Friday, August 21, 2015

Staircase Gallery

So even though we have about a million other things more important we need to finish before we really start decorating, I got it in my crazy head that I needed a staircase gallery wall. Like, right now. I was convinced I could get away with using the gallery frames I had on hand and that I wouldn't have to spend any money. Well let's just say it wasn't pretty. See this photo if you need proof. So I enlisted the help of someone way more capable than me to handle this kind of project, my husband. Justin saved my gallery wall and I owe him big for it!

I will say this, staircase gallery hanging is really hard. We pulled out all the tricks. Cutting brown wrapping paper out the same size as the frames and using a piece of tape down the wall parallel to the railing, but we still had issues. The most important thing to me is that we had a specific pattern. I didn't want it to look like we just threw picture frames on the wall. So we started in the center and did half of the stairway. Then we just mimicked that exact same pattern going down the stairs. Make sense? Hopefully you can tell from the photos.

I hadn't really seen many gallery walls I liked. I don't love the ones that mix accessories in because I feel like its easy to over do it. At least I knew I would! I just wanted frames. I promised myself in this house I was going to think outside the box and not decorate every single room with photos so I just gave myself the staircase to do so. Pinterest was literally no help. We really had to do our own thing here. And by we I mean Justin. I just followed him around and said, yeah that looks good! I seriously could not have done this without that man! I am terrible with measurements and spacing, but I really wanted to get this right. Thanks to him, we totally did!

Whew! Gallery walls are hard to photograph! So many shadows!

Here's a breakdown of the frames I used (all from Ikea)

(TIP-for this project I used the RIBBA frames. If I would have went with the Virserum frames it would have cost me about $100 more. Just something to keep in mind.)

I like Ikea frames because they are cheap! Where else can you find oversized gallery frames starting at $7? Anytime I have a picture project they are definitely my first stop. Here is a breakdown of the frames I used for this project:

1-20x28 (for the very center of the wall)

I originally bought 20 frames for this project, but thought that looked overbearing so I used 15. I have 5 to return so the total cost for this gallery project in frames alone was roughly around $162. You can find oversized prints at Costco or Sam's Club for an amazing price. However, if you aren't willing to compromise on photo quality you may try WHCC for your professional prints. I have always been incredibly pleased with the color and quality. However, for a project like this (all my photographer friends are shaking their heads at me right now) I used Costco. Because let's be honest, a 16x20 print at Costco is a couple of bucks compared to almost $20 from WHCC. I just couldn't imagine how expensive this project would have turned out to be if I ordered all my prints from them.

This is what works for us and our staircase. Feel free to do whatever works for you and your family or use ours as a guide. Staircase galleries are no joke so I understand if you need something to "cheat" off of. ;)

When I was younger I used to babysit for this family who had an older, historical kind of home. It was so cozy, I loved everything about it. And lining their stairway were the most beautiful photos of their family. I remember thinking then, at 14, one day I want a gallery going up my stairs! Finally, all these years later I got one!

What do you think? I'm in love! I can't wait to get our runner ordered for the stairs, I feel like its going to tie everything together. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kitchen Inspiration and Life Updates

     You guys! This summer has been a whirlwind. We bought, started major renovations and sold a house all within 4 months! We had almost 6 straight weeks of company and it's hard to believe the summer is coming to an end. Although I am sooo ready for cooler weather, oversized sweaters and hot cocoa every day, this summer has been really good to us. We are traveling this month to close on our Florida home but when we get back we're starting our kitchen renovation. I am so excited! Here is a quick picture of what our kitchen looks like now:

Although the salmon colored tile is gone thanks to my two days spent with a tile chipper. #hellocarpaltunnel #worthit

As soon as Justin installed the hardwood floors (God bless that man) it changed the whole look of the house. It is so cozy! Some people are opposed to hardwood in the kitchen, but we aren't! And we didn't want to disrupt the flow of the flooring downstairs by adding tile in here. Oh and I'm still recovering from the hatred I had of the Florida tile in our old house. If I never see another oversized rectangular tile in my life I will be happy.

