House Anniversary Tour: Our 2020 Projects

We’re celebrating six years as homeowners! Homeowners may be one of the ultimate adulting moves (besides having kids), as it comes with a mixed bag of unknowns that can be really great and really horrible. This year’s house anniversary tour is going to be highlighting the updates we’ve made this year both fun and not so fun, as we definitely tackled a few while we’ve been quarantined at home!

But, before then — I wanted to share a few of our not so great house moments, since homeownership isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Before we even moved into our house, our refrigerator busted — that was an automatic couple hundred dollars right off that bat that we weren’t planning on! One of the first really cold winters, we came home to frozen pipes in our kitchen! Since then we’ve learned to run the water over night on those super cold days. Did I mention we live in a 100+ year old home?

Fireplace Hearth Makeover. This was a vanity project that we did pretty early on in quarantine, that was a quick weekend win, once we figured out what tile we wanted! We finally got rid of the original red tile and gave it a lighter update, see the fun before and after here.

New Furnace. This was a not so fun one, but something that B really wanted. The last two winter’s we’ve had to make significant finance repairs to our 25-year old furnace, and B had enough with it! He was able to take advantage of getting a more efficient unit for a decent price with the same company who installed our AC the summer of 2018.

Main Bathroom Budget Update. I loved this project — it was intended to be a temporary update on a space that we will most likely eventually gut and completely redo, so we wanted to make sure this was on a lower budget, while also taking care of a few of our pain points, which were a small, generic counter and sink and the yellowy tiles all over the room. My favorite transformation was painting the tile white, it completely transformed the space! Check out the full makeover here.

Sunroom Flat Roof. This was our least fun project, both from finding a company to do the work to the final price tag. But alas, it was definitely a necessity as we had a pretty decent and consistent leak from our flat roof into our sunroom. Long story short, apparently residential flat roofs are an anomaly and there is a variety of verbiage to describe how to fix these which is super confusing as a homeowner. Thank goodness for good friends with dad’s who are roofers 🎉. All in, we had about 6 different companies quote the project, and consumed about a month of our lives for approximately $2,450. But hey, no more leaks!

Backyard Makeover. Oh, I loved this project. It was definitely under estimated of how much of an impact this would actually make — I didn’t realize how much of a sad backyard we had until this project was complete! We added in some custom beds, edging and modern fences to help hide a few ugly things we don’t have control over. I love looking at our backyard now, it’s so pretty! Click to see the full makeover here.

Office Update. Since working from home has become permanent, my at home office definitely needed a little refresh to be a bit more functional for actually being a home office! This project was low budget, and quick which has made the space feel a bit more complete, even though it’s not pink. See my office update, here!

We’ve had six wonderful years at our house, and it’s always so fun to see how far we’ve come and improvements we’ve made along the way. It’s been a staple of fun memories, parties, milestones, late nights and early mornings, it’s been our home sweet home.

House Tour – Our Fall Front Porch

I love decorating our front porch for fall — it is so much fun for me, the colors are incredible the shapes are always different, and I always tend to go a little overboard, but still rein myself in. And because of the stunning floral hoop wreath that is adorning our front door, I definitely wanted to give her a supporting cast of more fall favorites.

As much as I love fall, the thing I love most about fall is the small pumpkin patches and farms I grew up going too. So, one thing, that I’m not sure I’ll ever get ok with, living in/near a city is the lack of traditional pumpkin patches and farms that I’ve known living in a rural farm town. Although we visited my parents earlier in the month, we didn’t get to make it to a pumpkin spot — so I headed to my go-to city spot and stocked up on pumpkins, mums and gourds – to avoid crowds or drive a bit farther out of town.

Besides creating a fun statement on our main front porch around our homemade wooden welcome sign — I also stacked up our steps with mums, pumpkins and even more gourds. If our mailbox wasn’t on our front porch, I would’ve considered doing a complete rainfall affect with all the pumpkins and gourds, but we have to be functional over here too!

