Saturday, January 29, 2011

Could This Be Love?

Well, my duvet search has continued high and low and I think I finally found 'the one.' It's really NOT what I was looking for. I kept thinking of some sort of large floral print - colorful, bold, vintage inspired. I found this pillow in an Etsy shop and immediately fell in love with it. I thought I would end up with something along these lines.

After countless floral prints to no avail, I stumbled across this understated duvet at Macy's (my first actual in-store shopping experience as getting the girls out between nap schedules and sub zero temps seems impossible these days).

It fits my duvet criteria because it's A) Ivory and B) a large scale print. Here's a few shots of it in our bedroom:

The colors are undoubtedly perfect - the deeper shade of blue/green is straight out of the hallway runner and the lighter shade of green is a nearly perfect wall color match. And the purple favorite color. It also ties in Gloria's wall color and the purple in the bathroom wallpaper. My favorite part about it is the background has a subtle sheen and subtle pattern that pops when the light hits it just right.

I also love the stripe along the perimeter that softens it's otherwise traditional edge. While out and about, I picked up the coordinating bedskirt and Euro shams (all on sale for 60% off) which also have the same more geometric look as the edging on the duvet.

So, now to find drapery to coordinate. I am still really picturing a stripe on the drapery fabric. I also want to try pulling in more bolder variations of the colors in the duvet...all of which are otherwise quite serene. Again, with the light wall color, neutral carpet and painted furniture, it could all use a punch of color to tie it all together (black? Eggplant? A deep green/blue?)

And with that, my duvet search has come to an end. Hopefully the room will start taking shape now. The Armoire arrived last week...but wouldn't fit up the stairs. Huzzah! Let's hope adding a few more men to our man power might do the trick in somersaulting it up our tiny staircase.

Tonight we attended the Sno Ball dance at Rosemary's future school, Blessed Trinity. How much more fun could it be? A live band, kids dancing like crazy, a meal shared among families...what a Saturday night. I'll leave you with a shot of Rosemary cutting a rug on the dance floor with one of her BFF's Elouise. What a great night!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Deetsy Cat & Go Go Dog

It's been a quiet week in terms of home remodeling business. We are in a holding pattern until we receive that final set of prints along with the sign off from the Structural Engineer before Ian can head down to the city for our permit. I have to say, the break is welcomed...especially since Jeff has been working overtime these past two weeks and our family has come down with some version of the plague.

Thought this would be a great time to post a little update on the girls:-)

Rosemary is officially approaching the 2 year, 5 month marker and is doing great.

ALWAYS taking care of her sister!

The transition to her big girl bed was WORTH the challenging first week. She is now a full-blown big girl bed sleeper and loving every minute of it. It took about a week of consistently putting her back to bed before it finally clicked. It also took mom and dad about 4 days to realize that baby-gating the doorway of her room was 100% essential to her success. Giving her that visual boundary (and taking the worry off our minds that she's upstairs going through the medicine cabinet) helped all of us relax and stick with the transition. I have to say, Rosemary always amazes me with how smart she is and how flexible she is with change. She definitely does NOT get that from her mom.

Last Sunday, I attended Preschool Open House for Rosemary. She will be starting Preschool this Fall at Blessed Trinity in Richfield. I absolutely can NOT believe how fast the time is going!

Today is the 2 year anniversary of Rosemary's Baptism day and her wonderful, sweet, thoughtful Godparents brought Rosemary flowers to commemorate her special day. Here she is with her roses. Thank you Tim, Rachel & Cora!

Gloria is a character. She is so incredibly passionate about eating that she constantly has Jeff and I buckled over in laughter. She makes the loudest noises when eating and pounds her fists and feet with delight. She's now eating 3 meals a day of baby food, along with 4, 7-8oz bottles. This girl needs to start getting mobile soon to keep up with her calorie intake! She is absolutely adorable (a good thing being that she's still quite the 'fusser'). We can't go anywhere without someone commenting on the size of her dazzling blue eyes...they are huge (she gets them from her dad and Grandma Doris!)

Jeff and I were talking about the girls last night after they'd gone to bed and the chaos of the day had faded away. I asked Jeff if he knew what I meant when I said that 'my heart melted' when Rosemary said this or that. He said he knew exactly what I meant...that feeling where your heart feels too big for your body. It wasn't until having children that either of us ever felt those feelings. Perhaps a kind of love that God shares only with parents in order to keep them forging ahead through the challenges of parenthood.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Duvet Hate

I was GIDDY with excitement as I received my shipping confirmation from Pottery Barn telling me the love of my life...I mean, the duvet cover would be arriving on Thursday. Seriously, it was sick how excited I was. But this was IT! I had finally found the duvet I had been dreaming of...or so I thought.

