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!

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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

4 Things I Wish We Knew Before Tiling Our Shower

With our bathroom project coming to a close – I wanted to share a few of our trials and tribulations, specifically from tiling our entire shower from floor to ceiling.  Tiling the shower was never something we didn’t feel confident doing – we had successfully accomplished a smaller tiling project a few years prior, so how hard could this be? *smiles*
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To preface, we did extensive research and YouTube how-to video watching and there were definitely a few steps that these DIYers seemed to leave out of their tiling videos that sort of killed us, from a timing and extra work perspective. Also – a lot of DIYers were using individual tiles vs. the sheets, so I couldn’t gauge if we needed to do anything special or not!

What I Wish We Would’ve Known

(1) Over Estimating Tile Purchase by 10%  Soooo this was something I’d seen on the inter webs, but not something we accounted for – this involved us having to run out and buy a couple more boxes of tile, while we were mid-way in the tiling game. This meant extra money we weren’t planning on spending. Not to mention a few of the boxes we’d purchased included broken tile sheets – so we were able to exchange/return others we worked with. We also hadn’t accounted for ceiling tile – so this was something we also had to pick out and purchase while we were prepping for this project.

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House Tour – Front Landscape

We are feeling pretty accomplished after finally crossing off a house project we’ve had on the list for just about 4-years, our front landscape!  Although, like all house projects it ended up being a bit pricer than we initially expected – it was totally worth it.

When we first moved into the house, there were two over grown/random scrubs that didn’t do much from an aesthetic perspective – so we tore those out pretty quickly after we moved in, leaving us with a blank slate to dream about.  We made some improvements over the years, like updating the front lattice, adding in some perennials and a couple annuals that stuck around, we tried to dress up the empty dirty with mums and ferns as the seasons changed so it wasn’t completely bare, but alas it was still a blank slate that needed some love.
House Tour - Front Landscape - bee life blog
This project seemed daunting especially from a plant perspective, we didn’t want to pay for a landscaper and had a few ideas about what plants/bushes to incorporate, it was really just filling in all of the holes.  So one day, B and I went to three different nurseries and read tags, looked at plants and started to narrow down our options and took pictures, while we also price compared.  From there we ordered 5-yards of dirt to build up the area, it seemed like too much, but somehow we managed to spread it throughout.  And then we went and bought our plants;

(1) Little Lime Hydrangea
(2) Sorbet Peonies
(4) Boxwood Winter Gem
(3) Fern Line: Fern Leaf Buckthorn
(2) Maiden Grasses
(1) Coneflower – Cheyenne Spirit
(1) Lavender plant (already had)
(1) Butterfly bush (already had)

We spread the love with our plants purchases between some locals shops like Petitti’s Garden Center and Gale’s Garden Center. So once we bought all the plants, worked through placement, we got to planting!  Before we mulched, we built the stone wall to help divide the grass and landscape (this was a compromise of the project with B and I!) – he wanted one, I didn’t – the stones I wanted to compromise with were wayyy to much so we found some at Lowes that ended up working out. From there we ordered 3-yards of mulch (via Kurtz Bros!), which was more than enough, giving us a good base and finished look.
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The house feels a little more complete with the front landscape done, we are so happy to get it done and with the way everything turned out.  We also took our time working through this project (clearly!) but I think that helped to our benefit because we weren’t stressed about it and were able to take advantage of some cool summer days/nights to get everything done.   We can’t wait to see how it fills in and welcomes visitors to our home!

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Fireplace Makeover Inspiration

Since we’ve been on hold with house projects with all of the wedding planning and expenses – I’m admittedly already secretly planning some projects that B and I can conquer this winter, while the cold and snow surround us outside.  So because I just can’t contain myself, here is some inspiration for a project we’ve had our eyes on.
Fireplace Makeover Inspiration - the bee life
Refacing Our Fireplace: This project has me a bit conflicted – but at the same time I’m curious to see how it would work in our space.  We have built-in’s on either side of our fireplace and these are the original oak color with beveled glass windows.  The brick had been already painted white, which we like and still flows with the space, but I can’t decide if white wood over top of the brick would work or if the mix-match of textures is what makes currently work. We definitely don’t want to paint the original built-in’s… they’re original features with original wood, and it would be so painful to do that!  Check out our current fireplace!

