paint is on the walls, people, paint is. on. the. walls.

Guys, we've painted the house - WITH OUR OWN BARE HANDS. The whole time we've lived here, which is creeping up on 2 years, we've loathed the beige color scheme, although it really wasn't too bad. It just felt like we were living in our parent's homes, you know? So of course, personalization was needed.

However! The entire time we've been here, we hadn't pulled the trigger on this particular (seemingly basic) endeavor because the entry is two-stories high so it was a safety issue for us to deploy our usual DIY tactics and, in an effort to be "adults," we wanted to hire someone to do it for quality purposes - we're getting to that point where we can clearly see the difference between a professional's work and.... ours. But the safety issue was paramount! Every time someone was giving us advice on the whole paint thing, the first thing they would say is something along the lines of, "you guys have kids - you can't go and fall off an 18 foot ladder and injure yourselves" - rightly so!

So you know what our solution was in order to cut costs on what we thought we would be doing at the time, which was to hire someone? We started buying gallons of paint every week and just painting what we could - so no second story painting, just the first floor and of course hallways, bedrooms, etc. BUT! Guys, it was so irritating to have to call a paint company then wait for service when we were LIVING in a half painted house! We just wanted it DONE!!!!!! So we called up our trusty friends who own a gigantor ladder and just said "F IT! Let's do this!"

So we rolled up our sleeves and got to painting that second story room which took us 3 days, if I recall correctly. GUYS IT WAS SOOOOOOOO SCARY!!

Chad did 90% of it while I stood at the bottom of the ladder so it wouldn't slide out from under him. Then, when it was my turn to get on up there to finish off some detail work, I was SO TERRIFIED. I KEPT SAYING "I CAN'T BELIEVE I ALLOWED YOU TO DO THIS, THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN, LOVE OF MY LIFE, BEST FRIEND, HUSBAND - HERE WE ARE RISKING OUR LIVES TO PAINT THE STUPID HOUSE OMG WHAT ARE WE THINKING HOLY SHIT DO YOU HAVE THE LADDER? ARE YOU HOLDING IT?! OMG OMG OMG WHAT ARE WE THINKING?!"

But guess FREAKING what?! It got done!!! We did a SUPER light gray and then a white on the walls where we are going to do a gigantic batten board project that I can't wait to do. Kota keeps telling me that all I ever want to do is paint our houses white (the gray really is so light it can be mistaken for white), to which I have responded, "there are worse things in life!" I love white what is my deal?

(Batten board project will be similar to this but with larger-scaled rectangles as opposed to those smaller squares)

The play room is painted a super dark green that I LOVE. It's our only room that is an actual color and I'm obsessed with it. It's so life giving. More on that later, it deserves it's own post.

Also! We've been scooping up the last of the large scale furniture pieces little by little. What's left is the girl's beds and then two more tables, nightstands for our room and then we'll move on the to the details that makes it all feel warm and cozy.

THEN! Floors and kitchen and then down the line, legit window treatments, at which point Chad will surely text me, "hey I put an offer in on a new house, we're moving!" Bahahha! No I'm kidding, but am I?! The man is not done moving!!!! HOW?! I can't even imagine, but then again, Chad and I are basically the same human in so many ways so I know I've got maybe 2 more moves in me. Maybe one more here in Corona then once the kids are raised and if my family is still in South OC, a move back? LISTEN TO ME I'M SICK IN THE HEAD!

So anyways, CHEERS TO PAINT!

No floors, just furniture

Welp, that one time where I declared that we were going to spend a few buckaroos on flooring never happened folks. I wrote that post earlier this year when our house (which we'd been living in for 1 year at the time), was completely empty, totally devoid of any furniture (the first 12 months of residency consisted of us getting rid of our past buys. Note to self: sell furniture with houses). So what happened was that right before we pulled the trigger on the floors, I shot a fast text to my mom and sister, two humans who (unfortunately for them) are always my sounding board when it comes to house stuff - sorry guys, for complaining about floors all the time!

Anyway, I asked them if we should buy floors or furniture - what did they think. The text message went something like this: "Hey, trusted advisors. We may or may not listen to you, but if you were us, what would you do, floors (which will mean that we'll still be living in an empty house for quite a bit longer) or buy furniture despite the fact that you loathe the floors you're living on which could make an impression on the furniture you buy?"