The mums were a little smaller and not bloomed yet, from what they normally have been in years passed, but I like the mix of purple and yellow that I was able to get and place them in my white planters. And I even went back a second time after getting my main pieces in place for a few more gourds of all sizes to help finish off the look. I was hoping to grab a few more mums, but they were completely out!

I have fun stacking, layering and mixing up different shapes, colors and textures together with the different pumpkins and gourds, on the porch and along the steps. The colors of fall are truly magical, from the trees to the pumpkins — it is truly a beautiful time of the year, the trees around us are really showing off right now and it’s incredible.

DIY – Easy Fall Floral Hoop Wreath

The fall hoop wreath trendy train drove by my house and I jumped right on! And I’m so glad that I did. To be fair, I was planning this for awhile — but I like to wait until October to give in to fall, and I always love a good statement piece for my Sherwin Williams Commodore front door! Best part? I purchased everything online for contactless delivery or pick-up and everything came straight to me!

Two key decisions were made early on; (1) I went the embroidery hoop route vs. a metal hoop, why? Because I felt it was a little more homey and sturdy. Decision (2) I wanted a big hoop, like double the normal size to really fill up my front door. So, because I went oversized with the embroidery hoop I needed to make sure I had enough florals to fill it in, and that they were proportionally sized to the hoop. I also picked colors that were fall inspired, but also would pop and coordinate with my blue door – orange seemed perfect with a mix of pinks and creams.

DIY Shopping List:
23″ Embroidery Hoop
(1) Jumbo Cream Peony Stem (my focal point)
(2) Sunset Orange Peony Stem
(1) Cream Peony Bush
(2) Orange Pom Pom Stem
(2) Mauve Spider Mums Stems
(2) Blush Chrysanthemum Stem
– Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Burlap ribbon / left over ribbon

Estimate project cost: $60

Step-by-Step DIY Instructions:
1. I started with my oversized cream peony to determine the focal point of my hoop wreath – so I plucked it from the stem and glued it on the rim of the embroidery hoop. From there I used the orange pom stems to help add a baseline for where the rest of the flowers would flow. I glued these right along on top of the edge of the hoop and bent the blowers in the arch shape.

2. Next, I plucked the orange peony and cream peonies and played around with arranging them to flank the larger peony. I put the orange peonies on either side of the oversized cream peony and then started to fill in with the pink spider mum and chrysanthemum. I also made sure to pull off some of the peony greens and filled in and layered between flower placement.

3. I made sure to raise one side up higher with more of the orange pom stems and greens! The best part to remember is you can play around with the flowers before finally putting them into place with the hot glue and take it one at a time to build and fill in your hoop wreath. I also didn’t want complete symmetry so made sure to keep it a little mixed up!

4. To finish off the floral hoop wreath, I found some old burlap ribbon and cut a little piece to tie around the gauge part on the embroidery hoop to cover it up to hang on the door hook and on our front door!

I really love how it turned out, and that I went with the oversized hoop — it really makes a statement on the front door, just like I wanted! If you decide to go with a smaller hoop, you probably won’t use as many flowers or need an oversized one and utilize a few smaller floral stems.

Budget Home Office Refresh

It’s nearing the end of July and the the fourth full month of working from home, but for the record — it seems like it’s been much longer than 4 months. With spending a bit more time in my home office (like nearly 8-hours, 5-days a week) — I started scheming for an update. As I mentioned in my May obsessions, our office wasn’t intended to be a working, functional office but more of a home for our sports memorabilia while serving as a third guest room space. So keeping this space true to it’s original intent and sports decor, I still needed to enhance the space.
BudgetOffice(1)For this budget friendly refresh I focused on three things; (1) fresh paint (2) new white shelves and (3) large gallery wall with our sports memorabilia.

