Category Archives: The House

Tour of our house. Both before and afters.

Move Over 1997 it’s 2011 (almost:))!!


We’re super excited to get our brand new couch today!! This will only be the third piece of furniture we have bought for our house, everything else has been hand-me-downs. Which is great, but it’s time to leave the 1997 couch behind. We asked our families to give us only money this year so we could outfit our new room to fit our style. Luckily, we are blessed to have an awesome family who made it possible to give the ole’ blue and green plaid couch the boot (R.I.P Plaid Monster – all I’m going to say is it’s a good thing you can’t tell stories.)

We opted for a sectional for a couple of reasons – 1.) It fits the space better than a couch/love seat combo and 2.) it will provide for lots of extra seating for entertaining (which hopefully will be happening very soon).


Merry Christmas to us!!

Alex and I are both excited to kick back and relax tonight on the sectional, but I’m really excited to start planning out a mood board with rugs, tables, lamps, art, storage, etc… ooohhhhh so pumped! 🙂 🙂 🙂



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Filed under Design, The House

This One Goes Out to Mitch

Wow! It has been almost 6 months since we last updated. My apologies.  I started grad school about 6 months ago (shoot me) and combined with teaching and day to day life time was limited for hobbies. We really appreciate all the request for updates from our followers; especially Mitch – Alex’s stepdad, my amazing father-in-law. So this one goes out to you Mitchell T.

Even though I’ve been bogged down with school (teaching) and school (being a student) things have been poppin’ on Lynnwood. The biggest news is we finally finished “the side room”  a.k.a our family room! Really it was all Mitch, Alex, and Diana down the homestretch. I went on away with a few teachers to the beach on my fall break only to return to a completed living space! It was an awesome surprise and all my honey’s idea!

Rather than go into the  details of the finishing touches, I thought I’d post the progress pictures; from the beginning to the end.


Side Room - Before




Mitch putting up the 2x4's

Mitch attaching 2x4's to drop the ceiling.


“Domestic Diva” tool belt.
Progress as of 3/12/10


Mud Time!


Drywall up and one sanding done.


Start of fireplace redesign.


Priming and Painting

Floor going down.
Fireplace progress.
Very nice!

So after a year and half we finally completed Our favorite room in the house. We’ve moved all of our old furniture in the room for now, although we’ll be purchasing a new couch for Christmas. We rarely leave the space. It’s just so cozy and so ours! Of course these pictures can’t tell half of the good memories (and a few nightmares)  that were made during this process. BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC, HUMONGOUS thanks to Mitch and Diana, who without none of this would be possible. Extended thanks to Uncle Sam and the first time homeowners tax credit,  My Mom (Julie), David, Big Matt, Sarah, and of course Bella Corey Wells (supervisor).


Filed under DIY, Home Improvement, Remodel, The House

The Great Floor Debate

If you follow trends in interior design, or just observe what buyers are looking for in the housing market, you probably know that hardwood flooring is the most desirable type of flooring around. When Alex and I began our house search we were hoping to find something with hardwood or at the very least at least hardwood in a portion of the house. We lucked out though when we found our house on Lynnwood. The entire house (with the exception of the addition) had hardwood flooring. The only room that hard carpet was the “side room”. The carpet was in awful shape, so we knew right away flooring would be an investment.

Of course, hardwood flooring comes with a price tag and in most cases a hefty price tag. I wanted hardwood. Alex wanted something economical. Thankfully, we live in the 21st century and laminate is here to make us both happy! We shopped around at Lowe’s and Home depot and they did have some good deals, but Alex still wasn’t willing to “splurge”. He got on Lumber Liquidators website and found out that there is in fact a store in Lexington and they had some crazy deals!!

Not only did they have great prices but they had a very wide variety to choose from. Everything from laminate to bamboo flooring (one day my friend, one  day.). In the end we settled on a very light laminate from Utopia.

