Useful or beautiful: what to put in our basically-finished fixer upper home


Now that the Stanley 90's reno is mostly "finished," I've been focusing on feeling happy, settled, and calm here. We've had a few free weekends now that summer is winding down and I've had time to sort and get rid of some things like old fabric and sewing supplies, do some yard work, and cook for fun!

It is a weird and new feeling to live in a home that's almost done--yes, we did that in our townhouse... but we are still recovering emotionally from the 10 months of intense fixer upper projects and internal pressure to get things done around here that it's strange to have that free feeling in this home in particular.

So, I've been thinking about what I should do here now that the bones are done, but we have yet to finish decorating every little spot and almost all of our books are still packed in grocery bags on shelves in the garage. 😳

I found this William Morris quote years ago, I'm pretty sure when reading Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home. (I highly recommend it and her first in the series, The Happiness Project, if you haven't already read it. You can buy them for a few bucks online including shipping and they are fast, fun, inspiring reads.) Gretchen has some of the same issues I do--a longing for "simplicity" and the urge to get rid of everything, but also sentimental attachment to certain objects and appreciation and happiness for things that I engage with regularly.

I've read the minimalist books and seen the Netflix documentary, but I've never been motivated to get rid of SO much of my stuff, everything that doesn't spark joy. When we decorated this house we were intentional about what we put in each room, which means a lot of our rooms are clean but a little bare, and there's still not much on the walls yet. Unfortunately some of our stuff is still in the garage........ like lots of artwork and of course, books... and the office is still a mess. So we still have opportunities to be really intentional about what we put in our home.

William Morris is probably most known as a textile designer in the Victorian era in England. The quote? Well, it solves all my dilemmas about what to keep and what to toss, not based on bare minimum I need or only things that make me feel joy when I pick them up.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Styling a backyard tropical party & outdoor entertaining tips with Pier 1


Last month I was invited to be the expert stylist for a backyard party hosted by Pier 1! They held a contest where three winners across the country won complete furniture and decor for a backyard "block party" and three bloggers got to come style the events! I was SO flattered, especially considering the state of my backyard currently, and had a blast working with the tropical-themed Pier 1 goodies! And, I do have quite a lot of experience with outdoor entertaining and enjoyed sharing tips!

The winner chose the theme and Pier 1 chose the pieces. I got to style the winner's open, Central Oregon backyard (which already had a teepee!) and set up seating areas and dining goodies.

I set up the durable outdoor dining table with outdoor-friendly (unbreakable) dishes and drinkware including these fabulous copper wine glasses!

Dream bathroom reno: big grey hex tile, modern fixtures, and tile--two budgets!


Making over our entire house in 11 months has taught us a lot. One thing I've learned is how to put together a room, with visioning and budgeting, to get the look I'm after! It can take HOURS and hours (like going over our master bathroom choices did), but it can be really fun, too. And it's a skill I am happy to share with others and friends as they do house projects, too!

One of my friends found a bathroom on Instagram that she LOVED for her c. 1960 ranch with its current pink sink, cabinet, and tub. I told her I could help her recreate it! I put together two options, budget-friendly and moderate, and found lots of choices! I'm curious to know which ones you like best, too!

Here's the bathroom. It's by Daleet Spector Design and features this Cedar & Moss sconce and what I assume is a custom vanity painted Benjamin Moore Duxbury Gray, HC-163. The tile is from Mission Tile West and while I haven't found pricing for this one, I'm betting it's pretty pricy since it is hand-made.

Exterior cleanup and "landscaping" at the Stanley 90's Reno


Until I shared our exterior painting update last week, I'd shared almost no photos of the exterior of our fixer upper cause everything about it was so depressing. The paint colors, the abandoned garden in one corner, the damaged fence, the thistles and scrubby, muddy patches of grass here and there among the moss... a yard was one of the main things we wanted when we bought this house, but ours was not quite usable and enjoyable to be in for quite a while!

So, with a little over $100 of materials and really not that many hours of work, we've got it looking MUCH better and we're almost proud of it and want to be out in it!

Reveal, budget, and sources: $1,482 master bathroom reno


I checked back on my calendar--we began demo in our master bath on May 12. We finished it last week. That's 15 weeks exactly. For a good amount of that time the room was almost completely demoed so we didn't have a toilet or sinks, and all our stuff was in boxes on the floor of our bedroom! This was probably our biggest, most intensive room redo at the Stanley 90's Reno and it took... 6-15x longer than most of our other big projects!! But it's done and we are so grateful!

In contrast, we did the powder room and guest bathroom in about 5 days total (see video here!). But in this bathroom, we removed a wall (only wall in the house we ended up taking out, and it was a bigger job than we thought) and redid plumbing and electrical. The drywall was ripped up behind the vanity area for weeks and weeks! Those changes made this way more than the surface-level project we're used to at this fixer upper!

It also took a long time for us to pick the design, and the first vanity arrived cracked and getting the second one delivered by the moving company was a huge mess so that whole process took about 2 months. To catch you up on what the heck else we've been doing on this room:
Oh, and you can see all of the bathroom in its glory in the before pictures here. Gasp.

Exterior painting update at the #Stanley90sreno


Because of all the work we had to do in the interior of our fixer upper home, getting to the outside work has been a little on the back burner. But, we had an opportunity to get the painting done for a great price earlier this summer and took it.

I haven't shared hardly any photos of the exterior of our home because it was so ugly when we bought it!! But I'm sharing them here, with the painting and minor landscape updates we've done to dramatically improve its curb appeal (and make us happy when we drive up to it each day!).

I shared some inspirations and paint color combinations here, and puzzled over how to make our totally 90's garage-with-house-attached home look classy but still appropriate for its architecture which we're not really changing.

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