Last year, on the day of my second blogiversary, we entertained a team of photographers (at the old house) for a photo shoot. It wasn’t clear where the images would land because the photographer planned to share them with many publications, but it was a fun experience, and having a fresh set of eyes on our belongings was really, really inspiring. This month, clearly in celebration of my third blogiversary, the photos were published in Small Room Decorating. SUPER EXCITING!
It was just last week when we finally saw the issue in a local Wegmans. To say our house was photographed beautifully is an understatement; it’s the best it ever looked. (Julia moved all of the copies to the forefront of the mag display too, which is probably breaking some retail code of conduct, but I didn’t care, and I didn’t discourage her from doing it again.)
I’m so happy to be celebrating my third year of blogging today, even if it’s in the midst of a quiet streak as I enjoy time with my new daughter. I think I fell more in love with managing Merrypad this year, and ironically, the reason I love it more is because because I’ve allowed myself to be more lax about the pressures that come with being a full time blogger. I took longer “vacations” without stressing about planned filler content so that I could focus on real life during my winter wedding and honeymoon. I slipped on managing a tight editorial calendar when I became pregnant, because I was too tired to keep up. I stayed hush-hush about our house-shopping-buying experience until it became a sure thing, both because it was a stressful and uncertain process, and also because I knew that writing about the soap opera of home financing wasn’t my style (plus, it was dramatic and reiterating the same stink over and over felt boooring to write). And because of the move, I didn’t spend a ton of time investing in projects tied to our old house between last November and this past June, because (can’t argue with this) it doesn’t make sense to over-invest in any way if you’re going to be leaving the place. That money saved was much better spent on things like LED lightbulbs and maple hardwoods in our new house.
Less is more sometimes, and I think finding a better rhythm for myself will continue to translate into being able to produce the type of content I enjoy, and enable me to dedicate enough time to do the types of projects I want to be doing. It’s still about finding the time and resources to improve and customize and make things for our home. You’ll see more of our living room next week. Boy, if I looked that tired before having the baby, I’d hate to see how I photograph now.
Wedding, new house, Hattie aside, it has been a really awesome year, and it’s you guys that I have to thank for that. Your comments, emails, and general excitement and encouragement is what keeps me enthusiastic about continuing to do all of this.
Being more liberal with my editorial style and learning to blog on my own schedule has been amazingly freeing, it’s back to feeling like less of a “job” and more of a hobby. I like to think this has a positive effect on the overall blog, because now I’m excited to write. The words come more easily. The content is effortless. The posts are more genuine. It’s the direction that I see the blog going.
Opportunities seem to be more and more abundant too, which isn’t what I set out to achieve originally but have been pleasantly surprised by. My contract work with DIY Network has continued to be especially awesome, and in the last year it launched its new blog Made + Remade which really opened up more opportunity for creativity on my part. I’ve accepted a few sponsorships too, those of which I’ve written about I’ve been pretty selective but have enabled me/us the chance to experiment with some great products and hopefully give you ideas for your own home. More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to create guest ideabooks for Houzz, which allows me to imagine my home and, in essence, “shop” in a new way.
For all of that, thank you. Off to have some celebratory apple pie!
Early yesterday morning, we greeted our sweet daughter Hattie into the world.
She has her father’s hairline and my nose.
It wasn’t my intention to go dark for all of last week–beautiful things have been happening within our home and on our property and I have several posts started that are almost ready to share with you–but after being told out of the blue that I needed to be induced for delivery two weeks before my due date, plans changed and Pete and I abandoned almost everything to focus on our must-do to-do list, and squeezed several weeks of home preparedness activity into just three days.
I wasn’t not “taking it easy” during crunch time, but I wasn’t sitting at the computer with my feet up as I could have been either (chaos house commands attention so baby doesn’t come home to exposed utility blades and active air compressors). We definitely got stuff done, and I even spent the daylight hours prior to my evening induction racking and organizing floorboards so we would be ready to finish installing the new floors in the coming days, weeks, months, whenever.
The flooring–in particular, the living room–is looking phenom. Can’t wait to show you more this week.
I got bored after writing about our maple flooring progress all of last week, that’s why I’ve gone silent on it over the last few days, despite the rad encouragement that comes with sharing the progress (you guys are awesome). Our efforts continue on, only slowing a bit on account of other work and the fact that the area Pete is installing at this very moment, the stairs into the living room, requires a great level of attention to detail (read: not a lot of stop-you-in-your-tracks visual progress, though the progress made has been stellar).
What you saw last was the progress made in the nursery (done!) and a promise that we would finish Julia’s bedroom and the hallway last weekend. We did just that, even squeezing in a dinner out with friends, the assembly of a 25-square EXPEDIT (whoa), and an outlet mall shopping trip.
It’s safe to say that the bedroom/hallway part of our house is beginning to look wonderful (not the master bedroom yet though, it’s worse than ever), so we promptly rolled on with a plan to complete the dining room, beginning to end, last Sunday.
Up until this point, it has taken us 2-3 working days to complete each room, with 1-2 days dedicated to racking the boards (my job – sorting them in advance to make sure the seams and coloring is acceptable) and 1-2 days dedicated to the actual install (Pete with the nailer in an eternal hunchback state).
In rooms that span about 15′ wide, we found that we could pneumatically nail one row of 5″ boards in an average of 15-30 minutes, depending on complexities like needing to cut the boards for doorway transitions, or face nail the boards too close to the edges of the room. Sometimes, actually, it takes longer, and by longer, I mean like, an hour to place just two boards. Time is spent going up and down the stairs to the basement where the compound miter saw and table saw are set up. Time is spent pounding the boards together to have a good, consistent fit. Time is spent re-hunting for a board that’s just a 1/2″ longer than the board I picked out. Time is spent replacing cleats that mis-fire from the nailer (the air pressure and cleat pounding consistencies are an art when it comes to flooring install).
In all rooms, the encasements surrounding the radiator heating need to be removed for ease of install (thankfully they didn’t need to be fully raised to accommodate the extra board height), so we’ve been taking that opportunity to also clean the units with a combo effort using the air sprayer attachment on our pancake compressor, and the shop vac. Working in tandem, loosening and sucking the dust makes for a pretty neat and mess-free process, and hopefully improves the efficiency of our system too. It was pretty gross in there.
The dining room came along quite easily, and we worked hard on it from 11am-10pm. There were pictures on instagram if you follow me there, mostly ramblings about slamming my head into the chandelier (we zip-tied it way close to the ceiling not long after I shared the photo), and a totally not helpful Bernese Mountain Dog (he has been very emotional over the loss of his carpeting).
The finished room is so wonderful, even without furniture, that I’ve taken it up as my office this week, where I sip water from my cardboard box side table and watch 8-point bucks galavant and poop in the backyard (they squat like dogs, and what they leave behind does not look like innocent little goat pebbles, did you know that?). I digress.
The dining room will remain empty for a little while longer; we’re shifting our flooring inventory (both the unopened and opened boxes) into the room while we move onto the living room next. It’s a constant state of musical chairs with all of our belongings around here.
And as I mentioned, the stair progress has begun, and it’s slow. Lumber Liquidators suggested that it might take $1-2K to hire someone to do stairs as complex as ours (yes, we asked, it seemed scary complex at first for us novice woodworkers), but knowing that wasn’t in our budget they gave us some great tips for a DIY install, and that’s making it a lot better. Still slower than you might imagine, but done nicely, so props to Pete.
Hopefully we’ll continue to make progress in this area over the weekend and I’ll have something to show for the hard work.