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    Curbly House status update!
    The Curbly House has been on a blogging hiatus, because, well... we had a baby and moved into an "under construction" house two weeks later. Then, we proceeded to lose our minds.

    But as the baby grew bigger and we finally started being able to distinguish between night and day, things started to happen around the house. So here's a long-overdue update on where things stand with the Curbly House, and what's coming up next. Here we go!

    Before I get ahead of myself let me just tell you that the only room that feels really done in the house is our daughter Ayla's bedroom. You'll see a couple photographs below, and we'll do a reveal in the coming weeks. Our baby's nursery is 80% complete, but he's moving into a new bedroom this weekend as we prepare for phase two (a brand new addition) to begin next week.

    Ayla's room, before

    Ayla's room during

    Girl's bedroom

    Ayla's reading nook

    Nursery

    Phase Two will bring a fully functional kitchen, complete with an actual means to cook food. Hallelujah. It will also include a small half-bath and mud room. I just high-fived myself when I wrote that last sentence because we've been living with this for 6+ months... 

    Floor plan, addition

    Wow! Notice the inclusion of a real and functioning kitchen! Here's the second floor:

    Second floor plans


    And here's a nice rendering of what the back of the house will look like (eight years from now, when we've saved up enough money to re-paint it):

    Rendering of the rear of the addition

    Phase Two will also turn our very disorganized storage room into a master bedroom and bathroom. Warning, the following picture is only being posted because we're good friends and I know you won't judge us...

    Junk room

    Before you sit back and embark on the rest of our mini tour, please note that many of the pictures were taken in early October when we had the house as clean as it has ever been for a baby shower we hosted. Nearly nothing has changed since then in, with the exception of a few pictures being hung. 

    Hanging pictures in the stairwell.

    Here's the sunroom on the day after we closed on the house:

    Sunroom, before

    And here it is when we moved in:

    Sunroom, fall

    Much better, but the windows still needed lots of help:

    Sunroom windows...rotted

    Fortunately, we hooked up with Andersen Windows to replace (and improve) them (more on that project soon):

    Replacing the sunroom windows

    Here's a shot I snapped on my phone the day we walked through the house for a showing. This is the living room, looking south:

    Living room, looking south

    Here's that same angle now (we've since painted the fireplace too, more pics later!):

    Living room.

    Hello, dining room. We barely knew ye:

    The dining room

    Now:

    Dining room

    Finally, in November we had one of the huge oaks in the back yard taken out (to make room for the addition). It was tragic, trust me (I'm pretty sure Bruno shed tears). No one likes to cut down a beautiful 107-year-old tree (we counted), but it was just too close to the house, and had to go.

    Tree removal

    We also tore off that junky back porch/deck thing that gave me the creeps every time I stepped foot on it:

    Deck demolition.

    We're now days away from breaking ground on the addition; the permit's in the window, just waiting for the weather to turn a little warmer.

    We have so much planned, but haven't yet pulled the trigger on anything (artwork, furniture, rugs, paint treatments, etc.) because we want to have the addition underway to have a sense of how the new digs feel.

    This week I'm working on truly finishing up the bathroom (i.e. finally painting the  bathroom door that we've so far carefully kept out of photos). I'll be hanging the mirror, adding some artwork, and doing a few other finishing touches. I hope to show you the full bathroom reveal next week.

    How are your big remodeling projects going? Let me know in the comments, I need a little inspiration!

     

     


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    Ayla's bedroom reveal
    Last year was full of changes for our family, and in particular for my daughter. A new house, a new brother, and a new pre-school. That's why, when I started thinking about how to design her new room in the Curbly House, I wanted it to be perfect, inspiring, cozy, and hers. The day we moved in, Ayla's room was the most done room in the house, and to date, it's the only done room in the house. This room was my baby, and it's for my baby, so today I'm going to show you more pictures than a proud grandma stores in her wallet. Let's go!

    Remember what her room looked like on the day we bought the house? This shot doesn't make it look half bad; but it was worse than it looked. The plaster was crumbling, the floors were warped, the tiled ceiling sagging, and there were no power outlets (just one wall sconce for lighting):

    Ayla's room, before

    And now, let me refresh your memory on the planning that went into this room. Like many 4-year-olds, Ayla is color-crazy for pink. Yeah, this totally typical and cliche, but it's who she is and what she loves. For the record, she also loves glitter and gems and leaves the house with some sort of sparkly accessory every day. She didn't inherit this from me, because it's a miracle when I make it into a pair of jeans before going out and I can't figure out how to accessorize any part of my outfit. 

    Moving on ... Here's the room after the floors were sanded and the walls were primed:
    The bedroom, after the floors were sanded

    And here it is with a fresh coat of paint:
    Bedroom with pink and blue/green

    I have already written about the importance of this room to me. And I will add here that the fact that this little girl's room was inviting and cozy and totally Ayla by our first night in the house made a big difference to all of us.

    Another shot of the bedroom

    On move in day when it came time for Ayla's nap, she jumped right in bed and slept like she belonged in the room. This is amazing because our kids are notoriously bad sleepers, and the fact that our girl felt settled enough to rest in her new room meant she really embraced it. To this day she will disappear in there for hours at a time, close the door and play make believe, put on dance shows, and write books. This never happened in her old room, and it's so sweet to hear her little voice narrating her tales in the privacy of her own comfy nest. 

    Let's begin the tour with the scrap of fabric that set the whole color scheme for the room:

    Fabric Swatch from Spoonflower - Seafoam - Coral Colorway by Heather Dutton

    created at: 02/22/2013

    created at: 02/22/2013

    Here's the reverse shot of the other side of the room. Check out how different the color looks in the light (the camera exaggerates this quite a bit; the color definitely takes on different shades, but not quite this extreme):

    created at: 02/22/2013

    created at: 02/22/2013

    created at: 02/22/2013

    created at: 02/22/2013

    Here's Ayla's bookshelf/princess storage. No, I didn't organize those; she did that.

    Bookshelves with Disney characters

    Here's that scrap of Spoonflower fabric I loved so much. I got the butterfly artwork from Ikea, and took off the back of the frame to swap out the background.

    created at: 02/22/2013

    created at: 02/22/2013

    Ayla's reading nook:

    created at: 02/22/2013

    created at: 02/22/2013

    For those interested, here's a complete source list. You can also find links galore on my Pinterest board.

     

     

     

     


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    created at: 03/05/2013
    We're on the home stretch of our upstairs bathroom redesign in the Curbly House, and in true "Alicia fashion," I made a last-minute wall color change that caused Bruno to wave his paintbrush in the air yelling, "You have a problem. You need a paint therapist." He's right, but willingly helped me paint, so ... maybe he needs a paint therapist too. Enabler.

    All of this bathroom hullabaloo reminded me that our upcoming (promise, soon!) addition will include two new bathrooms, offering lots opportunities for "costume changes". Fortunately, Fab invited me to put together some bathroom inspiration boards; if you haven't heard of Fab, it's a great online design destination with boatloads of unique, colorful, modern products. Their products inspired me with color palettes and ideas that will make these new spaces. Take a look at my dream bathrooms below:

    For the master bathroom:

    Bathroom inspiration eye candy from Fab.com

    1. Octopus Woman Print

    2. Tulip Woman Print

    3. Seahorse Shower Curtain

    4. Blue Dot Wall Pot

    5. Air Plant Pod

    Fab.com bathroom inspiration

    6. Network Wastecan

    7. Laundry Bag

    8. Peacock Feather Print

    9. Crayon Vases

    10. Bamboo Scale 

    Just having more than one bathroom in the house is going to be a huge luxury for us (neither of us have lived in a house with two for fifteen years). But having one on the first floor? Mind-blowing.  

