Sunday, October 5, 2014


Fall weather gets me motivated in a way I assume others feel in spring or in the new year. I don't know if it's because of my birthday, the reminiscence of a fresh start school year, or the way everyone seems to fall into the predictable routine that disappears during the festive months of summer. Probably a combination of all of the above, but whatever the case- I'm rolling with it.

I'm juggling a whole new set of balls this year. Added to the list: mommy, homeowner, business babe. A few less pressing ones (social life) have been put in the closet temporarily, but only to make room for the early bedtimes and quiet creative evenings that have been begging to be a part of my life for too long without me listening.

Professional and house project goals aside, I really want to focus this year on appreciation. I've spent so much of my life striving, thinking about what's next and what's going on somewhere I'm not. Sure, it has gotten me motivated and helped me to achieve a lot of the things that I have today, but it's not a healthy fire to keep burning.

I want to set goals because they are what are right for me and for my family, not because someone else is/has x, y, or z. I want to view myself and my world with my own eyes and no one else's.

I haven't figured out quite how I'm going to do this. I imagine that breaking a habit 28 years in the making is not easy, but I'm going to try. And, well... I guess I'm going to have to appreciate the outcome.

See ya later, *FOMO.


| fōmō | noun
a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Hey, how are ya? It's been a minute. Sorry about that. Although, I'm sure those of you who have experienced moving into a new house, a renovation, launching your own business, or having a curious and mobile infant (or hey, all of the above) can understand my lack of minutes in the day. Anyway, enough with the excuses.

So, obviously, we are still working on the house. You can safely assume that we are always working on the house until I tell you that we aren't. It's a lot, but going well and shaping up a little more every day.

The kitchen is the most exciting changeover happening these days. Remember this guy before? This is obviously the in-between phase (paint samples, bad cabinetry), but it's steadily improving and showing itself to be a great room. Brian is piecing together the lower cabinets with second hand ones and is going to put all new fronts on so they match. The uppers are coming down and going to be replaced with some shelving. New countertops, a new window, back splash possibilities... it's all in the midst of getting juggled around.

The dining room pseudo-assembled itself miraculously one night after I basically lost it over it being the catch-all dump zone of home accessories. It's amazing what a clean space, record player, and wet bar can do for a woman's mood.

The living room is fairly settled, pack-n-play and all.

Even my sweet, sweet office is feeling breezy.

Sure, It's not all perfect, but it's progress. One tiny little step for the house and one giant step for my sanity.

And now, back to work! I promise to let you in a little more on what all of that entails very soon. In the meantime, Happy September! Let the month of my birthday celebrating begin.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Inspiration Spaces: Living Room

Trying to pin down the exact aesthetic we are going for in the new house has been a little bit of a challenge.  Brian tends to lean more towards clean lines, darker finishes, and masculine pieces while I'm all about white, bright, cozy, and luxe.

Luckily, we both agree that the house needs to have a balance of old and new.  These old bones don't need a super modern outfit, but that doesn't mean it all has to be Victorian era either.  By mixing our mid century pieces in with 1920's fixtures, and splashing in a little bit of today, hopefully we can find that vibe that hits all the right spots.  Something that respects the integrity of our old house while keeping it modern, somewhat minimal, and fresh.

Here are the buzz words: modern victorian, federal, minimal.

And now, the inspiration:

living room design
Light, airy space with darker elements.  Traditional chandelier mixed with modern art.

living room inspiration
 White.  Earthy, but modern.  Wood.  Soft mixed with darker pieces.  Metal.

Teak. Pops of vibrancy.  Mustard.

all images via pinterest.

What do you think?  How do you balance space/taste/design with the other people in your house?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

One day at a time.

It's been exactly one week since we've moved into the house.  Now that most of the boxes have been unpacked and we finally have the internet installed (!), I feel like I can breathe again.

For starters, the floors turned out GREAT.  There are some irregularities here and there due to them being 127 years old and all (I JUST did the math- wowza!), but they are really as good as we ever could have expected.  That was an insane process, but it was so worth it.

bay window

Our priority has still been getting everything into a blank slate, meaning we are living in a bit of a construction zone.  Unfinished trim and primer-painted walls are surrounding us in almost every room and the power is constantly being turned off while Brian tinkers with overhead lighting and removes the atrocious ceiling fans.