We have a little blue alcove, I really was trying to add in a fun pop of pink and was thinking wallpapering a tiny sliver of the blue alcove for a fun accent wall within the accent wall.  I searched on Target, and I searched all over Etsy and I just couldn’t find anything that wasn’t going to completely change the whole vibe of the room. Then I thought maybe I’d paint some sort of cool accent wall with the blue — again, I just couldn’t figure anything that felt right, so I pivoted. The blue was in need of some touch-ups and I had some left over Sherwin Williams Naval, it wasn’t the same blue – a bit dark but close enough so I painted!
BEFORE
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AFTER
BudgetOffice(3)Before we got started painting — we ended up taking our white floating shelves down. This project was one of B and I’s first DIYs we did, and it definitely wasn’t perfect — so we deconstructed and I planned for a new cleaner and streamlined solution to replace them. With a few coats of paint, the blue was looking refreshed and a bit darker. I went for a simple white shelf look with gold brackets. Since I was unable to find gold brackets in stock and for a decent price — I spray painted some white ones that were more affordable! I bought these white brackets for $2.28 each and used gold spray painted I already had and they turned out pretty perfectly. I bought white laminate shelves pre-cut that worked perfectly and were bigger for the space.

Pro-tip: Spray paint the screw tops too for a seamless look once you install. 

The final and biggest piece that took the most time and most money (about $160) was putting together a gallery wall with all the various sports photos and other fun sports souvenirs into a big gallery wall on the large back wall in the office. Luckily I already had a lot of the artwork and frames, but there were some new pieces that we needed to help fill in the space. Some of the fun new additions included a display case for my baseballs, a larger vintage print of Yankee Stadium from the 1920’s and then a fun shelf to display some of our Cavs bobbles heads. A few other frames and prints and we were able to incorporate all our favorite sports teams, memories and a fun race photos too. One fun favorite sports memory that we included was our Game 7: World Series ticket and photo.
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I really love how the gallery wall turned out and it’s definitely the focal point of the room, until you see the fun little desk alcove. Another key part of the gallery wall was pulling some of the 3D elements into the wall and off of the shelves to give those some more breathing space and clean them up a bit! The side roller cart to the right of my desk came from my actual work office and fits nice to be a bit of a desk extender with my monitor set-up along with some drawer storage. Although this wasn’t a complete make over, it’s a good reminder to anyone who is looking for a refresh and are happy with pieces you already own, that you can make subtle and affordable updates to make a fun update!

There are still maybe a few little things and photos for shelves that I want to add, but those are fun little pieces to update along the way. I also have been tossing around getting a pink neon sign for my blue alcove for that pop of pink — we will see! Let the work from home life continue!

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DIY – Painted Cork Board Makeover

Whenever we travel back to visit my parents, I always try and snag some of my childhood things to bring back or get rid of! So when I saw my old high school half and half white-cork board, I initially thought I didn’t want or need this — but I still grabbed it and brought it back home. With my new semi-permanent home office, I realized I could definitely use a space to post inspiration, write important to-do’s and hang a calendar, so as the wheels kept turning, I decided this could use a little face lift!
DIYCork(4)The best part was I was able to cover up my high school doodles that have lived on for over a decade *cringes a little* and give the dated wood grain a fresh and affordable update with the craft and paint supplies we already had. It just required a few coats of paint and a little patiences.

