Thursday, June 28, 2018

Renovating and our four girls

I am frequently asked how we get all of our projects done while raising our four girls. My answer is simple. We don't always get it done. At least not right away.

All projects take time and some level of planning but you have to be ready for some surprises. Sometimes things don't work out how you have planned and the more prepared you are for that to happen the better the outcome and less stress you have along the way.

We have eaten more fast food meals on the floor than we would like to admit. We have painted from sun up to sun down while our girls run wild around us taking breaks to get them snacks, meals or anything else they may need. We (read as Brian) have tiled long into the early hours of the morning only to catch a quick nap and get to our day job. There are days that our girls are so sick and tired of our projects, or literally sick and tired, that we have to divide and conquer or just call it a day. There are also days where every single one of them wants to help and all of a sudden we find ourselves surrounded by four little girls with paint brushes and rollers ready to get to work.

When we moved into our house we only had one working toilet and a sink. No shower. No bath. It stayed that way for the first week we lived in the home. We found ourselves traveling back and forth to our empty apartment a few blocks away to shower and bathe the kids. Was it convenient, hell no. Things happen and timelines change but we made the best of it. It was stressful then but we laugh about it now, at how crazy we were to think we could refinish the hardwood floors, gut the main bathroom and also move in a two week time period while we were both working and the girls attended school. Oh, and did I mention that we had also planned to paint all of the rooms on the first floor?! Ha! We were delusional, but here we are eight months in and the projects that need to get done are getting done and the projects we want to be doing are moving up on the list.

My advice is this. Don't be afraid to let your kids help. If they have no interest in helping, plan a movie day with some fun snacks for them while you work. Always measure at least twice, and three times if you get interrupted. Most importantly, roll with the punches. Plan to take your time and if your project gets done ahead of schedule give yourself a pat on the back and pour yourself a glass of wine. If it doesn't get done on schedule, pour yourself a glass of wine, get a good night sleep and get back to it tomorrow. You've got this!

Pictures of how our bathroom looked when we first moved in.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The days are long

"The days are long, but the years are short."- Gretchen Rubin

Brian and I bought our first home shortly after beginning our family in 2012. We wanted a place of our own for our daughters to grow up and build memories. On a tiny wall in our small and awkward kitchen I began documenting their growth through the months and years. Something I had always loved seeing in family homes passed down through generations. So many memories were made in that first home and on that tiny span of wall. First time standing, first years, mid-year growth spurts. Those markings were a special memory of moments throughout their early childhood.

When Brian took a job a few hours away, we listed our home and with that had to paint over those markings. It was probably one of the more difficult moments of that time of my life, as silly as that sounds. I was leaving a city that I grew up in, good friends that had been made over the years and memories of the early days of our growing family. Some of those most cherished memories being those markings on the wall. I would never get those days back.

Since that time, several years have passed, our family has grown and we have settled into a new home. With our youngest turning two this past May, I came to the sad realization that our four girls are growing up too quickly and it's about time I started documenting it all again.

This past February I met Lauren, owner and creator, of White Loft in passing at the Palm Springs airport following an event that we had both attended. I had long admired her shop and we exchanged information before heading to our separate gates. Lauren was so kind to send us one of her growth charts in summer oak finish for us to start making these memories once again. While I can't get back what we left, I am beyond excited to start making new memories of growth and change with our new White Loft wooden growth chart. It is something that will be cherished for years to come. I look forward to preserving these times while they grow.

Use code JENNA through June 30th for 15% off your purchase!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Modern Privacy Fence Installation

Brian and I tend to lean more towards modern design around the home and the exterior is no different. We knew we wanted a modern privacy fence but were also aware of the added cost of going modern over traditional when considering a professional install. Being on a rather tight budget we decided to call around and received quotes from two local companies for traditional fences. Each quote given was for removal of the original open post fence and the install of an updated dog-ear pine privacy fence. 

Quote 1: $4934 ($2467 deposit + $2467 at completion)
Quote 2: $4440 ($2440 deposit + $2000 at completion)

We were a little shocked at the cost of each. Knowing the low cost of materials from our frequent trips to Lowe's, we were discouraged at the thought of going the professional route especially since it was not the look we had in mind. After a little more research and investigating the ease of removing our old fencing ourselves, we found that we could cut costs and deliver the look we really wanted for a fraction of the price of the professionals. Neither Brian nor myself are afraid to get our hands dirty and tackle projects on our own so the decision made ended up being rather easy. 