    For the first floor half-bath :

    Half bathroom design inspiration from Fab.com

    1. Yellow Duck

    2. Architect Wall Flats

    3. Arboretum Shower Curtain

    4. Wooden Doll #19

    5. Wooden Doll #21

    6. Waterproof Notebooks

    7. Butterfly Art Piece

    8. Wayne the Bass (White)

    9. Walrus Box

     

    What do you think? Where do you get your bathroom decor inspiration?

     

    This post was sponsored by Fab; however, all opinions are mine alone.


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    created at: 03/05/2013
    We're on the home stretch of our upstairs bathroom redesign in the Curbly House, and in true "Alicia fashion," I made a last-minute wall color change that caused Bruno to wave his paintbrush in the air yelling, "You have a problem. You need a paint therapist." He's right, but willingly helped me paint, so ... maybe he needs a paint therapist too. Enabler.

    All of this bathroom hullabaloo reminded me that our upcoming (promise, soon!) addition will include two new bathrooms, offering lots opportunities for "costume changes". Fortunately, Fab invited me to put together some bathroom inspiration boards; if you haven't heard of Fab, it's a great online design destination with boatloads of unique, colorful, modern products. Their products inspired me with color palettes and ideas that will make these new spaces. Take a look at my dream bathrooms below:

    For the master bathroom:

    Bathroom inspiration eye candy from Fab.com

    1. Octopus Woman Print

    2. Tulip Woman Print

    3. Seahorse Shower Curtain

    4. Blue Dot Wall Pot

    5. Air Plant Pod

    Fab.com bathroom inspiration

    6. Network Wastecan

    7. Laundry Bag

    8. Peacock Feather Print

    9. Crayon Vases

    10. Bamboo Scale 

    Just having more than one bathroom in the house is going to be a huge luxury for us (neither of us have lived in a house with two for fifteen years). But having one on the first floor? Mind-blowing.  

    For the first floor half-bath :

    Half bathroom design inspiration from Fab.com

    1. Yellow Duck

    2. Architect Wall Flats

    3. Arboretum Shower Curtain

    4. Wooden Doll #19

    5. Wooden Doll #21

    6. Waterproof Notebooks

    7. Butterfly Art Piece

    8. Wayne the Bass (White)

    9. Walrus Box

     

    What do you think? Where do you get your bathroom decor inspiration?

     

    This post was sponsored by Fab; however, all opinions are mine alone.


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    Colorful, Clever Kitchen Gadgets Under $30
    We're now in complete construction mode in the Curbly House. Between snowfalls, our contractor is steadily building a much-needed kitchen addition. I'm so looking forward to decorating the kitchen with colorful accessories. Here are some great ones under $30 that are topping my current list, all from the Kitchen selection on Fab!      

    1. Rainbow Knives: These knives are spectacular! We own two and love them. The rainbow set is my dream come true.

    2. Blue Pantone Placemat and Orange Pantone Mug: I am in love with these placemats and mugs. In love. I want one in every color for my tabletop.

    3. Red & Gray Sugar Bowl: This sugar bowl is exactly the type of color/style combination I want in my kitchen. It's perfection. 

    4. Salad Server Plant: Bright colors + House plant = Yes!

    More colorful, creative kitchen gadgets under $30

    5. Popsicle Stick Molds: Our four-year-old is a popsicle fanatic. And, cool molds are her thing. Because, really, everything tastes better when it has a cool shape and design.

    6. Silver Serving Utensils: I love the twisty handles of this timeless serving set.

    7. New York City Plate: This plate will help you plan your next Big Apple visit over breakfast. (They have a bunch of other "city" plates too; find one you like!)

    8. Leaning Glasses: Your drink is the first thing that will be tipsy when you use these glasses during cocktail hour. 

    9. Cuppow Lids: Nothing says summer to me like a kitchen full of mason jars. I can already picture serving cold iced tea and homemade lemonade in jars and adding these lids to sip in style.

    Clever, Colorful kitchen gadgets

    10. Octopus Creature Cups: An early morning surprise in your coffee mug will never get old.

    11. Multicolor Plaid Salad Spoons: I want these salad spoons to serve all my summer salads.

    12. Blue Floral Mug/Strainer Lid: Mornings in our house are the busiest time of day, and coffee is a must. My coffee routinely gets cold before I finish my cup. I think this gorgeous mug needs to make its way into my morning.

    13. Retro Bowl: This bowl reminds me of my mom, who is a fabulous cook. I think a reminder of your chef mom in the kitchen is a good thing.

    14. Yellow Cotton Napkin: I'm a huge fan of cloth napkins. Despite the fact that they require regular washing and ironing, I love the way they make a table setting. These yellow napkins are bright and bold and they make me smile. I also love this line's navy potholder.

    15. Fire Cutting Board: Everything about this cutting board is amazing to me. It would be the perfect way to bring bold pattern into a kitchen.

    I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to having a real kitchen with countertops, an oven, and a sink with a depth greater than 4 inches, and some colorful gadgets. We have been living with this:

    created at: 03/18/2013

    But, we're dreaming of this:

    created at: 03/18/2013

    Now, just use your imagination to dream along with me. And leave me a comment letting me know what you think of my kitchen gadget inspiration!

     

     

    This post was sponsored by Fab, but all opinions are my own.


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    After much ado about color, we are finally finished with the Curbly House bathroom (for now). We thought we were ready to reveal the room months ago, but then I got cold feet and decided to re-paint the room. When our friends at Sherwin-Williams invited us to participate in their National Painting Week once again, I knew our bathroom was the room that was going to get a mini-makeover in preparation for its big debut.

    For those of you who have been following our progress, you know that when we purchased our house, the 'loo' looked like the above photo. And this photo somehow managed to be the bathroom's equivalent of a Glamour Shot; it makes the room look one million times nicer than it was. 

    The problems weren't just aesthetic. There was a four inch step-up into the room (to accomodate outdated plumbing). And once the floor was torn up, we realized that there was a softball-sized hole in the sewage pipe, which was, um ... gross. The room was also smaller than it needed to be due to some weird built-ins that flanked the chimney. Basically, it was a mess.

    So, we gutted it, dropped a cast iron tub out of the window (only becuase it was too tiny to keep), re-plumbed, tiled with stunning glass tiles, used gorgeous fixtures, and painted.

    Initially we chose a paint color (Sherwin-Williams' Quietude) that was akin to the glass tiles. It was a gorgeous, airy color that I still love.

    Love that color, but it just felt like too much of the same.

    But after a few months of living with the color, I decided that we needed a change. We wanted more contrast between the walls and tiles, in order to let the both colors shine. Apparently you can have too much of a good thing. So, there was a very peaceful break-up, everyone stayed friends, and we decided to bring in a new color to complement the room: Sherwin-Williams' Alpaca. We'd already used this color in our son's nursery, so we thought it would be a perfect fit for the tiles, and we were right! 

    Initially, Bruno refused the change, fearing that he was only feeding my "addiction to repainting rooms that look great", but after the first roll went up, he was on board. We went with Sherwin-Williams' Emerald line in an eggshell finish. The Emerald paint is our favorite; it's thick like honey, which is a weird visual, but totally the way you want your paint to be. The coverage is amazing, and we only needed to use one coat to complete the whole project. 

    As is often the case, the prep work took a lot longer than the painting. I taped and Bruno draped, I cut in and Bruno rolled. The whole painting process was done in an hour (while our daughter was at preschool and our son took one of his record short naps). 

