house tour tuesday: the old new house

last week i got to dream a little. it was actually perfect timing because we recently sold our first home (not the home we are living in now, but our first home that we purchased together a few years ago).

it was a little bittersweet.

we had dreamed of owning our own place, whether it be a fixer upper or not. when we finally got it, my husband and i put our heart and soul into that little home. we did almost all the work ourselves, minus the hardwood floors. it was a wreck when we first purchased it as a foreclosure property. we worked night and day for three weeks straight and had it like shiny new before we moved in. fast forward five years and a kid later, and we had outgrown the little one bedroom condo.

this is how we made it to Old Towne Orange. besides being my hometown, it was also a dream of mine to live in the historic section of the city. a friend of ours (who also happens to be our real estate agent) mentioned that there was a little house for rent next door to where she was living, so we high tailed it over to the property to check it out

it was adorable. small and quaint and old. all of my favorites. it even had cute little original door knobs and old hardwood floors. but you see, after living in this adorable, small, quaint, old house for the last couple of years, i have learned that living in an old house comes with some sacrifice. no air conditioning, no dishwasher, small rooms, and even smaller closets.

this brings me to my dilemma. i love old houses and all of their quaintness, but i also love new houses and all of their squeaky, clean surfaces.

sometimes (or almost every night actually) i love to look on the internet at all of the houses for sale and dream about having more space, or a newer home.

so, this last week, my friend, the real estate agent, took me on a tour of a very cute old, but new house in our neighborhood.


it has the best of both worlds. old and choke full of character, but a new squeaky clean that lets you dream of just moving right in and not needing to do a thing.


no projects. no demolition.


just a chance to move in and start enjoying the space and dreaming of all of the meals you’ll make.


or the naps you’ll take.


and the long soaking baths you’ll get to relax in.


and then my mind wanders to the backyard and how it would be so fun to have grammy and papa come stay in the guesthouse.


and be so close that we could send our son to their little house in the backyard to play


or make cookies.


or take a bath in their bathtub, while we are taking naps in the big house.


then i start dreaming about painting furniture in my own little studio.


and planning a party in our spacious backyard,


where all of the plants are still alive and thriving and haven’t been killed yet from my lack of watering.


i think about the swing set i would like to put in for my son and his friends.


and all of the vegetables and fruit we would eat from our very own garden.


and then just as i am headed back to my house to start packing my bags, i remember that though this spacious old, but new house would be perfect for our little family, and though it is completely out of our price range (probably the most important detail), i remember that i love me a good project. i love to be able to fix things up and love them back to their original. i love a good before and after. i love an old home that has some patina scratched into the floor. i love an old house that’s not squeaky new and clean. i just like an old house that has life in it. the place our family calls home.

i’m not sure where God is leading us. whether he wants us to be renters or homeowners, but one thing is for sure: he is in control and he has a great plan for us. and for now, he answered our prayers and provided us exactly what we asked for: a home that is quaint, small, and old. so, i think i’ll keep dreaming….after all, God is listening (but maybe this time i’ll dream of the closets being a bit bigger). 😉

diy: removable wallpaper

lets talk about my kitchen for a sec.

okay, not that bad, but it definitely is not my favorite room in our house. it’s small (with not a lot of counter space), no dishwasher (except we recently purchased a portable one that we can roll over to the sink…a pain, but better than nothing), and it has the ugliest wood paneling you ever did see (sometimes visitors tell me they think it’s quaint. and then i mention that we should add it in their kitchen and then they agree: it’s ugly).

(before diy: removable wallpaper was added)


also, i don’t think i mentioned this before, but we are renting our little old house, so the wood paneling has to stay. ugh. to remedy my eyes from the burning glow of orangey wood paneling, i came up with a plan to disguise it temporarily.

it now looks like this:

(after diy: removable wallpaper was added)


the idea for this wallpaper came from this blogger (i’m probably going to mention her a lot….it’s one of my constant reads in blogland). she painted her design on her walls, but since i’m renting and painting was not an option, i came up with a plan for a removable wallpaper.

here’s how i did it.


supplies: contact paper, scissors, pen or pencil, exact-o knife (forgot to add it for the pic, oops), and a design stencil. i got mine here.

step 1: trace design


step 2: cut out design


step 3: stick design to wall


it’s that easy.

it’s not perfect, but i’m okay with that. once you step back, the design takes over and each little imperfection is masked (or at least i tell myself that).

you might want to start your design in the middle of the wall and then just work your way out.


eventually, your design will start to appear on the wall.