New Tile in Front of Fireplace: Because the refacing is a bit more conflicting, we may end up doing this project before jumping all in, since this might be the only update we need to help with the space.  Currently we have maroon tiles in front of our fireplace that meet up with our original oak floors.  We’ve been talking about replacing these for awhile, and since we finally have one tiling project under our belts – we are feeling confident, plus it’s a small space! Updating these dated maroon tiles with some white marble would really make this space pop and be a clean look.

One of the reasons we love our house so much is because it’s a century home and we love a lot of the original features, like the natural woodwork, the built-in’s in both our dining and living room and our hardwood floors.  So whenever we’re updating a space,  we make updates that only enhance and highlight those original features we love!

Photo Sources:  Left Image | Right Image

DIY – Side Entry Tile

Our latest home project was tiling our side entry and the stairs that lead up to the kitchen area.  When we first moved in, the space was drab with gross stick-on tile with wood panels and layers of wallpaper.  Well our quick fix was an easy paint job and removing the wallpaper and floor.  We painted the revealed wood floor white and added some grips on the stairs – but as you can imagine white floors for an entry is not the cleanest or the prettiest. So, like I said, it was a quick fix in need of more help.

So it was Bentley’s idea to finish this space and add tile to the landing and to the stairs. This was the first time we tiled a space, so it was a little daunting at first figuring out what we needed, what tile we wanted, and when we would be able to do this.  The biggest piece that helped save us and this project, was being able to borrow my Dad’s wet saw to cut the tiles. B and I split up tasks, he would cut the tile and I would lay the tile!

The stairs went surprisingly well, but because we used large tiles there was a lot of cuts involved, although less pieces. I’m not sure if the stone we picked was the most cost effective (actually I am fairly confident it wasn’t) but we were going mainly off of aesthetic. Once we got to the platform it was very messy and hard to maneuver in the tight space without stepping on the tile! But we finished with only three trips to the hardware store once we got started. *smiles*

We waited the appropriate amount of time and then some before B finished the space with the grout and once that was dried he added some trim work. We finished off the space with a new storage piece to hide shoes and we were wrapped up!  It was fairly easy project once we got going, and we definitely feel like we’re tiling pros now.  This space has been instantly upgraded, it’s more durable, weather resistant and easier to clean up. We love how it turned out!!

Our Master Reveal

The time is finally here!! Our master bedroom reveal!

For those who didn’t follow along on my 8-months worth of updates throughout last year… It all started with our attic, even though it was a ‘finished’ space, it was poorly done.  It’s open feel, large bright windows, closet space and size made this an instant dream master retreat.  Since B is so tall, we ended up raising the ceiling 6-inches, but that basically became a complete gut job down to the studs. This wasn’t part of the original plan – but we ended up doing new electric, new insulation, new drywall, new blinds, closet doors, new everything – and B did 97.9% of it! This was definitely our biggest house project to date.

So without further ado here is our awesome master retreat including the seating area and my two closets, yes two, one for clothes, one for accessories. *grins* We’ve tried to DIY and make as much as possible, including the headboard, curtain rods, barn door, DIY night stands and reading table, painted and redid the dresser and shopped smart for other accessories but splurged on a few items like the fireplace, rugs and our chairs.

master-reveal-the-bee-life-10master-reveal-the-bee-life-6The black frames next to the bed hold the love letter B wrote and proposed to me with. It’s the perfect addition to the room and show casing that instead of hiding it in a box somewhere. We also tried to keep some of the original wood work, especially on the stair railing coming up, but opened it to give an open feel.

I had full intentions of sharing the closet space with B, but he insisted I use both of the closets upstairs (don’t worry he has two-closets on the second floor). So I kindly thanked him and told him he was creating a monster and then proceeded to work on creating my dream <organized> closets.

