Steal-o-graphy: Table Touches

Summer is here!  Time to freshen up your table with some beach-inspired touches.  Here are a few steals from the Crate & Barrel outlet page which could make your summer themed dining room a real show stopper. 

Table Runner - Take note of the comments that say the colors are more vibrant in person.  I've ordered one so I'll let you know for skinny when it arrives.  I love that it's available in 3 different sizes depending on your table size, and at $12.95 - 16.96, you can afford to pick two of two different sizes depending on how many guests you have over.  Hurry - these are only available in limited quantities!

Platter for a centerpiece.  It's a new take on a traditional centerpiece bowl but equally charming grouped with the right other items.  I love this one because it feels shell-like but it's not as limiting as a shell dish can be.  You can amp up the shell effect by piling your own collection of shells on it (or buy some at Pottery Barn!).

Add some candlesticks, ice blue candles, and maybe some tea lights (if you love candles).  Ta-Da!!  Centerpiece! 

Photos courtesy of Crate & Barrel


Although TVs are getting sleeker, the stuff that makes your TV work so well is NOT getting any smaller or prettier.  Our hideous TV components include audio receiver, cable box, Blu-ray player, and sub-woofer.  Although Jim thought everything looked fine on the fireplace mantle (kidding of course), I was able to easily convince him to build a place to put everything.  Knowing that we were going to need to hide this ugly stuff, when we designed our family room addition, our architect designed a nook in the corner of our family room about 7 feet from the fireplace for a built-in cabinet to hold the components, some DVDs and the wireless internet router.

Pretty, right?

Fortunately we remembered to fish the cables behind the fireplace and through the floor and into the cabinet BEFORE the basement ceiling was drywalled!  This cabinet can get HOT so it's important to ventilate it well.  We achieved that with metal radiator screen (purchased at Home Depot) painted to match the trim which is fitting for our colonial.  Even with ventilation, it was still really warm in the cabinet, so we added a small fan with a thermostat to help circulate the air further.  The fan has made a huge difference and you cannot hear it even if you are sitting next to the cabinet.

An RF remote for less than $60 allows us to keep the cabinet door closed but still control the components and TV.  Although there are certainly fancier models available, we decided to go with a less expensive model since the remote is a favorite toy for our kids! 

Every true surround sound system also needs speakers.  Since we already owned a good Bose system, we ran the speaker wire prior to drywalling the room during renovation, but there are also some nice wireless systems available which would help avoid this hassle.  Our speakers are nice because they are relatively small and white so they blend in with our white ceilings and crown molding.  Of course, surround sound makes all the difference on movie night!


Steal-o-graphy: Let there by LIGHT!

I really, really like lamps but right now I am having a hard time finding some that will work in my house.  I came across this one in the Ballard Designs clearance section.  I particularly like that it's 30" tall and made out of wood - seems like it would be more sturdy when my 1 year old knocks it off the table!!  I'm considering ordering one.  What do you think?

Image courtesy of Ballard Designs.

Guest Room: Lovin' our Guests!

Over the last few months, we have been working on making our own guests spaces nice for our family and friends.  For our new basement guest room, we recently found this fantastic dresser at a local flea market (Eastern Market for the DC locals).  We were very constrained in space because of the closet and main doors, but this one fit perfectly.  It also has a fun secret drawer on the top!  As an added bonus, we got it for less than some options we found at Target and Ikea and this one was probably made in the 1920s out of REAL WOOD - shocker!  Just one of the many reasons why I love used furniture.

In our upstairs guest room, we have a lot more closet space (over 7 feet wide!!!) but no real space for a dresser in the room.  I've considered putting drawers in the closet, but in the interim we have a small night stand with a lot of drawers and plenty of shelf space in the closet.
Stay tuned for our next project - making an upholstered headboard for the basement guest room.  We're hoping to start tackling it this weekend (fabric purchased and measured drawing completed!) so hopefully I'll have something report back on next week.

I would love to hear about some of your decorating questions to see if I can help you out.  Just shoot me an email and ask away!  I may even feature your question (and hopefully the resulting changes) in a future post.


Steal-ography: Bed-to-Go

Continuing the guest theme, here's a great deal on an AeroBed inflatable guest bed!  Great if you live in a small apartment with no guest room - if you have floor space, you have a guest room!  We use ours for when we have loads of guests in town and we need extra sleeping space.  It blows up in seconds and is surprisingly comfy.  We've also taken ours on trips where we know sleeping accommodations are limited.  At about $70 and free shipping, it's a steal!

