Summer Blogging 2015

When April/May 2015 rolled around I had no idea what the summer had in store for us.

But I had plans for lots of recipes using summer produce that I could not wait to get posted.

I started getting phone calls for more decor consultations while we were on vacation in May, and it snowballed from there.

The extra work has been awesome.

We have been able to complete a bunch of home projects that we weren’t expecting to be able to complete because of the extra $$ in our budget.

And that hopefully means we will sell our house even faster!

But because of all the work and projects I have not been blogging much.

But bear with me. New posts are coming soon.

 I can’t wait to share the biggest project: our finished master bathroom.

And once we purchase another home in the spring (we hope!) there will be lots more projects to come.

A Comedy of (Weekend Plumbing) Errors

Friday night we spent lounging around at home, ordered pizza; I took a trip to Target with my sister.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

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Saturday morning we woke up and both went to work because we had things to catch up on.

In the afternoon I noticed that the washing machine and dryer were both on the fritz again. So I was not able to wash clothes.

My husband gutted the master bathroom in a few hours to prep it for the tile guy coming this week.

C360_2015-07-18-17-56-42-446 (1)

Had a nice dinner, watched some TV and went to bed.

After some pillow talk we decided it was time to just buy a new washer and dryer. Even though we really didn’t want to spend the $$$ on it.

And I planned to go to a laundry mat on Sunday afternoon to wash all our clothes.

Then around 7am Sunday morning my husband noticed that something was not right with our plumbing.

And sure enough the pump that sends the sewage out of our house was not running.

Like it was dead. Taking showers, washing hands, running the dishwasher, flushing toilets would all lead to our basement being filled with lots and lots of sewage water.

There is nothing worse than contemplating raw sewage plus $$$$ for repairs. Uck.

So we slightly panicked.

And then regrouped.

And then panicked again.

We knew the pump needed some work, but it had never just quit.

After calling my brother-in-law for advice, we got the number of a plumber to use.

Of course it was a Sunday so no one could get the parts we needed to get it fixed.

I called around to all the hotels near us to see if any allowed pets. Of course a few did. But most of them were a little too close to a “pay by the hour” kind and we just weren’t up for that kind of adventure. 

Finally, my husband said let’s just get an hotel to take showers and wash clothes, and then we can come home and sleep. IMG_20150719_212216

We decided on a extended stay place because at this point we weren’t sure how long the repairs would take.

And let me tell you we basically had to sign our life over at one point just to get a reservation, including signing a form that said we weren’t sexual predators.

So Monday morning we woke up, quickly gathered our things, did a sprint over to the hotel to go to the bathroom and get ready. 

All this to say, we spent more money this weekend in home repairs than we have on anything else ever in our short married life.

Thankfully while making a mad dash to the hotel Monday morning we just stopped and laughed because at that point there was really nothing else to do.

And I am happy (but broke) to say we are the new owners of a Speed Queen washer/dryer set and a sewage pump.

Hopefully our roof does not cave in next weekend, but at this point all bets are off.

Home Improvement: A Built-in Pantry

So this odd little closet is stuck in behind the A/C return on the other side of this wall.

It originally had bi-fold doors in front of it, but the doors were awkward so we got rid of them.


Then a couple years went by, we painted our cabinets and updated a few other things.

And then it became very obvious that it was TIME to do something about this eye sore.

I came up with a game plan of removing the white wire shelving and replacing it with painted shelves.

We also added the same ship lap paneling that I used on the back hall project a few weeks ago.



Project Total:

Stair treads used as shelves: $40

Paneling leftover from the hall project: $0

Paint and caulk leftover from previous projects: $0


It now holds all my baking staples, dish cloths, paper products, towels and trash bags.

Our Semi-DIY Landscaping and How We Saved $$$

How to Save Money On Landscaping Projects

First off, I am all about paying a professional when it makes sense for a project.

For this project we knew we could do a lot of the work. But we also didn’t want to pay a chiropractor to fix our backs for the next 6 months b/c we bit off more than we could chew dig.

So here is how we saved our backs and our wallets.

