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home, Lakeside

Family Room – New Couch

We knew that we wanted a new couch for our new house.  We had leather furniture that we bought second hand almost 10 years ago.  It was still in good shape, but it was never my favorite furniture.  It didn’t feel cozy to me although it was easy to clean off dog prints and dirty messy child prints.

We began the couch search last fall (2016).  We looked around at a few stores and found one that we liked at Haverty’s.  My job was to go back and order it in the spring so it would be ready for delivery as soon as we moved.

But I can’t just let a couch search be that simple.  What if there was a unicorn couch out there and I hadn’t searched enough to find the best couch ever for the best price ever?  Also, there was Pinterest.  If you check out my Family Room Ideas board, you’ll see that I found many couches that I loved from places like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel.  And you’ll see a few sneak peaks of the rest of the decor that I ended up getting.

When it was time to order the couch, I knew that Crate & Barrel was too far out of the budget.  But I thought maybe with a good sale I could get a Pottery Barn couch.  I went to the store and looked at the one I liked.  I looked at swatch after swatch after swatch.  And of course the swatch I ultimately liked was the most expensive fabric.

Then I did more online searching to see if someone else had purchased the couch I loved with the fabric I loved and put it on Pinterest for me.  Nope.

I also went back to Haverty’s and looked at that couch and looked at fabric swatches there.  I’m getting tired now thinking of all the time I put into couch shopping.

In the end, we went with the Haverty’s Norfolk sectional with custom fabric and a somewhat custom shape.  The one pictured online was a little long for our space and I wanted both sides to be the same length.  I read some reviews and blog posts about the Pottery Barn couch and decided it wasn’t worth the cost.  The Haverty’s couch had a similar look and at little lower price.

The Norfolk sectional used to be called the Piedmont sectional, which is the street we lived on in Virginia when Pat was stationed in Norfolk, so it must have been destined for us.  I don’t have a name for the fabric, but it is a black and white mix of fibers that looks grey from a distance.  I love the white couches I see all over the vintage farmhouse world, but I knew I didn’t want the maintenance of pulling off the slipcovers and washing them as often as I would need to.  It is so hard to picture what a fabric swatch is going to look like when it is covering the whole couch.  It was a fingers crossed few months until it was delivered (on our first day in the house) and unwrapped.

Havertys Norfolk Sectional in custom fabric


I love how it turned out!  It is cozy and comfortable and the color is just right – not too dark or light but with a little texture to make it interesting.  We are still fighting about who gets the corner seat though!  More living room updates next week!

Haverty Norfolk Sectional in custom fabric

Haverty Norfolk Sectional in custom fabric

home, moving

New Home!

After a year of planning and dreaming about our new house, we moved this summer!  We spent the last 5 years as renters and we are so excited to be homeowners again.  We spent most of June unpacking and settling into the house and finalizing some of our plans.  The kids and I did a lot of traveling in July and now that we’re almost finished with August, I feel like I have finally had a chance to live here and enjoy the house…while still planning more updates.

Let’s start with the exterior.  Our neighborhood has a lot of beachy looking houses with pretty pastel colors.  Ours is a little more Americana with the blue and light grey colors.  I love the two level front porch and I was very excited to get some bunting for the 4th of July!

Online Stores Printed Polyester Pleated Fan, 3 by 6-Feet

Front of Lakeside House with Bunting


We have a screened in area in the back and our garage is all the way in the back.  Our long driveway has a gate in the middle – we like that we can close the gate and let the dog play in the backyard.  This has added a few steps to the process of leaving the house.  The garage is connected to the house but there is no door directly from the garage to the house.  There is a short walkway from the side/back door to the garage that is covered and screened.  So we have to lock the house door (and make sure the other two are locked), open the gates and go back through the screened area to get into the garage and open the garage door.  Luckily I often have two helpers who are in charge of the gates.

We have a small back yard and almost no front yard, but across the street is a waterfront park area.  There are walking trails, a big pond, a fishing dock and a small playground a few steps away.  We love that we have a large area of open space nearby…for football, baseball, softball, tag, etc… and we don’t have to mow it!  The view from the front porch is great…we can watch the storms roll in, like this one that came through within an hour of our arrival at our new home!