    Before we knew it, the room was done! The contrast between the glass tiles and the gray walls is perfect. The room feels much larger and the wall color really highlights the different tones in the glass floor. The room is still airy, and the best surprise was that the neutral walls combined with the shimmery tile made the whole room feel like a big, beautiful canvas. It allowed us to bring in several additional colors to give the room personality. Here are a few pictures of our new bathroom:

    And, for those interested, here's a source list:

    Paint: Sherwin-Williams' Emerald paint in Alpaca (finish: eggshell)
    Shower Tiles: Modwalls' Lush 1x4 Cloud Tile
    Floor Tile: Modwalls' Brio Blend White Linen
    Vanity: Kohler Traverse (Color: Ostrich)
    Sink: Kohler Traverse
    Bathtub: Kohler Underscore Alcove Bath 
    Toilet: Kohler Cimmaron Two-Piece Elongated Toilet
    Bidet: Kohler C3 Toilet Seat with Bidet (and yes, you need one of these)
    Bathroom Fixtures: Kohler Purist Collection
    Shower Curtain: West Elm's Nile Shower Curtain
    Hamper: Ferm Living Spear Basket
    Shower Shelf: Gatco Latitude II
    Whale Art: Thomas Paul Whale Tray
    Vase: West Elm's White Ceramic Vase + Wood Top
    Succulent Vases: Arcadia Garden Products' Round Wall Planter
    Coral: Nate Berkus for Target (not available on-line)
    Wall Art: Ferm Living Harlequin Tea Towel (color copied and reduced)
    Whale Bath Toy Holder: Boon Whale Pod 
    Wall Art Frames: Ikea Ribba
    Cup: West Elm's Modern Stripe Tumbler

    Every single time we paint a room, I am blown away by the way a coat of paint can transform a space. It can change things in the most dramatic ways and help you achieve the look and feel you want in a matter of hours. Thanks to Sherwin-Williams for inviting us to particiapte in National Painting Week. Be sure to check out the other 13 design bloggers' painting projects.

    If you're curious, you can go back and see our whole bathroom remodel process:

    Note: Thanks to Sherwin-Williams for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine alone.


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    We are miles away from the completion of the Curbly House kitchen, so we decided to make-over another one! Because, friends, when life is crazy, adding to the crazy is always the way to go! 

    A few months ago, Bruno's dad bought a house a few blocks away from us, and the kitchen is in some serious need of updating. When Wilsonart contacted us about using their new line of Wilsonart® HD® High Definition® laminate countertops, we knew it was time to show this kitchen some love. Read on to find out what we're cooking up!

    Here's  a little video tour of the space to get you going:

    Currently, Bruno's dad lives in a condo a few miles away from us. But he wanted something walking distance from his grandkids. When this house went on the market, it was clear that it needed a buyer who was prepared to shower it with love. It's a small house with a comfortable floor plan, but every room needs work. Fortunately, he purchased it for a great deal, and has been slowly fixing it up.

    Like many houses in our neighborhood, the house was lived in and loved by a little old lady who spent the better part of her life in the house (making very few improvements along the way). Aside from replacing the windows, this little house had been virtually untouched since the 1950s???, leaving a huge project for Bruno's dad.  

    The home's kitchen has proved particularly difficult to work with due to its small size and layout (think galley kitchen without work surfaces on both sides). It has one North-facing window that lets in very little light, and it's equipped with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, many of which require a step-stool to reach. The cabinets are all painted a dingy white, and most of them don't open without a little elbow grease.  

    And then there are the countertops, a gold-flecked laminate with a faux-brick backsplash. I know gold is all the rage right now, but these countertops and backsplash are not so much the rage. In fact they are the opposite of the rage.

    When considering the type of makeover to do on this kitchen, we thought a lot about Bruno's dad's needs. A small kitchen is actually a great thing for him. He's not big on cooking, but has a small rotation of specialities that he enjoys preparing. He doesn't need a lot of space, but organization, and a clean look will really help him in his culinary endeavors.

    These days, it's common to go with granite or composite countertops. And while we love those options, in this case, we were looking for something that would give the kitchen a dramatic face-lift while allowing us to stay within our budget. The thing we liked most about Wilsonart® HD® High Definition® Laminates is that the surfaces have texture and depth to them, and come with several different edge styles, giving them a granite look without the granite pricetag. 

    Our laminate samples from Wilsonart. Note the texture and reflections.

    Do you remember that MTV show Made? That show found awkward adolescents with big dreams, gave them a coach, and made them amazing. This is how Bruno and I feel about this kitchen; it's a troubled teen with all the potential in the world, and we are the coaches who are going to help it realize it's full potential. And we're going to do it all in a week, without breaking the bank. And, in true Made fashion, we have a special guest flying in to help us see this project through: Chris, Curbly's editor-in-chief and the brains behind ManMade!

    Here's what we're dealing with:

    That cool clock is an original. It still works and we're using it as the inspiration for the kitchen's new look.

    Yes, that's a toilet in the kitchen pantry. No, I don't know why. Not sure yet what we're going to do about it.

    This range hood looks pretty beaten up, but we like the retro look of it, and we're thinking of sprucing it up with some color.

    Hey! You know what's cool about these old drawers? Nothing! 

    This is the overall look that's inspiring our kitchen makeover:

    We're thinking about installing a black and white checkerboard floor. And, I adore that narrow book rack in the corner:

    via Little Green Notebook

    Open shelving will be the kitchen's new best friend:

    via Apartment Therapy

    Check back next week for all the details as the real work (demolition) begins!

    Note: This post was sponsored by Wilsonart, LLC. All opinions are mine alone. 


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    Our affordable kitchen makeover with Wilsonart

    Last week, we told you about a kitchen makeover that we were planning for Bruno's dad's fixer-upper down the street. As I write this post, the magic is happening and we'll be back next week with the pictures of the demolition and makeover process. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the thought and planning we put into this space.

    But first, here's a little refresher to remind you what we're dealing with:

    Here's what Bruno and Chris are up to this week:

    (Check out more progress photos on our Instagram profile)

    Despite being small, dingy, and poorly laid out, there are some great bones inside this troubled space. The clock is our favorite thing about the room because it's a charming original (and it works!). We also like the retro look of the range hood, and are exploring some ways of tuning (and pretty-ing) it up so that we can use it in the space.

    Given the size of the room and the condition of the cabinetry, we knew we wanted to freshen up the walls and the cabinets up with a coat of white paint. As we started to dissasemble everything, we discovered that several drawers were in worse shape than we thought, and they'll require some serious patching and hardware to return to working order. 

    The old, gold-flecked laminate countertops were the number one thing we wanted to replace in the kitchen because they are dingy, warped, and well ... super ugly. Fortunately, we were able to partner with Wilsonart® HD® High Definition® Laminates to replace them. We sifted through several samples and decided on a deep gray color with a texture that resembles soapstone. The color is called Salentina Nero and it's perfect because it's so versatile. It has a glazed concrete look, which will look beautiful with the clean, white cabinetry, and complement the vintage vibe we're going for.

    We used Wilsonart's Room Visualizer tool to get a feel for the way the countertops would work with the refreshed cabinetry. Here's the image we generated:

    Wilsonart Room Visualizer

    As you can see, our counterop choice has an organic feel that we hope will help ground the space. We also love the fact that once it's installed, there are no visible seams on the counters. For this counter, we decided to go with a beveled edge, to give the room a polished look.

    We knew we wanted an affordable countertop option for the space that could be installed on short notice. We had a countertop installer over to measure the space, selected our color and edge style, and a week later, our new countertops were going in. Amazing.

    In additon to the new countertops, we opted to use a Wilsonart® HD® Integrated Sink in the kitchen. The integrated sink is pretty special; it mounts directly into the laminate countertop and leaves no ridge or edge for food and gunk to collect. This type of sink gives the counterop a clean and sleek look, and allows the fixtures to stand out.  