#1. Paid a grader to come remove all the old over-grown shrubs, fix any issues with water drainage and overall smooth out the yard. He literally popped the old shrubs out of the dirt in 3 seconds including the root system. That alone would have been a whole weekend project for the two of us. $150

#2. Shopped at a local nursery. I took two trips to the nursery. The first trip I looked at prices, variety, height and watering needs of the plants I liked then went home and figured out a game plan. On the second trip to the nursery, we bought all the plants.

In some cases shopping locally saved us $20 per plant compared to the big box stores. And when you are buying 25+ plants that adds up FAST. We used Lichtenfelt Nursery. Our local nursery also gives out a loyalty card that saved us another 5%.

#3. Paid a landscaper to dig the holes for each new 3 gallon-sized plant. This was another HUGE time and body saver. It takes literally seconds with the right equipment. Digging and aerating those huge holes would have taken us HOURS. It only cost us $155 for 20 holes to be dug.

#4. Laid our own ground cloth and staples to prep for the flower beds.

#5. Purchased mulch in bulk from a local supplier ($70) and spread it ourselves.

After grading and purchasing new plants.


Paid a landscaper to dig holes where we had marked.


Once the holes were ready we mixed in mushroom compost and top soil and then placed the plants in the ground.


Now we just have to wait for all the grass to grow.

But in the meantime it looks like we are feeding cattle in our front yard.




We will be watering ALL summer to keep our plants and grass alive.

Hope this inspires you to go dig in the dirt.

We are still in getting-our-house-ready-to-sell mode.

Lots of little projects still left to do…

Before and after exterior:


Read about the whole front porch project by clicking here.

Home Improvement: House Funk and Laundry Room Rejuvenation

Have you ever been in a house funk?

Like no matter what you do to your  home it does not seem “good enough,” especially when you compare it to others’ homes?

Ack, comparison is the thief  of joy.

Well no matter how many  books, blog posts, pinterest inspiration quotes I read  in regards to finding contentment and joy in the midst of imperfection, I still get in these funks.

Sometimes the funk lasts two hours and sometimes it lasts weeks.

Well I have been in said funk for several months now, and I am starting to see the light.

And I know the reason why.

When I share my home with others rather than spending time in comparison it gives my home life, dare I say  rejuvenation.

Rejuvenation that does not require a hammer and nails, or even a paint brush.

Rejuvenation that is simply spurred on as I view my home as something I can serve others with, rather than how I feel about the way it serves me.

Here is the before and after of my “far from ideal” laundry area.

For the full “before” post go here. 






Ahh so much better.

And to help get my funk on the move this weekend, I took this photo on Sunday afternoon to compare with the photos from 28 months ago.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo-bomb provided by Joe.

Home Improvement: 10 No Fail Paint Colors

No Fail Paint Color Collage- thedomesticlady

I get asked all the time about paint colors that I use regularly in design projects.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but these are definitely some of my favorites.

Tide Water Sherwin Williams 6477 (example)

This is a cool blue, depending on the light is a powder blue or light turquoise. I actually used this in my office at my day job because it’s similar to our logo coloring.

Rice Grain Sherwin Williams 6155 (example)

Rice grain is a great color for rooms that you just don’t know what to do. It also works great as a contrasting ceiling color. And it lends itself to be a little green in certain lights.

Nuthatch Sherwin Williams 6088 (example)

I LOVE this color for the bedroom with white linens. It’s so warm and cozy!

It’s also great in a little girls room with lots of blush pink. So cute.

Gray Owl Benjamin Moore 2137-60 (example)

If you are looking for a basic gray this is your color. It’s very neutral and cool. Perfect for rooms that feel small.

Blue Suede Home Depot Martha Stewart Living (example)

This color is also great in bedrooms. It is definitely a living color. Sometimes it reads as a navy and other times just a medium blue. It looks great with yellow or coral.

Arcade White Sherwin Williams 7100 

Basic white. You just can’t go wrong.

Heartthrob Sherwin Williams 6866 (example)

I have used this in interiors and exteriors. It’s the perfect tomato red. Not too pink and not too orange.

Proper Gray Sherwin Williams 6003 

I used this color in my sister’s home. It is also a cozy color. It has more blue in it that the Owl Gray. My sister paired it with white, light lavender color and lots of silver accessories. It’s gorgeous.

