House Tour Room-by-Room Link-up Party: Front Porch, Stoop, & Door

Summer will officially arrive this week, although it has been here weather-wise for quite a while!  So, it's time to get those front doors and porches ready for the good weather. I love walking around the neighborhood admiring everyone's door colors and wreaths. Now I get to cruise around my virtual neighborhood and see all of my blog-buddy's doors and porches with this week's house tour link-up party!

I've done quite a bit of work on our curb appeal this year. We got our flag out for Memorial Day weekend, of course.

 A few weeks before I realized we had never filled the holes and repaint the spot where the flag bracket was prior to the renovation. Woops.
 I got out some spackle and fixed the holes and Handy Hubby (with my Handy Dad looking on) sanded it down and repainted before Alex's birthday party. Considerably better now!

I had added some tickweed perennials as well as some liriope grass to fill the border. I also added a couple of knock-out roses which aren't flowering yet. Maybe they are deciding whether they like their new location and whether they want to stick around and put on a show.

 I also filled my urns with new plants for summer but they still need some more height so I need to get some spiky plants to define them a bit more.

Not sure if I ever pointed out the view from the street to our screen porch. I love waving to our neighbors walking or driving by when we sit out there.
Here's a shot of our mailbox which caused me a lot of heartburn to find. Most mailboxes are horizontal but we didn't have enough space between our shutters and door frame. I finally found this one online. No idea where because it was more than 5 years ago!
 Here's the wreath that my mom made for me about 3 years ago while we were renovating.
 I love the yellow and purple with the fun poppy accent.
Now it's your turn - let's see your front door, front porch, stoop, walkway, or whatever other curb appeal you have to show-off. As always, torn up and in-progress posts are more than welcomed! Please don't forget to add my button or link to your post or blog.

And here's my party button!

HOUSEography House Tour Link Party

p.s. Like this post, vote for HOUSEography on Picket Fence Blogs by clicking here (and that's it!). Thanks!


Fun camera accessories!

I purchased a few fun accessories for my camera in the past couple of weeks which I thought I would share. First, I bought a tripod. We had one at some point but I may have sold it in a yard sale. Tripods are really important for low light photography. I went for a really basic model because I figured I won't use it all the time.

Dynex Tripod
On a whim, I bought this fun wide angle lens which attaches to my kit lens like a filter. I bought it so I can take wider angle pictures of my rooms and yard. I think it works pretty well considering it was less than $10!!
Wide Angle Lens
It has a slight fish-eye effect which I think is fun. Here's a photo of our very messy kitchen taken using both the tripod and the new lens. It has a fun-house effect which I think is well worth $9.99!

I also ordered the remote for my camera which I think will come in handy for family self-portrait sessions. Unfortunately I used some reward zone points from Best Buy to buy it so it's on back order. Annoying. I'll let you know how it works when I get it. Best Buy was running a great special on accessories last week so I took advantage of that opportunity to use some expiring points.

Hubby also bought me a speedlite for my birthday. It took care of the annoying "busy" error that I get when I take a lot of indoor pictures with the internal flash. It's an annoying quirk in the Canon T1i which does not make me happy!! Problem solved.

Have you bought any new accessories for your DSLR recently? Tell me!


DIY Sandbox Fort: Customizing a Backyard Playset

What kid doesn't love the sandbox? Frankly, anything that keeps my kids quiet and occupied outside for thirty minutes is worth its weight in gold. We have owned a Little Tikes turtle sandbox since Elizabeth was a baby. I pulled it out of a neighbor's trash pile - I have no shame when it comes to perfectly good plastic toys thrown in the trash. Just ask Amy. I scored a Little Tikes plastic picnic table for her kids out of a trash pile last week!

The problem came after we did our renovation and the only place we could put the turtle was on the patio. If you leave it on the grass, it kills the grass and we didn't have enough room in our mulched area. I started thinking about alternative locations and then after we got our playset, the new location became obvious - under the fort. You can see the area in question in this picture from last December.

That area is impossible to mow and needs to be cut with the trimmer. It was really frustrating for Handy Hubby who is the chief maintenance engineer around here.

This project has been on our list for about a month so we had a lot of discussion about what to make the ledge and lid out of. In case you didn't know, you really should cover your sandbox when you aren't using it so that cats and other rodents don't use it as a litter box. We considered a piece of lattice but then decided that something solid that the kids could walk and play on when it's closed would be the best. Also, I wanted to be able to control when the kids play in the sandbox and the heavy lid allows me that control. While watching the progress on our neighbor's garage, I saw the piece of our old privacy fence laying next to the construction site - bingo! Nice piece of cedar fencing in very good condition including cedar 2x4s and 1x4 fence slats. Best part - FREE!

We started by digging out the sod under the fort. I wish I took more pictures of the process but it was really pretty simple (so says the one not building). We dug down about 6" of dirt leaving room to leave room for about 8" of sand. Jim then added a small ledge along three sides of the sandbox so the kids (or adults) can sit there while they dig in the sand.

We then laid down some landscaping fabric - 2 layers going in opposite directions. Jim stapled the edges under the ledge and used landscaping fabric pins (which we had on hand) to hold it down in the middle. You can see the fabric and the ledges in the picture below.

