Happy Halloween from the Carters!

Puppy Dog Custom Halloween Rabbit Bunny Punk Cowboy Bull bat

We’ve been getting busy in the bedroom.  Busy painting and decorating!  No need to advert your eyes!

I’m one of those people that can’t sit still and relax if there’s a mess in front of me. I’m not as crazy as I used to be, but I still drive Montana nuts on occasion with my need to be constantly moving around cleaning up “when we just spent hours cleaning.”  Likewise, if I’m in a messy or haphazardly thrown together bedroom, I have a hard time falling asleep because it stresses me out.  I’m sure there’s a study out there on sleep patterns and aesthetics of a room, but here’s a fact according to Anne. FACT: People sleep better in pretty places.  Also, more sleep –>happier Anne, and as every husband knows… Happy Wife, Happy Life!

A while back, while discussing my idea of having a desk in the sitting room attached to our master bedroom, my hair stylist said “Your bedroom should be for sleep or *smooching* and nothing else.”  (Censored for the children.)  I think there’s definitely something to that so I’ve kept it in mind while planning out the style for the master bedroom.   As you know from my previous post on Picking Paint Colors, we decided to go with Gray (Silver Sateen in Behr Premium Plus Ultra) for the bedrooms, and in the master chose teal as our “pop” of color.  Here’s some photos found on my beloved pinterest that I used for inspiration. (Sources listed below)

Inspiration bedrooms in shades of gray{Source: top left – houzz, top right Designer Unknown – Live the Henry,

bottom left – houzz, bottom right – high fashion home}

Just as a reminder this is basically what we started with and collected within a few weeks the move. bedroom before update shades of gray teal

before update bedroom shades of gray teal

bedroom before update shades of gray teal closet bathroom

Now after a coat of paint on the walls, painting the campaign dresser, a new bed, and some accessories, the room has made significant strides into feeling “pretty” and calm!

shades of gray bedroom teal progress mirror nightstand lucite lamp
shades of gray bedroom teal progress mirror nightstand lucite lamp
shades of gray bedroom teal progress mirror nightstand lucite lamp

shades of gray bedroom teal progress mirror nightstand lucite lamp

hallway door laundry shoot shades of gray bedroom makeover update teal

The campaign dresser ended up being thankfully a fairly quick and cheap makeover. I mixed together a bunch of paint samples that we had used to try to pick the gray and teal, and the only thing we had to purchase was some new drawer slides, an extra can of Minewax Polycrylic for the protective coat, and a can of Rustoleum Satin Nickel Spray Paint for the hardware.

We also used the same Satin Nickel spray paint to give a fresh look to our ceiling fan. Unfortunately, while ceiling fans aren’t glamorous, they’re kind of a necessity here in the summer. Our house is usually about 10 degrees hotter on the second floor than the main level and again about 10-15 degrees cooler in the basement.  So… the fans are staying. Oh well. 🙂

spray paint ceiling fan update bedroom shades of gray satin nickel birch

Future Projects or Purchases we’re already planning for the bedroom include:

  • building custom closet built-ins
  • closing up the wall where there is a window behind the headboard
  • replacing the window on the wall to the side of the bed with a double window (We already hung double wide curtains to plan ahead)
  • Stencil one or all of the walls with “Endless Moorish Circles
  • Buy a Rug
  • Maybe Mirrors for behind the nightstand lamps?
  • Figure out art for the walls
Most of these will be waiting a while so the rest of the house can catch up to “progress” from “before.”
What do you think?!
(Source List for Our Bedroom Makeover Progress: Mirrored Nightstand from Marshalls, Lamps from Home Goods, OMVÄXLANDE Tray from Ikea, picture frames from Home Goods, Ampersand Bedding from Bed, Bath and BeyondSkyline Furniture Tufted Wingback King Bed from Lowes (also available on Amazon), Teal Vase from Home Goods, Alarm Clock from Marshalls (few years old), Mirrored Kleenex Box from Home Goods, MERETE Curtains in “Bleached” from Ikea )



I thought I’d finish up our house tour today…

Upstairs our house technically has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. Three smaller bedrooms share a hallway bathroom and then the master bedroom has its own bath. Right now its set up as a 3 bedroom because the wall between the master bedroom and one of the smaller bedrooms was knocked out to create a sitting room. It works well for us now as we don’t plan on having kids for a few more years but eventually we might need to put that wall back in to create a fourth bedroom.