I HATE IT! Hate is a strong ain't working. The colors read so differently in our bedroom. The 'pink of my heart' is actually more of an orangey pink and the ruby of my eye is more of a bricky burnt red of my broken heart. Here's the catalog shot as a reminder:

And here it is in our bedroom (and by the way how hysterical is Rosemary who insisted on being in every picture;-)

It lacks the punch that I was looking for and NEED to really give that room something to talk about. The neutral sand-ish carpet, the neutral green on the walls and the painted finish furniture all are screaming "Bring a little color in here!"

I also tried another Pottery Barn duvet:

I actually love this print...and all of the colors in the actual print itself. But the background color is all wrong and really fights with the wall color. I debated whether or not I liked it enough to switch the wall color...I don't.

So after coming to terms with the fact that my search would continue and my bedroom would remain a never-ending source of stress for me, I spent the day pouting and decided to get back on my computer and keep searching. I searched EVERYWHERE: The Company Store, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, JCP, Bed Bath & Beyond, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters,, Macys, Bloomingdales, Target, Nordstrom, Homegoods, Marshalls, Kohls, Herbergers, Ikea, ZGallerie, Restoration Hardware, Serena & Lily, Dwell Studio, eBay, Etsy without so much as a HINT of something interesting. I even scoured the online 'inspiration' pages of House Beautiful to no avail.

And hit me. I was attempting to thaw out my body from the frigid Minnesota temperatures with a hot shower when I caught a glimpse of our bathroom wallpaper (by Sanderson UK). I remembered when I found the wallpaper online that they also made fabric...maybe they had bedding???? And wouldn't you know it, I was right! When we were out choosing the wallpaper for the foyer, we were deadlocked between two - this one (which we ended up deciding on for the foyer)...

and this one...

Well, wouldn't you know the one we DIDN'T choose for the paper in the foyer comes in a duvet!

Now I don't think this is the perfect duvet...but it DOES give me new found hope and a little more direction where to look outside of all the usual spots.'s to hoping that there might still be duvet love out there somewhere!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Hi, I'm Ian." "Hi, Ian."

Well, it's official...we have a contractor...and even better - a start date! Jeff and I are feeling a big sense of accomplishment. While the construction itself will be a huge job, the ground work that goes into making it all happen is an entirely different job. We have had so many people through this house for bids, walking them through every single detail of what we need, want, how to make it happen, where to vent, how to level, how to, when to, order to create the home we are dreaming of for our family. The clock is ticking as Gloria is becoming quite the little pelvic thruster these days (no joke)...I imagine it's only a matter of weeks before she's on the go and into everything. Let's get this show on the road!

Enter Ian Campbell, general contractor extraordinaire.

We now have a firm commitment to move forward on this project with Ian at the helm. Ian is a carpenter by trade...and along with his right hand man Louise, they will together conquer the majority of the work (demolition, framing, drywall, tile, trim, wood floors). They will sub out the plumbing, HVAC and electric and will also use a separate cabinet maker for all of our kitchen cabinetry and other miscellaneous built-in's.

Here's Rosemary congratulating Ian on getting the job.

And about that start date - it's just 26 days away! Tuesday, February 15th (you can't tear your house apart on your baby's 1st Valentine's Day, right?). We have a lot of preparation to do before then. If you remember from previous posts, having us do a bit of the leg work in terms of ordering materials we need will ultimately save Ian labor and us money. So on our list of things to start purchasing are appliances (need the specs for the cabinet maker), plumbing fixtures (toilet, sink, powder room faucet, kitchen faucet, kitchen sink) and tile (if there's a long lead time, we don't want it holding the project up). I also want to get going on purchasing the light fixtures since I've found on average those can be around 4-6 weeks.

