Something old to something new.

After finishing redoing the stairway area in the last post and having the walls repainted (again, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, but lightened by 25%), I had to hang something above the refinished antique buffet cabinet we had.

Cory’s grandmother (Nana) had divided up her family’s heirloom china and given a quarter of the set to each grandchild, and our portion had been sitting in a drawer in that buffet and I knew it couldn’t stay there! It’s beautiful, with gold monogramming in the center and gold accents at the rim. I had always loved when people hung china, so I was determined to do the same.

I looked into the adhesive hangers that stick onto the backs of the pieces but honestly I couldn’t put my trust in those that they’d remain sticky through all of the humid Jersey shore summers. So I ended up opting for the wire spring/grippy hangers. While they’re slightly visible where the “claws” are, I think the peace of mind outweighs that fact. I did not want to end up with a broken piece of irreplaceable china. Plus, now these can be easily taken off the hangers if we actually want to use them.

After a little eyeballing and a LOT of measuring, I ended with this result, and I’m extremely happy with it!


I didn’t use every single piece we had, but I think I stopped at a good size for the wall. We surprised Nana with it when she came over for my birthday party and she hasn’t stopped talking about it since. I think that was my favorite part 🙂

Stairway overhaul.

When we moved into our house last year, we were aware that it had undergone 2 additions since it’s original construction in the 1950s, which made for some strange flow/layout areas. One of the sections of the house we really couldn’t figure out was the area around the stairway, which is located behind the open concept living room, but set too far back to really be included in the living area. One of the reasons it seemed so out of place was the fact that the stairway had a half wall instead of a railing, making it seem more like a “room” rather than just a transitional area. Plus it made it feel like a basement, which I hated. Here’s what it looked like when the former owner still lived there:

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So we decided the half wall had to go. We called in a local contractor to knock down the wall and replace it with a traditional wood railing to open up the space. We opted to paint it all white, since with the older floors in the home we might end up someday changing out all the hardwood and didn’t want to have to re-match the railing to a new color.

I also knew I wanted to add a runner to the stairs. The hardwood was definitely a little slippery and with the dog running up and down this would also help cut down his nails scratching them. I measured one entire stair – tread depth, riser height, and then around the lip – and multiplied by the number of stairs, and then ordered a runner from Overstock that was longer than my total length (which ended up being about 18 feet so I purchased a 20′ runner).

When the construction was done and the stairs were painted, we went to Home Depot and grabbed an electric staple gun (no, a normal one will NOT work and I didn’t feel like dealing with renting a pneumatic one). I measured and marked off the width of the runner with painters tape in a straight line down the stairs to make sure I wasn’t going at an angle.

I also cut up a non-slip rug pad to put a strip on each stair under the runner. Because I bought an indoor/outdoor rug for the runner, it wasn’t gripping the stairs enough and the pad solved that problem easily!

I love the finished area:


The dog loves the runner, too! Although, while I was using the staple gun he was so scared of the noise that he jumped into the upstairs bathroom tub and hid there until I was done. Oh well, he’s happy with the end result!

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! (Updated 3/24 with non-cell-phone photos)


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 🙂

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