Pinterest Christmas: DIY Window Wreaths {Linky Party}.

Welcome to the last week of the Pinterest Christmas series for 2015! {See week one, two, & three here!}

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This last week I wanted to share a quick & easy wreath display. We have two huge picture windows in our living room, one in the front of the house & the other on the side. The front window always showcases our Christmas tree (though this year & for the foreseeable short term our tree will sit off to the side of the room to keep Eloise’s play area in tact). I have always wanted to do something fun & festive on the side window that sits behind our dining room table. Enter wreaths. I think I have pinned every single hanging in a window wreath picture!

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{original Pinterest link – Winter Wreath Windows}

Red and Green Give a red room even more holiday style by hanging green wreaths on every window. These have the added embellishment of decorative plates hung inside each wreath circle. Wide red ribbon decorates each wreath and loops them up in varying heights.:

{original Pinterest link – 12 Styles of Christmas}

tiny garland wreaths in the window. a simple and pretty holiday decoration.:

{original Pinterest link – Easy Christmas Wreaths}

Supplies:

  • Wreaths – I had every intention of making boxwood wreaths using this tutorial, but then I stumbled onto these Smycka wreaths at Ikea & I couldn’t resist at that price point! (I couldn’t have DIY-ed wreaths for less than $9 a piece.)
  • Ribbon – I chose wide red satin!
  • Hangers – I used small finishing nails

So, this isn’t really a DIY tutorial, as much as it is showing you how I hung three pre-made wreaths in my window… wah wah.

I had Aaron help me hammer in the nails at an angle into the top of the window trim (actually it was his idea to hang them this way!) since I am WAY too short to reach the top of the window.

Then I looped the ribbon around the wreath, pulled some slack, & tied a bow at the top. And repeat for the other two wreaths, changing the amount of slack if you want them at different heights. My wreaths twist a little bit from side-to-side because they have a bit of weight to them, but I adore the way they look!

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Thinking about making this project? Feel free to leave questions in the comments or link your own in the Linky Party below! Also be sure to check out Kendra’s Pinterest Christmas projects over at The Gilbertson Family.

Thanks for joining us in our annual Pinterest Christmas series! We had SO much fun & we can’t wait until next year! The Linky Party will be up the entire month of December, so be sure to check out the other linked projects & link your own up too!

Did you DIY any of your Christmas decorations this year?

M

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Here are the instructions if you are a new to linky-party:
•click on the blue button at the bottom of this post – the one with the frog
•add a link to your Pinterest Christmas blog post in the URL field (please do not link to your home page but the specific post page)
•for “name” write a short descriptive name for your post
•if you would like to put the Pinterest Christmas button on the bottom of your post, we would love to see it there!

{project house} our backyard makeover.

our yard has always been a bit more than we could handle since day one. there was lots of landscaping done by the previous owner, but without a strict yardwork regiment & a very green thumb, the plants just took over! there were big privacy hedges on two sides of the yard that needed at least annual, & very expensive, professional trimming, & lots & lots of plants planted right next to each other. needless to say after three years of minimal yardwork on our part, things had gotten a little out of control. plus, the lawn (at least in the backyard) was super uneven & very spotty.

sure enough, I got a bug this past spring to get our yard under control so that it looked as nice as the rest of the house! (apparently a big house remodel will do that…) we started figuring out what we wanted our yard to look like, what our budget was, & reaching out to landscapers to start getting bids. we also decided it was worth it to hire a landscape designer since neither of us know anything about landscaping & we didn’t want to put a lot of time & money into our yard without some kind of design. a friend/neighbor of ours gave us the contact information for Erin Lau Design & she was wonderful! we initially had her out for just the front yard design, but brought her back out later in the summer to do a backyard design as well (we did two 2-hour consults, if that helps anyone who is interested!). not only did she give us simple, easy-to-maintain designs, she gave us a plant list to choose from, & the offer to buy any plants we were interested (cheaper than going to a big box store & saved us from having to drive out of town to a nursery).

of course though seattle had other plans for us & really tested our patience with this project. even though we started the process in the spring (may-ish), our spring & summer were so warm that it didn’t make sense to start any work. if we would have had removal of the old plants & grass done that early, our yard would have been a dirt/mud pit the entire summer! some times it stays cool enough to plant grass in the summer, but everyone we talked to told us to wait until the fall to plant grass & other plants & trees. so we waited. but, the wait did allow us to do some of the work ourselves & save some money. we removed all of the plants from the yard over the course of the late spring & summer, aaron chopped down the laurel bushes that ran the entire east side of the house (with a hatchet & a chainsaw!), & we removed a lot of the rocks that were all over the flower beds. we hired some crews to take out the big bushes that lined our back fence (north) as well as a stump grinder.

