Joanna Gaines before Fixer Upper


(via Living With Kids)

Hi there friends!

I was playing around on the computer today (which means that I was basically wasting a bunch of valuable time to do fun things like cleaning, dishes, and laundry) anyways, I came across an interesting blog post from 2012 that I wanted to share. It was from a rather famous home renovator who was not yet famous at the time.

I’m sure you are on pins and needles wondering who it is; considering I just completely gave away the climax in my title of this post.

Yes, you are correct. It was Joanna (we are on first name basis. She just doesn’t know that yet). 😉

If you’ve followed along on here (and if you have, thank you! You deserve a piece of pie for being so patient with my once a year posts), as I was saying, if you follow along you will notice I’m a big fan of the farmhouse style. I can’t remember how I first started watching Fixer Upper, it might have been my mom who DVR’d this “cute decorating show that you will just love” because we don’t have cable at our house (thanks, Mom! You were right!). I also really love the Gaines’ family and the sweet message of family, values and faith. Their wholesomeness in this broken world is refreshing.

The blog post I found was of an interview done of Joanna and her home style. I was so excited to stumble upon it because it showed her home before the famous farm house the Gaines’ currently live in. I was a little surprised it was your average builder grade home. She, of course, decked it all out with her beautiful decorating skills. I’m always curious to see how peoples’ design aesthetics change throughout the years, although hers has stayed consistent. Though the post is only from four years ago, it’s fun to see what their home looked like before they were on TV. I noticed in the pictures that they still have some of the same furniture like the kids’ cute art table. I also really loved that she mentioned she bought white Ikea slipcovered couches. There’s just something very reassuring about knowing that Joanna Gaines, the queen of home design, bought Ikea furniture at one time (I’m a big fan of Ikea slipcovered couches, btw). It makes me adore her all the more. As if she wasn’t down to Earth enough, she just got that much more down to Earth. Her words and her home from 2012 give me a feeling of peace and hopefulness for our own future. Just knowing that she wasn’t in her dream home (yet) and that shortly after her dreams and so much more came true, is very encouraging. It’s fun to read the comments and think that the people that commented (and also Joanna) had no idea that just a few short years later, her and Chip would be so successful.

Without further ado, here’s the link. Enjoy!




house tour tuesday: farm{house} for sale

a couple of weeks ago, i got to play real estate assistant for a friend of mine. (if you follow me on Instagram, then you saw a few shots of my favorite parts of the home.)

it was so fun!

i had seen the pictures of the home on the MLS before i went, but when i showed up in person, the home blew me away. the details that were in every nook and cranny, not to mention the way the home had been decorated (contemporary, farmhouse style, my favorite!), were hard to convey through the online slide show. to top it off, the home is currently owned and being sold by the nicest couple! i had such a fun time chatting with the wife and seeing a little glimpse of myself in her. she loves old chippy furniture and farm style decor. she said she had been collecting some of the pieces for years.

today, i got to tag along on a showing and sneak some pictures in of the details to show you all. there are a lot, so you’ve been warned 😉

enjoy! and come on in…







the home is huge. HUGE! yet it still is very comfortable and cozy. most of the bedrooms, kitchen, and den surround the main living room.


the kitchen has honed carrera marble counter tops and a soapstone island (my two favorite choices for counter tops!).


and that brick back splash is amazing! love the details of the date in the brick.


i also love how the island is painted grey to make it look like a piece of furniture in the middle of the room.

that hallway leads to a guest room….


and the sweetest little bathroom with carrera marble honeycomb tile.


also down that hallway is the dutch style back door and a walk in pantry with a chalkboard door.


off the kitchen is the dining room.



love that ball jar chandelier!


back to the main living room….


check out the chippy farmhouse furniture.



and the farm style industrial lights.


oh yeah and the barn door (how could i forget that!).


there’s also a barn door in the master.


and brick floors (swooooon!).




so many amazing details!


there are also a couple of kids’ bedrooms off of the main living area.






the other kids’ room had a clever use of a mantel as a headboard.


here’s the family room den that has a projector and big screen for those family movie nights.


now heading out to the backyard…


lounge by the pool


or enjoy a bonfire at night.


or kick back in the adirondack chairs


and enjoy the view.


the details outside are just as good.


there are lots of farm style industrial lights.


and board and batten!


