It’s Like We Were Never Here

Our house is empty on the two main floors.  Well, empty minus the two flooring guys and their massive sanders.

We got everything moved out this weekend.  Here’s what it looks like.                                   Image


The dogs are convinced we’re moving and have been especially concerned with being right under foot, which is tricky when you’re trying to carry a bunch of stuff up and down stairs. We keep re-assuring them that everything is fine and we’re not going to live in a van down by the river.

Of course, our house isn’t completely empty.  There’s the armoire we’ve shoved in the bathroom.                                                                                                                                 Image

And well, the sun room…                                                                                                          Image

The garage…                                                                                                                            Image

And of course, the basement, which will be our home for a week after we are allowed back in on Friday.  We’re at a hotel until then.                                                                                 Image

But what about the kitchen?  After we removed the old construction felt paper, this is what we were looking at.                                                                                                                   Image

We bought a roll of new construction felt paper and put it down last Thursday.  Then the floor guys came Friday morning and installed the new oak floor.                                             IMG_0807

Isn’t she purdy?  We can’t wait to see it all stained and sealed.  It only took them about three hours to install and we could walk on it all weekend, we just obviously wanted to avoid getting it wet or overly dirty.

This morning the floor guys showed up to start sanding.  But before the got to work, they sanded down a strip in the living/dining room and showed us some stain samples.             IMG_0817

Sorry about what looks like water spots on the photo above, it is actually dust particles in the air being caught by the flash.  Once the wood was bare, they showed us four samples.IMG_0823v2

It was definitely a Goldilocks moment as we pondered which stain was “juuust riiiight” for us.  We immediately ruled out English Chestnut as being too red.  Soon after we agreed that Provincial was a little too red as well.  That left Dark Walnut and Jacobean as our contenders.  Mark has liked Jacobean from the beginning, but I wanted something a little warmer.  To Mark, the Dark Walnut and the Jacobean looked about the same, but to me the Dark Walnut seems a bit warmer without compromising on depth of color and without any unwanted red tones.  Since he couldn’t see this difference he said I could choose so Dark Walnut it is!

We are so excited to see our choice on the whole floor, but there’s quite a bit of sanding to do first.  The floor guys said that the will most likely start staining tomorrow afternoon. Wahoo!

A Look Ahead

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my mind (and my mouth) are always going a million miles a minute.  My ability to “be in the now” is pretty much nonexistent.  I am so incredibly excited about what we’re doing in the sun room and I am thrilled that we’re finally refinishing our wood floors and running them into the kitchen.

Unfortunately, these two enormous projects are not enough for my unquiet mind.  I’ve already spent a great deal of time thinking about what I have been calling our “winter” projects.  I have set these aside for the winter because they are all indoor projects.  I don’t go outside in winter.  Period.  Winter is mean.

The good news for Mark is that these projects are pretty much decoration only.  No hard labor.  Mark has worked so hard this spring and summer, he deserves a break and a chance to do other things like tinker with motorcycles or shoot skeet or whatever he wants.

But for me, I have big plans for our stairwell and upstairs.  The stairwell currently looks like this.                                                                                                                                            Image                                                                  The walls are beige and that’s about all that’s going on.  This is what you see right in front of you when you walk in the front door so I would like to make it more visually interesting.  I am planning on doing a frame collage to start and want to also explore a board and batten detail.  This part would most likely mean help from Mark so it may not happen this winter, but before I do anything, I am going to paint.