Craft Supply List:
– Old Bulletin Board
– Craft Paint, Colors of your Choice
– Foam Painter
– All Purpose Cleaner
– Goo-Gone
3M Hangers Strips
DIYCork(1)Step-by-Step:
1. Once you’ve figured out your colors, it’s time to prep the space. I chose to go with a pretty pink and white!
2. Before I started painting, I had to do some cleaning to remove old dry erase phrases that have been sitting on here for over a decade, so upon doing some research I found that an all purpose cleaner would do the trick – and it did. I left the cleaner sit on the dry erase writings for a little bit and then wiped off, I repeated this a few times until it was all clean!
3. I also had some sticky residue on the wood frame, so goo-gone helped clean that up before it was time to paint. It cleaned off well with a little elbow grease and a few scrubs.
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4. I wasn’t entirely sure how the craft paint would go on the bulletin board part — but it went on relatively easy and surprisingly helped cover up some of the missing chunks and the written phrases, initials and numbers I had scattered throughout. It just took a few coats, especially where I had writing. I did sadly cover up ‘The O.C.” — RIP.
5. Next, it came time to work on the wooden boarder. I used some white wall paint for this, that had a bit of a gloss. This went on slow, since it did require about 4-5 coats – but it really helped make the pink pop and refreshed to something that would work better in my office space!
6. Once it was all painted, it was time to hang it up! I hung this with 3M strips and it has stayed up well! It’s the perfect space for my monthly calendar and a few other fun reminders. Although — I have not been great about getting my to-do’s crossed off!DIYCork(3)
Since I updated this old cork-white board, we’ve given the office space a bit of an update too — I’m excited to share next week as I’m just waiting for a few pieces to arrive in the main to finish up the gallery wall! The 3M Strips also worked great for already moving the placement already. It’s been great having a monthly overview calendar at a quick glance that has made this update so worth it, on top of having a fun pop of pink!

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Latest Obsessions 05.20

The weather is finally starting to break and it’s been so nice to spend weekends, evenings and even a few working afternoon outside in the sunshine and warmth. With quarantine and remote work continuing, I’m starting to get transition my mindset a bit more to try and embrace all of this a bit more. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and mental health strain which I’ll be sharing more about on my Fitness Friday this month. So, with trying to transition my mindset, I’m trying to stay busy by planning for a few projects and a few other things I love, while living in workout pants and sports bras.

Mini Office Makeover. Fun fact; our home office wasn’t ever intentionally set-up for designed to be an actual home office. I know typing that out makes it sounds really stupid – but it’s true! Up until recently, B and I only occasionally work from home and would just set-up shop in the dining room or living room. Our home office was designed to be a fun space that serves as another guest room and home to our sports memorabilia. So I’m brainstorming on some easy, cost-effective ways to make this a bit more inspirational, fun and creative for a more long term working space. I’m thinking pink, and I’ll leave it at that.
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Anything Bravo. I would just like to personally take a moment to thank Bravo (and bubbly), for giving me some sense of sanity and a mental escape throughout this super weird time that is quickly becoming the “new normal.” B and I have rewatched the entire series of Vanderpump Rules, even as this latest season wraps up. And my two favorite housewives series are now on, RHOBH and RHONY, along with Andy being back with his virtual WWHL which are still enjoyable.

Some Backyard Plans. Our back patio is pretty set and perfect, besides adding some seasonal plants around to spruce up the space a bit more. B and I have talked off and on about doing some additional privacy-scaping in the back area, but just haven’t gotten around to it. So I’m sketching up some plans to pitch to B, since he is jones-ing to get that project going. We’ve also chatted about adding a floating deck and hot tub… so we will see how that all fits in.

Travel Daydreaming. Flights are so cheap right now. It’s been really easy to daydream and want to plan and just book a flight. Airlines are also still offering no charge rebooking fees (at least Southwest still it!) so it’s eliminating some of the potential risk. It’s just so hard to plan right now, and it breaks my heart to think we might not travel on an airplane this year — but I’m still hoping.
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So you’ll be catching me this weekend making some plans, getting inspired and definitely watching some bravo while sipping some bubbles and daydreaming of the day that we feel safe to fly on an airplane again and explore the world. And I’m still obsessing over Target Drive-Up, it’s been well over two months since I’ve actually stepped foot in one.  What’ve you been obsessing over lately?

