Home gym turned cozy den.

When we first looked at our house before buying, there were a lot of questionable decor elements that really threw us off. Luckily we could see past the minimalist furniture and workout equipment to the potential beyond!

One room that we loved when we saw the house was the “den”, which the previous owner had used as a home gym. It housed several treadmills, weights, mats, etc. topped off by some Asian-inspired lanterns and curtains. And, as I lamented in one of my first posts, it was a shade of pea green accented by deep red doors in the back of the house.

The den was one of the most drastic changes to the house, and also one of the first to be completed. The painting we hired a team to do before moving in took care of a lot of it! Getting rid of the green and opting for a greige (and going from red doors to white) was a breath of fresh air. We chose Benjamin Moore’s ever-popular Revere Pewter for the walls. Almost all of the decor and furniture in the den was brought from our San Francisco apartment, which is why this room came together so quickly. Thanks, World Market! Check out some before and after shots:

Swapping bulky fitness machines for small furniture really helped open it up.

Not to mention the beautiful beams on the ceiling can really shine now that the ceiling is fresh white instead of green!

And the den gave me my favorite corner of the house so far: the bar area 🙂

The bar cabinet was a Homegoods find that was so worth it. I just felt bad for the poor guy who had to drag it out of the store for me…that thing must be pushing 300lbs. The glass racks were from Pottery Barn and were on our wedding registry. They were an MVP gift since we probably got a solid 30 or so wine glasses off our registry as well, so the storage was very welcome!

You can check out all the den photos below. DSCN2077DSCN2078DSCN2079DSCN2080DSCN2081DSCN2082

Main bathroom makeover!

I’ve been seriously procrastinating with posting the main bathroom transformation. I mentioned it a few posts back, mainly just explaining how I hated the sea of beige tile so much and needed it to go.

Well, it’s gone! Not a speck of tan tile remains intact. And I stuck to my original “mood board” for the new materials.

To refresh, here’s the before:


Here’s the construction progression:


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And the after shots! (Sorry, they’re crappy cell pictures for now)


It was really just a complete cosmetic makeover but none of the major utilities needed to change. We ripped out the old single vanity and replace with a beautiful mahogany and marble double vanity and swung it around to sit on the other wall, but the plumbing stayed the same. We ripped out every piece of beige/tan/brown tile and replaced with a long white subway tile for the walls and a marble and black basketweave tile for the floors. We added a vintage-style bullnose tile for the edges of the wall subway tile, and added inset shelves in the shower with the marble basketweave inside, bordered by the bullnose. We also decided to stop the tile about 2 feet above the tub rather than continue to the ceiling; it’s really not big enough of a bathroom to go for a full tile wall in my opinion. All chrome fixtures are new, and I went with the same vintage-feeling curved style for all the faucets and handles.

We painted the walls an unknown color. It was supposed to be Sherwin Williams “Solitude”, which is a muted blue with purple undertones. But I also got a sample of SW “Vesper Violet” (a step more purple) at Home Depot, and I’m 99% sure the paint counter person reversed the labels on the samples. We liked the less purple option, so I took both samples to an actual Sherwin Williams and asked him to mix a gallon of the less purple (he just matched it based on the sample we liked more). It still came out more purple than anticipated but I sort of like it? It looks bluer in natural light and more purple-y with the bathroom lights on (like in the photos above).


I think once we decorate in there and get some decor on the walls it will all fit together. I bought some silver frames for above the tub wall, so I’ll get those up soon.

Anyway, definitely happy we have all the fresh white tones in there now! The marble basketweave and the vintage chrome fixtures are definitely my favorite features. We’ll see how long the wall color lasts 🙂

Don’t toss that bouquet!

If you’re anything like me, you’re A. a hoarder and B. always looking for a chic way of preserving memories. I knew even before the wedding that I wanted to preserve my bouquet, so I started doing some research early. There were plenty of places that would do it for you in a variety of beautiful ways, but that often came at a premium price. And, honestly, I always think I can handle doing things myself (kinda like that time I decided to do ALL of my own wedding calligraphy – came out great, but man was that a doozy of a project).

I also knew I wanted to display my wedding invitation and I figured there had to be a more creative way than just a simple frame. So, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and put the bouquet and invitation together in their own little piece of artwork.

