A New Doorways Apartment

You may remember my previous work with Doorways organizing local interior designers to redecorate their safe house.

When my friends Yuri from Sagatov Designs and Michelle Sagatov asked me to help again, I said... "no".  That's right, I SAID NO.  I said it nicely but I was too busy, feeling overwhelmed by so many things, and just didn't think I could help. I am super cold-hearted like that. Not. Handy Hubby says I never say no to anything so I was super proud of myself for admitting that I don't have time between 2 jobs, 2 kids, a husband, a household, and I might be the PTA president of our new elementary school (how did that happen!?!). Nope, no time.

But... of course, I couldn't help myself so I did end up helping a little. I can't help myself (or I'm an idiot or flat out crazy). Doorways is an amazing organization and I love to help them whenever I can and this was sooooo much less work and stress than the last project. There was no construction to contend with, just a shiny recently remodeled 2 bedroom apartment that could house 6-8 people in need of a home, if necessary. We asked for donations through various local listservs and facebook pages, and we received sooooo many great pieces of donated furniture. We found a couple of designers to help out with the bedrooms, and Yuri's design crew handled the main living area. The only pressure point? We had less than 2 weeks to collect everything and 1 day to get it ready for occupancy.

It was a total blank slate which made it really fun. It was sunny and spacious so that was a huge bonus. So, here are the before and after pictures…

Living and Dining Room Combo


Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

This was such a fun project and we can't wait to do it again this summer!  We learned a lot and now have a really complete list of items that an apartment needs to be complete - down to silverware drawer organizers. 


Drawer Organizers

Happy New Year!!  In the spirit of the new year, I have some quick organizational and decorating projects to share in the next few weeks.  Hope you had a great holiday!

We have one drawer in our island where we store nearly all of our kitchen prep and cooking utensils.  We have a few more spoons and spatulas in a handy container near the stove as well but we use the drawer stuff all the time.  So it looked like this 95% of the time.

This is WITH drawer organizers - but they are buried underneath. I was starting to worry about my fingers when I reached in without concentrating!! So, drawer organizers were definitely necessary. The knife block was still great and I wanted to keep that but everything else had to go. I also cleaned out some duplicate, broken and rarely used utensils. Then Handy Hubby started using some thin strips of scrap wood to create new dividers. I started by laying the tools in categories so I would know where they should be housed together and by how often I used them - measuring cups near the front, rolling pin in the back, and kitchen scissors from and center.  He also cut down the knife block so it fit the depth better. Then we started to mess with the layout a bit.

And then a few hours later we had this! Only a few pieces are actually attached to anything so we can change it easily if we want to but I really love it.

We did this back in September and it still looks pretty much the same as the day we installed it.



Oh Pretty Christmas Tree

I have seen lots of pretty Christmas trees posted on Pinterest and on blogs since Thanksgiving (and even before!). I am pretty sure I have posted pictures of our tree on this blog and on Instagram in the past but it looks the same every year.

You know what? That's perfectly great - in fact - it is awesome. Our tree is a memory keeper. It includes ornaments we have purchased on trips or for momentous events (our wedding, the year 2000, etc.). We hang little crafts the kids have made and pictures of them as well. Some of the ornaments were gifts from others. When we hang them, we think and talk about all of these things. The kids love to ask questions about where things came from. Since my brain is filled with useless junk then I can often drag out the answer without much thought. I love that my kids also like to buy ornaments when we are on trips. I try to write their names on them if I remember so that down the road, I can pass them along to them when they have dingy apartments that need some Christmas cheer.  My mom did this for many years and that's how my brother and I got our collection started.

In other Christmas news, we have been able to pack in a lot of fun this season.  I took the kids to the Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights while a friend was visiting with her daughter a few weeks ago. It is a lot of fun even in the pouring rain (almost no one was there!) - definitely recommend it if you live in the DC area.

We also made our first ever trip to the American Girl store in Tysons Corner which I LOVED. OMG - If I was 7 years old today, I would have to have everything in that store. My daughter, however, is not at all interested in dolls (never has been) although she was fascinated by the store (it's hard not to be!). And they have a doll hair salon and ear piercing station!

Jim and I also took the kids to the Nutcracker at Warner Theater. This is a special production by the Washington Ballet with a DC theme - cherry blossoms, George Washington nutcracker, etc. It is a lot of fun but long for 5 year old boys (and 43 year old husbands), but we rewarded everyone with a nice downtown dinner afterwards.

This weekend or next week while my family is visiting, we plan to visit the National Christmas Tree at the White House and maybe go to Mount Vernon which is always beautiful during the holidays. We are definitely making the most of the season!

Here's our holiday card this year. We send out about 160 now which seems insane but I love getting them in return! Photos this year are by Wendy of Blue Lily Photography. I cannot say enough good things about her - creative, fun, and relatively affordable.

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
Happy New Year! 


New Front Door! And New Colors!

I absolutely loved our original wood front door. It was pretty and let light in without giving up too much privacy. But our beloved Angus destroyed it due to his absolute hatred for our mailman. Sadly, Angus died about a year ago, but that meant that we could get our new door that we needed desperately.  We had it installed by a contractor who worked on our addition - we loved his finish work so we knew he was the right one for the job.

Handy Hubby then did a bunch of coats of paint on the front - we ended up with Sherwin Williams Loyal Blue (after a brief stint with SW Bosphorous which I did not like at all).  And here she is looking all pretty for fall. I love how the orange and gold pop against the blue. So pretty!

But on the inside, I decided to jump on the painted door train. Wow. I'm glad I did!

It's the perfect way to introduce a bit more gray into our living room.  The color is Sherwin Williams Serious Gray (which we also used in my son's room). Also, that entry rug is from HomeGoods! 


Cabinet Air Returns Revised {Kitchen}

At some point these air returns under our cabinets were really bothering me.  They looked like little black holes under the cabinets and I hated them.

I have no idea why these were brown but they were definitely not a top priority punch list item when we moved into our house post-renovation with a 3 year old and 2 month old!  Although replacing them with white was probably the best option, I decided to go with the quick option and use up a can of white spray paint I had hanging around in the basement.

So much better and blendy.  [I know that's not a word but I think it should be.]

Happy, happy.