My dad had a dream the week before last that some of the big, scary trees on our property smashed our house and hurt the boys. He was so shaken by this dream that he went straight to the bank the next morning and withdrew enough money for us to have a bunch of trees removed. Thank you, dad!

The process was fascinating. In a nutshell, a climber climbed up to the tip top of the trees, cutting off branches as he went. Then he cut the top off the tree, then the top third, middle third and bottom third. Our trees were all 95+ feet tall. And when they fell, you could feel it in your bones. The next day a crane came to pick up all the pieces. When all was said and done, we had a full open bed semi truck filled to top with huge trees. Crazy.


I did feel a bit badly about taking down healthy trees, but they were dangerous to our house as well as two of our neighbors. And before they were cut down, I confirmed that they would be reused. All the pines were lumber grade, so hopefully these will eventually be turned into someone’s new home or a new school or a tree house for some lucky kid. The branches were all turned into mulch, which we are in the process of spreading in several areas of our own yard. Reduce, reuse, recycle.


The Lab.


And so it begins. At least the first sign stuck to one of the boys’ doors is a cute one. Love that kindergarten spelling!!

On a very related note, Alex has asked to turn his bedroom into a science lab. I’m thinking we can do something special to the built-in shelves to make it feel lab like. I see a plastic frog or two in some mason jars in our future.

Take a seat.

Oh, wait. You can’t!


On a whim, I decided to post our kitchen chairs for sale. And they sold in an instant. Now we have nowhere to sit!! I’ve been itching for a change, and I’ve had my eye on some metal ones. Stay tuned for an update on this space—an update I *wish* would show you a new, non-pink-and-blue tiled floor and a dazzling new light fixture, but will likely only show you a few new spots in which to plop our bums. Baby steps.


Painting an old Jenny Lind.

I thought it’d be fun to share the story of Alex’s new bed. I had my heart set on a Jenny Lind style bed, like one I’d seen at Land of Nod. But at $600 for the bed plus $200 shipping, it wasn’t going to happen. So I started scouring several Facebook furniture exchanges I belong to. Jenny Lind twin beds do pop up from time to time, but when they do they are gone in a blink. My trigger finger was never quite fast enough and I always lost out to someone else. So, I turned to Craigslist. After much searching for Jenny Lind, I came up empty. Then it dawned on me that someone might not know the term Jenny Lind. I simplified my search to twin bed and guess what happened …


Y’all, I was sooo excited. The bed was listed as an antique hardwood twin bed. It was $200. I called the seller and screamed, “I’LL TAKE IT!” Then the panic set in. Tripper had given me a budget of $0 to do Alex’s new room. You may recall that Alex moved out of the boys’ shared room once before—and that lasted all of three months before he decided to move back. So, Tripper didn’t want me spending any money in case this move was also temporary. BUT, I had my heart set on this bed for Alex. And I had a few hours before I had to pick it up. Somehow I needed to come up with $200. 

So, I did what anyone would do. I sold stuff.


I loved these headboards. I got them when the boys were first moving into big boy beds at 3 years old. Somehow they seemed adorable for twin 3-year-old little boys—like little princes. But they didn’t seem quite right for a 5-about-to-turn-6-year-old boy. And since we were no longer going to have a guest room, we really just needed them out. I listed them on a FB furniture exchange and within a few hours they were sold. I had enough money for my—I mean Alex’s—new bed plus a little extra for some primer, paint and a new lamp. Happy dance!


Before I started priming, I snapped this picture. I’ve yet to Google what it means. I know the bed I bought was old. Maybe this will give a clue as to how old?


I used one coat of shellac-based primer for the job. Then one, two, three and four thin coats of Symphony blue by Benjamin Moore. I waited several hours in between coats and let the bed cure up for 48 hours before making up the bed again.


Ta-da! Alex’s cheerful new bed. The Jenny Lind was lovely before with it’s perfect patina, and I almost hated to paint it. But this finish matches his personality so much and it’s not like that was the last vintage Jenny Lind bed in the world. Besides, Alex loves it this way. I love it, too. And speaking of love …


… I added a few love notes to the slats under his bed. It’s my little secret and makes the bed all the sweeter.

And there you have it. Would you put a paintbrush to vintage wood?

How one became two.

Two things derailed my plans for the boys’ shared room. Remember this?


Well, that didn’t exactly happen. The first thing to derail my plans was kind of a happy accident. I was hunting high and low for something interesting to put over the boys’ headboards. I wanted something structural, but I didn’t know what. And then one day I saw it, er .. them. I saw THEM and I just couldn’t live without.

stagHeadsAren’t they great?! Sort of a fun spin on the ever-popular faux taxidermy moment. These stag heads from SugarBoo & Co. are made of rush and they are perfect in the space! Except they weren’t perfect on the planned light gray walls. So the walls had to change and they became my favorite dark charcoal with navy undertones—Flint, by Benjamin Moore. Again.


My plan was to make bunting with the boys’ names to hang from antler to antler. Also, some window treatments.