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DIY – Painted Front Doormat

This weekend was pretty great, and Saturday was pretty perfect. The sun was shining all day long and the temp was ideal to catch some rays. Meaning we were outside pretty much the entire day. B touched up the paint on the front porch, we got our patio furniture out, got a run in and I even got this fun DIY project done. This painted DIY doormat is an affordable and fun way to add a custom finishing touch to your front door decor.
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Project Supply List:
Plain Coco Coir Doormat
Outdoor Acrylic Paint
Foam Brush Variety Pack
Satin Polyurethane

Estimated Project Total: $30

Step-by-Step:
– Once you have your supplies secure – which pro-tip you can still order from Michael’s and they’ll bring it out to your car and throw it in the trunk, no human contact.
– Your rugs will most likely come rolled, so make sure you get them flattened out before you craft, I placed some heavy photo albums on the ends for a couple days.

Pro-Tip: If you’re painting the whole back drop of your rug, make sure to grab two of  your background color – I barely had enough pink! Also grab 3-4 bottles of the Polyurethane. Also the assorted foam brush packet had the perfect variety of sizes for the detail of my design, not the best quality but got the job done.
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– Now for the fun! Figure out your design. I found my inspiration from Gradin Road and thought it was totally perfect and a fun pop of spring to add to our front porch! If you’re opting for a phrase with letters you’ll want to get a stencil cut out – a Cricket would be perfect to help customize (I don’t have one of those yet!)

– I hand drew and cut out the body of my bee to help get me started and then free handed the rest of my bee with paint and brushes. But feel free to create stencils and paint as you feel comfortable. I did a lot of dabbing with my foam brushes to make sure the paint covered the mat properly.
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– Once you have your design painted, go over spots with painted to make sure it’s covered and pops as much as you’d like. From there I picked my background color and filled in the rest of the doormat it was a tough decision between pink or green. As I said above, make sure to grab at least two tubes of your background paint, I barely had enough with one of my pink and just barely enough to cover my 30″ x 18″ rug.

– Once you’re happy with your paint coverage and design, it’s time for the final step! Paint your polyurethane over top the entire piece to help seal in the paint. I used two full tubes, but could’ve definitely used at least one or two more – it dries clear so it doesn’t impact your design at all!

There is still time to see how this holds up in the weather — luckily it is on a covered front porch, but definitely gets full sun in the morning. I love how it turned out and layered with a colorful underlay rug to make sure it really pops on the front porch!  I still have another plain rug to paint and create a fun design — I can’t decide if I’ll safe it for the holidays or a funny saying, time will tell!

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House Tour: Spring Inspired Easter Table Decor

It’s April 1st! Flowers are starting to bloom and my peonies are budding out front — which means spring is coming! And the most spring filled holiday is just a few weeks away, Easter. So I wanted to share some inspiration for how you can create an easy, simple and sweet Easter tablescape with fresh blooms!  EasterDecor(4)-beelifeblog
This spring inspired tablescape is made possible because I finally made my first trip to Home Sense in February and instantly fell in love with this muted floral table runner and these fun woven Cynthia Rowley placemats. I opted to use the green to help finish my Easter table look, but also grabbed them in a bright yellow because I loved both of the colors so much and could see them easily transitioning into the Summer. Not to mention they came in 8-packs for an affordable $7.99 each, can’t beat it in my opinion!

