highlights of 2013.

2013 2014


happy 2014!

i’ve said it before, & i’ll say it again!, yearly recaps are always my favorite kinds of blog posts. its a small way to sum up your year & to see how much the last 365 days have brought. as i look forward to the New Year, i am humbled & grateful by all of the wondrous events of 2013. here’s the rundown of ours:

january: I started out the new year with a bout of the flu. we hosted our first blog giveaway! we installed the west elm hanging capiz chandelier over our dining room table. I framed my diy polaroids for our bedroom walls. amanda & I met john & sherry from young house love during their book signing tour! I diy-ed campaign dressers for our bedroom.




february: I did lots of diy-ing for valentine’s day {here, here, & here} I celebrated my birthday! we bought a kitchen island. I tried to be better about getting in front of the camera!



march: I tried my hand at painting an antler {& was so impressed with the results!}. we took my 91-year-old grandmother to target for the first time! amanda & I diy-ed framed house keys on maps. we sold jez the jetta & bought a new car.




april: we updated our bathroom vanity with a converted antique sideboard. we updated the closet doors by stripping off the old paint in a crock pot. we celebrated our one year anniversary in our house & I reviewed all of the house diys!




may: we finally got some good weather in seattle! I painted the ceiling & hallway walls. we celebrated aaron’s thirtieth birthday with a beer tasting party! we had a fun-filled memorial day weekend. we were featured in west elm’s blog front & main.




front and main

june: aaron replaced our toilet. sadie was featured in the seattle dog spot blog. my parents visited for a long weekend en route to the olympic peninsula. my diy his & hers maps were featured. we finally got some summer weather!


seattle dog blog thank you

july: we celebrated the long Fourth of July weekend with a holiday parade, fireworks, & time with friends. I made a nine layer ombre cake! we replaced our kitchen track lights with globe pendants from west elm. we road-tripped to idaho for my ten-year high school reunion. we started growing our first eggplant.



august: we celebrated our three year wedding anniversary. the blog got a Liebster Award Nomination. I diy-ed the tiniest baby hats for our friends’ new baby. we road-tripped to hood river, oregon to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.





september: we went to the husky vs. bronco game to kick-off labor day weekend complete with husky-style tailgating {via boat}. we took advantage of the warm weather & cleaned up the front yard with a fun game called love it or lose it. we celebrated sadie’s ninth birthday! I attended the Alt Summit for Everyone blog conference.



october: I attempted to start doing fashion posts again. we celebrated our two year blog anniversary at emerald city diaries! I finished up with the #embracethecamera challenge. we went to the pumpkin patch & carved pumpkins with friends.



november: aaron joined a team for movember 2013. we snuck off to hawaii for thanksgiving.



december: I reviewed some of my favorite weekend in pictures pics. I participated in A Pinterest Christmas for the third year {see this year’s projects here, here, here, here, & here}! we celebrated Christmas in indiana with aaron’s family.


reflecting back on this year, i am reminded how blessed we are & also how different this year has been than the year previous. it has been such a wonderful year & ringing in a new one is a bit bittersweet.

how was your 2013 – was it a year to remember, or are you itching to start 2014 already?


see past yearly highlights for 2011 & 2012.

dear john {a toilet story}

this weekend, as i mentioned here, aaron & i installed a new toilet in our newly-updated bathroom. we were going to wait to replace the toilet despite it being a fun pinky tan color because it really didn’t need to be replaced. then two weeks ago the lid hinge broke & we fast-tracked a new toilet.

& by fast-tracked aaron ordered it from amazon prime, but apparently toilets can only be ground shipped. so our usual 2 business day wait turned into just over a week of waiting. boo. but, it finally came in all of its low-flow, dual-flush, super water efficient glory!

there really isn’t much to this post except a pretty awesome before & after of our bathroom {because as cool as it is for us, it is really just a toilet}.


{before – april 2012}


{after – june 2013}

the installation was a relatively easy process, especially considering the first set of instructions we found online said it would take 3 hours! we {& again, by we i mean aaron} was able to get the old one out & the new one in in just about an hour. thankfully the floor bolts weren’t rusted out {which i believe contributes to the longer installation time} – phew! have you installed a new john recently?


my weekend in pictures.