This beige color (Benjamin Moore’s “Berber White” in half tint) covers the walls in both bedrooms as well as the stair well. It’s a nice, neutral color but I am so in love with all the grey that I am seeing in homes lately, that I want to give it a try.  Here’s what I am envisioning.                                                                                                                         Image

I would like to carry this light, silver/grey color into the master bedroom as well.  Here’s the mood board I am working on for in there.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Image

In the guest bedroom, I am going for a more traditional look.  There’s both an antique trunk and armoire in there and the bedding is a pretty floral.   Here’s a current photo.                     Image

I would really like to do a burlap headboard so I am thinking of painting the walls a pale greyish green and adding this ruffle curtain to the window.                                                     Image

So that’s the plan for the winter.  I am going to start with finding the right grey and painting the stairwell, upstairs hallway, and master bedroom.  Then I am going to start on my frame collage project.  From there I think I am going to head into the guest room since I am really close to “finishing” that room with some new paint and window treatments.  Last, but not least I am hoping to start tackling the master bedroom.  There’s a good chance that I don’t get to this as it’s a big project and I don’t know if I will have the time or the money before spring rolls around, but we’ll see.  

As for the here and now, we’re going to use the two upcoming weekends of house disarray to do some outdoor projects. Mark is going to install the flashing and gutters to the outside of the sun room and I am going to dig up the garden beds that we are going to relocate and remove.  Then we are going to do some lawn care before the leaves start dropping.  But first, we’ve got some furniture to move!

Have a great rest of your week and weekend. I will be back next week with a recap of the kitchen floor install and our outdoor pursuits!

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

This weekend Mark and I started readying the house for our big floor face lift.  The flooring guys arrived bright and early Saturday morning with our new red oak for the kitchen.  They wanted to drop it off a week early so that the wood would have time to acclimate to our house before installation.  This cuts down on the amount of swelling/shrinkage you’ll experience after the wood is installed and makes for a better floor.

Once they left, we got to work on pulling up the existing kitchen floor which looked like this when we started.Image

This layer of vinyl tile flooring came right up with almost no issues, exposing this lovely yellow layer.


It was when we started to take up this layer that things started to get interesting.  It appears that this yellow layer was glued right to the original layer of vinyl sheet which was red and green.  (Christmas year round! I know.)  Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of the original tile as the yellow layer was stuck so well it wouldn’t come off as a separate layer.

As we were trying to pry the two layers of vinyl up, we realized that they were glued to a layer of 5/8″ plywood.


Not only was this a surprise, but we also quickly realized that this plywood was original and ran under the kitchen cabinets. Ruh roh.  We needed a way to cut the plywood out from around the bottom of the cabinets.  I smell a new tool.

Instead of trying to pry up the vinyl layers from the plywood, we used a circular saw (pictured above) to cut just through the vinyl and plywood so that we could remove it in chunks.                                                                            Image

We were able to get most of the floor up that way, but obviously we ran into trouble as we got near the cabinets.  Since you can’t use a circular saw in tight spaces, we headed off to Home Depot to pick up a cordless multi-tool. This tool is built precisely for what we needed. The little blade quivers back and forth ever so slightly so that you can cut down into the floor without harming the cabinet around it.                                                                                                                                                 Image

Mark has actually been wanting this tool for awhile and he was very impressed with the job that it did.  Once he had cut around the cabinets and deep enough into the floor, he used a crow bar to release and remove each panel of flooring.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Image

This was a pretty big job. On Saturday we were able to remove the top layer of vinyl and the two layers attached to the plywood from everywhere except near the cabinets.  That took about four hours.  Then on Sunday, it took another six hours to remove the area around the cabinets.  Much of this was downtime while the battery for the tool re-charged since we were cheap and only bought one.  The tool itself was $80.00, the battery was $50.00, and the battery charger was $60.00 so it wasn’t an inexpensive purchase, but we really didn’t have another choice.  Once all the plywood was removed, we were left with this.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Image

What you’re seeing in the photo above is 65 year old construction felt paper.  What that paper is covering is wood planks of varying widths from 3″ to 8″ running diagonally over the floor joists.                                                        Image

See the space in between each of these planks?  That’s a clear view to the basement below.  Hi basement!  Apparently in 1948, standard building procedure was to install your flooring choice right over top of these paper covered diagonal planks.  I know this because not only was the vinyl kitchen floor this way, but the hardwood floor as well. Once we got the layer of plywood up, the floor in the kitchen was exactly the level it needs to be to install the new hardwoods.                                  Image

As you can see in the photo below when you put a piece of the new wood on top of the current floor it is the same height as the old floor.  If we were to install a modern sub floor over the existing diagonal planks, the floor in the kitchen would be igher than the existing hardwoods.  And that’s not what we want.                                                                                Image

So we’re going to replace the old construction felt paper with new and pray that the flooring people will not blink at the lack of sub floor and be cool with installing our new wood floor right over what’s there now.  If not, we will have to install the new floor ourselves next weekend.