Aerobed Guest Choice Queen Inflatable Bed

Found a good deal?  Email it to me!

Home Sweet Basement

As we begin a long holiday weekend, it seems only fitting to talk about guest rooms.  Surprisingly, we don't have any guests this weekend, but all out-of-town family (and loving grandparents), we frequently have guests in our house for several days at a time.  Currently, we are lucky enough to have 2 guest rooms (one on the second floor pictured on the right, and one in the basement pictured here).  But, we love having guests (and seeing our families without getting in the car or on a plane), so we want to make them feel at home as much as possible.

Although it's subterranean, a basement makes an ideal guest room space even if your space is not a completely separate room.  Minimal natural light is not generally a big issue since people are mostly just sleeping in their room, and spending the rest of their time in the main living space.  A basement with a bathroom of any sort (even a half or three-quarter bath) makes it absolutely perfect.  When we stay in other people's basements, I LOVE IT!  Very separate, quiet, private, and relaxing, and I don't feel as if I am interfering in their living space as much.

If you are planning a renovation in your house including a basement guest area, consider including an egress window which will, in most jurisdictions (check your local building codes), make your space a legal bedroom adding tremendous value to your home and gives more natural light to your guests (and thus feels less like living among the mole people).

Also, don't overlook home offices and a child's rooms as alternate guest areas.  A twin bed with a trundle or a pull-out sofa in a home office make that space serve double duty. 

Here are a few considerations when planning a guest area:

Traditional Style Black Finish Daybed with Trundle1)  Sleeping Space - A full-size (or larger) bed is the most ideal for a guest area but space or budget may restrict this choice.  Some alternatives are a twin day bed (with or without a trundle - I love the option pictured at left), a futon, or a comfortable pull-out sofa.  If you want your guests to still like you in the morning, lay down on the pull-out mattress for a few minutes before buying it to see if you feel any bars.  I have heard (but have not experienced), the pull-out sofas from American Leather are extremely comfortable because they do not have a traditional folding mechanism and, therefore, no bars!  A good quality air mattress is also a good addition for overflow guests even if you have to blow it up in your living room!  We are big fans of Aerobed brand mattresses and have slept on them ourselves on multiple occasions.

2)  Drawers - It doesn't have to be a full size dresser, but even a few tables in a bedside or end table are a nice way to let your guests unpack a few things and not feel as if they are living out of a suitcase.

3) Hanging Space - Although a small closet space (or part of a closet) are ideal, even a few hooks on the back of a door (or in the case of our old basement, some hooks on a paneled wall) and a few regular and pant hangers are really helpful for your guests. 

4)  Light - A small non-overhead light for bedtime reading makes a room feel so much more comfortable.  Also, consider adding a small night light (LED if you can find it) in the bathroom and/or near the stairs leading to the main floor. 

5)  Clock - Although it's a small detail, being able to open your eyes early in the morning (especially if there is minimal natural light), and seeing the time is a great thing.  An alarm is an added bonus - especially if your guests are going out on their own in the early morning.  Our basement guest room even has a clock RADIO.  Super fancy!

6)   Linens - I am a sucker for nice sheets and towels and, for me, that's the difference between a 3 and a 4/5 star hotel.  Same is true for guest space - make sure there are nice, super clean sheets and towels.  You really don't need to spend much and you can find great options at Home Goods or Marshalls.  An extra blanket and the option of a down pillow are also nice additions.

I'll share some of our own guest room choices in tomorrow's post!  

What makes you feel at home when you're staying at someone's home?  What have you done to make your guest area welcoming?


Steal-ography: Gorgeous Floral Comforter Set

The full size comforter set currently featured in our basement guest suite is currently on sale at JC Penney for $49.99!  When I bought this set last winter, I thought it was a deal at $70, but now it's an absolute steal!

This comforter is really beautiful and we got a lot of compliments on this during the house tour last weekend.  It comes with matching shams and a bed skirt in a different striped fabric (honestly, I don't love the skirt because it looks a bit thin so I may change it).  You would pay three times as much for something similar at Pottery Barn - even on sale.  Check it out here and find some coupons here (including free shipping through June 10th with this code: JCPWELC5). 

