Friday, February 28, 2014


Things are going great with the floors and fireplace! All of the first floor flooring has been installed, we just have to add the quarter round and paint all of the trim a bright white to finish it off! I started caulking the fireplace yesterday and still need do some patch painting and finishing touches before sharing.

Hoping to get that done this weekend!

Onto other news... I have finalized all of the plans for our downstairs half bath and we will be grabbing those materials within the next week. Currently the bathroom door is detached and the floor is halfway ripped. So you can imagine our excitement to get this puppy started!

Chris and I enjoy having no major improvement plans in the summer and fall so we can enjoy vacations, being outdoors and hanging with friends and family.

Originally I really wanted a pedestal sink. I think they are classic and great in small bathrooms. However, after doing all of the research on how to install one it involved cutting holes into our walls or hiring a plumber and that's not something we were willing to do just for a vanity. Plus we would lose the storage aspect.

Beadboard and chair rail painted in a bright white, marble hex floors, chrome finishes, sage walls and oil rubbed bronze door handles/hinges... oh my! 

I think this is a great representation of our style and will last through the years. I love how the marble hex will tie in the marble herringbone hearth in the room down the hall. Shiny chrome finishes and shelving over the toilet will add classic details. 

I love it all!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


This past Christmas I bought a Living Social deal for one of their cooking classes. I thought it would be something new and fun my Dad and I could do together. With Valentine's Day coming up, this would be an AWESOME thing to do with your lover and I highly suggest it!

The great thing about living in Maryland is DC and Baltimore are both easily accessible. The Living Social DC headquarters is located right near the Verizon Center and driving to it and finding parking was actually easy!

We loved that you could buy beer or half bottles of cava/wine. The prices were decent and drinking while cooking makes everything better!

We started with a shrimp appetizer - easily my favorite meal we made.

The Living Social helpers bring you each round's (meal) ingredients pre-measured for you, which makes things really easy.

Our second course was mussels in a tomato based broth. Both my Dad and I usually don't touch these things, but we both ate the entire dish. It was really light and we held off on some of the spice - which was a good decision!

Our third course meal was our least favorite. I am usually a lover of calamari, but there wasn't enough breading and I definitely cooked these for too long :-(

Our fourth dish (and final course) was oven baked Moroccan white fish. It was delicious and even though the Living Social helpers placed it in the oven for the group, it came out awesome.

My Dad and I had such a great time, I definitely recommend these classes for anyone that wants to try something new, fun with friends/family/lovers!

Monday, February 10, 2014


We are finally on our last room of installing new flooring in the house - woo hoo! We were all ready to tackle it this weekend when we ran into a bump in the road. We needed a transition for the floors that lead to the basement stairs... and unfortunately that transition had to be special ordered from Home Depot and wasn't going to get here until the 15th. 

Thankfully, earlier that week I had gone to Home Depot and picked out tile to use on our fireplace hearth. My mom and I had originally planned to work on it while Chris was installing the wood floors in the room, but it worked out to our advantage since the demo of the original hearth took an entire day!

Here's a throwback to our fireplace (pre-Lucas updates) 

And one with my handsome hubby after we lit that sucker up for the first time!

And here is how we last left it. I painted the mantle the same white (BM white dove) as our kitchen cabinets in the adjoining room (you can see them peaking through in the mirror) and also painted the brick. I did two coats on the brick and wiped it with a towel in a few places so it didn't have a thick solid coat. I liked that it had a bit of a white washed feel. 

Two things still aren't working for us: 1) the gold on the doors and 2) the red red brick hearth

When Young House Love posted their fireplace makeover, I instantly pinned it to my Pinterest board. I loved the herringbone pattern and the marble subway tiles were available at our Home Depot! Unlike them, we demoed our existing hearth - rather than just tiling on top (theirs was linoleum and ours was tile). 

I didn't take many photos of the actual demo process, but just imagine Chris hacking away at the hearth that was laid directly on top of our sub floors with a crowbar and hammer. Not fun.

Once the old hearth was ripped up, my mom and I measured the cement board to the correct dimensions and Chris screwed them to the floor. We also added the transition track for the new floors directly onto the cement board since our floors float and this ensured everything would be level once the floors were installed. 

The next step was exciting! We laid out all of the tile from the boxes and started dry fitting the tiles in place and making sure we had a good variation of color. Although we had to move all of these pieces before getting started and trying to put them all back in the same place was frustrating, its definitely a step you don't want to forget. This ensures you have enough tile to complete the job and also gives you an idea of the tricky cuts you need to make. Chris had to cut the bottom of the mantel so the tiles would fit underneath.

My mom made all of my cuts, while I laid and measured everything out. We used quick-set mortar and I made sure to use spacers when laying everything out. I bought natural gray grout because I wanted the herringbone pattern to really pop - which meant my spacing needed to measured. 

Laying the tile went super quick once I was able to use full length tiles. 

I "back buttered" the remaining tiles in place which worked really well and used a piece of paper the size of a full tile to act as a template that I could fold into the shape of the tricky pieces. Once I had the paper folded to fit, I traced the shape I needed on a tile so my mom could cut it to size. 

Again - spacers were my friends for this! Next up is grout, floors, trim, caulk, spray painting the doors (later?) and any touch up painting to the walls.

Little changes like this really make our home feel more like "us" and it's also really exciting and a huge sense of pride to know we have done so much to this house to make it how it is today.

I couldn't have done this project solo - Chris was awesome with the demo and my mom was awesome with cutting the tile! I'm super thankful I have both of them to help me with my crazy ideas!