They don’t make them like they used to I tell ya.  In this instance I don’t know it that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I guess we will have to wait and see.  Mark is going to nail down the diagonal planks where there are currently squeaks in the floor and hopefully it will feel just as solid under foot as the rest of the house.  And hopefully the visual of being able to see into the basement from the kitchen above will fade away over time.

So that’s how our weekend went.  This week we’re moving more stuff in preparation for the floors as well.  With the kitchen out of commission, I am off cooks duty for a little while.  I actually miss it!

A House In The Village

My parents recently put their house on the market.


I lived in this house from 11 to 18 years old.  It was such a fun house to be a kid in because it had a pool, basketball court, and a billiards table.                                                                                                             Image


My parents were always willing to let us have friends over so I have alot of memories of playing and growing up in that house.  This is the kitchen, isn’t it amazing?  Alot of great food has been made in here.


However, as empty-nesters, my parents simply don’t need that much space anymore so it’s time for the house to be sold to someone who will fill it up with kids and fun again.

This was my bedroom growing up.  Back in the day it was peach and seafoam green with wall paper.  This is much better no?


And this is the bathroom that I shared with my brother.  It’s also been updated since we lived there.  I love the beachy feel.  I think it’s perfect for kids.                                                                                                    Image

Many of you have been to this house and have fond memories of it yourself.  It is a great place for friends and family to gather and I firmly believe that all the good vibes that live in the walls will stay with the house when my parents leave.

Julia over at Hooked on Houses does a regular feature where she features reader’s houses who are currently for sale all over the world.  I submitted my parent’s house to be included in her most-recent roundup and I was so happy to see that she did.

There’s alot of great houses in this roundup so check it out to see what your money can get you in different areas.  And if you’re interested in more info on my parent’s pad, here’s a link to the redfin listing.  Once my parents get their house sold, they are planning to buy a much smaller home in the same area and are looking forward to putting their stamp on a new space as well.  I am excited for them and will definitely chronicle their adventures here on the blog as well.

As for what’s going on at our house.  We pulled up the kitchen floor over the weekend and found some interesting things.  I will have a full recap on that tomorrow.  Spoiler Alert: it involves the purchase of a new tool Mark is really loving.  We’re getting really excited for our floor adventure!

More About The Floor

As far as we can tell the wood floors in our house have never been refinished.  There are nail holes in places which indicate that they were probably covered with carpet for a number of years.  When we moved in, they still looked like they were in pretty good shape. Here’s a picture of the living/dining room from the real estate listing.                               Living Dining Before                After living in the house for almost three years with two big dogs, however, the shiny top layer of polyurethane is almost completely gone.  In fact, there are places where the wood is completely bare so it was time to act before we did any damage that we couldn’t repair.

As I mentioned in my last post, we originally got a quote for just sanding, staining, and refinishing the existing hardwood floors which is about 775 sq. ft. and 13 stairs. The company we are going with came in at just shy of three grand for that work.  We got one quote that was more and one quote that was less, but we liked these folks the best and they seemed to be the easiest to work with.

In addition to sanding and staining, the quote included a layer of sealant and three layers of polyurethane.  Since we are hard on our floors, we opted to go with the top of the line poly called Bona Traffic.  From what I have read, using the “Traffic” grade poly should make the floors last about three times as long than if we used their next grade down Bona Mega.  I am hoping the extra cost is worth it.