    The current kitchen is full of bulky upper cabinets are unreachable and weigh the room down. We're in the process of removing them and installing open shelving to help the space breathe. The open shelving will be a great way for us to bring some pops of color into the space through accessories and decor. 

    Here's our working mood board:

    You can see all my inspiration images on my Pinterest board (where I'm keeping track of all my ideas for this project). Head over there and check it out. 

    Please make sure to give me your own suggestions or ideas in the comments below!

    Note: This post was sponsored by Wilsonart, LLC. All opinions are mine alone. 


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    Our last Curbly House update was a while ago, so I wanted to check in and let you know how it's all going. If there were one sentence to summarize phase two of our home renovation, it would be: Damn you, winter.

    Weather has not been on our side this time around. In fact, weather has been our nemesis. We had (too optimistically?) hoped to dig the foundation for our addition in January. But it was freezing, so we thought February would be the golden month. But that was even colder than January. So March was our month. Even once we started, things went in fits and spurts, because every other day this happened:

    Or this:

    Or this:

    And it went on like this until mid-May. No joke. Or, rather, BIG joke on us.

    Bruno spent several hours a week just shoveling off the un-enclosed addition:

    Exactly a week after our last snowfall of the season, we had our new roof installed. It was 90 degrees and every time I walked out of the house one of the roofers was lying on our lawn in a semi-conscious state. Those poor guys. I feared the project might kill them, but they pressed on and completed the 2-day project in 3 days. And, it looks great. The exterior of the house will eventually be painted. In the meantime, I'm smitten:

    At the moment, the future kitchen and master bedroom look like this (progression):

    (That's from the outside; kitchen on the lower level, bedroom upstairs. Exterior framing, sheeting and roofing is complete.)

    Next week, the entire kitchen will be gutted and framed, and we'll be moving in with my parents for a short time to avoid me having a nervous breakdown. It's an incredibly exciting time around here, but the noise and mess and chaos are a tich overwhelming. Fortunately, our kids are taking the craziness in stride, and the end is in sight. Who knew having a construction project going on in the back yard would be better than a babysitter?

    This weekend we packed up our kitchen ...

    ... and moved it into the dining room:

    (That plastic is up to keep the mess from the kitchen demolition out of the rest of the house.)

    The thing we've missed the most since we moved in is a functional kitchen. Our crockpot, toaster oven, hot plate rotation has been exhausted, and we are looking forward to countertops and appliances. Once a week we have a daydream session about the first meal we'll cook in the new kitchen. 

    We have a beautiful kitchen planned, and we've been working with a wonderful cabinet sponsor (Aristokraft) to make the space our own. Our kitchen designer, Jeannine, is a gem and she's helped us create a space that will be the heart of this house. 

    Our preliminary floor plan:

    And an elevation view of the west wall of the kitchen:

    We're still vaccilating about cabinet colors and countertops, and we have several images that are inspiring us:

    We'll also be working with Sherwin-Williams and Kohler as we cook this kitchen to perfection. We're excited to add color to this space, and completely open to color recommendations (tell us your idea in the comments).

    In the meantime, I have been watching this video about the most amazing sink in the world for two-days straight. I mean, this sink ... seriously. 

    ?

    We plan to be back with some progress updates in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, and thanks for sticking with us!


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    Things have been cah-ray-zhee at the Curbly House these past several weeks. Sheetrock rocked us, taking a lot longer than expected due to a delivery truck that arrived to our house and then broke, twice ... delaying the start to this step by 5 days. After all was said and hung, our master mudder Marco had to spend additional time working with all the seams, delaying the process by another 5 days. But the results were stunning:

    Then came flooring, which of course had its own special delays. We were not able to find any floor boards to match our 100+ year old 1 1/4" birch floors that run throughout the house, so we ended up having to tear up the dining room floor to create a more subtle transition between the birch and the new maple floor boards. This was not a cost or expense we planned on... open floor plan be damned! The good news is that they look gorgeous (and they haven't even been refinished yet).

    Tile was laid in our mudroom and downstairs half-bath:

    Then more tile was laid in our upstairs master bathroom:

    This bathroom is almost ready for fixtures to start going in. And that's a good thing, 'cause these Kohler boxes in our garage are starting to get lonely:

    Next, trim was put up around all the windows, baseboards, and crown molding was matched. Again, this was not a cost we planned for, and there were delays as the millwork was created; but ultimately, we think we made the right choice in matching all of the trim in the new part of the house to the original trim in the old part of the house. It makes me giddy because the transitions between rooms are seamless.

    With all the delays we've encountered, we're quite behind on our renovation schedule, which definitely keeps us up at night. Two months ago we temporarily moved out of the house after having a very real awakening about the problems the lack of a kitchen and running water were creating for our family. This was probably the wisest and most unexpected choice we made. We are comfortably staying in a house a few blocks away. We planned on being in this house for 6-8 weeks tops, and are currently on week 10, with what looks like another 4-5 to go. The good news is, we're comfortable and the house is clean and quiet, making us less neurotic. 

    Because we're behind schedule, the Curbly House is filled with cabinetry, bathroom fixtures, and a million boxes just waiting to be unwrapped and installed. Our living room is currently a cardboard-maze of boxes, and we're considering turning it into a carnival attraction. 



    Last weekend, we began painting with primer and enameling the trim. 



    The grand finale took place earlier this week when my favorite part of the renovation process occurred: the installation of our Aristokraft cabinets! I am doing cartwheels. Remember when we were wavering on door styles and colors? We ended choosing the Winstead in maple, painted white

    (Many thanks to our awesome kitchen designer, Jeannine, from Gerhards, for all her help getting the cabinetry figured out).

    With all of this work happening on the inside, Bruno and I have been working on a front porch makeover that has quite figuratively slayed us. The amount of patience and painting and sanding, and re-sanding, and so much more sanding, and squirrel carcasses, has been much more than we anticipated.

    I made far too many trips to my local Sherwin-Williams store trying to figure out how to get paint into those deep stucco pockets. Fortunately, the folks there were patient with me.

    The good new is that after 5 weeks of work (we originally planned on this being a 2-week project ...), the porch is done and ready to be decorated. Here are a few shots I took this morning. 



    Considering that the porch looked like this when we moved in, we've come a long way:



    We have three different grays going on, and fresh white trim, which is working for us. We're planning on painting the house's exterior someday, and the porch was our color test. What do you think? 

    (Colors, for those who keep track, are: SW  7017 Dorian Gray on the stucco, SW  7018 Dovetail on the plaster and posts, SW  7019 Gauntlet Gray as an accent color, SW  7516 Kestrel White on the trim, and SW  6213 Halcyon Green for the door.)

    Thanks for all your support, feedback, and patience through all of our radio silence. We'll be back soon with another update. In the meantime, you can follow all of our progress photos on Instagram!


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    Win a $100 Sherwin-Williams gift card and follow along as Emily Henderson helps make over the Curbly House
    I have some incredibly exciting news to share with you today! 

    It's the home stretch of the Curbly House addition/renovation parade, and I'm thrilled to tell you we've hooked up with Sherwin-Williams and designer extraordinaire Emily Henderson to makeover four rooms in our house! Can you believe it? Emily Henderson! She's amazing and we can't wait to show you all the brilliance she's planning for our dining room, living and sun room, and master bedroom. Read on to learn more and find out how to win a $100 Sherwin-Williams gift card! 

