House Tour: Our 5 Favorite Projects to Celebrate 5-Years in our Home

This week marks our 5-year house anniversary! It’s sort of funny and crazy to think we’ve lived in our house for 5-years, because when we were looking our realtor and even friends buying houses at the time were saying “this could be your 5-year house.” Well… when B and I were searching for homes, we were considering something that could live with us for awhile. So to have a little fun with this post, I sat down with B and we chatted through our favorite house projects!

His #1: Attic Renovation – This was a space that when we first moved in we weren’t using so when we finished it, it opened up so much space on our second floor. Not to mention we use this room everyday since it’s our master suite! This project was our first big project and took longer than we wanted but we did 90% of it so it was really cool.

Hers #1: Basement Living & Bathroom – This is my number one because it was a space that I never had any plans or expectations for, especially within the first 5-years. I basically wrote this space off as basement storage. But once the vision, planning and work started and we starting seeing the potential of this space it was a really incredible feeling. Especially creating two new function spaces on top of maintaing storage and laundry, this makeover just pushed everything over the top!

His #2: Back Patio (he thinks) … haha B said it’s fun to entertain and have a space outside especially in the spring/summer months. It’s the perfect spot for weekend afternoons, late nights with friends or family or even just the two of us.

Hers #2: Our Dining Room – this was the first room that really came together and we actually had furniture for.  Once we figured out paint and had the chandelier put in, it was like one of those moments like ‘Wow we have a dining room.’ We also designed and finished our dining room table, so it’s a custom piece for us. I wanted this room to be a space where everyone could gather around this huge table and when those moments come true I just want to pinch myself.

His #3: Basement Bathroom –  B said it was tough to nail down why but said he thinks it’s because it’s functional for when we have overnight and weekend guests are over. B said he also likes how I really took over with the design and vision of the space that we actually made happen.  This was also a project that we did 90% on our own, and the satisfaction after finishing one of those is indescribable.

Hers #3: Attic Renovation – This project will always be special to me, because it also holds a lot of memories around when B and I got engaged!  We had actually spent all afternoon working late to get a lot of it wrapped up before he proposed. This space was always planned to be our master and it definitely came out way better than I think both of us imagined and like B said it was our first big project that he really tackled and he really did like 90% of all of it – I was totally impressed!

His & Hers #4: Front Landscape – This project just gave our house a complete transformation and added so much curb appeal.  Our front was always pretty much a blank canvas that we always had plans for, but just never had the time or full commitment to figure out the design, plants and getting the job done.  It was also a project that was on our house project to-do list every year since we moved in and we finally finished it up last summer.  Once we finished we were both blown away, and our plants all came back year 2, wooo!

His #5: Floating Shelves in the Office – We were trying to remember, but this was definitely one of the first DIY projects we tackled together (without having any of the right tools or experience). So B said; “this was the start of everything and we’ve learned so much but also knew of all the bigger and better projects that were to come after this.”

Hers #5: Back Patio – This was a project that I didn’t have prioritized to get done when we did it, as it was definitely something B wanted done more than me.  So after some discussion, compromise and design considerations, we pulled the trigger.  It’s a massive space and it’s really like having another living and dining room outside during the warm months – we truly live back here in the summer! We also splurge on furniture that is modern, functional and classic that really makes the space.

We are lucky that we both enjoy working on house projects to transform and continually make this century home ours, while still enhancing all of it’s beautiful charm.  We still have a few other big projects that we want to do at the house, with the big one being our kitchen — although we talk about it every year, so we will see when we can actually turn it into fruition!

bee (1)

Want to see more from our house? Check out these links: Office Tour | Our Living Room | Basement Bathroom | Basement Living Room | Our Sunroom | Guest Room Makeover

House Tour – Festive Fall Front Porch

There may be few things in life that I love more than drinking champagne and decorating our front porch for fall.  There is just something about fall and all the beautiful things that bring a bit more fun, pop of color and truly make a bright statement.  With gorgeous mums, classic orange pumpkins, gourds, lanterns and then even some Cinderella and pink pumpkins — the colors, shapes and sizes make up the perfect combination.