The guest bedroom was HANDS DOWN the most hideous room in the house when we moved in. First of all, the previous owners had a love affair with sponge paint as you saw in the kitchen that they decided to really explore with moss green paint all over the walls and trim. I’m still trying to figure out what the deal is with sponging over trim.

Guest Bedroom


The ceiling was sky blue (of course), but it does have a nice skylight.


The inside of the closets had this awesome wallpaper. Yes please, love that…said no one ever.


Needless to say, this bedroom is HIGH on our “to be painted” list.

The second guest bedroom thankfully didn’t have any offensive paint but it did still have some rockin wallpaper in the closet. Seriously can someone explain this to me?

The hallway bathroom. Oh geez. Hideousness. Clearly they knew the shower doors were super ugly since they had a shower curtain bar right above them. (Sorry for the blurry photo!)

Pink and tan tile and an awesome shell sink. Lets bring this style back people!

Thankfully the previous owners left behind some sweet sea shells on string to class up the place. Yesssss.

Basically this bathroom needs a total demo job done on it so we’ll only be doing a very minor facelift this year.

The sitting room! Or what I affectionately refer to as “that room that should just be a big closet.” Montana’s been holding me back. Thank goodness. Because I think it would look awesome as a giant built-in closet. The sitting room door is on the left and the door on the right is for the master. Apparently I haven’t taken pictures since we unpacked… Oops! I haven’t come up with a plan yet on how to decorate this room so it’ll probably evolve slowly with the master bedroom.

Turning around to the master bedroom. These pictures were taken after we had time to collect a few things during the first couple of weeks. Ok scratch that… the only photo I can find with the closet and master bath doors is from the first day in the house.

Notice the horrible paint job and AGAIN the sponge paint on the trim.  I generally prefer sleeping places that look dirty. What I love the most about the master is the laundry shoot. Yay!!!!! I was always jealous of my friends growing up that had them in their houses. What I hate most… the bad placement of the windows. There’s no wall big enough to center a bed without blocking a window. I’m planning to take out the window behind the bed when we replace all the windows and put a double wide window on the back wall of the house.

The master bath has had the most work done on it. I’m not a huge fan of gray tubs sinks and toilets but at least they’re not tan so this bathroom will probably last in its current state for a long time.

Hello random second sink…

The tub is jacuzzi tub which is awesome for my sweetie who likes his relaxing baths but its super noisy and we managed to crack the gel coat within a week of moving in. I’ll go over how we fixed that in a future post.

So that’s the upstairs! We’ve already started doing some work up there but I’ll go room by room with my plans while I unveil whats been happening.

Am I the only crazy that gets way too excited about laundry shoots? ‘Cause seriously that thing is amazing.

(When love=mulch)

When we had our trees removed we also had the tree service grind the stumps.  They took most of the branches and trunks away, but they left us huge piles of mulch.   Awesome! We totally needed it somewhere else in the yard!

The doors that lead outside from our family room go directly onto a wood deck.  Our neighbors said it used to be a nice natural color but it was painted grey right before the house was put on the market this spring. I’m trying not to think too hard about what it was they were trying to cover up. Unfortunately the deck is square so even though we have a sliding glass door exiting from the dining room on the other side of the kitchen, it leads straight to dirt/mud.