    Bruno and I have fairly different tastes when it comes to design, but if you asked either of us which designer we would most love to work magic in our house, both of us would say, Emily Henderson. Working with her has been pinch-yourself amazing. If you haven't already visited her web site, you must go and read everything she has ever written. Doing so will teach you a zillion wonderful things about interior design and styling. Your eyes and your brain will thank you because of rooms like this:

    And this:

    Our plan to work with Emily has been in the works for quite some time (and proves I am indeed the world's best secret keeper). If the story was a fairy tale, Sherwin-Williams would be our fairy godmother because they are making it happen. With their help, and Emily's expertise, we'll be doing some serious DIY-ing and incorporating some gorgeous Sherwin-Williams paint colors throughout the process.

    Big announcements like this are so much fun to share, but it's even sweeter because it's coupled with the chance to win a $100 gift card to Sherwin-Williams. Oh, the power of paint! It never ceases to amaze me how much a room changes through the use of color. Here's how you can win:

    THE PRIZE: A $100 gift card to Sherwin-Williams!

    THE RULES:

    THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

    - Leave a comment on this here post telling us which room you'd transform with your $100 worth of free paint.

    - Make sure your comments gets in before September 10, 2013 at 11:59 central time (that's when the giveaway closes).

    - We'll select a winner at random (sorry, rest-of-the-world, this one is for U.S. residents only).

    Good luck, I hope you win!

    This giveaway is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams, however, all opinions are my own.


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    Welcome to our master bedroom ... almost.

    Two weeks ago we announced that Emily Henderson is coming to the Curbly House to make it beautiful. Just reading that last sentence makes me want to do a Shannon Miller floor routine circa 1992. The chance to work with Emily is amazing, and we feel like the luckiest home-owners on the block (I think we are)! You will not believe the cool things we have planned for the bedroom. Read on, friends, to find out.


    The Potential

    Our entire home renovation process has been surreal. When Bruno and I first began dating, we'd walk through our neighborhood and ogle all the beautiful renovation projects, noting all the neglected homes we'd love to take under our wing. We've always thought of ourselves as the "crazy cat ladies" of houses. If we ever win the lottery, we'll buy a dozen houses, fix them up, and then give them to owners who will promise to love them until the end of time.

    This is what the master bedroom used to look like. Junk!

    So, when we found our undernourished, neglected little gem of a house two years ago, we felt ridiculously fortunate. We've worked really hard - doing a lot of the work ourselves - and that's allowed us to create the house of our dreams much earlier in life than we would have ever imagined. 

    The Planning

    In planning this year's big addition, we initially thought the expansion would only include a kitchen. But our contractor said adding another level would be a good idea, and there was a decreasing marginal cost to the added square footage.

    One blueprint led to another, and thus became the master bedroom we never really thought we'd have. 

    Our master bedroom floor plan, drawn up by the awesome Will Orfield of Orfield Drafting

    Framing is done...

    And then sheetrock.

    Now, we've moved in to this amazing master bedroom with airy vaulted ceilings, and most of the time we feel like we're on vacation. But the space is huge-er than any bedroom we've ever inhabited, so figuring out furniture and decor sent Bruno and I into no man's land which, fortunately, also happens to be Emily-Henderson-land! 

    The Paint

    We did know we wanted a neutral color on the walls. I love the idea of using neutrals on the walls, and adding color with furniture, decor, and artwork. And Emily agreed.

    So I started by searching for Sea Salt (the color we used, and loved, in our sun room) on the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer tool. From there, I clicked around the palette of coordinating colors. That led me to Sherwin-Williams Crushed Ice (SW 7647), and I was instantly intrigued.

    I took a little Pinterest journey (ok, Pinterest bender) to see if I could find any more "color families" for this color. I found this paint palette by Vim & Vintage:

    I brought this color collection into our Sherwin-Williams store and gathered swatches for three colors: White Heron, Crushed Ice, and Pure White (we wanted to avoid a beige-y neutrals, which is why I didn't collect them all!). At home, the swatches went on the wall and Crushed Ice was the clear winner.

    Furniture

    From there Emily and her team started sharing their magical vision for the room: luxurious, deep blues, touches of gold, and a hint of vintage. We were thrilled to start getting weekly Craigslist alert e-mails from Emily and her assistants.

    We got some campaign dressers from Craigslist that are going to become bedside tables. They'll be painted a color I would have never thought to use, and we can't wait for you to see them in the final room reveal! 

    This little guy has a bright white companion. Smell ya later, ugly colors!

    Lighting

    Emily then guided us through the lovely world of lighting. We hooked up with the fine folks at Lamps Plus to select some truly stunning lighting elements. Here are some of the ones we considered (you'll have to wait for the reveal to see what we picked!):

    Floor Coverings

    Alas, because of construction deadlines, we had to go ahead and choose the bedroom carpet on our own, sans-Emily. We thought we wanted to go for something natural like sisal, until we saw some of the price tags. Woop. Sisal costs money.

    So we went with something a bit safer (ahem; cheaper), a style called 'Artistic Sensibility' in a color called 'Washed Silk'. Kind of cheesy sounding on both counts, but it looks great:

    We're also excited to be working with Loloi Rugs on this project. They have the world's most gorgeous rugs, and we'll be layering one over our carpet to bring more color and texture into the room (here's a link to their latest catalog).

    Window Coverings

    The light-filled master bedroom also needs some serious window coverings. At Emily's suggestion, we looked into doing Roman shades from Blinds.com. After some searching, we decided we liked the Laura Ashley Soft Fold in a color called Cameo Apple Blossom. Here's the sample picture on the site:

    I wanted to see what it might look like with our color (SW 7647), so I pulled the sample image into the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer, and here's what I got!

    Here's a bigger version:

    Not bad for ten minutes of work! And it helped us visualize how the wall color would work with the shades.

    At this very moment, the wall paint, carpet, and chandelier are the only elements that have actually been installed, but I can already see the room's amazing potential.    

    Here's a little taste of what we've got cookin' in our bedroom. Can you even believe it? 


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    Last week we told you all about the magic that's happening in our master bedroom, thanks to Ms. Emily Henderson and the lovely folks at Sherwin-Williams! This week, we're back to give you a little preview of what's in store for the dining room. 

    But, before we get into the details of our new-and-much-improved dining space, let's take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?

    When bought the house, the dining room looked like this. Terrible:

    Ok, maybe 'terrible' is a bit harsh. But those depression-era corner built-ins look much better in photos than they did in person.


    When demolition began, this is the room that housed the most dead-animals and massive nests. Super appetizing.

    Here we've torn the foam tile ceilings down, only to find lots of ...

    ... these little guys.

    After months of work, the room was pest-free, and move-in ready. This is what it looked like the day we moved in. Much improved, but kind of random and a little bland:

    When we added our kitchen in the latest phase of the Curbly House remodel-o-rama, we got an unexpected surprise. Our small dining room was suddenly about 7 feet longer, due to the removal of the short wall separating the dining room and kitchen.

    During construction: looking back through the dining room toward what would become the new kitchen.

    Somewhere along the way this happened (the old wood floor got torn up and replaced so it could match the kitchen).

    Looking back into the roughed-in kitchen, further along during construction.

    We couldn't visualize the added space until it was right there in front of us. The room has nearly doubled in length, and I believe its new, expansive appearance also has a little something to do with our use of paint.

    I've said it before, but I'll say it again because I can't help myself: nothing beats neutral colors when it comes to wall paint. Forget what you've heard, people; neutrals are not boring. They play with the light and change with each hour of the day.

    In our case, we discovered the absolute BEST GRAY IN THE WHOLE WORLD! Sherwin-Williams Aloof Gray (SW 6197). Ok, I kid ... I'm sure there are some other great grays out there, but, like I had to explain to my husband, not all grays are alike, and this one rocks. I love that it makes woodwork - especially painted woodwork - pop and look super sharp.

