Planting Sequoias

Creek Maintenance

We have a cement spillway/aquaduct on our property coming from the lake. In the spillway is a culvert, and water flows through it from the lake for several weeks in the spring and whenever it rains hard. Here’s what it looks like in the spring:


But as you can see above, the pavers in the retaining wall surrounding the creek were looking a little sad–kind of like a six-year-old’s teeth–mostly crooked, and some were even falling out.

And after a few months with little water flowing through, the creek bed looked like this…AFTER I had already (thoroughly) weeded it TWICE. There was a ton of silt/dirt that had built up in the rocks, making it a fertile space for weeds. GRR.


So…we took all the rocks out, reset all the pavers, laid down a weed mat, and threw all the rocks back in. No biggie…just 6 evenings of our lives. Here’s some progress shots (this is exciting stuff, I know!):









And…ta-da! Even though this doesn’t look VASTLY better, IT IS (she insists). I guess you’ll just have to trust me on this one.


Now we just have to get the grass that was crushed by the rocks to regrow. It’s a process.

Summer Exterior House Tour

I did an exterior home tour this Spring once the snow melted, but since adding leaves to the trees has changed things so much, I decided to do another! Maybe this will be a seasonal thing? Shoot, I’m like a proud grandma. “Look! Our house! Isn’t it growing up SO nicely?!” *pinches cheeks*

I love this shot below because you can juuuust see the morning light over the lake.


Kenny and I wanted a yard that had mature trees, and we got it…along with a lot of open lawn thrown in the mix! We’re slowly making plans for ways to fill it in a bit more though. Oh! And can you see one of our in-progress projects? We’ve kind of hit a wall though, so don’t hold your breath for final pics anytime soon. :)


Here’s the backyard view from our deck.



And…there’s this. (Originally posted on Instagram…coughfollowcough).


As you can see, we’ve got a few dead/dying trees we need to get taken care of, but thankfully we have trees in abundance. And that crooked tree above is dangling right over the lake, but apparently it’s been that way for years? So we’re not holding our breath on it.

Here’s the view looking back at the house. The lake is at my back on the right, and the creek (mostly dry by now!) is also to the right.


Here’s the view looking into the backyard alongside the garage (along with the very asthetically pleasing cement chunks that I keep pulling from our lake). Grass doesn’t grow well here (it’s usually pretty wet and squishy!), so we’d like to eventually do a cement or paver pathway, and we’d like to get a bush or two to camouflage our well. But that reddish tree at the back corner of the garage is some sort of japanese maple and is one of my fave trees on the property, which is why I included this picture.


Summers in Michigan are the greatest!

Another Piece of the Living Room Puzzle

Since we’ve moved in, one of the most puzzling pieces of our living room for me has been the space over our mantle. Our fireplace itself is LARGE (the mantle is 5′ tall–up to my chin!), and the space above it also seems like a huge expanse. Because it is.

But when Mom and I were thrifting last weekend, I came across THEEE PERFECT seascape print at an antique store. Here’s the picture I sent to Kenny–with me in it for scale.


My only hesitations were 1) the price, $20, and 2) the color–it was pretty yellow-y, and I was worried it would look weird with our blue/gray livingroom.

But $20 is really an excellent price for a piece of artwork this large, and I could not pass it up.

And the verdict? IT”S WONDERFUL.


The yellowness of the painting adds warmth into the room that had been previously missing (some pillows with yellow in it will bridge the color gap a little better). And I LOVE mixing in antiques with new items, and before this painting, the “new” side of the equation was winning handily.


And…that frame. I love the patina.


I liked this painting so much that I actually took the plunge and hung it up–something I had heretofore been avoiding. Clearly I was just waiting for this piece.

Anyone else had any great secondhand scores lately?

The List of All Lists

Kenny and I have been bouncing from project to project in the past four months of home ownership (how has it already been that long?!), but we’re beginning to settle down and do some planning. So the other day, we compiled this master list of projects large and small, just so we can better budget our time and moolah. And because it’s fun to dream a bit, you know? So without further ado, the list to end all lists.