after going back & forth with a few yard contractors, we decided to go with EcoYards to do the sod removal, levelling, sprinkler & drip-line installation, & new sod installation. yep, you read that right sprinklers. it was a decision that we sat on for a long time, mostly due to the high cost, but we decided it was worth it after hearing from a neighbor who has the most beautiful front yard that sprinklers were the big secret & a friend who is in the lawn & sprinkler industry. for us, it was worth the investment since we both knew it was the best chance we had at keeping everything alive! {side note: most homes in seattle don’t have sprinklers. we get quite a bit of rain, & during the summer almost everyone lets their lawn go dormant (yellow) & then wait for it to come back green in the fall.} plus, a major selling feature was that this irrigation system has rain sensors so it can adjust the amount of water it puts out based on the rain fall – so cool! we have a little weather station on the back of the house.

finally (finally) we had the crew on-site & they were here for two weeks. it was crazy to see the transformation & we are super happy with the results! we have planted six trees in the backyard, plus mulch in the flowerbeds. then in the spring we will plant the remaining plants in the backyard, & do the removal & planting of the front yard.

without further adieu, before, during, & after pictures! {sidenote: the yard was really hard to photograph with the privacy hedges!}

BEFORE {May, June, & July 2014}:

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{the back hedge & rhodie (left).}

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{the back hedge. you can see our neighbor’s garage back there.}

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{the laurel hedge that was on the east-side of the house.}

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{the back hedge coming down!}

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{& the hedge is gone!}

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{we actually had the laurels trimmed this spring since we were on the fence about whether we wanted to get rid of it or not. we quickly decided we wanted it gone… oh well!}

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{after years of being behind the back hedges, the side of our neighbor’s garage was in rough shape.}

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{the side fence (west) coming down in July, along with all of that ivy!} 20150703_195756981_iOS

{aaron & our neighbor taking down the old back fence.}

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{setting the new posts.}

20150705_173758172_iOS{a new fence!}

20150712_200407391_iOS  {the old laurel. you can see the gap to the right where we had a quince taken out in the spring.}20150809_180438419_iOS

{aaron chopped down ALL of the laurel hedges – by hand! – over the course of the summer, & then we slowly got rid of it in our yard waste.}

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DURING {September & October, 2015}:

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{the lines sprayed for irrigation – white – & the flower bed boundary – orange.}

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{aaron planting our new trees.}

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AFTER {November, 2015}:

20151115_214648396_iOS{peering in thru the east-side gate.}

20151115_214706282_iOS{along this side of the yard are three trees which will hopefully give us privacy in a few years.}

20151115_214718293_iOS{there are two more threes along the north/back edge of our yard.}

20151115_214725856_iOS{I wanted to keep the old rhodie!}

20151115_214739720_iOS{another tree at the end of the flower bed.}

20151115_214749660_iOS{a work in progress, but on the west side of our house is a dog run – the dog door is on this side of the house – & the new home for our little shed.}

20151115_214754487_iOS{we still have this giant tree in the back corner. it’s nice to have a big, mature tree, but boy it has so many leaves! i also added our little lawn flamingos!}

20151115_214806594_iOS{& back towards the east-side gate.}

we are thrilled with the work that was done & how the yard is shaping up. it has been a lot more work on the weekends, since we are actually doing work. & by “we” i mean aaron! he is out there every weekend raking, mowing, etc. we are SO excited for this next spring & summer! i’ll be sure to update this spring too!

have you done a yard makeover lately? any suggestions or hints for us newbies?

M

a safer staircase.

as many of you know, when we finished out our basement last year during the renovation, we had to add a staircase inside the house (since the existing staircase was outside). after a few different versions of a new floor plan, our architects came up with a genius way to incorporate an internal staircase that would feel like it was original. the only bummer was that it would take up nearly the entire second bedroom (used as our office). but, since we were adding three additional bedrooms, the sacrifice didn’t seem too extreme.

opting to keep the entire house in wood floors, this included having wooden stairs as well. & let me tell you, they are gorgeous (look here for the professional photo!). our contractor & floor guy used new growth fir that was stained to match the existing floor upstairs. the stairs also houses sadie’s dog door on the second landing since that is at ground level (& the rest of the basement is below ground).

