Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Portico Renovation

Our home was in desperate need of a face lift, both inside and out. The first picture shows what the house looked like when we bought it (original slate roof and portico, overgrown landscaping). The previous owners put the addition on the right hand side and enclosed the sun porch on the left. During the first round of improvements, we painted the exterior gray (comparable to Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray), removed the balcony from the top of the portico, planted trees and bushes and installed a brick foot path, new roof and air conditioning. 

The original exterior front
The updated exterior
Fast forward a few years, and we were ready to replace the leaky portico!  Not only was the original portico falling apart, it did not fit the scale of the house. To address this, we widened the brick landing by 18 inches on each side before building the new portico. We also installed a new front door, hanging light, window boxes, mailbox and hand rails. We are incredibly happy with the result!
Street view of the house with new portico, updated landscaping (cherry trees) and the brick path we installed a few years ago.
Expanded porch landing, new cedar railing
White 'Lancaster' window boxes from windowbox.com
Lucy lounging on the new stoop.
We went with the beautiful mahogany 'Newport' door from Clark Hall Doors to let more light into the front of the house. We painted Golden Groves from Benjamin Moore in a high gloss finish. The yellow is perfect with the red brick. Emtek 'Sheridan' hardware in medium bronze and Pottery Barn envelope mailbox. Boxwood wreath is from Garnet Hill.
Hanging lantern by Forte in royal bronze lights up the portico ceiling.
Emtek 4 inch house numbers in medium bronze.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fairytale Pumpkins

Fall is here: not a cloud in the sky, the air is crisp and sweet. Our mantle and dining table are sporting some festive fairytale pumpkins that I picked up at Butler's Orchard in Maryland a few weeks ago.  Pale green, mini, white, bright orange - I love them all! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pickled Radish Seed Pods

We received radish seed pods in our CSA the last two weeks. These are the seeds that radish plants develop when they grow past prime harvesting. When eaten raw they're like a spicy green bean. I searched for pickling recipes and found that our friend Jess adapted a pickling recipe for these. They'll be perfect to bring to Wisconsin for the 4th of July week. Thanks, Jess!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Treasures in the Attic

...Or rather the rafters of the garage, which is where I found this old wood and wire birdhouse.

I oiled it up to give it some luster...

And for now it lives in the porch with the plants... sort of a summer conservatory.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Most new "consultants" would invest in one of those adult Trapper Keepers - the leather-bound kind with lots of pockets. I did not do that. I made this notebook from some wrapping paper that I'm pretty sure came from Elana. Someone had given me pieces of the Levenger "Circa" system ($74 for a notebook?!) so I used them to make my own.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Glorious Glow

Me: You can't tell the difference, can you?
Husband: It's... subtle. 

This is how you know that the dining room paint job that took three days to complete is never going to be noticed by anyone. But it was worth it. Cracks had formed on one wall and on the ceiling (normal "settling" of our 100-year-old house). We had them patched. The previous yellow had more mustard tones, so we opted for "glorious glow." And the requisite ceiling painting, of course. 

The biggest difference is that we have use of our dining room again. I taped and moved the furniture a good month ago. Yes, it's awesome living with me and my "projects."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baking Bread

My friend Lauren has two little kids and bakes bread all the time. Whaaa? The day she sent me home with a hot loaf, I asked her how this worked. She explained this system of keeping dough in the fridge and pulling off a hunk, letting it rise on the counter, then throwing it in the oven. It's all in this book. And it really works. We've had fresh baked bread three times this week. Killer.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ice cream experimentation

Last week we tried recipes for salted caramel ice cream and Kir Royale sorbet. Yum.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

String lantern

File under Works in Progress: The front porch. Someday we will give it color and style...
For now we've added this string lantern, found (thanks to their excellent Facebook site) at a vintage store called Find Furnish.

A new living room

The color is called conch shell, but while painting I decided the best description would be white lady's foundation, (or "pancake" as Ben likes to call it).

I even painted the ceiling (cringe). We'd had it repaired years ago and never painted over the patch. Tip: If you have to paint a ceiling, paint it before you finish the walls. It's harder to edge cleanly on the ceiling. And get ready for some serious paint spatters in the face.

I didn't remember to take any good before shots. But it was RED, my friends. We're talking a-primer-and-two-solid-coats-later kind of red. Or what I also like to call "It's 2001, y'all" red.

We're still recasting the room's details based on the new color. The two prints you see in the first photo are both maps of the city of Minneapolis. On the left: a remarkably detailed paper-cut by our friend Ochen Kaylan. On the right: an Ork neighborhood map.

We've had the yellow porcelain lamp in the basement for ages; I finally took it to our lighting store to find a shade and they gave us a finial to match. Our best Craigslist find to date is this rosewood credenza with tambour doors that we've transformed into a media cabinet.

Next up: The dining room! It's looking a little green against conch shell. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wall Art: View of the Pacific

photo 1 - color
photo 2 - old school
photo 3 - gray scale
photo 4 - vibrant
I took this photo of Elijah overlooking the Pacific ocean on our west coast trip last summer. The original photo was very blah, so I tried to bring out the sky and ocean and make the grass brighter (photos 1 and 4 show this best) but included an old school and grayscale option for comparison. I would like to print this out as wall art, perhaps on canvas or maybe framed by a natural driftwood-esque frame. Which version do you like best?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Portico

Our house is in desperate need of a new portico and door so combining the forces of Pinterest, Photoshop and Google street view, I came up with the following. We would love to repaint the house, perhaps to a darker gray, but probably will leave it as is. Given the light gray color, I think the navy window and shutter combo looks great, especially with the pop of yellow in the window boxes. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tackling the basement

And after...
And the labeling. Be still my heart.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mississippi Market Porridge

15 c. wheat flakes
12 c. oatmeal
10 c. bran
6 c. cornmeal
5 c. rye flakes
4 c. millet
4 c. cracked wheat cereal
2 c. flax
Bulk ingredients can be found at most co-ops or natural food stores.
Mix together. To keep large quantities fresh, freeze until ready to use.

Cooking instructions:
1 c. salted water
1/3 c. cereal
Boil water. Slowly add cereal while stirring constantly. Cook for 10 mins. Stir occasionally. Add raisins or other fruit if desired. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 mins.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Yellow and Gray Wreaths

Since my previous yarn wreath discovery, I have decided our little gray house needs a splash of yellow. Below are some of my favorites on etsy.

Top row, left to right:
1) Sweet Vintage-y Wreath (NuandBoo)
2) Gold and Cream Rosette (Handmadecollectibles)
3) Yellow and Gray Felt Flower Wreath (EllieBootsCreations)
4) Yellow Berry Wreath (WildRidgeDesign)
5) Yarn and Felt Wreath (Windsongcrafts)

Bottom row, left to right:
6) Grapevine wreath with accents (sweetleighmama)
7) Silk yellow mum wreath (AH Christiansons)
8) Grapevine burlap wreath (TheWalnutStreetHouse)
9) Flirty Fall (Sisterly Designs)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas Candy

My first high school job at the chocolate shop taught me the joy of simple foods with few ingredients, like sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream. This Christmas, as in years past, we made sponge candy, chocolate-covered caramels and candied orange slices.