Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Hey there, friends! If you've been around for a little while then you might have seen some of the changes we've made to our in-need-of-a-little-love abode in the past two years since we moved in. If you're new here, welcome! You can read the "About me" post to the right (or the page above?...not sure that's working...) for a recap of what brought us here, so get to a comfy spot and settle I tend to get a bit wordy.  ;)

I'm always curious about cultural differences and nuances in other parts of our country, and houses certainly reflect these differences. We live in NH and this house is a traditional New England Colonial. There are no bells and whistles because, well, we New Englanders don't pride ourselves on "fluff," ha ha. Personally, I like a little fluff, but that's neither here nor there. Since this is not our forever home, I'm not sure I see fluff in the future, either, but you never know.

Hands down, the absolute biggest change we made in 2014 wasn't even inside our home but rather, outside. What we lovingly referred to as "the pet cemetery" in the front yard was really a tangled mess of overgrown shrubbery, ill-placed evergreen trees and just a general disaster zone of out of control saplings and trees. But all that changed as soon as the snow melted and the temps rose {a little}. Now we have this lovely, wide open sprawling front yard, and the beautiful giant oak tree stands out as the showpiece it really is. I wrote more in detail about the yard HERE.

I finally, fiiiinnnnaaalllllyyyyy finished up the rock wall. Hallelujah. Is it perfect? Hardly. Straight? Hmm. Functional? Why yes, yes it is. So in essence it is perfect then. You can also see the teensy crab apple tree near the large rock, and the evergreen shrub and other deciduous plant (neither of whom the names I'm able to even remember) on the other side of that. They should fill in nicely and offer just a bit of privacy from the road for that corner of the yard. There is also a Japanese cherry tree growing on the right side of the yard, my favorite.

Ok, I couldn't resist. I still remember the evening I took those pictures in our backyard (old house) almost four years ago, listening to the kids running around on a beautiful spring night just as the sun was beginning to sink down behind us. Wait, where was I? Ah yes, front steps and doors.

Then there were those awful, dreadful, icky, obnoxious orange front steps. Remember? We also changed out the storm door, which gives us the option of using the glass front or the screen, and looks much less, oh I don't know, 1987.

Oh, here's another shot of my wall, more a garden planter technically. Pardon the parched remnants of summer blooms and just imagine that there are more colorful little mums throughout.

Another view of the steps with the right foundation garden. I am super excited about this garden for this spring because I've found that three years is the magic number, so to speak, for everything to settle in, grow and then finally flourish. I'm hoping they're on the flourishing end of things now.  =)

I can't tell you how happy this change has made me. And it was so simple! It really changes the way everything else looks, from the house to the garden to the whole front yard...everything!

We hemmed and hawed for a few days about tackling the big deck, but in the end, how could we not? Again, it changes how everything else looks!

I guess this was midway through creating this little rock wall garden...I'm using it to show the severity and scope of the orange. Gray is so much better.

Even in winter it makes a huge difference...

These two hard at work figuring out something with the front door.  =)
My husband and I put up the first storm door, only it wouldn't fit. So we exchanged it, and wouldn't you know...the same problem awaited us with the new door. Turns out the frame is off. Fun fun. But we lost our confidence and called in the big guns (my Dad), who ended up installing it the same way we were planning to. I guess we should have stuck with it after all, which was a good lesson to learn.

Now let's move on inside.
You guys. I haven't shared any of pictures of this because, well, I think you now know.

Yes, I literally had to stand on this...thing... to put in a load of laundry. Not awesome. This was one of the biggest adjustments to make in moving here, but after a while it became a non-issue. I have what I need to keep our clothes clean and our home environment safe and healthy, so that's really all that matters. Changes will come, and I am happy to wait in the meantime.