it doesn’t take very long. maybe an hour to trace, cut and stick a wall this size:


and the best part, is that it’s removable. so, when you are ready for a change, or move out, just peel each piece off and you’re done! your landlord will never know!

i’m sure there are a zillion different patterns and colors of contact paper you could use.

hope it inspires you to get creative and have fun!

house tour tuesday: my new friend

i am so excited to show you all this house!


i spotted it a couple of years ago when i was taking my son for a walk. there were cute little buntings hanging in the windows and i somehow just knew i would hit it off with the mama of the house.


fast forward to this last weekend and i finally got to meet that mama and her sweet family. they were having a yard sale and had the most adorable old farmhouse chair in the sale that i couldn’t pass up. (side note: we had our own garage sale that morning and after ours was done, i hopped on my bike to see what the neighborhood sales had to offer. it’s a sickness i tell you. i’m addicted to old furniture and junk).


so, after a few minutes of chatting and bonding over our love of decor/diy blogs, i got to take a tour of their cute old house.


there are so many fun, amazing details of the inside that i think i became speechless. (which if you know me, does not happen often!) 😉


like this giant pendant lamp that they made (they MADE!!). i want one now, too!


or the cute artwork that she just “threw together.” (M, i want to order some artwork for my house!)


and pieces of art that she used potatoes to stamp pops of color onto.


my favorite art piece in her house was this little saying that she did freehand with a pen. (SO cute! and i LOVE its message!)


there is so much eye candy it’s hard to have a favorite.


and then before i knew it, i was onto another room. mesmerized by the furniture.


like this old french iron bed that her parents’ found in Northern California. (swoooooon!)


and this adorable old keyhole dresser.


and oh! the details in the kids’ room!


like a baby mobile made out of twigs and fabric birds that gently sways from the ceiling.


and look at the artwork, my new friend made for her daughters’ room that she once again, “just quickly threw together.”


and just when i thought it couldn’t get any better….


we headed into the dining room and as i turned the corner i noticed….


this beacon of light coming from the next room.


the light was coming from a light fixture that the man of the house created (i nearly died).


everything in the space is just perfect.


from the antlers on the wall,


to the shelves made out of wood and old thrifted belts,


and a mini statue made out of old wire hangers.


and, of course, another intriguing piece of art that she “quickly threw together.” (M, please throw one together for me! i love it!)


as i was walking to the front door…i caught a little glimpse of her kitchen (they’re wanting to remodel it, so it’s not quite ready for its reveal). her lovely collection of pyrex was playfully calling my name. i love the pop of color it brings to their space.

i also love that i made a new friend. (and a creative one at that!)

can’t wait to hang out, M, and make something cool out of hangers or wire or something. thanks for the inspiration!

transformation thursday: picture gallery

today when i got home from the beach with my family, there was a little package sitting on our doorstep.

i was thrilled to find out that it was a couple of prints i had ordered through a fellow blogger.

i have had my eye on these prints for a couple of years (that seems so long…why, on Earth did i not buy them sooner? time, money, something always seemed to hold me back). a couple of weeks ago i noticed that there was a sale going on, so i quickly snatched some up.

i’m so glad i did.

they are lovely. they are printed on heavy paper, the colors are gorgeous, and they infuse our space with a couple of great scriptures.



here’s what they looked like before.


i had originally made a mock pair with book pages and decoupage’ and then painted over them with black.


they were fine for what we needed (which was some sort of art on the wall because we had just moved to our little house at the time), but they were living in the dark.


they needed to see the light and display their wonderful words.


and now they do!

i’m still deciding if i should get custom matting for each or cut out the lamp and chair shapes or just leave it as is like this. what do ya think?

also, if you’re looking for some fun art for your home, or perhaps a wonderful wedding or baby gift for someone special, check out Jones Design Company (this lady has talent!).

house tour tuesday: our nook

hi friends!

hope everyone had a great weekend. i spent the weekend in San Diego for a bachelorette party for a good friend of mine. we had a blast!

we had such a blast, that i completely overlooked house tour tuesday. whoops!

so, since i didn’t set up a tour of a house in time to take pictures for today, i took some pictures of our nook in our house.


it’s a small space, located in the kitchen. when we first moved into our little house we used it in the traditional way of a small dining area. it worked for what we needed, but it was quite squished when we had company over.

so, after rearranging some rooms around last Christmas, this little space became our office area. it works much better for our family.


it gives me a place to gift wrap, or get crafty. and it gives my husband an area to do our bills (not so fun for him, but practical).


there is also a little area for our son to eat lunch, or paint, or play chalk on his chalkboard table.