As soon as this room was painted, however, Alex moved out of it. He wanted a space of his own. Without Max. Sad, but true. And that was the second thing that derailed my plans for a cute, shared boys room.

Instead of undoing all I had done, I decided to keep two beds in Max’s room (for sleepovers) and start fresh in the guest room for Alex. I sold the headboard we had, which was too fussy for a five year old boy, and the money from that sale was my entire budget. I was able to buy paint, a vintage jenny lind bed (yay!), and … that’s about it. I never made a mood board for this room, just started moving things in and out. Here was the space before we moved in from the real estate listing …



Cute, but GIRLY!! And here is the space now. Welcome to Alex’s room …


Alex chose the wall paint color (same as my original choice) and together we picked the paint for his bed (more on that later). On the other side of his room, we hung his snake drawing—it was actually published in an article on Slate! He wanted to do that wall darker to make his snake really pop. I kid you not—he said that. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 😉 We used leftover Flint.


Because I didn’t have the budget to fill the bookshelves with awesome kid books, I just turned all our adult titles around. This is definitely still a work in progress—I need to make all the curtains, get a proper night stand and style the shelving, but he LOVES it. When he talks about his room, it’s always MY room. Too cute. And Max? He loves his room, too. He wants to find a big letter M for his wall to further make it his own, so we are on the hunt. I’ll be sure to update.

That’s how one room became two, why we no longer have a guest room and why all planning went out the window. So worth it to have happy kiddos!! It’s hilarious to hear them invite each other over to their rooms for a playdate or a sleepover. Cuties.


In case you were wondering how that green door turned out …


Cute, right? My very own Kate Spade entryway. The walls got a fresh coat of paint (Revere Pewter) and our dog “Fish” got a new bow tie. And we added that black and white runner. It’s been finished for a few months now, and I have to say every time I leave the house it makes me smile. 

On a very personal note, I’m so sorry for the radio silence on this blog the last couple of months. All those close to me know my mum unexpectedly passed away in June. I’ve been quite sad and just not ready to blog about transforming a house into a home. I used to call my mum every time I wrote a blog post on my old blog (the shooting*allens) and make her read it to me over the phone. Did you know the voice of my blog had a British accent?? Anyway, it made (makes) my heart ache that I can’t share that with her anymore. I miss her terribly.

I am ready to give this blog another go now. The boys are back in school and we’ve done quite a bit to the house since we moved in—nothing major, mostly just paint and furniture shuffling—but enough that’s it’s starting to feel like home. Stay tuned!

How about a green door?

greenDoorI said it before and I’ll say it again. I intend to have much more fun with this new old house than I did in our previous home. You can’t see from one room into another, so why not?? I chose Valspar’s Lime Twist (color-matched by Sherwin Williams, because COUPON!) and went to town on the front door. I am in love. Perfect shade of kelly green.

As much as it might seem like a choice out of left field, this is from the color palette I made before moving in …

wallColorsI also plan to use this same green for the boys’ bathroom vanity and to paint a few pieces of furniture.

And I found a wallpaper I think I might like for the powder room downstairs …

new york green by scrummy

Too much? We shall see. A 12×24″ sample is on its way here. Should arrive any day now!!

What a difference some paint can make!

One room down, many to go!!

We took a break from all the unpacking to paint our living room. The walls were a shiny, lime citrus when we moved in and last week we turned them a very flat, deep charcoal with navy undertones (Benjamin Moore’s Flint color-matched at Sherwin-Williams because hello—30% off coupon in our change of  address packet. Yay!).

It took us about nine hours to tape off the walls (my least favorite part) and paint two coats (including drying time and a dinner/bathtime break for the boys)—and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Let’s see how close we stayed to the mood board I made before we even moved in …

livingRoomAnd now for the real thing … I haven’t found our camera yet, so iPhone photos for all!

livingRoomFlintFrom the other side …

livingRoomFlint2And here is the before, from the MLS listing.


livingRoom2Crazy different, right?

So, how closely did I stay to the mood board I made? Pretty close. If you’re an eagle eye, you’ll notice that I hung a different horse picture on the wall. The one I initially intended to hang over the couch was just too tall. It really bugged me. So I used the horse picture I had planned for the dining room and brought that into the living room instead. That change prompted the change in wall color. I just love that pop of red from the horse on the deep gray/navy. The only other major difference is the curtain choice. I went with $9.99/pair white curtains from Ikea instead of the $19.99 ones I thought I’d pick. I just couldn’t justify the cost—this room has eight panels and we are downsizing for a reason!! The curtains are really on the thin side, but spring and summer are coming so I think it’s ok.

And there you have it. I do want to hang some more art (maybe this?)  and have ordered two pillows that will bring some kelly green into the room. I’m all gung ho for kelly green in the powder room, so I think that’ll be a nice tie in. Plus I have big plans for the back of the front door.

Next up? I think I’ll be starting on the dining room. Stay tuned!