We have BIG plans for changing up the patio area quite a bit in a year or two but in the meantime we just needed to solve the mud problem. Northern Virginia summers mean there’s never more than a day or two between thunderstorms and Samson has done a marvelous job turning our cream carpet to brown even though we’ve tried putting down rugs, towels and blankets to stop him from tracking in the outside.

Enter the roots! First we moved all of the random pavers out of the mud and used some edging bricks to create a boundary between our “patio area” and our to-be-planted lawn.

Then we filled in the area with the wood chips, and reset the pavers to create a walkway from the dining room doors to the deck.  Finally, Samson’s pool came into the wood chip area so he doesn’t get dirty on the way from bath time to the house.

We had a little leftover after doing the area outside the dining room and used the rest to fill in a muddy area between our deck and the fence gate. Ahhh… no more mud…well no more mud close to the house!

It definitely doesn’t have the “wow” factor, but it’s a huge improvement over the mud and will work for us over for a while!


We’ve been taking it easy the last week or two and trying to just “be still” but I’m still behind in writing about a few projects. I hope your summer has started off great!

Question of the day…

(from lowes.com)

Does anyone have an upholstered headboard? I love them in theory, but I’m worried they’ll get dirty.  I imagine them getting nasty over time because of the oils in our hair. Is my concern legit? Please discuss.

After two weeks of being in the house I’ve finally made it to the point where I can breathe a little at night and do something other than clean/unpack. I still have plenty of that to do, but it’s getting better slowly.  I’ve decided to do a bottom up review of the house so that has us starting with a tour of the basement! I’m sure some of you (ahem, Joan…) were starting to think I’d never actually get any pictures up! Without any further ado… our basement.  I’ll start with pictures from the day after we moved in and then show you the progress (even though its only a little) that we’ve made in the past two weeks.
The sellers left this glorious couch for us in the living room. I didn’t actually touch it or look at it closely and just told the boys to put it in the basement when we were moving our stuff in and figured we’d throw a sheet over it or something for a while.  Or not… we found a mouse trap in it.  And as you can see its pretty grody.  It only lasted 3 days down there.

One thing we really like about the basement is that there’s a finished area and an unfinished area. I actually am not a huge fan of the closets in the finished area just because I think they’re in strange places and they make the room more narrow. Getting rid of the closets on either side would give us another 4 feet or so of with on the room but we’ll see if we ever get around to moving them.

Montana found the weight system on Craigslist a few weeks before we moved and convinced the seller to keep it for us until we moved.  I gave Montana a hard time about the fact that it was the first thing to get set up in the house, but I have to give him credit for actually using it everyday since we’ve moved in. (He’s in love.)  We put our second TV down there so that I can use it for Wii Fit or my workout DVDs… I swear I’m going to actually use them. Also, I can watch my shows on the “main” TV in the living room while they boys do their video game thing in their playroom. 🙂

Our unfinished area has a good amount of space for storage and they left a bunch of plastic cabinets for organizing which is great. Unfortunately most of our stuff is still a mess but we’re working on it slowly. I love that we have a huge workbench down there already although eventually when we enclose the carport into a garage I can see us moving the workbench to the garage.

Samson is still getting used to the basement. He was a little afraid to go down there at first but now he comes down for a minute or two to say hi before racing back up the stairs to the safe kitchen.
Here’s our little bit of progress over the past two weeks.
Next up, main floor tour!

You know those Friday’s when you just can’t wait to get home because you have a whole weekend of productivity planned? Then everything falls apart and Sunday night you stand brushing your teeth looking in the mirror asking yourself if you accomplished anything over those 48 hours.  Sometimes not punching a wall is accomplishment enough, right?

The couple we bought our house from left us some awesome stuff including tools, fans, a chest freezer, some wooden desks and barstools.  Some of those things needed to be moved around a bit though so we could get the most use out of them.  For example, the deep freeze is in the storage shed at the back of our carport, and it was hard to reach more than the right 3rd of it because it was blocked by the wall. Our basement is huge and has a nice space in the unfinished area where the freezer would fit perfectly and then we could reach everything inside, as well as create a space in the shed for my bike to live.