across from the desk is a message center that lets me organize invitations.


or display quotes that speak to me.


or cute little tags from my favorite store in Old Towne Orange (Eikon Home).


across from the message center is a little shelf that i found at Homegoods (love that store!). i painted it blue and distressed it.


and then filled it with some of my vintage moonstone dishes,


and old spoons my dad gave me that were my great grandfathers from the early 1900’s.


i topped it with a few keepsakes from our wedding (the starfish were our party favors for our guests).


and because no room is complete in our home without a skeleton key. i added some of those, too, hanging from the old ironing board door that is original to the house (i love all of the nooks and crannies old houses have!).


thanks for stopping by! have a great week!

transformation thursday: before and after of a master bath

okay, so usually i post small projects i’ve done around the house for transformation thursday, but i am too excited to keep this transformation a secret any longer.

i started this project a few months back. when i first saw the space, it was down to the bare bones or studs in this case. i could see past the construction and visualize what this space could be: light, classic, and luxurious.

fast forward a few months and it is exactly that! i love when a project jumps out of my brain and into reality!

and while i helped with the space planning and consulting of materials and aesthetics, i really have to give credit to my client/friend for putting in all of the footwork of interviewing, hiring, and managing the various contractors (good job, A!). that is no small task!

allrighty, are you ready to see this beautiful before and after of a master bath?!

here it goes….

(OH! and i promised my sweet client/friend that i would add that it’s not 100% done…there are finishing details that need to be added: towels, rug, accessories, etc. and the mirrors over the vanity are just temporary until the new ones are ordered and arrive.)

okay, now that the disclaimer has been read….

enjoy the before and after decor feast for your eyes:

(master fireplace before)


(master fireplace after)


i just kinda threw some stuff up on the mantel and added her vintage chair for the pictures. we still need to figure out what will be permanently staying on the mantel, but i love the changes so far.

(master bath hallway before)


(master bath hallway after)


(master bath hallway before)


(master bath hallway after)


there will eventually be a giant leaning mirror (or hanging, depending on what we find) on the right side of the hallway.

(master bath entry before)


(master bath entry after)


custom cabinetry, carrera marble, wood tile, silver accents and a vintage chandelier were added.


and a sunken tub (swoon!).

(master vanity before)


(master vanity after)


(before custom built-ins)


(after custom built-ins)


gorgeous glass knobs from Anthropologie were added to the cabinets.


(vaulted ceilings before)


(vaulted ceilings after)


one of the concerns, my client/friend had was whether or not she should have the ceiling dropped to keep it warm enough in the space. i reassured her, begged, threatened (just kidding) 😉 for her to keep the vaulted ceilings.


she’s so happy she did. i am, too! i think it really adds some drama to the space and showcases the vintage chandelier.


(tub area before)


(tub area after)


when i first came on scene to help with this project, the plan was to put the tub where the shower ended up and have the shower in this area (and cover up these windows and add one over by the shower). again, i pleaded, begged, insisted (okay. it wasn’t that dramatic) that the tub should go here. these windows begged to have a tub underneath them. it not only saved the homeowners money by keeping the existing window locations (and just buy new windows for the space), but also allows them more privacy by having the windows face the back of the house into the backyard. win/win!


my client/friend has great taste! she did a spectacular job picking out all of the details,

i love every bit of it and how it’s turned out so far! i think i could live in this bathroom. i might just have to move my toothbrush in.


A, don’t be surprised if you come home one day and i’m watching House Hunters and soaking in the tub! 😉

and thanks, for letting us have a peek, even though it’s not all the way done.

house tour tuesday: the cabin

hi everyone!

welcome, to our little family cabin. while this is not Old Towne Orange, it is still in Southern California in our local mountains.


this little cabin has a lot of history. at least to our family.

see, my great-grandfather built it with his own two hands in 1937. he had bought the land for ten dollars (yes, TEN dollars! what a steal! can you imagine if we could buy land today for ten dollars? WOW-za!).


my great-grandfather was a contractor, so he used leftover materials and scraps to build the cabin. (i love that tidbit of information….a man after my own heart!)