Then we/I decided to see how much extra it would cost to install matching oak hardwood in the 10 x 10 kitchen.  So I had the same company come back out and give me a quote for that.  It came in at just over $1,100 for the wood and the work.  So all told, we’re expecting the job to run just about $4,000 for about 875 sq. ft. of space.

We know our floor is oak, but there seems to be some uncertainty about whether it is white oak or red oak.  We think it is red oak, but the flooring people thought it was white so they are coming out this weekend to test it to be sure.  Then they will leave the new wood for the kitchen here with us so that it has a week to acclimate before they begin installing it a week from today.

Speaking of installation, we’ve got a bit of work to do this weekend to prepare for that.  In order to save some money, Mark and I will be ripping up the old kitchen floor ourselves and installing sub floor so that the floor guys can just put down new wood floor without any extra work because as you know, work means time and time means money.

After the new wood floors in the kitchen are installed next Friday, Mark and I will then have the weekend to ready the rest of the house for sanding and staining.  This basically means packing up almost everything and relocating it to the sun room, garage, or basement.  We are even going to try and stick one particularly unwieldy armoire in the bathroom so we don’t have to bring it down the stairs.

Then on Monday, the floor guys will start sanding the floors down to their bare wood, which shouldn’t take too long in some spots, before staining and re-sealing it.  It will take 5 days for the whole process and during that time we really can’t be in the house so we will be at a hotel.  Then even once we move back in on Friday, we have to stay off the floors as much as possible for another week.  That means no furniture or puppie paws so we will be relegated to the basement and the yard.  Hopefully the weather is nice.  Once two full weeks has passed, we can start to move our things back in.  It’s going to be a rough two weeks, but I think it will be worth it.

Mark and I have been considering stain colors for about 8 months now.  We’ve gotten samples of several minwax stains but we don’t love any of them with all our hearts so we’re hoping they can come up with a custom stain choice that will be juuust riiiight.

First we tried Minwax “Early American”, and we really liked it.  We actually sanded Mark’s closet and put it down so we could see it on more than just one piece of wood.  But after living with it for a month or so we decided that it wasn’t all that different from the color we have now and if we’re going to go through the effort to re-finish the floors we should choose something more dramatic.

Next we tried the much darker “Jacobean” and again, at first we thought it might be our winner, winner chicken dinner.  But upon further examination, we began to think that while we liked the darker tone, the color read a little too cool/ash for us.

Here’s a picture of the current living/dining room mocked up to show what color we are hoping to achieve.                                                                                    IMG_0274                                                      There’s a little bit more red in this photos than we would ideally like, but you can see what we are leaning towards.  Obviously we will show you where we really end up.

So that’s some more of the nitty gritty on our floor re-do.  I will have photos next week of the kitchen floor excavation.  Have a great weekend everyone!

We’re Getting Big Kid Floors!

WARNING – This is a long post where I talk about my feelings.  Also, no photos.

I am so excited to tell you guys that we are finally going to have our hardwood floors re-finished!  They need it man, but since the top two levels of the house are entirely hardwood (except the bathrooms and kitchen, more on that in a minute,) it is an expensive job.  We’ve been saving our pennies for quite some time for both this and the sun room reno and last spring we decided that rather than finish the bar area in the sun room this fall, we would use that money to re-do the floors.  The joke is on us really because it’s fall and we’re no where near ready to install the bar area even if our pockets were full of hundred dolla billz.

Originally, our plan was to just have our existing hardwood floors sanded, stained, and refinished.  Unfortunately, there is no hardwood under the vinyl tiles in the kitchen so whatever we decide to do in the kitchen will require new materials.

When we started planning our sun room renovation.  I envisioned the same tile floor running both in the sun room and in the kitchen.  While they are separated by a door and a step down, I thought it would bring the two rooms together, help make the sun room feel less like an addition, and make the whole ground floor feel bigger.  