We originally planned on having a bright white kitchen. White cabinets with light countertops. But after finishing up the staircase which took no less than 6 coats, (I wish I was being dramatic!) I realized it wasn't going to be fun. So guess what color we are painting our cabinets? GRAY! Say what?!?

Totally crazy right? I created a fun little moodboard to share my inspiration for the kitchen-here is where our heads are at:

Gray cabinets, white backsplash, chunky farmhouse sink, dark hardwoods, YES. I am so excited to start the transformation.

The truth is, I am not totally pro-cabinet painter. I don't feel like every kitchen needs to have painted cabinets to be awesome. And honestly, if our cabinets weren't so out of date I probably wouldn't be painting them. It's just a much cheaper option to paint than to replace. Our plan is to move the cabinets closer to the ceiling and add molding to give it a more custom look. The budget for the kitchen is $3500.

So what do you think? Awesome in the making right?! It's ok if you hate painted cabinets. I've learned over the last few years that not everyone is going to have the same taste as me and that's OK! I mean not everyone would dedicate an entire corner of their kitchen to their dog like I did, right? Right! ;)

Do you guys have any fun house projects planned? I feel like everyone and their brother sister is having a baby so I can't wait to see all the cute nursery reveals coming up! As for us, no nursery reveals anytime soon. Justin is hilarious and keeps telling me we're going to have a baby in 2016 because it just feels right. I told him 2021 feels more right to me. ;) I'll let you know who wins. :p

Happy Wednesday! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Personalized Pet Food Area Part 2!

     You guys probably remember Hudson's dog food area over at the apartment, right? If not, here's a quick pic.

      Not too much has changed, other than we have more space now, YAY! This post was my second most viewed post of all time and people constantly email me about it. It makes me really happy. I love creating spaces my family and I can feel comfortable in and I love it even more when you guys think those spaces are awesome, too.

     When I created this space at the apartment, I had big plans for it, but like I said-teenie tiny space. So I waited patiently and when we finally got back into homeownership I knew I would finally have a chance to go crazy with Hudson's little "hole in the wall". It's really funny at how much of a crazy dog lady I have become. Don't get me wrong, I'm super proud of that fact. I love my dog so much when people ask me if I have kids I have to stop myself from blurting out, "Yes I have an almost 4 year old son!" #truestory

     I loved recreating this space and I think I might even love it more than the little space at the apartment. Just in case you didn't have a chance to read the last post I will post my sources at the bottom. Its nice to have all of his treats and things in one spot and not cluttered up on the counter. Here is Hudson's new hole in the wall, I hope you love it as much as I do!

     What do you guys think? Pretty adorable, right? I think Hudson is pretty pleased. Poor Justin. He keeps asking me when our bedroom is going to hit the blog. Let's just say he's tired of having a room that looks like Barney threw up in! It is kind of sad, Hudson has this cute little space and we are still sleeping in the purple monster. Hmmm. What's wrong with that picture? :p 

Source List:

Ikea Trash Can for dog food-$25. (Already had)
Target rug-$4.28 (Thank you clearance end cap!)
Canvas prints of Hudson-$20 a piece from
Pet Food Crate-$20 for wood & husbands time
Shelving-DIY old scrap wood with hardware from Lowes
Shelving Accessories-Homegoods
Adorable Dog-not available for purchase

     What are you guys up to this week? Any fun projects for your furry friends? If you decide to recreate this space, don't forget to email me so I can see! I love to get your emails! And Don't forget to follow along with Hudson and Co. on facebook and instagram!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Staircase Reveal

    I'm so excited to finally show off our new staircase! This probably would have happened a lot sooner but we are in an almost 6 week stretch of having company. Lots of friends and family have come to see us this summer and we have been having a blast with everyone! But that also means projects get moved to the side so it really is a miracle the stairs are finished!