I got home from work on Friday and Montana told me that he and David had a little more trouble moving the freezer than had anticipated. In fact they had to take it apart and still accidently knocked off the temperature regulator on the way down the basement stairs.  So now our incredibly heavy freezer was in the basement and broken. Nice. Oh well, these things happen.

Saturday I woke up planning to run a few errands and have the afternoon for cleaning and unpacking the house.  Two years ago my friend Jess gave us her papasan chair, which we decided to put in the basement where we needed 2 chairs(it’s the boy’s playroom).  It’s perfect because it’s easy to move around and super comfortable.   We had a cream cushion for it but after using it on the balcony at the condo it got moldy and we had to throw it away.  Easy enough, I figured I’d just buy another cushion for it from Pier 1. I found another papasan chair with a cream cushion like I wanted on craigslist for $60.  Not an amazing price, since they are about $150-$200 new, but they seemed to go pretty fast on craigslist and so I was just happy to be the first person to email about one. I was supposed to be in DC sometime after 1030 to pick up the chair.

As I was grabbing my coffee to leave, the tree service that we had briefly talked to the weekend we were moving in (they were doing work in our neighbor’s yard) stopped by to talk to us about the trees we wanted removed.  We spent about a half an hour with the woman talking about what we wanted removed and she gave us an estimate that was significant to say the least.  I knew it would be a lot but it was a few thousand more than the “alot” that I was already figuring it was going to cost.  Kind of a bummer.

As we finally were saying goodbye to her Sleep Number showed up with our new mattress. Yay! I left them with Montana to set it up and headed to get the chair. (More on this to come.)

Now normally I am a research, research, research person before I buy anything.   After I picked up our “new” old papasan with the cream cushion, I found out that neither Pier 1 or World Market, or anyone that I can find sells them anymore in cream canvas. Major Fail. (Apparently you can special order the cushions online for $99. boo)  All I could find in a store was fuzzy bright colors. Hello! It’s SUMMER. Who wants to buy a fuzzy cushion? This is still something I haven’t quite solved. Mom, if you’re reading this you might be getting a request soon to sew me a cover for a cushion. 🙂

When I got home to unload the chair and pick up extra uhaul boxes to return, Montana informed me that our printer wasn’t working and he needed to print stuff for school before Monday.  I troubleshot it for a few minutes before giving up and just telling him I would go buy a new one since spending time on a printer wasn’t high on my priority list.

The first uhaul I went to was apparently a dealer not a “center” so they didn’t take back boxes. Lame. I had to drive another 7 miles away (that’s really far when it’s through town) to find the only “center” in our area. Then I realized that the only office supply store (we prefer Staples) was all the way in Springfield unless I wanted to backtrack to the house and a few miles past again. UGH!!!!  Thankfully the new printer I picked out, an Epson Artisan 837, was on sale. After I finally got home and we had some dinner Montana realized he needed batteries for his graphing calculator.  Lets just say that I spent WAY more time in my car than I wanted to on Saturday.

Sunday, Montana thought he had halfway solved the problem with our old printer so I spent 6 hours trying to get it to work. After I finally gave up again Montana spent an hour trying to hook it up through his computer. (He has this theory that PC does everything better than Apple. LOL. I have the opposite theory.)  By 9pm Sunday we still couldn’t get it to work so I plugged in the new printer.  When you consider the value of our time we paid for the more than twice the “cost” of the new printer. Bollocks.

Samson had a bummer weekend too because it rained all day Sunday and he had to stay inside. Sad puppy.

Sad Samson

Don’t worry! It’s not all doom and gloom around here. Things were looking up this week with some exciting new additions to the house! More on that soon!

