Dollhouse Before Pictures

This past fall, I was gifted one of my most exciting projects to date: redesigning my childhood dollhouse! :)
This dollhouse was originally given to my sister around 1979, and my grandparents decorated it for her as a Christmas gift. I recently came across an old photo album with pictures of my sister opening the gift, and I saw the pride on my grandparents’ faces. They were crafty – using fabric scraps as wall-to-wall carpeting, coffee stirrers as window hardware, and contact paper as tiling for the bathroom floor. This dollhouse was eventually handed down to me as my sister outgrew it and I can remember playing with it for hours as a child. There used to be a lot more furniture but unfortunately got lost over the years.

When my mom brought this over to my house to give to me, my almost-three year old son, Cole, was so excited to play with it. Hearing him talking to himself and rocking the baby in the rocking chair made me weepy, and made my heart swell with nostalia. He’s a typical boy, and is a bit rough with the furniture so I’m going to take my time “renovating” the house. I’m torn because I want the house to be beautiful (obviously) but I also want it to withstand the play of my rowdy son, niece and nephew. There is so much beautiful furniture available to buy, but is pretty costly. My husband jokes that we’ll need a second mortgage to support my new obsession!

My first step is to strip all the carpeting and tile. Then I want to give the interior a fresh coat of paint. I’m thinking I’m going to paint the rooms the same colors as our current house to mimic our house. I have wood siding and shingles that I’m also going to paint the same color as our house. I have wood flooring for the main spaces, too! I have most of the supplies – now I just need to work on it!
My goal is to have it completed for Christmas next year although I hope to have it done before then! This way I can buy a tiny Christmas tree for the living room, and tiny wreathes to hang on the windows. How cute would that be?!

Eek! I’m so excited! 

The interior layout:
img_7905

Nursery:img_7906

Bathroom:
img_7907

Master Bedroom:img_7908

Living Room and the creepy doll mom:
img_7909
img_7910

Kitchen:
img_7912

Roof: (The chimney needs to be repaired)
img_7915

Bathroom:
img_7916

Siding and my cat, Jack: :)
img_7919

img_7922
img_7924
img_7927

Favorite Buys: For The Home

I am a sucker for gift guides and round ups of “best product” type lists in magazines and blogs. Ryan always says I am the ultimate consumer, and our cardboard recycling pile waiting to be picked up at the end of our driveway would agree. I primarily shop online because either I’m working, or I convince myself that taking a hungry toddler to a store after daycare is the worst idea ever. I am addicted to amazon prime. It makes daily mail deliveries feel like Christmas – even if the only item being delivered that day are a months supply of Ziploc bags. :)

Rather than share a gift guide for a holiday, I thought I’d share what my favorite purchases were over the past 3ish years are. I chose that time frame because that’s when we bought our first house, finally got the hang of entertaining, and our lives changed when we became new parents. We didn’t have a traditional registry when we got married, so some of these are items that I would have registered for when we got married almost six (!!!) years ago. I can’t believe we’ve been married for that long! Below is a list of my favorites, in no particular order…

 

 

5-piece-mesh-colander-set
5-piece Colander Set.
  When I first brought this home from the store, Ryan thought I was ridiculous because “how many strainers does one person need?!”. I soon showed him how convenient they were, especially when making dishes like chili – straining beans, pasta/rice, straining the fat from the meat… all at the same time. They’re durable and stack together beautifully in the cabinet. I immediately tossed our three old strainers that were breaking and bulky in our already full cabinets.

10-piece-glass-mixing-bowl-set-o
Glass Nesting Bowls. I bought these when we bought our first condo in 2007 and we’ve had them since. I use them for everything: from preparing meals to putting chips in them for parties. I like that they are glass, rather than metal, because they can easily be used when entertaining. Another space saver in our full cabinets!

41s5-xamp1l-_sx425_

lights

Landscape Lighting. As silly as it sounds, a childhood dream of mine was to have a house one day with landscape lighting. I was a nerd destined to be a designer, I suppose. I always thought it was expensive and difficult to install, but I saw this blog post, showed it Ryan, and we both were excited to try it ourselves. To be fair, Ryan did most of the work himself but he said it was easy to install. I’d say the most difficult part of the project was knowing how many lights we’d actually need/want. We were weirdos standing outside at night shining flashlights at our bushes to see how a light would look… If our neighbors saw us, I’m sure they thought we were nuts! We did this project this past summer and I love driving into the driveway at night because it makes our house feel so elegant and inviting – for only about $300!