Is it the highest quality? Probably not, but it did come with a 10 year warranty. Is it exactly what we’ve always dreamed of having in our home? No, we actually are more cherry or mahogany people. But did it fit into our budget and look great. YES and YES! Including the padding (which helps control moisture) and 330 sq. feet of laminate, we spent a whopping $300.oo for our new floor! Alex was beyond thrilled with the savings and I was happy as a lark because I got what I wanted. 😉

They offered professional insulation, which I would recommend if you haven’t laid laminate before or don’t have an amazing father-in-law to do it. Thankfully, I have the latter. Of course as my grandfather would say “you get what you pay for.” And we paid $300 for new flooring, meaning it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park to lay. The first four rows posed a problem. Because this room used to be a carport the floor is not exactly level, making it very difficult to get each piece in correctly. We also found on the Google people who had used Utopia also had problems getting the floor started, but after the first few rows things went very smoothly. It took Mitch and Alex about 6 hours to get the first four rows laid . Alex made me stay at my parents house because he thought I would flip out, so I don’t know a ton of details about the problems that occurred. After a good night’s rest, the next day was much more successful.

Because the fireplace sits at an angle Alex had to cut several of the pieces in order for them to fit just right.

It took us three days to purchase and lay the floor. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to walk to the shower on something else besides worn 1960’s linoleum. Not mention, along with the paint color (details to follow), the room is much lighter.


Filed under Home & Garden, Home Improvement, Remodel, The House, Uncategorized

How much can you get done in a week?

If  this question were posed to me two weeks ago, I would have said “not much”. But, since last Wednesday we have been busting it out in the side room, a.k.a the den, and I would now say we could build an entire room (or at least almost) in a week.

This time last week this is what the room looked like:

As you can see every seam has been covered with drywall mud and it had been sanded twice already.

Now, the way this show works is, Mitch and Diana (in-Laws of the century!) come over at night. Alex helps Mitch do the “man” stuff and Diana and I tell them how to do the “man” stuff. 🙂 Then at the end of the night I get a few projects I can complete the next day while I’m home enjoying summer break. My job on this day? Sand everything on the lower half of the room. Sounded easy enough. I just needed the 220 grit drywall sandpaper and a mask. I’m sure this task would have been easy for a person who can actually breath during normal life, but since my asthma and allergies make my life hell, this was grueling for me. I doubled up on the masks and wore safety glasses. Three hours later   ( it should not have taken that long) I had finally finished.

That night Mitch and Alex finished the upper portion of the room. After a quick cleanup the space was starting to look like an actual room.

My kitchen table on the other hand…….

My Kitchen Table

needed some serious help, as did the rest of our house! Everything was covered in drywall dust, it looked like our house had been abandoned for 30 years and the floors were even worse. Luckily for me Ms. Diana is an expert cleaner ( she doesn’t miss a speck of dirt) which is nice when your house is in the shape our’s was.

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Filed under DIY, Home Improvement, Remodel, The House

A Drenched Derby Day

Sheeeewww what a weekend! You always expect Derby Weekend to be little more crazy than the average weekend, but this year was just insane.

Of course it rained. Alex and his dads decided they would still brave Keenland (our yearly tradition), but I on the other hand did not feel like spending the day crammed inside with old handicappers watching simulcast. So, I hosted a little impromptu Derby Party at Lynnwood where the roses were blooming and the Bourbon was flowing. I can’t even tell you how many years I’ve bet on The Derby (horse betting in Kentucky starts at an early age), but I can tell you that I NEVER, EVER win. Except this year!! I took Mitch’s advice and placed $2 across on Super-Saver and FINALLY won some cash on the big race!!!

But then it kept raining. Between Derby night and Sunday afternoon we got over “5 of rain. We are so fortunate that we don’t live on a flood zone, but that didn’t mean we were exempt from flooding. Alex ventured out at about 4:00 to check our crawl space and this is what he found:

Yes, that’s our water heater and our furnace unit. And yes that is at least 6 inches of water. And you’re right, this does mean that we didn’t have any hot water or cool air. Thank goodness Mitch had a pump and thank goodness the flooding was bad enough to trap our best friends Matt and Sarah at our house. Matt jumped right in and helped Mitch and Alex get the pump going and even climbed the roof to find a leak.

Sarah did what she does best and kept me calmed down; along with enjoying our new lakefront property and reminding me I wouldn’t have school Monday.

