Friday, December 6, 2013

The Little Boy's Room : Before and After

and by "After"... I mean as good as it will get for the foreseeable future.  I don't really expect anything to ever be truly done.  Let's start with the Before:
And After.  I will break it down for you.  Obviously, white paint and wood floors made a huge difference.  I added woven wood blinds and drop -cloth curtains hung from a pipe.  The dream catcher is from Urban Outfitters and the pendant light is from Cost Plus.  This house didn't have any overhead lights when we moved in, so there are a couple plug in pendants around until we get around to hard -wiring everything... eventually.   
The bedding above is flannel for the winter.  Below are the beds as they look in the warmer months.  The Summer bedding is from Serena and Lily and the beds are from Good Will ($16 each, baby!)  I was on a serious quest for about 5 months to find 2 vintage spindle beds with a masculine flair.  I drove my husband crazy, checking Craigs' List constantly and running into every thrift/antique store I saw, but these are perfect.  They were brown, very 70's.   I love them and they make me happy on a daily basis.

Can you tell Mama likes her some pattern?  The rug was custom bound from wall to wall... you can see in the first picture at the top that our dumb pointer recently chewed away some of the binding in the front.  Technically, he's not allowed upstairs, but I'm the only member of the family who got that memo.  The little stools are also from Serena and Lily.  I didn't want to block the view or detract from the beds with night stands.  I wanted the drop-clothes to look finished, I sewed a rick-rac trim which did the trick. 

This lamp makes the world go around.  Again, from Serena and Lily, but it sold out this summer: (  The horse painting has been in Dan's family for years.  They are from Reno, and it's of the wild mustangs that are all around here.  It was in a huge frame with a mat, with my Mother in Law's permission I cropped it to fit under the eves.
 Here's the little reading nook.  The floor pillow is made from the baby quilt that Dan's grandma (Nonni) made Graham when he was born.  It was too small to really use anymore, this way we get to enjoy it every day.  Soon, I plan to hang picture shelves on the wall to display books.

The little play area.  From the top!  A Schoolhouse Electric sconce. 
The baskets (Anthro) hanging on the wall double as helmets in a pinch.  The string lights and wall shelf are from Urban Outfitters. The little painting over the shelf was a gift for Graham when he was born from my dear friend, Marjorie.  One of the primo features of the room is the little floor bump-out for racing match-box cars.  Zoom!  The vintage horse breed poster used to say Budweiser along the bottom.  I went ahead and cropped it out.  There is another poster at the top of the stairs.  I had them framed to hang over the beds without realizing they wouldn't come close to fitting.  We still need to put the fronts on the stairs...

 A Cost-Plus settee divides the zones and keeps the toys pretty-much on the rug.  I can also sit here and read a magazine while they play.  The small pillow is from Target.  The large pillow is from Caitlin Wilson (the pillow so nice, I bought it twice... there's also one in the barn) and the Pendleton baby blanket was Paolo's when he was a baby.... ahhhh.
We did the boy's rooms first.  We wanted them to be as excited about the big move as we were.  This room is very special.  It reminds me of a movie-kid room.  Have you noticed that movie-kids always have cozy rooms under the eves, that are usually unrealistically large?  That's this room!  It also has a view of the high-desert hill side and the stream.   We love it.

Our Property

Our friends, Doyle and Susan wanted to see more of our property,  so here you go!  They are the ones who inspired our desire for land.  We used to visit them when we were newlyweds in Indiana.  The tree house Doyle built for his kids was the coolest thing I have ever seen.  A tree house is one of our many projects planned for next summer.

 When you enter our property there is a very serious wall on the left.  On the right, a big old buck with his harem of half a dozen does.  I really need to take that no trespassing sign down.  We are currently the only house on the road, which is awesome!

 I took this picture the first time I came here.  Dan couldn't come with me because of work.  Actually, we had an accepted offer before Dan got the chance to see what he was buying.  That's trust!   I probably should have cropped my thumb out of this picture.  The building in the foreground is the barn we lived in this summer.

Another one of the first pictures I took.  I am standing on, or near, the lot my in laws bought.  As you can see, they will live right next door.  Fortunately they are wonderful and we all enjoy each others' company.  We are on about 8 acres and they will have almost 2.  The pond is now empty, I want my kids to live.  Dan has plans to deepen the pond and stock it with fish.  Hopefully I will keep him too busy for the next 10 years to get around to that.

The boys and I built a fire pit as soon as we moved in.  I love to have friends over for camp fires.  Any kid who has been over for a camp fire thinks we have the coolest back yard and I love to impress children, so that's fun. 

