Friday, November 30, 2018

The Master Bathroom

Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas around your home? We have yet to decorate for the season (even though we don't usually do much--just some natural greenery plus a few more little things). Soon though, I hope to share with you our farm house during the Holidays :)

On to the master bathroom tour! Perhaps the most "improved" room from what we had in our old house. We actually have a much larger amount of space, a much improved shower (no more slipping in the claw foot tub!), ample counter space and storage, and a lovely tile floor that won't warp if it gets wet.

We designed the master bathroom with a double sinks and plenty of cabinetry. It is glorious. The countertops are quartz, although I will say they look and feel just like marble! Sink faucets are brushed nickel and so is the cabinet hardware. The cabinets themselves are painted "rainwashed" by Sherwin Williams, a lovely shade of light blue-green. With so much white, I wanted a little pop of color. Two pendant light fixtures with clear glass shades illuminate the bathroom vanity.

We used a little antique ammunition box and enamel bowl to hold toiletries and a silver julep cup holds toothbrushes and the like. Our builder made these mirrors for us to match the trim throughout the rest of our house and painted them to match the vanity cabinets. Usually we have much more sitting out on the counter but of course I had to clean it up for the photo shoot :)

The floor is a simple porcelain white hex tile with grey grout. I really love it. We designed a walk-in shower with glass doors and white subway tile walls. The shower floor is a multi-colored "pebble" floor that is available at most tile shops now. The shower walls have grey grout and grey rounded corner shelves for toiletries and a little shower seat. One thing I am so glad we decided to include was the extra shower sprayer that detaches from the wall--we have used this so much and it also can double as an additional shower head and is perfect for cleaning.

A shaker-peg rack hangs on the wall for towels within easy reach of the shower.

Our "water closet" holds the toilet which is nice when we want a little privacy using the bathroom and others are using the sinks or getting ready.

The master bath is quite large because we waited on putting in a bathtub to save a bit on costs. Thus, we have a lot of extra space which we have utilized for several things since moving in--random storage, a little indoor space for growing our seedlings under the grow lights, and most recently, we are using it for a nursery for our newest addition due in late January.

Yes, you heard right--the nursery is in our master bathroom! A bit crazy, I know--but a crib and a changing table fit perfectly in there and with it being directly off (connected to) our bedroom, I'm hoping it will be a perfect spot for the baby for the first year. Poor third kid, haha!

We will eventually move the baby upstairs to its own bedroom at some point (not sure which one this will be), but for now this works for us without us having to go up and down stairs constantly. I'm planning on putting the rocker/glider in our bedroom for rocking to sleep and we have the baby's little armoire that was mine and that we used for the girls currently upstairs. Our parents joke that if the baby has a blow out or spit up mess, we can just walk with her right into the shower and hose her off. It will also be convenient to be able to wash my hands at the sink right there too!

One other thing--we have three large windows in our master bathroom that face the front yard. Although I hated to put window treatments on these beauties and I love all the light it brings, it was necessary to have some sort of treatment that we could pull down when we needed privacy and especially for the toilet area. I ordered simple, white Roman shades from and they turned out to be perfect for what we needed. Simple and neutral, they still let in a lot of light even when they are let down.

Hope you enjoyed the tour and stay tuned for more upcoming room tours!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Fall Garden Update

We had a fairly successful spring/summer garden for our first season at the new house--everything in our raised beds did pretty well. Our main failure was what we planted in the ground--the soil just was not prepped well enough for anything to grow very well even with tilling and some soil amendments added to break up the clay. We will just have to try some other techniques over the winter and early spring to break up the clay and amend it to make a healthier soil.

Earlier this fall we were still getting the last of our tomatoes, peppers, and okra. In October I pulled the last of the surviving tomatoes and okra out of the beds, leaving the peppers as they were still producing.

We planted various types of fall greens, radishes, and beets back in August but with all of the rain we have had I'm afraid the seeds may have been washed out (they never germinated). My other suspicion is that our seed is just too old. I tend to reuse extra seed for 2 or 3 years except for tomatoes and peppers. We recently just replanted collards, kale, onions, and parsnips so we will hope the greens will germinate and grow this time around!