(this little black and white sign was a nod to his last name, which was also my grandmother’s maiden name. it has hung on the outside for as long as i can remember.)


and though the cabin is small and quite rustic, it has made and stored many years of memories. when my great-grandfather became elderly, he passed it down to my grandmother, who will eventually pass it down to my dad and uncle and so forth. it has been threatened by forest fires a number of times, but luckily always escaped unharmed.


when i was little, we would often pack the cabin so full of people that you could hear laughter echo in the valley behind it. my dad told me that once they had forty people come stay in this little one bedroom, one bath cabin.


the grown-ups would always stay up late playing games (usually rummy) and the kids would talk or read comic books in the bunk beds (a memory so ingrained in my mind, it feels like yesterday).


when i was little, my dad would tell me stories about how he and his friends would sleep on cots on the back porch if there were too many people and not enough beds.


occasionally, pine cones would fall from the trees and make a loud CR-ASH through the forest. it’s a sound that strangely brings me a sense of nostalgia now.


and the bugs. OH the bugs. we always have a bed check before you climb into the sheets. gross, i know, but necessary when you’re out in the wild. (no, we never have found a stink bug in our bed. just the occasional spider. ew. my father, however, is apparently not afraid of the stink bugs. i decided to take this picture  standing from the safe distance of the back porch.)


(this painting was done by my great-aunt years ago. you’ll notice that there is a tree coming out of the porch. my great-grandfather built the cabin around it. for some reason, the tree was removed, but i can remember playing around it at a young age.)

the inside of the cabin, is similar to the outside: simple and rustic.


the decor is a bit outdated and most of the furniture is left over pieces throughout the years from various family member’s homes.


despite the dated decor, i love the simple details the cabin has….


old door knobs, tongue-in-groove wood pine planking, and old family memorabilia like a quilt my grandmother made with her mother.


throughout the small space, there are various quotes that have welcomed guests throughout the years. there are even guest books that have been filled with loving messages of the people who have stayed here. it’s so fun to read the words of past family members; some of which i never knew.


the windows are all original from the 30’s. if you go up closely, you can see little bubbles that have formed and stayed in the window panes; a sign of their age.


out of all of the cabin, i think the kitchen nook is my favorite. it holds the most memories for me, and also my first memory of the cabin. i’m not sure how old i was, but it was most definitely one of my first visits (from what i can remember). the entire table was surrounded (or more squished) with family members eating dinner. there must have been at least eleven people crowded around the table. there was laughter interspersed between the talking.


after the dinner dishes were cleared from the table, the cards came out to play! i always loved to wash dishes at the cabin. such a strange delight because it does not have the same effect as when we are home. maybe it has something to do with the fact that doing the dishes at the cabin was always a family affair. you never had to do them alone. someone was always the washer and a few others were always the drier.


while we were up at the cabin this last weekend, my dad mentioned that we should clean out some of the closets and cabinets sometime, because there might be some treasures.


little did he know, that i would get to work right away (“sometime” seemed too far away). 😉


so, i spent some time looking through the bedroom dresser and found some old long johns and slippers.


not quite the treasure i had in mind.


and then i remembered the hidden cabinet in the kitchen nook. it was where we kept all of the games and toys we used to play with when my brother, cousin, and i were kids.


so, i started to pull out game after game after game. i had no idea there were so many, but some of them were from the 1930’s! the packaging alone is so cool!


and then at the very bottom, i found these: old tootsie toy cars and trucks from the 50’s. most likely my father and uncle’s toys. my dad was pretty excited.


so was this boy. he could hardly wait for me to take the picture of them, so he could start playing.


so, although it may be small and rustic, i love this little cabin and all of its priceless treasures.

happy 4th: a family tradition

this year, we went back to an old family tradition of going to our family cabin for the fourth of July.


we spent some time at Lake Gregory,


swimming in the water and renting a paddle board to play on.


i can remember going to this lake when i was little. we would have races swimming across. (side note: i totally tried to swim across again and while i made it…i completely freaked myself out. half way across, something touched my leg. it was probably just an overgrown plant or maybe a large fish. ick. whatever it was, i swam like i was going for the gold. and i might have busted a lung in the process, but at least i made it.)


and we would take the paddle boards out to the middle of the lake and jump off (new rules are in place. that’s no longer allowed, but i was temped to try it for old times sake, anyways).


we bbq’d and sat on the back porch, enjoying the mountain air just like old times.


and practiced our Etch-A-Sketch technique. (my brother was always good at this, probably because of his techie computer brain.)


then we ate a simple dinner, before we headed to Arrowhead Lake to see the annual firework show.

i’m a sucker for traditions and i’m thankful to pass them onto my son. hopefully, he’ll look back on his childhood and remember these simple memories fondly.


hope everyone had a safe holiday and enjoyed the people that matter most.



transformation thursday: free curbside armoire

i realize that this post is coming a little early. and that it’s not actually thursday, but because of the holiday i thought i would post it anyways and enjoy my family tomorrow.

