Five Year House Tour

In honor of our sweet little 60’s ranch and five tumultuous years together, I’m sharing a whole house tour! I’ve never shared the whole place at once, mostly because we’ve been in constant project mode since moving in. But this summer, just shy of 5 years of owning it, our entire home was shot for a magazine (upcoming, so much fun!) and it really pushed us to get our crap together and tie up a bunch of loose ends we’d been putting off. Stuff like baseboards. TV cords. General purging. And for the first time ever the house can pass as kind of done-ish! Our list of future improvements remains long, of course, but I’m thankful to finally be at an enjoyable, livable spot in this slow renovation.

To those of you plugging away at your homes too, I hope this encourages you to stay in the long game and put in the work and be hesitant to gut charming old houses and to think outside the box for furnishings and to most importantly be your true weird selves! We’ll all make our house dreams come true one day! (Me, with soooo much paint in my hair.)

On with the tour…I didn’t include our new exterior paint job, which I’ve yet to photograph but I love so much, or our master bath which remains a barf fest (though the carpet is gone so it’s a luxurious barf fest). I’ll link every room below.

den

family

kitchen

dining

blue bathroom

kid bedroom

kid bedroompink black interior bedroom girl room mid century modern tulip side table heywood wakefield kohinoor bed rugs USA keno moroccan shag rug nuloom

master bedroom

master dressing room

patio
backyard

front yard

Thanks for reading friends! I’ll be back in a few days with all the Halloween madness that I’ve piled all over this house! xoxo Jenny

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Dining Room Bookshelves

How do we feel about bookshelves in dining rooms? Kinda weird, right? It’s not my preference, but with our current room/furniture arrangement, having our long and low bookshelf along our dining room wall is what works right now. I loved its previous home in the den, hated its short-lived residency in our family room (I guess enough that I never photographed it there), and kinda like it in our dining room now.

I do love that it gives some purpose to our awkward kitchen pass-thru wall and adds a pop of color to a monochromatic room. I feel the same as I always have about color-sorted books: it’s pretty lame, and sign me up.
I’m continually purging books and feel like my stacks are at such a pretty, minimal place right now! Shedding excess books has been super freeing and I highly recommend it…though this home library embraces the opposite mentality and is so beautiful!

My husband built this bookshelf, by the way. Sliding doors made of waxed luan hide uglier reads, kids books and photo albums.I have always struggled with how to style the top and I visually really like this version. A home bar would make sense, except we aren’t the boozy type and I think it’s super cheesy to have liquor on display – no offense liquor displayers! This beautiful glass set belonged to my grandparents who stored it in their swanky wet bar, so I love seeing it, but the placement of barware in here seems a little pretentious and overly styled considering. Just add it to the “pretty lame, but sign me up” list I guess!We are off camping in Sequoia this week so hopefully right now I’m not being mauled by a bear after trying to hug it. If I survive the camping/bear hugs, then see you next time friends!!! xoxo

Konmari for DIYers?

Have you ever wanted to Konmari but you are living under “special circumstances”? I think that continually describes me so I’ve put off doing a full clean out and wondered why Marie Kondo didn’t address “special circumstances” in her nutty/popular/helpful book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up…and then I figured out it’s because most of her audience, and most people, aren’t living perpetually amongst house projects, interior design dabbles, and hobby furniture collections like I am. Compared to the lady who talks to possessions and lets her socks and handbags take a much deserved rest each night, I’m actually the weird one. I’m guessing other creative/DIY types can relate.

My most pressing “special circumstance” is this slow, drawn out do-it-ourself renovation (if you can even call it that at our pace). I feel like we are still on the tail end of the move-in phase and not quite settled, even though it’s been 3+ years. Our life has been a continual ebb and flow of furniture as projects get finished up and new ones start. It’s hard to know what objects will work in a room before you even get around to having a finished room for those objects to land.