Move-In weekend I dutifully took pictures of every room of the house along with the front and back yard. I figured since we were able to finish moving in on Saturday (two whole days earlier than planned!), we’d finish cleaning the carpet at the old condo on Sunday and start unpacking. And, since I’d planned to take off Monday already, we’d have a whole extra day in which we were sure to be mostly unpacked.

Then we realized we had poison ivy in the yard, so off to Lowes we went to get round-up.  Of course while we were there we also needed to get a lawnmower and weed-eater (there must be a technical name for that…) since the previous owners hadn’t kept the yard up since we put in our offer and we didn’t want to be “those people” on the block even if we had just moved in.  The boys ended up spending afternoon Sunday and all day Monday spraying the ivy and moving the lawn/weeds in the rest of the yard.  Samson played in his pool.

Men at Work: Montana & David

I decided to tackle the kitchen unpacking first. Too bad the kitchen needed a few hours of scrubbing grease off the cabinets and vacuuming crumbs and wiping down the inside of drawers. Did I say hours? My bad, what I meant was that I spent a good 8 hours on Monday, then every night Tuesday-Thursday as soon as I got home from work until Midnight scrubbing the kitchen. The grout was no joke black when I started.

Grout Before

First, I tried dish soap, baking soda and warm water, then 409, then bleach which I let sit for about a half hour. It’s no longer black, and I know its “clean” but it’s still not pretty or cream-colored like its supposed to be.

Grout After

Anyone have an amazing secret for cleaning grout that I haven’t tried?


This weekend was insane. I actually started writing all about it but along with the theme of the weekend “everything that can go wrong will” the page refreshed before I had saved it and its gone. Bwah. I’ll rewrite it soon!

…Unless you’re a stranger/wierdo/crazy in which case we’ll have a great door lock to keep you out. While we plan on changing out all the knobs throughout the house eventually we’re starting with the essentials first, the front door and carport door. Who knows how many randos have keys to our current locks? We considered calling a locksmith to just re-key the locks for us, but why pay for new keys when your hardware looks like this:


Old Front Door Lock


Old Carport Lock

Picking out locks turned out a bit harder than expected. Based on recent reviews by some of my fav bloggers such as Katie (Bower Power) and Michelle (Decor and the Dog) I was ready to walk into home depot, pick out some oil rubbed bronze Kwickset locks and be on my way.

We knew we needed a handleset for the front door and we planned on getting one of those fancy schmancy keypad deadbolts for the carport door. Keypad deadbolts are a bit more (around $50 – $80 more than a standard deadbolt) but its soooo nice to not have to take keys with you running or to be able to type your pin in when you forget your keys inside. When I bought my car 2 years ago I thought the keypad lock was a cute feature but have come to LOVE the extra convenience of being able to just punch my pin in the door when I can’t find my keys in the bottom of my slightly too large purse.

The first bump in the road came when the dear hubs voiced his distaste for the ORB finish. Say what? Apparently he prefers satin nickel. After spending a good half hour looking at Kwikset, Baldwin and Schlage locks I noticed that the ORB finish on the hardware across all brands seemed a little more expensive and there was an inconsistent finish across different types of knobs/levers that we will need to buy later on for the house. Satin Nickel wins.

The second bump was a bigger bummer. Although I really liked that you can easily re-key your own Kwikset locks, the inside half of their keypad deadbolt is…wait for it…. PLASTIC. What the heck???? No thank you! So instead of the slightly cheaper Kwikset deadbolt we decided to go with the Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt. This lock is solid metal and weighs over 5 pounds. Oh, did I mention it’s also a Consumer’s Digest Best Buy?

Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt

While the rest of the Kwikset locks and knobs looked like they were good quality, Schlage keys are bigger so the only way to have a single set of keys was to go with another Schlage lock for the front door. We settled on the Schlage Camelot Handleset for the outside.

Schlage Camelot Handleset

For the inside of the door (and eventually the rest of the house) we like the Schlage Flair Lever.


Schlage Flair Interior Handleset

Now we just have to wait for them to arrive!