It took me a little longer this year to pull it all together as I’m a firm believer of no mums or pumpkins until at least October 1st, and with our warm weather lingering even into October it was still hard to pull the trigger. In addition to being a big pop of orange this year, our porch and steps are looking much nicer than last year as they got a paint at the beginning of spring so our porch is generally just looking a bit more polished since last year!FallPorch19-beelife(1)
Last year I a bit heavier on the mums and this year I went heavier on the pumpkins and gourds — I also bought larger mums this year, so they took up a lot of space without having to really bunch together while also helping fill in a few empty spaces like the big orange one next to the stairs.  I also love transitioning my lanterns from our back patio *tear face* to the front porch so they get more use and help make the front porch feel homey as the seasons transition.  Sadly the patio hangs are becoming fewer and farther in between.
FallPorch19-beelife(2)
One investment I made a few years ago was buying these plain white plastic planters – they were fairly inexpensive and all matched — I use these over the summer for various plants around the front porch and back patio. They’re also perfect for placing the mums in them for a clean look, I’ve looked for more at the spot I got them but haven’t been able to find any, luckily I have a good variety of sizes and quantity so they work all year long!

Beyond the front porch, I even picked up a few extra pumpkins to help decorate inside — my goal for interior decor this fall season was minimizing! I’ll share a few easy tips for making a simple fall statement in a blog post coming soon.

So one last thing, are you more of a mum guy/gal or pumpkins?

bee (1)

DIY – French Barn Door

Our bathroom makeover was a complete revamp, and figuring out what we were going to do with the door was all over the place.  Since we had limited room we were initially planning to do a pocket door. But then we switched to something more modern with frosted windows – but the doors I found and liked were well over $300, way more than we wanted to spend, so we went back to the drawing board and tried to figure out a door we might be able to make.

We got the idea to check out our local Habitat for Humanity Restore to see if they had any doors that might fit the bill, or even something we could turn into our own.  We really wanted something that had windows in it, like a french door, but wanted to frost the windows since it’s for a bathroom… we just needed to find an affordable french door.  And we did! It was a little skinner than we needed, but we were confident we could extend it and make it our own and DIY-ing our own barn door using black pipe.
DIY door - thebeelife
Cost Breakdown:
– French Door – $55
– Frosted Spray Paint – $5
– White Paint – $18
– (2) 2x4x8′ – $8
– Wood Glue – $15
– (2) Wheels – $7
– (2) Hooks – $6
– (1) Bar w/ base and corners – $30
Barn Door Handle – $21
Total Cost: $165

What We Did:

  1. First we sanded down the door and removed some of the extra pieces/frame that was on the door.
  2. Through trial and error we finally figured out the proper piece of wood to use to extend the width of the door which was two 2x4x8′ – this definitely took a bit longer to figure out, including securing it to the door and then using wood filler to make it look like one piece.  Again, this was the toughest part, but we finally got it into a good spot with the wood filler.
  3. Next up was painting the door, white! After a few coats on each side, we were almost in business and then sprayed the windows on the outside of the door with the frosted glass look.
  4. We then drilled in our larger circular hooks at the top, added the wheels (which we had to switch with different ones that worked better), and then put together the pipe bar for placement!
  5. With some tweaking and DW-40 we got this door sliding easily and working great in the space! Once we had the door working, we added the handle while it was standing for more accurate placement.

DIY door 4 - thebeelifeThe frosted windows definitely help the bathroom space feel private, while from the outside it feels welcoming and open.  Since there are two windows in the room, we wanted the light to still be able to come through.  From the bathroom side of the door, you can see a slight difference in the additional side pieces – only because the door width with the wood pieces wasn’t an exact match – but from the outside it’s nearly perfect! 

Although this was a little extra work and challenged our problem solving skills, the end price was still WAY more affordable for the look and type of door we wanted to purchase – it was a savings of over half the price of the doors I wanted – plus we both love the way it came out!  And it’s completely custom to our space, don’t worry the full bathroom reveal is coming soon – in the meantime check out this $15 Floating Shelf, How to Install Vinyl Flooring and What We Wish We Knew before Tiling Our Shower.

bee (1)

House Tour – Mansion on the Lake

Today’s house tour, unfortunately is not of my own, but a girl can dream right? This past weekend we were able to get a rare look inside a 1910 treasure. There was an estate sale over the course of four days in this mansion along the lake – so before I start gushing the impeccable details, let’s run through the quick specs, built in 1910, 12,280 sq. ft., 10-bedrooms, 7 full baths, 3 half baths, listed just under $5 million.
8House Tour - Mansion - the bee life
Walking up to the property it was everything you’d expect from the pictures and more, although the pictures seemed like maybe it could be a dream.  The brick drive was still in immaculate condition with a grand entrance, stone steps lead into the house into a grand foyer with floor to ceiling wood paneled walls, grand staircase and a stunning fireplace. Walking in, you almost didn’t know where to start, straight into the Sun Room? Left into another great room? Or right another room equal size to the one on the left? We went right, from there we were led into the butler’s pantry with original cabinetry to the ceiling and then into the large kitchen with original gas stove.