as much as I LOVE these stairs, they aren’t perfect. for one thing sadie drags in so much dirt (so much!) & debris on her feet & legs, & despite our best efforts the stairs really should be cleaned once a day. the other thing is that wooden stairs are super slippery! aaron & I have both taken a tumble down the stairs (don’t worry, both of us are fine!) but it is scary since we are often toting eloise up & down the stairs. plus, if sadie’s nails aren’t really well trimmed, she slips around too if she takes a turn too quickly!

aaron & I talked a few months ago about possibly adding a runner, but then decided to table the discussion for a while. & we would have to be pretty creative about the installation of a runner since there are two big turns & two landings… enter: Puppy Treads. a lightweight, non-slip walking surface that easily installs on hardwood (or tile) stairs to protect from falls.

installation was super easy & took just a few minutes. I chose the bottom two stairs before the first landing since that is where most of the tumbles have occurred. slippery little suckers! first I started by really cleaning the stairs. I swept the entire staircase but only deep cleaned the two stair treads I was going to install on. (I have been loving the Honest Co floor cleaner!)

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then I set the Puppy Treads on the stairs to see about placement. I put them on the right-hand side of the stairs since we tend to walk towards the inside of the staircase. they are pretty long though, so in hindsight I probably could have put them in the middle of the stair tread & been just fine.

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next, peeling off the paper backing. the nice thing was that the Puppy Treads were substantial enough that they didn’t curl in on themselves as I peeled off the backing (that’s the worst!).

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then onto adhering to the stairs. it was suggested that we use a rolling pin or wallpaper roller to help get the air bubbles out. honestly, the rolling pin didn’t seem to do much.

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lastly, was admiring my handi-work! I managed to get them on pretty straight & get most of the air bubbles out!

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so far we have been really happy with our new Puppy Treads. they give good gription (that is a family term!) on your feet as you walk down the stairs (down is really the problem in our house). I don’t love the look of them (although the transparency helps!) but I feel a lot more comfortable when I am carrying eloise down the stairs for naptime when I hit these two stairs which makes them totally worth it! cleaning is also great too – the material isn’t sticky on the top side, so no dirt or dog hair gets stuck & sweeps right off. & they also don’t seem to attract dirt or dog hair either, also a plus! all in all we are happy with the Puppy Treads & probably wouldn’t put them on all of the stair treads, but may want to add a few more to the problem areas (likely the bottom two stairs of the next two sections!).

bonus for all readers: get 10% off Puppy Treads with the code BLOG2015.

thank you Handi-Ramp!

M

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{this post is sponsored by Handi-Ramp & the Puppy Treads shown were provided for my review & all opinions are my own. thank you for supporting the brands that support Emerald City Diaries.}

project house {pro photos}

so many of you have been asking about seeing updated photos of our newly renovated space. we have been so eager to share, but nothing seems quite finished. I know the rooms will never really be “finished” but I am hoping to get to the point (soon!) that they are blog worthy enough to share.

any-hoo, I did want to share some professional photos that our architects had taken a few weeks ago.

Lower Entry

Lower Entry Bathroom email

Lower Entry Stairs email

Lower Exterior email

{photo credit: Perspective Image Photography}

I also finally updated the Project House tab so you can see all of the phases of construction (pretty much until we moved in).

I wish my house always looked that good!

M

diy upholstered wingback chair.

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seriously, SWOON! I have a new favorite piece of furniture!

this project has been a long-time in the making so the fact that it is finally done is sort of a miracle. I have been interested in reupholstery for a while & completed smaller projects (upholstered lack tables HERE & our old headboard) but have been waiting to do a much bigger project.

I found this wingback chair on Craigslist almost three years ago (right after we bought our house). it was listed for $5 so we went to take a look & it was in such good shape. we gave the sellers $10 for the chair & delivery – such a good deal! then the chair sat in our basement. & it sat & sat. I finally decided on a fabric & bought it, & then had buyer’s remorse & bought another fabric. it moved with the other things into storage last spring to make way for the house renovation & then came back & sat in our living room. finally in january while aaron was on paternity leave I decided it was do or die. I had to at least start to reupholster it or I knew I never would. & three months worth of naptimes later it is finally complete!