So...lots to do! And in the meantime this morning, we had Centerpoint Energy out for an energy audit (to see where all the heat is escaping from so we can properly insulate our attic), have Aero Blinds & Drapery coming this afternoon for a second bid on our upstairs window treatments, Pottery Barn is delivering the Armoire and Duvet today and Jeff closes down the store tonight at 9pm. Did I mention the architect is meeting with Jeff and his dad next week to start designing the store remodel? Ultimately, this is all an effort to free up our summer and be able to enjoy beautiful Minnesota without a construction project going on. Until next time - here's a quick snap shot of the two little ladies all of this work is ultimately for. They are SO worth it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Permit Set

It has been an insane past week for us of gathering bids, meeting with different contractors, pulling together all the numbers and making some decisions. I'm exhausted...and the project hasn't even begun! The good news is that sorting through all these details NOW makes things 100 times easier during construction (we know this from experience...we did it the other way the first time).

Tonight we had our final meeting with the architect in order to get our drawings finalized for our permit. We worked through LOTS of little details: where every single light switch will go, mini mini cabinet details like where we want pull-out shelves, where we want outlets, etc and also did quite a lengthy revision of the exterior of the house. Where we had previously drawn authentic shutters (with hardware that open and close like these),

we are now visiting the idea of paneling the exterior vs doing the shutters. I ultimately want the body of the house to be painted a color - but I love mill work and LOTS of trim on the interior (like crown moulding, tall and substantial base, etc)...and the idea of the exterior of the house having that same kind of impactful woodwork in a rich and warm white has me letting go of my beloved shutters. Here's a few inspiration pics:

Now we only have two medium-at-best sized windows on the front main level of our house. Here's a really bad picture of my computer screen for your reference:

The architect sketched it several different ways before we came up with the design we liked the most (we played around with grouping the two main level windows together with paneling, paneling them more vertically with siding in between them, etc). Ultimately, the winning design involved adding a bit of paneling to the bottom of the upper 2 windows to create balance and integrate the design a bit more. I'm anxious to see the drawn elevations to confidently make a decision, but it's different...and I like that.

Before I can start taking pictures of our contractor and introducing you to his astrological sign, likes and dislikes, etc...we need to have one final meeting to firm up our bid (Thursday morning). After that meeting, all we need is the final revision of the plans based on tonight's meeting, the sign off from the structural engineer and we'll be on our way to the city for our permit. We are almost there!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Duvet Love?

I'm PICKY, PICKY about duvet covers. In fact, the deliciously cozy down comforter we received as a wedding gift has been hibernating in a closet for the past 3 years as I combed the world in search of a duvet cover that I loved. YET to find that perfect duvet means putting the curtains on hold in our bedroom as my girl Jenn suggested the bedding be settled before finding something to coordinate. So, I've been through about a million different options and think I finally found the one. Could it be that we can retire my old college comforter once and for all?

Before the big unveiling, let me remind you of a few fixed items that need to work with the duvet. 1) The wall color: Benjamin Moore Sweet Spring - a very soft green, #2) The oatmeal colored linen that the settee is upholstered in, #3) The carpet color, a sisal looking natural sand color and #4) The warm white color that most of the furniture is finished in. Not to be forgotten as well would be the runner which is right outside the door that has a mixture of blue, gold and ruby colors. Here's a shot of the bare bones room:

And a close up of the runner and a shot of the hall right outside the bedroom door:'s what I'm thinking for the duvet:

YES it's feminine, but I think the colors are perfect. The green of the walls, the blue of the runner, the ivory of the furniture and the pink of my heart. Remember these images I've referenced from previous posts. I feel like the duvet falls in between these two. The first image is of the wallpaper we plan to put in the foyer and the second image is of a wallpaper I found in an image online and loved. The duvet tying in with the wallpaper in the foyer makes the two levels feel connected from beginning to end:

I want to pair the duvet with this accent pillow which I'm also crazy about:

I'm also seeing this striped fabric or a similar stripe as the curtains on either side of our windows behind our bed. And once I sell all my current Craigs List items, I could use the funds to snag this bed to complete the picture:

So...we shall see! The duvet...along with the armoire will be arriving this week. Hopefully the room will start taking shape and we can finally get that comforter out of storage.

All 4 of the bids are in from the four General Contractors we interviewed. Stay tuned this week as we introduce you to our new contractor and get a timeline in place for demolition. Whoop whoop!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Featured Space: Rosemary's Budoir

As we speak, Rosemary is officially down for her first night in her big girl bed. I'd be lying if I said I don't have a few knots in my stomach - partially because I can't believe my baby is growing up and partially because I'm fearing the worst...a sleepless night.