Stop back here tomorrow to learn about how we are working on making these rooms a home away from home for our frequent guests.

Found a good deal?  Email it to me!

Paint Power

Ahhh... the power of paint.  Transform any room without lifting a hammer.  Take an old piece of furniture from trash to treasure.  Completely revitalize your home's curb appeal

But how do you pick the magic color? 

I'm always shocked when I'm watching House Hunters on HGTV and home buyers seem to pick or forgo houses they otherwise like due to a bad paint job!  Seriously??!

I chose all of the paint colors for our renovated house in 3 or 4 days.  Most of that time was spent on the color which is carried through our entire first floor (except the powder room), stairwell, and upstairs hall (and later our basement family room).  I tested 8 samples for that one color to avoid a costly mistake.  If you like the colors in our house pictures, check out our color list on the Sources for Stuff page.

Here are a few steps to take when choosing paint for walls:

1)  Look at magazines, books, favorite catalogs, friends' homes, and the web for ideas on a general scheme - blues, tans, golds, etc.  If you have upholstered furniture, bedding, or window treatments, you should consider "lifting" a color from the fabric and using it on the wall.    Large swaths of color can be color matched at a paint retailer that caters to decorators.  If your furniture is neutral then the sky is the limit.  Several major paint retailers have fun tools on their websites where you can upload a photo of your room and "paint" it, or otherwise test out colors.  Try these - Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Behr. Very fun!

2)  Whether you are painting a single room or an entire house, your colors should flow particularly between rooms that don't have a real door.  If two rooms are connected by a huge doorway or archway, you should strongly consider painting both rooms the same color unless you are lucky enough to have two large rooms  that don't need the benefit of expansiveness.  One technique is to put all of the paint chips together on a table and see if they look good together or whether they clash.  For small rooms like powder rooms, home offices, or guest rooms consider going for a bold yet still coordinating color.  Repainting a small room is a relatively easy task. 

3)  Pick up paint chips in the general color scheme your are considering.  If you are doing a whole house, tell your paint dealer and they will often give you a fan deck to keep or borrow (or pay a nominal fee).  These are really helpful for keeping track of your choices and testing a lot of options. 

4)  Pick 3 or 4 options, and buy small samples of them.  Do NOT trust the paint chips.  Many companies sell small sample sizes so you don't have to buy a full gallon. 

5) Take them home and paint large samples (at least 3' x 3') on the wall in the room that you are painting in a conspicuous location where you'll be able to look at them easily in a variety of lights.  If you have the time, wait 48 hours so you can really see what the colors look like in the day and night, and once cured (which can definitely take several hours).  Hopefully one jumps out as THE color, or you are heading back to the paint store for another round of sample colors. 

6)  Remember - Like most things, paint is NOT permanent!

Grab your brush and start the transformation!   Please email me any great 'before and after' transformation pictures!

Photo courtesy of Sherwin Williams


Steal-ography: Embroidered Hand Towel Sets

If you are looking for a great hostess gift for summer visits, these adorable towels are a nice deal from Pottery Barn.   Everyone can use a new hand towel in the bathroom.  Currently $19 for a set of a two with FREE shipping and FREE monogramming.

Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Best Foot Forward

When you look at the front of your house, what's the first thing you notice.  You have to be objective and not think about how much you love your front door color if the shutters are hanging on by one screw.  If that's the case, no one is looking at your gorgeous door color and everyone is wondering when that dangler is going to fall.  Trust me.  Here's a little bit of our before and after.

The ho hum before - 

The pretty awesome after -

Although we added the portico over our front door, most of the other change were pretty minor.  The new black shutters really make the windows stand out, and moving the gutter pipes makes the front of the house seem larger.  Most houses don't need made architectural changes to gain a lot of curb appeal.  A basic spruce up which costs very little money can make all the difference.

Here are initial things to consider:

1)  Junk, junk, junk - You can make a big change in your house at no cost by removing any junk you may be overlooking.  Remove unused planter and window boxes, flowerpots, broken fencing, and decrepit porch furniture.  Dead shrubs and other plantings should be removed (including stumps).  Even if you aren't replanting new shrubs right away, it will still look better with nothing than with dead stuff.  Cost: Free!