61cewphl4jl-_sl1000_

Shower Curtain Rings. These rings have a hook on each side so the liner and shower curtain are separate so when you have to take the liner or curtain off to wash it, you only need to take one off at a time. Genius! 
71832945499050pGrill pan. Especially when we’re trying to eat healthy, I love using a grill pan. They don’t sell the version we have, but this one is similar and nicer. :)

 

download
King Size Bed. We bought this bed when I found out I was pregnant and it was a total game changer. At that point, we needed a new bed and mattress anyway. I knew I was about to become a huge, cranky pregnant woman, and Ryan and I are both tall. I love having a king size bed to sprawl out… especially since both cats choose to sleep on me. We bought it in a chenille-like fabric which has withstood two scratch happy cats. This is one of my all-time favorite buys.

 

everyday-large-baking-dish
Baking Dish. I have this baking dish in two sizes and love it! It’s another item that can go from oven-to-table because of it’s simple design and neutral color. I also love that it doesn’t stain like other baking dishes I’ve owned.

img15c
Meyer Lemon Candle. This is my new go-to candle. I love the crisp citrus scent – it’s so delicious I want to drink it! I have one on my nightstand in my bedroom and it’s so fragrant and fresh even when it’s not lit.

modern-weave-oversized-storage-bin-o

Large modern weave baskets. I have two of these simple baskets tucked into corners of our living room for additional toy storage, and for blankets to snuggle up with.

untitled-1

Bench. The stock photo for this bench doesn’t do it justice. We have this in our living room which was originally used for blanket storage, but has now turned into a “lego bench” where Cole stores all of his legos. I’m happy to have pretty storage for toys since they seem to have taken over my house. The fabric is a durable and beautiful velvet, and looks way more elegant in person than it does online!

premium-flicker-flameless-outdoor-pillar-candle-ivory-o
Outdoor candles. I am obsessed with these candles. They really do flicker like real candles! They’re a bit of a splurge for an outdoor item, but the quality is so great that I convinced myself they were worth it for hanging out outside. I also got a few for our screen porch, since the cats and Cole are often in there during the warmer months. Now I have the cozy feel of lit candles without the worry of burned tails or baby hands.

sponge

Sponges. A random thing to write about, right? An even more random thing to love… but it’s true! I love these sponges. The size and texture is different from any store bought which makes clean up way easier. Plus, it’s made of natural fibers and is anti-microbial. We never have that nasty sponge smell! Insert dancing-lady-emoji here!

tea-pot

Stainless teapot. When our last tea pot fell apart (literally), I knew it was time to upgrade to something heavier and more substantial, even though that means more money. I like to keep a tea pot out on the stove all the time, so I wanted something functional (obviously) but that was also pretty and classic since you’ll always be seeing it. This one fit the bill! They used to sell it at Williams Sonoma, but I bought mine on Amazon because I’m addicted to Prime.
Side note: Because I keep mine out on the back burner all the time, it gets dirty from cooking. I did some research and bought this cleaner and it keeps it looking new and shiny.

 

wine-out
Wine Out. If you drink red wine, or have friends who drink red wine – BUY THIS! It’s like magic, seriously! I have the bigger bottle in my cabinet for larger spills and I’ve never had a stain. Ryan teases me that I have the “wino-sized” bottled. :)

menu-organizer
Takeout menu organizer. We are lucky and have a lot of different takeout options where we live. We used to have menus stuffed into a binder until I came across this organizer. My brother-in-law always makes fun of me, but I know he secretly loves how easy it is to find the menu for our favorite pizza place when he’s at our house.

litter
Modern litter box. Creepy cat in the photo aside, this litter box is beautiful. A sentence I never thought I’d type. We have the box open in our newly finished basement, so it’s pretty visable. I wanted something small and discreet and this one is perfect! When we were showing family the basement once it was done, someone complimented the box but didn’t even realize it was a litter box! I love that the opening is on the top, too, so they track less litter through the house.

 

How is that for the most random list of “favorite” items?! :) Thanks for reading.

The Nursery

My pregnancy books say that once you start nesting, you’ll probably go into labor about ten days after. Clearly I don’t fit into this statistic because I’ve been nesting for months. I started planning the baby’s nursery back in October and it’s been done since December. I’m not sure why it took so long to take photos and share them! This room is one of my favorites in the house. It’s so teeny and cozy and I just sit in the chair and imagine what it’s going to be like holding my baby boy in that glider. (Even the cats love the room!)