Fair warning: this list may make your eyes glaze over (it’s more of a reference for Ken and I). Feel free to skim! ;)


Mudroom–to do:

  • Built in bench/cabinets/locker system
  • Paint ceiling
  • Crown molding
  • Board and batten

Mudroom–to procure:

  • Rug


Half Bath

  • Tile floor
  • Board and batten (and baseboards)
  • New vanity
  • New sink
  • New faucet
  • New towel holder/tp holder
  • Replace vent with vent/light combo
  • Wallpaper above board and batten? (Ken is not yet convinced…)



  • Sew blind for window above sink
  • New faucet
  • Toekicks


  • Replace cabinets, counters, backsplash
  • Rotate island 90 degrees counterclockwise so barstools face back of house
  • Add bank of cabinets opposite sink wall (behind future location of barstools)



  • Ceiling–wood treatment
  • Replace slider door (french doors?)
  • Remove ceiling fan & replace with awesome light (we have yet to use the fan)

Sunroom–to procure

  • Fiddle leaf fig trees
  • Tiny cabinet to hide internet router paraphernalia
  • Pair of chairs
  • End table (or a matching set?)


Living room

Living room–to procure

  • Console table
  • Pair of lamps
  • Pair of chairs
  • End tables



  • Replace front door
  • Wire light into closet
  • Enclose space above closet
  • Replace doorbell
  • Crown molding
  • Replace stair railings
  • Remove carpet on stairs
  • Replace treads & stain new ones
  • Add runner on stairs


Upstairs hallway

  • Remove carpet & replace with laminate
  • New light fixtures
  • Replace baseboards
  • Crown molding
  • Repaint


Front guest bedroom

  • Replace carpet
  • Repaint

Front guest bedroom–to procure

  • Queen size bed frame, headboard, mattress
  • Nightstands
  • Dresser

Craft bedroom

  • Replace carpet
  • Repaint


Upstairs bathroom

  • Replace shower hardware
  • Repaint
  • Tile floor
  • New vanity, sink, faucet
  • New light fixture
  • New towel bars and tp holder


Smallest bedroom and master bedroom–dreaming here!

  • Remove wall of closets between this bedroom and master to merge the two
  • Oh yes I did just mention that casually–are you listening? :)
  • Remove closet in smallest bedroom
  • Move doorway to immediate left of stairs
  • Replace carpet
  • Add fireplace
  • Create walk-in closet along front of house
  • Tray ceiling?


Master bathroom

  • Remove fiberglass shower surround and replace with tile
  • New shower fixtures
  • Tile floor
  • Repaint
  • New vanity, sink, faucet, mirror
  • New light fixture
  • New towel ring, hooks, tp holder
  • Replace baseboards
  • Board and batten


Basement finished area

  • Repaint
  • New floor covering (carpet or laminate?)
  • New light fixtures
  • New window treatments
  • Built AV/game closet in fireplace nook


Basement unfinished area

  • Build laundry room (build walls & ceiling, tile floor, add countertop above washer/dryer)
  • Better storage systems!


Exterior: front

  • Build out columns
  • Repaint trim
  • New exterior lighting
  • New garage door
  • Remove basketball hoop? (though we’ve been using it a bunch lately!)
  • Add paver-path alongside garage
  • Dream: replace vinyl siding entirely


Exterior: back

  • Redo deck (we want to go BIG!)
  • Add paver patio underneath trees
  • Add paver patio & path near fire pit
  • Add natural stone steps going to dock

Obviously some (many?!) of these projects may take years to complete. But we’re feeling more and more like this could be a long-term home for us–so why not keep the big picture in mind? Oh, and we’ll take anyone anywhere up on their offer of manual labor. These projects aren’t going to do themselves! :)

Dining in Style

Our dining room table finally arrived! Kenny and I are starting to be pretty intentional about investing in furniture that will last us 10-years or more. Our blue couch was the first such piece, and this is the second. So, while this isn’t a story about a great deal, we’re busy dreaming–of mealtime conversations that we will have, of games that will be played here, of the future children we will raise around this table–you get the picture. So, while this was a splurge, we like to consider it an investment. (Plus, I did a big freelance project last year, and this is how we decided to blow that moolah!) :)

This is actually the second table to be delivered–the first table was scheduled for delivery near the end of June. I took the afternoon off work to meet the delivery guys, but when they came, the guy informed me that a strap had broken, the table had fallen and was scratched, and could I sign this line here to reject the delivery? So THAT was a bummer. No idea how these customer service issues keep happening to us (first this and then this). But after calling to get a replacement and after being refunded 20% of the purchase price, we were somewhat mollified.


We went with Restoration Hardware’s 17th C. Monastery Round Dining Table in gray acacia. And we went big–this table is a whopping 60″ wide, giving a whole new meaning to the simple request to “pass the salt.”


The only first-world problem we have is that we definitely need 6 chairs instead of 4 and World Market no longer sells our particular style of chair. So, new chairs? Or mix and match? Either way, we’re dining in style. If only I would get around to styling the mantle… ;)

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