3 November 2017
Soon after June was born and we realized how much time we’d be spending on the floor for the foreseeable future, a new rug for our living room moved to the top of our “to buy” list. While I loved the look of our old rug, it was scratchy and thin (and I even predicted at the time we would want to replace it when a kiddo came along!).
For its replacement, we wanted something soft and plush. I’ve also always loved the look of Turkish/Persian/Oriental-style rugs, vintage or otherwise, so that was our top choice. (Plus, all those colors can more easily hide spills!) These were a few of the photos that inspired me:
Glitter Guide, My Domaine, My Domaine, Style At Home, Traditional Home
I logged several weeks of searching my usual haunts – like esalerugs, where I’ve had good luck before – but everything in the size we wanted (9×12) was absurdly out of our price range. Then, I stumbled upon the Betty rug on One Kings Lane, and couldn’t believe my eyes. While the colors weren’t perfect, the price absolutely was – $575 + shipping and taxes (our total ended up right at $650). Since we were able to sell our old rug for $100, our net price was just over $500, which I think is incredible!
We eagerly rolled the rug out when it arrived a few days later and… meh. I felt it was way more orange and brown in person than it had appeared in the online photo, and the blue was more steely than aqua. On the plus side, the plushness was just what we were hoping for, the size was right, and the price, of course, was excellent.
I debated for several days whether to return it and try again, but in the end, I didn’t think I could find anything I’d like better even close to that price and decided I just needed to accept it and move on.
We’ve now had it for about a year and a half, and I still feel about the same way, ha! I wish it had more pink instead of orange, that the blue was brighter, and that there was less brown. (My dream rug is pretty much this one, but at six times the price of our current rug, it’s not happening unless the CWD crew gives it to me for free :)) But it’s served us very well, and if I ever find a reasonably-priced rug I like better, I know I’ll be able to get a good resale price on this one. Plus, we’ve gotten lots of nice compliments on it from visitors, and that’s always appreciated :)
Oh rugs… they are so hard! Any pieces in your home you’re currently living with because the price is right? :)
P.S. If you want to snag our rug for yourself, it’s currently on OKL for only $499, which is less than we paid!! Such a steal!
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7 April 2017
John and I could not be more excited about our backyard project being underway! It’s still sometimes hard to believe it’s actually happening, because we’ve been talking about it for so long with no action!! But it’s real, it’s happening, and sooner than not the landscape folks will have packed up and we’ll be enjoying an entirely new backyard. I thought I’d share a little about our plans and inspiration, if you’re curious!
We had many months to plan and dream about what we’d like to include in our backyard, and here’s the wish list we came up with:
— more privacy
— more usable, flat lawn space
— L-shaped stairs leading down from the house, good for perching
— a pergola
— a flagstone patio with space for a dining table and fire pit
— string lights!
We are happily getting all of this, and we are so grateful! Here’s a little more detail about the major components of our plan:
— Remove the deck. In addition to liking the look of a patio more than a deck, we felt that dropping our seating area down three feet, to ground level, would help with privacy – because instead of having our heads above fence-level when seated, they would be below, so we wouldn’t constantly be looking into our neighbors’ yards.
— Remove two trees and level/grade the lawn. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE trees. Probably more than most people. Just ask John – I’m always grumbling about how the builders around here clear cut for new neighborhoods. But, in order to grade our lawn and maximize the small amount of space we have to work with, the trees had to go. Grading will also really help with privacy.
— Build a retaining wall. To deal with the differential created by grading our lawn, we’ll build a curving retaining wall along our back fence. Eventually it will be planted with lovely flowers and shrubs, but those will probably be added in over time as the budget allows.
— Add a patio. The deck will be replaced with a natural flagstone patio with space for dining, our grill, and a small fire pit. We were told flagstone was out of our budget by many landscaping companies, and I’m so grateful that we finally found the company we eventually hired!
— Add stairs and a walkway. Though we could have gone with simple wooden stairs down from the two doors leading to our backyard, I really wanted to make the stairs a focal point. They’ll also be made from flagstone, and should be an inviting place for people to perch. I can imagine friends lounging on them while hot dogs are grilling nearby and kids are playing on the lawn, which makes me so happy! A walkway will lead from the patio to our gate.