We would both be lying if we didn’t say we were proud of the way this turned out. It was everything we imagined and more and I love having our own little getaway from the rest of the house and world (Moz really loves it too!)

Go Us!

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!

Latest Obsession: For The Home

HERE’S WHAT, I have been absolutely obsessing over especially as the summer months are approaching and the store’s are switching out their inventory to be summery!!!

Lanterns. OBSESSED. I want them everywhere, but especially for outdoor spaces like our front porch. I love them as decor for your entry way and even lightening for your seating area. I also love lanterns for decoration inside, around a fireplace or hearth area, especially the really big lanterns. Not to mention you can find them in almost any finish from silver, to gold, wooden, ceramic, or bronze to fit into your current decor or switch to something new. You can get hanging lanterns or keep them on the ground or table. Plus you can use them season round by mixing up colors and styles with different fillers for the insides… I could go on for dayzzz!  On a lantern kick like me? Check out craft stores, as a lot of them have sever price cuts on summer and outdoor decor (like 60-70%!) you can’t beat it.

Greenery. I am loving me some greens, the fake kind. I first saw some moss like letters at Michael’s and really wanted to impulsively buy them, but one didn’t know what to spell or letters to get, and two thought they would look way out of place in my house, but I can’t help but pine over them. I also really love boxwood wreaths, but refuse to spend the money online and will most likely DIY one, one of these days. And as much as I truly don’t like fake plants, because I’d rather just have a few real ones – I really like the fake greenery balls… yes I just described them as such, okay they’re technically “boxwood vase fillers” (according to Target). Anyways, I like the idea of having some greens around the house to add to the real greens, it brings some added life to your living space.

So those are my two latest obsessions right now, I’ve had my eyes on the lookout for these whenever I hit the stores.  I recently grabbed two silver lanterns for some added decoration up in our master suite, and I love how they compliment the space, we have a mixture of metals, but somehow it’s all working.

What’re your summer favorites?

DIY – Childhood Nightstand

I recently received my old childhood night stand from my parents house, but it was in desperate need of a little make-over, since I had last repainted it in high school to match my pink and orange room. *sigh* I still wish I had a pink and orange room…

Anyways, I digress. This was a really easy and low cost DIY because all it really needed was a new coat of paint, especially since in my dark teenage years I had written touching notes on my night stand like; “love sucks” and other cryptic messages. *smiles* So it needed a little sanding and fresh coat of white paint on the base.

Before

Next, I painted the fronts of the drawers, Naval by Sherwin Williams, it’s such a pretty color, I am trying to figure out what else I can paint with it. I was planning on replacing the knobs, but they were painted on from previous paint jobs, and I really didn’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to wrangle them off and potentially damaging the drawers, so plan B. Plan B was to spray paint the handles metallic silver, which I just so happened to have from a few other previous projects. I had to make-shift something to cover up the drawers, so some magazines and painters tape did the trick. It actually worked out pretty well and I only had to make a few touch-ups with the navy.
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To give this even more of an upgrade, I went ahead and added some adhesive/ contact paper ($5.99 at Target) into the drawers to make it pop!  Not to mention, over the years this little nightstand has seen some love, so it was looking a little rough. I decided to put the contact paper on the outside of the drawers as well, so that when you opened them there was an added pop. I did some simple measuring and cutting, this was even easier because the contact paper has measuring lines on the backside – this probably took me about 20-minutes to finish up.

Even though this is for a guest bedroom, I think it’s important and nice to have nightstands and all the essentials for when your guests stay over – that’s why I’ll be getting a lamp as well to finish off this look!

After

Before and After - the bee lifeI love the way it turned out, and I am sure this little night stand will have a few more makeovers in it’s lifetime.  The added detail of the contact paper on the sides of the drawers and inside, just upgrade the whole piece.  I may still try and get new knobs at some point, but for now this little $5.99 makeover will do the trick and accomplishes the task of being functional and matching within the space!  What I love the most about some DIY’s is that it doesn’t take a lot, to make a big difference – time wise or cost.

Hope you all have a great week!