{the peonies that i picked up from whole foods last week are absolutely the most gorgeous & biggest blooms i have ever seen!}


{our house was featured in a before & after feature on west elm’s blog front & main on thursday. we were pretty excited about it!}


{cookies are the proper way to finish a lunch date, don’t you think?}


{on saturday we drove down to southern washington to pay our respects to my dear friend’s father who passed away a week and a half ago. mr. ayoub may you rest in peace.}


{aaron & sadie at the dog park.}


{we call her frog dog when she lays down like this.}


{on saturday we tried vegan pizza pi in the u district for dinner & it wasn’t too shabby. notice its awesome phone number.}


{aaron & i – well mostly aaron – installed a new toilet this weekend. more details to come this week (& by details i mean pictures).}


{i am enjoying dan brown’s new book inferno. it has taken me a long time to get back into reading a book for pleasure after law school. i think this is the third novel i have read since graduation. #yepiamscarredforlife }


{the view from i-90 this evening was lovely. we were lucky enough to get a warm, sunny sunday in seattle!}

i don’t quite know where the weekend went, but alas it is sunday night. we got a few to dos done around the house, but i feel like we had a pretty mellow weekend. also, to celebrate the first of june – is it really june already? – we got a nice dose of sunny weather which is always a treat on the weekend. makes me long for a summer vacation…

how was your weekend?


a year in review {house diys}.

it is hard to believe but we have been in our house for a year – can you believe it? while it doesn’t seem like yesterday that we were moving & packing & unpacking, it definitely doesn’t feel like its been an entire year. {where does the time go?}

i thought since so much of this blog is devoted to the work we have put into the house, it would be fun to do a review of all of our house projects over the last year. {also, this is making up for the fact that i have been horrible about keeping the house tour tab up-to-date.}

here we go! {are you ready for lots of pictures?}

{entryway} – chalkboard paint



{living room & dining room} – paint color, curtains, west elm light


{bathroom} – paint color, Ikea light, vanity

SONY DSCSONY DSCbathroom light april 2012

bathroom light september 2012SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

{kitchen} – paint color (walls), painted cabinets, painted countertops, painted tile, kitchen island, roman curtain




{bedroom} – paint color, roman curtains, closet doors


phew! it is hard to believe we did all of that in just one year. we still have lots of things on the to do list, including some bigger projects that we are saving up for! reviewing all of these projects makes me thankful that we have such a fun house to work on & enjoy. it was scary to make the decision to buy a house last year {it felt so grown-up!} but we have loved every minute of it & learned so much.

what sorts of projects have you completed in your living space? do you ever go back & review all of your hard work?


my weekend in pictures.


{finally arranging on our new bathroom counterspace. i picked up these fun silver mint julep cups from one kings lane to hold cotton balls & q-tips.}


{got diesel for the first time in our new car. the green is fun!}


{paint rollers & drywall – story of our weekend.}


{ikea bins. i was in organizing heaven!}


{finally sorted out the mess in the bathroom vanity. since i don’t have a label maker (yet) i used fun chalkboard labels instead.}


{aaron joined me on sunday morning in my favorite vinyasa flow yoga class. afterwards we noshed on a bagel. carb loading post-yoga is totally legit, right?}


{i had already prepped & primed the hallway before i realized we didn’t have the paint color i needed to finish painting it. alas, i see hallway painting in my future next weekend.}


{i am glad that someone likes & enjoys these upholstered tables. they sit in front of our front window, so sadie has a view of everything in front of the house. plus, she likes to bring her favorite toys up to join her.}

we had a great weekend, but as always it went so fast! there were a lot of house projects which is exhausting but it feels great to get a few things off the checklist. we had terrible wet weather all weekend with the sun only peeking out for a few hours at the end, but we are in for a warm week (seriously, mid to high 60s you guys!). how was your weekend?


updates to the bathroom {mirror & drawers}.

i wanted to share a few more updates to the bathroom. sorry if this feels like i am beating a dead horse, a bathroom is a bathroom, right? this is probably the last post until we do the toilet & tub.

this weekend we aaron worked on the mirror situation that we had going on. we had a medicine cabinet that was recessed into the wall. after aaron was able to remove a few screws from the inside of the cabinet, he pulled it out from the wall.


you can see the lath in the picture below that is up against the wall studs. it appears that some of our walls have dry wall right over the old lath & plaster, & some of the walls are just the old lath & plaster. in the gap beneath where the cabinet was we found a crumpled up newspaper. it was dated 1938. it is sort of hard to believe that the medicine cabinet is that old.


i was originally wanting to put a big antique mirror in the space above our new vanity, but price & convenience led me to target instead. i was able to find a mirror that was big enough to fit the wall space {see target silver beaded wall mirror} & could even have gone a few inches bigger {this mirror is 34” by 28”}. it isn’t perfect, but it works for what we need now. perhaps we can upgrade to something nicer in a few years.

the big white rectangle that you see below is drywall patching that we haven’t had time to prime & paint. because the original medicine cabinet hung portrait {& the new mirror is landscape} aaron had to do a bit of patching. hopefully we will be able to prime & paint it in the next few weeks.