We decided on a modern horizontal slat fence made with pressure treated boards and posts. We already had rough measurements of the yard from the quotes we initially received which made our work a little easier. 

$45- (10 bags) Crushed drainage stone
$45- (10 bags) 50lb Quick Set Concrete
$180- (19) 4"x4"X8' Pressure treated posts
$320- (200) 5/8"x 5.5"x6' Pressure treated 
$25- 14" Post Hole Digger

Materials Total: $615
(+ $75 Delivery fee and $55 Tax)

The first step was the removal of the old posts which was easier than we originally thought as they did not have a poured concrete base. Several of them required little digging and even I could pull them from the ground. Once the old posts were out we re-measured the lot and corners before marking where the new posts would be placed. 

Once all of the post were marked, it was time to dig. I left this job to Brian as it was a little more strenuous and even he had some difficulty thanks to the giant maple tree whose roots are sprawled beneath our yard. A layer of crushed drainage stone was poured before placing the posts and pouring in the concrete. We let it set for roughly 24hrs before filling the holes back in with dirt. 

When it came time to add the panels we started at the most level point of the yard to ensure the boards were placed exactly where we wanted them. Using an extra board for guidance, a roughly 5/8" gap was made between all of the boards allowing filtered light and privacy. Towards the back and again towards the garage we have a mild slope and in order to accommodate, the back panels were stepped.

A little blood and sweat later and we could not be happier with how the fence has turned out! 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Backyard renovation: Part 1

When purchasing our new home one of the most important things on our "must-have" list was a backyard. With four small children and a dog, we knew that a safe place for them to play and run was essential and this house did not disappoint.

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect blank slate of a space and dreamed of the yard we could make it. Now that spring is finally approaching and the planning has begun. We are beyond excited for the transformation in store.

- Enclosed yard with modern privacy fence
- Designated entertaining, cooking and play zones
- Gardening space for our annual vegetable garden
- Updated entryway
- Fresh paint
- Overhaul plants/greenery/mulch beds

Pictures provided courtesy of MLS

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ev's Toddler Room: Progress Report

In just under two months our sweet Evelyn turns two.

At this stage in our other girls lives they were either a new big sister or about to become one. To not cause too much confusion all at once we made early transitions from the crib to a toddler bed for each of them. I felt it was easier to adjust to one change at a time and not have to uproot them from their beds in addition to welcoming their new sibling, and it seemed to work. They all adjusted very well to the change and continued with their usual sleep habits from night one and beyond.

Things are a little different this time around with Ev. She is our last baby and there is no need to adjust life for a new sibling. I debated with myself quite a bit on whether or not she would be ready to leave the crib at this age but in the end decided to go for it.

I have to admit I am both a little sad and excited for this change. This transition is feeling a lot like the end of an era. While it is sad to say goodbye for good to the baby years, I am having a lot of fun saying hello to the toddler years and the new room I get to create for her.

Some plans throughout this bedroom make-over progress have stalled while we finalize decisions and other plans have changed entirely. For starters, we have decide to leave the mattress at ground level for the time being. It makes the bed a little safer and easier for her to climb in an out of. I also think this will help in the planned summer time potty training if she is able to quickly get from her bed to the bathroom. Having to climb out of a taller bed would definitely stall the process.

The second change we made in our plans was painting the room. We had first decided on Sherwin Williams Passive but then thought to keep the color as is, a light robins egg blue meet sage green depending on the lighting. It is very subtle but just enough color to really make the room stand out from our rather monochrome first floor. Well, after leaving it as is for a few weeks I have changed my mind once again and am back to my Sherwin Williams paint deck to choose some possible colors.

While it doesn't look like a lot to most, progress is slowly being made and I am happy with how it is all coming together.