The entire North border of our property is a spring-fed year round stream. The gazebo needs a lot of work.  Sorry about the blurry picture, but you get the idea.

Here's the reality of our summer.  Toilets, trash, dumpsters, trailers, all sorts ugliness in the front yard.  You can see in the picture of the boys in the snow that my father in law, Steve, was nice enough to take that huge arbor vitae thing down for me.  My neice, Emily, was very naughty and graffiti-ed this very prominent tree.  Emily!   You stinker.  We have so much work to do... landscaping, a garden, a zipline...
 Here is my land today.  On the left is the view 
from my front door.  That gray line past the trees is actually the freeway.  We can hear it from the front yard, sometimes from the backyard but not from inside the house.  It doesn't bother us.  On the right is the view from my backyard.  Do you see the tiny white dots in the middle of the picture?  Those are my Adirondack chairs around the fire pit.  The hill in the background is Mt. Rose.  I can see the poles for the chair lifts from my kitchen window.

Here is my house from earlier this week.  The good news, the ugly bushes are gone.  Unfortunately, Dan screwed some weird light to the wall.  This summer we will paint and get a new front door.  I also hope to lose the screen door on the porch and take down the weird light Dan screwed to the wall.  Oh, and the Blue Spruce on the right has to come down.  We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we love our little piece of Earth and we are very excited to raise our family here. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Some Blogs I'm Loving

My design soul-sister, Christine Dovey of Bijou and Boheme is building a home!  The link is to her inspiration post for the exterior of her home.  My house needs to be painted.  Right now the house and barn are white with forest green shutters and trim and grey shingle roof.  I want to paint it white with black trim and shutters with a kelly green metal roof.  Christine also loves a white house, so I'm totally benefiting from her research.
 While looking for styling ideas for the open shelving in my kitchen,
 I was smitten with this image from A Country Farmhouse.
I had never come across this site before, but this family is a few years ahead of my family on a very similar journey.  Trina and her husband bought a farm in Oregon and lived in the apartment over the barn while they renovated the house.  They did a basic reno of the house and then a more serious remodel later... basically our exact plan. Also, later on they were able to turn the barn apartment into a guest house so perfect it was published in Country Living and landed her an editor position with the magazine.

The blog is so inspiring and also so scary.  They did so much work!  Sometimes when I read blogs it seems like the people have unlimited budgets, but I appreciate that she and her husband did a lot of the work and also are great bargain hunters.  Her family is really young though, and they were living in their barn pre-kids... so my experience will be a little bit wilder.  My style is a little bit wilder as well, but I really love all that she has done.  Another white farm house to adore.  I am SOOO excited.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bunk House: Before and During

This was the entrance to the bunk house the first time I saw it.  So far we have painted the walls and cabinets, removed the uppers and installed the open shelving, done about half of the trim and generally made it functional with a microwave.  Next week Dan is going to build and install a concrete counter that spans the same length as the shelving and finish the trim.  I will install the woven-wood blind and make a little curtain for the microwave nook.  We are designing the space to be used as a guest house long term, hence the decision to forgo the stove.  Also, it was ugly and I hate to cook.

I'm going back and forth on lighting for this room... I have 2 lights.  One is a very simple industrial-style glass pendant, the other is an over the top black iron / crystal 13 light chandelier.  I really can't choose!  Right now it has a dusty old ceiling fan.
 I didn't get a before picture of the boy's loft.  It's the space to the right of the pony wall in this picture.  It is 6'6" deep by 14 feet long.  The second I saw it I wanted to put 3 little beds in a row, Orphan Annie style.  It's not 100% done, I will post details when it's totally finished, but so far I love this little spot.

Ahh, the luxurious master.  There's my long- suffering realtor, he's in a lot of the before pics.  I forgot how bad that area rug was!  I removed the closet shelves and hung a curtain in front of the hay-loft access door.  Oh!  That reminds me... My sister saw the bunk house for the first time when she came to pick up the boys, and when we walked through the mudroom to the barn she stopped in her tracks, jaw dropped and screamed, "You live in a BARN?  Those are stables!  You are LITERALLY living in a BARN!!!"   Uh... yeah!  What do you think I've been talking about for the last 2 months?  Well, I think she thought bunk house was a figure of speech... but no... it's literally a barn*

Wow.  This picture really makes me wish I had payed more attention in my required photography class in college.  This area is really turning out great, the colors are so much fun.  I can not abide a dust ruffle, so I went with a blue and white ticking stripe fitted sheet on the box spring, try it, you will like it!  Also, I was planning on ordering a flokati rug, but I forgot and we needed to set up the furniture so I picked this little rug up at home depot, saving about 600 bones, so... oh, well.  There are so many fun textures in this room.  I will make sure and get better images when it is officially finished.  We still have to hang my crystal chandelier... I am so excited about that!