Handy Hubby with the peanut gallery looking on.

The cover is hinged with 2 giant stainless steel hinges which Jim had in the basement for some reason. No idea where they came from but we were happy to find them!

Then we filled the sandbox with twelve 50 lb bags of sand. Hubby originally purchased sand at Home Depot which is called High Desert Sand or something like that. Do NOT buy this sand - it is powdery and impossible to get brush off. Horrible for play sand although it is one of the listed uses on the bag. Yuck. Of Since they didn't have any other sand at the Depot, we made a side trip to Lowes on Saturday. Of course, Hubby threw out his back lugging the Home Depot sand (which we still need to return), so guess who had to load the other sand... Anyway, Lowes trips are an adventure because the nearest one is 25 minutes away and the bigger/better one is closer to 30 minutes away. We went to the bigger one which happens to be next to a Chick-fil-A and we happened to be there at lunch time. (note: for all of you southerners, Chick-fil-A is not on every street corner around here so it is kind of a treat) Long story short, I loaded twelve 50 lb bags of sand onto the cart, into the car, and then into the sandbox. Work-out complete for Saturday.

The verdict...


We could probably use another bag of sand but we'll let the sand settle for a few weeks before we add more.  But it's a great project. For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the sandbox with the lid closed so I'll have to show that to you in a separate post.

Any backyard projects this weekend?


Our Screen Porch


Summer has definitely arrived in Northern Virginia. We had 90+ degree temps here for the past week. This week promises to be cooler and dryer. I really don't mind the heat so either way it's fine with me. I like the 80 degree temperatures so people stop complaining about the heat!!

We love eating out here in the summer. We keep an extra booster for my son out here to make it as easy as possible to skip the kitchen table and pretend like we're on vacation for a night. The only downside to this space is that it's pretty small. We are considering options for expanding it while also fixing the structural (rotten fascia boards) and aesthetic issues (peeling floor paint, missing exterior trim pieces). I'm sure we'll share every detail if we do decide to embark on this next home renovation adventure.

And, YES, we did renovated. See the completely rebuilt and remodeled porch here!


Bathroom Favorites!

Thanks for everyone's sweet comments and love for our master bathroom. I really do love how it came out. The curtains are bugging me but the colors work so maybe I just need to remake them a bit to be a bit more tailored.  more to come on that.

You all really brought your A games with your own bathrooms. We saw some totally demolished bathrooms, budget renos, and some absolutely gorgeous bathroom suites. Here is a small sampling of my favorites - there were so many great ones!!

Caitlin and Robert have their work cut out for them in their totally demolished guest bath.
Hernando House
Several great DIY vanity ideas...
Candy's Kitchen
A great solution to stripping wallpaper...
Our Humble A{Bowe}d
Love this double sink solution...
Hill Country Home
Andrea PAINTED the tile in this bathroom. Yes, painted it!!

Oak Ridge Revival
And this amazing suite created where there was no bathroom before!
Oak Ridge Revival
Feeling inspired? I think I found some great ideas for our upstairs hall bath which has barely been touched since the house was built!

HOUSEography House Tour Featured

Don't forget to link up to this week's tour of master bedrooms, or at least go back and check out the great rooms linked up so far!

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Mini Table Makeover

This is both a mini-makeover and a mini-table. I have had this little table on our porch for at least 8 years but maybe longer. It's absolutely tiny and is probably really just a plant stand. I think I bought it at Michael's or someplace like that.

I thought about selling it in my yard sale but then decided that if I saw it in a yard sale for $3 I would probably buy it so I opted not to sell it. Instead, I took a can of spray paint to it. This is the first time I've used Rustoleum and I don't think I'll ever go back to Krylon. Definitely worth the extra couple of dollars. Every time I use Krylon it bubbles which may be the paint's fault or mine but that didn't happen this time so I'm betting it was the paint.

Here's the result on my screen porch -

Definitely not a life-changing makeover but that little table bothered me every time I walked out on the porch. I bought that giant bell on the clearance pile at Pottery Barn at the end of last summer. I use it as a giant door stop (great because no one trips on it!) and as a decoration on our screen porch which is still a bit behind in the decor area. More to come on that.

Anyone else doing any mini paint makeovers in your house this week?

Linking to...
Furniture Feature FridaysDomestically Speaking


Inspirational Living Room Ideas

Thanks to everyone who linked up to the living room house tour party. I am doing a couple of days of catch-up now so you'll see some of my favorite link-ups. I just loved all of your living rooms and your great ideas for what you have planned. Is any room every really done?!

So here are some of my favorites - ranging from traditional to modern, I love the diversity of styles! If you've been featured, feel free to grab my button below!

Every time I see a picture of Laurie's painted floors, I get the urge to start taping and painting mine. Almost. But, Laurie's are amazing and she's done a gorgeous job.

Little Blue Chairs
I love the rustic look of the beams combined with the clean modern furniture lines in this room. Be sure to check out the before and after pictures on JandJhome.
Here are some great accesorizing ideas from Northern Nesting
Northern Nesting
I had a can of spray paint out last night. Watch out world!
HOUSEography House Tour Featured

Don't forget to link up to this week's tour of master bedrooms, or at least go back and check out the great rooms linked up so far!