Curtains & Chairs

Ever since we added some new flooring in the dining room, Corey and I have been all about working on the room. Something about that shiny, happy new floor just makes us want to make the rest of the room pretty. If only we could get our butts in gear to get the living room done so we’d feel the same way about it. Still crossing my fingers it gets done before we go back to school!

We’ve been talking about new curtains in the dining room for months – ever since we replaced the windows on the back of the house, really, but we haven’t been able to really settle on what we wanted. We’ve got patterned curtains in the living room and I already feel like the living room is entirely too cluttered looking and was desperate for something neutral, calming, and not at all cluttered for in here. When we found these navy blue jute curtains at Target, we new we’d struck gold – they’re gorgeously textured, they flow well with the curtains in the living room, and they look amazing against our bamboo blinds. Basically, they’re perfect. We had white curtains in here before, and while we enjoyed the breezy and fresh look, when you have three dogs it’s almost impossible to keep white things clean. Add to that the fact that one of the curtain panels is right next to the doggy door and you’ve got yourself a formula for perma-dirty curtains and they had to go. I feel like this look is so much better and I love how much more polished the room feels now. We also, as I mentioned on Monday, got some new chairs at the table. We found these chairs on Craigslist and actually bought them with the intent of painting them red. Now that we have Jackson’s red high chair in here, I’ve been wanting to sprinkle in some other red accents throughout the house (which Corey is thrilled with, since it’s his favorite color), and we thought that having red chairs on either end of the table would be fun. We both love the look of the cane back on these guys, and we thought that they’d look fantastic in a bright, shiny red. And then we got them home. And we looked at them, and we looked at each other, and we both declared that there was no way we could ever even think about painting these chairs. They’re gorgeous and in amazing condition, and I will never touch a paint brush to them. I don’t even care that I swore we wouldn’t be bringing any more wood tones into this room because we already have more than enough. So now, we have a dilemma. With the addition of the (dark) blue curtains and the (dark) wood chairs, this room is feeling pretty heavy and, uh, dark. We both agree that the rest of the chairs at the table need to be white, but we also both agree that the chairs we currently have don’t really fit with the look we’re going for. We’ve got a few ideas on what we’ll do for the rest of the chairs, but it’s low on our priority list for now. We also want to replace the art on the back of the fireplace with something else (no clue what yet) and find some accessories for the table to break up all the wood. Oh, and we’re eventually going to add baseboards back into the room. Just in case you thought we were digging the exposed sheetrock look, we aren’t. The plan is to wait until we get the flooring done in the living room (since the two rooms are open to one another) and then we’ll start working on the baseboards in here and in there. And it will be a glorious day when it is complete! What do you think? Any suggestions on fun tabletop accessories that could brighten our dining room back up? What about some awesome large-scale art for the fireplace wall?

Cleaning House

Y’all, I’m so excited to share this. So! Excited!

Let’s just jump right in – because, really, I can’t wait any longer.

Mmmmm. Yeah, that’s my dining room. I’m in love.

But, let’s back up for a second.

We haven’t been doing much (or, anything) to the house lately. We’re trying to take care of some debt and get a few things in order before we take on any more house projects, so things have more or less been on hold around here. But. We had a few things brewing that added up to disaster. I’ll let you guess. We had…

– Decade-old (at least) carpet.
– Three dogs
– A doggy door
– A backyard. With dirt.
– Rain
– A baby who is getting ready to learn how to crawl.

Do you know what happens when you add all of those ingredients together? You know what, don’t guess, I’ll just tell you.

Yeah, that happens.

And I can tell you with certainty that it was much worse in person than it looks in these photos. It was awful. We’ve always dealt with this when it rains, because the dogs love to track in mud; but it’s never been more annoying than now, when we have a baby who loves to spend time hanging out on the floor. We’ve tried all sorts of things but nothing we could do really kept the carpet clean enough (and honestly, who has the energy to clean three sets of dog paws every single time they go outside?) and I finally reached the end of my rope. Corey and I talked about it and decided that there was really no good reason for us to wait.

We happened to have the money to take care of the floor (which doesn’t happen often!) so we decided to jump in and go for it. In the end, it’s totally worth it to delay getting rid of our debt by a few months if it means we get to enjoy this floor in the meantime.

This is the same flooring we used in Jackson’s room – just plain old vinyl plank flooring. Peel and stick, y’all. And I love it. It’s durable, it’s easy to lay down, and I don’t have to stress when the dogs scratch it up because it’s cheap. And it looks fantastic, to boot.

I won’t detail the process (because I already did that here), but I will add that it was slightly different than it was upstairs, since we have concrete subfloors down here. It just meant a little more cleaning/sanding and we had to fill in some holes from the carpet tacks, but other than that it was the same basic idea!

(Jack was a great helper!)

And now?

I don’t have to stress about nasty, stained, smelly carpet in my dining room. My living room, unfortunately, is still a carpeted mess, but we’ll be fixing that in the next few weeks! Getting the dining room done just made me that much more excited to get the living room done too, and I can’t wait to get started. And now, I don’t have to worry if I want to put Jackson down on the floor for a bit – it may not be quite as soft underneath him, but I’m actually able to keep it clean and we can always get a rug. It’s the best feeling ever to actually have my house look a little cleaner on a daily basis without any extra effort – that carpet just looked nasty!