Originally I was thinking of doing an orange and grey color scheme, but the bedding I originally fell in love with was discontinued the week before I was going to buy it. This happens to me way too often! Once I needed to look for new bedding, I decided to go a different route. The rest of our house has a lot of grey and neutrals so I knew I wanted the baby’s room to be more colorful and youthful. I came across this bed skirt and it inspired the entire room. I love the modern chevron print, the teal and lime green. I’ve been obsessed with teal lately!

I ordered  a custom glider from a vendor in CA, but it got damaged in shipping. (See how the arm looks scrunched?) I’m waiting on getting a new one made, but am holding onto this one for the time being. With this chair I wanted to create a little reading nook. Ryan hung these shelves to place books on since we don’t have room for a bookshelf and I love how they add color to the room. For my baby shower, everyone brought a book with a note inside instead of bringing a card. Everyone wrote sweet little notes to the baby and I get weepy every time I read them.

(Side note: I know we’re not supposed to keep anything in the crib because it’s a safety hazard. Once he’s actually sleeping in the crib, the blanket and pillows will be moved to the chair.)

DSC_1523
DSC_1534

DSC_1516

The Closet:
I am obsessed with this closet because everything has it’s own place. I only have one before picture on instagram, but it’s a huge difference. The original closet pole was broken so we* replaced it and added another below it. (*Note: Usually when I say “we” it usually means I gave Ryan a honey-do list and he installs everything for me :) Since babies have so many little tiny accessories, I also wanted a shelf above the lower closet pole. I have little baskets with bibs, burping clothes, gloves and shoes in them.

I am so grateful to my sister for saving all of my nephew’s clothing. I didn’t have to buy much and mostly everything you see here is from my sister. I am so, so lucky! Everything is hung on these baby hangers and separated by size using these organizers. I hung as much as I could because there isn’t much space in the room, and folded clothing for future months in those larger baskets to the left of the closet.

Oh, and all those diapers? At my baby shower, my sister put on the invitation that there would be a raffle and whoever brought a package of diapers would get a ticket to enter. We have SO many diapers in different sizes, which is amazing in helping us get started.

DSC_1536

We’ll also keep the diaper genie and a hamper in the closet to hide the dirty clothes and diapers. The hamper was picked up at Home Goods and I love the pattern!

DSC_1568
DSC_1565
DSC_1548

The Dresser:

Instead of having a changing table, we’re using a dresser with a changing pad on top. Honestly, any time I’ve changed a baby’s diaper I’ve always felt more comfortable changing them on the floor. Even so, it’s nice to have this as an option for us or our moms.

Each drawer has little baskets: the top drawer has space for diapers, wipes, lotions, medicines and the thermometer. The middle drawer has socks, onesies, pacifiers and little accessories. The bottom drawer is all PJ’s for newborn and 3-6 months, including swaddles and sleep sacks (again mostly all from my sister).

Ahhh… I love that everything is in it’s own place. Ryan thinks I’m crazy and I’m okay with that. :)

DSC_1586
DSC_1584

DSC_1587

 

DSC_1577

DSC_1599
DSC_1595

My carpenter had some wood leftover from a job so he cut a piece so I could use it as a shelf on top of the radiator. It’s perfect for a little plant (that has seen better days) and the white noise maker so we can hopefully get some sleep.

I’m due on Wednesday. I’m going to be someone’s mother. O.M.G.

Baby news and nursery plans

Yesterday I got a call from my doctor with results from some recent bloodwork. The baby looks perfectly healthy which is a huge relief! There is also a newish blood test that can see the gender at only 15 weeks and we chose to find out. I was sitting in Penn Station in NYC coming home from a client meeting when I got the news. Not traditional by any means but I just couldn’t wait a few weeks to get the news in person! I conferenced Ryan in and the doctor told us that we’re having a healthy baby boy!

I was sitting on the steps waiting for my train to go home and I just sat there in shock. A baby boy! Now it feels more real because we can refer to the baby as “him” or “he” instead of “it”. I hope he’s as much of a mama’s boy as his daddy is! :)

I’m only 15 weeks right now but I’m a planner and I’d love to have everything chosen for the nursery pretty soon. I’m looking into having a small scale glider made because the room is so tiny and that can take up to 3 months. In the nursery plan below you can see how tiny it is! We really only have room for a crib, dresser and maybe a glider if we squeeze it in! We have overhead lighting, but I’m going to use a low lighting floor lamp for mid night feedings. We have a small radiator right under the window so I had my amazing carpenter make a shelf like this to sit on top so it can serve as a side table.