— Build a pergola. As a final privacy measure, we’ll be adding an airy, wooden screen on one side of the patio on which we can grow jasmine or climbing roses. It will also give us something to string lights to and from, a major priority! :)
And now, for a few inspiration pictures…
These images all helped inspire my vision for our stairs. I love how wide and welcoming they each are! And that Lucy Cuneo porch photo, top right… that’s the dream right there. Hoping to add lots of potted plants to our steps, too!
I had to include the backyard of our friends Meredith and Michael (middle right) – it’s always been one of my favorites!
I’m sure our backyard will not look nearly as good as any of these lovely spots, especially before our plants grow in, but these images all inspired me in some way – either the size of the lawn, or the materials used, or the shape of the space. Many of these have much larger pergolas than we’ll have, but I do love that look!
Over time, we hope to add lots of plantings for a lush, green look. I would love to include hostas, Confederate jasmine, climbing roses (maybe “Super Fairy”), David Austen roses, mock orange, and hydrangea! We’re also keeping our vegetable garden, and I’d love to find a spot to add more blueberry bushes.
So that’s our plan! So far, the deck and trees have been removed, the yard is partially graded, and the steps are partially constructed. We have our fingers crossed everything will be finished by the end of April, which would give us a few weeks to enjoy before it gets super hot out, haha!
Would y’all be interested in seeing in-progress shots, or should the next post be the reveal? Let me know what you think! :)
30 March 2017
We love many things about our home, but the backyard has never been one of them. It’s small, sloped, exposed, littered with acorns and sweet gum balls, and not receptive to our efforts at grass growing. For the last four years we’ve hardly spent any time out there, preferring to hang on our front porch (we mostly just went around back to tend the vegetable garden and grill).
We can’t change the size of our yard, but we’ve always hoped to do a major renovation to make it work a lot harder for us. With June’s arrival, it seemed like the time was right, so I spent part of my maternity leave getting quotes and meeting with landscape folks. It was shockingly hard to get people to respond to our calls and emails! (I was like, do you KNOW how much money I’m trying to give you??)
Speaking of so much money… a few quotes did come back, and they were higher than we were anticipating. We had saved up a good amount, but just didn’t feel comfortable moving forward. So, we tabled the project last spring.
Then, early this year, we received an unexpected and generous gift from a family member. It wasn’t large enough to, say, make a huge difference in our mortgage (and we already feel good about our progress and plan there), but it was enough to make our backyard project a reality. We were SO excited to start the ball rolling again, and the best part is that though the gift was given with no strings attached, I think the giver would be very excited about where it’s going, because kids being outside is something near and dear to her heart.
As it is to ours. I’ll share more about our plans in my next post, but for now, I wanted to show y’all the before photos!
Mmmmm… so lovely :) Back with more soon!
P.S. A crane is coming to remove two of the trees today!! Stay tuned to Instagram Stories for an update.
21 March 2017
Are you all planning to watch the new HGTV series Home Town tonight? It’s at 10 EST, right after Fixer Upper – and if you love Fixer Upper, you probably will love Home Town! They both have a sweet, talented, smart, very-much-in-love couple at the center; small town coziness; fun house transformations; and a Southern heartbeat. Plus, Erin from Home Town wrote my favorite Southern Newlywed interview ever, and has been one of my favorite blogs to read for a few years. (She writes a short note sharing the best thing that happened that day, every day – admirable!) It has been so fun to see the show develop on her blog, from the first covert mentions (before they could even talk about what was going on but it was obvious something was up), to the pilot’s debut last year, to the past few weeks building up to the premier. They are an easy couple to root for and it has been so fun to do so!
We also have some of Erin’s original art hanging in our home! Before she became an HGTV star, she was a wedding and social stationer. Though she’s now using her drawing and watercolor skills to help Laurel-ites imagine home renovation possibilities, she used to create house portraits for people like me! She drew both of our family cottages (that’s one of them under her pen, up there), and they hang proudly in our main room. Since we live far away from Maine, I love walking by their sweet facades every day. I’ll always be grateful for her talent in bringing them to life!
Join me in supporting this sweet Southern couple tonight, friends? 10pm EST – I’ll see you there!
P.S. I am going to Laurel next month – counting down the days!!