    Gray is my favorite neutral because it's super flexible, easily warmed up or cooled down, depending on your lighting situation, decor, artwork, etc. Aloof Gray is a transformative color: it has greens, blues, true grays, and even white highlights depending on the time of day. It looks different in each room of our house, but because we've used it throughout, it makes our entire space feel airy and open, almost cloud-like. We've lived with this color for over a year now, and I have not once thought of changing it. Which, if you know me, is actually super-impressive because I have real paint-commitment issues.

    The increased size of the room is great,  but it has also created a few conundrums, specifically where furniture was concerned. To begin with, we had to find a new location for my favorite piece of furniture, the dining room table my dad made decades ago.

    As you can see from this shot (a table setting we did years ago at our old house), my dad's table cleans up nicely:

    Bruno was the first to realize that the table just wasn't working in the new, elongated space, and Emily took his side. When the shock subsided, I reluctantly agreed, and my favorite table in the world is going to my brother's house, where it will look perfect. Here's where I admit to my dear husband that he was right, and I was wrong. I bet Emily doesn't know she's also a mediator/couple's therapist.

    As we began the search for a new dining table, we had a few criteria in mind:

    1. The table had to have the ability to expand to accommodate 8-10 diners.

    2. It needed a thin profile that wouldn't take over the room. Because, while the room got a lot longer, it did not get any wider.

    3. There had to be something visually interesting about it. And preferably, it would be vintage. 

    4. It had to be sturdy (y'know, like, kids-climbing-around-on-top-of-it sturdy).

    With that list in tow, we began scouring Craiglist and vintage shops like it was our full-time job, which to be quite honest, it sort of was. In three week's time, we'd fallen in love with three tables. The first one was so gorgeous in the pictures, but so delicate in person that we feared it didn't stand a chance next to our one-year-old who we've affectionately nicknamed "Smash". 

    The second table looked perfect in the pictures, but to this day we can not get the "seller" to respond to us. We've e-mailed them a dozen times, and heard nada. Seriously, table owners, your business model needs work.

    We ended up getting the last table we saw. In truth, I was least excited about it based solely on its Craigslist ad. But the pictures didn't do it justice, because it's lovely and big and just what our room needed. And, guess what? We got it for a total steal, which makes it even sweeter.

    Aaaand we got that chair in the background for free in the deal! Amazefulness.

    We also scored this insanely awesome Lane credenza, which has become my new favorite piece of furniture. I can already picture it decked out with lovely lamps and a zillion other pretty/weird things Emily will dream up. 

    This puppy cost $260. Yes, Bruno has some mean negotiating tactics (like ... asking please). 

    We're enjoying playing around with chair ideas, but need to get a plan figured out pronto. We have these four gorgeous Umanoff slat wood chairs (also from a certain list-of-Craig), and can't decide if we should find some captain's chairs to go with them, or just spring for a full set of six.

    Ok, full disclosure: these are not our actual chairs, since I couldn't find the original CL photo. But they're almost identical (ours are a smidge darker wood)

    Along with the furniture pieces, we've installed a new chandelier from LampsPlus.com that is beyond brilliant. It's the definition of stunning. Here are a few of the lighting choices Emily and Orlando asked us to consider (a dollar for whoever guesses which we chose ... a virtual dollar):

    Sonneman Tempo, Possini Euro Planet, and Echo Deep Patina chandeliers from LampsPlus.com

    We're also excited to receive our Loloi rug, which will quite literally ground the room and define the dining space beautifully. Here's our working mood board:

    Mood board sources:

    - Lane Credenza (vintage, from Craigslist)
    - Lisbon Bar cart from Arteriors
    - Jonathan Adler Meurice Chandelier  at LampsPlus.com
    - "Mountain of Things" by Mo Negm at Saatchi Online)
    - Happy Chic Vase by Jonathan Adler
    - Laura Ashley Soft Fold Roman shades in Cameo Apple Blossom from Blinds.com
    - Thumprints Starburst Cast Metal Tinted Copper table lamp  from LampsPlus.com
    - Anzio rug in Denim from Loloi Rugs

     

    We'll be back in a few weeks with the full reveal. We can't wait to show you!

    If you're just catching up, here's our first post on planning a master bedroom design with Emily Henderson.

    This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. All opinions are mine alone. 

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    We've told you all about the plans for our bedroom, and our dining room, and this week we're back to tell you a little bit about what Emily Henderson has in store for our living room. And P.S.: The notion that Emily Henderson has anything to do with our house will never get old. 

    'Cause, I mean, look at her living room! Holy balls, if our living room ends up that awesome, I'm going to puke.

    Before I get going, here's my favorite part of this post (for you scroll-hating-people); the mood board:

    Last year Bruno (nearly single-handedly) gutted the living room. Here's the time-lapse:

    "But, why would you gut it? It's perfectly nice!" Haven't you ever just wanted gut something?

    Hello I am your plaster ceiling and I am tired of being up so I am falling dowwwwn!

    New ceilings for a happy life.

    Move-in day. Zev is a real slacker, as you can see.

    Last year, right after moved in.

    Whew! Pictures!

    So. Our living room is a tricky, tricky room. Our main level is donut shaped, which makes it open and airy, but also hard to design around.

    Add in a zillion windowed walls for a tag-team puzzle of furniture-arranging craziness (that's the technical term). There's exactly one windowless wall to work with, and that's the center of the donut, which happens to have a fireplace on it! Here's a visual to help you get the lay of our land:

    For the living room, we chose to continue the soft gray (Sherwin-Williams Aloof Gray SW 6197) that goes throughout the main floor. This color beautifully graces most of the walls in our house. I'd paint my husband in it if that made any sense.

    Initially, we'd considered using several colors to define the rooms, but after playing around with several possibilities, we decided this worked against the very open floor plan we worked so hard to create. In the end, we kept it consistent, and Emily promised to bring in a lot of deep, rich colors with smaller paint projects and decor. 

    The paint swatch book has been our best friend as we've planned this room. The range of grays on our swatch card helped us choose furniture! The sofa we purchased (a BluDot warehouse sale steal!) is the same color as the darkest gray on our paint card (Sherwin-Williams Cast Iron SW 6202). And the custom cushions we ordered for our Danish chairs are the lightest color on the card (Sherwin-Williams Frosty White SW 6196).

    Choosing furniture colors with a paint swatch card is certainly unconventional, but it's been so clever. Since everything in the room is neutral, we'll be able to dress it up with any colors we choose. This is a blessing for a person like me, who has a new favorite color every month. 

    We're installing soft roman shades from Blinds.com (the Laura Ashley flat roman shade in Casualle Milk). They look so crisp and clean on the windows. In fact, our windows look downright preppy! We are absolutely thrilled with them.

    So, since the wall color remains consistent from room to room, how are we defining the spaces? Rugs! We have the most beautiful rugs in the world from Loloi Rugs. Not only have they clearly defined our living and dining rooms, they have made these rooms come together. And they feel so nice on your feetsies.

    Here's a detailed shot of the one we're using in the living room. It's the Sahara line.

    Our house is over 100 years old, and somewhere along the line, the radiators were removed and replaced with forced-air heating. We are lucky that all of the heating registers and returns are decked out in decorative grates (they add a lot of character to the house). But they do make using rugs very difficult in some areas. 

    For example, the moment you walk through our front door you encounter a giant cold air return grate. Since our house doesn't have a well-defined entryway, we like to have a rug there to collect boots and shoes. But you can't really cut a hole in an entry rug. So, for this tricky area, we're using FLOR tiles. They worked great (grate?) for the entry because we were able to cut them to fit snugly around the vent. 