Immediately both of them responded with the "buy furniture" option - my sister even said something pretty dang profound: she told me to "get comfortable in our house." I mean, what a concept.  Honestly, they were beyond correct. We were so uncomfortable living in total desolation, comfy-ness wise. We had only one single couch (the only piece of furniture we chose to keep after dumping all the rest because none of it worked in this place) upon which to sit and watch tv AS A FAMILY OF FIVE. There were no rugs. There were no chairs. It was just the ol' beige couch we had purchased on our 1 year wedding anniversary, the black buffet thing we had bought with our wedding money and that was it, people. (In reading that back it sounds like I'm complaining about the "minimalist" ways in which we were living - obviously it was our choice to get rid of everything else. No complaints!)

So I asked Chad what he thought and we both agreed that maybe we should swing by the (only) local furniture superstore, Jeromes, in order to infuse some comfort into our lives. We swiftly bought a few pieces of furniture, including the 

family room couches (you guys it has always been this weird dream of mine to own two of the same sofa's and have them face each other flanking a fire place - dream. was. realized. Although we have switched the arrangement up since then, as seen right here), 

a sofa for the living room (we are painting in there at the moment, hence the ladder), 

a new bed frame and mattress for Chad and I (this was actually the first ever REAL bed frame situation we've ever had!), 

and one last FREAKING AWESOME find: a charcoal Z Gallerie Hayes recliner (that looks like anything but a recliner). 

There were also a few Home Goods finds scattered in there too, like an ottoman coffee table. And one can never forget about the couple of IKEA dressers for the kids rooms. Honestly IKEA is the best, man. Cheap? Yes. Cheap quality? Perhaps. But you know what, who cares when the internet is full of hacks to make those cheapy pieces prettier. Also, RUGS! We got a few large scale rugs and I love them so much.

Guys I'm so happy we got ourselves some furniture. It really did make us like the house we live in. Before, when we were "cuddling" on the hardwood floors for lack of any better option, there really were a few moments of buyers remorse hahaha! Funny now, not so funny then. I really thought, "wow, great job, Nicole and Chad. Way to go buy a house that you were completely unequipped to furnish OR renovate to your liking. Great move." 

BUT NOW I do not feel like that! The buying of the furniture made me feel like we are totally able to just do small things, little by little. A $35 can of paint for the living room? Sure! That purchase was nothing compared to the onslaught of purchases from Jeromes. Hang some IKEA curtains? Yeah, why the heck not! $40-50 for that? Yes. A candle stick here and there from Pottery Barn - yes. Do you see what I mean? It got us started on the whole dang house! 

So thanks, mom and sister! Without that advice, we'd (maybe) still be living in an empty rectangle of suburbia, albeit one with nice floors - ;D.

when deciding on floors snowballs into a whole house redesign, naturally

If you know either Chad or I, you've surely been informed of our ever-present, extreme first world problem: what floors are we going to lay down in this house of ours. It's (embarrassingly) been the major problem of our year! WHAT DO WE DO? Do we furnish the house or do the floors? Renovate the kitchen or do the floors? FLOORS, FLOORS, FLOORS, FLOORS, FLOORS!

Anyhoo, we've finally decided to do the damn floors! I'M STOKED. So today we sat down to take a look at what both of us are drawn to. I'm recording it here because this is a magical space where things come to be once they've been put out there in the universe (save for our master bedroom inspiration post - that one is still in it's "inspiration" phase baha!).

The results! We both want lighter floors, but Chad leans more toward a grey tone type of deal, and I would like something with a warm undertone. Although my "warm undertone thoughts" may not be the most modern, I'm starting to wonder when the trends will swing back toward the oak/tan-like look. Grey is definitely having a moment and we DO love grey so much - talk about feeling FRESH if it's done correctly! - but I can't lie, I really enjoy what the warmer colors do for a home. I like the look in pictures that regular people post on social media, leading me to the thought that I feel like it does a good thing for people's complexions. I don't know. There's that thought.

I'm getting off track! Here are a few pictures of what we're thinking regarding floors, sources included.


See what I mean? He loves himself a good ashy, hardwood look. I like it too! I just want to LOVE it for like 25 years. Not too much to ask, is it?


See how it's light but still warm? I know - it's not the most modern but it will last the test of time, style wise, methinks!

And then here's what I'm really after: that glassy, shiny look. These floors above are a little too dark and saturated for what I'm looking for, but how about that window reflection? HEART EYES.

Again, I know these floors aren't the most modern, BUT THAT SHINE! And that oak WILL come back one day! It's so warm and welcoming! I had to scour the internets to find a LIGHT hardwood that had that look to it - most shiny hardwoods were dark.