That being said, the house is totally livable, but only if you can handle not having a mirror in your downstairs bathroom or a corkscrew handy.

refinished hardwoods

We've only had one real moment of panic, waking up early one morning to what we SWORE was the sweet smell of propane gas.  In the pouring rain, we fled the scene to Starbucks while the gas company came and tested for a leak.

dux chair

Luckily, they found absolutely zero evidence (oops, sorry guys) and, since they were already here with nothing to do, they generously moved our gas line and valve to the spot where we are planning on putting the new range, something we thought we were going to have to contract out and pay for (#winning).

One step closer to dream kitchen after a few recent steps back.  More on that later.

backyard design ideas

Our neighbors are kind, some a bit chatty and others a little peculiar (in the best possible way, of course) and we've had a stream of friends and family flowing through the door.

There have already been so many memories here and it's wonderful to be able to actually share it with our families!  My mom even came over for a whole day of babysitting (with italian beef in a crockpot, no less).  I mean, seriously... life is way better when things like that can happen.

baby friendly design

For the biggest news, Henry now has two bottom baby teeth and has started wiggling himself onto all fours and half-crawling.  It's a bit un-nerving and has me sweeping up drywall dust and planning all the locations for baby jails around the house, but it provides a healthy dose of comic relief when we're tired of painting trim.

That kids is going places, I swear.  The comedic genius!  Okay, maybe we're a little biased.

historic belleville house

We've still got a long way to go, but we're here, we're happy, and we aren't going anywhere for a long, long time.

All and all, it's good to be home!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Demolition Derby

WOAH, horsey.  Life is so good and crazy lately.  We've been crashing in our hometown while we get some dirty (read: not baby friendly) work done in the house. It's been so wonderful catching up with family and friends and not having to buy groceries. While we're thoroughly enjoying the perks of our parents' homes (lake! pool! babysitters!), we seriously cannot wait another second to get into our little pride and joy.

1887 staircase

In the meantime, we've been back and forth to the new house (which conveniently is only an hour and a half away if you take the back way) and have been knocking around the old crowbar a bit.  Walls have been smashed. Hundreds of nails have been pulled.  Even the refrigerator has been taken apart to be moved (I know, I didn't really know that was possible, either).

We're happy and tired, but luckily we're off the hook from doing manual labor while the professionals are sanding and sealing the floors.  This means we get to squeeze in a little extra lake time, but it also means we get to move in next weekend!  With furniture!  And Henry!  I mean, we might only have half of a kitchen, but... who needs one of those anyway?

A looksie at the damage:

1887 home restoration

Our main issue has been the floors.  We ripped up so many layers of laminate, carpet, and plywood, followed by a few solid days of pulling nails.  Some busy body hammered a nail about every 2 inches throughout the entire house and then felt the need to get happy with a staple gun.

The guys coming to sand down the floors couldn't get in until each and every one was pulled, so we divided and conquered each and every little tack and nail.  It was probably the most annoying task EVER, but it's done and was so worth it.

old house restoration

We kept finding a lot of irregularities in the wood and couldn't be sure it'd even out, but there was really no turning back once we got started and we knew we wanted all of the layers of junk out regardless.

1887 home restoration

Under the stairs was a weird afterthought of a closet.  We knocked out the new and kept the original, exposing a little cubby that's basically the most adorable little telephone/book nook imaginable.

1887 home restoration

Everything in the kitchen is going except for the fridge, so we had to start tearing out cabinets and get the floors exposed enough for them to refinish everything that won't be covered by the new cabinets and appliances.


Apparently, someone had some funky wallpaper back in the day.  The faux wood laminate in here was also aggressively glued in between the staples and nails, making for an extra enjoyable time.

kitchen remodel

It seemed like this process of pulling out everything we didn't want would never end, but now we have the clean slate we were looking for.  We stopped by yesterday for a peek on the progress of the floors and it looked incredible.

The sanders said this was one of the roughest jobs they've seen.  The final result will be a lot darker after they apply the polyurethane, nice and deep and variated.


Sometimes things have to get worse before they gets better and in this case, it couldn't be more true.  There were moments in the past few weeks where it was hard to see how this was going to clear up, but it's really starting to settle.  It's been tough, but it's also already been incredibly satisfying.

For the most part, the backbreaking, dirty jobs are over and we get to start on the fun stuff (although knocking into that wall was pretty thrilling).  But, for now, we'll be resting our crowbar arms and gearing up for the next phase of painting and practically an entire kitchen rebuild!