My secondary special circumstance is wanting to be a minimalist so that I have a streamlined home life and time to actually do the things I love… BUT the things I love are collecting old furniture and interior design. Hobbies at direct odds with a streamlined home life. I’m drawn to minimalism but joy is honestly sparked in my heart by beautiful objects. I have a feeling that many people who gravitate towards a modern aesthetic experience this dichotomy, at least on some level, and it’s a tricky balance.

So, until this point, I’ve avoided a full on purge of our house. But it seemed like the time to Konmari was now. Life has been a lot lately. Stressful. Anxiety is floating around our house. I feel the need to simplify what I can. And I know that, however artificial it may sound, some of my immediate stress can be relieved by 1.) seeing less stuff everywhere and 2.) having less stuff to manage and care for and clean.
I would definitely describe myself as an organized person so organizing stuff isn’t new to me, but this was by far the biggest and easiest clean out and organization I have ever undertaken. I can’t describe how little time it actually took me compared with other approaches I’ve tried. I think it comes down to the genius but simple process: First, decide what to keep. Kondo’s spark joy method, as wacky as it sounds, actually completely works. Like fail-proof. Then, decide where to put it. So often I’ve approached organizing in the opposite manner: decide where to put stuff and then decide what to get rid of, a subtle difference with wildly different outcomes. As a result I’ve ended up hanging on to stuff just because I had the space. With Kondo’s process, you are only left putting away the things you truly want.

It follows that undoubtedly there is ample storage for the number of items you actually want in life. We don’t need more storage, we need less stuff. My closets, drawers, cupboards, etc all have so much breathing room right now and so do I. It’s amazing how much lightness that brings to everyday life. It hasn’t taken the whole load off, but it’s taken something and, at this point, I’ll take whatever I can get.

I started, as suggested, with my clothes. I’ve been slowly whittling my wardrobe down for at least a few years, which was already dramatically slashed by a series of huge moves, but I halved what remained and don’t regret anything I gave away. I don’t remember ever having so few clothes since like ever, and it feels wonderful. I’m 36 and at this point I know what I like, what works, and what my go-to “uniforms” are. There’s two: project slob or Peggy Bundy. Screw fads and trends, there is great freedom in identifying your uniform(s) and wearing/buying just that. I’m embracing it at this time in my life and shedding the baggage.
Proof of Kondo’s magic is in my shoe cabinet! (This house has a shoe cabinet!) Since we moved in, I’ve wondered what it would be like to fit every single pair I own in here. I used to be one of those shoe people had literally a hundred pairs of stupid shoes. I narrowed it down to my basics (wedges, flip flops, creepers, and tennis shoes), shed the junk shoes that never see action, even sentimental ones, and fit every single shoe in here, aside from pairs of tall snow and rain boots. Even my roller skates (infinite joy sparkers!) made it in and I feel like a pulled together adult. Who rollerskates.

I think Kondo suggests books next but ours underwent a ruthless sorting when I unpacked them at this house, letting go of burdensome college textbooks, etc. I continued to the embarrassing pileup of towels and linens. We somehow acquired so much, even since moving into this house, that our closets barely closed. Halving those too was such a relief. We’ve done quite a bit of bed shuffling since moving and the dust has finally settled to where I can see what size/quantity of beds we’ll have for the next few years, so my sheet goal of having only two sheet sets for each bed, cotton for summer and flannel for winter, has been realized! The doors now shut with ease and I can find what I’m looking for. Linen closet liberation! One of the most unintentional stress inducing clutters around our house is often the “project piles,” of which our master bedroom has bore the brunt of. If we completed house projects like reasonable people in reasonable timeframes, piles of materials wouldn’t be a huge deal. But sometimes I leave things out, just in case we spontaneously feel like hanging a ceiling fan this weekend or so that I can “live with” the material to decide if it will work out. All fine in week increments, but our bedroom has been a storage space for 2 fan boxes, a bathroom faucet box, bathroom light fixtures and various light bulbs for nearly a year! Why?! Our bathroom has piles of sample terrazzo that I’ve long stopped considering while I brush my teeth. So, I shuffled around a few things in the garage and made a dedicated project shelf for materials that need to be installed. Seems logical, but it went against my instincts to keep things in sight so they would happen faster – an approach that clearly isn’t working for me. I’m here to tell you that moving stray light fixtures out from under your bedroom dresser and into the garage is the right way to live with your projects. Kondo suggests cleaning out your entire life in one go (taking no more than 6 months). I’ve yet to tackle the kitchen and the garage. I may hold off on the kitchen until next year when we are planning to renovate because it isn’t cluttered to the point of stress in there. The garage, on the other hand, is insane and gives me a stomach ache. The amount of project/hobby/creative/tool stuff we have amassed is daunting and, while I think Marie Kondo is very creative, I’m guessing she isn’t involved in the regular production of stuff like some of us crazies are and her method definitely wasn’t made with us “makers” in mind. But I’m gonna do my best to apply her process in our garage/aka workshop so that projects can happen with limited frustration because of clean work surfaces and easily located supplies.