2)  Paint - Peeling paint on your siding, trim, or door will majorly detract from your house.  Get out the can or hiring someone to get it done.  Be sure to prep the surfaces well and replace any rotten or cracked wood along the way.  Cost:  Varies

3)  Clean it up - Power wash any vinyl siding, unfinished decking and fencing, and sidewalks and driveways. Cost:  Free if you have a power washer or you borrow a friend's, otherwise about $25 to rent one.

4)  Landscaping  - Trim the shrubs!  I did this last weekend and it made a huge difference in the look of our house and the shrubs will do better over time.  If you cannot plant new shrubs, plant some inexpensive annual flowers appropriate for the season for color and interest.  Even a large planter on the front porch with colorful flowers can brighten up the overall look.  Plant grass seed on any bare patches, or invest in a little bit of sod to fill any holes - much quicker and easier to maintain.  Spread fertilizer and weed killer to start building up your existing lawn.  Cost:  Varies but potentially free if you are just trimming and removing dead stuff.

5)  Shutters (if you have them) - Rehang any fallen or dangling shutters.  If you have broken shutters, fix them or take ALL of them down unless you plan to replace the broken shutter quickly.  Paint the shutters if they look faded or have pealing paint.  Consider replacing wood shutters with good quality vinyl or fiberglass to avoid ongoing maintenance.  If you want to paint them a new color and don't know what to paint, black is almost always a good choice and can be achieved with a can of good spray paint.  Cost:  Starts at about $50 per window for new shutters.

Heath Zenith SL-4192-BK Six-Sided Die-Cast Aluminum Lantern, Black with Beveled Glass6)  Light Fixtures - Replace any missing or burned out bulbs with bright compact fluorescent bulbs (cheaper to run and don't need replacement nearly as often).  Replace fixtures that are broken, dated, undersized, or just plain ugly.  No electrician required in most cases so long as you have existing fixtures.  Bonus points:  Connect exterior lights to timers allowing them to turn on and off automatically.  Cost:  Starts at about $25 each for new fixture and $25 for the timer.

7)  Fences - If you have fences in your front yard, be sure they are in good repair - no pealing paint, missing parts, or broken gates.  If you can, remove any chain link fence since that will add nothing to your home's curb appeal.  You'll be amazed by the difference, and good fences don't necessarily make good neighbors - especially in the front yard!  Cost:  Free if you are just removing.

Here are some good resources on gaining curb appeal from This Old House, BHG, and HGTV.

Let me know if you have other low-cost ideas on how to spiff up your abode.  Be sure to send before and after pictures!


Love at First Sight

Yes/No Design: Discover Your Decorating Style With Taste-Revealing Exercises and ExamplesFriends often ask me what my decorating style is.  My response is something along the lines of  - "I don't know. I buy what I love." 

I am not a believer in defining my decorating style, but I know what I like.  The only rule I generally follow is to decorate in keeping with the architecture of the space - colonial, loft, bungalow, beach house, '50s ranch, etc.  If forced, I would call my style comfortable classic.  I hate the term "traditional" because it generally invokes memories of your grandmother's house (think needlepoint pillows and floral chintz drapes), and I really loathe the term "transitional" which is something between traditional and modern which only makes me think of blob-like couches with recliners built-in.  BHG has an interesting article on decorating styles which is worth checking out, even though I don't necessarily enjoy using that terminology.

When you are thinking about big furniture purchases (whatever that means for you), don't settle for something that just works for the space if you don't really, really like it.  You are most likely going to have to live with it for a while so you want to really enjoy using it.  If you keep looking, you'll find something that you do really like, but you may have to be patient.  Of course, don't paralyze the process by always thinking that something better may come along - if you like the piece (and the price) then go for it.  My own litmus test is  if I am still thinking about the piece a few days later then I probably need to get it, and hopefully it's still available!

These same rules are true for hand-me-downs, freebies, or anything else that comes into your home.  If you really don't like it, don't keep it.  This includes things from beloved relatives which may be hard to get rid of emotionally, but unless you have particularly evil relatives, no one would expect or want you to keep something that you don't like for their sake.   

Love it.  Buy it.


Furniture Confidential

My mom thinks I am crazy to buy upholstered furniture without sitting in it first.  It certainly is a risk but I have been able to get some really nice furniture this way at great prices.  Since this is becoming a popular way to buy furniture, I thought I should share my experiences.