My favorite addition to her room by far is her Lorena Canals washable rug. The modern and simplistic Bereber Beige rug was the perfect addition to the space and I can't tell you how amazing of a feeling it is to know that any mess and spill can be taken care of by simply throwing the entire rug into the washing machine and dryer for easy clean-up. It's amazing! Not to mention, all Lorena Canals rugs are eco-friendly and handmade from 100% natural cotton that is naturally dyed and contains no VOCs unlike most carpets and rugs. It is an all around great rug and on top of it all it is beyond soft. We have enjoyed hours of playtime on it so far!

Stay tuned for more updates as the room is finalized.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Girls Shared room reveal

I haven't posted a lot of the process for the girls shared room but it has been quite the labor of love. From the moment we first stepped foot in what would become our home I had so many plans for each room, the girls rooms especially. Living in an apartment for the last three years we were not able to make too many personalizations to their spaces so when we finally got the keys to our own place I was beyond excited to give them each a room where they could grow and play. 

When it came to G and L's shared room, my goals were to keep the space light, bright and something they could grow into and not out of. There was not a lot of space to work with so I needed to be a little creative with furniture and placement. The matching twin platform beds were the starting point which gave some serious vintage vibes and I ran with it. I kept the bedding simple with dusty rose colored sheets and gray quilts. The dresser was a little more difficult. I needed something with height to accommodate the limited square footage and this beautiful antique dresser that I found on Craigslist jumped right out at me. I replaced the old wood knobs to give a little more dimension and character. 

At the moment the window dormer is still a work in progress but the plan is to transform the cozy space into a reading nook for the girls with comfy seating, a small bookshelf and a reading light. 

My favorite addition to this room has to be the blush floral accent wall. Urban Walls was kind enough to gift us the wall decals for this project and I could not be more in love with them. They fit the room perfectly. The process, while a little intimidating at first glance, was beyond easy. In a matter of hours the room was transformed and I am so happy with the results. 

Now, on to the next project!

Twin Beds | Nightstand (Target- No longer available) | Rug (Target- No longer available)
Dresser (craigslist) | Dresser Knobs | Gold ShelfWall Decals

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Planning the perfect toddler room

*Rug was sent compliments of Lorena Canals. All opinions expressed are my own.

If you have followed along with our home renovation journey, you have had the opportunity to see some of our designs and projects come to life. What you might not know, is that some of the most exciting of these projects (to me at least) are the ones that have been created more behind the scenes than in front of them. This can definitely be said of our almost two year old's bedroom.

When we bought our home last October it had wall to wall beige carpet that we quickly tore out before refinishing the hardwoods. Up until this point, the floor in our youngest's room has remained bare and she has not had a soft place to read and play while in there, which was a problem I have been very eager to remedy.

As I began designing Evelyn's new space, and preparing her to transition out of her crib, the vision for her room was a simple one. It needed to be a room that could be built upon as she grows with little additions here and there. After all, the budget for this project while not defined, would be a small one.

I thought it best to start from the bottom up with what would likely the most expensive item that we were adding to the room. When deciding on the flooring for a toddler's room, three things came to mind while scrolling through pages and pages of rugs. It needed to be durable, easy to clean and affordable while fitting into our general home design and my goals for the space. To my surprise I was able to check off each of these when finding the brand Lorena Canals. Lorena Canals creates sophisticated handmade cushions and rugs that are machine washable and dryable, and perfect for any space from living room to kids bedrooms. As an eco conscious person I was even more excited to learn that Lorena Canals rugs are eco-friendly and made from 100% natural cotton that is naturally dyed and contains no VOCs unlike most carpets and rugs.

The modern and simplistic Bereber Beige rug was the perfect addition to the space and would be that cozy spot that we could sit to play and read together or a space she could enjoy during her quiet time alone. The straight lines and neutral colors meant any theme could work for the future of this space.  
We are keeping the existing wall color as it is the perfect calming shade of blue that will set this room apart from other spaces in the home. The next steps are removing the crib and replacing it with a new mattress that will be placed on the floor for now. I will be keeping fingers crossed that the transition out of her crib goes well (that will be a whole new post!). The plan is to then purchase the same simple black metal bed frame two of her older sisters have in their shared room. 

While still in the very beginning stages, I look forward to sharing the progress we make in the coming weeks and the end transformation of this little space.

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