it seems to be (in my life) i am either really early or really late. never on-time.

one day i shall master that. or not.

until then, i thought i would share a little transformation my hubbs and i did on one of our free curbside finds.


my hubbs was on his way to the grocery store on Sunday and found this sitting on the side of the curb. he quickly called me to ask if i wanted it. (smart man!)

so, he brought it home and my wheels instantly got to work.


at first my hubby thought that he could just fix the door and then we could sell it. but, like most of our free curbside finds, i tend to fall in love and want to keep them.

it had great bones and i could tell it was well built, but you see, one of the doors was completely busted off. and though it probably could have been fixed, i had thought of a way we might be able to better use it.

i knew our house was a little too small for such a large piece of furniture. i also remembered that my son really needed a dresser for his clothes, since i had completely taken over real estate in his closet.

so, my eyes got big and i shot my hubby an all to familiar look that said, “i have a plan!” and he as usual, listened patiently and then went along with it.

here’s what we came up with….


a dresser for our son’s room.

it fits perfect!


it’s the right size, warms up the space with the natural wood tone, it adds a bit of rustic cowboy to his little boy space, and it was free!

and though it has a few rough spots, and a corner molding piece that is missing (my hubbs re-used the pieces from the top part of the armoire)…

i love it!


and so does our little boy.


happy 4th friends!

house tour tuesday: the fun house

happy tuesday, everyone!

welcome, to another tour of an Old Towne Orange home.

i’m excited to share with you all, a home that just makes me feel happy.


when we first moved into our neighborhood, i was taking my son for a walk and walked by this house. to my surprise, someone called my name and when i turned around, standing there was one of my old students (from my first year of teaching).


i was so excited to see that they were our new neighbors!


now, when i was trying to think of what to title this post, a few names came to mind. the happy house. the colorful house. and then i decided that the fun house, was most appropriate. that’s not to say that i think it’s like a circus (although my friend, J, might feel like she lives in a circus at times because it is filled with bubbly, laughing little kids, puppies, a cat, and a guinea pig).

nope, instead this house is just plain fun. (i think you might agree)


it is colorful, vibrant, and just happy. it breathes energy into me, every time i walk through the door.


when i first toured the home a couple of years ago, the thing i noticed first and just LOVED was their brightly painted furniture.


(they were the very first people to buy one of my oversized ruler growth charts. i have them to thank for starting that lil business. thank you!)

the space just oozes personality, which makes sense because the people that live in the home also ooze personality.


they are cheerful, smart, warm, down-to-earth, and fun people.

they are also very real.


when i first arrived at the house to take pictures for this post, my friend was a little nervous. (i’m calling you out J!) 😉

she was worried her home wasn’t clean enough, decorated enough, perfect enough to be shown on the blog.


now let me just say, that i didn’t start out doing this weekly tour of houses, so that i could see perfect homes.

i’m not interested in perfect homes. sure, i love design and i love to see how people have decorated their homes.

but what i’m interested in are real homes.


homes that are lived in. that show history.


homes that tell me a story about the people that live and thrive inside.


see, i think a home is more than just a place where we eat, sleep, and drink our coffee (the last being the most important, of course).

it’s a chance to express who we are.


and how we see the world. or how we want our world to be. (in some cases, it’s a bright orange kitchen with ikat curtains! how fun!)


it’s an opportunity for us to show what we believe in.


and what matters most to us.


our homes show the details of our lives.


it’s how we put our spaces together that show what kind of people we are.


maybe your home is neutral because you like it to be quiet (figuratively speaking). maybe it has striped curtains or ruffled pillows. or dishes in the sink or laundry on the table (or maybe that’s just my house?). or your grandmother’s old hand-me-down furniture. maybe it’s all blue because blue makes you feel peaceful.


or maybe it has every color from the rainbow because bright colors just makes you feel happy. or maybe it’s not decorated at all and that’s okay.


(btw, they found, yes, found this awesome yellow cabinet just like this in their back alley. what a find!)

whatever your home is, it is your very own. to let perfection go. to be real.

whether you are renting or owning, it is the place where you get to tell the people that visit, this is ME!


so, whether your home is quiet, simple, elaborate, colorful, neutral or just plain fun.


be proud of your space. and remember that people usually want to come back not because you have shiny, clean floors, but because of how you made them feel.


or because you have cute little puppies running around that lick your toes.


so, thank you, B family for inviting me into your home. for being you. for being real. and, of course, for being fun!


ps. my son wants to come back to your fun house, again, soon! 😉