Anyone else do any flooring updates lately? Please tell me we aren’t the only ones with completely nasty carpet!

So We Don’t Go Blind…

Remember way (way, way) back last year when we got some new windows?

Well, when we did that, we took down all of the blinds on the windows we were replacing (obviously) and have been (very) slowly replacing them. The windows in our dining room have been on the “to update” list for a long time, but since they’re so large, they’ve been pushed back over and over. Only one of the windows has been replaced so far, so as of right now, it’s looking a little crazy in there.

It looks crazier in person, I promise.

The plan all along has been to get new blinds for both of the windows in here (because we aren’t big fans of the faux wood blinds), replace the curtain rods with the same ones we have in the living room, and change out the curtains for something a little more colorful. All of those things add up to be pretty pricey, though, so we just kept putting it off. We actually bought the curtain rods a couple of months back when they were on sale, but they’re just hanging out in the garage waiting for the curtains. So, all that to say…we’ve done nothing in here.

But! We finally reached a point where we couldn’t handle it anymore. Every evening when the sun sets, it sets right in our backyard – meaning it shines nice and bright right through this window. Guess what time it starts happening? Right around dinner.

It’s fun. You’re just sitting there, enjoying your meal, when all of the sudden you are hit by a ray of light so bright you are momentarily blinded. And it doesn’t go away until the sun goes behind the house on the other side of our backyard, which means you’re often dealing with it for a while.

It also shines into the living room and hits the couch, which means that even if we eat dinner early we’re usually having to deal with it while we try to watch television.

So, yeah. We had to do something about it.

And I’m so glad we did. We decided to go with bamboo blinds in here – which is what we’ve slowly been adding all throughout the house (we currently have them in the kitchen, our room, and Jack’s room). We went with the same color we did in Jackson’s room because we love how they work with the flooring in there, which is the same flooring that will eventually be everywhere.

We’re able to adjust them to just the right height so that they block out the sun until it goes behind the other house, so it works out perfectly. I think they look great, and they bring us one step closer to having the window treatments in here finished – we just need to buy some new curtains (we keep changing our minds about what we want, so it may be a while).

It feels good to do another house update. It’s been quite a while since we’ve actually done anything, so I’m pretty thrilled with this little change. And I’m very excited to be able to eat my dinner without worrying about blinding myself.

Have you made any house updates lately?

The New Windows!

I can’t believe we’ve had these new windows in for two whole week and I’m just now talking about them.

They’re pretty.

I want to kiss them.

(I do. Sometimes. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.)

I explained a while back that we were getting new windows in about half of the house because our old ones were horrible, failing, and just generally making our lives miserable (you think I’m exaggerating, but YOU try cooking dinner when it’s 100+ degrees outside and your kitchen is basically a greenhouse).

It has made a huge difference in the comfort level of our house to have these beauties. The back half of my house no longer feels like a sauna in the afternoon, and we have a much prettier view of our backyard, thanks to the new setup.

I thought it might be fun (for me, at least – I don’t know how much fun you’ll have) (at least I’m honest) to go through all the windows we replaced and see what they looked like before and after. Before we started this whole process, I had NO idea that there were so many different options for window configurations, and it felt super overwhelming when we were starting out.

Let’s start with my favorite one – the dining room. Here’s what it looked like before (all before photos except the kitchen sink window were taken after we took down the blinds):

And here it is now:

Much better, right? We have two giant sliders that both open up (an important note, since not all of the windows opened before. And not because they weren’t supposed to) and an unobstructed view of our backyard.

I have to say, I am NOT missing the three sets of disgusting, chewed-up blinds that we used to have on here, but the windows are looking a bit naked. We have plans to update all of the window treatments throughout the house, but if I’m being honest this one is probably on the back burner for now. We still have pretty good privacy here thanks to our fence and the row of trees in our yard, and the most scandalous thing we might be doing in the dining room is eating dessert before dinner, so I don’t mind if someone wants to peek in.

Next up is the kitchen.

The window above our sink looked like this before:

And looks like this now:

It just looks cleaner, right? Our plan in here for window treatments is to ditch the curtains (I love them in theory, but they just don’t work for us in real life) and put up a bamboo blind for some texture and call it a day. It will probably stay up most of the time because I love having a view into the yard when I’m doing dishes, but I still want something there because as much as I love naked windows in photos, it feels weird in my own home.

The bay window area in the breakfast nook looked like this before:

And is much prettier now:

I am SO glad we decided to go with a big picture window in the middle instead of a window that opens. We rarely open windows in our house, anyways (because we live in Texas and there are maybe two weeks out of the year where it’s even feasible to do so), and when we do we never really open this one.

Once again, we’ll end up with some sort of window treatment in here eventually, but we aren’t sure where we’re going to land yet. It’s such a big area that I feel like we need something neutral-ish, but I also don’t want to be too boring. We’ll see where we end up!

