Our Dining Room Makeover

I can honestly say that I couldn’t wait another minute to share this reveal with you all. The dining room is the first room that almost 100% done – the only thing missing is the crown moulding. Regardless – yippee! Before I talk you through what all we’ve done, let me share the “before” picture.

dining before


The walls were the same clay color as the rest of the house and the floors were a very dull finish. Our hardwood floor guy said that the previous owners just put stain on top of stain without any sanding in between, which left it looking lackluster to say the least. The ceiling fan was actually a nice piece, except for the fact that due to the age of the house (it was built in 1949), the electrical was only wired to provide power to either the fan or the light. Yeah, that wasn’t going to work. Finally, let me bring your attention to the radiator beneath the left window. It was rendered useless as soon as we installed central heating and air, so we had the HVAC guys take them out, which left bare drywall and a missing piece of baseboards in its place.

Without further ado, here is our new dining room. Drum roll please…….

dining room


What. A. Difference. Let me take you through the changes we made. I’ll include prices or estimates when I can because if you’re looking to make some changes to your own house, I know that it’s best to know the cost before you start the planning.

1) We bought this simple 5 light fixture to replace the fan ($49 from Lowe’s) – I promise that it’s centered in the room, my picture angle was off.

2) My ridiculously handy father installed the beadboard and chair rail for us and he also installed the missing piece of baseboard. When I have more time, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step installation of the beadboard – as they say, the devil is in the details. The supplies for the beadboard in this room ran about $150 total and the crown moulding was another $60 or so. Of course, the labor only cost me a big pot of chili and a 6-pack of Heineken (thanks dad!), but it was a pretty labor intensive task (it took the better part of a full week) so having someone handy is quite helpful.

3) We changed the clay color of the walls to Valspar’s “Urban Sunrise” in a satin finish. We jokingly call our new house the 50 Shades of Grey house because I think I have 6 different shades of grey on the walls – you’ll see.

4) The windows and baseboards were painted “Ultra White” in a satin finish.

5) The oak floors were restored to their original finish. We left them 100% natural with no stain whatsoever. They are rustic and flawed and show decades of wear, but I am completely and utterly in love with them. I think that best part of old houses is that they have character. The floors set us back $3000 for the entire first floor (about 1300 square feet). It was a pretty big investment, but we knew that it would be so much easier to have them refinished before we moved in.

Well, that’s about it for the dining room. As I said, we’ll put up the crown moulding in the next month or so and I’ll be sure to post another picture once our dining room table and pictures are in there. Honestly, it was a ton of work to get this house into shape, but seeing the before and after pictures side by side make it all worth it!


All Girl


As much as I’ve tried exposing Lexi to traditional “boy” and “girl” stuff equally, it’s interesting to see her gravitate towards the girl stuff. Yep, Lexi is all girl. She insists on carrying a baby doll wrapped in a blanket, she changes shoes and outfits multiple times a day, she tries to play in my make up and she doesn’t leave the house without her Minnie Mouse hat (see above) that my mom made for her.

I have two conclusions about this: (1) She is encouraged to play with girl stuff at school, so it’s a learned behavior; or (2) Each kid, boy or girl, just happens to have a different personality and plays with some things more than others.

What’s funny is that I so desperately didn’t want my kids to feel that they had to conform to some stereotype that I’m a tiny bit disappointed that she’s into pink, princesses and shoes. I know – I have issues. The bottom line is that I’m committed to supporting my kids in whatever they may like so if that means that we’re shopping for princess stuff now, so be it.

Hoping that the pink is just a phase,



Labor of Love

Hi folks! I wanted to pop in really quickly to say that we’re alive. We’re snowed under with working on the house (but thankfully not literally) and overwhelmed by all of the projects going on, but we’re still kicking for now. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkuh, a Happy Kwansaa and a Happy New Year – there, I squeezed them all in. We’ve had family visiting and staying true to form, we decided to put them to work. My mother has been reupholstering my dining room chairs, my dad has been tearing up carpet and refinishing windows and my mother-in-law has been helping me paint the entire house. Plus, a Plott Hound (now named Daisy Duke) showed up half-starved on our back deck – more on that later – so it’s been quite the circus around here.

Oh and the Irishman and Parker have been on leaf clearing duty – a herculean task considering that the impressive yard has not been raked since last March (at least). The fence guys are actually at the house right now getting our yard ready for the new fence (yay!) so things are moving and shaking at the new place.

It has been back-breaking work, but we are determined to have the house (or at least the inside) shiny and new before we move in at the end of this month. We’ve also started boxing up our current house and have been taking over a car load of boxes each time we head over there to help facilitate the move.

I promise that there will be pictures soon -lots and lots of pictures – but I just wanted to let you all know that I haven’t forgotten about the Daily Cynema. Thanks for checking in and I’ll be back shortly with updates.

Back to the grind,