I found lots of tutorials on Pinterest but the main ones I used are listed below:

  • Basic Chair Reupholster Instruction: here & here
  • Cording Tutorial: here
  • Ply-Grip (Curve Ease) Tutorial: here

reupholstering is a pretty meticulous process, though you can almost always go back & do something over again if it doesn’t work out right the first time (you just have to be willing to pull out all of the staples again!). I was surprised how quickly the chair came back together since taking it apart took forever.

supplies:

  • chair
  • upholstery fabric – I used 6ish yards of this fabric
  • staple gun & staples – we have one that attaches to our air compressor & I highly recommend that for ease of use (though it is loud to run)
  • sewing machine & a zipper foot (to sew cording)
  • good (fabric) scissors
  • upholstery thread to match fabric – I used Coats & Clarke
  • seam ripper
  • piping/cording (if you don’t reuse the original)
  • zipper for cushion cover (optional – you could either reuse the zipper like I did or cover the cushion without a zipper)
  • tack remover
  • rubber mallet – I didn’t have one of these & I wish I would have (you can also use a hammer & towel)
  • needle-nose pliers
  • cardboard upholstery tack strip
  • upholstery tack nail strip
  • Ply-Grip (Curve Ease)
  • quilt batting
  • upholstery dust cover (optional – I reused the original)
  • camera – for taking lots of pictures as you take the chair apart!

after finding your chair & choosing your fabric, the first part of reupholstering is to un-upholster your chair. this is really time intensive as there are likely 7 million staples, plus you want to document as much as you can since you will want to put the new fabric & pieces on the exact way they came off. I took pictures as I removed pieces (hundreds of pictures which I will spare you!) but in hindsight & for a few particular places I wish I would have set up a tri-pod & videotaped those sections. just something to think about. also, as I removed pieces of fabric, I annotated on the front with a Sharpie about how it went on – like whether there was a tack strip on one side, or piping, or whatever.

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{the arm rest & the wing.}

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{I used a jar to contain all of the old staples. that’s a lot of staples!}

once your chair is completely stripped, you will want to check the structure for any damage. unfortunately, you may get to this point & figure out your chair isn’t worth reupholstering… that would be a bummer. hopefully you find that the structure is in good shape as well as the bottom springs, etc.

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{the front & back of the chair.}

next you’ll want to cover your chair in at least one layer of batting (I did two on the wings & sides). you can also do a layer of foam underneath the batting. I didn’t because there wasn’t any originally, except for on the back upper cushion which I reused since it was in great shape. the nice thing about reupholstering, starting with batting, is that you don’t have to cut pieces exactly right. as long as there is enough material to cover the section, you can cut away any extra as you are stapling. & if you didn’t cut enough material to begin with, you can always add without there being weird seams since it will all be covered with fabric anyways.

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{cutting the batting & attaching it to the chair.}

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{stapling all of the batting in place.}

then you will want to lay out all of your pieces onto your new fabric & use them as patterns. if anything, you will want to cut things big because you can always trim them down. also make a note of extra cuts or jagged edges on the original pieces – these places are where the fabric had to be cut in order to fit into or around part of the chair structure & you’ll want to duplicate them as best you can. also, if you have a pattern like the one I used where you want specific parts of the fabric to be on specific parts of the chair, you’ll want to cut all of your big pieces first (lay them all out to make sure you have enough fabric) & then use the extra fabric for smaller pieces where the pattern doesn’t matter as much. for me, the front & back pieces, the front & back of the cushion cover, & the very front bottom edge of the chair where important for me to have the same floral piece centered; so I cut all of those pieces first.

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{strategizing with the fabric.}

I sewed all of my piping before I really started putting the chair back together. I needed different pieces of piping along the way & I figured it would be nice to have it all done from the beginning & not have to stop & sew some together if I needed it for a certain section. I used the tutorial linked above. as long as you have a zipper foot for your machine, you are pretty much good to go. I decided against making bias strips since there weren’t a lot of curves in my chair pieces where piping would have gone. for the chair cushion I was going to do bias strips, but the original cushion didn’t have separate pieces of piping (it was part of the front & back seat fabric) so I just followed the original design. 

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{supplies for piping.}

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{sewing piping with the zipper foot.}

I also sewed the cushion cover at the same time I did the piping since I was into the sewing groove & needed to do piping for the cover anyways. I was able to re-use the zipper & the cushion which was helpful. down the line I may replace the cushion, but for now it works.