I started just before the honeymoon by learning that silica gel preserves flowers much better than hanging them to dry. I went to Michael’s and grabbed the silica along with a very affordable (read: cheap) shadowbox. Before we left for Riviera Maya, I carefully dismantled my bouquet and separated out each flower. I laid them all in a medium-sized shallow tupperware-type storage bin and dumped the silica on top. I probably could have used more but they only had one box at Michael’s, unfortunately. I tried to cover the flowers and silica as closely as I could with a plastic bag to make more of an airtight seal, and then I popped the lid on. Then I left it for the next week while we were on our trip. When I got back I was happy to discover my neatly-dried flowers, which seemed to have less yellowing, brighter color, and less breakage than the hang-dried alternative.

To assemble the shadowbox display, I took the back off and arranged all the flowers on top until I got a good visual mix. I also incorporated the champagne ribbon from my bouquet as well, winding it through the florals. I glued everything down at certain points just to make sure it didn’t shift. Then I topped it with out invitation right in the center.

I think it turned out exactly the way I wanted! And after posting on Instagram, a bunch of friends reached out to see if I could do this for them or for their friends after their weddings – which I’m always happy to do! I’ll just need a whole lot more silica gel 🙂 Did I mention it’s reusable though? Another perk!

Here’s the end result, which now hangs at the bottom of our stairs:



In the midst of the whirlwind that was planning the wedding, I never actually blogged about the wedding. But we finally got our edited album back from our fabulous photographers (M2 Photography) and it captured the day perfectly.

They always say not everything will go according to plan, expect some disasters, yada yada. But honestly I can’t say that anything was a sizable mishap. The biggest catastrophe was that the bakers couldn’t use the cake stand that I purchased because it wouldn’t support the cake. Do you know how many people would have said “nice cake stand!” at the end of the night at our wedding? Zero. Zero people would have noticed that I searched endlessly for the perfect cake stand. So when my maid of honor came to the bridal suite needing to break the news to me, I laughed and said, “screw it!” and took a sip of champagne (as one does when their cake stand plans don’t work out).

Our last-weekend-in-September wedding ended up being quite chilly, topping out at 62 degrees. But I’d take 62 over 82 any day! It was truly a beautiful day up until about 4:30, right before the ceremony. It turned a little gloomy and VERY windy. Again, we rolled with the punches. My veil and the wind had a glorious love affair and created, hands down, the most memorable moment of the day and night when a giant gust took my veil and wrapped it around Cory as my aunt was doing the second reading. Everyone was laughing so hard that no one tried to help for a few seconds and he was helplessly trapped in cocoon of tulle and lace.


Overall, it was true what they all say: best day ever. Seeing all of your friends and family condensed into one space was truly amazing. Especially considering they joined us from about a dozen different states. Would I change anything? Probably not. Not even my flimsy cake stand.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the day:

Total tile teardown.

Alright, it’s been a REALLY long time. That’s my fault. We officially made it past the wedding and came out unscathed! Everything was beautiful. Photos to come once I get all the professional pictures back!

But now the focus is back on the house. We’re finishing up the final details on the downstairs bathroom, where we made some minor changes. We flipped the toilet to a different wall to open up space (such a good decision) and ripped out the previous owner’s beat up vanity to put in a shiny new one. We also painted (obviously, because what surface of this house haven’t we painted). All that’s left is some decor touches and I’ll be ready to share some photos!

We’re very thankful that we finished the big stuff in the downstairs bathroom because on a whim we decided to tackle the upstairs, meaning we’ve been having to shower downstairs every day. Not so bad, though! The driving force behind taking on the upstairs bath was the vanity situation. It was only a single, which many of you know is the make or break item in a successful marriage.

Kidding, but seriously, we both hate sharing a single vanity after having a double in 3 out of the 4 places we’ve lived together. So, if the vanity was going to go, why wouldn’t we put in the flooring that we liked? And if we put in the flooring that we liked, we’d have to put in matching wall/shower tile. And so on and so forth until all of a sudden we were gutting the entire bathroom.

For reference, here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

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I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not so bad!”, right? It’s just not my cup of tea. That’s a LOT of tile. It’s a LOT of beige/tan/brown. It’s just… a large pile of oatmeal in my eyes.

So here’s the plan that’s underway:

  • Put in a double vanity across the wall that’s perpendicular to the current vanity
  • Rip out every single piece of tile (woo!)
  • Put in new clean subway tile that only goes a couple feet above the bathtub, and floor-to-ceiling in the shower
  • New marble flooring that continues into the shower
  • Shower shelf built into shower wall
  • Paint!

And here’s my makeshift mood board. It’s basically all the materials we ordered (or similar) that will be going in this week.