Another garden failure this year were our pumpkins that we planted in July or early August. It seems that the squash borers got to them first and pretty much every vine eventually withered and died, leaving only a single fruit that actually made it despite dozens of seeds planted. It grew well, but could not seem to survive. Our winter squash, of which we only planted a few, also succumbed to the pesky little insects.

Our fall garlic has been planted and is thriving! It will be ready for harvesting in the late spring. We did not have the time to get garlic planted last year with just having moved in so I have really missed it this year!

Next on the fall planting list are turnips which down here in North Carolina are a crop that can grow during the winter. Another winter crop that loves the cold are rutabagas, but I've yet to try growing those. They also say collards love the cold weather down here and will survive and grow through a mild winter.

That's about it for our modest fall garden. Eventually I'd like to try some fall peas and maybe a few other veggies but this is enough for now :)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fall Living Room Tour

Even though this room is not "finished" the way I would like it, I thought I would go ahead and share it with you. Welcome to our living room--or the "great room" as our house plan referred to it.

The room is an open, two-story room that has very little wall space on which to place furniture. The rear of the room towards the screened-in porch actually functions more for traffic flow because of the opening into the kitchen, access from the master bedroom, and access to the screened-in porch, leaving a smaller space than we realized that is actually usable. But, nevertheless, we made the most of it with furniture arrangement by placing our sofa against the stairs and chairs around the periphery.

The focal point of the room is our beautiful fireplace and heart pine mantel--made from very old-growth, reclaimed, heart pine wood. We love the natural look and did not want to mar its beauty by staining or painting it. You can clearly see how tight the graining is in the old-growth heart pine. Our builders simply sealed it for us with no stain. The fireplace surround is thin brick that matches the brick used on our foundation and chimney, called "Oakton" from Triangle Brick.

The bookshelves and cabinets to either side of the fireplace as well as the overmantel designed with beadboard and trim to match the rest of our trim were built by our wonderful builders who are master craftsmen. They are painted "sea salt" by Sherwin Williams to match our kitchen cabinets. They are so simple, replicating the Shaker-inspired cabinetry and trim throughout the house.

I had a difficult time choosing a chandelier for this room--something simple with a farmhouse look but also large enough to fill up the tall ceilings and contrast with the white paint. We thought about pendants and so many different styles of light fixtures, but in the end I chose a classic oil-rubbed bronze chandelier with 9 lights that hangs from a generous chain from the ceiling.  We also have recessed lighting in the ceiling that illuminates the space really well.

For the stairway, we chose to continue the dark walnut stain with the standard red oak wood for the stair treads, stair railing, and the boxed newel post. We painted the stair risers white as well as the simple "pickets" in the railing. I love how our stairs turned out--very simple but still elegant.

We installed a gallery wall going up the stairway wall with mostly family photographs. We plan to expand this as we locate and frame more old family photos and take new ones :)  I did not systematically measure these but rather just by eye placed the frames offset from each other in a balanced way. 

The floor is standard oak hardwood flooring stained in dark walnut with a satin finish. We reused a rug from our previous living room but I'm considering getting something with a little more color in it for this space as a nice contrast to the light-colored furniture.

The space between the back doors to the screened-in porch functions as a traffic flow area, with areas to travel from the living room to kitchen, master bedroom to living room and kitchen, porch to living room and kitchen. and from all of the above-mentioned spaces to the upstairs. It gives the space a nice open, airy feel but it is also a large amount of "wasted" space. We have my husband's keyboard in this space but can't really put any other furniture here without crowding it too much.

All of the furniture here is what we had in our old house--nothing new. If you have any questions about specific pieces--just shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'm happy to give you the details!

Currently we have a canvas of a family photo sitting above the fireplace mantel but eventually we would like to frame some artwork for the space that goes along with much of the Shaker-influenced design choices we made for our house. Our thought is to either frame a print or paint ourselves a "Shaker Tree of Life." This emblem is found all over the former shaker communities that are now historic villages. We especially love visiting Shakertown, or the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky.

Hope you enjoyed our fall tour of the living room and stay tuned for more room tours of the new house!  I don't know about you but I am LOVING this cooler weather.  We have already had a couple of fires in our fireplace :)