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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House Tour: Back Patio 2.0

In my July latest obsessions, I was gushing over our outdoor living space and back patio. Well it’s been two years since we first created this space and shared the initial reveal – but I don’t believe I ever shared the before pictures *shocked face* so on this house tour, I’m going to share a few befores of the space and where it is today.  Every year it changes a little bit – last year we added more furniture for company, the plants and greenery change each year, and the bistro light pattern gets mixed up too. This year we even rotated the dining table, I know – HUGE changes. *teasing*

The Furniture: We still love the furniture we got from Target and always keep our eye on the summer sales to see if there are any new pieces we want, or if we are ready to upgrade the dining set with one that matches our furniture. I was tempted, B however was not on board after he saw the price (boo!) – B has ulterior motives and wants the Fernhill Metal sofa, so that he can fit more comfortable for afternoon naps.  We also want to get another umbrella to have for our seating area, as the afternoons around 3-4pm is prime sunshine time, so it gets pretty toasty (and a little unbearable to be honest) which will be functional and pretty.

Color Scheme:  I’ve tried to stick pretty close to black and white to compliment the patio furniture – and I am sure you’re thinking, white cushions for outside?! They’ve lasted pretty great and came with Scotch Guard on them, and I recently learned you can buy Scotch Guard and reapply annually, so these beauties are getting a fresh coat so they can last! I’ve added in pops of green this year with the fun banana leave Tommy Bahama pillows from TJMaxx online (which are 50% off from what I got them for!). And splurge on the black and white pillows and chair cushions for the dining area last summer time.
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Stamped Concrete: When we were discussing our patio, we were gun-hoe on pavers, but after research in materials and then even discussing with family friends that pavers didn’t hold up as well. So we started looking more into stamped concrete and determined that was a more sustainable investment for our space, plus we had a little more customization options – we were super happy with the way it came out!

Gas Fireplace: This was another must-have on my list, as I HATE the smell of bon fires and smelling like them at the end of the night — this is the perfect central spot for heat, roasting marshmallows or even just a drink holder when the fire isn’t on. We didn’t want anything too big and something a bit more natural looking.  I also love the lanterns scattered throughout the space to give it a homey feel – especially at night it has quite the ambiance.

House Tour - Patio (4)We were able to completely transform a somewhat awkward nook and blank space in our backyard to a functional outdoor living space with living and dining space. It gives us the right amount of privacy, while still being open to the rest of the backyard.  Eventually we want to close off the small back porch to be all kitchen and would put a sliding door in where the window is in that back nook area – yes always planning for the next project.

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House Tour: Bathroom Remodel

Are you ready to see our bathroom remodel? It’s finally time to share a tour of the transformed space – which honestly came out amazing – especially for B and I doing 80% of the work! This was part of our basement makeover and gives our basement a completely new livable space.
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House Tour: Basement Makeover Reveal

Last August we were game planning and getting ready to give our drab basement a little makeover to be more functional from a storage perspective, while also creating additional living space with a unfinished-finished room.  Our game plan for our basement (and some gross before pictures) started relatively simple and functional – I also had some ulterior motives to have the extra space prepped for B’s surprise party.  So from that perspective, I was trying to keep it simple and low budget – but that didn’t stick!
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Easter Brunch – Tablescape & Prep

Easter is less than a week away and I’m excited to be hosting brunch for my immediate family!  So I’ll be taking you along the ride as I first – prep the dining table and plan the menu, and then I’ll share the actual spread and a recap of how everything went (compared to how I thought it would go!) and finally I’ll share a few of the recipes from the brunch! Easter Dining - the bee life (1)
Setting the Table: I always love planning and setting up my dining room table with holiday and seasonal decor and this year was no different – it’s even better when I actually have an excuse and am able to host! I opted to go with more neutral themed colors with pops of color – using my blue and teal paisley table runner and teal-ish placemats that match the table runner perfect!

For the centerpiece, I wanted to keep it simple while still making a statement, I uncovered three large jugs tucked away in the basement I wanted to incorporate these into the focal point.  Paired with Easter basket grass and my bright eggs with pops of gold this added the right amount of color to the simple base of blues and greens. I had fun mixing and matching plates, chargers, silverware and champaign glasses so we can all enjoy some bubbles with our yummy eats!  Easter Dining - the bee life (3)
For the name tags I found these adorable mini 2×3″ frames at Target on the clearance shelf – with blues and a nice pop of pink these were the exact color pallet I was already working with, so I grab a few to use as the place settings with the idea of adding the names in place of a picture!  Since these don’t scream Easter – I’ll be able to re-use for the future.  I wasn’t able to find my exact frames on Target.com but these stone 2×3″ frame and this modern acrylic 2×3″ frame were two other options I also saw on the clearance rack that would be fun for name tags at the table.