Other standouts throughout the property were the ornate ceilings throughout and the windows with brass handles and original fixtures in every single room.  The wine cellar in the basement was a reasonable size for the house (kidding), and the 3rd floor – which was presumably the servants quarters at one point in time reminded be of the Titanic’s 3rd class – yet still incredible with the detail and just completely massive.  The wallpaper, although pretty prominent in the house in absence of wood panels, was mostly stunning and made a statement against the woodwork.
9House Tour - Mansion - the bee life
A little history on the house, it was designed by Stanford White for industrialist Howard M. Hanna Jr.  It’s been registered on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior.   It’s hard to imagine living in a house of such grandeur and size, not to mention all the finishings and furniture needed to make it a home… but I’m sure if I was forced I could manage *smiles*

Although a lot of the pieces being sold at the estate sale were way out of our price range (like a $15k table, $18k rug…) there were a lot of unique pieces that were reasonable especially for those with an appreciation of antiques.  Although the expensive pieces were definitely swoon worthy with a few pieces dating to the 18th century.  I did buy two hanker chiefs that had embroidered ‘E’s  – there were a few dish sets with ‘E’s as well, so my guess is that was the previous families last name?  It was really fun being able to check out a home like this, I’m glad we went and I’m going to keep on dreaming.

House Tour – Easter Dining Room

Happy Easter, my friends… well almost! With the holiday quickly approaching, on this house tour I wanted to share our dinning room, all decorated and ready for a cozy Easter meal. It was nice to soften up the room with pastels and floral prints, our head-chairs aren’t enough some times! Not to mention the afternoon light was shining into the room so perfectly after a rainy morning – I couldn’t pass up a little photo shoot.
seventhreeTwo

I pulled this look together with a lot of existing pieces already in stock.  The only new additions were the white bunny with gold ears, her friend is on our mantle, and the Happy Easter napkins that I  snagged from Marshall’s. I wanted to keep this simple, classic and bright through the use of the pastels and then the white and gold to tie the whole look together.

Happy Easter!

Spare Bedroom – Makeover

I must admit, I’ve had some major writers block on top of feeling uninspired.  Then I realized I should share my latest obsession aka inspiration – our impromptu spare bedroom makeover! It started this past Friday, after a crazy week back to work, a stiff drink, and a few scrolls through Pinterest, I thought out loud to B; “Let’s paint the yellow room.” And B’s response was; “pick a color” – gosh I love him.

Of course, I had a color in mind, so we went to Lowe’s on Saturday, found the color, bought the paint, oh and another can for a different impromptu project and got right to work once we got home. This of course has spiraled into a full room makeover, remodeling some old and buying some new.  *grins*

I’m going for something chic, classic and colorful. My goal is not to rush this and look for solid pieces and see what works in the space as I add in curtains, bedding and DIY’d furniture.

Can’t wait to share our first house project of 2017!

Inspiration sources can be found here

House Tour – Our Christmas

Eleven more days until Christmas! Our house is full decked out and ready for the holidays, it’s cozy and festive… I may be a bit biased, but I’m in love.

With this being the third Christmas at our house (wow!), I’ve definitely continued to perfect the finishing touches but also try a few new things! This year I took to Pinterest for some new ideas, specifically for our front door and dining room centerpiece. I looked for ideas that I could use preexisting pieces/decor but also be able to put my finishing touches on them!

Front Door: We amped up the front door to really make a statement, now that we have a full glass storm door, we can fully utilize all the real estate.  I’ve mentioned this many times, but your exterior of your home is the first impression guests receive, so why not make a statement?