The chairs in our family room are made by Lee Industries and were purchased from a North Carolina dealer over the phone.  Crate & Barrel carried a similar chair which I thought was really comfortable but it was not exactly what we ended up purchasing.  I saved about 50% by ordering from NC directly, which is considerable since we got 2 matching chairs.  6 years later, the are still super comfy - I am sitting in one now.  They were previously in our living room, but moved to our family room after the big renovation.  Not dirt cheap but still a great purchase which I am sure we'll have for many years to come.
After our chair success, I was less hesitant to purchase the sofa in our new family room last year.  I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money because our family room is our main living area right now and is open to our kitchen.  After visiting the store several times, we bought the apartment-size sofa from Urban Retreat in Reston, VA.  They have a loft-style showroom in a small industrial park.  The staff is helpful but not "in your face" which I really like.  I generally bring pictures of what I like from other places and they show me their catalogs and fabric options.  They have some items in their showroom but often you are buying without sitting in it first, and sometimes without seeing a picture of the exact item you want.  I sat in a chair from the same line as our sofa and liked the overall scale and found it to be comfortable.  We are very happy with the result and it was very reasonably priced.  The couch is nice and I think it will hold up to the daily abuse my kids are going to give it. 

My last experience with buying furniture was a chair for our bedroom on Overstock.  We needed a chair in our room (for occasional reading but mostly to hold our decorative pillows at night).  The chair looks exactly as it's pictured online and the fabric is really quite nice and expensive looking.  The size is also just right for our bedroom. It came in a box which was left on my front porch (no scheduled delivery required) and I had to screw the legs on and slide the back into place - took about 10 minutes total.  The downside is that it's not super cozy or comfortable but it definitely fills the space nicely and our bed pillows think it's very comfortable compared to the floor. I may get an ottoman at some point which would probably make it more comfortable for reading.

Image courtesy of Overstock.


Curtain Advice

Window treatments are not scary.  They are not a big commitment, they are relatively easy to hang (and remove), and they do not have to be very expensive, although they certainly can be if you want them to be.  But, for some reason, many people seem to be paralyzed by window decor so they don't put anything up, they leave up whatever is already there, or they put up something like a sheet or towel.  In my opinion, window treatments really make a room look finished and lived in. 

Here are a few tips on window treatments. 

1)  Gather your ideas.  Look at decorating magazines, books, and websites for window treatment ideas.  You can often recreate a "look" that you like for less money. 
2)  Don't be snobby.  You can often get great looking window treatments for rock-bottom prices.  No one is going to look at the labels (and if they do, don't invite them over again!).  You may love the look of Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and custom draperies, but you can often find the same look at about one-fifth of the price at big box chain stores like Target, Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot.  You should also check out Amazon, Ikea, JC Penney (my personal secret weapon), Sears, and Kohls because you never know what you'll find.  Drapes that have a lining of some sort will be fuller and more dramatic.  I have found most of my curtain rods at JC Penney or at Ross stores. 

3)  Buy in bulk (and return).  When you shop, buy several different versions that might work.  If you have a lot of windows to treat, then maybe just buy one of several different options and bring them home.  You'll never know what's going to work until you get it into your room.  You can hang them on existing hardware (even if you plan to change it) just to get an idea of what will work.  If you don't have hardware, use small thumbtacks (or a willing partner!) to hold them up.  Return what doesn't work.

4)  Measure, measure, measure.  Don't assume you know the sizes of your windows - MEASURE.  Most drapes come in 84" lengths but if you have a newer home or a very old home, you probably need 95" lengths (or more) to take advantage of higher ceilings. 

5)  Hanging tips.  Hang your drapes as high as possible (a few inches from the ceiling ideally) and outside of the window frame.  Hanging them high gives a more dramatic feeling and makes your windows seem larger and your ceiling seem higher.  Hanging them outside of your window makes the windows seem larger but also maximizes the light that comes in because your drapes aren't hanging over the window itself.  DO NOT HANG YOUR DRAPERY HARDWARE ON THE WINDOW FRAME.  This is a major pet peeve of mine and it does nothing for your windows or your room overall.  I like to hang roller shades (used for black-out purposes under other shades in my kids' rooms) and cellular shades inside the window frame so as not to obscure the beautiful moldings we have.

