Tag Archives: DIY

Trains & Trolleys & 2 Two-Year-Olds

Yesterday was a big day over here. Hadley turned 2 and all of our local family came over to celebrate her and cousin Henry, whose birthday is exactly two weeks before. It seemed too cruel to subject our family to two toddler parties back to back, so my sister and I decided to combine them. Since Hadley loves all things Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with a specific obsession of trolley and Henry loves trains, we picked a trains and trolleys theme. Hadley has been talking about her “try-try” party for weeks. As my dad pointed out several times, a two-year-old might never remember the grand efforts made by their mothers (in fact, this morning Hadley mostly only recalled that she had to share her balloons with her cousins, lovely toddler that she is)…. and for this reason, I took lots of pictures.

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Happy Birthday to our sweet Hadley girl. You make life so much better.

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This Is What HGTV Does To Me

One of the challenges that comes when you move from a 1,200 square foot house to a 3,500 square foot house is furnishing all of those empty rooms. Our new house is one we can thankfully grow into, but we still want it to look furnished and loved before we expand our brood. We have been trying to take it slow, filling and decorating each room one by one. Four months of living here, and I have one room done. And even as I’m saying that, I immediately start questioning the “completed” dining room… wait, do I need curtains on the other window? Is that rug working? Should it be bigger? What about the candles… really they should be replaced with something more wintry looking come December, right? 

In order to protect the bank account, we’ve tried to go the DIY route when we can. Fortunately, living in Loudoun means we are surrounded by consignment shops and antique stores where I can hunt for good finds. Plus, I’m at stay at home mom… I watch way too much HGTV and I love a good project to tackle during nap time! We have also discovered that it’s really fun to do these projects together, which is sort of shocking considering any home improvement endeavors we’ve tackled as a team have pretty much been the opposite. But there’s a huge difference (to me) between hanging curtains and restoring old furniture. Much more relaxing and fun than drilling too many holes in the wall while your one year old tries to put bolts in her mouth. So, Josh will do any sanding or steps that require tools, and then I handle the painting. Having a garage now also really helps. I just plug in the baby monitor while Hadley is down and get as much done as I can. Here’s a little showcase of some of our efforts. 

BEFORE

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Here’s the before. We found this piece marked down at the Old Lucketts Store to $40. It was in really good shape, just needed a little sanding on the top and a good scrub. We did two coats of chalk paint and a coat of wax on top.

AFTER

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And now here she is in my sitting room. It’s one of my favorite pieces in our house and Josh is happy to have a place to put his decanter – which is needing a bourbon refill.

BEFORE

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Sorry, this before picture is really bad but I forgot to take one and this is the only picture I could find documenting what it used to look like. My sister Megan generously gave us her old sideboard. We sanded it down and did three coats of Benjamin Moore Summer Nights. We also spray painted the hardware oil rubbed bronze.

AFTER

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I love neutrals, so adding this bright pop of blue was really scary to me but I’m really happy with the results!

We are also currently spray painting our brass door knobs and hinges to oil rubbed bronze. We have most of the downstairs and about half of the upstairs complete. Turns out, we have a LOT of doors! But it really makes a huge difference. 

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                                      Just imagine all of the brass. Looks so much better.

Now I just need to be better at documenting my before and afters. Totally the best part of any DIY project and also why I was up too late last night to watch the reveal on Love it or List It. Hilary totally nails it every time. 

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