Then Mark and I had a come to Jesus where he told me that it wasn’t practical given the state of our sun room’s floor joists and our bank account to tile the sun room floor.  Since tile is out for the sun room, it’s likely we’ll end up with some type of wood out there as well (if we don’t just leave the painted sub floor until the end of time because we love it so much and/or are lazy.)  So since I am already essentially relegated to a wood kitchen floor one way or another, I figure I might as well go with the same oak hardwood that’s on the rest of the level to which the kitchen is open.

I am personally not a huge fan of hardwood in the kitchen.  Not for looks, mind you.  I love the way warm hardwood floors look with light cabinets.  But I don’t think it is as practical a choice as tile for someone who uses their kitchen alot like I do.  My mom had oak hardwood in her kitchen when they first built their house and it didn’t hold up very well to four people and lots of dogs.  She replaced it with a beautiful travertine tile a few years ago and I love the look and the practicality.

But despite my feelings, I’m going to have hardwood in my kitchen because it’s more important to me to have consistent flooring than to have tile in just the kitchen.  Again, it’s not that I don’t like the way hardwood looks in a kitchen, I am just worried about wear and tear and upkeep.  But a big key to making a small house look bigger is not to chop rooms up with different colors and flooring so in the end I think I am making the right choice.

The good news is my kitchen is and will always be 100 sq. ft. so it is not an astronomical expense if the hardwood need a little TLC in a few years or if/when we want to do something besides sub floor in the sun room, we could consider running it into to kitchen if I’m not in love with the hardwoods at that point.

So that’s how we’ve gotten to where we are.  I could go on and on about our “big kid” floors including cost, timeline, stain choices, etc., but I think I’ve poured my heart out to you enough for one day.

One last thing before I go.  Today is my mom’s birthday.  She’s the best mom in the world. Ask anyone, they will tell you that.  Happy Birthday Mom!  

Old Timey Movie Night

Mark has been wanting to have “movie night” in the back yard for a long time now.  And with his sister and her boyfriend visiting from Hawaii, we decided to have it this past weekend.  We sent out e-invites and asked people to vote for their choice of movies from these five selections: Mr. Smith Goes To WashingtonCitizen KaneSunset BoulevardThe Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Psycho.  In the end Psycho edged out The Treasure of Sierra Madre by a hair.

Saturday night felt like fall here with the lows dipping into the 50s.  On the menu were The Pioneer Woman’s Whiskey BBQ Sliders, Spicy Chicken Legs, and a popcorn bar with your choice of kettle corn, butter and sea salt, and siracha lime sesame.  I also made a large batch of my favorite sangria.                                                                              Image


Mark, his brother and his sister’s boyfriend made a movie screen out of a queen size flat sheet and some lumber.  As usual, they did a really great job.Image



We set up corn hole and invited guests to arrive about an hour before sunset so they could play a game or two and eat before it got dark.                                                                   Image


Image                     Me with my sisters in law Carrie and Andrea.

Once it got dark, we brought out some hot cider, desserts, and some movie candy and everyone settled in for the main event.  I put a bunch of throw blankets in an old trunk so that people could bundle up if they were cold.                                                      Image

Here is everyone getting settled in for the movie.                                                     Image

And here is our family.                                                                                                              Image

We had such a good time putting this event on.  It had a little something for everyone and the weather could not have been better.  Also Psycho was a good choice as it’s not very long and very old timey.  The sheet screen worked great and we will definitely do it again!

Our house guests left this morning to go back to the islands so we’re free to start back up on the sun room.  But we’ve got another big project just around the corner.  I will be back tomorrow to tell you about it!

Bye Bye Bi-Fold

Want to know a fun little fact about our house?  Sure, you do.  The original bathrooms are T-I-N-Y.  Tiny, y’all.  They are so small that I once hit my cheek on the towel rack while trying to sit down on the toilet in the powder room.  I’ve always feared doing this and Mark always laughed and told me it would never happen.  Well.It.Did.  In our “master” bathroom (and the word “master” has never been used more loosely), you can almost reach the medicine cabinet from inside the shower.  Not the kind of convenience you’re looking for.