This was the view on my morning walk with Eve (our dog) last week.

Pond on Morning Walk

We have already added adirondack chairs to the front porch and are looking forward to working on the backyard and screened porch area a bit too.


Simple Thanksgiving Tablescape

I wanted simple, easy decor for the dining room table this year for Thanksgiving.  Not because I’ve added complicated decor in the past but because I tend not to do anything.  My biggest accomplishment on Thanksgiving is getting the food ready.  And when we all sit down to eat, we have to move the decorations out of the way so we can get to the main event…the food!  But this year I wanted it to look pretty for before and after the feasting.


I started with a grapevine wreath from Trader Joe’s and added a few white candles and a variety empty jars in the middle.  Then my mother in law and daughter bought some pretty flowers at the grocery store and divided them up amongst the jars.  I have a few fall themed serving dishes I’ve collected over the years to place on each side.


I made the placemats, originally intending to sell them in my Etsy shop, but after I washed them I realized that they had some construction problems so they became mine.  And I’m kind of glad about that!  (They work perfectly well but when I wash them I have to unbunch the batting I used inside since I failed to catch it with my topstitching.  Lesson learned for future placemats!)  But the placemats add a little bit of relaxed beach style to our Thanksgiving scene.



We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner around this table and I’m glad it was pretty too!  Using some items I had on hand and an inexpensive bunch of flowers helped make our day even more special!



Casey’s New Room

Last week I got to spend A LOT of quality time with Casey while Jack was at school.  Even though we went out to a store every day, we still spent a lot of time at home.  The Barbie/Princess family also had a very busy week.  They celebrated birthdays, went to the pool, went to the beach, went to the hairdresser, changed outfits a lot, and witnessed some amazing high diving by Cinderella.

In between Barbie adventures, I tried to do some little projects around the house that I thought Casey would be interested in.  If I wanted to sew, I sewed something for her.  One dress turned out to be a big failure and the other still needs just a little finishing.  I also decided it was time to get the big bare wall behind her bed decorated.

A few months ago I found a great idea on Pinterest to make silhouettes of the princesses and use them as art.  I thought this was a much more subtle princess decorating idea versus some big poster of the princesses.  Basically I didn’t want anything too cartoon-y.

I also have a Silhouette cutting machine that has been sitting idle for some time and now I have a big space near the computer for it.  After a little search online I found the Crafty Mama blog where she had already created templates to use with the Silhouette.

One quick trip to the scrapbook store, four dollars and a few hours later and I had princesses framed and ready to put on the wall.  (And somehow I walked out of that scrapbook store with only what I needed!)

On Friday, I put the frames on the wall and got ready to take some pictures.  I probably spent more time cleaning her room than hanging pictures.  Casey was too busy with her babies to help.

Casey managed to be in almost every picture.  She also wanted to take some pictures with my camera but they didn’t make the cut for this post.  I finally convinced her to go get her own camera.  Then she was even more in my way as she tried to get all her pictures.

She has Christmas lights wrapped around her bed and sleeps with them on every night.  After Christmas was over, she didn’t want to take them off.  We’re now on our third strand.  It makes for a nice little night light for her.

 Her bed still needs a new bedskirt.

This is Casey’s wall of butterflies and dragonflies.  We found some vinyl Star Wars stickers for Jack soon after we moved here and I guided Casey towards these butterflies.  It was one of the first things we put up in each of their rooms.

Here are the signs for Casey’s room.  It’s been used as a storefront lately, which was why I had to do a lot of cleaning.  Casey was selling lotions in there and then it turned into quite an operation one night as they were both making jewelry and selling it.  Casey made the small yellow sign which has her name on it.  Jack made the larger green and yellow signs.  The green one says “Beauty” and he made it fancy (like Grammie did when she was babysitting in April) and the yellow one says “On.”  Jack decided that he would rather have No and Yes signs instead of Open and Closed but then No turned into On.