My next project that I am really excited about is revamping the closet. Right now the closet in the nursery has one shelf and one bar which really doesn’t provide enough storage especially since there won’t be much dresser storage. There is also a pipe running through the closet which is a huge eyesore. My plan for this week is to redo the insulation around the pipe, and remove the shelves. I’d like to install two shelves/bars above each other like this so we have more clothing storage. I’m also going to add a tall skinny cube bookshelf for things like shoes, towels, and sheets. Why does organizing make me so happy?!

Layout1

Below are some inspiration images I’ve been pinning on pinterest. Ryan said I could do whatever I want (we’ll see how honest he was being) so I’m looking for something light, bright and fun. I love nurseries that aren’t too gender specific but I’d like to have this room have some more color than the rest of the house. We already bought this dresser from ikea a while ago. I’ve had baby on the brain for a while and I loved this dresser so much that I was scared they’d discontinue it. Crazy, I know. I’ve started doing some research for cribs and rockers so once I’ve organized my thoughts I’ll share the options with you. I can’t wait!

efe6a74d5c7356cfc65cd125e33d2c1b

6ac185ace69ef9e2cd37debb62327b22
60a80fa0159e9124fc02cbeeb62b57e4
8020816694e0e93114c1268869b3b948
f92813a8e7421f0dbee323d158986c43

simple modern flatware

When Ryan and I first moved in together we bought a beautiful, simple flatware set from Linens N’ Things. It’s perfect for dinner parties or for just eating chinese food, but we have slowly been losing pieces from the set. How does that even happen?! We only have four forks left, and they’ve discontinued the pattern so we can’t even order replacements. (We’ve emailed the manufacturer, looked on Craigslist and eBay with no luck. So disappointing!)

We love entertaining and need more than four forks, so I’ve been on the hunt for a simple and modern flatware set. I want something that isn’t ornate so that it can coordinate with any table top design for events. We love the simplicity of this CB2 set and the price sold us since we need enough for 16 people! There are so many great options available at all price points. Which one is your favorite?

Pattern 714 CB2 Affordable Modern Flatware

Pattern 714 flatware from CB2 – $59.95 for four 5-piece sets

Gold West Elm modern flatwareWest Elm Gold Flatware – $29 each 5-piece set (I wish this came in silver too!)

Oneia Aero Modern Flatware

Oneida Aero flatware from Bed Bath and Beyond – $129.99 for a 20-piece set

Oona Flatware from Crate and Barrel – $149.95 for a 20-piece set

Samboney Linea Q Barneys NY Modern FlatwareSambonet Linea Q Flatware from Barneys NY – $85 for a 5-piece set

my office

My tiny 6′ x 13′ home office is easily one of my favorite spaces in the house. It is surrounded by natural light and is so amazing to work in when the windows are wide open and I can hear my wind chimes in the yard. When we first moved here last July, no one could really understand why I was so excited about this room. It was neon green, needed refinished floors, and the ceiling was falling down.

Before & After - office before lime green paint(Before Before )

Before & After - office during (Before – With my old broken desk)

With the beautiful weather this weekend, I became inspired to reorganize my office. I found myself working way too often at the dining room table because my office didn’t feel welcoming or complete. I bought this white lacquer desk  to make the space feel lighter and a bit more feminine.

Before & After - office after white lacquer desk from West Elm

Before & After - office after

Before & After - office after hand carved decorative cups

I bought these carved wooden cups in Mexico on our honeymoon and I love the warmth they add to my desk. I keep all black pencils in one, and all black pens in the other to keep my workspace looking neat. I have so many pencils leftover from our save the dates!

Desk organizer - Jewelry organizer from Bed, Bath & Beyond

The drawers in this desk are very shallow making it difficult to find containers to organize my junk. I like everything in my drawers to have their own spot, and this jewelry organizer makes everything visible and easy to reach. The trays are a pretty metallic faux leather with an ivory velvet interior and make the desk feel very luxe!

Dark wood storage cabinet

The other side of the office has storage for files, samples, and vendor catalogs. This space is directly adjacent to our family room, so I love having everything hidden. It makes is so easy to clean up at the end of the day or when we entertain.

Charcoal artwork

It was important for me to have a surface to have lay out samples for projects, or to keep inspiration books. This piece further adds some femininity to my office.

Lisa Dreissig artwork - oil on canvas

I painted this years ago and it’s always been one of my favorite pieces of art. It’s oil on wood and is framed in a frame Ryan and I found on trash day. Yes, I’m pretty fancy like that.

desk / chair / lamp / file storage / bud vase / tray / curtains

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DESIGN PROJECT!