If my metaphors aren’t enough for you, here’s some cold hard numbers.  Total square footage for the two original bathrooms…a stunningly sparse 50 sq. ft.  So we love having a third bathroom in the basement that alone is 56 sq. ft.  While the bathroom is larger than the other two combined, it still hadn’t been renovated in 20+ years, so it needed some help.  Here’s what it looked like when we bought the house.                                                    Image                                                        Not awful, but not great.  You can’t really see it here, but the walls we covered in wallpaper that was literally peeling itself off, the faucet was old and leaky, and those lights above the mirror were way too bright.  So about two years ago, we gave this guy a pretty decent face lift.                                                                                     Image

This picture has terrible lighting, but if you look closely you can see that we painted the door and vanity a deep, chocolate brown, stripped the wall paper and painted the walls cream, hung a new shower curtain and bath rugs and installed a new sink, mirror, and light fixture.  We added hardware to the vanity and replaced the electrical covers with matched brushed nickel ones.  Here’s a better shot of another angle.                                   Image                    This project was long before the blog, so I didn’t keep track of what we spent, but it wasn’t much.  We went with a pretty cheap sink and light fixture from Lowe’s.   I would guess we spent between $300-$400 all told.  I got the shower curtain from Sears of all places and the bath accessories are from Target.

There were two things that this reno didn’t tackle.  The blue tile floors and the bi-fold doors that lead to the laundry room. The tile (whilst not my fave) is in ok shape.  There’s one tile right in the center of the room that is crooked and there’s no way not to notice it every time you’re in there, but that’s no reason to rip up an entire floor.  Someday, I do plan on doing that, but my budget at the time and right doesn’t have room for a tile job, so the blue tile stays for now.

The bi-fold doors, I have less of an excuse.  I really just didn’t know what to do there.  I mean these suckers are ugly.                                                                                          bifold Doors                                                                                                                      The laundry room, however, has a window so for privacy reasons, there needs to be a divider between the two spaces.  One day recently, I decided that curtains were the way to go.  I don’t know why I struggled so much with this because when I thought about it, curtains made perfect sense.  When the actual bathroom isn’t in use they can be opened to let sunlight into the bathroom and basement and when the bathroom is in use, they are easy to close.  I searched around a bit and decided that these curtains from Pier One would be perfect.  Because I am a Pier One Platinum card holder and my birthday was last month, I got an additional 20% off, bringing my total for two curtains to about $50.00.  I picked up a tension rod at target and got to hangin’.                                                              Image                                                         Whaddya think?  Better right?  They are the same tones that are in the shower curtain, but I think the soft horizontal cursive script is a nice contrast to the structured vertical stripes.  Here’s a shot of the whole room.Image                                      I think we’ve come a long way from here.                                                                                 Image                                                        One day we’ll re-tile the floor and replace that hideous ceiling light, but we’re all about baby steps around here.  It’s all our minds and pocketbooks can take!

Happy Friday everyone.  We still have family in town through the weekend, so the sun room continues to stay “as is” for now.  I will be back next week with a fun post about a little party we’re throwing this weekend as well as some other good stuff.

Getting on Base(board)

After hosting family over the long weekend, Mark was back at it last week sanding and installing baseboard.  First he sanded each of the ceiling beams.  It took him three hours.  I honestly have no idea how he sanded (over his head, mind you) for three hours, he’s my hero.  At this point, we’re just about done sanding, we’ve hit all the trim, the beams, and even some spots on the ceiling that we missed the first time.  We’ll do one last look-over before we start to prime for anything we’ve missed, but we’re getting close to being done with the sanding of the walls and ceiling.  Of course, we still have to sand the floor, but that’s another issue for another day.

Let’s move on to baseboard, shall we?  We are using 4 1/4″ baseboard from Home Depot. It’s already primed so we can just paint it when we get to that step.