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{sewing in the zipper & pinning the cushion pieces.}

when it came to attaching the fabric to the frame of the chair, I started with the front part of the chair. it was one of the largest pieces, but also one of the easiest to put on. from there I moved down to the bottom front edge of the chair where there was a piece that had to be sewn together (one piece was printed & wraps around the front edge, & the other piece was plain cotton muslin & ran under the cushion). I then moved to the arms of the chair. the two pieces that covered the arms had sewn pieces (the front oval shapes on the arm rests) in order to more easily attach the piping around that section I assume. because it was sewn together originally, I did the same thing when it came to reattaching. up next were the inside wings, & then the outside wings. after I did the bottom sides of the chair. the last big fabric piece was the back. lastly I did the piping that ran along the entire bottom edge, & finally the bottom dust cover (which I was able to reuse the original).

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{adding the back & side pieces.}

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{attaching the bottom piece.}

there are a few places that I used extra upholstery pieces to help get clean lines or edges using materials listed above. I used the cardboard tack strip (essentially a skinny piece of flexible cardstock) along the top curve of the arm rest, along the top of the piping on the inside of the chair wings, & in the top few inches of the chair back. I used the Ply-Grip (after watching the video) along the outsides of the wings, directly underneath the bottoms of the arm rests, & along the back curve of the top of the chair. & I used the tack nail strip along the top & sides of the bottom outside pieces, & along the outsides of the big back piece.

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{cardboard tack strip on top of arm.}

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{Ply-Grip on outside wing.}

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{Ply-Grip & nail tack strip on outside bottom.}

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{Ply-Grip along the back curve.}

a lot of reupholstering is just mimicking how the pieces were originally attached, so photos or video of the original chair & it’s disassembly are the most valuable in a project like this. you just have to go for it! I had to break my work over three months worth of naptimes & a few chunks of time on the weekend because of the nail gun. I could run the air compressor during eloise’s naptime & luckily the compressor doesn’t have to run the entire time you use the staple gun.

this is one of my favorite DIYs yet & now I want to reupholster everything we have in this gorgeous fabric!

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have you reupholstered anything recently? I’d love to see!

M

this post contains affiliate links.

project house {diy sputnik chandelier}

a house update – it’s been a long time, huh? I guess that’s what happens when you have a baby at the end of a house remodel… in happy news, I am going to share a fun house update! {& in even happier news, we are 100% DONE with construction!}

as soon as I started seeing the entryway come to life – demolition of the office & old entry walls, & drywall – I started brainstorming what type of light fixture would go above the stairwell. the space is so big & bright with two big windows centered in the space, & was begging for a big, bold, & dramatic light fixture. given our very tight light fixture budget, I started the hunt for an awesome DIY & found the perfect one!

much like jenny over at Little Green Notebook {her blog is absolutely inspiring!} I was dreaming of a sputnik chandelier (like the one pictured below). wouldn’t that have been amazing? needless to say, this wasn’t in my budget. luckily, jenny created an ikea hack for a DIY version of a sputnik!

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{sputnik chandelier via}

I followed jenny’s tutorial pretty much exactly, but have included in progress photos of my version. while I had plans & the supplies to do this project by late spring, I didn’t find the time to actually do any of it until I started my maternity leave at the end of july. so, you can picture me at 37 weeks handpainting all of these flowers {that’s two coats on each side!}. by the time I had finished painting the flowers, I made aaron find our paint sprayer so I didn’t have to handpaint the rest of the fixture!

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& the final product!

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this is such an amazing piece & I am so, so proud of it! it makes such a statement & you see it as soon as you walk in the front door. one of my favorite DIYs to date!

& for reference, this is what the original ikea fixture looks like. an improvement, right?

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have you DIY’d a light fixture?

M

project house {week 18}

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{wall sconces in master bedroom // vanity in master bathroom // clawfoot tub in kids’ bathroom}

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{light fixture in master bedroom // downstairs hallway lights}

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{dutch door for the laundry room & handles on the closet doors // bath fixtures waiting to be installed // living room is coming together}

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{downstairs hallway looking towards master // upstairs hallway with new light & attic access}

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{light fixture in entryway // front porch light fixture // stair hand railing}

this week at the house {& for the rest of the project!} is all about details. the electricians were in this weekend getting lighting fixtures installed, & outlets & covers installed. the interior paint is mostly finished with touch-ups needed, but that will probably not be totally done until after we have fully moved back in.

this week the plumber is in to install the bath fixtures &, fingers crossed, the electricians will be back to complete their work. at the end of the week the entryway floors & stairs will be fully finished & sealed.

we have been able to “move back in” to the main living space, though we aren’t yet living there full time. hopefully that will happen sometime this week! the new space is starting to come together though & hopefully we can really start on the nursery soon!

fingers crossed our completion is a bit earlier than more recently anticipated {maybe, next week??}

M