Architecturally speaking, Rosemary's room hasn't changed since it was originally built in 1947. While some of the other bedrooms were modified when the addition was put on in the 60's...Rosemary's room remains true to its original footprint. When we bought the house, this room was baby blue, the floors were covered wall to wall in blue carpet and it appeared to be set up as a guest bedroom of sorts (perhaps for grandchildren since it had two small twin beds).

It was a charming room though from the start with its sloped ceiling, 2 windows (one facing South flooding the room with light) and its original light fixture that is absolutely adorable (here it is...still in tact today)

One other thing I love about the room architecturally is its doorway. I love how Rosemary and Gloria's doors face eachother. While at times, this complicates a few things with one or the other of them screaming during nap time (waking the other of course)...I just love that they are so close to eachother:

While the room itself had a lot going for it - it needed a little 'customization' for my leading lady. The wall color for Rosemary's room came directly from her floral rug that my mother-in-law and I found at a buying show for $40 (100% wool!) Here's a picture of that on the no-longer-carpeted-and-refinished-floors:

I think yellows are so hard to choose from a tiny little swatch. They either end up fluorescent, too orange, too green, etc. I don't think I could love a yellow more than this one.

In the sun, it has a peach tone to it - but remains a soft and sweet yellow that isn't overwhelming (Benjamin Moore Honey Harbor). We chose an eggshell finish for the paint in the kids rooms so it has some wipability to it.

I love French Provincial style furniture and struck gold when I came across the childrens consignment store "Bella Bambino" in Burnsville. They have a fabulous, ever-evolving assortment of vintage furniture. They do the work of finding the pieces and having them professionally enameled while you have the pleasure of enjoying quality made, solid wood a little more cost than a good Craigs List score. It's cheaper than buying new furniture, comes with extra paint for when the kids color all over it with crayon and you can furnish a whole room for under $500.

My favorite piece is the China hutch.

This piece was actually a fixture in their store that they used to display merchandise. I basically, literally begged them to sell it to me and was OVER the moon when they finally agreed. All of the cabinets, drawers and shelves allow me enough room to be able to store all the girls linens in there - opening up a ton of room in our main hall closets. Plus, it's just a nice substantial piece for Rosemary's generous sized room.

I had so much fun scavenging for bedding for Rosemary's room. Obviously I was looking for something with the right colors from the rug and walls, but also something that wasn't too baby-ish and that could stay in the room for a long time. I finally found this quilt and sham at Marshall's for $25!!!!!!!!

It's by Cynthia Rowley (if you remember the "Swell" brand at's one of the designers from that line) and I absolutely love it. While the material itself is nothing to brag about (it's incredibly light weight which I was a little bummed about), the small details really make it worthwhile. It has a small border of an off-white eyelet lace around the perimeter backed by an unfinished ruffle in the same fabric as the quilt.

I paired it with a set of coordinating sheets I found at Target, a soft yellow blanket and an eyelet lace bedskirt I found for free at Bella Bambino! All I'm missing is the perfect accent pillow.

I have a few things up on the walls in Rosemary's room that add some personality to the space, the main one being the large upholstered bulletin board that Jeff and I made for her.

My friends at Bella Bambino gave me the frame for free along with the fabulous idea to convert it to a display area for Rosemary's pictures and art. This was a nesting project Jeff and I took on when I was about 39 weeks pregnant with Gloria. All we did was cut the shape out of cardboard and use spray adhesive to attach cork board to the cardboard. Finally, a thin layer of batting wrapped with our chosen fabric and wha la! I finished by purchasing these miscellaneous fabric flowers and butterflies from Archivers and hot gluing them on upholstery tacks.

And the room just wouldn't be complete if it wasn't branded with Rosemary's very own logo. My friend Terry Braun designed this logo for Rosemary and then created this piece to be hung proudly in her room.

Terry made this by cutting the shape out of a thin piece of wood using a laser (yes...a laser) and then mod podging my favorite paper from Archivers on the front. The ribbon is the perfect touch and, courtesy of Rosemary's new big girl bed, it now has the perfect spot to hang.

Here are a few wider angle shots of the room during the day:

Of course a room never seems to be complete. I still need a lamp for Rosemary's bedside table, window treatments for her windows and some sort of art/photos on the main bare wall. But if there weren't more things to find, what reason would I have to go to my favorite Homegoods? But of course, the best feature of all of the big girl bed - plenty of space to snuggle up and read stories before bed:-)