Since the room is longer than any one piece of baseboard, the best thing to do is to cut the end of the boards at a 45 degree angle so that they can be joined together with a flush seam.                                                                                                       Image


This technique also works for the corner as well.Image

Once the board is in place, Mark simply nailed it to the bead board using brad nails and his nail gun.                                                                                                      IMG_0685

But the bead board is only on two of the walls, the other two walls are brick.  So on these walls, Mark glued the board to the brick using liquid nails and then used some rarely never used hand weights to apply pressure to the boards while they were drying.Image

Here’s what the window wall looks like with the baseboard.IMG_0687

IMG_0689            After all the baseboard had been nail/glued down, it was time to caulk.  Mark caulked around each piece of window trim, using this kind of caulk.                                                    IMG_0697                  The key to this job is a steady stream of sealant and keeping the tip up against the corner of the trim so that you get a nice, neat line.  Once the line has been drawn, you dip your finger in a little bit of water….                                                                                             IMG_0698                                                             And then drag your finger along the line of caulk to flatten and smooth it out.IMG_0699                                                                    Repeat this process with every seam to ensure a water tight room.

So that’s where we are with the sun room.  We’re pretty much ready for paint, but we’re at a halt again with more family in town the rest of this week.


Living Aloha

A while back, after we had lived with our new teal bookshelves for awhile, I started to think seriously about what to do with the space above the window.

At first I thought about a wall quote, but I decided that I needed something more three dimensional.  Plus, none of the more “generic” quotes that I saw really spoke to me. Then I considered thrifting some old books, but I wanted something bright and white and while I guess I could I have tried spraying the spines of the books with white spray paint, it wasn’t really jiving with me.

Then, one day, there it was.  On an end shelf clearance rack at Target, I saw these.Image                                                          The link above is for a blue one, but the ones I got are the color in the photo above.  And yes, they were on clearance for 50% off.  So I grabbed two (for the price of one bitches!) and got the heck out of there before someone stopped me.

Ok, I will back up.

Mark and I miss Hawaii every day.  To us, it truly is paradise and it’s “home” in our hearts.  I love to find ways to bring the aloha spirit into my everyday life here in Virginia as whenever I think about Hawaii, I feel warm inside.  Corny, I know, but true.  Some of you may know that the pineapple has long been a symbol of hospitality.  This is especially true in Hawaii and when I saw these suckers at Target, practically begging me to take them home, I suddenly had an inspiration for that long, narrow shelf.

As soon as I got home, I jumped on Hobby Lobby’s website and checked out their options for wall letters.  The height of that shelf is 13″ so I needed to find some wall letters that were no taller than a foot.  These guys fit the bill.  And on sale for $4 a pop, I bought five for about $20.

When they arrived, I had Mark make little wooden triangles with scrap wood that would allow the letters to stand up on their own.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Image

Image                                                          The letters came in black and we painted the support triangles black so that they would be hard to notice on the shelf, but after they dried, we actually taped them off and spray painted the letters white.                                                                                                          Image

Once the letters were dry, it was time for the big reveal.  Would my little hair brained idea, hatched in the aisles of Target, pan out or would Mark mock me endlessly for my poor choices?  Well, what do you think?Image                    Do you love it?  We do.  We really do.  You can see these bookshelves from the front door, so we love that the decor there welcomes people in and let’s them know that the “aloha spirit” of Hawaii is alive and well in this 1948 cottage in Northern Virginia.  And even if no one else thinks this, I do and that’s more than enough for me.Image

So there you have it.  The cost of the project was just about $50 ($25 for the pineapples, $20 for the letters, and $5 for a can of white spray paint.)  Obviously, if Hawaiian lingo isn’t your jam, there’s lots of other options you could explore.  Find a decor piece that speaks to you and then pick a word or phrase that corresponds with it.  You could use cowboy hats and the phrase “Hey Y’All!” or peace signs and the word “PEACE.” And pretty much anything goes with the word “LOVE.”  Wall letters come in various heights so you can find a size that fits with your space.  For us, pineapples with the word “ALOHA” says exactly what we want our house to say to visitors, “come in, you’re always welcome here.”

Aloha, y’all!