But this morning the sun was shining bright!  It stopped raining. The water was out of the crawl space.The air condition man was over first thing this morning and got everything up and running again.   But our prayers are still going up for everyone that is still fighting the water. Especially in Nashville.

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Filed under The House, Uncategorized

Café Lynnwood- Chapter 3 The Final Reveal

Over the past week we’ve revealed parts of our kitchen renew. We started the basics – paint and cabinets– and the last Café Lynnwood post showed off our AWESOME wine rack that Mitch made us. Now it’s time for Chapter 3- The Final Reveal. Although, final is used very loosely here because I’ll come up with some other project for the kitchen soon (actually, I already have a few small things brewing).  🙂

One thing I really wanted to avoid when I started to accessorize was the “Italian kitchen” look. Don’t get me wrong this looks great in some people’s houses, but it just wouldn’t work for us. The second thing I wanted to avoid was spending a lot of money. Luckily, we got some really amazing wedding gifts that were neutral and would work great in our new kitchen. Like the my beehive canisters (my very favorite gifts!) from a local gift shop.

Cabinets After

I got our mahogany table at an estate sale. It wasn’t cheap (as Alex will tell you) by any means, but I think a space needs one expensive piece to make it pop and if you work your budget right  you can make it happen. The table fit perfectly in the eat in area. I didn’t get the matching chairs at the auction, but I follow the rule of avoiding the catalog look so it worked out fine. The chairs you see at the table I found, once again, in my grandmother’s basement. Not exactly what I wanted, but they work for now. We installed an updated fixture and hung a HUGE clock that I found for about 100 bucks at Garden Ridge. We also added blinds and a set of the perfect Better Homes & Gardens curtains (Wal-Mart. Super cheap).

Eat in area - Before

Eat in area - After

Everything else, I’ve just  picked up along the way. For instance, I was driving down main street one day and saw a wicker cabinet outside of an antique shop. It was love and first sight.  With an oval mirror (again, a wedding gift) it works as the perfect foyer area and offers extra storage.

So far Café Lynnwood has hosted two successful Thanksgiving Dinners, a slew of get togethers with friends and supper at least a few times a week (still working on the cooking bit).We’re pretty happy with how the space turned out. It’s the first room we finished and we think the updates really add a lot to our home. Here are the “Befores and Afters”:



 Eat in Area - Before

Eat in area - Before

Eat in area - After

Cabinets - Before

Cabinets - After

Awkward Space - Before

Awkward Space - After Amazing Wine Rack


Filed under Alex and Sara, Design, Home Improvement, The House, Uncategorized

Art So Easy Bella Wells Could Do It!

The title is not an exaggeration folks. Bella Corey Wells helped her mommy out by lending her paws for a super easy art project. For Valentines Day this year Bella and I created an original painting for Alex. Not only did it turn out adorable, but it was simple and cheap! I picked up a $5.00 frame of Wally World, a small tube of paint, and used paper from our printer for Bella to create this master piece:

Alex's V-Day Gift

I covered a paper plate with the paint and helped Bella dab her paws, as much as would let me, and then helped her walk all over the white paper. Of course when she got loose my kitchen floor had more paw prints on it than the paper did, so I’d recommend trying this outdoors. The last step was just to cut down part of Bella’s work to fit the frame. Alex loved it and said it was the best Valentines gift he’d ever gotten. Total cost: $7.00 for the frame and paint.

The second DIY art idea I’m sharing is simple, but not so simple Bella Wells could do it. Once again, I took inspiration for Young House and put my own little spin on it. Sherri had framed one of favorite quotes for some inspirational art (a great idea), but I’m kind of quoted out these days. Instead, I took the lyrics from “our song” (Which no one even knows because the DJ played the wrong first dance song at our wedding, lol!), John Legend’s Stay With You.

Again, this was super simple. I copied and pasted the lyrics, chose a pretty font, added a faded blue close to our wall color, and cut it all out to fit in a frame I had stored away.  Total cost: 100% FREE!

Stay With You - John Legend


Filed under DIY, Inspiration, The House, Uncategorized