oh, and i almost forgot to mention the mother-in-law suite in the backyard.


not too shabby, huh?!

i’ve gotta start making more rulers, so we can move in! 😉

hope you enjoyed and if you’re interested in moving to Tustin, California, drop my friend, Suzanne a message. 🙂


house tour tuesday: my cousin’s craftsman

it’s almost midnight and i just remembered that i haven’t shared the house tour tuesday for today.

i’m quite excited about this one.

my cousin and her hubby just bought their first home together. it’s a cute little craftsman. actually, it’s going to be a cute little craftsman after they are done renovating it. i wanted to share all of the before pictures with you here and i’ll make sure to update you all on the after reveal!

laura's house

come on in…..


as you can see, it needs a little tlc.


but, the bones of the home are good and the charming character is all still there.


they have a lot of work ahead of them. my cousin said it best when she said her husband told her this was a coke stain on the wall and she chose to believe him. (i would too!)


they also have a few friends that need to move out. (yes, that is an owl. owls are very popular right now….maybe they should leave him) 😉


i love that they are willing to tackle this project and love this home back to the way it used to be and then some.


here’s the kitchen.


they’re gutting this whole area, busting out a few walls, and starting from scratch! i can’t wait to see it all done! (although  i have to say those cabinets make me swoon a little with their quaker style, but i know it’s going to be even more fabulous!)

oh, and did i mention they are going to be having a baby in June! they’re pretty awesome!

for the complete story and more before pictures, head on over to my cousin’s blog. it’s a great story!

(thanks, T & L for letting me share your pics!)

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (our home tour)

this last Monday, i went on a cleaning frenzy and cleaned the entire house.

every square inch.

on Tuesday, i woke up to a very sick little boy with the stomach flu. (poor little guy)

i had to pretty much disinfect every square inch all over again. (never mind, that our house is only 850 square feet.)

oiy. motherhood has its challenges and its ironies.

the plus side, was that i was able to sneak in some pictures on Monday afternoon of our home decorated for Christmas. also, it’s been a quiet, lazy week at home and i have to say, i’ve greatly loved the downtime and an excuse to not rush around.

and also a chance to cuddle on the couch with my littlest man and admire the lighted tree (and watch way too much tv).

here’s what our view looked like:

i like to keep our Christmas decorations pretty simple. i pretty much just use what i have on hand. last year was our first time having a real normal sized (larger than 2 feet) Christmas tree, and i realized we didn’t have that many ornaments. we had been given a small set of vintage looking glass ornaments from my husband’s grandmother when we were first married, but it wasn’t enough to fill up the tree. so, i made some pinwheel ornaments out of book pages to fill in the empty spots.


(my son desperately wants to be a fireman when he grows up. can you guess which ornament is his favorite?)


do you have a Christmas pickle on your tree? i was kind of sad to find out that, what i thought was a German tradition, is not really German at all. nonetheless, we like to keep the tradition going every year.


i had been eyeing this great tree garland on instagram for a few months.


i finally scored one at The Holiday Market a few weeks ago.


i just love it!


i have a thing for trees.


my mantle has a little winter wonderland with loads of little trees.


and a little truck from the cabin, and a house i recently found while thrifting.


last year for Christmas, we got a bunch of hand made ornaments from my husband’s grandma (the same one who gave us our first collection of ornaments).


i can’t even imagine how long it took her to put each pin and sequin together to make these. we adore them and always will. especially, since she made them.

you know what else i adore?


this sweet little nativity. my hubby found it at the thrift store. i had mentioned to him that i really wanted to get a little nativity set that our son could play with. my goal this year, since he is of age to start understanding, is for him to learn the real story of Christmas. when i was a little girl, my most vivid memory of Christmas was playing with our nativity set that looked like a real rustic wood stable, complete with hay. i loved setting it up and playing with the figures. i’ve always been a visual/tactile learner, so it made it easier for me to understand the story of Jesus’ birth.


the first night i told him about Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the journey the wise men went on, he was wide eyed and wanted to hear it over and over again. it made my heart so happy.