Before you scroll down to see the pretty before and after photos theres something you gotta know. This staircase was almost the death of us. You know those shows where everyone is like, so we pulled up the carpet and this beautiful wood was shining through just begging to be refinished, like OMGGG GO US. That was not the case here. Not even a little bit. So this is not the fairy tale story where the carpet was ripped up and this was waiting underneath. Nope. We had to work at it. Big time. And P.S. I don't care who you are and how many people on Pinterest may claim it can be done, you cannot make construction treads on an older home show stairs. You just cant do it. But I'll save that rant for the tutorial.

The staircase was probably harder than anything we have had to do in this house so far. I would rather re-scrape the popcorn off the ceilings, take the chipper back to the kitchen tile and get carpal tunnel, remove baseboards and cut myself with an old nail, buy three cans of paint and get home to discover I don't love the color and buy three more, yep I would rather do all of those things than work on a stair project ever again. It was hard. And I threw a fit. And Justin threw a fit. And Justin doesn't even throw fits. And we yelled. At each other. And at the stairs. And probably at the dog. Basically, this project sucked. But we survived and our staircase is looking reeealll good. Like I just want to sit on it and pet the railings and whisper sweet nothings into the new pretty treads. But don't take my word for it, tell me what you think! Here are the before and after photos:



     Did you notice that we got rid of that terrible boob light upstairs? It feels so much better! I'm thinking of adding a gallery wall going up the stairs, but I'm not doing anything too quick. I want to get things right in this house, so I'm taking my time with every little decision. A lot of people questioned whether or not the stairs were safe because they would be slippery without carpet, but we haven't had any problems. My father in law who happens to have Parkinson's Disease went up and down them with no problem and my crazy dog flies down them everyday when we get home and he does just fine, too. I think it just depends on each individual family and lifestyle you have. 

Just for the heck of it, here's a side by side:

What do you guys think of the staircase? Such a huge transformation right?? I just love it. We are having a blast with this house and I really feel like I'm learning so much. The most rewarding part definitely has to be looking back through the before and after photos. They get me excited to move on to the next room. I hope you guys have a great Wednesday!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Financial Goals 2015-Checkin and New Goals

     In January I shared my family's financial goals and today I wanted to check in and talk about how things were going.

This is kind of a loaded post. You see, I meant to be good this year. I really did. But then we bought a house. And it all kind of went downhill from there. :p

I mean I guess I should give myself more credit than this. I really have done a pretty decent job saying no to things I didn't need. But I could still do better. We definitely suffered some sticker shock when we bought our house and it was hard writing a check as big as the one we had to write. New England is a pricey area, but we were 100% ready to make certain sacrifices in order to get out of our apartment. As soon as we moved in we immediately started renovating and anyone who knows about fixer upers knows how much money, time and effort can go into them. It could be really easy to go crazy in this house, but we are limiting ourself to a very specific budget and that really helps keep things under control. On a side note, we have kind of come to a pause because we have been having so much company this summer. I think our next plan of attack is on the kitchen. Originally I was planning to paint the cabinets white, but we are jumping off the deep end and taking another route all together, stay tuned!! I honestly had a hard time seeing things come together and I got really discouraged in the beginning. But I seriously fall more in love with this house every single day. I am so proud of our cute neighborhood and this house is the epitome of a cozy New England home. I am super content right now. I just can't wait to get back to working on more projects!

Back to $$$$. Basically to sum up the first 6 months, we would be doing a lot better on our goals if we didn't buy a house, lets just say that. ha! But we are still attempting to make conscious efforts to work on our budget. Another thing that kind of makes things tricky for us in my school. We both agreed when I started that we would pay out of pocket for school to avoid loans. Well, when I went to a community college it was pretty doable since it was only about $1,000 a semester. Now I attend a university and each semester is closer to $4000. This can make things a little tight at times, but I honestly think this is just the best way. I do not want to get out of school with any weight hanging over my head. I jokingly tell Justin that on my cap for my graduation in May its going to say "I owe my husband $20,000" haha!