*For the record, we are having so much fun!  When people ask how we are doing, I think I am coming across negatively because my friends seem a little bit worried about me.  For example... we still don't have hot water.  We are bumming showers off our relatives, taking them at the pool, or Dan's office... small price to pay for this little adventure.  We are fine... better than fine... really!  Well, another little hiccup... it's 100 degrees today and if you look at the master pic again, there is no ventilation in that room.  The only upstairs windows are across the loft where the boys sleep, so the upstairs of the bunk house is... really hot... we went to church this morning and now we are at Dan's office hanging out.  I don't mind the heat as much as Dan, he's going crazy.  Mid week it should cool back off.  Who cares?  We are on an adventure and getting to know each other better than we ever imagined.  So far I still like my family.

It's Ours!!!

 Swim Lessons... so cute.

Maybe it's been obvious, but I've been too superstitious to actually explain what's going on.  We moved into the barn of the property we have been trying to acquire and started work on the bunk house about a month before we actually closed.  The sale of our home in Oregon was really tricky because the buyer (my Father in Law) is in Iowa, his financing was in California, we are in Nevada and like I mentioned, the house we were selling is in Oregon.  There were paper-work errors that set us back 4 days about 10 separate times... and of course the weekend doesn't count, so we were under contract without a close date for 3 months.  I will forever love the seller for accepting our first offer even though we were months out from financing the property.  So.... the farm at the top of the page is ours!  It even has a name... Winter's Creek Ranch.  It's a historic property and a total privilege to own, restore and care for.  After moving 9 times in our 13 year marriage, we hope to keep this property in the family for the rest of our lives.   Oh!!! and the best part... my in laws bought the adjacent lot and they will build a home on it and retire there next year.  Truly, a dream come true.

I'm feeling a little bit like snow white.  There was the bunny, then that night a bird tried desperately to get in our house for an hour before finally getting in.  Dan caught it in his fly-fishing net and sent him on his way.  He was the craziest bird, just yelling at us and banging on the window over and over... I wish I spoke bird.   Then the next morning Lincoln caught this rubber boa... the boys kept it in a Rubber-Maid box for most of the afternoon until it escaped... hopefully not into the house.  
Eww... that pictures so ugly... quick!  Scroll down!

Ahhh... that's better.  The next day we found little Magaville Mordechai in the gravel in front of the barn.  We checked under the eaves for a nest, but we couldn't find one and there aren't any trees there.  It had been really windy that morning so we think he was blown from a nest.  It was exposed to the sun... and Powell and other predators, so we put him in this trash can and took him inside while we tried to find someone qualified to care for him.  We made a few calls but no luck.  I tried to give it water from a dropper, but I looked nothing like his mother, and he wasn't having it.  He was almost able to jump out of the little waste basket, so hoping he was ready, we released him the next morning.  We took him to a shady protected area by the stream and set him free.  The little guys cried for the rest of the morning and hated me for not allowing me to keep him... I was hating myself for allowing them to bring it in the house in the first place.  I have begged the kids not to pick up any more wild life.  It's so sweet and cute, but I can't bare the responsibility of caring for it and it killed me to release this little guy into the cruel world, but I'm sure he's fine! 

Oh... just before we released the bird Dan and P came in the house excited that they had just spotted a bull snake in the front yard right in front of the sliding glass door.  It could be worse... we've been warned about bear.

Downstairs Floor

Yesterday morning L caught this little bunny in a flower bed.  That's his thumb in the picture.  He took this picture for his cousins and grandma.   We kept him in my chihuahua's crate, so you can't really appreciate how tiny he is (the boys think it's a boy).  He fit in the palm of my hand, bigger than an egg and smaller than a tennis ball.  He is the softest sweetest thing I have ever held... so tiny and delicate and vulnerable. We have a really bad track record with vulnerable little animals (or... I should say our bird dog, Powell likes to kill things), so our cousin, Maddie is caring for it and feeding it kitty milk with a tiny bottle.  Good luck, Bunnicula!
The downstairs flooring started out a combo of really nasty carpet and really nasty linoleum.  Dan spent days removing it all and mechanically etching the concrete to prep it for staining.
In the meantime I laid these sweet floor stickers in the mudroom, on the diagonal, I'm really good at floor stickers!  Who knew? After pulling off about 7 layers of old linoleum we were bummed to realize that the mudroom and bathroom floors are just plywood over the ground, no concrete.  That explains the mold on the baseboards.  Yikes!  We don't have the time to dig out the floors and do it right, so floor stickers on plywood it is.  Of course we gutted the moldy drywall.  I hate to store art so I hang it ASAP so it doesn't get damaged... looks kind of silly, though.