Now let’s head upstairs to see the two windows we replaced up there. First up is the reading room window – we originally hadn’t planned on doing this one yet, but when we were working on it a few months ago we noticed that the window didn’t actually close all the way…which is kind of a problem. We thought about going ahead and knocking out both of the extra room windows, but it saved us about $500 to just go with this one, so we did. Having all of our windows actually close is kind of a priority, you know?

That’s the before, and here’s the after: 

Once again, much better! Now that this is in, we can finally finish up the trim on this part of the room (we were waiting for the new window) and trim out the window/add a window treatment. We have no idea yet what route we’ll go in here for a window treatment – all I know is I’m dying to get that trim finished up!

And finally, our master bedroom. Before:


So pretty! This is one that I’d actually love to leave naked because I think the view of our giant tree is just fabulous, but unfortunately having it open also gives all of our neighbors and anyone passing by the house a nice view into our bedroom. Which we don’t want. Right now we’re still rocking the too-small white curtains that we’ve had forever, but they’re going to get upgraded, stat. I think we’re going to go with curtains only in this room (no blinds or shade), so that we can leave ’em open during the day and close them at night – best of both worlds! We’ll, of course, make sure the curtains are actually the right size this time.

And with that, you’ve seen all of our new windows! It’ll be awhile before we get around to the next set of windows, because we want to spend some time paying off these guys (and our new garage renovation, which is still chugging along!), but I think with our next round we’ll finish the upstairs, and then down the road we’ll replace the last few downstairs.

Have you ever had windows replaced? It makes a huge difference!

I Swore I’d Never Do This…

You know how there are those things in your house that are in no way pretty or fun to look at, but they’re functional and kind of necessary so you deal with them? You know – things like toilets, trash cans, and televisions. Well, this is one of those things. I swore up and down for years that I’d never have one of these in my house. But I caved…

Yup, we got a doggy door.

If you’ll remember, our back door used to look like this after we replaced our original door (which is the one that’s BACK on now) with a door Corey’s parents gave us.

I loved all of the natural light, and it looked fabulous, but there was a small issue…

Our dogs had completely and totally destroyed the outside of it with their scratching. Honestly, it was my fault because I rushed through the job originally and didn’t prepare the door properly, but in the end I just couldn’t handle the scratches. I’d been dying to either fix the door or go back to the original one…and then we got Hadley.

You see, this dog loves to be outside. She’s obsessed – which is weird for us, because neither of our other dogs are huge on hanging out in the backyard (especially Cullen, who would never go outside if he could help it). We weren’t used to getting up and letting the dogs out as often as she was wanting to go outside and, lest you think we’re just lazy, she was so bad that she would frequently ask to go outside less than a minute after coming in.

It was annoying, to say the least.

So, we finally broke down and decided to get a doggy door so that she can go in and out as she pleases. I hated the idea of ugly-ing up our dining room, but in the end, functionality won out.

I’ll admit, I was surprised at how easy it was to install the door – I’d imagined it would be some huge ordeal, but all it took was an afternoon and we had a brand new (or, not at all new, but different-looking) door!

First – we tested out the size of the door to figure out how big of a hole we needed to cut, then Corey traced the door with a pencil and got to cutting.

And soon? There was a giant hole in our door.

Not gonna lie – at this point, I was a little freaked out. There’s something slightly disconcerting about having a hole in the door you’re planning on hanging in the back of your house. But, I powered on and got ready to paint the door. We decided not to paint the outside of the door yet (though I’m sure we will in the future!), and we wanted the inside to be black again, since we loved the look on the other door.

This time, though, I took a few precautions and prepared the door a bit more than I had the last time.

I used liquid deglosser to wipe the door down before I did anything – I didn’t see much of a difference after doing this step, but I’ve heard it’s what you’re supposed to do, so I did it. The idea is that it cleans the door off really well, and it’s supposed to cut down on some of the grime that can build up and help the paint stick better. I also primed it with Zinsser Bull’s Eye primer, which is the only primer I will ever use.

A coat of primer and two coats of paint later, and we were good to go. Corey installed the doggy door (all there was to do was put both pieces in and add some screws – no problem!) and then installed the actual door.

And just like that we had a new(ish) door with a doggy door that would hopefully make our lives a lot easier.

The dogs weren’t so sure about the doggy door at first…

But with a little coaxing and a ton of treats, they got the hang of it!

We’ve had the door in for a few weeks now, and the dogs absolutely love it. Cullen (of course) won’t use it unless forced, but that surprised no one. Hadley and Ranger, though? They use it all the time, and Corey and I no longer have to argue over who has to go let the dogs out.

And, really? In the end, it doesn’t look nearly as ugly as I thought it would.

We still have a little work to do to the door – there’s a weird glass enclosure over the window that has blinds built into it, and I hate the look of it – but I’m pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. And, really, even if it was super ugly, the added functionality is enough to make me completely and totally love it.

Have you ever done something in your home you swore you wouldn’t? Anyone else have a doggy door and love it?