These are the goals I have for the rest of 2015:

  • Pay off our car by Christmas 
  • Eat out less (HELP)
  • Resist urge to buy every single thing for the new house
  • Sell Florida home (wait what?! I totally snuck this one in there)

Ok ok so I forgot to mention one little thing. We are selling our Florida house! It should hit the market within the next two weeks. I'm hoping it is a quick and painless process. We have had lovely renters for the past two and a half years but the more we talked about it the more we decided we didnt need to hold onto it anymore. We are not planning to move back to Florida but even if we ever did, we would probably build anyway. The realtor told us the price he wanted to list it at and we were pleasantly surprised so we decided to go for it. Our ultimate goal as a couple has always been to save save save as much as we can for our "dream home". The house we will raise our kids in. The house we will be able to call home. We are trying to go Dave Ramsey's route and have a 40% down payment with a 15 year mortgage on the next place so until then we are just saving away. Since we have always lived on one income, when I start working in my career next year we are going to use almost all of that money to put into savings and continue to live off of one income. We have done it for almost 4 years, there's no need to change things now. I think this will definitely help us achieve that goal quicker. We have this cute little goal phrase "Debt Free in '23". In 2023 we hope to be living in the "dream home" with a paid off mortgage and I know if we stick to these goals it is definitely doable!

My brother is coming to visit next week and I am throwing the budget out the window! (Sorry Dave!) We are going to see a Red Sox game, whale watching, eat way too much seafood, and just play catch up. I always love our time together and since I only see him a couple of times out of the year, we have a lot of fun to cram into a week! How are you guys doing on your resolutions and goals??

Thursday, June 11, 2015

$450 Half Bath Makeover

     You guys. I'm freaking out because we have ourselves the cutest little half bath in the world. I am so excited about this transformation!! When we first moved into this house there was a very strong urine smell that kind of snuck through a good portion of the downstairs. This bathroom just needed some TLC. And that's exactly what this little cutie got! Although this house of ours needs a lot of updating, it has great bones and it really is coming along nicely. We did this entire bathroom for right around $450. That includes a new toilet, fixtures, etc. You can find the entire source list at the bottom of this post. Here are the photos of the bathroom before:

And here are the afters:

I mean is it even the same bathroom?!? It sure doesn't feel like it! 

Could you just die? So stinking cute right? This is exactly the style we want to stick with throughout the rest of the house. I love that its got a little bit of country farmhouse feel with tiny bits of an industrial thrown in the mix, too. I have spent years trying to find "my style" and this bathroom is such a great example of finally figuring that out. My favorite part was picking out all of the fixtures and accessories. We talked about replacing the vanity, but its amazing what a little bit of paint and new hardware can do! I do think we will eventually replace the faucet and sink, but it isn't a priority to me right now. We have a couple of small other things that need to be done in this room (like adding a baseboard behind the toilet, ehem) but for the most part it is finished and we can move on to bigger projects. Yay!

Here is the entire source list for our bathroom makeover-

Light Fixture- Allen & Roth Lowe's $120
Mirror- Homegoods $80
Toilet- Kohler (on sale) Home Depot $170
Flooring-Scraped Apple Cinnamon from Home Depot (I want to note that I normally wouldn't put hardwoods in a bathroom, but we really did not want to disrupt the flow of the rest of the downstairs so we just stuck the hardwood in. No transition strip, no problem! ;)
Paint for the Cabinet- Behr Oil Based Cabinet Paint $40
Wall color- Sherwin Williams Sea Salt $40
Shelf-DIY $15

So there you have it! Our cute little bathroom makeover makes me so happy. I just want to hang out in this room all day. Probably because it is currently the nicest room in our house. Ha! We really need to get a move on! What do you guys think about our new half bath? What is your favorite change? Happy Thursday friends!