i had mentioned in the original vanity reveal that aaron & my dad had rebuilt the drawers to accommodate the undermount sink. here are some pics of that. they kept the drawer fronts, but then turned the rectangle drawers into squares. aaron also had to reconfigure the drawer supports underneath to accommodate the smaller sized drawers {shown in the last picture}. we are lucky that the drawers are deep enough to hold toiletries, make-up, etc. that we don’t want to get lost under the sink.


have you been shopping for mirrors lately? where is your go-to place?


old turned new {an update to our bathroom vanity}.

to start out, i want to give a HUGE shout-out to aaron, my dad, & our friend rhett for making this project work. it wouldn’t have come together so well without all of them, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

as most of you know, we have been itching to get a vanity of some kind into our bathroom since day one. the sink hanging from the wall was just not cutting it as it gave us approximately 2 inches of “counter space” on either side of the sink. given the age of our house, it felt wrong to just buy a brand-new vanity so we i decided we should find an antique piece to convert.

pinspiration bathroom

{my favorite bathroom pin via pinterest}

it took a few weeks to scour craigslist in search of the perfect antique piece. at first i searched for dressers, but then switched to sideboards when i decided i would rather have doors than drawers for storage. we were obviously limited in the space we had which was a bit of a challenge when searching for a sideboard, but i also wanted a good wood color as i planned on leaving the wood {& not painting}.

this isn’t really a diy post {even though it was diy’d} as the project was done based specifically on this antique piece & there wasn’t step-by-step photography taken. however, i can give you the general idea of what was done.


  • antique hutch/sideboard/dresser – we found ours on craigslist
  • countertop with undermount sink {or sink to mount on top} – we found ours at lowe’s* {i can’t find it online, but the brand was allen+roth}
  • faucet – we found ours on overstock.com {it looks identical to this one from pottery barn}
  • wood glue, drill, scrap wood pieces, plumbing {p-trap, etc.}

*when we went shopping for countertops to fit over our 19 w x 47 l x 36 h sideboard we immediately assumed that in order to get a top that would have a one inch overhang on all three sides, we would have to custom order something. so we spent a lot of time with the good folks at both home depot & lowe’s pricing out different options for a countertop in everything from marble to granite to hi-mac {which is LG’s new composite product}. we were ready to pull the trigger & spend $700 on a custom white quartz countertop from lowe’s. we went over to price out/buy an undermount sink when we discovered a pre-made quartz countertop with an undermount sink that was one inch bigger than what we were looking for. it wasn’t pure white, but it was only $230! one guess on which one we chose…

before i get into pictures of the process, let’s take a look at the bathroom when we first bought the house.


a few months later, we added a few updates as seen here. the light fixture update here. and then we did the paint update on the bead board & walls.

we also did a fixture update, so here are the original fixtures in the bathroom. none of them were really awful but we didn’t really like any of them & took the opportunity to give them an update as well.


{double towel bar & tp holder // hand towel hooks & glass holder}

aaron started by un-attaching the plumbing & taking the sink off the wall {it was mounted by two all brackets}. then aaron & my dad moved the sideboard up into the space. originally we all thought there would need to be a hole cut to accommodate the undermount sink, but they found out that the top piece was easily removed.

next they placed the countertop onto to sideboard to determine how best to anchor the countertop to the sideboard & the sideboard to the wall, as well as how to stabilize the sideboard in the back.


once the sideboard & countertop were completed {which took an entire weekend!} it was time to re-work the front drawers to accommodate the undermount sink. aaron & my dad took apart one-half of the drawer & rebuilt the inside edge to basically go around the sink. we ended up losing only one-third of the drawer space! {sidenote: we don’t have pictures of the drawers & will update soon!}

& the reveal of our new bathroom vanity! the other bathroom fixtures {tp holder, towel hooks, hand towel ring} are all from the pottery barn mercer collection.


isn’t it lovely? i am still amazed that they were able to take the basic idea of converting an antique piece & coming up with this!

it is big, well huge considering what we started with, & for some may seem too big. it is also tall standing at 37 inches. {we could have done shorter by chopping off the legs, but we wanted to be able to clean under the piece, & perhaps add storage baskets. also, my mom & dad’s house has tall counters in all of the bathrooms so that is what i grew up with.} despite the large contrast in size from before to after, we are really happy with the piece, the counterspace, & the storage. it is exactly what we wanted.

we are loving the color of the piece & are so glad we didn’t/don’t have to paint it. the richness of the wood is great in contrast to the bright white of the counter & bead board as well as the dark wall color – don’t you think? it just needs a little oil, some storage organizers underneath & we are good to go. {sidenote: we plan on also updating the toilet & bath to be white, but are still saving up! also we plan on taking out the old medicine cabinet & replacing it with a big mirror. we are undecided on the glass shelves.}

what do you think about converting antiques into bathroom vanities {or kitchen islands or entertainment centers}?