Enamelware Home Depot Martha Stewart Living

Have you seen the Martha Stewart lines at Macys? All the cute vintage inspired kitchen accessories? Well this color was inspired by that line of products. It’s so pretty and bright. I love it in my sun room.

Blue Suede

If you want more options follow my No Fail Paint Colors board on Pinterest.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Retail Therapy: Let’s Talk Vacuums

I have written before on my dislike of vacuuming.

I would rather do any other task but vacuum.

I good naturedly blame my vacuuming phobia on my mom, you can read about it here. 

But the real reason for this post is to review this vacuum that I have purchased for our home.

Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum, $59.98 on Amazon with free shipping.

It is light weight and a trooper against dog hair and dust bunnies: great on hardwood floors, tile and rugs.

And at half the price of other mid-priced vacuums it out performs all others I have owned or used.

So if you are in the market for a new vacuum, try this one out. I LOVE it.

Well as much as someone can love a vacuum.

Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum, $59.98
Eureka MM 9-pack, $7.49

Retail Therapy: A Week of Ikea, My Hunt For Curtains

If you missed my great astute explanation of my feelings for Ikea and trips to the Alps for the Christmas holiday check out Tuesday’s post here.

I had been hunting for new curtains for our eat-in kitchen area and living room since before I got married Nov 2012.

It is kinda one great big room so I really wanted a curtain to unify both spaces.

When I moved from my apartment into my new husband’s home(in case this causes confusion, I only have one husband. I am not some strange reverse polygamist. Speaking of which, i am addicted to watching Sister Wives on TLC) I brought my old curtains with me.

And they functioned in the interim, but I really wanted to make a fresh start curtain-wise (made up new word).

You can see the old curtains in this photo of our eat-in kitchen area.

Or in the photo below.

Stenciling 12

So I looked at all my good sources for ready-made curtains. Ready-made cotton curtains because I can’t stand polyester anything. High maintenance I know.

Tip: If you want your curtains to look more expensive then they actually are always buy curtains made of natural fibers ie cotton, linen, wool, silk. This tip goes for shower curtains too. 

Then I looked at fabric by the yard in an attempt to convince myself that I could just make my own (who am I kidding, I did’t want to make my own). Although I did make my master bedroom curtains and my sun room curtains (which I still need to blog about), in case you think my home ec education went to waste.

And then I thought about having the lady who makes curtains for my decorating clients just make me two sets of panels.

But at $200 approx each that was more than I wanted to spend.

Fast forward 10 months later.

I was searching on the Ikea site for inexpensive fabric options for a client; and I came across these linen curtains.

MALIN TRÅD Curtains, 1 pair, multicolor
Curtains, 1 pair, multicolor

They were subtly colorful and yet still neutral.

And I loved that I could get two panels for $40 which is a steal especially for linen.

I also loved the white wavy detail on the sides.

I showed them to Nancee Lee and she was unimpressed, but I tried not to be deterred.

So we took a serious Ikea trip to Charlotte, the mecca of great shopping in the south (other than Atlanta).

I grabbed them as soon as I spotted the curtain display along with a couple packs of curtain rings.

They came home with me.

And I cannot be happier with how they look in my home.

I also picked up one matching pillow cover to add to my sofa; it helped tie the curtains in with the rest of the room.

MALIN TRÅD Cushion cover, multicolor $4.00
Cushion cover, multicolor

I tend to decorate with semi-neutrals and then add color and texture in accessories so these fun neutral but colorful curtains fit right in.

I did hang them with the white wavy edge on the inside to frame the window.

ikea curtains



And everyone lived happily ever after.

Another Oldie But Goodie: How to Dry and Preserve Hydrangeas

preserving hydrangeas

While we are still on the road, I thought I would bring out this old gem of a post.

Tis the season of hydrangea blooms.

If your flowers are anything like mine they are going hog wild with all the rain and moderate temperatures.

I am starting to wonder if we live in a rain forest.

Anyway, I wrote this post a while back but thought it was worth posting about again.

To read all the details on drying the blooms and then “preserving” their vibrant color click here.

Happy Friday!

And when we home I have a yummy new “healthy french fry” recipe to share via my sister Annie.