Alas, Dan's hard work did not pay off.  The floor color, called Tuscan Yellow, was mixed wrong and it went on opaque.  It was bright mustard.  We were expecting a very subtly warm concrete, like what you see in rest stops.  Are we the only ones who admire the floors in nice new rest stops?  ODOT and CalTrans have some sweet facilities!  Actually, the rest stop on the way to Virginia City is really cool, too.

Anyway, oops!  Maybe we should have just lived with the yellow floors... For now the floor is painted white, in the long run we will dig out the mudroom and bathroom floors, poor a proper foundation and lay hardwood on the entire first floor.  Our motto for the bunk house redo has become, "It's a barn."  We mutter that phrase in defeat a couple of times a day.   We have to remind ourselves we just need to get it livable so we can live in semi-comfort while we do a proper reno of the main house.
Speaking of semi-comfort, I am at the laundry mat.  We don't have wi-fi because the only service provider that serves the old farm isn't very... professional.  Hopefully next week.  I would rather have internet than a washer and dryer!  Gotta go... a really stinky guy keeps telling me there is only a minute left on my dryer.  Bless his heart, he means well.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


My sister, Desiree picked the boys up yesterday.  Dan and I are working about 15 hours a day to get the barn ready to move into while we renovate the main house all summer.  Hopefully it's JUST all summer.  That I can handle.  The fall and winter clothes are packed and in storage and the thought of finding what we need... maybe the threat of buying all new winter clothes will inspire Dan to hire help.

So far 4 of my friends have seen the property.  2 (including my sister) have recommended demolishing the main house and starting over, 2 have said they would get a divorce if they took on a project like that and 3 have said I'm crazy.  I love you, Kelly, for saying you like the house and you don't think I'm crazy.  You have been promoted to favorite.

Oh, no, I just heard the garage door open... Dan's home... back to work.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have my first before and after pictures.  After a couple weeks of demo and rebuilding we're getting to the fun part... installation and decoration!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Breath of New Life

From 2009-2012 I had a healthy living blog.  I started it about half way through my own 60+ pound weight loss.  I was hoping that my success would inspire others, and I was thrilled when people I didn't know reached out for help or to offer encouragement.  I really enjoyed sharing that experience and making so many new friends.  After about 3 years of maintaining my weight loss I found that I was inspired to post less and less frequently.  A few months ago I shut down sjweightloss and I am excited to share my new adventures on Reno-vate (because I live in Reno, NV, cute, right?).  I will still post quite a bit of nutrition and healthy-lifestyle tips here because it is my passion and my profession (I am a certified Health Coach), but this will be a more general lifestyle blog with a lot more decorating and organizing tips and a lot fewer recipes.  This is a good thing.  I actually quit calling them recipes and started calling them "meal ideas". 

I love to read, mostly non-fiction, and to watch documentaries.  Back in the sjweightloss days I posted a  book or movie review once a week in a little post called Media Monday.  I'm keeping that going with this week's book by Tricia Guild, Color, Patterns, and Space.  She's British so she can put the extra coma before the and, a touch I quite like! I am now typing in a British accent.  This book was published in 2010, but her style is so over the top decorative and eccentric that it's timeless. 

 In the first chapter, entitled, Breath of New Life, begins, "It's a widely held dream to discover a sleeping beauty of a house, quietly rotting away in the countryside, and bring it back to life."  I realize this is also a widely held nightmare. To be clear, I am a dreamer.


This book chronicles the restoration of one ancient British "Country Home" (what we yanks call a MANSION) after another.  There are no before pictures, which is the only bummer, but the success of this format is that you are completely transported into an elegantly energetic world of hunting parties, gardening, and afternoon tea.  I'm using the British coma now.  Her signature is using mis-matched drapes on the same window, and I plan to do this in my next house.  She also believes, as do I, that every room can be improved with the graphic contrast of a black and white print.  Her style isn't for everyone, but that's why it's so inspiring!  It requires a look so defined and consistently presented to move our thinking just a little bit.  That's why fashion shows are so wacky!

If you're interested in design you would enjoy this book, even if the style is a little colorful and feminine for you.  Stop by and borrow my copy any time.