(one of the wise men had a little accident. he’s been repaired thanks to some trusty hot glue.)

as much as i love the cute little trees, the sparkly ornaments,


and the soft glow of the lights throughout our house at night,


i really just want our son to grow up knowing the real reason for the season. the special birth of our Lord and Savior.

wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas.

house tour tuesday: the hidden nest

you know that saying….

birds of a feather, flock together.

it’s so true.

i’m learning that more and more each day.

i took a lil’ break from blogland, from designing, from basically everything the last couple of weeks and became a bit of a hermit. if you know me, you know that means two things: 1.) either i’m sick or 2.) i’m being introspective. in this case it was 2.)

i’ve really done some soul searching (as emo as that sounds) and while i feel like i might have lost the drive or confidence to put myself out there for a little while……i’m back.

today seemed like the best day to get back at it….maybe it was the great thrifting time i got to do with a good friend (love ya, K!) and all of the treasures we found. or perhaps it was the friendly mom at my son’s school that mentioned that her cute, white farmhouse was all clean and decorated for Halloween and if i was interested i could take pictures for my blog?

did someone say farmhouse?


as it turns out, there were a whole row of white farmhouses. and in irvine. IRVINE! who knew? (for those that don’t live in California…finding a farmhouse in Irvine is about as common as finding a kangaroo in the mountains. that was a horrible analogy, but that’s all that came to mind. sorry. also, i might have just googled kangaroos to double check that they don’t live in mountains. i know nothing about kangaroos. and no they don’t. unless, you are counting what google said about them living on ‘desert plains on rocky mountains.’ in which case, just ignore everything i just said).

moving on…


now these are not your ‘old’ farmhouses; it’s Irvine after all. they have farmhouse like qualities, that i definitely swooned over. (side note: i have this thing about white houses in movies. if it starts with a white house, has a white house in it, i’m going to love the movie. hands down, every time. now that you know this, you too will love movies with white houses. don’t argue with me. just say, ‘ok.’) 😉


one of my favorite features was the front door.


besides the cute fall wreath and anchor knocker….


it’s a double dutch door. i’ve always wanted one of these. there’s just something so inviting about them. if they had a mouth and could talk, i’m sure it would be saying, “come on in.” or maybe it would say, “quit being a peeping tom.” however, since we were invited, i’m going to go with the first and not the latter.


upon first walking in, i saw this. i thought for a second i got my dream job and was the photographer for Pottery Barn (call me! wink wink). it was straight out of a catalog. it was so cute!


then i noticed the old work table that was perfectly imperfect! it had the most beautiful patina.


it was around this time in the tour that i learned about where some or most of the old treasures in the home came from.


apparently the mom of the mom of the house (who lives with them. we’ll call her grandma J from here on out) loves, LOVES old things. she loves to collect them, find them, re-purpose them.

does this sound familiar?


she walked me through each room and told me about each piece she had found.


how she had them re-purposed.


or rescued from a yard. again, sound familiar?


we had a great time talking about what it means to us to be collectors of these items.


how we each love art and finding art to grace our home. (she had this cat and cow painted on wood by a local Old Towne Orange artist! they hang in the playroom of the house.)


and one of the things that we both mentioned is that though we love the items and they bring us joy, it’s not about the ‘stuff.’


it’s about the history behind them. the story that each one holds. the lives that used to have them.


i was having a great time talking with her and admiring how she decorated the home and looking through her own hand drawn art collection of notecards (coming to Etsy near you! you can do it, grandma J!).


and then sweet grandma J offered me coffee,


with cream.


little did she know that’s my love language.


so you see, my perspective has changed the last few weeks. and i’ve been learning, that though not everyone will ‘get’ you or support you (and by you, i mean me), some will. it’s important to listen to those that do.


because birds of a feather, flock together.

so thankful to have my peeps (and for meeting new peeps) who have similar feathers and want to fly together.

thank you to the H family and grandma J for the tour of your lovely farmhouse and, of course, for the coffee!

house tour tuesday: home away from home

this weekend my family and i went to Cambria to visit my in-laws.

they recently (actually more like four years ago), built their dream house on the central coast and i thought it would be nice to do a tour for the blog.

and then i forgot my camera.


so….i thought it would be fun to take you on a little tour of my home away from home: the thrift store.

i love to thrift. to me it’s like going on a treasure hunt.


you never know what you’re going to find.


sometimes there are big things.


and other times, there are just small items that catch my eye.


but, the one thing i’ve noticed is that i most always find something that i could decorate my home with.