    No room is complete without lots of lighting. I once took a design class from a woman who recommended every room have at least 8-12 lighting sources. I don't know if we'll reach that number, but our recessed lighting is on Lutron dimmer switches, so we have fine-grained control on the amount of light in the room.

    The beautiful floor and table lamps we're using from LampsPlus.com are just icing in the lighting cake. Take a look at some of the ones we chose from:

    Emily will have all of the final room reveals on her site, stylebyemilyhenderson.com in a couple weeks. In the meantime, here's our working mood board (again!)

    If you missed our previous posts, check 'em out now!

    Our Dining Room Makeover with Emily Henderson

    Designing Our Master Bedroom with Emily Henderson

    This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. All opinions are mine alone.


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    For the last few weeks, we've been sharing all the amazingness Emily Henderson is going to bring to the Curbly House. We hooked up with Emily, her assistant Orlando Soria, and Sherwin-Williams to bring a calm, airy, elegant do-over to our master bedroom, dining room, and living room. This week we're back to introduce our final room makeover, and it's our most loved (and most perplexing) space: the sunroom.

    When we first toured the house (by light of our cell phones, because not one light in the house would turn on), the sunroom was this amazing, intriguing place. It was full of windows (never mind that they had enormous, animal-chewed holes in the frames, holes so big you could reach you hand through and check the weather). 

    We loved the room because we knew that by the light of day, it would be sun-filled and cheery. We imagined it would serve as a perfect place for our kids to play. To this day, it's where they spend most of their time. They love to climb up on the bench and watch the world go by, and sprawl out on the floor amidst and explosion of toys. It's a great room, for sure. But design-wise, it's a hot mess. Have a look:

    This is the day we closed on the house.

    We started out right away by tearing down the tiled ceiling. Over the next few months, we installed a new ceiling, and added overhead lighting. We also put in some new, energy-efficient Anderson windows that matched the original grilles. Then, of course, we painted the room from head to toe. The transformation was dramatic. 

    Andersen Windows is a Minnesota company, so I got to tour the facilities. It was really cool! Check out my post about it

    We wanted the walls in this room to have something ethereal about them. We chose a color by Sherwin-Williams called Sea Salt (SW 6204) because it looks like the ocean and the sky met and had a perfect baby. It's soft and stunning, and sets this little room apart from the rest of the first floor in very special way. 

    We found a gray for the dressers that looks lovely with our Sea Salt walls.

    Like many of the rooms on our first floor, the room is virtually wall-less. It's filled with windows (a plus!) and half-walls that make it nearly impossible to hang artwork or arrange furniture. It's long and lean, making rugs difficult to fit, and no matter how we set it up, the room seems to be split in half.

    Emily has been extremely helpful in brainstorming ideas for arranging the room, but the space is so awkward that we've decided to wait to completely put it together until she arrives. So, this room will be a true surprise for all of us, my friends!

    Here's our working mood board:

    We found a pair of Knoll Bertoia chairs  (I've been coveting them for years), on Craigslist. They were a lucky find (with an even luckier price of $200 for the pair), but they were in rough shape (chipping finish and just starting to rust). So we called around and found a sandblaster and powder coater within a few blocks of one another, and had them sanded and painted in a week. Now, they look brand new and I am smitten. 

    1 - Bought on Craigslist for $200. 2 - Sandblasted for $100. 3 - Powder coated for $75.

    Emily helped us choose FLOR tiles for the room, and they have made an enormous difference, because they allowed us to build a custom rug that fit our space. We went with the Vintage Vibe tiles, and we are already pleased as punch with the rugs' durability and softness. You should definitely check out FLOR's new fall 2013 collection; you'll be blown away by some of the amazingly beautifully styles.

    Here we are, looking a bit more put together, with our 'Vintage Vibe' FLOR tiles in place.

    We ordered custom cushions for the window bench, which will soften that corner, and installed roman shades on all the windows. Initially, we had installed curtains in this room, but they added so much bulk, making the windows look heavy. Our new flat-panel shades from Blinds.com don't add any bulk to the window-full walls; instead, they sit snugly inside the frames.

    Lighting-wise, the room doesn't need much help (hello sun!) but we'll add some table lamps as a decorative accent that brings in some soft light. Here are some of the options we chose from:

    As it stands, there are three functional possibilities we're planning for the room. Here they are:

    1 - Library. Bruno and I love the idea of filling this room with books. We've toyed around with the idea of adding floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on the one full wall we have, but the half-wall that runs perpendicular to it will force the shelves to have a very narrow depth, so the books will have to be very small or we'll have to be very creative. 

    2 - TV Room. When we first moved into the house, we set our television and its accoutrements against the full wall, which meant that approximately two people could watch a movie together whilst wedged into our wingback chair. This was cozy for about 20 minutes, and then someone inevitably went to fetch another chair. 

    3 - Play Room. Perhaps the most practical solution for this room will be to treat it as the room it has already become, a play room. We could add a table to the bench area, and add low storage on the full wall. There could be a small seating area under the high picture window. Those Bertoias would look lovely with a side table between them, wouldn't they?

    The surprise factor of what's in store for this room is so exciting. I can't for all of us to see the reveal in a few weeks on Emily's site!

    While we're all waiting, why not check out that mood board again? Don't forget to pin it! Or, better yet, follow us (@curbly) and Emily (@em_henderson) on Pinterest. You won't regret it!

    Of course, you should also definitely check out the first three posts in our series:

    Our Living Room, Styled by Emily Henderson

    Our Dining Room Makeover with Emily Henderson

    Designing Our Master Bedroom with Emily Henderson

    (Do you sense a pattern?)

    This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams, but all opinions are mine. Aaaalll mine! Mwah hah hah hah! No, but seriously, all opinions are mine alone.


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    Our Living Room Makeover with Emily Henderson Revealed
    Over the last month, we've told you everything you could possibly want to know about our plans to style our home with the lovely Emily Henderson. Well friends, the day has finally come to share the reveals with you. We are in love with the results! Emily has all the details and a bevy of gorgeous photos on her site. 

    To see the complete transformation, head to Emily's site.


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    In the whole history of the Curbly House, I don't think I have ever been more excited or proud to share a room with you. Because friends, our kitchen journey has been long and ugly. When we first set eyes on the house, the kitchen looked like this:

    And, it remained like this for far too long, fifteen long months, to be exact (though, to be fair, we actually only lived with it this way for nine months). The picture hardly does the space the hideous justice it deserves. In reality, the space was mostly useless. There were exactly 4 sq. ft of countertop, no oven, no stove, and a kitchen sink that was a whopping 4" deep. In addition, there was a very small refrigerator with a very unreliable freezer (it vacillated from deep freezing everything to thawing everything depending on its mood). 

    And, how can I forget the two sets of cabinets (two uppers, and two lowers) that we managed to squeeze everything we owned into. There were also five decrepit drawers, but only two of them opened; and when you opened them, you had to wiggle them in a zigzag pattern ala giant slalom. There was nothing charming about this kitchen, unless you like the color dirty lemon-yellow.

    Before we even moved into the house, we knew we would have to redo the kitchen. In fact, we made ourselves live with it in that sorry state so that we would be motivated to begin the remodel as soon as our bank accounts recovered from phase one of our work on the house. 

    After a few months in the house, we were desperate to begin planning our new kitchen. We received the incredible opportunity to work with Aristokraft cabinetry, and through this partnership we were matched up with a wonderful kitchen designer, Jeannine.

    We met with Jeannine (at the beautiful Gerhards showroom in Minneapolis) several times to brainstorm the best layout for the space, and nail down our wish list. We knew we wanted plenty of storage, lots of counter space, and an island with seating. We also told Jeannine that we would like to allot space for a stove and working refrigerator. Fortunately, she was willing to work with these extraordinary demands. ;)

    Months and months later, no thanks to Mother Nature who graced us with a winter that just wouldn't quit, the kitchen that we had obsessed over in 2D form, was right there before our eyes. The amount of work this space required was incredible, but it was so worth it. 