S O . P U M P E D .  Y'all ready to go appliance shopping?

Monday, July 7, 2014

New House!

If you follow us on instagram or facebook, you have probably noticed that we bought a house!  I know, A HOUSE!  A 4bd 2ba, 1887 DREAMBOAT that we couldn't be more eager to lay our hands on and crawl inside.

baker builder
We've been so ridiculously busy with family stuff, tying up loose ends in Chicago, and (oh yeah) a 13 day close on this house that we haven't had the chance to share with you all of the details.  Don't worry... this is where it all comes in!

late 1800s houseSo, for starters, a few of you might be wondering where this dreamboat resides.  While we love Chicago, we are proud to now claim the St. Louis metro area as our new home!  A bit slower pace, closer to family, you know... all of that settling down family-style business.

Okay, okay... enough is enough.

Meet: Penn Street!  She's a solid old girl who has been kind enough to let Henry park his carseat for a little while.

diy blog

When you first walk in, theres a big old staircase greeting you.  The lime green, asian placard, and faux stain glass are only staying at the party for a minute.

old staircase

It's hard to see beyond that dark glossy red, but the living room has the most amazing bay window!


The ceilings are high and the windows are huge!  We've already pulled up the carpet and painted primer over the red (couldn't happen fast enough)!

The next room is the dining room, again painted an interesting shade.

dining room before

This is the only room with the original hardwoods still exposed.  Unfortunately, they are so lacquered you can basically see your reflection, so we're going to have to get all of the floors in the house refinished.  I know... WOMP womp. We're just glad that what we've found (so far) under the carpet and laminate is salvageable.

Off the dining room is what will be the office.  The previous owners had it as their master.

baker builder house remodel

There's a small bathroom here too that will function as the main guest bath.


Back through the dining room is the kitchen.  It's a fairly good size, but it needs a major facelift.  The cabinets and laminate floors are getting ripped out and we're going to upgrade the appliances.  We also plan on dropping a small island in the center for some extra counter space.

kitchen before

Through the kitchen in a small mudroom/laundry area that leads to the basement and the back porch.

laundry before

Upstairs, there are 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.  There's also a large amount of storage and closet space, giving little Henry lots of good hide and seek spots.

First, the master.

master before

Nothing huge or fancy, but a big wall of windows, closet space, and (hopefully) nice wood sleeping under that carpet.

master beforeHenry's room is perfect for a little boy, complete with a child-size Narnia closet hideaway.  All of that blue and brick is going white and the carpet is coming up, too.IMG_1120

The guest bedroom/mommy closet spillover has another baby closet door that leads to a gigantic crawl space that we are currently calling the time out room (kidding, folks).  There's also a pretty big regular person size closet in there.

guest bedroom

The bathroom is fairly ready to go after some paint and upgrading of mirror and sink.  Eventually, we'd like to knock out some walls and make it more open, but that's on the back burner for now.

bathroom before

One thing is for sure, we won't be running out of projects anytime soon.

While the previous owners taste isn't say... exactly our style, they truly took great care of this house and kept on top of all of the important stuff.  They were also apparently a whole lot better gardeners than we are.

vegetable gardenThis overgrown veggie garden on the side of the house is now apparently in our hands.  Also, tons of flowers and sturdy bushes line the entire house and backyard.


And to top it all off, there's a back deck that will be satisfying our dining-al-fresco needs on the regular.


Smile, Brian.  You're on candid camera!  Not really.

Overall, we're feeling incredibly fortunate.  We've wanted a fixer upper with the right amount of fixer upping needing for so long.  We have looked at houses that needed a TON of work and others that were just a little too done and this one hit right in the middle.

It's going to take a while and a lot of hard work, but that's the beauty of it all.  We can take our time, do it right, and soak up every ounce of homeownership.

So, wish us luck and check back soon.  Phase 1 of demolition/operation blank canvas is coming your way!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sweater + Shorts

The weather in Chicago is incredible this week with temps hovering in the 70's.  Usually I am desperate for hot summer days, but this climate is perfect for walking with the baby, having every window open, and forgetting about humidity hair.

Besides, tell me... what is more luxurious than wearing shorts and a knit sweater at the same time?


This is how this city gets people, I tell you.

images via pinterest