6)  Layer it upLayering types of window treatments will give you a higher end look although it doesn't have to cost a fortune.  In our house, I hung cordless cellular shades cordless light filtering single cellular shades in several bedrooms and bathrooms which are great for privacy, but added drapes and/or valances to really finish the look.  I also have woven shades in several rooms, with drapery over them. 

7)  Take small bitesYou don't have to do everything at once, and you will most likely be overwhelmed if you do.  If you just moved into a new house, prioritize the bathrooms and bedrooms where privacy is key.  If you cannot decide on drapes, see if you can find shades, roman shades, or sheers to be the first layer and then build out from there to find the right top layer or layers. 

8) Reuse and repurpose.  What are you going to do with the old window treatments when you move into a new home?  Often, you can reuse many window treatments in your new home (if you still like them that is).  It may take a little rethinking and some reworking though.  If your new windows are not as tall, then it may mean hemming your drapes which, especially if they are unlined, is not a hard process and will probably take about 20 minutes per panel.  If your new windows are taller, take out the hem and lengthen them a bit.  What used to hang in your old bedroom, may be perfect for your new dining room.  In our house, we reused shades from our old master in our new guest room.

9)  Think abot the whole space.  If you have an open floor plan, then consider how the window treatments are going to relate to each other.  In our house, the valances in the master bathroom match the curtains in the bedroom, and both rooms have the same cordless cellular shades.  Our liviing room and dining room have the same exact drapes and drapery rods.

10)  Custom options.  Custom draperies won't necessarily break the bank, and may be the answer if you are desperate.  JC Penney has a custom design service where they come to your home and measure, and come back and hang them for you.  It's definitley not cheap, but it's generally going to be less expensive than using a big-time interior design service.  If you don't mind shopping for fabric deals (on fabric store bargain tables or online), you can find great stuff and then check the yellow pages (or ask friends) for seamstress recommendations who can make your curtains for you, or sew them yourself if you are so inclined.  Note - the latter route may be harder if you have a lot of large windows that need to be the same. 

11)  It's not permanent.  When it comes to window treatments, very little is permanent.  If you find something that you like better, then don't be afraid to take down what you have and replace it.  It's not necessarily inexpensive to do this, but maybe you will like what you took down in another room better - two birds with one stone.

12)  Have fun.  Curtains don't always have to be white or beige.  Mix it up with patterns and color, and you'll have a more decorated look.  If you do go for white or beige curtains, consider a woven shade or a patterned roman shade underneath.

Let me know if you have other tips for window treatments, and where you have found some of your favorites!


House Photos!

I have added a new page for house pictures.  I will add more over the next few days, so keep checking back.

War of the Birds

Although not quite as scary as Alfred Hitchcock, we definitely have a bird problem going on.  As I type this some robins are building nests on the roof rafters in the back of our house.  This has been going on for more than a month and we thought we had them beat by knocking down their nests whenever they started (before they laid any eggs), until yesterday when...
Of course I knocked this one down as well, but I finally broke down and ordered plastic bird spikes which hopefully will deter them from their home-building enterprise for a while.  I'll let you know how they work when we install them next weekend.  Until then, the war continues.

Let me know about your bird or rodent combat success!


House Tour - Success!

Today was the day of the big house tour - Annual Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour, benefiting the Tuckahoe Elementary Well, it was big for us and we probably went over and above what was necessary but it was worth it to us.  From 12-5, our house was open to strangers who were willing to pay $20 to see 7 houses and 2 (fancy) gardens.  All of the houses were renovated or new, and all had distinctive styles although Craftsman/bungalow was an overwhelming favorite of the ones that I had seen.  Not surprising because it's a clean and classic look, but still warm.

The best part about volunteering for stuff like this (other than having people ooo and ahh over your home) is that you are forced to hang up those miscellaneous pictures hanging around your house waiting to be hung.  You can also get your hubby and family to help for hours in the yard to prepare.

Although we (homeowners) were encouraged to leave for the day, our architect and builder were here to answer questions and generally meet people (and generate some business).  I hear that the feedback was great.  Thanks Kaye and Jim!

Fortunately, I remembered to take a lot of pictures while our house was in such a pristine condition which is not all the time (thanks to 2 kids and a dog).  I'll post a slide show in the sidebar shortly with all of the pictures I took today, but here are a few of my favorites as a preview.

When I first went on this tour several years ago, I thought that maybe some day our house would be on it.  I was right!