway (bathroom door at the end of the hall)

Upstairs bathroom

Upstairs bath with clawfoot tub

Master bedroom upstairs

Second upstairs bedroom

Third bedroom downstairs

Dining room

Living room

View of the kitchen from the dining area

View of the kitchen from the rear of the home

View of the kitchen from the entryway hallway

Downstairs bath (this is on your right when you come in the back door)

Landscaping plan for the entire yard (thanks Lowe’s!)

Ross and I hesitated for a hot second on how much landscaping we should actually do. I mean, our yard at home desperately needs new mulch and we need to move and split a bunch of flowers and plants, so it’s hard to just ignore all of that and spend a few days landscaping at our “other house.” But in the end, it was really important to show off the nice new patio and walkway and front steps and make it seem more like a home than just a rental that no one cares about.

The exterior just needs shutters and we may do window boxes for flowers too

We did a square flower bed in the front yard with some pink iris from our house and some yellow flowers in front

I planted some of the ‘rosey glow’ barberry at our house, next to my hasta, but it’s hard to see for the weeds :/

In fact, I just had coffee with my girlfriend from high school and found out they sold their home in Richfield and bought a house about three blocks away. I asked her why…if it was just a bigger home or nicer home…and she said it was a little bit bigger but the kitchen was actually the same size or smaller…so I asked her what really stood out to them about the new house. Guess what she said? THE LANDSCAPING! Her exact words as I recall were “You could just tell someone put a lot of thought into the landscaping; it was laid out so  nice.” She said there is always something in bloom and she really enjoys their outside spaces. What are the chances I hear that from her, just as we are debating going to town on the landscaping at our property?? Crazy.

George was promoted to lead landscaper 😉

George was really trying to dig but needed our help to loosen the dirt first

George and Julius helped water the plants, aka played in the water 😉

I found a great sale on plants at a greenhouse in the Twin Cities and was able to stock up for under $200, which I think it kind of a steal for the bigger bushes and junipers! Let’s just say I called for a quote from a different greenhouse/nursery and it was twice that price for the same stuff. So prices must vary pretty wildly depending on where you order from or what is “in stock” price versus special order.

We transplanted lily from our house into an “L” shape along the garage and neighbor’s property line

Julius loves to find rocks lately and kept throwing mulch pieces into a bucket of water –kept him busy though!

Look at that guy! I just love my baby boy. <3

I actually found the general design I wanted from this great guide from Lowe’s on Pinterest! When full-grown, it should lend a huge amount of privacy to the patio area that is missing today. What I ended up buying was 3 Junipers (they’re supposed to get as tall as 8 feet!), 3 yellow smoke bushes (these can get up to 10 feet tall!), 5 ‘rosey glow’ red barberry bushes, and purple ajuga ground cover, which I want to plant at our house too because it looks fabulous when it spreads out. I’ve already found more ajuga from a local on craigslist!

We followed the Lowe’s design pretty closely

The yellow smoke bush I substituted for the cypress because it was so tall already

The boys were so proud of their hard work!

Currently, we have a ton of yellow sedum ground cover at our own house, and I actually had the boys dig some of it up to plant at our project house. We just bought them cute little mini shovels and they are not the best at digging, but the ground cover was shallow enough that they were able to help transplant it! With minimal assistance, haha.

The sedum ground cover we took from one of our flower beds at home and used it over at the project house

George put on his work gloves and helped momma split the lilys up. Yes, my trunk is now filthy.

We piled up sedum in the boys’ Sears wagon

I know it was 90 degrees and sunny, and we would have rather have been out on the boat or playing on the beach, but truthfully, days we spend working hard like this are what our boys will remember, hopefully forever. I want them to know how to dig, I want them to know how to play and have fun while working hard. It’s important for me to see them running around and making up games instead of sitting inside playing on their Leapfrogs, or being entertained by mom and dad at the cabin. It’s very satisfying to me to see them make up games to keep themselves busy with just some water in a bucket. I hear them laugh and run and I know they will remember working at our project house all together as a family!

We transplanted daylilys for the opposite side of the patio

It’s a mix of orange and red daylilys and there may even be a random pink iris in there (per Ross)

Pasta Pasta

Let me give you an idea of what our dinners are like lately. During dinner one night, maybe a month ago, George grabbed the lid from the top of a water bottle and laid it on its side. He put his finger on the top/ridged part of it and pushed down on it, so it rolled across the table. He thought it was the best thing ever, and he declared it his new favorite game. So now, this is what happens almost every night at dinner:

George runs around collecting bottle tops from anywhere he can find them. Vitamin containers, bottles of water, anything goes. Everyone gets a bottle top and we count down – 3- 2- 1…and everyone flicks their bottle lid across the table as fast as we can. Depending on how far your lid goes and where it ends up, you win.

The best part? He calls the bottle top racing game “Pasta Pasta.” I’m not sure what his logic was for naming it, but it is the cutest thing in the world when he runs up to the table with his bottle tops: “Okay now, let’s play Pasta Pasta!”

I hope I never forget how to play Pasta Pasta. When I’m on my deathbed, I want to play Pasta Pasta. ♥

Amazing built-in from Bauer Brothers (pantry project)

About a year and a half ago, in the dead of winter, (I still remember the snow blowing across the ice on the road) we chugged over to Bauer Brothers to pick out a built-in for our pantry nook in the kitchen. When we bought the house, the pantry was under the stairs and while practical, I guess, it was dark, dingy, and kind of spooky. We decided in the corner of the kitchen, on the wall we closed up leading to the bathroom, we would do a square pantry with a door, or we would do a built-in style piece of furniture that could function as additional counter space but also pantry storage (big drawers and whatnot).

I know it’s hard to see the logic behind the decision so here is an illustration of what we changed in the space. Essentially we had more wall, given we moved the bathroom entrance out of the kitchen. It created a perfect little corner, for the pantry, so we could get it out from under the stairs and make it more accessible. More accessible, less creepy.

See that dark sliver of pantry?

Where’s this pantry that you speak of…

We are SO GLAD we decided on the built-in. We painted it Dutch Boy Manatee to contrast against the walls and cabinets. I wanted to make sure it looked like a piece of furniture and stood out against everything else. We chose butcher block counters because they stood out from the concrete counters on the other side of the kitchen.

Cut in half (eeek!) and painted

Ross actually had to cut the hutch in half in order to add a countertop. Originally it was all one hutch/built-in, so this part scared me, and I wasn’t sure it would look good after we split it in half. Needless to say, he knew what he was doing and it looks great!

It’s the perfect size for this smaller kitchen

Bottom piece and countertop installed

It was my idea to use two corbels on the sides instead of a plain piece of trim. We bought the corbels (green and pretty beat up) from Bauer Brothers Salvage as well as the hutch/pantry. I’m beyond thrilled with how it turned out.

Getting the top installed was a bitch! I burst a blood vessel in my eye holding it up!

We’re using the original hardware

Corbel cut and installed

Finished built-in!

I would love one of these in my kitchen – big drawers for canned goods or flour and sugar, glass doors to display all of your pretty dishes…it’s perfect!