I’ve always been sentimental, but since I’ve become a mother, I’ve really started to think about the significance of memories and the objects of our memories.

I’ve heard people reminisce about their first home, and I thought it seemed a little over-dramatic.  Until we moved. And I drive by the old house (my babysitter lives next door to the old house). And I start tearing up when I see it.

But the old house is where I began my life with my husband.  I cooked my first meal as a wife, not a girlfriend.  The old house is where we had new friends over for dinner and eventually they became old friends.  It’s where we planted our first vegetable garden together and enjoyed the rich bounty of okra, squash, tomatoes, cantaloupe, yellow watermelon and green beans. And the old house is where Luke spent his 4th night on this earth.  It’s where he learned to smile, sit-up, laugh, and crawl.  The house was truly our family home.

And now, living in Hilldale house, i think fondly of our cozy little home.  Especially when I am mopping a kitchen floor twice the size of the old home. and sometimes I cry.  But I know in time, Hilldale house will be filled with our things, our family, and our memories, and each day it will feel more and more like home.

Fortunately, the old house is still ours.  We were able to rent it out to great people.  I know they will put their own stamp on it, but here’s a photo homage to the way the house looked before we moved, as we listed it for rent.  This is the way I will always think of you old house.

Living Room

And for some BEFORE/AFTER  of the old house:

The master bath is all IKEA’d out! I love their stuff, love their prices.  I never had finished the small details in the bath, like what to do with the empty space above the toilet.  Just 2 shevles, 3 pots and some bamboo shoots later, voila! (oh, and some cleaning too)

Master Bath - BEFORE

Master Bath - AFTER




I also wanted to re-do our front porch. It had terracotta tiles that were beginning to peel away. I never did like the terracotta and always planned on laying slate down. Unfortunately, we put it off too long, and it was time to rent the house off, so I needed the cheapest, fastest solution. So I removed all the tiles, scraped all the mortar adhesive off with a flat shovel, and washed the entire surface. Then I painted it with some grey concrete paint normally used on garage floors.





Finally, here is a picture of the old house kitchen backsplash which was the first one I painted and inspired me to paint the one at Hilldale house. (it used to be two-tone beige with etchings of mushrooms and birds)?!

Painted Backsplash


I’ve been out, about, sick, baby-showering… but I’m back!

With my backsplash…

Most of the traffic on this blog has come through my first post about painting over my backsplash.  This means that there are others like me out there that want a cheap, easy solution to an ugly backsplash.

Seriously, a quart of primer, a quart of paint, some brushes and some tape is all you need!  Really, you have nothing to lose! If you paint over it, and don’t like it, chances are it still looks better than what you started with!  Then you can move on to the next paint color, or buck-up and invest in a more expensive, permanent solution.

Here is exactly what I did, in as much detail as I can remember:


  • 1 qt. Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer for all surfaces
  • 1 qt. BEHR Premium Plus Ultra (paint/primer in one) in SnowFall (I used the paint/primer in one only because this is what I was using on my walls.)
  • 1 medium paintbrush
  • Taping off supplies (paper, tape, plastic, ur choice)
  1. Begin with a clean backsplash.  Make sure all the food stains are removed.  Dish detergent works great! Just make sure the surface has dried completely before painting.
  2. Tape off the countertops. This will ensure a clean edge between the backsplash and countertop.
  3. Cover countertops with paper or plastic.
  4. Cover entire backsplash with one coat of primer. (My backsplash had small, 2×2″ tiles.  That made for a lot of grout that needed to be painted.  I started with a smooth roller and tried to roll all of  it.  But the paint was not reaching into the grout lines. In the end, I just did it all by hand with a brush.)
  5. Let primer dry entirely. (see primer instructions)
  6. Apply paint over the primer.
  7. Go back and survey the surface closely for any drip marks. Brush lightly over them to ensure a smooth final finish.
  8. Let paint dry.
  9. Stand back, admire your work, and all the cash still in your wallet!
Easy peasy!  and if you have any inkling of artistic DNA, you can take this project and fly with it!  Imagine faux Spanish tiles, or a cool retro pattern, or maybe some whimsical inspiring prose…
Here are some more BEFORE/AFTER pictures of my project.  It doesn’t quite translate in the pictures as the dramatic change that it is in person. Once the kitchen is completely redone (hopefully in my lifetime), I hope to take better, more dramatic pictures.


AFTER - note the handles have also been modernized





and ice cream

But what I want and need more than ice cream is a farmhouse kitchen table.

Problem: The more used, abused, old, rickety and farmy a table looks, the more it costs! All you can get for a few hundred dollars is a shiny new one! the insanity!!

Solution: I’m going to have to pay for an new, old-looking table.

My vision: Old rustic table, new modern chairs (probably metal or wood/metal combo); not opposed to having a bench on one side either.

Here is what the dining space in my eat-in kitchen looks like:

View from the Living room (pretend the fan isn't there)

Facing the kitchen

Built-in Buffet - facing hallway that leads to study & laundry room

So after weeks of internet shopping, and one bad craigslist buy, I’ve narrowed it down to 8 tables.
Here are the top contenders for the space: Which do you like best?
(please vote below)


Trestle Table


Hacienda Table


Big Leg Rustic Pine Table


Modern Rustic Table


Craigslist Find


WM - Provence Table


WM - Verona Trestle Table


WM - Sourav Dining Table

Don’t judge me.

I’m on a budget.

i jumped in head-first and just did it – I painted my kitchen backsplash!!! (resounding gasps from kitchen-design-gurus everywhere!!)

Wait! It’s okay! It didn’t turn out as bad as you might expect.

In fact, I got the idea a couple of years ago when I was looking for a cheap, easy solution for the backsplash in our current home.
I got it off! No joke! They now have a video that shows a great before/after. Awesome transformation.

Unlike the couple in the video, I wanted to get rid of the grey/mauve tiles and go all white!

These pictures inspired my look:

What I liked in these pictures was the openness and brightness of the rooms.

So instead of emptying my pocketbook on white subway tiles, I spent about $30 on paint, a little elbow grease, and it was painted!

*I’m done! See the final look here!*

Painted backsplash

Our new kitchen is big.

It has potential.

Unfortunately we will not be able to unleash its potential all at once.  Instead, we will let it leak out slowly, like a helium balloon deflating slowly over time.

If all goes well, we will in the next 6 years or so, completely redo the kitchen.

Until then, it’s getting a face lift!

Just a little tuck here, and a little nip there, and voila! 15 years younger!

So I’ve created a list of my problems in the kitchen.  (Deric thinks it’s perfect now, see costs at bottom of table ;-)

Beige laminate countertops that look mauve in certain lighting Paint over the tan walls that make the countertops look mauve 


Replace with a nice black granite
White paint flaking off cabinets Touch up paint with extra paint found in the garage Replace cabinets with modern white or light maple ones
Small 2×2” Gray/mauve tile backsplash Paint over them (I just want them to disappear into the background) Replace…. With something…. something better…
Dirty stained white grout and 6×6” white! floor tiles Scrub grout for 2 days and seal Replace! With very large, very gray tiles, and very small grey grout lines!
Built-in wall can-opener Learn to live with it… or pull out and hang picture over gaping hole in wall Remove! And pretend it was never there
Electric cook-top Use it, create on it, learn to love it Replace! With nice hot gas one
Outdated ceiling fan Replace with nice drum pendant Keep drum pendant
COSTS: (estimated) <$300 >$20,000

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