This is the wall opposite the bed.  It’s not quite as neat…once again Casey was busy with her babies and the lotion store (which she has staged on her empty doll bunk beds).  And her top drawer is broken from the move or else I would fill it with all the junk beautiful hair bands/elastics/bows/etc. sitting on top of her dresser.

These are a lot of the things that I removed from her bedroom to take pictures.  You can see the cash register that was being used for the store, but I’m not sure where the horse and shield were fitting into the place.  I think that must have been from a cowboy playing day.  (In full disclosure, a lot of that stuff is still sitting in the hallway outside Casey’s room 5 days later.)

And so, Casey’s room is the first room I’ve gotten to in showing off our new house.  Casey and I have another long week together so maybe we can get to some more projects.  Pat asked me today when I was going to finish hanging pictures in the rest of the house.  Sometimes I just can’t decide what I’m going to do and I do nothing!  We’ll fix some of that next week.


My Little Decorator

After the dump truck of toys stopped by over Christmas, Pat and I were throwing around the idea of turning our front room into more of an official playroom.  There have always been toys in it but it’s not exclusively for toys.  After deciding that I didn’t want to do that, I couldn’t sleep last night and kept rearranging furniture in my head.  I’m trying not to be afraid of changing things and moving furniture because all I have to do is move it back if I don’t like it.  It’s funny that I shouldn’t naturally think that considering the number of times I moved my furniture in my bedroom growing up.  Anyway, by the time I went to sleep last night I had come up with some good furniture arrangements and thought I might just go for it.

This morning I didn’t really think about playrooms all that much given that we actually had to get up, get dressed and leave the house today to get Jack to school.  I think I could have used another week of vacation.  The kids weren’t even getting on my nerves yet.  Sometimes a big infusion of toys is all they need to get along a little better.

While Casey was napping this afternoon, I was trying to get some things done on the computer, like reading other blogs and looking at great projects other people have done and thinking, ‘I should do that someday.’  I paid some bills too.  Jack decided that it would be a great time to bring a Lego creation over to disassemble, placing the pieces strategically around the mouse.  And that was my inspiration to do a little reorganizing.  I ran upstairs and dug our 2nd coffee table out of the upstairs toy closet and brought it downstairs.  Before I go any further, there are no pictures of this process yet because it’s still a bit of a disaster.  It had to get worse before it could get better and it’s just now making the turn.  Pat has asked me twice already if I plan to keep a 6 foot tall bookcase in the middle of the living room.    

I brought the coffee table downstairs and moved Jack’s pile of Legos to the table.  He went and got himself a Buzz Lightyear chair and happily sat creating a new airplane for his aircraft carrier.  I was able to get back to blogland without a pile of Legos and child under my elbow.  I wondered why I hadn’t thought to bring the table down months ago.  When Jack was a baby we baby-proofed this table and stuck the spongy rubber stuff around the sides so he wouldn’t bump his head on the sharp edges.  We’re a little past the baby proofing stage around here now but I decided that rubber stuff is staying on.  It’s primary purpose now is to keep Legos and puzzle pieces on the table.  Brilliant.

From the coffee table to moving a 6 foot bookshelf to moving a bunch of toys around, the room is now more of a playroom but I didn’t move any major furniture beside that bookshelf.  (And a small kitchen.)  In the midst of this Jack thought he would help me.  He just started pulling things out of cupboards and shelves and saying, “I’ll put this here and this here and this here.  See how I’m fixing it Mommy?”  When I took some old frames and knick knacks out of a cupboard he asked where they were going.  I was planning to put them back in a different cupboard but I asked him where he thought they should go.  And boy, did he have some opinions.  More like steadfast confidence in his decorating ability.  He knew exactly where things needed to go and how to do it.  I’ve already signed him up for the next season of Design Star on HGTV.

“Mommy, what rocks do you want to put in this jar?” he asked as he pulled out a bag of rocks and a clear vase.  It was obvious that he didn’t even need me to answer that because rocks were already going into the jar.  He was very serious about his tasking and his end table was decorated in no time.  I’m afraid to move things now.