So beautiful, right?! You have to imagine the rest of the home with more modern touches (wall color, furniture, lighting fixtures, etc.).


Okay now take a look at THIS blog post's pictures OMG. Aren't those floors BEAUTIFUL? They are light, have a touch of grey BUT ALSO have an undercurrent of warmth. I don't know - is that just me? Here are some more pictures of it:

LOOK AT THOSE FLOORS! OMG GORGEOUS. I've linked it up here:

So anyway, the floors are such a hot topic of conversation around here because the rest of our downstair's design seems to hinge on them: How do we want to re-situate our kitchen? We have to floor under the new refrigerator location, right? How about the powder room? We want to change out that vanity, so we have to lay down floors accordingly. I'M TELLING YOU, THE FLOORS AND ALL THAT HINGES ON THEM CONSUMES OUR MINDS!!! It's so first-worldy and stupid but oh, so fun!

master bedroom inspiration

For some reason I'm feeling like DARK is the way to go with this room - woo!!! We've never done something like that so I'm STOKED. Let me tell you though, the "convincing Chad that this will be cool" portion of the whole endeavor is proving to be pretty dang hard. He just can't wrap his head around actually CHOOSING to paint a ceiling or any other wall a color that, according to the universal laws of painting rooms, would either make it feel smaller or would suck up all the light. But I'm over here like "hey babe, this house is our coloring book! Let's just do it!"

So anyhoo, since typing things out on my other blog almost always ensures that it WILL come to be, I must record some inspiration up in here! It's a pretty one-sided inspo post, being that Chad has nothing to do with it hahaha, but hey. Maybe if I compile my thoughts here he'll step over to the dark side? Worth a shot.

Also, this grasscloth wallpaper situation? I freakin' love it. Chad wants NOTHING to do with wallpaper - understandably, given how we usually operate which is like so: I keep telling him "when we want to take it down we'll hire someone to do it," but I know in his head he's like "yeah... we say that now, but watch, I'll be the one to have to peel it off the wall..." I get it! But seriously. LOVING the grasscloth. 

We also have a big ol' built in in there that has warm undertones to it's white paint. Originally I wanted to paint it either a bright white or whatever color we end up painting the walls but now I'm like no. That's another reason I want to go with the grasscloth. I feel like it will compliment the built in so beautifully! I can't wait to move forward, no matter what we do. None of it will happen until after New Year's so I'm just having fun by looking around at things, but man is it a blast! Woo!

master closet re-do

Like the garage make over and the pantry do-over, our master bedroom closet was nothing to complain about in terms of what the previous owners had provided us - but there was just something about the whole thing that didn't work! It's like there were already nice elements in there, but the functionality wasn't happening. Maybe we're just high maintenance humans? I don't know. But here's something funny: while I was uploading these "before" photos to my computer, I thought, "what was wrong with the original? If we had just organized a little bit more it probably would have helped our cause out a lot. Bahaha!"

No but truly, when one would walk into the original layout, claustrophobia was at an all time high. Immediately to the left was a (albeit very nice) shelving unit, so you couldn't really lift your left arm to do anything. Then, because the built-in dresser and another shelving unit were to the right, the previous people had taken off the door because it would hit the drawers (both couldn't be open at the same time). This made it so every time I walked into the master bathroom, a world of clutter was staring me in the face (again, probably a little organization would have helped us out in this department hahaha). Lastly, the dowels and clothes-hanging areas really did all blend together in a mish-mash of ways - it was stressful going in there!

Chad has an ungodly amount of clothes - he always has, probably always will. When we first got married, I was sorting through it all and couldn't believe the volume of winter clothes (UH WE LIVE IN CALIFORNIA - WINTER WEAR IS BASICALLY THE SAME AS SUMMER APPAREL BUT THERE WAS "WINTER WEAR" NONE THE LESS). It was hilarious and still is! The man just has a ton of clothes. Oh and shoes? He's got a bunch of those too. I am glad though that he enjoys this stuff - at least he likes looking put together! But anyhoo, all of those clothes and (large) shoes needed a place to go, so one day we just tore the whole closet apart on a whim. I COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Once Chad lifted the built-ins, we found the original carpet underneath (which  meant there were two types of carpet in the small walk-in - the original then what a past owner had put down on top of it). That discovery led to Chad tearing up all of the carpet - DIY YOU SLIPPERY SLOPE, YOU! I was secretly thrilled though. My man headed to the garage, accessed the leftover hardwood floors from the previous owner and then went to the Depot to spend $50 on that liner right there.