    And now, prepare for more pictures than a proud grandma can hold in her purse. 

    Cabinet Bells and Whistles

    As our kitchen design came in to fruition we found ourselves in the very lucky position to work in some special features that have made a huge difference in the room.

    For starters, all of our drawers fully extend and are soft-close. It's glorious.

    We have a super pantry, and it really is completely super in every way. Just look at the fully-extended drawers and tremendous storage capacity. Hello perfect pantry of my dreams!

    On both sides of the stove we have lower cabinets that come with built-in dividers to house our baking sheets and cutting boards. This level of organization is just what my Type A personality was longing for (Aristokraft has a ton of interesting organization accessories that, frankly, make me lusty).

    Countertop and Backsplash

    Selecting a countertop was another big decision we had to make during or kitchen planning phase. Once we'd selected white cabinetry, our inclination was to go with something darker on the countertops. We initially envisioned going with a soft gray or cement. However, after looking through dozens of options, we struggled to find just the right one. 

    We visited a Caesarstone showroom and both Bruno and I were immediately drawn to the marble-y look of Frosty Carrina. We liked the way subtle veins of gray made their way through the white base. If you ever find yourself in the market for new countertops, please do yourself the immensely helpful favor of finding a showroom that stocks the countertop you love. It makes a huge difference to see it in person on a real-life large scale. The Caesarstone showroom we visited was in a Best Buy(!), and seeing the countertops in action made us fall even more in love with our selection; and thus our kitchen countertops were born. Plus, Bruno bought the new Taylor Swift CD on the way out (ok, no he didn't, but only because I stopped him).

    Once the cabinet and countertop decisions were in place, we needed to select a backsplash. This was by far the hardest decision for us. We searched for weeks for one that would be both interesting and timeless. I was leaning toward a stainless steel penny tile, which was interesting. Bruno feared it would be too shiny and bold in our bright white kitchen. He was pulling for a classic white subway tile, and although I love a subway tile, I feared it would be too predictable. 

    On our very last stop of our backsplash hunting marathon we stopped by a local tile distributor, Kate Lo, and saw this little gem called "Boutique Oriental White Eschelon" by Olympia Tile the moment we walked through the store. We both loved it. We had nary a countertop or cabinet swatch in our hands, so ordering it was risky. But, we like living on the edge and ordered it on the spot. 

    Fixtures & Lighting

    We were so excited to get the opportunity to work with Kohler again on this project (remember we teamed up last year for our first bathroom makeover?). Not only are their products beautiful, they are incredibly well made.

    For our kitchen sink and faucet we chose the Indio sink and the Sensate faucet. The Indio sink is farmhouse-esque, but with no apron. It's pretty huge and comes with a stainless steel grill that prevents pots and pans from scraping the porcelain. It also has a custom cutting board that fits right over the sink; it's the most convenient, brilliant accessory ever. No sink should be without one. Period.

    The Kohler Sensate faucet; aka magic times. It turns on with a wave of your hand. Convenient when your hands are covered in chicken guts, etc.

    We went back and forth over the look and size to go with for our pendant lighting. In the end, we chose the Hinge Pendant No. 804 by Quorum International (on sale at Lumens.com). The pendants are huge and we love them because they make a big statement in the room.

    For task lighting, we installed can lights and cabinet lighting. We were completely sold on the idea of doing under-mount cabinet lights when we realized everything would be concealed by this pretty light rail at the cabinets' base. 

    Work Area
    We hemmed and hawed over having a work area in the kitchen, and decided to go for it because we liked the idea of having a place for our kids to work and have computer time down the road. The space ended up being a sweet little nook that has a small work area and a beautiful display of glass cabinetry that I dream of filling with pretty things. 

    All in all, we are thrilled with the way the kitchen turned out. All the planning and luck that went into it resulted in a simple, airy space that feels like the perfect place for our family to gather. 

    For those who want to know, here's a complete source list:

    Note: This post was sponsored by Aristokraft and we received product donations from Sherwin-Williams, Kohler, Blinds.com, and Caesarstone. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the partners that make these posts possible!


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    Last month we told you all about our exciting Curbly House plans with Emily Henderson. The beauty she created in our master bedroom is amazing; it's absolutely our favorite room. Here's a little peak:

    The full reveal of our master bedroom makeover!

    For the full reveal, head on over to Emily Henderson's site: www.stylebyemeilyhenderson.com. While you're there, be sure to check out the living room and dining room makeovers she did. They're the most beautiful rooms in the world!


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    Our bright and airy sunroom styled by Emily Henderson
    By now, you've heard everything you could ever care to know about our makeover series with Emily Henderson. Today, we're sharing the last room she styled in our house: the sunroom. 

    This room was by far the trickiest one to tackle, because of it's narrow floor plan and window nook. The results are simply stunning. For all the details, head over to Emily's site.

    But before you go check out this awesome video our friend John Kingman made about the week we spent with Orlando and Emily:

    Emily Henderson at the Curbly house from John Kingman on Vimeo.


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    DIY Arrows - Feature

    I recently celebrated my sixth wedding anniversary with my guy (Bruno!) and I wanted to make him something meaningful. When I looked into the traditional and modern wedding anniversary gifts I learned that year six is marked by iron (traditional) and wood (modern). I decided to incorporate both.      

    After much thought I decided to create arrows. For symbolic reasons - because, you know, I'm deep like that - and because he is forever in search of them ever since seeing these ones Emily Henderson scored at a thrift shop.

    I'm sharing this DIY in time for Valentine's Day, because these arrows would make the perfect gift for the archer in your life. And, if you don't have an archer in your life, they would make the perfect gift for the one you love because, as I mentioned above, arrows are full of symbolism (love, forward movement, etc.).

    The best news is that these arrows are fun to make, and can be put together in a matter of hours (I'm looking at you, last minute Valentine-person). They also turn out beautifully and will earn you dozens of sentimental points with your honey.  

    Here's what you'll need:

    • Wooden dowels (I used 6)
    • Paint pens in a variety of color
    • Washi tape in a variety of patterns and colors
    • Sculpey clay (I used a brown color to represent "iron")
    • Feathers
    • Glue

    Here's how you DIY:

    1. Using Sculpey clay, form your arrowheads by hand.
    2. Using a dowel, create an indent in the base of each clay arrowhead so that you'll have a place to attach the wooden dowel.
    3. Bake your Sculpey according to the directions. I baked my arrowheads for 20 minutes at 275 °F.
    4. Since I had 6 dowels to work with, I decided to create three separate patterns and repeat each one once.
    5. When I set out to paint my dowels, I just kind of winged it. Using paint pens, I covered my first dowel with white paint (about two inches long), followed by gold (about an inch long). See below for details pictures of these patterns. 
    6. Periodically break up your painted stretches with Washi tape. Initially, I painted, then added Washi tape, and continued painting, but this resulted in paint on the tape. After one round of this I wised up and painted the dowels first, leaving unpainted sections for the Washi tape, which I added after the paint was dry. 
    7. Once your dowels are painted, attach feathers using Washi tape. I purchased synthetic feathers from the craft shop. They were tall, so I cut them in half and used a total of three feathers for the arrow tails.

    8. Glue the arrowheads to the opposite end of the dowel and you've got arrows!
      Close-up of DIY arrows

    Once your arrows are dry and set, arrange them in a vase, mount them on the wall, or tie them up in a big red bow and send them via Cupid.

    DIY arrow group

    DIY Arrows Feature


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