Once you have your base pieces figured out — it’s time to top off with your centerpiece. Putting together this easy centerpiece can be accomplished with simple vases from the Dollar Store (which I use for a lot of different things) and springtime blooms that can be grabbed in a bunch and split up and cut to make these cute arrangements. Try to get flowers that are a bit sturdier and live a bit longer. I then sprinkled gold foil eggs around the vases (here are some similar gold foil eggs I found) — if you don’t have eggs or want it to be a little less-Easter you can nix completely or sprinkle in a spring garland throughout our vases.  Lastly, I finished off the centerpiece by adding in a few of my white porcelain bunnies with gold ears – these were found in Target’s dollar bins the last few years. EasterDecor(2)-beelifeblog
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To help complete the rest of the room with a touch of Easter, I hung my go-to boxwood leaf wreath in between the windows. Side note: I think everyone should have a boxwood wreath or two, it’s great for spring, summer or just pop of green when the world is a little extra grey – here is an affordable one I found on Amazon for $20. I also love hanging a wreath in a little bit more unconventional space as it helps pull in the focal point of the room. I then hung my pastel egg garland over the window for a little extra pop of Easter. With uncertainty of how Easter is going to be this year, I definitely kept this year’s centerpiece simple, bright and full of spring. Last year we were hosting, so I went a little more over the top and full on Easter. So if you’re looking for something to make a bigger statement, check out last year’s Easter table decor.
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I’m not really sure what our plan for Easter is this year, whether we’ll be with family or staying home — either way, we’ve got a bright and cheerful focal point to enjoy for the rest of April, and I’m sure the flowers will get refreshed along the way with some more pops of color! Are you planning for Easter yet, or still trying to go with the flow of social-distancing?

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Before & After: Fireplace Hearth Makeover

We did a thing! We finally checked off another house project… that oooohhhh has been on the to-do list for the last few years. It wasn’t a huge project, but it was a little one that makes a bit of impact in one of the most lived in rooms. We retiled our fireplace hearth and completely refreshed the dated red tile!
Tile-beelifeblog(2)Honestly the toughest part and reason this has been on the to-do list for so long was just deciding on and figuring out the right tile.  So I finally got smart and figured out my newest project hack, especially when it comes to projects like this! What is my little secret you may ask? I bought a few tile samples from Lowe’s to put them into my space to help envision the whole look.

The Tile Dilemma. I definitely wanted to go with something a bit more modern and pull in white tile into the space. I was initially thinking larger marble, then wanted to do a bit more of a hexagon pattern — but I just wasn’t sure! Then another part of me wanted to do something with a pattern or a bit more Spanish style. I grabbed four different styles that I liked and brought them home and saw how they worked with the rest of our patterns and textures and colors in our living room.
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The Decision. We ended up going with a off-white blue patterned tile that had a little bigger footprint, similar to the original red tile square. B even ended up finding a blue herringbone pattern that we ended up cutting to make a boarder, which helped keep the large tiles full all the way across without having lots of little pieces for an awkward boarder.

The Project. Demo took B all of an hour to get up the old red tiles, from there he bought some cement board to get the surface level and prepped for our new tiles! He did this over the course of the week, so we were queued up and ready to work on it come the weekend. We even ordered the remaining tile for in-store pick-up and it was in and out to keep our project time low.

We ended up renting a tile cutter from Home Depot and completed the cuts and project within a few hours. I am the tile worker, and B is my tile cutter! It worked out well and came together after some trial and error. The boarder tile was much thinner than the main tile, so we had to really build up with mortar. We also ended up using pre-mixed mortar and grout that we had left over for previous projects, I think we only needed to purchase an additional pre-mixed mortar to finish the project. So within a few hours we had our tile laid and cut into place in it’s new home.
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The Result. After giving the mortar time to dry, we were able to grout! We used the same left over grout we had from our Basement Bathroom Makeover.  The cool grey color really complimented the tile color and style we picked to make it a cohesive space. We also had to be a little smart with tile positioning and organic since we were working with an un-even 100 year old space that certainly was not perfect or level, no matter how hard we tried!

Shop our products: Elida Ceramica Porcelain Tile from Lowes | Boarder Midnight Satin Herringbone Tile from Lowes | Warm Color MAPEI Flexcolor Grout 

I must admit — when it was first finished I didn’t completely love how this turned out. But I did like it and was happy to get rid of the old red tile and gross grout. It’s grown on me some, I like the boarder because it helps break it up and keep the larger tiles even but it also throws me off! What do you bees think?

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