Thursday, November 29, 2012

Welcome Home!

I moved directly from my parents' house, where I grew up, to my husband's house on our wedding day.  He had already lived here for just over 2 years when we got married, but I have been around since before he purchased the house. Although I went house hunting with him (a little bit), helped him to coordinate paint colors, put up some artwork, added my own little touches, and made seasonal decorations for this house long before we even got engaged, it wasn't my house. As our wedding approached, I started moving all my stuff into his house, but it still wasn't my house and it still wasn't our home. Our wedding was over seven months ago and we are now expecting our first child in this house. We've received some new and gently used furniture, I've rearranged our living space, hung artwork, painted our office, and chosen paint for the nursery, downstairs bathroom, and laundry room. I have completely remodeled our master closet (with some major help from my big brother), begun the process of updating the master bath, and painted/arranged our master bedroom; using our existing furniture in new ways to fit our space.  And, about a week before Thanksgiving, as I walked upstairs after closing up the house for the night, I said goodnight to my home. That was the first time that I didn't feel like I was supposed to 'go home' as bedtime approached. I feel like all of our hard work is starting to pay off and our reward is that we are home!

How long has it taken for you to feel at home in a new house?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh, How Time Flies!

I know this is my second post for the day (after not posting for almost 2 months), but I just haven't been up for posting until I was ready to share this huge part of our life.

We have an exciting announcement!  We're growing a little bean!  Here's the little bean sprout in all his/her glory:

This little guy or gal is due May 11th.  We're now 14 1/2 weeks pregnant and we're hoping to find out the gender right before Christmas!

So far, I'm feeling pretty good!  I'm always (always!) hungry and I'm craving any food that I can imagine.  If I see a picture of food, I have to have it.  For the most part, I'm craving savory food and cheese.  Matt has walked into the kitchen while I'm trying to make dinner and watched me devour whatever raw ingredients (cheese, veggies, etc) I'm using as I'm trying to cook.  My sense of smell is more distinguished, too.  My prenatal vitamins smell disgusting, as do hot dogs, hot asphalt, hot cars, and toiletries.

Speaking of prenatal vitamins, WHY must they torture pregnant women so?  Prenatal vitamins are the size of horse pills and smell like rotting fish.  Many pregnant women get queasy/nauseous during their pregnancy and have a stronger sense of smell and quicker gag reflexes, so of course it makes sense that these pills are twice the size of normal vitamins and smell awful, to boot!

We're going to turn the front bedroom into the baby's room.  We already know that we'll paint it orange, but we'll accessorize based on whether the bean sprout is a guy or gal.  Eventually, we'll post photos and before/after shots.  I can't stand the smell of paint, so I will probably have to wait for Matt to get around to painting.  The orange was originally meant for the guest bedroom, but the plans quickly changed and our office is staying put in the middle bedroom.  We may try to add some sort of sleeping quarters in the office for guests, but that is TBD for now.

What projects have you had to revise due to surprises or unexpected changes that have been thrown your way?

What a Great Room!

When Matt moved into this house over two years ago, the downstairs was arranged in a much different way than it is now. Isn't it amazing to watch a space evolve over the course of several years? It took a while to get our bearings about how to use our space in the best possible way. We do not have a large house (it's fairly small compared to most other houses in our area). We have 1573 square feet plus a 2 1/2 car garage man cave. When Matt moved in, he arranged the family room in a similar way to the previous owner: a single couch in the family room, next to the fireplace, and across from the television.

The living/dining combo room housed two stormy blue chairs (and a Christmas tree).  Then, I fell in love with a table. It was a cold winter evening at Ikea and I was meandering through the as-is section when I stumbled across my table. He was a handsome table; perfectly fitting the description of tall (er, large), dark, and handsome. His name was Bjursta, but we'll just call him Buster. Buster was marked down 30ish% off his original price because he had been put on display and had a scratch to show for it. The scratch was hardly noticeable and everything was intact, so I had to take him home.  They were also having a sale that took an additional 25% off all as-is items, so I only paid $173ish for him; tax included.  But, what I noticed was that he seemed a little bigger than his supposed dimensions, so instead of being the $299 version that seated 6-10 people, he was the $399+ version that could comfortably seat 10-16 people!  I still lived at my parents' home, so I stored Buster under my bed until we decided to host both of our families for Christmas.  We enjoyed a day-after-Christmas feast with 16 people at that table, in the dining/living combo that only held a Christmas tree, two chairs, and the commotion of 16 well-fed people.

Matt wasn't sold yet on the table, noting that while it fit in the space, he was hoping to have a sofa in that room, too.  So, when I was in Mississippi during Spring 2011, Matt replaced the floor downstairs with laminate wood flooring.  When I came home, we discussed the possibility of turning his family room into a dining room and his living/dining combo into a great room. We both liked that idea (we were almost engaged by this time) and went ahead with that plan. Our goal was to have three spaces that served a single function instead of having three spaces that had to multi-task.  So, we removed the table from the breakfast nook (we have plans for an island eventually), turned the small family room into a large-capacity dining room, and moved the television and couch into the new great room.

Fast forward about a year. We are now married and wanted to finish off the haphazard family room.  When my parents' neighbor offered us their old set of couches for free, we jumped at the opportunity. The couches are in great condition and fit the room well.
However, the way that the room was set up didn't allow for the couch and loveseat to sit next to each other, so Matt and I started playing with the room configuration and settled on this:

Well, on my birthday, my mom and I went shopping (my parents weren't sure about what to get me for my birthday) and we came across the rug in the picture above.  It was the right colors, right size, and right price, so we snatched it up and brought it home!  It is PERFECT for this space, which is now a comfortable sitting area for 6-10 people, thanks to added sofa space and several ottomans that are strategically placed throughout the room.  Our room that was once closed off and dark is now light and welcoming!
Eventually, I would like to paint the walls in a cooler tone, but that's a project for another day.  Our master closet is nearing completion, so stay tuned for the big closet reveal.
What little tweaks have you made around your house that have vastly improved the functionality of your house?