The subway tile will be double that length, so long thin tiles. Likely with a nice light gray grout to make them pop a little bit.


Anyway, so excited to see this come along! Right now the bathroom tub/shower area is gutted and being re-drywalled. I’ll post progress photos next time. Can’t wait until we have a bathroom with a little color and contrast instead of tan on tan on tan. On beige.

– L

Color me excited!

The open concept space is now officially painted! We found an awesome company to work with and they were very accommodating with working with us from afar. They got done the majority of the work in just a day, which I can’t even fathom (but I’m definitely not mad at it). From the pictures, I can tell it made a HUGE change to the space. The red doors alone being gone is so refreshing. I’ll take some good photos once we get back and throw some before and afters on here.

As for the upstairs rooms and smaller spaces, we’re planning on tackling those on our own. I’m sure we’ll paint the master bedroom as soon as we get back into town, and then gradually get to the other two. The master bedroom is one of the smallest masters we’ve had in the course of our various rental homes, so I definitely want to keep it light and open. I’m between a few different off-white options below. The photo on the right is from beckiowens.com featuring a room I’m using as inspiration for the master.

Top left: BM Swiss Coffee, bottom left: BM White Dove, right: SW Anew Gray at 25%

I know what you’re thinking: all of these colors so far have been pretty neutral. You’re right, it’s true. I feel a little boring because of it but these clean, airy neutrals just make me so happy! To shake things up a bit, I’m definitely going to add a couple of fun bold rooms to the house.

The first will be the guest bedroom. In one of my plunges down the Pinterest paint rabbit hole, I noticed an amazing peacock color in a guest bedroom, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. So now I’m leaning toward this fantastic deep teal for the guest room:


Benjamin Moore North Sea Green

I’m picturing that with some nice white (of course) bedding and some pinks, oranges, and classic blues as accent colors. I never put color in my decor and I need to stop being so shy about it. We’ll see how it turns out!

My last venture into color will be in our downstairs office. I don’t know why, but this office space might be my favorite room in the house. It’s the cutest little nook in the very front of the house with giant windows, just begging for a good strong color on the walls. The below photo is NOT our office, but is actually a similar-looking setup. For this room, I’m eyeing Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik:

It’s a classic deep blue that’s muted enough to blend with blue/green of the open concept living/dining room, but has enough color to stand on its own. It’ll look great with the old nautical-looking wood and iron desk we already have to go in the office.

So those are my very colorful thoughts! I’m pretty confident in the guest room and office selections, I might even go straight for the gallon of paint without even sampling (CALM DOWN LET’S NOT GET CRAZY, I know).

Can’t wait to share how it comes out!

– L

A taste of home

…but just a taste. As I mentioned in my first post, we traveled back to the east coast a couple weeks ago to close on our new house, which was a breeze! It was a great day all around and I finally got to check out the house in person. The only down side is that we were leaving 2 days later and wouldn’t see it again for another couple weeks. Still, smiles all around.


We went back this past weekend for our niece’s baptism and squeezed in a trip back to the house to meet with painters (very questionable paint choices by previous owners – as evidenced by the pea green on the kitchen walls in the above photo) and have my parents come see the place. All went well! The downstairs will be painted by mid-May, whole house cleaned at the end of May, and ready for us to roll on in by June 1.

After spending somewhere between 9 and 9,472 hours browsing the internet and Pinterest, I’ve nailed down the paint colors for the downstairs. Don’t worry, I tested them on the walls in the house too. The open concept living/dining room walls will be Benjamin Moore Silver Mink – a very muted blue green that I think looks great in any light, the “den” and laundry area will be the ever-popular Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, and the kitchen will go from pea green to a cool-undertoned light gray with Sherwin Williams Olympus White.

Besides the kitchen being that medium green shade, the den and laundry room downstairs were also a lighter green, but green nonetheless. To add insult to injury, all of the doors in the laundry room (which leads out to the back yard) were a deep red. Deep red…next to green walls. If you know me well, you know that it made my skin crawl. Revere Pewter with fresh white doors will be a very welcome adjustment to come home to 🙂

It’s pretty torturous to only get a glimpse of the house for a couple hours each time we go back and not be able to do anything productive in it, but luckily we have friends back east who will help get things going while we’re wrapping up life on the west coast. Can’t wait to walk in to some clean coastal colors in the downstairs when we get back!

I’ll probably write another 18 posts about paint colors so… you’re welcome in advance.

– Lauren