Bottom line is that I wish I would have done this sooner. Maybe me and my house weren’t ready until now, but I doubt that. I think it’s possible to (mostly) know what you want and what you don’t and free up your life, even if you’ve got a little extra something going on.

Has anyone else tackled their home? I’m curious to know the tidy retention rate so chime in especially if you took the plunge a few years ago!

Deep Bookshelf Thoughts

This bookshelf. Two things about it:books bookshelf styling color coded coordinated

1. Books sorted by color are for sellouts – And I am a sellout. My sister teases me for color coordinating my books, and I fully deserve it. I like to think I have a decent dose of integrity. But in this case, I am 100% sure I will look back on this with the shame bad decisions documented on the internet deserve. I’m not sure why I tried this or then decided to keep it this way when those are my honest feelings and I am embarrassed to put pictures up of it. I might as well start saying “that’s my jam.” (Barf. I won’t.) I can offer no excuse other than it looks less cluttered than organizing them by subject. At least my books are all good colors. So there’s that.

books bookshelf color coded coordinated

2. Getting rid of books is hard but good – Our family used to have a lot of books. This entire bookshelf was filled. And I thought I would never part with them because book are precious and prove you are cultured and you may need to reference them in the future and owning the written word is the freedom of speech manifested and blah, blah, blah.

But once I had kids, I started intentionally minimizing our stuff. One of my favorite parenting books ever, Simplicity Parenting, was the catalyst. It talks a lot about the “extraordinary power of less” in your quality of life and I’m a believer. (The greatest irony is that I’ve never owned that book, only checked it out so many times from the library, based on the author’s advice. I should float him some $$.) I’m sure there are some book people who would choose their books over anything else. I’m not one of them. Really, do I need my anthropology text book from college? No. Do I need every novel I’ve ever read? No. Do my kids need the complete catalog of Dr. Seuss? No.

books bookshelf color coded coordinated

books bookshelf color coded coordinated

Over the course of recent moves I’ve whittled down our book collection. What remains is a solid collection that is either truly enjoyed by us or truly practical. A handful of our favorite architecture, design, photography*, economics (not mine!), reference and fiction books along with a couple of sentimental items is all that survived the cut.

*may I recommend The New West by Robert Adams, one of the most beautiful things ever created

Some books were parted out to other rooms of the house. Car manuals, woodworking guides and technical art books were relocated to the garage, where they are referenced. Music books and guitar repair manuals are stashed with my husband’s guitar equipment. Health related books (homeopathic remedies, etc.) were moved to our medicine cabinet area. Most children’s books are in their room. Now, the bookshelf books have room to breath and hang out with pottery.

bookshelf2 - 07

books bookshelf color coded coordinated

bookshelf2 - 11

books bookshelf styling color coded coordinated
You can see more of this room, the den, in this post.

I’d love to hear what you think of color coordinating books…tacky or timeless? (I’m so sure it’s tacky, yet here I am.)