sometimes there are vintage linens,


and old chippy farmhouse finds (my favorite!).


you might be saying to yourself, “what would i do with all of this stuff?”

well take this old dresser, for example, (which if you follow me on instagram, you know my latest obsession with dressers!) 😉


and then pair it with this oversized mirror (btw, i would probably paint the molding of this mirror),


and maybe some of these old milk glass pieces as catchalls:


and you have an instant nightstand or entry table that has a huge impact.

or take this gilded frame:


just pop out the center picture and replace it with some fabric and glass and then add some handles to the sides and you have a one-of-a-kind tray (thanks to my friend, Suzee, for that brilliant idea!).

need to decorate a little girl’s room?


how about this old iron bed (for only $10!!! what a score),


hang a vintage cross stitch over it,


and add a crystal chandelier and you have quite the girly room!

it doesn’t take a lot of money to have a beautiful space. just some treasure hunting, maybe a little elbow grease, and some creative thinking.

hope this inspires you to do a little thrifting!

house tour tuesday: the vintage schoolhouse

it seems only fitting, right?

that this vintage loving mama, would send her child to a school that is vintage infused.


maybe it was the Pinterest inspired wreath on the door that first caught my eye.


or the old doors with original doorknobs.


or the cast iron bench with perfectly weathered wood and adorable little pillows.


no, no, maybe it was the old furniture they used for the sign-in area.


as if that wasn’t enough, when i walked through the door of the classroom…


i was greeted with old original chalkboards with old wood trim.


and burlap(!)


lots and lots of burlap! (how could we go wrong?)


then the little kid vintage furniture hit me,


lot and lots of vintage kid school furniture. (i nearly fainted)


but, then i noticed something more.


something beyond the old doors, burlap, and vintage furniture.


i noticed the creativity happening.


the wonderful way, in which, the school was teaching the kids,


how to learn all the things around them in the world.


there were no worksheets.


or sit-down-and-listen-to-this-lesson kind of activities.


nope. not at all.


it was all just old fashioned fun.


hands on learning.


with real life tools,


and real life experiences.


so, the children can learn and grow,


and see how things work,


or hear how they sound,


and play while doing it.


so, while i love all the vintage stuff this little schoolhouse has.


i really love the experience it gives my son.


and the message it is teaching him about the world we live in.

of course, it also helps that it has one of the best teachers ever! (we love you Mrs. W) and one of the best preschool directors ever (you, too, Mrs. R)

so, if you’re looking for a cute, creative, vintage, hands-on-learning, fun preschool….go check out this one in Old Towne Orange.

and hey, tell them the furniture finder sent ya! 😉

house tour tuesday: our son’s room

hi friends!!

hope ya’ll are having a great week.

i am now healthy and well from walking pneumonia and back in the game of getting stuff done.

in fact, i think my meds worked so well, they transferred some sort of energy ball serum into my blood that made me go a little crazy with finishing up my son’s room. it’s  been the one area of our house that never really seemed pulled together. perhaps it was the stage of going from a nursery to a big boy’s room that always felt a little unfinished.

well, now it feels done (or at least for now. considering i just did a post about the antler dream catcher above his bed, that has already been moved. i was having nightmares that he was going to get stabbed by an antler in the middle of the night. it had to move).

wanna take a look?

come on….i know you’re just a wee bit curious about where the antlers moved to.



or what is now above his bed.



it’s not nearly as exciting as giant antlers.


but, the thought of a paper garland accidentally floating down and plopping on my son’s face is easier to handle than an antler stab.



see that bedding? that’s what started the ball rolling with getting our boy’s room done.


or maybe it was his bed guard that my hubby decided it would be a good idea to use as a seat and snapped it in half (the one in the pic is an extra we had at our family cabin. i’m kinda liking the back up one better. my mom and i found this old gem at a garage sale up in the mountains).


well, after buying the bedding at Ikea and an ice cream cone (it’s an essential staple when we go), i realized on our way home that i forgot to pick up one of those cute little book shelves that everyone has pinned on Pinterest. ya know what i’m talking about? i really wanted one for our boy for two reasons: 1.) they’re cute and 2.) i’m hoping that he’ll wake up on a Saturday morning and get distracted by a book and we’ll get an extra twenty minutes to sleep in.

wishful thinking?

maybe. but worth a shot, huh?