That's how much this closet thing has cost us so far: FIFTY BUCKS! Win! (I need to buy a mirror still but hey! Not bad!)

This was his first go at laying down flooring - I'd say it was a MAJOR WIN. While it was empty and before the floors were fully laid, I gave the little room a coat of white paint - even the ceiling! It felt great!

Then we needed to figure out the layout. At first I had this totally crazy "ground breaking" design - bahaha. I'm glad we didn't do what I had originally wanted though. There's still a TINY part of me that thinks about what potential buyers would think if we DID sell this bad boy. (It's disgusting that I would even say that given our PERPETUAL MOVER STATUS that we're still trying to shake.)

Then there was lots of finagling around! I'm so glad Chad has the gift of spacial relations. Honestly he always comes in clutch when we're trying to do these type things. He just has an eye for it all! He was the one who came up with the closet layout.

One of the challenges was that legit-mo'-effin' safe built into the wall (installed by the previous owners). They were ADAMANT second amendment supporters, so they had these type things installed in several spots of the house (this is the only built-into-the-wall type safe, but several pieces of their furniture had electronic boxes screwed to them in hidden areas). So anyway, we had to figure out a layout that would accommodate for the safe. I plan on using that dowel that's hanging there above it as an outfit-planning type thing. Like "hang our clothes up for the week" area (and to hide it - it's not exactly the prettiest thing to look at.

THIS WAS MY FAVORITE PART! Chad re-installed the door that had been stored in the garage up until this point. YES. It looks sooooo much better up there.

We also installed those dresser pulls - the original plan was to DIY these leather loop pulls (I thought it would be a great masculine feature to the whole look), but straight up, those pulls looked SO BAD. So we took them off and screwed in a few dresser pulls we had lying around. It wasn't exactly what I had envisioned for the large dresser and I still don't LOVE them, but it works!

Now here we are, months later, and the only other thing I've purchased for the space (which I'm too lazy to go up and take a picture of) is one of those $14 mirrors from target that you screw to the wall. It sounds soooooooo simple and underwhelming that I got THAT mirror, but gosh dangit this closet is now EXACTLY what I wanted out of the whole endeavor in the first place. I can now step inside the area, close the door and get changed in my - wait for it - CHANGING ROOM, not just closet (!!!!). Bahahaha! That's what I told Chad when we first started: "I want a changing room, my dear, not just an ordinary closet." This reason rested in the fact that Carter is a silent creeper of the house, and with him getting older, I didn't want him to silently creep into our room while I was stark naked getting dressed - SURELY THAT WOULD LEAD HIM TO BEING SCARRED FOR LIFE.

So yes - WIN!!!! I love it, Chad loves it, and after months of actually USING it, functionally it's very on point. YAY!!!!

In which my pantry wasn't large enough to house my m&m's obsession so we built a new one

Wahoo! It's happened: my insane sweet tooth now has affected the architecture of our home. WIN!

No, just kidding. For real though, we already had a pretty great, large pantry in the kitchen. The only problem with it was that Chad loathed the whole thing. He didn't like how deep it was (we couldn't see what we actually had or didn't have), he didn't like the width of the shelves, he didn't really like ANYTHING about it. In fact, he wants to demo that there built-in pantry below on the left hand side.

Finally - A Functional Play Room!

It's a miracle! I don't LOATHE our play room anymore. Hip hip hooray!

Ever since moving into the new house in March after selling our last mini house, this room has been in heavy use... by everyone except me. We hooked up the TV and video game console within the first few hours of ownership (priorities, right?), and of course, threw every last toy in there on it's bare floor and crammed all that would fit within the closet.

It was chaos, you know? The only good point to it was that we (and by we, I mean "I") didn't have to look at the disorganization in the living areas - but other than that, entering the room-of-toys was a miserable experience. The (albeit pretty) hardwood floor and (not so pretty) built-in that was already in place felt cold and horrible. 

Our ultimate plan is to completely change everything about this space (floors, move the built-in to the other side of the room and change it up, and then of course, paint!), but we needed a temporary solution to get us through to that point.

So what's a gal to do when the play room isn't her top priority on the "home improvement money spending" list? Shop the house! We hung the kids' initials up from the old nursery and bedroom over the make-shift daybed (two end caps to these beds from IKEA), and then put a cheap rug in there from Target - BOOM: instant coziness!