My hack was to use wire to connect the three wreaths together, and then wrap the ribbon around to cover it up.  I probably spent $10 for the berries to add into the greens and the ribbon (sale at Joann’s!). I already had the wreaths, door hanger and wire.  I just hot glued the ribbon on the door hanger to make the ribbon look continuous! I love how the red pops on our blue door.
front-door_3front-door_1Dining Room Centerpiece: I wanted to switch up the centerpiece, since as much as I loved last year’s centerpiece it wasn’t conducive for entertaining with friends and family.  I often had to move it for space or take certain parts out of it.  I needed something a little more low maintenance, less intrusive and easy to move. I saw some inspiration on pinterest with a wooden box and since we found one when we first moved in (under our front porch of course), it was the perfect idea.  I used greens from the Christmas tree farm and just had to buy the candles. I added in some color and it’s completely portable if we need to move for a game night, dinner or cookie baking!
dining-room_1
dining-room_2I definitely got my “Martha Stewart” on and love the way these two spaces turned out! Everything I got too can be reused or altered next year – which would be my second hack for all of you is to think of DIY/Pinterest solutions that work multiple years, aren’t too trendy.

Latest Obsessions: Pillows

So lately I have been completely obsessed with PILLOWS! I want soooo many pillows. All of a sudden there is about 5-places in the house that I could name that need pillows to add that extra finished and cozy look. The dining room built-in bench, the bay window in the staircase, the office, the master and the spare daybed… not to mention the living room pillows could use a freshen up… shall I go on? I have literally been scrolling through screens and screens of pillows, hitting the ‘Add to Cart’ button, until I reach the end, check out my chart (because they all seemed like such a great deal) and it’s $150+ … click “save for later”repeat x5. *smiles*Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Neutrals 01 | 02 | 03 | 04

Pillows are the perfect way to spice up a room and add some extra flair without needing to refurnish the entire place. Pillows can also help personalize a space; whether it’s with a state, zip code, or even this fun bee pillow by French Laundry (above) – I’m obsessed!  The other thing I love about pillows is that they can add a level of subtlety when you mix a few patterns or fabrics correctly.  Pillows add a level of cozy and warmth to a space and can be the key finishing pieces, without you knowing! 

The other key to pulling in pillows and buying them is getting different shapes, large square pillows, long horizontal pillows or even larger body pillows to help build the space, (for example normal bed turned daybed).  Having different sizes also creates depth and dimension to your space making the space look larger and more plush than it might be.

Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Blues04 | 05 | 06 | 07

My go-to stores for pillows as you can probably tell if you’re checking out the links throughout are; Target (duh), Marshalls/T.J. Maxx (double-duh), Pier 1, Pottery Barn and Society 6. Although I usually start in the clearance sections first – because you can’t beat a good deal, especially if you’re using the pillows as updates to the space and are more likely to switch them out more frequently.  And as excited as I get about a pillow, I like to wait to see if my initial gut reaction of LOVE, is still LOVE after I see it again in the line-up of a gillion pillows. I also can’t usually resist a good 2-pack of pillows especially if they’re essentially the price of one, it’s a win-win!

Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Color                                                                                  08 | 09 | 10 | 11

What’re your favorite spots to get pillows?  Do you have any pillow rules? I’ve slowly started ordering a few here and there for the spaces I mentioned above. Yay!! 

For the love of pillows,

House Tour – Our Living Room

Hi friends! I wanted to invite you inside our home and give you a little tour of our living room!  It’s one of the rooms where we spend most of our time besides our master… yes I know… I still owe you all the official master tour, it’s coming, I promise! Anyways, back to the living room, since it’s one of the rooms we spend most of our time in, it’s one of the more finished spaces.  It’s also one of the spaces that I like to update and switch things around on the mantle, coffee table and even the picture frames. So here is the space just Plain Jane, no holiday decor – just normal life.
Living Room (2)Living Room (3)Living Room (1)One of my favorite parts of our living room is all of our old photos that we’ve incorporated into the gallery wall or through the mantle and built-in’s.  They’re pieces of our past and what make up our families and who we’ve been shaped to be.  Family is very important to both of us, so it’s nice to be surrounded by our loved ones, past and present.

It’s the little details we’ve been able to focus on and update (like the knobs on the built-in’s) still giving it an appropriate feel for the period of the house but giving it an updated feel. 

Hope you’ve enjoyed one of our most loved spaces!