i remembered i had an old broken drawer in the garage that i might be able to use as a shelf.

it worked. i’m jazzed.


i’m also jazzed that his antlers found a safe home, on a wall with no cute sleeping child underneath.


speaking of home. have you seen the Finding Fall Home Tours going on right now?


you’re not going to want to miss it.


it has some major decorating eye candy.



and some great ideas to make your home feel like Fall (especially for us Californians. we need all the help we can get with this 90 degree weather).


so, go check it out.


and then ask them if i can play along, too, next year! 😉

what about you? are you ready for Fall?

house tour tuesday: the simple life

there was something about this house that took me back.

back into time. a time in which i’ve never lived, but have dreamed of experiencing.


when things seemed a bit more simple.


and life wasn’t as fussy.


when families ate together around the table.


and children played with toys that were carefully made by a craftsman.


when making a pot of hot water took longer than pushing a few buttons on a machine.


now, don’t get me wrong when i say the word simple. i don’t at all mean it to be plain.


it’s a life, a world, filled with richness.


and beauty all around.


it doesn’t hold a monetary value.


but a value that fills up the soul.


like a few hours of solitude under the shade of a tree.


i long for these things. these simple pleasures in life.


where the squeak of an old door means you have a visitor, instead of something that needs fixing.


where neighbors randomly drop by to give you some giant spools because they know you’re crafty and can repurpose them into something great (and yes, this actually happened while i was there. it was awesome and so are those!).


yup. it’s the simple things that make my heart skip a beat.

and help me to just sit back and enjoy the view.

as simple as it may be.

(thank you, R family for giving me a glimpse into your home and your lives. what a beautiful life it is, full of blessings and goodness!)

house tour tuesday: before and after and a WINNER!

i’m going to kind of cheat today because i’m feelin’ a bit under the weather. i took some great shots of a new house in the neighborhood that happens to be on one of the most spectacular streets in Old Towne Orange (especially during Christmas), but i’ll have to share those next week. instead, i have some before and afters of the rental property of the big yellow (in case you missed it, here’s part 1, part 2, part 3).

and just for fun, here’s some randomness:

1.) my son started preschool today. i think i shed a few tears when i got home because i can’t believe he’s old enough to go to school and because i can’t remember the last time i had three hours all to myself. it was amazing to be able to answer emails, do the dishes, have a complete thought, and work on rulers (that i am behind by a month. oiy. i’m working hard to get them all done and in the mail and to restock the cute lil’ shop that carries them in the Orange circle, Eikon Home (shameless plug, i know).

2.) as i start to get caught up with stuff, i am realizing the stuff that i let go to the wayside. one being the July Giveaway. so, i did a random number generator thanks to my brilliant neighbor (thanks, Casey!) who suggested assigning numbers to everyone’s email, instead of inputting each email into the generator to save time, and viola! we have a winner: if your email starts with the letter “K” check your inbox!

3.) it is hotter than heck. not complaining, just saying, it is H-O-T. if you follow me on instagram, then you might have seen that we borrowed the fountain at the local college to cool off. 🙂

Alrighty, onto the before and after of our next door neighbor’s big yellow rental.

(living room rental before)


(living room rental after)


(stairs before)


(stairs after)


(guest room rental before)


(guest room rental after)


(master bedroom rental before)


(master bedroom rental after)


(kitchen rental before)


i wish i could say i have a great after photo of the kitchen, but the crew was working so hard to complete the space before the new renter moved in. so, i’ll i have is a little shot of the cabinets, which were painted white and some new hardware was added.

(kitchen rental after)


here’s what the pulls looked like before. i found a bag of pulls and hinges in a free pile at a garage sale a few weeks back. i couldn’t help but snatch them up. i new they were classic and that i could use them for something (or in this case, pass them along to someone who could use them). it worked out great, because my neighbor just happened to mention that she needed some hinges to replace some of the old ones that weren’t working. i just happened to have a whole bag full that matched them exactly!

(kitchen rental pulls before)


(kitchen rental pulls after)


my neighbor just cleaned them up a little to make sure the patina still showed through on the brass and then lightly coated them with poly. i love how they look next to the freshly painted white cabinets!

not too bad for a mini makeover. paint and fresh flooring can go along way!

have a good week friends! off to make some tea and fight this cold!