Meal Prep: Planning the meal was fairly easy, I knew that I wanted to have a good spread of options, but keep the prep and cook-time to a minimum since it’ll be a shorter morning with Easter church.  So I went to my go-to guide of overnight breakfast casseroles and then cook in the morning, and then filled in the rest of the food groups with other easy yet filling options! Beyond thinking about food it’s important to think through beverage options as well and having coffee, decaf coffee, tea options, juices and then the staples like a bloody mary bar and the fixing and toppings for mimosas! I will be trying a different casserole than ones I’ve shared before and you’re going to die at how easy it is and how delicious it is – stay tuned!
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In addition to hosting brunch, we’ll also be hosting the family at the house – so not only will I’ll be getting all the groceries purchased throughout the week and prepping the house. It’ll be a busy week getting ready but it’ll be so fun having everyone together!

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House Tour: Our Green Christmas

This year it seemed like we were super late to the game getting our Christmas decor up compared to everyone else – although we do like to wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday.  With B’s surprise party this past weekend, I was extra motivated to have the house Christmas ready!

A few of our new pieces that helped put the finishing touches on our Christmas decor were our pillow cases from H&M, the mini brush trees for our dining room centerpiece and a new tree skirt!  …Speaking of tree’s can I gush over our tree for a minute?  We always get a real tree and this year decided to go a bit bigger in height – than we normally do.  We both laid eyes on our tree and decided to pull the trigger, we were joking about having an elf moment when we put it up in the house, but it fit! A bigger tree called for more lights – but she is a looker.

Besides being in love with our big tree, every year I always have fun putting up our alpine tree in our dining room – this is where I layer on all of our ornaments – and what I love even more than this is opening up all of our ornaments and all the fond memories that come with them, and the ornaments that I forget about!  We also put up a smaller alpine tree in our bay window stairwell, that has all of my childhood Hallmark Barbie ornaments and a few other ones!

Our house has been transformed into a little Christmas wonderland, and I just love our little Christmas snow globe that we get to enjoy for the next few weeks.  Now that the house is all ready, we can start getting ready for the big day through visiting with friends, holiday crafts and shopping for presents!

Shop my pieces: H&M Reindeer pillowcase, Velvet dark green pillowcaseLarge bottle brush Christmas tree, Pom Pom tree skirt from Target

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House Tour – Fall Front Porch

Are you loving fall this year as much as I am? Our front porch is lined with glorious pumpkins, gourds and mums, and is the perfect welcome to our friends and family as they come visit us over the course of the next few weeks.  What I love about this time of the year is when you decorate for fall vs. Halloween, the decor can carry through from October into November, right up until we’re ready to hang Christmas wreaths, plaid ribbon and more holiday magic!  Here is a little tour of our fall front porch…
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We bought nearly 70-pounds of pumpkins when we were visiting family, whoops! We dragged all these beauties back to frame our entry and line the steps.  From there all I needed was a few more filler pumpkins, gourds and of course, the beautiful mums! Since our back patio is coming to a close, I moved the lanterns up to the front for added depth and help fill in the space.  I love how it all turned out and our house feels a bit more completed for a warm fall welcome.

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House Tour – Sunroom Makeover

Our sunroom got an impromptu mini makeover this spring, as we have finally been able to enjoy it with the weather warming up.  This space started out pretty drab with a stunning yellow and brown color palette, we quickly figured out a cost effective solution to repurpose our old apartment furniture making this space functional, bright and colorful.

This past summer we bought an oversized love seat and ottoman, that matches our main living room furniture – it was time to get rid of that over worn leather sofa for something a bit nicer.  The curtains that were once bright and sunny (and really expensive) were now faded after a few summers in the sun – plus the windows in that room aren’t the greatest (already on the future project list).  So I went with more affordable shears ($5 each) that accented the room nicely.
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I reused a few other pieces that were throughout the house, the rug was extra that had been in the basement and worked perfectly with the new furniture color.  I also pulled in the white TV stand from a guest room to pull the space together, making it a cozy spot to curl up and watch a movie on a summer night or cool afternoon.  The window table was a DIY that is now a helpful side table, styled with a framed quote from our wedding and a table top lamp that was sitting sadly in the basement waiting for it’s perfect spot.

The only other piece I bought besides the new curtains, was the white tray ($20) to use on the other side of the chair for a bit more function.  I covered a few colorful pillows I had with white pillow cases from H&M that had ended up in the linen closet, the bright colors just weren’t working with the new darker gray chair.  I really loved freshening this space up without spending an arm and a leg – which goes back to my main decorating tip and rule of thumb, buy pieces that can work in multiple spaces!
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We love having the door open in the summer to this welcoming and warm space, and now it just has another elevated feel of this little retreat in our home.  It’s the perfect spot for an afterwork nap (that’s when it’s the warmest with sun shining in) and so bright.  Although this space was complete before, it feels even more so now with this little upgrade!

 

Shop the Look: H&M Pillow Covers | White Target Tray | Oversized Chair | Shear Curtain Panels | TV Stand Cube Bench 

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.
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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.
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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.