One day I mentioned how it would nice to have a big platform of sorts on which to place the washer and dryer. The Kenmore beauty above has since perished and we replaced her with another front loader (loved my old Kenmore but I loathe this LG one- there is a stench like you wouldn't believe, people, and it is impossible to get rid of it. Ugh.) Anyhoo. My handy boys summoned me downstairs one afternoon to surprise me with...
...a new platform! It was exactly what I'd had in mind and I was so impressed! So.Much.Better!!!

Funny how getting your house ready to go on the market kicks your rear in gear inspires you to finish up those things that have sat waiting since, well, you moved in. I never painted to the ceiling line because the residue left over from removing the border was so rough and tacky that paint wouldn't adhere to it. I just figured we'd put up crown molding and be done with it, but then we calculated how much that would be. So yeah, the stripe just sat there- she has a big room!

I thought about trying to paint it in the same color but figured that would only draw the eye to it, since paint rarely matches perfectly when so much time has elapsed. (I wasn't ever sure that paint would work, but after a year of "drying out," the sticky parts were much easier to paint over.) It just so happened that we didn't have any of that paint anyway, so I decided to try a lighter pink up there. And I'd been wanting to experiment with stripes on the walls. Win win. I was nervous about it but I love love love how it turned out. I toyed with the idea of painting more stripes, but at the time, we really needed to list the house, so I was happy to just be done.

And lastly, the main bath upstairs finally got its day in the sun- I cannot find a pic to show you, but it was pretty bad. Green trim, green heater, palm tree border...we changed everything but the bathtub and I couldn't be happier with it. I adore the light fixture (Lowe's, and it was one of the cheaper ones!), and the mirror, which is nothing spectacular, became my favorite purchase because it cost under twenty bucks after scoring a huge discount. I'd searched forever for a mirror but they were either too fancy or too shabby or too... I eyed this one and noticed several scratches along the frame, but since I'd been thinking of distressing it anyway, I hoped that maybe they'd give us a little percent off. Well, they gave us a whole lot off! I was very happily surprised.

There really is no flattering angle in which to capture the tub side or the wall with the towel bars, but you can see in the reflection that the curtain is a pale gray with white designs (TJ Maxx). I love it!

Here is a close-up of the mirror. I was a bit worried about all of the white in there, or rather, the varying shades of white, and distressing the mirror helps to make it seem like we weren't trying to go too matchy matchy in there.

I forgot the closet. One last last thing. We installed a shelving system (Rubbermaid, I think) and while of course it doesn't magically alter the size of the closet, it does alter the functionality, and let me tell you, it is 1000% better! There were tons of ways to set the system up, but this one works best for us. The great thing is that we can change it up if we should ever want to. There are also wire shelves on the left side, hidden behind the wall, as well as on the right side. They're great for extra blankets and things.

Before we had the wooden rod and a dilapidated shelf on top. Not much functionality, personality, or ease, but now everything has its own place. My husband is kind and lets me steal into his side a bit for dresses (which I don't see the wash maybe?) and slacks. =)

That golden door knob reminds me that we replaced all of those last year as well. The upstairs has brushed nickel, and I'd planned to use the same for downstairs, because why wouldn't you, but...I fell hopelessly in love with the black hardware we'd put on a few doors earlier and just couldn't get rid of them. Is that weird? Probably. The downstairs has a much more New England vibe going on while the upstairs seems more light and modern. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;) The exterior doors also have black hardware.

Definitely not as long a list as the one from the year before, but hopefully that means we're getting closer to the end goal. I feel like I should add here that we didn't set out to wow people with our home, we simply want to create the right space for us, but sometimes it seems like we're living in a society where it has to be The Best or The Prettiest to have value. I think about this a lot because I love house stuff, and I have to be careful not to get sucked into that mode of thinking or else I end up spending way too much time and attention (and money) on things that, in the end, really won't matter much.

Thanks for reading! I did a similar recap of our home improvement projects and adventures in this post...and even shared a favorite recipe!

sharing with:
Imparting Grace 
Thrifty Decor Chick

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